Had a lovely time in the Pacific NW. The trip from home was uneventful: got to the airport on time, flight was on time, arrival a little early. As we made our approach, I looked out the window and saw the Lonely Mountain:
We made our way through the airport (first one I've ever seen where there's a section set aside specifically "for bicycle assembly"), got our rental car -- and I will remember next time NOT to take their insurance option, as it cost more to cover that rental for one week than I pay for TWO cars (including full collision AND non-owned vehicle) in six months. Yeeg. Anyway, it was a nice little Yaris (which Barb's sister refers to as a "zippydo" car) and we found our hotel with no trouble. We met up with family and had a nice dinner at their favorite Chinese place, and discovered when we got back to our hotel room that despite the fact the sun was still blazing bright, it was past 8 pm! Weird.....
The next day we drove up and down the Hood River Valley and Columbia River Gorge to check out the wineries and the waterfalls (gorgeous!). This one was called Latourell Falls:
We also stopped at Bridal Veil Falls (not the ones at Yosemite, obviously), where I saw a robin (which are rather exotic birds for us!):
He was at a bit of a distance and the light was chancy, so I was glad that came out.
We didn't stop at Multnomah Falls because it was crowded (this also happened several days later, at Snoqualmie Falls, with fenchurche), and just continued on to Synclyne Winery for lunch and wine tasting. Then it was home to the family house for grilled chicken and fresh veggies from the garden. Everything was awesome!
This was a cool little store we stopped at in a small town along the river, where Naked Winery was:
The next day we drove down to Portland to see Powell's Books (AWESOME), the Portland Art Museum (very, very cool), and of course had to stop for VooDoo Doughnuts, which are actually pretty damned good -- almost very much worth the wait; we bought a half-dozen with some fancies, and it was only about $8, which was less expensive than I was somehow expecting. I wish I could stop by there more often. NOM.
All worn out, we just had a fast supper and stayed the night at their place, then headed out for Seattle first thing in the morning.
fenchurche and rackham welcomed us to their LOVELY home, we were introduced to the cats (Zoe and Numfar), had the tour, and then headed out to see all the sights around Snoqualmie and Redmond, including seeing the old Carnation farms (which is a kid's camp now, but still has a cow):
And we got to see the bottom of Snoqualmie Falls:
See all those people down there? They had to climb over a fence and precariously climb down the rocks, making their way past all the signs which said "DANGER! We Mean It, Do NOT Go Down There" to get down there. We didn't do that (although I admit I was tempted to).
But when we went up to see the lodge (used in Twin Peaks), it was VERY crowded and there was no parking anywhere, so we gave up and went down again to see some other sights, including the long, cold Snoqualmie railroad tunnel and more of the beautiful Snoqualmie valley.
We saw a pair of bald eagles wheeling around the valley from the front windows -- no wonder fenchurche and rackham love this view! What a beautiful house!
The next day Barb and I got up early and drove into Seattle to do the touristy stuff in City Center, the Space Needle, the EMP, and the Chihuly Garden exhibit:
The top of the totem pole in the City Center park:
Mt. Ranier in the hazy distance from the top of the Space Needle:
I took a LOT of pictures in the Chihuly Garden -- I'll post them in a separate entry, I think. :)
It was hard to get good pictures inside the Fantasy Section of the EMP, but this one came out well:
Overall, the EMP was smaller than I was expecting, but very cool. This is likely the very Dalek that Ace beat up with a baseball bat (because she was a Very Awesome Companion):
Then we met up with typographer and went for a delicious (REALLY delicious!) lunch at Chinook, then wandered down to the waterfront:
We headed back to Redmond early, since we were leaving VERY early the next morning -- our plane was at 6:05 am -- so we set the alarm for 3:45, thinking that would be enough time. Yikes, did we cut it close. We got out of there by 4 am, got to the gas station at 4:50, the rental car was back by 5 am; then we had to take the shuttle to the SeaTac terminal, which let us off as far from the Southwest gates as was possible, so we hurried across the crowded airport to see a line at Southwest in which approximately the entire population of Wyoming was waiting, but fortunately we weren't checking any baggage so we could go right up to get our boarding passes (we'd done online check-in the day before, and had high B passes). The line at Security wasn't QUITE as bad, so we were through and running to the gate by 5:36. They were just calling the A line to board as we got there, so we lined up and were on the plane within about five minutes.
Took off on time and were home by 10. Then we just collapsed until it was time to go get the dog from the vet.
I think the cats missed us (they've been very clingy since we got back).
Back to work on Monday. I didn't gain any weight. It was a good vacation.
I wish I had more doughnuts.
And that was my vacation.