Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Our Pacific Northwest Adventure - Days 1 and 2

Jesse and I have a 5 year travel plan. We've come up with a number of places we want to explore and just when we get the plan set, we move things around again. We had the Pacific Northwest on the plan, but when my friend, Joanna (formerly from MN and then CO), moved to Oregon last fall we decided we'd move that up on the plan. I have another friend, Ryann (formerly from MN), that has lived in Washington for 14 years and I've never visited her so it seemed like it was about time.

Our plan was to fly into Seattle (as it was cheaper than flying into Portland), spend some time with Ryann and her husband and daughter and then drive down the coast to visit Joanna and her boyfriend near Lincoln City. After a few days we would then drive up and around Mt Hood for a day, stay in Cascade Locks and then back to Seattle for our flight out.

Two days before our departure our dryer broke and it couldn't get fixed before we left so I had to scramble to wash everything we wanted to take with so it had enough time to air dry. I also realized that I hadn't gotten Riley's before school care set up, notified the bus that she wouldn't be there for the first 3 days and numerous other school related things so I was freaking out a bit. Luckily, I got it all straightened out, but that still didn't stop me from getting crappy sleep the night before we left. Am I the only one that worries about all the things I'm possibly forgetting for a trip. My husband doesn't seem to have this infliction. Also, I had to work until 7 the night before our trip and then drop our cat off at my Dad's so I was feeling frazzled and rushed by that.

Day 1

Travel day started out fairly smoothly. We drove to the park and fly lot, shuttled over to the airport and got through check in very fast which left us almost a full 2 hours before our flight. Jesse hates being late, but he agrees that when it comes to flying it's better to be early than late. We flew out of the Hubert H Humphrey airport which is the smaller airport here. I remember flying out of there when it was basically just one huge, barren space so it's nice to see how much it's changed. Since we had extra time we walked around a bit and even found a kid's play area. I've never seen this in an airport before so kudos to the HHH airport.

Oh, and Riley was super loving with me. She had been at her grandparents from Sunday night through Tuesday afternoon (and then I worked late) so I barely saw her for a couple days. I know I missed her, but it was clear she missed me too. Love when she gets extra lovey like that.

Apparently, the only picture of the play area that I took.

Our flight was uneventful although it almost felt longer than our flight to Luxembourg a couple years ago since there wasn't any free TV/movie service. We've thought about adding movies to the iPad in the past, but they're usually $15 or something and we can't seem to stomach that. Anyone find movies for cheaper? How do you do it?

We were all a little tired on this flight, but no one slept. Riley sat by the window until she discovered that she could spread out and lay down between her dad and I. I was ok with moving to the window thinking I could rest my head against the wall and fall asleep. Who am I kidding? I can't sleep unless the conditions are just right. I even listened to multiple meditation and yoga nidra apps in the hope that they would relax me enough to know me out, but no... that did not happen. 

After our flight is when we ran into some hiccups. First, in waiting for our one checked bag and Riley's booster seat. We didn't know that the booster would come out in another area so we waited and waited and waited before we headed off to see what happened to it. Luckily, another person had been in the same predicament and came walking over with our booster and her own. From there we hopped on the shuttle to the car rental place and proceeded to wait in line for an hour and a half. It was ridiculous and other people in line were complaining and noting that they posted something to Twitter... the couple in front of us were trying to get another rental to price match, but most of them were out of cars. They eventually found a place, but not sure how they got out of their charge at Budget. At one point I went to refill my water bottle, but the fountain only had hot water. What the heck? By the time we got to the front of the line we were relieved, but then for some unknown reason we had to wait for them to assign a car to us while everyone else seemed to be getting their cars. At any rate, the whole process took so long that we had to skip our plans for visiting the city center in Seattle that day.

By the time we got to Ryann's we were starving. It was a little after 3:00 pm PST, but we were on Minnesota time which is two hours later. Ryann was nice enough to make us dinner and then we headed off to a beach, but then her husband texted to let her know that he wouldn't be able to pick up the dog at doggie daycare because of traffic downtown. This meant we were at the beach for about 10 - 15 minutes before we left to get the dog and head back to Ryann's house. It looked like a nice beach and had a playground and bathrooms... there was a car we passed that was just broken into as their window was obviously just busted, but otherwise I'd check it out again.

