Arriving from the gorgeous San Juan Islands we entered Anacortes WA via the Washington State Ferry, we left blue sky and calm seas behind as we lumbered into the grey gusty rain that’s cliché’ for Northern Washington state. Two cups of McDonalds coffee (with 3 creams)later we were cruising through the drizzle of the Seattle suburb of Everett WA on our way to the Cascade mountains via State Hwy 2.
Caleb desperately was seeking to find/see/play in snow. As a ten year native of Nashville, he only had fond memories of snow and winter from his Illinois-Iowa years as a little guy. Today we were gonna find snow if it killed me. We had flown thousands of miles and searched for five days to find him some of the cold white stuff and the Cascade mountains were our last chance at delivering the goods.
An hour into our drive east on Hwy 2, we started to really gain altitude and noticed the grey layers above starting to show teasing glimpses of blue as the late afternoon sky seemed to gradually clear.
We could see patches of old snow remnants along the ditches and in the deeper shadows of the woods as we whizzed by. We were following a roaring mountain stream bed as it snaked its way out of the mountains and back to the sea we had just left behind. Dropping a gear for traction, it was clear the road was winding tighter the higher we drove. As we climbed over 4,000 feet we suddenly noticed real snow on the curb of the road, snow about three feet high and covering the mountain sides as we rose above the river valley and immediately we felt the cooler mountain air.
I made the turn at fifty five and saw the avalanche ahead…. not kidding. Avalanche !
The road was covered in a pile of snow and rock about ten to fifteen feet deep across all the lanes of traffic as a melting snowbank had suddenly “let go” and it couldn’t have happened more than 30 seconds before we arrived. Talk about close call!
We waited until the local WDOT guys came with some end-loaders and removed enough for us to get by and it was obvious to everyone we had indeed found the snow! Now it was up to us to find a way to enjoy it and get back to Seattle in time to catch our flight home in 24 hours. Turns out, it was not a problem at all.
Leavenworth WA is a very “over the top” Bavarian village, but it “works”. Seems to be the entire city has whole-heartedly embraced their German-roots and every hotel, shop, eatery and establishment has a German or Bavarian theme, menu, style and décor. Even the Italian restaurant we ate at. 🙂
Warning, room prices are high up here as Leavenworth is about your only lodging option for a few hundred miles of Hwy 2 as you come in from the west to east and the beautiful views of the snow capped Cascade mountains and the proximity to famous wineries and Seattle make this a very popular and happening little resort community, year around. We hit it on a Wednesday night in late March and it was very active.
The next morning we drove into the mountains off of Hwy 2 and went snowmobiling. Oh YEAH. We found the last outfitter (Mountain Springs Lodge) in the area who would do a snowmobile ride and we had a blast. They were worth the wait! Super nice and super professional, great gear and everything you needed all included in one fair price. So after driving about 40 minutes we made it to a remote lake (Fish Lake) in the high Cascades and began a 2 hour snow tour that was so much fun, we all swore to do it again 🙂
Tired and hungry we found a legit diner (59 Diner) on the way home and had some of the best cheeseburger and fries with home-made shakes anyone could ever want for. If your in the area, STOP and get some. Seriously good diner food. Sit at the Elvis booth – you’ll know what we mean when you get there 🙂
Flew out the next morning at 5am with the rest of south Seattle after enduring a comic-con Northwest convention at the Doubletree hotel (Seattle Airport) as Good Friday and Easter weekend dawned. Southwest was gracious and efficient and we made our connecting flight in time.
If you’ve been reading along… my Point is this… we had a ball!
Caleb was alone with his two parents for a week and will never forget his time in the Northwest. We focused ONLY on him and celebrated just HIM for a week. No distractions, no business calls – and no sister drama… we loved on him without anyone or anything in the way. The investment is priceless… our kids need to know we value them more than our jobs, our church activities and our own selves and the memories we share will last for generations.
Roadtrips are so unique in how they provide us as parents with an amazing and priceless way to really honor our adolescent kids.
Please consider seriously how to take your 16 year old on their own trip and watch them grow right before your eyes…
Peace out RTP!