Sunday, November 05, 2006

vacation recap, installment three

Tuesday, October 17th
Up at a decent hour, ate maple doughnuts and peeled an orange with my bare hands. I managed to seperate my nail from my finger. That HURTS, and it smarted for the rest of the day. Of course Opa followed this up with a story of a woman he knew who got a terrible, hospital-stay-inducing infection from peeling an orange with her fingers. Lovely!

We headed out and called every Enterprise in Spokane. NO CARS. Finally I told Adam to call the regional office, this was just ridiculous! So, he did, and the regional office lit a fire under the branche's asses to get them moving on securing a new car for us.

We used a REAL MAP the entire time we were in Spokane. It was fun--normally I rely on MapQuest to get me places, but they inevitably let me down. I felt like a grownup using a real map to figure out where we were going! We went to Bowl & Pitcher. It's at a pretty park in Spokane.

We walked on the swinging bridge, which I remember vividly from childhood vacations.

The planks on the bridge are not very close together. You couldn't ride a bike on it or wear any sort of heeled shoe there (like my favorite boots). You get to watch the water rushing under your feet if you glance down, and that's pretty creepy, especially since I'm not a fan of water. Adam (of course) had to shake and jump on the bridge to make us rock and jump all over the place. OF COURSE.

While we were there we got a call from Enterprise saying they had a car for us, thank GOD. We went to "Francois Ave"--the Enterprise list had it listed as that but it was really Francis Ave. Francois doesn't really fit the Spokane image, so we were puzzled as to how to get there. When we got there, they traded us for a 2007 Dodge Caliber with something like 1800 miles. Now that's more like it!!

We were hungry, so we headed in the general direction of Mt. Spokane and ate at Cinola's in Mead. We had really yummy calzones. I'm craving one now; it was made out of phyllo dough or something similar and very flaky and cheesy and delicious. Mmmm. It was a clear day, so we went to Mt. Spokane. Growing up we always drove to the top of the mountain but we always went in July/August. I've never been out west in the fall, and the road was closed halfway up the mountain!! We parked the car and got out and walked. I had brought my walking shoes so I changed into those.

(our rental car from a ways up)

A ski path/route/whatever you call it. I can't imagine skiing down this slope! Yikes.

We live in the wrong region.

While we were trekking up the mountain we encountered two Church of Latterday Saints elders in suits (one was wearing a name tag that said "Elder Winters") and we took their pictures for them and they took one of us.

We all shook hands and wished each other a good day. It was really odd. I mean, we were the only people on the side of a mountain.

We kept trekking along. Finally I said "Two hundred steps more, and then we stop!" Well, we both counted silently and here's where Adam stopped in relation to where I stopped. It's funny:

Why the road was closed:

We tried to walk all the way to the top, but once we encountered snow and huge paw prints we turned back! This is ADAM'S foot for size comparison (size 13 extra wide):

 We walked for about an hour up the road on the mountain, but then decided to walk down the SIDE of the mountain on the way back. This was because we could see our rental car quite clearly from where we were on the road, so it must be pretty close, right? Well, it was, time-wise; it took us about 15 minutes to walk down the side of the mountain back to the car. BUT I was slipping and sliding and avoiding boulders left and right. It's tall mountain grass covered in snow, for heaven's sake. STUPID. A view up about 1/4 of the way down:

Adam trekking down the mountain:

It was much steeper than it looks. I got muddy but it was worth it. I fell asleep on the way home (of course).

We chatted with Mala and Opa and then went to Tony Roma's. The waitress recognized Mala from her being a teacher. That was pretty neat and random. She hasn't taught since the 70s. We had maple bars at home for dessert and then we sat around watching the World Series and chatting.



Adam read a book about Mayans. :)

Mala makes baby hats just like my mom does:

Can you tell Mala's favorite color is blue? The exterior of their house is blue as well. I told Adam he's lucky I don't take my love of green to this extreme.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ashlee requested it! :)

Cross-post from my OD. I'm not online much these days and I'm doing this now:

you know, just to torture myself, and give myself a good excuse not to do my chores. ;)Saturday, October 14th
Mom and B took us to the airport. My mom actually had the audacity to suggest we take the BUS to the airport. When I said "FINE, I'll have someone else take us if it's that big of a problem!!" she back pedaled. THEN wouldn't even take her own car--she made us drive ours there and she drove it home... and then they proceeded to drive only our G6 for the rest of the week, then tried saying they didn't. Um... you put 500 miles on it. I know, because we had to check the mileage that day. I'm not stupid!