Once back at Ryann's house, we hung out for awhile where Riley discovered all the games they have, but then prepped Riley for bed. Ben, Ryann's husband, reads with Sophia (their daughter) at bed time so they were doing that as well. I walked away only to find Riley in Sophia's room. Sophia reading on her bed, Ben reading on the floor and Riley also reading on the floor. It was super cute and I didn't want to disturb the moment by snapping a picture. It was a little bit of a bust of a day (as travel days can be), but I still was able to sit up (even though super tired) to chat with Ryann. We met 20ish years ago waitressing at Christos - we clicked then and even though we haven't really stayed connected (besides Facebook and a couple short visits) it was easy to fall back into conversation with her. She and her family really are great people and were so nice to welcome us into their home.

Such a fun game that we plan to order soon.

 Day 2

I didn't write many notes to help remind me of what we did each day because we were so busy doing things each day or just talking. It was busy, but I never felt rushed... just more disconnected from the internet which was nice. Since we didn't make it into the city center the day before we decided to tackle that this day and check out Pike's Peak Market. We also wanted to try to get in a ferry ride, but that will have to be for a future trip as it was just too much in one day. Besides the Space Needle, I really didn't know what to expect for Seattle's city center. Ryann made sure the girls wore their swimsuits as she noted a couple opportunities for them to get wet... and she was right. We started with the fountain, but it wasn't really spraying yet so we headed over to the KEXP radio station/coffee bar. You can watch the DJ while they are on air and get a cup of coffee or a treat. We got some cookies and muffins and debated about signing up to come back at noon to see a live punk rock group, but decided to skip that event. Cool concept though and a place I could see hanging out at if I lived in the area. 

We then headed over to this pool like area. If I had just walked by it on my own I would have never thought it was a place that people bring their kids to play, but that's just what all the parents were doing. 

After the girls played for awhile, we headed back over to the International Fountain to see if it was a little more active. It was and it not only sprayed water, but the water spray was synchronized to music. Such a cool thing to have in the middle of the city. Riley loved this and had no qualms about getting soaking wet. It was very hot in Seattle while we were there so I was even tempted to run through this.

Next, Ryann suggested a playground nearby. We're all about free and fun activities so we headed over in that direction to find a super cool playground.

Riley did really great crawling up in this thing. It was high off the ground so I wasn't sure what my sometimes timid kid would do, but she went up twice so she could go down each of the slides.

Lots of musical features at this park. Each of these poles played a different tune.

We headed over to the armory so we could get the girls changed and grab some lunch. We talked about checking out the Children's Musuem or the Science Museum, but decided against those. After we ate, we went outside and got sidetracked by a street performer. He was okay, but the girls really seemed to enjoy him.

When planning what we would do in Seattle, I didn't really think much about the Space Needle. I didn't have any burning desire to check it out and as we walked around that morning, Jesse and I both agreed that we didn't really care. The longer we walked around and had it in view, it started to feel like we really should go up in it. I mean, we were in Seattle, right? Riley confirmed out plans when she said she really wanted to check it out. I went over to the kiosk to order tickets and thought for sure I read the amount wrong. It was just over $73 for the three of us. neither Jesse or I could stomach that. Is it really that awesome? Ryann assured us it wasn't so we skipped it, but Riley was a little crushed having no concept of how much money that was.

After we perused the gift shop, we headed back to the car and on to Pike's Peak Market. I've seen many photographer's take a picture of the sign here so I wanted to get one myself. It felt like a must see while in Seattle. The area was super busy, but we found a parking spot within a reasonable amount of time. Our first stop was a liquor store, and then we walked past a huge line in front of the first Starbucks location. Jesse and I aren't coffee people so we totally don't get it - plus it was practically 90 degrees that day so it seemed especially odd, but I guess we were the people who made sure to get wine right away so that says something about our priorities.

I took multiple pictures of this sign, but knew this wasn't quite right. Later I would find another sign - the one I was thinking of.

This place had amazing fruits, vegetable, and fish and if I lived there I would be buying all the stuff, but it was also incredibly busy and I just don't do crowds. We did fine, but I'm glad it was our last stop of the day before we headed back to Ryann's house.

Oh here's the sign I was looking for! Nothing exciting, but now I can say I took a picture of it. As great as this market is, I also have no desire to go back. Saw it and I'm good.

Ran into this guy with an African Grey. Since meeting my sister's African Grey (with it's colorful language) I'm a little smitten with these birds. This one meowed like a cat and did other tricks which amused us all.

We ended the night with dinner at Wally's and then Ryann and I continued to catch up. We connected over our health issues which just proves that we're old ladies. It may be a different topic than we had 20 years ago, but the conversation was easy, just the same.

Next up... we head off for the Oregon Coast.

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