Ultimate Road Trip

All’s Well that Ends Well

Our second day in Lacey was similarly mellow. We went for a 10K run, then made lunch with as many of our remaining ingredients as possible. By late afternoon, we had finished working, packed up all our things, cleaned up the house, and gotten the dogs squared away. On to our final night of camping!

We had picked out our campsite on Snoqualmie Pass, an hour and 45 minutes away. There were lots of options to stop between Lacey and there, but we ultimately landed on North Bend — only 30 minutes from camp. We pulled into town and it was actually rather busy. All the parking spots on Main Street were full. We hopped out and strolled around a bit. I forced Ryan to take a picture as “a beautiful butterfly,” and a woman walking by paused. “My friend painted that. She used to own this place on the corner, and she painted the black and white section. Then when she sold it, the new owners had another artist add the colorful section.” The more you know.

We got beers at Volition Brewing (solid Oktoberfests) and discussed our next business venture by a fire. The temperature range in North Bend looked to be a low of 40 and high of 50 for the whole week, and it felt like it. We then moved on to El Caporal, a Mexican place just a quarter mile away. While it was not spectacular, the food was pretty solid, and I will never turn away free chips.

We made our way to camp, where we promptly set up for the last time. It was drizzling when we arrived and continued to rain through the whole night. It felt familiar. It was bittersweet to think that sleeping out in the rain had become so normal for us, just for it to end.

The next morning, we got up and headed to our last coffee shop adventure, Huxdotter in North Bend. Naturally, we needed to get one last pastry. I got a pumpkin scone (delish). We spent a solid hour at Huxdotter reviewing the trip, compiling the highlights: everything from our favorite hike to the best song we found. It was fitting and proper to reminisce this way on our last day, though somewhat sad. It really was the trip of a lifetime.

Once we were satisfied with our picks, we headed back into Seattle to meet a mountain guide friend of mine, Rob. Rob took me out climbing in Boulder when I was visiting Colorado College as a soon-to-be-senior and again the following summer, when I had enrolled as a freshman. He’s got an incredible guiding résumé and in recent years was working in Chamonix, France. He and his wife and twin sons moved to Seattle in 2021.

We wanted to meet up to climb, but given all the rain, outdoors wasn’t really an option. Rob very generously offered his two guest passes at Seattle Bouldering Project, so we met him there at midday. We had an excellent time catching up with him and getting to pull on some plastic again. Though he likes Seattle, Rob admits that he hasn’t gotten used to all the driving it requires. “I had access to trails via biking or running from the age of 18 to 49,” he lamented. “It’s a hard adjustment.”

Rob sending!
A selfie for my dad

After an hour and a half or so, Rob had to skedaddle, but we stayed longer to utilize the guest passes to the fullest. By the time we truly departed, it was almost 3:00 and we hadn’t had lunch. Trusting foodies Jake and Jenna for recommendations, we headed to University Village to grab food at Mr. West. As a final meal out, this really hit the spot. Ryan got a massive turkey club and I got shakshuka — probably the best shakshuka I’ve ever had. My battery life had gotten really low, and this food restored me.


For the next couple hours, we did our usual exploring. The University Village was full of lots of shops and restaurants, so we popped in and out of a handful, including Kiehl’s and Backcountry. At some point we stumbled on Tesla and spent a good while there, talking to one of the representatives and asking questions about the Model Y’s features. If Tesla is not the future of cars, I don’t know what is.

Traffic was a real headache, so we decided to go for a little stroll at Magnuson Park. While we did not find a very long pathway to walk, we did get some picturesque sunset views of the water and sailboats floating by. Still stalling, we went to Magnuson Cafe and Brewery to get the final brew as well. It was hard to ignore the feelings of the impending end to the trip, but we still had a fun time.

As we drove toward Jake and Jenna’s, we decided we really wanted to climb just a little bit more — we had missed a whole bouldering section at the gym earlier. So we resolved to go back to SBP for just 30 minutes to hit them. While the gym was very chill at noon, it was an absolute madhouse at 8:00 p.m. We blitzkrieg-ed the problems we hadn’t yet touched, weaving in and out of swarms of people. We’re used to CityROCK getting pretty swamped from 4:00-7:00, but it usually cools down after that. It was completely opposite here, and we didn’t know anyone on top of it. While we were happy to get one last session in, we certainly weren’t sad to get out of the crowded environment.

We eventually made it to J&J’s at 9:00 and proceeded to unload the car of all valuables to keep stored while we’re gone. Quick showers and we were finally eating dinner at 9:30. Jake gratefully stayed up to help us out and even set up the fire pit on the back patio so we could hang out and eat. Then it was off to bed at 10:30 for our “nap” before waking at 2:30 to head to SeaTac.

I’m finishing this last update in the south terminal right now. Ryan’s already in the air and has been for 20 minutes or so. It’s quite difficult to process what this trip meant for me (not only because it’s 5:30 a.m. and I got 4 hours of sleep). Tears streamed down my face for the umpteenth time as I hugged Ryan goodbye and waved him off. As challenging as this trip was for me at times, I wouldn’t change a thing. And I don’t think Ryan would, either.

I made the description for this travel page “exercising our right to errantry.” Errantry is a Tolkien word that I learned around 6 months ago, meaning: the quality, condition, or fact of wandering; especially: a roving in search of chivalrous adventure. I can’t think of a more fitting term for the last two months. Thanks for reading — highlights to come.

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