Anacortes, WA

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We parked here at the Swinomish Lodge and Casino RV park which is located a bit east of Anacortes and Whidbey Island.  During our car road trip in 2014 we spent a few days in nearby Oak Harbor.

Diablo Lake - North Cascades National Park

We took a day trip from here, heading east to North Cascades National Park.  This park contains some of America’s most beautiful mountain scenery.  The mountains are not the tallest but with jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, glaciers and sheer-walled cliffs there is ample dramatic beauty.  We hiked the Thunder Knob Trail which afforded awesome views of Diablo Lake and the peaks beyond.

Coupeville, WA

On another day we drove out to Whidbey Island and re-visited Oak Harbor and Coupeville.  We had to treat ourselves to the steamed mussels at Toby’s Tavern in Coupeville.  These are Penn Cove mussels which are grown right here in Coupeville.

Next stop:  Hope, British Columbia

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Alaska Cruise–Week 2

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This post is a continuation of Alaska Cruise – Week 1.

Byron Glacier - Anchorage

Day 8:  Anchorage, AK.  This is by far the largest city in Alaska and is the commercial and transportation center for the state.  Valerie’s cousin Prudence is working on a temporary assignment at a hospital in Anchorage.  We were able to meet up with her and she generously offered to drive us to see some of the natural beauty around Anchorage.  We drove south from the city along the coast of Turnagain Arm.  Our first stop was a brief hike in Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States.  While hiking, Prudence spotted a moose with a calf at about 150 yards from the trail.  At a little further along the road we hiked to Byron Glacier and spotted a black bear at a comfortable distance.  Back to Anchorage we stopped briefly at the Earthquake Park which captures some of the impact from the massive 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964.  Near there we saw a young moose grazing on the side of the road.  Finally, after a quick stop at Point Woronzof for a classic view of Anchorage across Knik Arm, we stopped into 49th State Brewing before returning to the ship.  It was a good day with beautiful weather and we thank Prudence for showing us around. Continue reading

Alaska Cruise–Week 1

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We took a 14 day cruise aboard the Zaandam, a Holland America Lines ship, round trip from Seattle to several ports in Alaska.  Neither of us have much cruise experience but we were thrilled with the level of service and the quality of the food aboard this ship.  We heard similar comments from more experienced cruisers as well.  Every evening in the main dining room was a fine dining experience with a varied menu that changed every day.  And they even had selections that suited our particular food preferences.  With a 14 day itinerary we were able to visit ports that don’t get a lot of cruise ship traffic.  The following is a summary by day of our experience.

Departing Seattle Continue reading

Bothell, WA

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We stayed in Bothell for a few days before and after our cruise to Alaska at Lake Pleasant RV Park.  We chose this park because it offers “cruise parking”.  This is a separate part of the park that has side by side spaces where we could park our motorhome and CR-V while on the cruise.  In addition, it offers an electric plug in so that we could leave the refrigerator running and not have to empty it out for the cruise.  On our cruise departure day we will move from the RV site space to cruise parking and then summon Uber for a ride to the cruise terminal.

Chateau Ste. Michelle winery

Also, Bothell is close to where Valerie’s cousin Morgan, his wife Mel and their kids live.  We enjoyed a nice visit with them during the weekend prior to our cruise.  We had a nice lunch then went to Woodinville where we stopped in at a local rum distillery for a taste as well as the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle winery.

Next stop:  Alaska Cruise, Holland America Line

Gig Harbor, WA

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Gig Harbor is located on a small inlet near the southwestern portion of the Puget Sound.  We have previously visited the Seattle area on the eastern side of the sound but this was our first time on the west side in what’s known as the Olympic peninsula.  This is a huge tract of land bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north and the Puget Sound on the east.

Gig Harbor

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