What's better than getting to visit a highly hyped new-to-you place like Seattle for the first time? Your sister coming to visit it with you for the first time! That's right, readers of lifewithdyna. Kay Pfleghardt is in the (wheeled) house!
We've been looking forward to both Seattle and Kay for a bit now; we love being tourists and Seattle is pretty much the perfect place to practice that art. So, we played tourist. Hard. Even purchasing a Seattle CityPASS. Because it gives you (cheaper) access to all the (expensive) touristy highlights of the beautiful, bustling city of Seattle. We used it to visit the Aquarium (pretty sweet), The Space Needle (you can't go to Seattle without spending a stupid amount of $ to go up in the Space Needle) and the Chihuly Garden of Glass (so shiney). There were a few more stops we could have made using the pass, but I'm not much for watercraft (and one of the stops was a boat ride). I do regret not checking out the EMP museum though; but not enough to fret over it. After all, we got to spend 7 full days of doing awesome stuff with my sister! Like adding our own wads of gum to the Gum Wall. And buying chocolate covered cherries at the poop-show which is Pike's Place Market. And day drinking at Unicorn (fully recommended). Like checking out the 'original' (not actually, but okay) Starbucks while drinking coffee purchased from a less crowded Starbucks right down the street. And spending an afternoon poking around Fremont where we found a large bridge troll and took a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory. I probably don't have to detail how great the whole 'chocolate factory' tour was, but I will let you know that we got to wear sweet hair nets and eat a ridiculous amount of chocolate in the name of 'tuning our palates.'
Since getting a slot in an RV park (or space allowing for parking of our home) is a bit of a challenge in the Seattle area, we found ourselves moving around a bit during our 2ish week stay in the area. It was all good though; we lucked into a spot at SaltWater State Park where planes from nearby Sea-Tac hummed us to sleep every night. SaltWater SP is right on the Puget Sound (truly lovely for the eyes) and just outside of the small town of Des Moines, WA (which offered some good seafood, coffee shops, and access to SUP rentals). Also, pretty convenient to Seattle, especially for the options we found for RV parking. After staying the full length of our welcome, which is 10 days in a WA State Park, we headed up and East towards TallChief RV Resort. While we were all set and ready to rumble, Dyna was a bit wary about this move. She decided that she was no longer interested in making the full trek to this destination when we were about 10 minutes short of our target. She also refused to fully pull off to the side of the road because, apparently, she's a diva with a penchant for danger. After almost 2 hours of trying to figure out what the heck she needed us to address in order to convince her to keep on trucking, a savior arrived. A savior in the form of a dude closely resembling the typical caucasian American's depiction of Jesus Christ. He was a dude who resembled Jesus AND happened to have some knowledge of diesel engines (thank Jesus). We had exhausted our options in terms of Jake's immediate knowledge and the knowledge of the Monaco techs (over the phone). No local(ish) diesel shops were willing to have Dyna towed to them. And then, there he was: diesel Jesus. Our diesel Jesus very professionally (for real, no joke, very professionally) talked us through the 'incident.' The 'incident' involved Dyna's engine braking system being finicky the entire drive, and then her throttle giving out all together. Her engine never stopped running, she just didn't want to 'go.' After poking around a bit, diesel Jesus decided we needed to top off Dyna's oil. Then we restarted her. She continued to warn us that she was not happy by illuminating every nasty dash warning light that you hope never illuminates. We decided to give her a little throttle (while I held down every brake I could find) in hopes she would realize that we gave her lots of oil and still loved her.* Unknowingly, our diesel engine prophet reset the throttle sensor which we would later find out had mis-fired. Of course, we wouldn't find that out until we finally found a mechanic willing to hook her up to a code reader; our first memory of Diesel Engine Jesus will always be that he knowingly remedied our predicament by topping off our oil. Because after he pushed that throttle a few times, we were off and rumbling towards our intended destination. Diesel engine Jesus, if you are out there, know that we are so very grateful for your kindness, knowledge, and uncanny resemblance to American caucasian Jesus.
*side note: Diesel Engine Jesus decided to move his (mother's) vehicle away from any possible trajectory of Dyna before we went ahead and did this
Because my sister is a real MVP, she didn't (appear to) let our roadside woes ruin her vacation. In addition, our lack of access to anything but icy cold showers didn't cause her to upgrade her return flight ticket to 'as soon as possible' status. Since we were waiting for a part to come in to repair our AquaHot system, and SaltWater SP is sans hookups, we were reliant on SaltWater SP's shower situation. That situation equaled 3 minutes of freezing water for $0.50. While we occasionally deal with occurrences such as these and chalk it up to 'the lifestyle', she dealt with during her 'vacation'. My sister was cool. Literally and figuratively.
When we weren't exploring the city of Seattle, we spent time stand up paddle (SUP) boarding in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. We hiked for hours in the dry, floral lands at the base of Mt.St.Helen's sans drinking water (dumb move, us) and then replenished our dehydrated bodies with ice cream and deep conversations. We ate local food truck fare, spent an evening listening to a horribly wonderful 80's cover band with what appeared to be the entire population of Des Moines, WA, and scouted whales on a whale watching tour (yes, I 'happily' rode on a boat for my sister). We checked out Snoqualmie Falls and and ordered appetizers & dessert for dinner (my favorite kind of dinner). We also spent half a day having 'fun' (my sister and Jake thought it was 'fun') assessing each other's financial portfolios (my sister is a wealth advisor). So, that was fun.
Although we despised having to do it, we were eventually forced to drive her to the airport so that she could return to the world of crunching numbers, winning volleyball games, and shopping at Wegmans (I'm seething with jealousy as I type that final part). It's been real, Kay. Real full of RV lifestyle fun (which was definetely exacerbated by the 'Pfleghardt curse'). Come back soon; I swear we usually have hot showers and aren't always breaking down roadside!