We don’t take a lot of vacations. I’d love to – but it’s just not something we do. Typically we go to California to visit my family for a week every summer, broil in the hot CenCal sun, and lay around the pool for days on end. Then we come home. This year, though, I was DETERMINED to go somewhere.
Not just anywhere though. Seattle.
I’ve never been to Seattle! (I’ve been to the airport – that doesn’t count).
You see – I’ve always thought Seattle seemed cool. This mecca of crunchy, real people living a REAL life – a life not based on materialistic needs or desires, but REAL. The kind of culture that would encourage the grunge rock culture that sprouted there so many years ago. I’ve had too many years of watching movies like “Singles” and, one of my personal, secret, favorites, “Girl.”
So it turns out Seattle is just a city after all. I mean, a really cool city with a nice vibe, cool people, and awesome sites – but just a city after all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The other reason I really wanted to go to Seattle was KING TUT!! I’ve wanted to see this traveling exhibit for years but it seems I have always just missed the opportunity in cities I’ve visited. And this was the last chance; Tut is going back home to Egypt in January. (Not that Tut was really there – just his stuff).
Scheduling this trip was a bit of a nightmare between work, the kids’ school schedules (which are different – one in mod year round and the other traditional) and my husband’s acting commitments (which are varied and timed randomly). So months ago I decided to go in November – after my husband’s current play ends, before his Christmas commitments begin, and while my oldest is on track break. That meant pulling my little bubba out of school for a few days, which I typically don’t do, but it was worth it. Okay – that’s the backstory.
We set out on Nov 7, (later than we would have liked because I stupidly planned to take this trip the day after the election and didn’t even think about how crazy glued to the tv and election results I would be!), and our plan was to drive to Seattle and get there in the evening. (It’s about an 8 hour drive from Boise). But the boys, as you can imagine, had to stop quite often. I joked that it was our driving tour of rest stops in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).
We had also decided to stop in Roslyn, Washington – a tiny town that’s about 1.5 hours from Seattle and fairly close to our route. Have you heard of Roslyn? Can you imagine why we might go there? Well, my husband graduated from high school in the late 80’s and in the early 90’s he was in college and watching tv and fell in LOVE with a show called Northern Exposure. I never really watched it until he and I got together and then we used to watch the reruns on some cable channel 10 years ago. And I fell in love with it too. The show is set in a town called Cicely, Alaska, but was filmed in Roslyn, WA. My husband had always wanted to go there.
We got to Roslyn later than we would have liked, but it was still so awesome to be there. We took a pic at the Roslyn Cafe sign (which is in the opening credits of Northern Exposure) and we visited the building that had been Dr. Fleischmann’s office, and peered in the windows of The Brick, and we ate pizza at Village Pizza (which was so good, btw, and they provide honey for eating with the crust of the pizza. Like a dessert. Crazy, but good!). Then we hit the road again and finally got to Seattle.
Day 1 – The Pacific Science Center. Such an awesome place. We had tickets for one of the King Tut IMAX movies and then for the exhibit itself, but in-between we got to check out a lot of cool things – their tropical butterfly exhibit, the animatronic dinosaurs, the fun water toys, etc. The King Tut exhibit wasn’t as fun, for me, as I had hoped. My little bubba, who usually digs all things Egyptian, just wasn’t into the exhibit or the historical data filling our ears from the audio tour. My older dude, on the other hand, totally dug it all. He made my husband listen to every piece of info and look at every single display. My bubba dragged me through the exhibit quickly and I missed so much. In hindsight, we should have traded kids – but I had lost sight of my other two and thought they had gone ahead. *sigh* It was not what I had wanted, but it was fine. I still got to see a lot. We walked all around the Seattle Center, saw the very cool looking EMP museum (music project – too bad we didn’t have time to go there!), checked out the International Fountain (water done to music! Like at the Bellagio in Vegas), had lunch, and then collapsed in our hotel room for a couple hours to build up our strength again.
Later that evening we took the monorail from the Pacific Science Center to the downtown area and ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Cliché, I know, but my husband is a music groupie and he really wanted to see all the stuff they had on display. The food was really good too, and it was loud enough that I didn’t have to worry about my boys making a ruckus. (Not like that’s ever happened. No, never.)
