Ah, the last gasp of summer. In a vain effort to squeeze the last drops of summer sweat out of 2010, we headed into Eastern Washington. Eric was convinced that by driving inland, we would find dry heat. He was right. It was hot and sunny.
Our first stop was Leavenworth. It is a tiny scrap of Bavaria in Washington. In fact, the lesson I learned this long weekend was that secret of tourist success in small-town America is themes. The two most prosperous looking towns we visited were mini-Bavaria (Leavenworth) and faux-old-west (Winthrop). If I were running for mayor in an under 10,000 person town, I would pick a theme...maybe Provence, or Paris...then I would create an urban revitalization plan with cafes and village squares. I would win the election, open the most attractive retail store, cash my huge checks and watch the town rake in the cash. The townspeople would put up a statue of me in their main square and I would tip my beret in humble thanks.
But I digress...
Leavenworth has the lovely Wenachee river running through it and we noticed a few people on tubes heading down stream. We investigated further and found there was some serious enthusiasm in our under 5' family members for the idea of tubing. I think our river rafting adventure earlier in the summer whet their appetites for white water. They talked us into it.
Before heading out on the tubes, we had to listen to a "safety chat". The kids were really adamant that we listen closely. I watched Molly's face go from super-excited to down right terrified. There was a lot of talk about obstacles and strong currents. When the guy started talking, Molly was about fifteen feet away. As he talked, she came closer and closer to me. By the end, she was hugging my leg. After the unnecessarily alarming safety talk, we headed into the van to take us to the drop-off point.
On the van, I asked Finny to give me her best "scared face".
I gave Lukey the same instruction.
Then I explained to Lukey that I wanted scared...not scary. Yeah, he misunderstood.
After I took the picture below, Molly asked me why I didn't ask her to do a scared face. I told her that I didn't have to...she was doing it without any prompting. She looks a little anxious.
Eric is petrified.
The best thing was that Molly managed to fall off the tube within about 45 seconds of getting on. Once we got that out of the way, she was really into it. She got very brave.Oh, plus you can see from the picture below that the river wasn't exactly rough. That helped too.
Lukey was very pleased to have a tube to himself. He felt very autonomous and in control (while keeping a steely grip on the tube handles).
The kids had a great time, making us think about a more ambitious tubing trip in the future.
Heck, it was peaceful enough that Eric and I enjoyed a beer mid-float.
We pulled up on a little island in the middle of the river for a half an hour of playing in the sand. Eric laid still for too long, making him an easy target for a child-labour sand spa treatment.
He was exfoliated.
Raft parking lot.
Back to the river.
A long day on the river calls for more beer and burgers on a warm patio. The day was near perfect.
...except that we needed taffy. So we got some. Who looks the happiest...?
A Bavarian princess...
We headed over to Wenachee. We had breakfast in a park on the Columbia river.
Then on to Lake Chelan. We got a great campsite in a campground overlooking the lake. I had to laugh, because as we were pulling in with our VW pop-up van, the guy ahead of me in line was inquiring about what HDTV channels he could get in his massive motor home. It occurred to me (perhaps unkindly) that maybe if his HDTV was so important, he might have wanted to stay home.
We went down to the beach and while the kids (and Eric) played on the beach, I knitted and listened to podcasts. It was bliss.
Lukey entertained me with his beach treasures.
The sun danced on the water and as a result, everything sparkled.
Hours were spend on beach creations.
Here is the masterpiece:
Back to the van...home sweet home.This was the crew after a good night's sleep, peeking down from the pop-top. Weirdly, I can barely tell the girls apart when they are upside down.
The Groovy Girls made the trip. Finny's had her own car seat, tent and sleeping bag. To be honest, that Groovy Girl was way better prepared than we were.
Yeah, we forgot towels. The lining on the Groovy Girl's sleeping bag matches her shoes. And I forgot towels. Look how cold the kids are.
The girls were forced to bundle up and share a blanket. They didn't seem to mind.
We stopped at a fruit stand between Chelan and Winthrop.
Orchards make for nice pictures. Good for back to school.
Last stop: Winthrop. We walked around town before heading back to the van and the long ride home. We got back to Point Roberts after 11 and put both the kids and Summer 2010 to bed.