Our drives over the Northern Cascade Mountains were beautiful! I'd been told that Washington has spectacular scenery and finally got to see it for myself.
Imagine driving along forests and lakes like this for hours on end on highways in Texas!
On our first drive over the mountains, heading towards North Central Washington, Jake had planned a special stop-off for us. We did the Blue Lake hike, a 1000 foot steady climb to the prettiest lake I've ever seen.
It was a special surprise to come upon a herd of wild mountain goats grazing
We pulled into the cabin in Chelan later that day, around 10pm on July 15. This sign gives you an idea of why I said Bolivia had prepared me for the 15 minute drive from Chelan up to the cabin!
Deer, quail, and wild turkeys are often sighted around the cabin.
This was our ride while in Chelan, Jake's Isuzu Trooper:
He painted the Bolivia flag on two doors even before moving down last year. Mice have taken up residence in the car since then, which made for some interesting experiences. :)
One of my best memories of our week at the cabin was sleeping out on the deck under the stars and a full moon.
A romantic dinner for two (well, 2 1/2) with an atmosphere every bit as wonderful as what we experienced in Italy! Jake even brought out a stereo system and put on classical music.
Jake, Jen, and Moonbeam at the cabin, July 19, 2013: 6 month baby bump picture!
Definitely one of the top unexpected highlights for me in Washington was getting to watch Jake do the annual Chelan Man race on one of the last days of our trip. He had decided near the beginning of our travels to not do it even though he was signed up, seeing as how he wasn't exactly training throughout our packed itinerary. But somehow between me and the race registration lady (when he tried to just pick up the t-shirt), he changed his mind! I just didn't want him to regret not even trying, PLUS I knew he was still very strong. He rides his bike to and from work every day, likes to peddle and hike up our surrounding mountains, and goes to the gym 3 times a week.
Setting up his bike the day before
On Saturday, we got up early to go support Jake's friend in the Iron Man, and also volunteered at the refreshment booth run by Jake's former hospital co-workers. It was a neat community feel as everyone came out to race or support the racers.
The next day, we got up even earlier for Jake's triathlon. His parents were with us at the cabin by this time and they joined us a little later.
Jake is the one in the red baseball cap. :)
Jake's run consisted of a half mile swim in cold Lake Chelan (his favorite), 13 mile bike ride (piece of cake), and a 3 mile run (or jog, as the case may be). Out of 330 competitors, he came in number 61 on the swim, 81 on the bike, and then 143rd place overall. That's well within the top half, and we had just eaten our way through a wonderful vacation for the past six weeks! I'm so proud of him!!
The finish line stretch!
People were cheering for “Mr. Alaska”, assuming he’d come all the way from Alaska for the race. We decided that next time, he needs to race in a shirt from Bolivia!
After the race, we had a snack in a park then went straight to church. Jake was asked to speak at the end and we had a very warm welcome. He wasn't even as exhausted and sore as usual since he hadn't tired his muscles with lots of training beforehand, so that was pretty cool.
The next day, we drove back over the mountains to the Beaty's house in Chehalis. We got a two hour nap that night in between packing and then started our long trek back to Bolivia.
Another scenic point of the road over the mountains (Mt. Rainier looms above). Jake, Jennifer, Thea Beaty - and our ride to and from the cabin, Jake's 1969 Ford Fairlane.
It's great to be back at home, but what a memorable trip we had, full of great times with great people in three different countries!!