May 11-25, 2005 - Black Diamond, Seattle and Mt Rainier

We had some warranty work scheduled in Kent, WA on May 12th, so we asked the dealer where to stay.  They said the KOA, we asked about Wal-Marts, they said "KOA".  We called the KOA and made a reservation.  I wish we would have taken pictures to show how sorry the place was for $47.95, the campsites were tight but it was close to the dealer.  It was a 70 mile drive from Rochester.

The dealer fixed the automatic awning, it was a loose electrical connection.  They did the annual service on both air conditioning units and tried to fix the icing up of the rear one when run as a heat pump, but were unable.  They decided it must have a low Freon load.  All we had to pay for was the service on the front air conditioner.  Newmar fixed the rear in October 2005 by adding more return vents and changing out a board. 

On the 12th we drove 16 miles total, including the stop at the dealer, to Lake Sawyer RV Park in Black Diamond.  We are members in the campground system Lake Sawyer is in and were there for two weeks.  It was a tight fit:

We had always stayed in the northern part of King County, so this gave us a chance to see the southern part.  We were about 50 miles from the sleep center in Seattle if they had a cancellation, which happened our last day and is documented here.

We had many rainy days during this visit, but we stayed active.  Diane's high school friend, Michelle and her husband Mike with two children, lived in Auburn and we saw them a couple times while close by.  We had the car worked on in Federal Way.  We toured around and decided we still liked north county more.

On the 14th we drove over to Seattle and spent the day with Betsy and Dan.   We actually went downtown, something we rarely did when we lived in the area, because there was a cheese festival at Pike Place Market.  The festival was mobbed, it was Saturday and there was no room to get to the booths.   We spent a few hours in the Pike Place Market area, here are pictures of the harbor.  The ship yard had a cruise ship getting some maintenance:

The tugs were getting ready for a race and the ferry drove right between them all:

We had lunch at the Mexican place below Pike Place.  We found a store with stuff from Spain and bought some turon, an almond holiday candy.  We had gelato just below Pike Place.  We visited Jim, who Bill used to room with in his college days.  Jim has a mineral and rock shop in Pike Place Market.  We had a good day and vowed to come back to downtown again in the summer, a vow we did not keep.

May 24th we realized that we had not been to Mount Rainier, one of the places we were going to go while in Black Diamond.  Off we went to take the route to Chinook Pass.  It was a very bad year for snow pack, Chinook Pass often doesn't open until June and it had been open for a while.  We wanted to see how it looked. 

As we got closer we could see "The Mountain" and there were also wild flowers, like these lupines, on the side of the road:

Where was the snow?  At this time of year there is normally plenty left:

This is Chinook pass, in June the snow is normally 15 to 25 feet high and it was May and it was almost gone:

There were wild flowers on the ground now, normally the ground is still white:

The mountain is still beautiful:

We drove up the back way to Paradise and stopped at the Box Canyon:

The trilliums were at the end of their blooming, but there were still blooms:

We enjoyed seeing the area without the summer crowds, but being locals we knew this was not a normal May:

Mount Rainier is still an amazing sight.  We do not get tired of it.

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