North Cascades National Park

We have made the decision to travel back to the MN lakes for the summer. Originally, we thought we’d go up through Vancouver, to Whistler and then to Banff, but when we started looking at timing and a couple of National Parks we still had to visit out west, we decided to come back through the US. Our first stop leaving Kristi and Bruce’s in Poulsbo was to get on a ferry – trailer and all! Doing this meant we would have to pay a little bit of money but we passed up on all the traffic in Seattle and Tacoma which was fine and dandy with us!

The North Cascades National Park is on the northern border of Washington. It is a huge mountain range with lots of lakes and dams that supply energy to much of Seattle. The colors were so pretty of the water and trees. We walked across a bridge with Gunner that had metal grates that you could see through, and it was very funny watching Gunner carefully cross. Not sure if it was the feeling of the metal or the fact that he could see directly down that he didn’t like!

I know we’ve said this before, but National Parks are not very dog friendly. What was unique about North Cascades, is that in the main Cascade Highway that intersects the park, the area around it is actually a National Recreation Area, not the National Park. So, a lot of the trails along the road are dog friendly! We took a big 3-mile hike up to a viewing area of Diablo Lake, and it was nice to see other pups using the trail responsibly as well!

This park must have amazing camping as well, because we’ve never seen so many campers leaving the park as they were today (it was Monday of Memorial Day)! We were amazed that they just kept coming and coming!

We kept driving east out of the park, enroute to Spokane/Coeur d’Alene. We passed many small towns, and even stopped at a cidery for supper (thanks Jesse!). At one point, we started going though Washington Apple Land! There were not only a ton of orchards, but a literal ton of apple boxes/bins. It was very pretty land, we followed rolling hills and the Columbia river for a while. It would be fun to go back in the fall and pick some ourselves!

Our eventual stop was earlier then we’d like it after we discovered a busted fuse that led to the trailer’s running lights not working. But we found a rest stop that worked perfect for us and was right in line with our challenge to not pay for any overnight stays on the way home. BLM land, rest stops, and friends and family’s houses are our goal! Onward Tischers! (MT)

Another Family Win in the PNW!

Those of you who have been following our adventures know already some of the main themes of our last 5 months educating the boys on the road. National Parks (and NPS properties), presidential libraries, air museums and lots of visits with family! Our path has led us to spend some great times with family members we haven’t seen in a long time, to spend quality and extended times with those who live a long way from us.

As Maureen mentioned in a previous post, we made a decision while in Utah. We had to decide, head NW or turn the rig east and head to MN. We chose NW! Oregon and Washington were states we wanted the boys to experience and they were rich with family!

After throughly enjoying Oregon, we made our final Oregon stop in rural Astoria to see my Grandpa Tischer’s younger brother Mark Tischer. We were able to spend a couple of hour chatting with him and my boys were able to meet one of the last from that generation!

From Mark’s, we made our way to Cathlamet/Skamokawa and stayed at an absolutely great RV Park/Port #2 Park right on the Columbia River. The reason for our stop here was to see my dad’s cousin Lee Tischer. Lee and Diane live on Puget Island and are very active in the community. Lee is a Port Commissioner and got us into a great spot where we could see huge ocean going ships only 100 yards from our camper. It was also neat to have people recognize the Tischer last name! While getting to know Lee and Diane, we had a great dinner and learned more about their family. Lee (also known as Woody Tischer) also took us on a tour of the area, including a ferry ride in our truck to go get breakfast on the other side of the Columbia! Once again, our visit reaffirmed the value of knowing family and checking in every once in awhile!

Our path to the Seattle area was a quick one. My mom, Marilee, had decided to make a trip out to the area to meet up with us again (and of course see her brother, sister and families)! During our adventure, I am pretty certain we have seen my folks with more regularity than when we lived in Harrisburg (it’s a good thing). The Seattle area is where my mom’s brother Rollie and sister Kristi live with their families. Base for us was going to be Kristi and Bruce’s in Poulsbo.

Just as we started backing the camper into Kristi’s driveway, my uncle Rollie, aunt Ginger and mom pull into the culdesac. Nothing like backing in and getting set up with an audience! We didn’t realize it at the time, but that spot would be our trailer’s home for the next three weeks! Our time with the Seattle area crew was filled with tons of fun and tons of just plain old “hanging out”!

Some of the highlights of our time in the PNW include (in no order):

  • Time with Kristi and Bruce, Gabe and Josh, and Rollie and Ginger
  • Time with Bruce and Liz (Ginger’s sister)-the boys loved Bruce’s bush pilot stories
  • Maureen being able to see her great aunt Percy and multiple cousins (total of 6)
  • Finally being able to go and get Bruce and Kristi’s boat, get it water ready and enjoy several rides with dolphins seen
  • A great day downtown in Seattle
  • The boys going to the Museum of Flight with Uncle Rollie and learning little about his aviation based career
  • Whidbey Island and the PBY museum (Papa Mick’s uncle trained to fly the PBY here and flew them in the Aleutian Islands during WW2)
  • Watching Gunner and Roscoe play and bark at anything that moved
  • Being able to leave the camper at Bruce and Kristi’s so that we could take our “Alaskan Adventure”
  • The Underwater Warfare Museum with Gabe and the boys
  • A traditional Norwegian lunch at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway with Kristi
  • The Olympic National Park with my mom and Kristi
  • Some great conversations had with all

We finally had to hook on and say goodbye to everyone. While it would have been great to stay even longer, we have a few more places to stop on our way to the lake cabin for the summer! We plan to go across the northern part of the US. Hopefully another family member or two and a stop in Rapid City to see my old boss (nearly family)!

I’ve said it several times-the circumstances of us being able to take this time together weren’t a highlight of my career. Having your job eliminated just plain old sucks. Having the adventure of a lifetime has been absolutely worth it though!!