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<p>Big thanks to those who provided me with some great ideas as to where to visit/how to maximize our limited time out in the PNW!  Quick summary/thoughts about our family's great trip;</p>
<p>-  Seattle is hillier than I ever imagined.  Kind a baby version of San Fran. </p>
<p>-  Ichiro is a bigger star than I thought.  We enjoyed the bb game! </p>
<p>-  We loved the hiking in Olympic N.P.  Especially in the rain forest.  Wine/hot chocolate at two old Lodges (from early 1900) was very enjoyable while playing board games.   </p>
<p>-  What a view of Mt. Rainier we had from the window of our room at Paradise Inn.   DH and I ran the Paradise loop (4miles) - wow!!</p>
<p>-  Learned quite a bit by attending several Ranger-lead talk/hikes at Olympic, Mt. Rainier, Mt.St. Helen, and Crater Lake NP's.  Kids got four Jr. Ranger badges/patches.</p>
<p>-  We were amazed how drastic the weather changes between the OR coast and inland.  Super-windy in 40's vs. 90's!  It was chilly running in tanktop/shorts in early morning by the water, but beautiful.   </p>
<p>-  Portlant traffic at 4pm on Friday was.... aweful.  DH missed a few wine tastings he was looking forward to in the Wilmeatte valley.  And it almost costed us our marriage (yes, the traffic was THAT  bad).</p>
<p>-  The blue color of the Crater Lake was beyond what words could describe.  Would have loved swimming a bit even in the water temp in 40's, just to be in it. </p>
<p>-  Going through lots of small towns - the stores/restaurants close early i.e. 9pm.  Hotel/motel check-in is not 24hrs.  A little culture shock, having lived in a big city for many years. </p>
<p>-  Food is EXPENSIVE (I guess because we were in the tourist cities mainly).   </p>
<p>-  To our great surprise, we rarely encoutered the tourist traffic known for the summer time in the National Parks. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Lots of hiking (+ about 20miles running) and learning, as we expected. We are planning to go Yosemite/Sequoia/Kings Canyon/Death Valley (even Joshua Tree) next summer.  I had better reserving those old Lodges/Inns from early 1900!  They are pricey but the atmosphere/history plus the convenience can't be beaten. </p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>Glad you had a great time!  I echo your thoughts re: the hilliness of Seattle and surrounding climes.  You can run flat (like near the coast) or throw in some decent hills at your pleasure.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Won't be heading into WA, but I'll be cruising around OR & extreme NorCal with my GF come September.  Looking forward to Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the S. Oregon coast, amongst other things.</p>
 

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<p>Glad you had a good time!  Sorry about the traffic - on a lot of Friday afternoons you'll find me sipping wine downtown waiting for the traffic to ease before heading home.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Any photos to share?</p>
 
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