US Trip 2015 – Heading to Seattle

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After visiting Yellowstone, we had planned to use two days to get to Seattle. We planned most of the driving for the first day, so we could arrive in time for the meet’n greet event on Thursday.

The day started with gray weather, but at least it wasn’t raining! Since we drove between Seattle and Yellowstone last year (in the opposite direction), we did a few detours this year to drive roads we didn’t drive last year. The route took us along a lake that formed after an earthquake, before we ended up at a great viewpoint.

Us at the viewpoint

The first big stop of the day was in Virginia City, an old historic town. Lots of old buildings and history, and a few geocaches. We spent some time walking around there. It’s not a ghost town anymore, now it’s a museum. We enjoyed walking around there, it was a peaceful place and not too crowded. Before leaving, we had to test the local ice cream – it passed the test!

Virginia City

We also stopped at the next ghost town, Nevada City, to find the cache there. The weather got a whole lot better, and soon enough we had blue skies and a shining sun. This is the way life should be, open roads, nice weather and plenty of caches.

We did a stop at Berkeley Pit in Butte, a cache we had to skip last year since we didn’t have time for it. I don’t know why, but the tunnel leading to the pit was almost as interesting as the pit itself (probably because it reminded us about a television show we watched recently).

Berkeley Pit
Berkeley Pit

When driving along the interstate in Montana last year, we bought some really good cherries. Since we don’t use pounds in Norway, we ended up buying a whole lot more than intended – but that was okay, they tasted real good! So I was constantly looking for that place today, hoping to get the same cherries this year. We did find another place, where we also got Rainier cherries – awesome!

Not long after, we found the place we stopped at last year. So we stopped to get even more cherries.

Cherries

We usually enjoy crossing state borders, and taking photos of the state signs – some of them look real nice! But crossing the border to Idaho this time was not as fun, they greeted us with lots of road work, reduced speed and two closed lanes… But I guess that’s necessary to keep the standard up, so it’s probably a good thing in the end.

We didn’t have that many stops planned for the rest of the route that day, which took us to Moses Lake in Washington. With fewer stops, the last two-three hours felt much longer than the rest of the day. Since we made a lot of stops along the road here last year, it made sense to not stop as much here this year. But we did stop on a few rest areas, and we made sure to get at least one find in Idaho (we have found several caches in Idaho on earlier trips).

It’s a good thing we traveled back in time today as well, otherwise we would have arrived quite late at the hotel.

We started early, as usual on this trip, and could have been in Seattle before noon. But that’s not fun. So we had planned a longer detour, mostly to log the webcam cache in Leavenworth.

We found a few really nice caches along the road, which we had on our list thanks to all the favorite points. The weather was really nice all day, and we really enjoyed this detour towards Seattle. The view along the road was just as nice as the weather, and we even got to see some interesting geological features in Peshastin Pinnacles State Park.

Peshastin Pinnacles

When arriving in Leavenworth, it didn’t take long before we spotted a Norwegian flag. It is kinda special to see the flag waving so far away from home! Especially since we’re really bad at using our own flag back home in Norway. The awesome cache right next to it made it even better!

Norwegian flag in Leavenworth

The rest of Leavenworth felt more like a tourist trap than anything else. Tourists, just like us, everywhere! But we did get the webcam photo we needed, and we even managed to grab some other caches. And as tourists, we also got some souvenirs and a post card – being the tech geek I am, I still enjoy some really non-tech stuff!

After Leavenworth, we stopped in Skykomish. We didn’t manage to find the cache, but we did find a nice place to get something to eat. And we got these nice Cokes with very appropriate text (that actually happened several times later during the trip as well):

Explorer and Sidekick

We stopped to visit Bigfoot along the road, and it was a bit fun to find the name of a local geocacher from back home not too many lines behind us in the log (yes, there was a cache there of course).

Bigfoot

While driving, we suddenly spotted a fence made up of old skis and snowboards. A quick look at the GPSr revealed that there was a cache there as well! We decided to turn around and go back to find that one. Easier said than done with the traffic that suddenly appeared out of nowhere! But we still did it, and I do not regret that – it was a nice stop and a nice cache!

Nice fence!

We found a few more caches along the road, and I’m pretty sure we saw some other geocachers climbing around a bridge (but I might be wrong, guess we’ll never know), and we also had a DNF. Once we got closer to Seattle, we quickly hit heavier traffic. The last few miles took much longer than we had hoped.

Stuck in traffic

It did not help that I took the wrong lane when the GPSr tried to lead us to a road with less traffic, and ended up back in the traffic… But we made it to Fremont, where we had booked a room through Airbnb. The hotels in Seattle were crazy expensive this year, around 4-5 times more expensive than last year! So we decided to try Airbnb.

It didn’t start too well, I spent about 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot. When I finally managed to find it, it luckily was one of the spots closest to where we were staying. Which also was just a 1-2 minute walk away from where the event was. That is probably why we had such a hard time finding parking – all the geocachers…

But the room itself, and the hosts, was really nice, and we might have to give Airbnb a try again later.

It's time to wait

The queue to the event was crazy long, and we ended up standing outside for about an hour I think, before enough people had left so that we could sit down. We stayed as long as we could, until they threw everyone out. It was a real nice event, and we had some nice chats both with other Norwegians, with local muggles and with a nice couple from Canada.

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