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Month Ninety-Nine was spent working hard for half of the month and traveling the rest – pretty standard for me in the summer months.
I started the month with a few days left on lovely Lopez Island where I hiked, visited different beaches, and ate at local restaurants. Then I returned to Seattle for a couple of days of breweries, sunsets, hiking, swimming, and eating.
I had planned to spend a couple of days hiking at Mount Baker or Mount Rainier but both were smoky from nearby fires so I headed back to the site early. We still had three shows left to work before the season finished – Dave Matthews, Lumineers, and Eric Church.
Toby and I spent an afternoon and evening at the movies and out for dinner in Moses Lake, but otherwise, I spent the time I wasn’t working packing and cleaning.
After just over two weeks onsite, it was time to leave the Gorge for another year. I had to rush back to Denver because I had a last-minute passport appointment stopping in Boise and Rock Springs for a night each on the way.
I had five days in Denver and it was great to be back. I managed to fit in lots of friend and family catch-ups while I was there and visited Golden and Boulder too. I housesat in City Park looking after a tiny dog and a giant cat. I had my passport interview and got my passport one day before my flight to London – cutting it close!
From Denver, I flew direct to London and spent the last three days of the month getting reacquainted with my old city.
Now onto the stats!
Countries Visited: USA, United Kingdom
- Washington: Lopez Island, Seattle, Moses Lake, George
- Idaho: Boise
- Wyoming: Rock Springs
- Colorado: Aurora, Denver, Golden, Boulder
- United Kingdom: London
National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island, Washington.
Islands Visited: Lopez Island in Washington.
Days on the Road: 17 days.
Best Meals: Braised leek and mushroom udon with daishi miso broth from Setsunai on Lopez Island; Original chicken sandwich from Big Chicken in Muktinath; Coconut shrimp with roasted red potatoes and orange marmalade sauce from Michael’s on the Lake in Moses Lake; Afternoon tea at Ham Yard Hotel in London; Cachapa corn pancakes with beans, cheese, plantain and avocado from Portobello Road Market in London; Pollo Ad Astra pizza from Pizza Express in London.
Worst Meals: Nothing comes to mind.
Best Craft Beer: Bellini Fizz Ale and Pumpkin Masala Ale from New Terrain Brewing Co. in Golden; Pumpkin Emoji Cream Stout from Lucky Envelope Brewing in Seattle.
- Iceberg Point Trail on Lopez Island, WA 3 miles
- Point Colville Hike on Lopez Island, WA 3.3 miles
- Green Lake loop in Seattle, WA 2.8 miles
- Riverside trail and Kathryn Albertson Park in Boise, ID 4.2 miles
- Peak 2 Plains and Welch Ditch Trail in Golden, CO 2.6 miles
Watching: Triangle of Sadness, Strays, Wilderness, Happiness For Beginners, Painkillers, Champions, Jury Duty, You’re So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah.
Reading: The English Teacher by Lily King.
New Posts: I wrote one new post this month. It’s all about my favorite little mountain village in Japan, Yunomine Onsen, and all the reasons why you should visit.
Adventuring and Relaxing on Lopez Island
I enjoyed my time on chilled-out Lopez Island. It managed to feel like a relaxed and quiet trip but I actually did see quite a lot of the island too.
Hiking and exploring around the island was nicely balanced with early nights, working in the cozy library, cooking at my campsite, sampling the delicious food at local restaurants, drinking beers at the little brewery, and soaking in the campground jacuzzi.
I enjoyed the boat journey there and back too, I even saw some seals.
One Last Summer Jaunt to Seattle
I hadn’t planned to return to Seattle again this summer after visiting twice last month but with all my other travel options literally smoked out, back I went to my old favorite.
I spent a day and a half there on this visit, hanging out in Ballard, going to the Ballard Farmers Market and the Fremont Sunday Market where I met up with a friend, walking around Green Lake, and swimming at Madison Park. See you next year Seattle!
Lots of Friend Catch Ups in Denver
After a summer of not seeing a lot of friends or family, it was so nice to spend time with everyone during my time in Denver. During my five days there I had a dinner, lunch, or hike set up every day with someone so I was very busy but happily so.
Returning To Golden
I am always happy to return to Golden, one of my favorite little towns. I got to visit twice on this visit – once for dinner and drinks with my friend Mel at my favorite brewery – New Terrain, and again to go to the farmers market and hike one of my favorite easy trails into Clear Creek Canyon.
A Perfect Day in Boulder
I also got to spend a glorious day in Boulder. I shopped, had lunch with my cousin, and then we hung out in her pool for the afternoon. We were going to hike but we didn’t quite get round to it but the day was pretty perfect anyway.
