From Mt. Rainier, we headed north to see our friends Gene and Abbey who live on Bainbridge Island. Along the way, my cousin Pam and her family, were kind enough to drive the 1.5 hours from Seattle to meet us at the Northwestern Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, Washington. The park boasted large herds of elk, deer, bison, big horn sheep, and other native wildlife in a natural setting with plenty of room to roam. Liam and CJ really enjoyed playing with their cousin Paxon for the first time and talking shop with him about the various animals in the park and I was happy to have had a chance to see Pam even if just briefly.
Bainbridge Island is located in the Puget Sound a few miles west of Seattle. The island has all the amenities you would want in a city, but retains a quaint, small town feel. Gene and Abbey have a beautiful spread and their garden was in full bloom when we arrived. CJ would often go missing, only to be found gobbling blackberries from the bushes in the front of the house. Abbey is an organic farmer on the island growing crops and flowers at their house and at her business partners property. We got to tag along with her one day to help pick veggies, feed goats, and set up the farm stand. Coming from Atlanta we felt it was a testament to the island’s residents that Abbey could leave a money jar out on her stand for customers to pay by the honor system.
While visiting we also spent a day exploring Seattle. We took the commuter ferry over and given my penchant for sea sickness I prepared myself for some discomfort. To my surprise, the ferry was big, comfortable, and most importantly smooth. I felt like a million bucks when I deboarded. It’s definitely a commute that I could get used to. While in Seattle, we just had time to hit the tourist highlights. We swung by Pike Place Market and the kids got to see the employees throw a rainbow trout. From there we took the light rail train to Seattle Center to check out the Space Needle and to let the kids play at the playground and splash pad. We cut our day trip to Seattle a little short because Bainbridge Island was putting on an open track meet for kids at the local high school. We thought this would be a fun opportunity for Liam and CJ who don’t get a lot of chances to participate in community events while on the road. The kids were classified by age and Liam made the most of his 4 years and 362 days by placing 2nd in three different races. Similarly CJ, bested most of the other 3 year-olds, earning a 2nd and 3rd place finish. The races were a lot of fun for the parents and the kids and another example of the strong character of the community.
As we’ve mentioned before, one of our biggest challenges of living on the road is finding playmates for the kids. Fortunately, Gene and Abbey’s two kids, Reed and Ivy, are very sweet and welcomed Liam and CJ into their space. We greatly appreciate Gene reaching out to us and welcoming us into their home for a few days. I can’t overstate how much good company and a respite from the road means for us after 8 months.