When we were talking about our PCS (aka move) earlier this year, we at first thought that we’d go through California and see some new sites, but then we looked into going through Utah for a whole new route (we did California when we moved to Washington). As we did our research and talked to friends we realized that we definitely should do Utah. It would take a few extra days to see everything, but it would be epic. So we got to planning.
In total we were in 6 states on the drive, stopped at 5 National Parks, 1 National Historic Site, 3 state parks, 1 operating dam, and a lot of areas with little to no cell phone service.
Views of Utah from our drive. Photo by J. Hall.
For part of our time off this summer we headed down to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. And went camping, my first time really camping. Yes, at 20-something, this was my first time camping. When I went to camp, we stayed in cabins, and my Girl Scout troop camped out in a local hotel with an awesome pool (although I think we may have done backyard camping once). So I was a bit nervous. But more on that later, this was the view as we arrived at Crater Lake:
Crater Lake. Photo by Jessica Hall.
We took the end of our vacation and a long weekend to drive to Glacier National Park in Montana. The Seattle area is the largest metropolitan area to the park, airport wise, but there are closer cities and towns. While we are living in Washington we wanted to be sure to visit this natural beauty. We had a total of 5 days to drive there, visit, and get home; to be honest it was a bit rushed in some ways but perfect in others.
We drove to the Washington/Idaho border on day 1. And wow was Eastern Washington pretty! It reminded me of Arizona in a lot of ways. It was a lot dryer and flat. You could see for miles upon miles. The next day we drove across the panhandle of Idaho straight into Montana! In my research I realized that on our way to the park was the National Bison Refuge and well, we just had to stop and see the animals!
Bison! Photo by Jessica Hall
When we went on our trip to the Olympic National Park we stayed in Forks, WA. It’s the biggest town on the Western side of the park and if you didn’t know it is most known for (at least as of late) for being the setting of Twilight. The logging town has seen better days and it is definitely trying to capitalize on the popular books and movies.
First off let me tell you this: I don’t like Twilight. I have not read the books but I saw the first movie and it was awful. I have heard they got a bit better, from a friend who had to watch them for her job at an entertainment magazine. But I’m not sold. But alas, it’s popular. And you can’t turn a corner in or around Forks and not be reminded that it’s set there. The movies weren’t filmed in the area, but the town has identified homes as those belonging to the main characters. And you can take a picture with Bella’s car (from the book version):
Bella’s car (book version) in Forks. Photo by Jessica Hall.
This summer we returned to the East Coast to visit family, and some history. James and I are history buffs so when we planned this trip we added a weekend in Colonial Virginia, specifically Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.
We spent our first day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I had never been to a Busch Gardens before and was impressed. It was clean and the rides were fun! I’m a recent convert to big roller coasters so it was a big day to go on hanging rides and multiple loops. Also – if you are military you can get free tickets (which is a HUGE savings!). But the main attraction for me was the historical sites. What can I say? I was a history major in college after all!
Colonial Williamsburg street. Photo by Jessica Hall
We took a weekend getaway a few months ago now as a refresher. It was much needed to reconnect, relax, and recharge. Olympic National Park is HUGE! It’s about a million acres and with a giant glacier in the middle – you need to access the park from multiple points along the outside, which we found out when we got there (it was an impromptu trip). But we had a blast and plan on going back to do what we couldn’t fit into the weekend. What we did see: glacial lake, rainforest, and waterfalls.
Madison Falls. Photo by Jessica Hall
This is repurposed from my “old” blog. Enjoy!
The town of Bremerton, WA is located in the Kitsap Peninsula. You can reach it via Highway 16 or ferry from Seattle. This waterfront town is home to a Naval Base and Shipyard. It’s also home to Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Adrian, member of the U.S. Swim Team. Driving into the town you see large Naval destroyers and aircraft carriers that are either in port for repairs or are retired. We headed up there on a Sunday, which I would not suggest, most of the town’s stores and restaurants weren’t open, so try to go on a Saturday or weekday if you can.
This post has been repurposed from my previous blog. All photos by Jessica Hall.
Before deployment last year we took a mini-vacation to the charming Bainbridge Island just west of Seattle. The island feels like a small town and has breathtaking views of Seattle along its shores, as well as on the ferry ride over.
This post is repurposed from my former blog Hall Pass and an article I wrote when I used to work for the local base paper (you can read that as well on their website) when I attended the media day prior to opening last year. I haven’t made it back since so some of the photos may be outdated. All photos by Jessica Hall.
In downtown Tacoma is the new LeMay America’s Car Museum. I won’t lie to you, I love me a beautiful classic car, and the museum does not disappoint. But they also had cars that the average person today has owned or driven at some point, like station wagons and hybrid cars. And that is part of what makes LeMay America’s Car Museum special: it’s relatable.
One of the things that I love about Joint Base Lewis-McChord is it’s proximity to cities and culture. Coming off years of living in NYC where I lived down the street from museums, film shoots, great restaurants, this is a huge plus for me! HUGE! I had been meaning to go to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma since we arrived but one thing or another always came up and I hadn’t gone yet. They hosted a Military Appreciation Day in February so we headed on over to enjoy a free day at the museum.
Glass mosaic piece at Tacoma Glass Museum. Photo by Jessica Hall