Saturday, October 22, 2011

Suddenly Last Summer

Dear friends,

I didn’t mean to leave you with a tease for so long—you will have forgotten by now that you last saw me in a sea plane.  But no, not really; the planes were just taking off and landing from right in front of our time share unit on the inner harbor of Victoria, BC!

I will start at the beginning.  Tech Guy had 2 weeks of vacation together (and 3 others scattered through out the year), the first of which we spent camping.  I like camping to a point but I thought knew I’d be ready for a real bed–not-in-a-tent for the second week.  So I got to work looking for a vacancy in our pool of time share units.  We had been wait listed for a couple months to no avail, but then, it was the first 2 weeks in August.  The reservation system is different than the bonus time system: if you are diligent you can snap up cancellations in the last 2 weeks before your desired arrival date.  The key is diligence.  You can check online every 15 minutes and the picture will have changed, but you want consecutive nights in the same place, not Tuesday in Idaho, Wednesday in BC, and Thursday at the Oregon Coast. 

We were willing to go anywhere with our week, anywhere within driving distance.  I was delighted when Leavenworth, Washington opened up for Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and then Victoria for Thursday and a few days later, Victoria for Friday.  Yay!  Not the smoothest way to plan a vacation but it was in the nature of an adventure.

We had planned to take my Mom-in-law but that fell through, so we kidnapped willing victims so as not to waste the 2 bedroom units. And for fun.

First stop: Leavenworth.  Very first stop: ice cream cones at a ‘sort-of famous’ place in Cascade Locks. 11-08-08-10-29-28H Can you believe it?  Ice cream cones at 10 o’clock in the morning on a Monday?  Decadent!  Our friends made us do it.  You have to keep your kidnapees happy, you know11-08-08-10-29-31D Then we moseyed along the Columbia River and stopped to observe the wind surfers who ‘hang out’ there.11-08-08-11-12-49R


How can so many people be out surfing on a Monday morning?  Don’t they know it’s a work day?  Apparently not.  The wind is good. 

We headed up the road east along the mighty Columbia: 11-08-08-12-40-35H 11-08-08-12-12-40Rand then north into Washington’s fruit valley.  First a little reconnoitering in Toppenish, the town of murals.  The visitor’s center has a miniature replica of all 82 murals which tell the area’s history:11-08-08-15-02-28D

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From Toppenish we headed further north, looking for a fruit stand to get fresh veggies for the week: 11-08-08-15-40-24H 11-08-08-15-45-48D

We continued in the spirit of adventuring.  My husband saw on the map a town that was “named after him” so we went slightly off course to check it out.  Ronald, Washington: not a booming metropolis:11-08-08-17-21-54H 11-08-08-17-18-05H On the way to Ronald we went through Roslyn which was just a wide spot in the road except for this amazing home and garden.  We pulled to the curb to snap a picture and before you know it, my friend is up on their front porch knocking on the door and becoming BFFs with the lady there.  No kidding, Diane is fearless about opening conversations with people.  (We had already observed this with the wind surfers, the ice cream makers, and the fruit stand people.)11-08-08-17-10-08D 11-08-08-16-33-22R  11-08-08-17-02-34H 11-08-08-17-04-18D 11-08-08-17-06-55HThe lady was delighted to discuss watering systems and fertilizing schedules ^

Now we headed directly to Leavenworth and our lodging.11-08-09-07-16-34H 11-08-09-07-17-02H This was the view from our dining table and deck. 

Leavenworth is a town that historically was a spot for Indian hunters and fur traders.  When the Great Northern Railroad opened the way to the west, it became a logging and saw mill town, but in the mid 1900’s the mill closed and the train station was rerouted and the town gradually was dying.  In an effort to save it, the townspeople came together in 1964 with a plan to make it a tourism center, capitalizing on the nearby mountains they called “Alps”.  Everyone in town got on board with this plan and created a Bavarian Village out of Leavenworth.  The shops are painted and shuttered and half-timbered with window boxes overflowing.  11-08-09-17-23-15H 11-08-09-05-59-05D 11-08-09-06-01-22D 11-08-09-17-19-53H 11-08-09-17-20-38H Their festival Center:

11-08-09-17-59-15H  11-08-09-17-33-18H11-08-10-13-40-20H11-08-09-17-33-54D 11-08-09-17-41-27H

11-08-09-18-22-57H 11-08-09-18-02-24H 11-08-09-18-06-56H  11-08-10-12-54-35H11-08-09-18-22-45H We didn’t spend too much time in the shops, actually, which turned out to be too expensive or not the type of stuff we like to shop for.  We did make it to a fabulous fudge shop “The Alps”:11-08-09-13-09-47D 11-08-09-11-53-38H 11-08-09-11-55-32H 11-08-09-12-14-57R

and went exploring 11-08-09-13-54-12R 11-08-09-13-19-45R 11-08-09-13-21-31R 



11-08-09-13-51-47Rand went swimming or hot tubbing every day11-08-09-06-29-34R  put a puzzle together (nearly finished)11-08-10-11-08-44HBut the best part, we all agreed, was going to an outdoor theater production up in the “Alps” of The Sound of Music.  Diane got wind of the shortage of tickets and went to stand in line, returning home victorious with 4.  Our last night in Leavenworth we sat in the amphitheater as the sun was setting and watched the hills become alive again for Maria.

Marta led us to our seats and visited a while:    11-08-10-19-40-00H 11-08-10-19-28-26H 11-08-10-19-28-57H 11-08-10-19-37-32H The Baroness and Mother Superior visiting before the program began. The set was fascinating, opening up and closing and spinning around to become different structures or rooms.  (No photos during performance)

All the next day I found myself singing “The hills are alive..with the sound of music…with songs they have sung..for a thousand years”.   It was the best part of Leavenworth for us, although we all agreed that it would be fun to go again in wintertime, with the sleigh rides and snowmobiling and caroling and skiing and cheeriness of the season.  And today I read about Octoberfest in Leavenworth, and am thinking that would be a lot of fun, polka-ing in the streets…

Next stop:  Victoria, B.C., Canada (Make sure the folks you kidnap have their passports )


Yvonne said...

No, I didn't forget about the sea planes - what a teaser :) Aha, ahum, the kidnappees made you eat icecream... What a horrible experience! So, Ronald, Washington ;) It sounds like a must-see if I'm ever in the neighbourhood ;)
LOVE all the photos - it all looks so sunny and holiday-y :) Some stunning scenery!
I'd love to see something, anything, in an outdoor theater! That sounds so cool!!

debianne said...

This place looks so much like Frakenmuth, Michigan...check it out!

Steven said...

What fun! Also, ice cream on Monday morning sounds just fine.