PNW – Summer 2022 – Part 3

We are staying in Bellingham for a few days until our roof rack gets installed. We went to Birch Bay State Park to see the sunset – so pretty! Tripp was having fun doing Karate Kid moves! 😄

Got a rock for Dad! 🙂

The next day we went up into the North Cascades toward Mt. Baker in hopes of cooking dinner by a river (haha…that didn’t happen!).

On our way, we stopped to look at the North Fork Nooksack River. It was sooo pretty! We really liked this river. It was moving really quickly – lots of snow melt!

As we were enjoying this awesome view, unbeknownst to us, Lily had escaped from her kennel in the van and proceeded to eat half a pack of Mentos candy! We weren’t sure if we needed to head back to town to a vet or not. We had no cell signal, but we remembered seeing an Internet hotspot at a gas station on the way up here. We drove back to that gas station (which was like a 10-15 minute drive or more) and used the WiFi to make a call to a vet in Bellingham. They weren’t sure if we should bring Lily in or not, but gave us a pet poison control hotline we could call. It was a $75 consultation fee to call the hotline (are you kidding me?!), but was cheaper than taking her to the vet if we didn’t need to (and we could salvage the trip up the mountain). Fortunately, they said not to worry so we went back up the mountain! Maybe she’ll poop rainbows after all those Mentos!

We then stopped off at Nooksack Falls – really thunderous water fall!

Creepy how the water just disappears over the edge! It’s hard to tell from a photo, but that’s a huge drop!
As we headed higher up the mountain, some of the drop-offs were massive with no guard rails (I couldn’t take my hands off the wheel to photograph the worst ones). I was hating parts of the drive! Tripp was not liking it either. He shut his window shade and was clinging onto his seat with all his strength!
At this point, which was about 5000’ up from where we started, I couldn’t take the heights anymore and had to turn around. I had a death grip on the steering wheel and it was no longer any fun. The view of Mt. Shucksan was awesome, though!
When we turned around we could see the Mt. Baker ski area.
After we got down off the crazy parts of the road we explored Nation Forest road NF-3070 in hopes of cooking some food along a river.
In this map, the red pen is where we turned around on our way up the mountain. In the lower left you can see Artist Point where we were headed. At the top of the screen is NF3070 where we were looking for a place to eat by a river.
The river was pretty, but the mosquitoes were insane!!! No way would we be able to stand around, much less make some food!
I had to pee really badly so I stopped on the side of the road. Holy cow – I was attacked my so many mosquitoes coming at me as I was trying to do my business! I’ve only ever seen them that bad at Hunting Island, SC when we camped there in the Jeep.
Hey, who’s that crazy kid in the driver’s seat!

When we made it back from the mountain of hell road, I proceeded to destroy one of the rear windows of the van…. I had opened both rear doors to get the food (that we didn’t cook by the river) out of the fridge. I accidentally let the bike rack on the passenger side door slam into the edge of the window of the driver’s side door since neither door was fully open or closed. Hard to explain. We have an appointment to get it replaced in the morning. $500 later…

Ok, got the hole covered up, but the ladder and tire carrier were going to make it a pain for the glass company to repair (and would likely cost more), so we unbolted everything and put it in the van. We first had to remove the expensive stuff, like the batteries, solar panel, fridge, and tools, in case someone tries to break into the van through the busted window hole (and to make room for the stuff we removed from the rear door). What a pain. Glad I brought tools and duct tape!

We got the van back from Safelite and it looks as good as new! We got the ladder reattached and it’s ready to go for the roof rack installation tomorrow!

We ate breakfast at the Birch Door Cafe in Bellingham, and it was amazing! A guy named Boris was asking about our van at the hotel, and he recommended eating here.

Strawberry Blintzes was awesome!!

The next day we got the roof rack and ladder installed! It looks awesome and it’s built really well! We will get a lot of use out of it!

