Our Vie Adventures consists of Cees, Madison, Vladimir the Kitten, and a 1989 Toyota Motorhome named Vie. Cees and Madison are on the road, living the dream of every outdoor-minded couple by visiting each national park in the country over the course of the year. In celebration of our National Parks Centennial, we’ve partnered with Cees and Madison to bring you stories and photos of their yearlong quest (and of course, plenty of #vladimirkitten along the way).
Keep scrolling to see Cees, Madison, and Vladimir’s visit to Olympic National Park, WA. Stay tuned to Downstream for updates on their adventures and follow them on Instagram (@ourvieadventures) for more frequent updates from the road.
Before diving into Olympic National Park, we had to check out Seattle! It’s a nice place, but we had the worst time parking. After driving around for hours in the middle of the night trying to find a place to sleep, we weren’t planning on being able to go explore Seattle at all. We had no idea that Seattle would be so anti-RV parking. But, then we were surprised by Cees’ brother and girlfriend who drove all the way out from Utah to see us! (But mostly they wanted to see the White Sox play) We were able to ditch the RV outside the city and they took us into the belly of the beast for some pre-game explorations.
We want to Pike’s Place and they tossed some fish and yelled a bunch. I don’t know why they do this thing, but we all stood around watching and waiting nonetheless. We loved the market vibes and spent the hours before the game eating, eating and eating.
Cees’ family spent a lot of time in Chicago growing up. Cees’ 16 year-old sister, Halle, was born with a syndrome called Pfeiffer. This means she has a facial difference because her bones grow differently. In 16 years she has has 19 surgeries and has a few more left until she’s finally done. Her special team of doctors is in Chicago, which is why the family pretty much calls Chicago their second home. Halle has actually started an AMAZINGLY inspirational blog — which you all should definitely check out. In her words, “It will be nice when I’m all finished, but in the meantime, I go a step at a time and just call each surgery my edge.” I’m telling you. This girl is unstoppable and gives me so much courage to step up to any challenge!
So, for Cees’ family Chicago baseball is a big deal. Coleson, Cees’ brother, is really the main Sox fan of the family (Everyone else loves the Cubs). But when they wanted to meet us for the game against the Mariners, we couldn’t resist! We miss our families so much while we’re on the road. It’s funny how we seem so far away all the time, but really we’re just a small road trip away! Then a few innings in, Cees caught a foul ball! It came right to him! He was so happy.
A while later, Cees joked saying that the next foul ball would come right to Coleson, and literally the next pitch got tipped RIGHT to him! Coleson touched the ball, but unfortunately it slipped right through his fingers and rolled away a few rows in front of us.
Seattle was so crazy logistically, we had to get out of there and back on the road to the next park. We wanted to go back and hang out with friends in Seattle after Olympic NP, but you’ll find out soon why our plans changed.
So, Olympic National Park is tricky logistically because there are so many different areas to visit. Since we drove up the coast we decided to hit the beaches first – starting with Ruby Beach. From there we went to the Hoh Rain Forest, then double backed to Forks and La Push Beach in homage of Twilight, then we went north and inland to Hurricane Ridge. We wanted to do everything and were especially bummed that we couldn’t make it to the Sol Duc hot springs area, but we had to pick and choose or we would have been here forever.
After stopping somewhere on the coast for sunset, we made a beeline to Ruby Beach to catch the last light on the water.
Cees can’t resist some nice rocks.
The first thing I noticed about beaches in Washington was the rocks. This kinda blew my California mind.
We couldn’t get enough of Ruby Beach, so we had to go back the next morning, mostly because Cees wanted to rig a dream midline on the beach.
The kitty was having a great time on the driftwood, but not a super huge fan of the water still.
This was the dream and Cees was so stoked to set up his line. He even had a crowd watching him and hoping for a show as usual. It would have been really cool, until Cees jumped up to fix the anchor and the sand moved weird from under his feet and he heard a loud, nasty popping noise, and messed up his GOOD knee. His ACL in his “bad knee” has been replaced 3 times already, but it’s still super loosey goosey. He almost passed out from the pain. It definitely freaked us both out. He couldn’t even get on the line and walk. He was in so much pain, all the time spent rigging was wasted, and all the people waiting for the show had to move along. It was really sad. The worst part was de-rigging because the tide came in and the waves were crashing on the rocks and everything was getting soaked, including us. Cees was in a lot of pain and it was pretty stressful.
