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Digital Nomad Life Month 84

Month Eighty-Four was a mix of work and road trips, and although I was busy on both fronts, it was a fun month and much better than the month before when it felt like everything went wrong.

The first few days of the month I was still roadtripping through Montana and Northern Idaho on the way to Gorge Amphitheater in Washington. Unfortunately, we had to cut the trip short for a night when Brownie the RV started acting up. 

On arrival at the Gorge, I wasn’t exactly pleased when I saw the trailer we would be living in for the summer but things have got better since then luckily. I worked four weekends in a row running the glamping with Toby and although the job is stressful at times, I really enjoy it. 

We get staff meal passes so I went in to experience the amphitheater for each show. Although none of the shows so far have been to my taste musically, experiencing anything at the Gorge is so worth it.

Deception Pass

During the days between events, I did some travel around Washington including to the Bavarian-themed mountain village of Leavenworth, lovely Whidbey Island, Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend, and to Seattle for Toby’s birthday.

We also explored our own backyard at the Gorge, hiking down to the river, wine tasting at Cave B Winery, fancy dinners at Tendrils Restaurant at the Sagecliffe Resort, and brewery hopping in Ellensburg. 

On the last day of the month, I set off on a three-week Canada road trip through the Rockies and over to Vancouver that I am super excited about. It’s been great having all this time off between events!

Now onto the stats!

Downtown Coeur D'Alene

Countries Visited: USA, Canada

Places Visited:

  • Montana: Bozeman, Butte, Missoula
  • Idaho: Wallace, Coeur d’Alene
  • Washington: George, Quincy, Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Skykomish, Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Langley, Seattle, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Issaquah, Ellensburg, Fort Spokane
  • Canada: British Columbia – Rossland

National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Deception Pass State Park, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Fort Casey State Park, Lake Sammamish State Park.

Islands Visited: Fidalgo Island, Whidbey Island, Blackbird Island (Leavenworth)

Best Meals: It has been a REALLY great food month with lots of highlights. Huckleberry hand pie from Beans and Pie in Coeur d’Alene; Chicken schnitzel with cream sauce and spaetzle from Andres Keller in Leavenworth; Sweet potato banh mi from Yodelin in Leavenworth; Halibut fish and chips and shrimp artichoke dip from Anthony’s in Anacortes; Crab stuffed rockfish and potato bread with fig butter and chive butter from Wildfin in Issaquah; Apple pie and cream from Twede’s Cafe in North Bend; Margherita pizza from Tutta Bella Pizzeria in Columbia City (Seattle); Pho Ga from Lucky’s in Fremont (Seattle); Crab and shrimp tots and artichoke chicken with potato cakes from The Pearl in Ellensburg.

Apple pie

Worst Meals: Unfortunately, pretty much all the vendor meals I have had while working at Gorge Amphitheater.

Best Craft Beer: Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Ale and Colchuck Raspberry Wheat by Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth; Ginger Rye by Aslan Brewing Company in Fremont (Seattle); Chocolate Hazelnut Death Dark Ale by Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg.

Hikes/Walks:

  • Tubbs Hill Perimeter Trail in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho – 2 miles
  • Icicle Ridge Trail in Leavenworth, Washington – 5.5 miles
  • West Beach Trail at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, Washington – 2.2 miles
  • Ebey’s Landing Trail on Whidbey Island, Washington – 5.5 miles
  • Cave B Waterfall Trail in George, Washington – 3.7 miles

Watching: The Last Man on Earth, Stranger Things (obsessed!), Minx, Woke, God’s Favorite Idiot, Archive 81 (also obsessed – so sad they canceled it)

Reading: Writers and Lovers by Lily King – I LOVED this book! I didn’t read a lot this month but I want to get a bunch of books I am dying to read from Thrift Books sent to me for when I am back at the Gorge.

New Posts:

No new posts this month although I updated a number of older posts and expanded on this guide on things to do in the South Bay of LA.

Highlights

Exploring Montana’s Cool College Towns

Although I had been to Montana before on a couple of occasions, I had only really been to Glacier National Park and to a few ghost towns so on this visit I was excited to see some of Montana’s towns and cities.