Day 2 – Hit the monorail again and met up with some wonderful cousins, and their baby, down at Pike’s Place Market. How cool is that place? So fun. I wish we had been able to explore it more – but with two kids and the bustle of the market it was a little hectic. I was happy to (oddly) take the elevator down many floors to then walk to the aquarium along the waterfront. The aquarium was super cool. So fun to see all the sea animals and the boys had a blast. Then we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, walked around, had lunch, and ferried back. That place is so cute, so neat. I would totally live there. But it’s an island so the whole driving your car on a boat to get to your island thing just seems weird. What do you mean I can’t drive to the mainland any time I want? So weird.
Then we went to another cousin’s house for a dinner and birthday party and lots of socializing. So fun. We were so very exhausted at that point, though, I don’t think we were our best selves. The boys surprisingly held it together rather well. I was shocked. Oh – we were served squash enchiladas and I seriously need to get the recipe. So yum!
Day 3 – one last touristy thing, and something we had been wavering on: The Space Needle. It’s around $50 for 4 of us to go to the top. Was it going to be worth it? Really? That $50 could be spent better elsewhere – like what about the big ferris wheel thing (like the London Eye)? But the kids were adamant. They wanted to go to the top of The Space Needle. Okay, okay, we said, we’ll remember this always. The view at the top was spectacular. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear day and we could see so much; in that case, it was worth it. But 5 minutes my oldest said, “Mom, you were right – this is boring. Can we go down now?” I do think it was worth it though – just for the memory.
Then we hopped in the car and headed to Tacoma! We met some wonderful friends for lunch – friends from Boise who had just moved to Tacoma a couple months prior – so it was super awesome to see them again. Then we hopped in the car and headed to Portland.
Though I had planned this trip many, many months in advance it just happened to work out that my niece, who lived in Portland, ended up having a baby in October. So – perfect timing for me to see her, the new baby, and her husband and 2 other kids, before they moved to Cali the following week. We got to Portland around 6 pm, checked into our hotel in downtown Vancouver, WA, and then went to meet my sister in law & her two sons at Big Al’s for food and fun. I had never been to Big Al’s (though we have a new one near our home) but it was fun – loud, crazy and a bit hectic, especially for my Autie boy who had already endured quite a lot of change in a short span of time. Went back to my sis-in-law’s house, did some laundry, hung out. Good times.
Day 4 – had planned to go to church in Vancouver, WA, but found we were too exhausted to move. Slept in and didn’t get to breakfast until nearly noon. Came back to the hotel and actually napped for a bit. (Hubby & I did and the boys just played quietly with electronics, of course). Then my sis-in-law picked us up and we met my niece & family, and my other niece, at a huge playplace for kids. (Because 4 busy kids need something to do on rainy Sunday afternoons). We had pizza, visited, and I held my newest grand-niece for hours.
Day 5 – Going home day. But still fun to be had. My sis-in-law picked me up and we went to my niece’s aesthetician school for facials. So fun. Such pampering. Loved it! Hurried back to the hotel, said goodbye to sis-in-law, grabbed the boys and jumped in the car. We were racing to make it to The Dalles, an oddly named town in Oregon, to meet my wonderful Aunt & Uncle who live in the middle of nowhere, WA, and were driving into The Dalles to meet us. I was also frantically checking the weather reports because it looked like we would be driving into a snowstorm on the way home. We had a lovely lunch and catch-up at Spooky’s, then drove off to buy some chains for the car (just in case) and headed down the road.
Just past Pendleton, OR, we started to hit snow and it didn’t let up for nearly the 3-4 more hours it took to get home. I white-knuckled it in the passenger seat while the hubby drove, thankfully. I’m not a fan of driving in snow. Home, safe and exhausted, right around midnight. Amen.
My bubba was originally supposed to go to school the next day, and myself to work, but I could hardly rouse him the next morning so I let him sleep. Turns out he was getting sick, as was made apparent to us that evening when he started vomiting everywhere. Thus began a 10 day trial where all 4 of us endured the same ailment at different times. Thankfully ending just in time for Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving I was so very thankful for my happy and healthy little family, for the trip we had together and the memories we had made. I’ll never forget the good from this trip, but I’ve already forgotten the exhaustion, the meltdowns, and the travel disorientation. Thank goodness for good memories.
And now – let’s look towards Christmas!
Lots of love,