Tag Archives: olympic national park

The Lowdown, Vol. 4

Sometimes you’ve just got to get outta Dodge. And with the boys happily in L.A. for some time with their dad, that’s just what I did. I took a drive up to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, jogged over to Rainier National Park (well, not literally), and then visited some friends in Portland on my way there and back. It was a great trip – a little retreat for myself. But when you take a trip alone, you often end up with some pictures that look like this:

And if you’re used to going to National Parks with your kids, you’re going to really miss them when you drive around one all day, and then again that night when you’re in the motel room by yourself. And since you were really looking forward to some time to yourself, it takes you by surprise that you’d rather have them with you instead. But then when you stop to think about it, you’re not that surprised at all. And you’re wishing that they were in this picture, standing on the bridge:

The rainforests are beautiful – lots of moss and ferns and old trees with pretty creeks gurgling by. Lush greenery and gorgeous wildflowers line every road, even the highways. This is what the Pacific Northwest is known for.


Next I headed over to the coast. Not being a reader of the books, I unwittingly found myself in Twilight territory. There is a rather large store in Forks, Washington, called Dazzled by Twilight, which I happened to drive by. I glanced at the life-size cardboard cut-outs of the characters lining the sidewalk, smiling as I thought of my sons and their disinterest. (Well, Nigel has disinterest. Aidan has disdain.) Closer to the coast, I saw “Welcome, Twilight Fans!” signs posted on little motels I passed and another souvenir shop devoted to the series. In fact, the photo below was taken a few yards away from the official “Twilight Tours” bus, which a young couple was waiting to board.

The next day, I drove to Mt. Rainier National Park, and at first I had no idea how lucky I was that it was a clear day. I later learned that the majestic mountain is often cloaked in clouds. As I rounded nearly every bend in the road I had to pull over to take a photo, gasping at this fourteener‘s beauty. This picture really doesn’t do it justice.

After my cozy night’s stay at the lodge, I decided to stop at one last waterfall on my way out. Fortunately, there were others there at the same time, and I asked someone to take a photo:

But wait, there’s more for this Lowdown post! Months ago, my friend Jazzygal bestowed the Happy 101 award on me, and I’m finally listing the 10 Things that Make Me Happy. It’s something I always need to be reminded of, but I’m really needing it now, so thanks again, Jazzy!

  1. spending time with Nigel and Aidan – watching movies together at home, reading, playing games
  2. writing novels
  3. enjoying meals with friends
  4. reading an amazing novel
  5. sleeping in
  6. blogging
  7. winetasting
  8. traveling
  9. savoring a piece of chocolate
  10. being home when the boys are, but doing my own thing and just hearing their voices, happy doing their own things – Aidan on his X-Box Live and Nigel scripting the movie he’s watching – makes me so happy.

There you have it. I’m going to opt-out on the tagging this time, but if anyone feels like leaving a comment listing the things that make them happy, all the better! These days, with the boys gone and the stress of a big impending move hanging over me, I need all the happy I can get!