Downtown Missoula

I visited Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula and I enjoyed all three, but especially Bozeman and Missoula which are both lively college cities with great independent stores, walkable and attractive downtowns with historic buildings, and some excellent cafes and restaurants.

I would love to return one day and spend more time in each of them.

Loving Northern Idaho

The two towns we visited in Idaho’s panhandle – Wallace and Coeur D’Alene – were both really nice. Wallace reminded me a lot of many of Colorado’s mountain towns and Coeur D’Alene is larger but still very walkable and pretty.

Wallace Idaho

I loved exploring the shops downtown in both places, hiking around the beautiful Tubbs Hill Perimeter trail in Coeur D’Alene, and admiring the restored historic buildings in Wallace.

It’s a shame that Northern Idaho is so radically right-wing, otherwise I might want to move there.  

Seeing Gorge Amphitheater For the First Time

Wow, the first time I saw Gorge Amphitheater in the flesh completely blew me away. Like with the Grand Canyon, you don’t get the scale and grandeur of it through photos, you have to see it in person. I can’t believe this incredible place is my backyard for the next few months!

The Gorge

Hanging Out in German-themed Leavenworth

Even though it’s a bit cheesy and over the top, I really enjoyed my two days in Leavenworth. This mountain town looks more Bavarian than the Bavarian villages in Germany and I must admit, it is a very photogenic town. 

Leavenworth

It was nice to get some decent gingerbread, my favorite cookie, and something I can usually only find around Christmas, and I had some excellent German food there too. I also really loved waking along the super-clear Wenatchee River and around Blackbird Island, it’s all just so pretty.

A Wildflower Hike in Leavenworth

I loved my hike on the Icicle Trail in Leavenworth for all the wildflowers and the fantastic views from the top. The constant uphill was a bit tough as I was still recovering from lingering COVID symptoms but I felt great afterward as I always do after time spent in the mountains.

Icicle Trail in Leavenworth

Loving My New Job

Despite it being full-on and sometimes stressful, I really am enjoying my new job co-managing Oasis Glamping at Gorge Amphitheater. We have had some really great guests so far and we have had some wonderful feedback. I can definitely see myself doing this in the future, whether that is at the Gorge or somewhere else. Maybe we could even run a caravan park in New Zealand! 

I Got My Green Card!

After 15 months of waiting, I finally received my ten-year Green Card! It is definitely a relief and now I just need to apply for citizenship which I am planning to do next year. It feels great that I am one step closer to that.

Whidbey Island – Just Everything

I spent a couple of days on Whidbey Island and I fell in love with the place. Exploring the beaches and bridges of Deception Pass, eating excellent seafood, discovering the friendly small towns on the island, the peaceful Sculpture Forest, and doing the Ebey’s Landing Trail were definite highlights of my time there.

Langley on Whidbey Island

Visiting midweek in early June was great too because we had sunny weather and no crowds. I can definitely see myself returning to this special island.

Blown Away by Deception Pass

As I mentioned above, I visited Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island and I just LOVED it. It is absolutely spectacular and I enjoyed crossing the bridges with views over the rocky coastline and the mountains in the distance, watching seals hunt from above, beachcombing, and hiking through the lush forest that smelled of sweet fir and cedar.

Deception Pass State Park

This park is home to some of the best Pacific North West scenery I have seen, and I have spent a lot of time in the PNW, and I highly, highly recommend visiting if you are in the area.

Brewery Catch Up With a Friend in Seattle

Even though it was cold and raining on and off during our two days in Seattle, it was still great to be back in one of my favorite US cities. The highlight for me was catching up with my friend Sam and introducing him and Toby at an excellent brewery in Fremont.

Me and Sam

I haven’t spent much time with friends this year due to international travel and now working at the Gorge so it just felt so good to enjoy the simple joy of having some delicious beer with my husband and a friend over a lazy afternoon, you know?

