Washington – A bunch of rain, hipsters and coffee snobs.

It’s true! Washington is dreary, rainy, and full of Twilight fans.  Men with fanciful mustaches and plaid shirts will scowl at you when you don’t recycle or use the compost properly.  If you don’t want to drive a Subaru, drink coffee 24/7 to avoid depression, and sign your name in blood to become one of “The 12s,” stay far far away from Washington.

At least this is the message that some Washingtonians would like you to believe.  With over 7 million people and growing, the Evergreen State doesn’t need any additional publicity to draw in new residents.

Ballard, WA

My family lived in Ballard, Seattle when I was a wee little one, but between then and now I knew little about the state beyond the stereotypical references.  Luckily, a visit with friends, our first Couchsurfing experiences, and a little exploring showed me what I’d been missing….a lot…a whole lot.   Don’t believe me?  Brad and Sheena, of Drive Nacho Drive, circumnavigated the globe in a VW Vanagon and chose to settle down in Ballard so it can’t be tooooo bad of a place.

Anywho, we started our Washington tour visiting some of the northern sites like La Conner, Camano, Fairhaven, Chuckanut, Fidalgo, and thought “hmmm..this is nice.”  We ferried over to Port Townsend, explored the Olympic Peninsula and exclaimed “wow, this is awesome!”  We hopped around the neighborhoods of Seattle and then ate and hiked and camped and high-fived thinking “holy crap, there is so much to see!”  And we took note of all the places we wanted to, but couldn’t, visit and said “We WILL be back!”

Olympic National Park

We recommend a visit to Olympic National Park if you’re ever in the area.  A couple highlights below:

Couchsurfing Rookies

Determined to sample every type of free camping we decided to try our hand at Couchsurfing.  If you’re not familiar with Couchsurfing, it’s basically when you invite a complete stranger from the internet to stay at your house because you have an extra couch or bed or tool shed or whatever, and you fancy starring in a Lifetime special and having your bones turned into wind chimes.  We stayed with a guy named Jordan for our first night in Port Angeles and while the desire to kill him in his sleep was strong, his overwhelming hospitality and friendliness was enough to change our minds.

Couchsurfing Take 2

Our second try at Couchsurfing and next few nights were spent on the lawn of the infamous “Lonnie.”  Lonnie is somewhat of a celebrity in the Couchsurfing world and hosted over 200 people this past year.  He’s built several “cabins” on his property for guests and keeps a picture book of all the travelers passing through.  We thoroughly enjoyed strolling his bountiful property, coffee and campfire chats, and exploring the area.  We also got a chance to meet travelers from Berlin and Montreal who were surfing at Lonnie’s.  Matt from Montreal is currently riding his bike from Vancouver to Arizona, and Marvin from Berlin is touring the west coast on his way to B.C.

A bit of hiking, shared meals and stories,  late night drinks, and new friends were all we received from our ‘surfing’ experiences.  I guess if you like friendly welcoming people who support travelers and share the idea that humans should help one another and create meaningful connections, then give it a try…Couchsurfing just wasn’t our cup of tea. 😉

Retired & Unemployed

Next we were off to visit the two people who convinced us to add Washington to our route.  In a past life, I had a job at Navy Federal Credit Union.  At said credit union, I had co-workers.  Of said co-workers, I had friends.  Joni and Larry were two of these friends who retired, moved across country, and settled down in Washington.  I wasn’t exactly sure when I’d see them again, but their hard work towards retirement and our hard work towards unemployment made it happen sooner than later.  These two hooked us up with a bed, warm showers, and a local’s tour of the area.  We really had a great time and were making plans to visit again before we left.  Thanks guys!!! Scopa!!!

Larry’s first day in the new house!!!  A bit roomier than ours : )

On our way south to Oregon we also did some hiking around Mt. Rainier and camping in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  According to some locals, we lucked out with perfect weather for our hike.

We saw and experienced a ton during our time in Washington, including a lot that isn’t posted.  Whether we’re busy enjoying time with people, hiking, or just stuffing our faces, the camera isn’t always invited…which is good.  We’re slowly learning to balance what we see and take in as moments versus the pull to frame, click, capture and share.

Next Up….Portland, Bend and a sea of VW Vanagons.

By |2018-03-19T09:51:35-06:00October 21st, 2015|The Trip, U.S. Road Trip|7 Comments


  1. karen October 22, 2015 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Beautiful places. looks like a lot of fun. Love you guys

  2. Don Kirkpatrick October 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I enjoy following along in your travels. Always a pleasure to read and the pictures are absolutely beautiful. – Don

    • Jenna October 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Don!! We enjoy following your FB post updates of your morning commute. 😉

  3. Rhonda October 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Excellent review of Washington! Such a beautiful state and you did luck out totally on the weather. We have had many, many a soaked camping trip there. Can’t wait to see how our state rates in the next post 🙂

    • Jenna October 25, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Rhonda! We’re bummed we didn’t get to meet you guys in OR but look forward to running into you somewhere south of the border. 🙂 Yes, we were SOOO lucky with the weather in Mt. Rainier! It was perfect!

  4. Bill October 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Your free campsite in yet another National Park – AWESOME!!!

    • Jenna October 25, 2015 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      The National Forests and BLM lands have been AWESOME for free/cheap camping!

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