just 3 days after returning to seattle and easing back into our routine, thatcher said to me "let's do an overnight in eastern washington tomorrow night!" we had nothing planned, i have never been east of the cascade mountains and it sounded like fun, so i said "let's do it!" he booked a hotel for us in the town of selah, which is about 5 minutes outside yakima.
we got up saturday morning, told the kids about our little adventure, packed our bags and hit the road. we drove through the mountains and made our first stop along the white river. the water was such a wild color, i had never seen anything like it. we made some pb&j sandwiches at the pull over spot and enjoyed the view.
next we got arrived at crystal mountain ski resort. no, there isn't any snow there in august, but they do have a year-round gondola ride that takes you up the mountain. there were tons of people there because there was a relay race happening, but thankfully they had a separate gondola line for regular visitors. i wouldn't say i'm afraid of heights, but i did feel a bit uneasy on the gondola ride. it rocks back and forth quite a bit and takes about 10 minutes to get to the top of the mountain.
the views going up were incredible.
when we got to the top, we were greeted by the most spectacular view of mount rainier i have ever seen. thatcher estimated we were only about 10 miles away from it. it was so beautiful it didn't even look real!
there were tons of people up there taking pictures. it was so cool! nothing humbles me like standing in front of a huge mountain or ocean. humans have so much power in the world, but when it comes down to it, we are very very small compared to nature.
after the gondola ride we got back in the car to check out mount rainier national park. there were more awesome views of the mountain. we stopped to do a short hike near the ohanapekosh river. it was very kid-friendly (and popular). the kids' favorite part was definitely hanging out by the river and throwing rocks. it was a beautiful spot!
we finally made our way to the eastern side of the mountains and i couldn't believe the landscape! it looks so much like the southwestern united states. super dry and rocky - so different from seattle and even mount rainier area. it was so cool to see!
next stop was yakima (which is a huge produce growing/distribution area). we drove around the town a little bit, then headed to our hotel in selah. both kids were asleep in the back seat when we got there around 5:30pm. womp womp :) we dropped off our stuff and found a restaurant back in yakima to go to for dinner. it was a great choice - nice atmosphere, kid friendly and good burgers!
after dinner we went back to the hotel to go in the pool, which the kids were so excited about! the big pool was pretty chilly, but they didn't care. they had a hot tub too, but the jets weren't working. we didn't stay there too long because it was getting late. we all went to sleep at the same time in the hotel room :)
ashford woke up at 6:20 but we managed to stay in bed with the lights off until 7. we hit up the continental breakfast at the hotel (azalea ate fruit loops for the first time ever and thought it was amazing) and also checked out the game room (or as ashford called it "the game store") in the hotel.
then we went to a cute coffee shop we had passed a couple times in town. they had board games and toys so that kept the kids entertained while thatcher and i enjoyed our coffees. we made one more quick stop at a fruit store (when in rome...) and got some peaches and plums and candy to bring home.
next we drove to a pretty spot called roza recreational site and put our feet in the beautifully clear river.
then we went to the town of ellensburg to have some lunch and walk around. it was a cute place!
thatcher wanted to check out the wild horse wind farm which has tons of wind turbines and a visitor building. i just love watching wind turbines, they are so fascinating.
after this we hit some suuuuuper bad traffic on I90. we must have went under 15 miles an hour for over an hour. it would speed up for a minute or two and then slowdown again. after a couple hours of it, we decided to get out at the ironhorse trail in snoqualmie pass to stretch our legs. thatcher took the kids biking there before. it's a super long dark tunnel. we walked to the mouth of the tunnel (it was freezing!) and then walked back to the car.
we finally got home at 7:30 pm. in full transparency, the trip wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. the kids fought a lot. ashford threw tantrums and refused to listen to us over and over and thatcher and i got crabby with the kids and with each other. i had plenty moments of wishing we could just have an enjoyable time, but it was real life and despite the struggles i'm so glad we went. maybe we will stay home and relax this weekend....or maybe we won't. you never know!
and just so i can look back and remember, the solar eclipse happened on monday 8/21. azalea was at her day camp and they took the kids outside in small groups to look at it with the official glasses. ashford and i were at the coworking space and got to view it together via pinhole boxes and one pair of glasses with a big group of kids and parents. it was really fun! it's crazy to think when the next one happens (which is only 7 years away), i will have a 13 year old and a 10 year old!