Yesterday I took the boys on a spontaneous trip to Leavenworth. The goal was twofold: 1) to give Renee an opportunity to rest and sleep as she had Lasik surgery on Friday and didn’t sleep well Saturday night due to the goggles she had to wear (to protect her eyes) and 2) the weather was iffy in Edmonds and I didn’t want the boys cooped up in the house all day locked into their iPad and Nintendo DS.
Ty and I discussed our day trip destination options for a day trip. His first choice was Yakima – he’s really obsessed with the Yakima Valley after our trip to California and his experience in the Diablo, Tassajara and Tri-Valleys! I told him that Yakima was a bit too far since we were getting a late start (leaving around 11 am) so we checked out Google Maps and agreed that Leavenworth was a worthy choice.
I quickly gathered up snacks, juice boxes and the boys and we headed out. I had to make one quick stop at a bike shop to get some new pedals, training wheels and a seat installed on Ty’s new bike for Stone. I’m committed to teaching Stone how to ride a bike this Summer and I wanted to make sure everything is set up for him to succeed. After our quick stop we were on our way to Leavenworth.
Per Ty’s instructions (I allowed him to be navigator with our iPhone and Google Maps), we decided to first head North in I-5 to Everett to catch US-2, which is the highway that eventually leads to Leavenworth.
For those who haven’t made the drive across and over the Cascade mountains this route, they are missing out on a beautiful trip. It still amazes me that such spectacular scenery is so close to where we live. Starting with marshes and farmland, the views soon turn to foothills and rivers as you drive through Monroe, Sultan and Gold Bar. And then you begin the climb into the Cascades as mountains surround the highway, huge peaks visible on either side. It reminds me of our frequent trips to Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area as a youngster – but much closer.
The twins are amazing travelers – they simply love to go on trips in the car (no electronics required). And I love the time it gives us together as I’m able to talk with Ty and answer his many questions when we explore new areas. Stone maintains his mischievous side even when traveling (he likes to unbuckle his seatbelt and wait for a reaction).
It was a two hour drive but it’s a gorgeous drive and the boys were so good it didn’t feel very long at all. We pulled into Leavenworth and I allowed the boys to have a treat as we found a McDonald’s (Ty was especially hungry as he doesn’t snack as much as Stone does). After our fast food stop, we drove and parked near the city center and set out together to walk through the city to check it out. I explained to them on the drive out that Leavenworth was designed to look like a German/Bavarian town, and Ty noticed the many signs that were in English and German. There was a large band playing German music in the City Park so I walked the boys next to it to observe. Ty was a little nervous and Stone covered his ears, but they watched/listened for a bit before wanting to move on.
I led them to a path down to Waterfront Park, which I remembered strolling with Renee when we visited Leavenworth four years ago on my birthday. It’s a great park with lots of nice trails that parallel and cross the rivers that cut through town. We hiked through the various trails and eventually found a small inlet with a shallow area that Stone insisted on wading into (he can’t resist wading into any body of water!). After hanging in the park for awhile, I realized we still had a two hour drive home so I began the process of leading the boys back to the car to head back to Edmonds.
The drive home was as pretty (and fun) as the drive out had been. The highlight of the drive came as we neared Bothell. Stone had been especially vocal during much of the trip but he became excited when we were stopped at an intersection. He said what sounded like “white car” and Ty and I both encouraged him. Stone got even more excited and said “va-va-va-va! White car!” It was a moment that is impossible recreate (especially writing) but it was truly magical – Ty and I both burst out laughing and Stone was laughing with us. He said it again – and again – and each time we all laughed hysterically. Ty was almost crying he was laughing so hard and he said “Stone, you’re cracking me up so much. Do it again!” Alas, the show was over as Stone wasn’t going to repeat it on command (as I tried to explain to Ty) but it was a great moment and memory for all of us.
We returned to Edmonds in time for a healthy dinner for all of us and an exhausted set of twins went to sleep quickly and easily at bedtime.