I Got My US Passport!
When I got my citizenship in August I knew that I wouldn’t get a passport in time to do the Europe trip I had planned so I decided to apply in person using the Urgent Passport Service.
You can only ring to make an appointment two weeks before your flight which was kind of terrifying. Luckily I was able to get an appointment in Denver on the Friday morning before my Tuesday flight. I was then able to pick up my passport on Monday morning, one day before my flight.
It feels amazing to finally be at the end of the long road to citizenship!
Being Back in London After Six Years
It felt surreal to be back in London after six long years and I am absolutely loving being back! The first day I was super tired and jetlagged so I didn’t do a lot but I hit the ground running on my other two days there this month.
In two days I visited the Churchill War Rooms and the Natural History Museum, walked through St James Park, Hyde Park, and Green Park, explored Soho and Covent Garden, had afternoon tea at a swanky hotel with a friend, saw a West End musical, went to Portobello Road Market, and walking around Chiswick, South Kensington, Notting Hill, and Knightsbridge.
I was so lucky with the weather and it felt so great to be back!
A Fancy Afternoon Tea With a Friend
Despite living in London for six years, I only ever did an afternoon tea once before so I knew I wanted to do one on this visit and luckily my friend Nicky was keen to join me. We went for the classic afternoon tea with a glass of champagne at the five-star Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.
The hotel was so nice and we were seated in the conservatory. The company and the food were excellent too. It was an expensive treat but so worth it.
Walking For Hours Exploring London
London is one of those cities where you could happily spend hours walking aimlessly. There are so many beautiful old buildings with so much history, green spaces everywhere, cobbled streets, markets, incredible restaurants – this city really has it all and the best way to really experience it is by walking.
So that is what I have been doing and I love it.
Smoke Changing My Travel Plans
There were numerous fires around Washington in August which ended up ruining my travel plans twice. This month I really wanted to go to Mount Baker because the hiking there is meant to be amazing but there was too much smoke, so I looked at Mount Rainier but it was smoky there too.
The road through North Cascades National Park was still closed as well. I ended up going back to Seattle for a couple of days because the smoke wasn’t so bad there and I always enjoy Seattle, but it would have been nice to be able to do some more hiking.
Saying Goodbye to My Husband and My Kitty
I miss Toby when we are apart but we talk multiple times a day and I’m pretty much used to it but it’s still hard when I know I won’t see him for weeks. It was hard to say goodbye to my kitty too, knowing it would be seven weeks till I would see her again and she’d be bigger then. I hope she remembers me because she’s still just a baby.
A lot of these costs are my half with Toby paying the other half. I also don’t include international flights in my recaps.
Not too bad this month. Any month in the U.S. that comes in under $2000 seems cheap these days. When did everything become so expensive?!
My five nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of three nights at a campground on Lopez Island, a night in a motel in Boise, and a night in a motel in Rock Springs,
My 26 nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of one night of van life in Seattle, 16 nights in staff accommodation onsite at the Gorge, five nights housesitting in Denver, one night on the flight from Denver to London, and three nights housesitting in London.
Food and Drink $713
- Merrell Alpine Sneakers $87
- Sandals $32
- Grey Corduroy High-Waisted Flares $119
- Gas $60
- London Tube $10
- Strays Movie in Moses Lake $9
- Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum $33.50
- Afternoon Tea with Champagne at Ham Yard Hotel $78
- Grease Musical in the West End, London $45
- U.S. Phone plan $35
- Spotify $10.50
- Hulu $8.50
- Toiletries $43
- Cat stuff $84
- Laundry $2
- Showers $2
- Passport Photos $19
- Expedited U.S. Passport $225
- Charity $20
- Travel adaptor $8.50
Website Costs $12
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
Van/RV Costs $82
- RV and van insurance for the month $40
- Oil change and new wiper blade $42
What’s in Store for Next Month
I still have a few days left in London then I am taking a train up to Sheffield to visit one of my good friends who lives in a picturesque village in the Peak District. I’m looking forward to beautiful scenery, pub meals, and hiking, but most of all I can’t wait to hang out with my friend.
After five nights in the Peak District I will be spending one night and one day in Manchester, my first visit since 2005!, then I’ll be flying to Copenhagen to spend four days with another friend and to explore more of a city I only briefly visited in 2010.
From Copenhagen, I will be taking a bus to Gothenburg in Sweden, my first time in the country, then up to Stockholm where my cousin is meeting me for the last two days of my five nights there. I am staying in a boat hostel!
The last eight days of the month will be spent exploring Northern and Southern Cyprus, another new country for me. After cooler fall weather I am looking forward to some sun and beach time, as well as exploring all the ancient sites and natural attractions on the island.
To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here