Showing Toby Around Seattle For His Birthday

This year is the first year that I have got to spend Toby’s birthday with him because he is usually always away working an event. He hadn’t been to Seattle before so I was excited to show him around.

Toby Birthday Seattle

We had a jamp-packed touristy day doing the Underground Tour, visiting Pike Place Market, going up the Space Needle, and eating crab legs on the waterfront – it was fun!

Life At the Gorge

Although I generally travel around Washington in my time off, I have spent and will be spending a lot of time living in a trailer on-site at Gorge Amphitheater and it’s been generally a great experience so far. 

I didn’t expect there to be so much wildlife around the Gorge but I have been pleasantly surprised. There are marmots literally everywhere – there are three that live under the laundry storage container on-site and we see them running around all the time, and when I was hiking I had a really great coyote sighting, he was standing on a rock in the distance just staring at me for ages.

Columbia River Gorge

The sunsets at the Gorge are absolutely spectacular too, and I don’t know if I have seen so many rainbows in such a short time in my life. The sky here is so vast and beautiful. There’s a lot more to Eastern Washington than I thought there would be. 

Being Interviewed For a Podcast

I was interviewed for The Offbeat Life Podcast this month and it was fun. This was my first podcast interview and Debbie the host and I talked about my offbeat life, travel, work, and more. It should be out soon and I will link to it on my Facebook when it is released.

I’m Back in Canada!

It feels so good to be back in my favorite country after three years away due to COVID. This is the first time I have taken a vehicle into Canada and it’s great to have the freedom to explore more and visit places that are hard or expensive to get to by bus, like Rossland and Nelson. It’s going to be a great few weeks!

Rossland

Kitty Love in Rossland

Dad and I stayed in a cozy mountain lodge with a hot tub in Rossland but the best part was the lodge cat, a friendly ginger Tom called Big Red who is a big cuddle bug and slept on my bed. I had been really missing kitty love so meeting Big Red was very timely and I got my kitty fix, for now.

Big Red

Lowlights

Lingering COVID Symptoms

Although I no longer felt sick after a week with COVID, my symptoms like my COVID cough and congestion didn’t go away for another two weeks which was super annoying. Luckily I am back to 100% now.

RV Issues

Brownie was running so well after we got new tires on him and we made it up through Wyoming and through Montana with no issues, but when we got to Coeur D’Alene we started stalling whenever we slowed down. We stopped for a couple of hours to look around, checked the antifreeze and oil once the engine cooled down and they were both OK, then started driving again.

When we stopped for gas outside of Spokane it was worse, and the engine was just constantly cutting out when our speed dropped below 20 which was super stressful. We managed to get back on the highway and stopped at a gas station only 20 minutes drive from Gorge Amphitheater and Toby met us there and drove it the rest of the way.

It’s been nearly a month and we haven’t had time to fix it yet so I had to change my Canada plans and take Casper our tiny van instead. Hopefully, Brownie will get fixed soon and it will be an easy and cheap fix.

Gorge Amphitheater

Lack of Facilities at the Gorge

I wasn’t impressed when we showed up at the Gorge and the trailer that was to be our home for five months didn’t have hookups, and the propane and airconditioning weren’t working. Luckily we had Brownie and were able to cook in there but we weren’t able to shower in either RV (Brownie’s shower is too tiny and with no hook-ups, the grey water would fill up too fast).

We have been showering on-site at the glamping which has been a pain in the butt. The propane was finally fixed a week ago and we should have full hookups finally by the time I am back so we can shower and cook in our work trailer. Now we just need to get the aircon fixed because the weather is really starting to heat up.

A Bad Motel Experience on Whidbey Island

I had the worst motel experience in Coupeville on Whidbey Island. We had booked into the Tyee Restaurant and Hotel and I 100% do not recommend staying there.

We had to check in at the bar on arrival and we were made to wait for ages to be served. Once the bartender finally dragged herself away from the drunk locals at the bar, she was brusque and didn’t give me any info like wifi, check-out time, etc.

When I asked her why it had my card number down on the registration sheet with payment processed next to it when my Dad had given her his card for payment, she said my card was not charged and was just used to hold the room, then when I questioned her further, she got impatient and rudely yelled at me.