The next day we started to head back to Arkansas and stopped in Roslyn, WA to see the town where Northern Exposure was filmed. It was only six minutes off the freeway near Cle Elum. We got to see the iconic café mural as well as the bar that was always in the movie.

We then headed to Spokane for the night. We got to eat at a new Spaghetti Factory we’ve never been to! That marks number 11 for us!

The good ol’ Manager’s Special!

On our way to Billings, MT, we were driving through some really pretty mountain scenery and I said, “I wish we would see a moose or a bear”. About 15 seconds later we saw a moose and her baby calf!!! This is the first time we’ve ever seen a moose!! So cool!

The photos are kind of blurry because we were going about 60 mph when I had to reach for my camera quickly and zoom in to get a photo (Carla was driving and I was working).

So that was a major thing checked off on our list of things we wanted to see! Even when we traveled up in the New England area where there are moose caution signs, we never saw one.

Had to buy some moose poop!! It was yummy!!!
We stopped on Anaconda, MT to get gas and saw these huge piles of what looks like black sand. It’s called slag, and it’s a bi-product of copper melting they used to do in this town. From what we read, they can’t find any real good use for it so no one will buy it. Funny!
That’s a massive brick tower in the distance. One of the tallest of its kind apparently
There’s the Lady of the Rockies! We saw her last time we came through on a long trip. There’s a neat story behind the statue.

We spent the night in Billings, MT.

7/29/2022 – Today is Carla’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARLA!! I love you so much!! Thank you for everything you do, including driving us all over this country! Not many wives would drive a 43’ RV towing a vehicle through the curvy mountain roads of Utah in the snow, along with all of the other iffy places we’ve been throughout 65,000+ miles of traveling over the past 7 years, and then homeschooling when not driving! Even today on your birthday, you are behind the wheel yet again! You are the best, baby!

We’ve been a lot of fun places thanks to you!!

We love you, Carla!!

We spent the night in Rapid City, SD. We got a cookie cake to celebrate Carla‘s birthday and ate at Texas roadhouse!

The next day, Tripp and I went downtown Rapid City to a shop called Heroes and Villains, where he bought a Star Wars toy. They have a neat downtown area that they block off on the weekends.
We stopped for a selfie with G.W. Bush! There are different statues on every corner downtown.
Mandatory stop at Wall Drug! We were amazed at how many billboard advertisements there were for Wall Drug!
We were seeing lots of prairie dog dirt mounds so we stopped off and use some binoculars to try to spot some. Carla saw a couple as we were driving.
This is the only prairie dog I got to see!
We stopped to see the Corn Palace. We didn’t know it was a circus! We just did a drive-by
Pretty evening drive!
This is my awesome picture of the Nebraska state sign. Couldn’t get my camera to focus on the sign because of all the bugs on the windshield. Omaha was full of highway construction. It was a stressful drive to the hotel!

We spent the night in Omaha, NE and it was really nice knowing that was the last hotel for the trip! We are all really ready to be home!

Ahhh, the last time to load up the van with our luggage at a hotel! Glad to be headed home! See you next time!

5 thoughts on “PNW – Summer 2022 – Part 3

  1. Love the beach pics! And glad to have a new rock for my collection from all over the world!! Sure looks like you guys are having a great time. We’re so glad you’re getting to do all that. And the weather looks amazing!
    Love you all!

  2. Love the pics by the rivers! And a cool rock from the Nooksack. Woohoo!😆. And I sure would have liked to have been with you at the Birch Door😁

  3. Love all the family pics at the end! And we had no idea there were that many Spaghetti Factorys! Lucky dogs ( you, not Marley and Lily…but thhen they’re pretty lucky too, getting to do the trip with you too😄)
    See you soon!

  4. It was fun looking at the last leg of the trip, remembering when we went that way years ago and got to see those things too. Glad you guys did and we’re especially glad you made it home safe and sound.
    Love you all

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