Then to make matters worse, as I was crossing this river, the kitty freaked out and jumped from my shoulder to the top of the pack and threw me off balance and I went windmilling down. I don’t know how but my arm got caught on a log and wrenched my shoulder back so badly I thought that I dislocated it or something. Then, I landed on my side and my legs got those huge insta-bruises. The poor kitty got wet too, but the good news is a foreign tourist caught the whole thing on his giant camcorder. I was so upset. It was pretty much the worst day. AND to add insult to injury, we had JUST barely showered the night before (showering is a bit of a hassle and we only get to do it maybe once a week), and in a matter of hours we ruined all the good, clean vibes. UGH. Rant over. It was miserable and there were tears, but also laughter because it was so miserable, and we were miserable together.
After a lot of painkillers and icing back in the RV we managed to hobble out to get a sign picture.
The kitty is workin’ it on the sign every time. He knows his duty. We need him for his beauty. Check him out on instagram #VladimirKitten for more glamour shots.
I had to “get back on the horse”, so to speak, and walk another log to get over my sad incident from earlier.
After the Hoh Rainforest we double backed to Forks and obviously binged watched the entire Twilight series in 24 hours for old time’s sake.
Vladimir vampire kitty. Wanna know a secret? Cees read all of the Twilight books in high school. No shame.
We stayed in Forks and woke up the next day and headed to the beach in La Push baby!
La Push was cool and rainy. Honestly, we really weren’t down to do any hiking or strenuous activity because of the injuries, so we had our Twilight movie marathon right here at the beach.
The next day we finally got up the energy to drive the 17-mile scenic Hurricane Ridge. It was super rainy, completely foggy and bleak for 16 miles of the supposedly epic drive. We wanted to call it quits and turn around, but we kept going and at mile 16 the sun broke through the thick clouds and we came out on top of the ridge to THIS! Life lesson people.
It was worth the drive and the suspense getting to the top. Olympic National Park really is so beautiful and offers so many different types of terrain. If you’re beach lovers, rainforest dancers, mountain chasers and MORE, than this park is right for you.
We really needed a break after all that happened the last few days, so we headed to beautiful Bellingham to stay with my aunt and uncle! The RV got VIP parking on the ferry ride over.
I’m seriously loving being by the water, it just fills my soul with happiness. Ocean, I need you in my life! I think Cees is really liking it too. We have sea life dreams people.
Real pirates live on that boat. Probably.
My aunt and uncle have the coolest power boat from the 50’s.
We took the boat for a spin then came back and cooked amazing, fresh salmon right there on the dock. It was so fun! Seriously, I could get used to this life.
Our next activity was of the not-so-fun variety. We went to the ER to see if we could get Cees an MRI real quick for his possibly torn ACL. They were not having it. Apparently, insurance makes things really difficult and you have to schedule these things way in advance and it’s super expensive. We’ll keep that in mind and be sure to schedule our next ACL tear next time, so it’s more convenient. These are the oh-so-fun road life problems that we get to deal with. When it comes to medical matters and getting prescriptions and what not, it’s hard not having a home base.
The doctors had Cees get an x-ray because if the ligament tore REALLY badly it could have taken part of the bone with it. Of course, there was nothing to see and we wasted hours and hours. It was all very silly. An MRI is the only way to be sure of a tear, and maybe Cees partially tore it, but I guess we’ll never know. He’s super tough and awesome and has already been killing it for months now on one torn ACL, so why not make it two?! Bring it on. We just want to make it through this trip in mostly one piece. Maybe someday when the surgeries get even more awesome, Cees will get double knee replacements. For now, my job is to take care of him with lots of ice and ice cream sessions. Despite the craziness of injuries, we had a good time in Olympic. We obviously didn’t get to do everything we wanted, but that’s life. Sometimes you have to take things a little slower than you may want to – and that is okay. I don’t think this was our last time on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.