Leavenworth Maifest and the Cascades

20 May

To get us back west to the coast we could not resist one more night in a winery. Near Leavenworth at Pershastin, I found in the host directory Wedge Mountain Winery. Set amongst orchards of apples and pears the winery does have some vines but its wine is made with purchased grapes from the Columbia Valley. Our host Charlie met us at the top of the lane and escorted us to a piece of pasture land beside the Wenatchee River next to the orchard. Again we could not ask for a better location.


Charlie makes some very good wines which were poured for us to taste by his wife. He has recently won a double gold award at the State fair and proudly displays many other awards in the tasting rooms.

We were undecided whether or not to visit Leavenworth where the Maifest Celebrations were due to take place this week end. A drive through to look at the camp ground was decided upon – we opted to stop over. A short walk took us into the Bavarian style town which reinvented itself in the early 60’s after the railroad was diverted and the timber industry moved out too. A triumph for the local community and its leaders Leavenworth now has many, many celebrations through the year which bring tourists to boost its economy.


We awaited the noon day parade with many others along the main street.




The back drop of the Cascade Mountains covered with snow, the local architecture and festival costumes meant we had to pinch ourselves regularly to remember which country we were in.














After an afternoon in ‘Bavaria’ accompanied by a tasting of the local brew we prepared to return to normality. Sunday we drove along highway 2 – a beautiful route through the mountains. I had hoped we could visit the Cascades before we ended our travelling – our adventures  began in 2008 within view of them, Mount Baker tantalizingly close (yet so far away) to the garden of the house we stayed in in West Vancouver.


As we climbed higher over the mountains and through the passes the snow at the sides of the road grew deeper – reminding us how, just a few short weeks ago, this route would have been impossible for us to take.


Update 14th May

While I am writing this today I am sitting in haRVey in the car park of the Boeing aircraft factory. Robert is on a tour of the factory and visitor centre. My, what a spectacular view I have.  To my right I have Mount Olympus, to my left Mount Baker joining them together in a sweep from left to right is  part of the Cascade range… in the fore ground, breaking my mountain view, I have some very impressive aircraft which I think Robert may be keen to tell you about in his blog soon!


Update Tuesday 15th May

After Robert’s visit we drove the mad route of Interstate 5 north towards Bellingham turning off on the 20 for Whidbey Island to stay at Deception Pass State Park. The mountains were beside us the whole way.


Before we got to the State Park we stopped to walk the bridge over the pass. Opened in 1934 it finally allowed locals to travel via the road rather than ferry to the mainland of Washington State. In the first hour it opened 700 vehicles passed over the bridge. It felt like the same number passed us as we walked over with just a metal cable dividing us from them.






It was all worth it though for the great views – and we saw a bald eagle too!P1270619


Robert took himself off for a walk at the State Park after we had our evening meal. I was feeling lazy and stayed behind to wash dishes (maybe not so lazy?). He came back with P1270671some nice pictures and the idea that we could get up early and move haRVey to the day use car park to eat breakfast overlooking the water…..

We did it, but have decided we don’t do moving early very well any more, We need coffee first! It was however a great view and we saw another bald eagle!


Moving on we were wanting to put ourselves in place to catch a ferry to Port Townsend ( which we are booked on at 11.15 tomorrow Wednesday) in preparation to catch another ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria on Vancouver Island on Thursday.

Fort Casey State Park is right next to the ferry landing, we managed to get a great spot to watch the ferries come and go looking out over the water. A short walk to the fort and lighthouse gave us a little exercise.


The fort was built in the 1890’s to defend the Puget Sound but became obsolete almost immediately with the invention of aircraft and upgrading of battleships. Today the largely derelict bunkers and gun emplacements are a little boys dream for a playground although the unguarded drop offs around many of the buildings would give most Mum’s a nightmare!


Unfortunately the lighthouse was not open on the day we visited.


The ferry to Port Townsend – we will sail with her tomorrow for a 20 minute crossing.






Looking for porpoise which often play in the shipping lane








The ferry to Port Townsend had some great seating areas with plenty of room for everyone to look out at the view – Robert wanted to go out on deck… we did for a while until the wind got too chilly. Port Townsend looks interesting as you approach, having visited before we also knew it to be a great place to spend an afternoon browsing the small independent stores. We had stayed previously at the marina and chose this RV site again for the easy walk into town.

From our site next to the marina and looking out to Puget Sound we had a great view of the ships passing back and forth to Seattle. We hoped to see whales but did not they seemed to be busy elsewhere. I am not sure if the migrating ones have arrived this far north as yet. We walked around the marina where numerous small craft are moored. Alongside in the small workshops are a sail maker, a rigger and a canoe builder then housed in a very smart new building is a fantastic facility for local people wanting to learn or practice boat building skills. On our previous visit this building was under construction so we were surprised and pleased to discover that our thoughts of it becoming swish apartments and retail was wrong. Port Townsend is doing its level best to keep boat building skills and traditions alive.


It took us just over an hour to drive from Port Townsend to Port Angeles where we joined the line for our 13:45 ferry to Vancouver Island. We left the US in haRVey probably for the last time, to enter Canada.

2 Responses to “Leavenworth Maifest and the Cascades”

  1. Katy May 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    More great adventures and wonderful photos!

  2. Liz Staats May 21, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Elaine and Robert, you bring back the fond memories and good times we had visiting Leavenworth and the Cascades last summer. We did the other part that you just did the Fort and Port Townsend a couple of years ago with our travel buddies. Sounds like you are having fun as always. See you in September, hmm, there was a song in the 60’s by that name, LOL!!!!

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