I checked my account online later and I had TWO charges for the room on my card. I went back in and spoke to the Manager who was much more helpful and said that my card had indeed been charged and reversed one of the charges as my Dad’s card had never been charged. Super frustrating and the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

Losing My Computer Charger

I annoyingly left my computer charger at the shitty motel in Coupeville so I cut my losses and ordered a new one online. I have had the worst luck with chargers and I’m now onto my fourth in less than a year.

Whidbey Island Sculpture Forest

Forgetting I Need to Get a Green Card to Return to the US

I stupidly didn’t register that I would need to have my new Green Card with me when I reenter the US from Canada, I think because I was driving instead of flying and I was focused on what I needed to enter Canada. I realized I didn’t have it just before I crossed the border.

Luckily I am here for three weeks which should be plenty of time to have it sent to me from Colorado. Otherwise, I guess I will just be living in Vancouver for the summer – actually, I’m definitely OK with that.

No Alone Time

It has been hard not having much time to myself over the past few months with my Dad visiting and being with us 24/7. It has definitely made me realize how much I need to have more than just a couple of hours alone at a time. I miss my solo travels! I will be in Vancouver for a week by myself and I am excited to re-explore my favorite city alone.

Deception Pass Bridge

Spending

A lot of these costs are my half with Toby paying the other half. I also don’t include international flights in my recaps.

Total: USD$1794

Despite having a few additional costs this month for our vehicles, I am pretty happy that I spent less than $1800. My Dad did pay for the majority of our accommodation for the trips we did away from the Gorge and Toby and I have a trailer onsite that we live in and we don’t pay for that either.

Accommodation $166

My two nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of one night at a motel in Coupeville, and one night at a motel in Rossland.

My 29 nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of one night at an RV park in Montana, one night in free RV parking in Montana, 21 nights on-site at Gorge Amphitheater, two nights at a motel in Leavenworth, one night at a motel in Anacortes, one night at a motel in Issaquah, and two nights at a motel in Seattle.

Food and Drink $619

More than it should be considering that I don’t pay for meals when I am working at the Gorge. I definitely splurged on seafood and craft beer this month.

Clothing $8

  • Socks $8

Transport $90

  • Gas $55
  • Ferry with van from Whidbey Island to Mukilteo $12
  • Uber $15
  • Seattle Monorail $8

Cave B Winery

Activities $147

  • Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour in Seattle $73.50 (3 people)
  • Space Needle entry in Seattle $73.50 (2 people)

Other $380

  • Hulu $7.50
  • Phone plan $35
  • Toiletries $171
  • Books $32
  • Tips/Donations $24
  • Souvenirs $18.50
  • Washington Discovery One Year Pass $15 (my half)
  • Laptop charger $28
  • Tibetan Necklace $49

Website Costs $12

  • Monthly payment for Keysearch $12

Van/RV Costs $372

  • Van Insurance $25
  • Registration for Brownie $75
  • New Tires for Casper and oil change $272 (my half)

Pioneer Square in Seattle

What’s in Store for Next Month

For the first three weeks of the month, I will be traveling in Canada and I am so excited about my trip!

From Rossland, I will be traveling to Nelson for a few nights. This small city in the Kootenay Rockies has been on my wishlist for a while and I am looking forward to exploring the town center and hiking trails.

After a quick stop in the town of Kimberley, I will be spending four nights in the Banff area, a part of the country I know well after numerous previous visits and I can’t wait to be back in one of my happy places.

From there I will be visiting Field and Yoho National Park for a day, dropping in to revisit the cute town of Revelstoke, staying at the hostel I volunteered at through Help X back in 2013 in Shuswap, hiking to Joffre Lakes, staying in Pemberton and Whistler, before I finish the trip with a week in Vancouver, my favorite city in the world. 

Third Beach in Vancouver

Then it’s back to work at the Gorge for a few days before I have another four days off to end the month, and I’ll be spending it somewhere in Washington – I’m not sure where yet.

To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here

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