The Oregon coast was probably the best place that we could’ve stayed for the Fourth of July. We went wild there!
Back when we were living in a house, our Fourth of July holiday looked different than what it did this year. You would usually find us camping at one of our favorite local campgrounds with friends. We would watch firework shows together and have a big cookout, complete with Pop-Its and glow sticks. Ah, fun times. But this year, we were all the way in the Pacific Northwest, so we improvised and stayed at the beach! We explored the Oregon Coast, along with little fishing towns and lookouts like Newport and Otter Rock. To top it off, we blew our own glass!
What in the world is blowing glass?
You may be wondering this, or already know exactly what blowing glass is, but I’m going to tell y’all anyways because I didn’t even know it existed and I think it’s cool:) You start out by telling your instructor what design you want; whether you’d like to make a paperweight, bowl, or votive (vase). It’s up to you! You then choose your design, because each design requires a different technique. After donning your glasses and gloves (safety first), we were given a long pole. Taking that pole, we were each showed how to dip it in the furnace filled with melted glass! You would let it cool down a tiny bit by dipping it in water, and then on to the coloring! Speaking of which… ever wondered how they color glass? Simple, color glass with glass! We took little pieces of broken glass and melted it on to our glob, and then back into the furnace to start the shaping.
Fresh out of the furnace, we started making our own individual pieces. Matthew, Benji, and I chose paperweights; and Ann chose to make a votive. In my personal opinion, her votive is more in danger of breaking, because ours are literally big balls of glass, but its whatever:) Our techniques were different, and since paperweights don’t require actual blowing, we skipped that step; but not Ann! To make the vase shape, she took a long tube fastened to the end of the hollow pole being used to transport the glob of glass. Then she blew into the end while her trainer turned the pole to get an even shape. Blowing expanded the glass so they could form it they way she wanted. Cool right?! Unfortunately, we were so excited about our creations we forgot to get pictures:( We got plenty of shots from the process though!
Deciding that nothing else we could do would beat the coolness of blowing glass *wink*, we packed up and headed out. Remember our impromptu Jelly Belly factory stop? I guess we must have a thing for travel day detours, so we made another one to the Tillamook creamery! It was neat (albeit crowded) to watch how they made, prepared, and packaged the cheese “to ship out to a grocery store near you!” Real quick travel tip: if you visit Tillamook, you have to get the mac and cheese. Just trust me on this-it’s good. Of course, shortly after we learned how it was made, the Retty’s had to make a trip to that “grocery store near you” to load up the freezer with ice cream and cheese:)
More work obligations took us to Seattle Washington. We stayed in a really nice campground called Lake Pleasant for a week so that Dad could go to the Seattle office for a few days. For our fiends back home, the surrounding area around the city reminded us a little bit of Wake Forest:) While we were there, we figured we might as well check out Pikes Market, the “gum wall” (which was beyond disgusting), the very first Starbucks, and the Seattle Waterfront. Pikes Market was pretty busy and the flowers were gorgeous…but honestly it was a little bit of a let-down. Many people have raved about how much fun the fish trowing is and the excitement of going to the market. Yes, we saw the fish throwing and no, it wasn’t as amazing as we thought it would be-matter of fact it stunk really bad. The gum wall was just downright disgusting; and I dare say we weren’t the only ones there that thought so!
I’m glad we did those things and it wasn’t SO bad, but we had a much better time at the pier right by the Ferris wheel. My favorite was the cookies the size of my face in Pioneer Square by the waterfront. Those were good! Wrapping up our city adventures, we started getting everything ready for a bit of boondocking…
This was it…..
Mt. Rainier was probably one of our favorite National Parks! I feel like we say that a lot, but truthfully, all the Nat’l Parks are beautiful and we love them-this one just holds a special place in our hearts. It didn’t start out that way though. We pulled in to our boondocking spot right outside the park and didn’t have too many expectations for Mt. Rainier. Not that we thought it was going to stink, but it was pouring rain and very foggy. The first few days we tried to see the mountain it was still too foggy to see anything and most of the hikes were inaccessible from the snow melt. Sure, we checked out the lodge and did some Junior Ranger booklets, but it wasn’t the same. We really wanted to see Mt Rainier (that’s the only thing we came for) so we said we would stay one more day and see what happens. Turns out-we were across the field to an active airstrip! Saturday morning we watched all kinds of little planes take off and land right in front of our rig and discovered that the woods behind the Range Monster was a trail leading to the White River! We spent all afternoon finding so many cool rocks in that riverbed (Collected several for you, Uncle Jimmy!). Extending our stay became the best thing we could’ve done. On a whim, we took a gondola to the top of Crystal Mountain, and BAM, best view in the park! Even got a pretty good view of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams:) Y’all we had a hard time leaving; every time Mom asked if we wanted to leave the next morning, we asked for just one more night!
We ended up staying a full week when we only planned two nights.
Our trip to Washington and Oregon wasn’t as long as we wish it could’ve been, but we were grateful we had a chance to see them! The Pacific Northwest is definitely a “we need to go back”. Next post: Montana!!