Got to the airport early, of course. Two hours is more than enough and I won't do that again. I was reading "Rosie Dunne" by Cecilia Ahern while we were waiting to board. A woman complimented me on my hair. Right before the trip I had Mimi hack it off; shortest it's been in YEARS. I felt her make a mistake and instead of admitting it she just kept cutting it. A guy tried to cut us in the A line (of course) but I was having none of that. Adam was like "Um, Rachel..." because he kept trying to cut and then the guy said "Oh, sorry!" and Adam pushed on by. Whatever! Yes, I'm one of those people. Get in the C line! Not my fault you didn't print your boarding pass on time. (This is on Southwest with open seating.)

We got situated (over the wing AS USUAL--we always pick over the wing, and never on purpose) and then pulled away from the gate. Then we had to go back because fo an "annunciator light" or something. It was out. Adam started demanding to get off the plane but I told him "If the pilot thought he was going to die he WOULDN'T BE FLYING!" so we stayed on the plane. Maintenance came on, changed the power box, the lights went off/flickered, and then we were on our way and we didn't lose much time.

Watched episode #2 of season 3 of Lost together on my iPod. Finished "Rosie Dunne". I liked it but wished they weren't in their 60s at the end of the book (it started when they were 6). Browsed through SkyMall mag, some interesting stuff in there. I actually got up on the flight to use the bathroom (I normally hold it and never get out of my seat) and the pilot was in the rear of the plane yawning. HE asked ME "When do you think we're going to land?" I just smiled and said "Shouldn't YOU be telling ME?" and he laughed. Then he pulled out a flight schedule from his pocket and was rubbing his eyes and flipping through it and I said "Do you even know what flight you're on?" and he thoguht that was funny. When I was in the bathroom I realized I looked really pretty that day, and I went back over his demeanor/words and realized he was flirting with me. That made me feel cute.

Landed at 9:30 at SeaTac. Got our luggage and went to the Enterprise desk to get our car. The guy there was not too bright. We managed to get there right as their systemwide computer system shut off, so he had to fill out the report long hand. *eye roll* We took a shuttle to Enterprise. The Fat Guy who helped us inside thought he was ohsoimportant. He was tapping our credit card on the counter to emphasize his words and it annoyed me. A girl behind the counter complimented me on my hair and told me it looked beautiful and said it really looked great with my face shape. Then Fat Guy CUT HER OFF, talked over her, and made himself look like even more of an asshole.

We got "upgraded" to a Neon from an Aveo. The Neon had 40k miles on it. That made us leery but whatever. It seemed rickety when we left but we just kept going to Seattle. It was rainy there, of course! :) We stayed at the Day's Inn downtown. They tried to charge us $5/day to park in THEIR PARKING LOT. Puhlease. Adam schmoozed with the front desk girl and got the pass without paying for it.

The light in the room was flickery and couldn't stay on. You get what you pay for! Ate across the street at the Hurricane Cafe, which (despite the exterior) was funky and yummy. Good waffle fries and an interesting crowd. I think it was also some Gay and Lesbian film fest that weekend.

The TV remote doesn't work in the hotel. Adam is watching "Wacked Out Sports" and keeps trying to get me to look up but I won't. Saw some weird commercial for Proactiv where P. Diddy was saying "It moisturizes my situation... it enhances my sexy."

Sunday, October 15th

It was raining again (of course). Found the Argosy dock pretty easily. It was free parking on Sundays so that was nice! Got some souvenirs and a GREEN umbrella to get us through the day.

Adam in front of the ship.

We thought we missed the boarding but got on too soon with the band! They were like "Um, pretty sure only the band should be on now..." The signage/direction was really lacking. Went back inside and waited around with the rest of the passengers, then boarded to the 2nd deck with a window seat!

Mimicking Adam...

I ordered an Emerald City Mojito and Adam got a Seattle Dockside (some amazing Malibu concoction).

I've decided Mojitos are "my drink". Seriously.

My Mojito, my green jacket, my new green replacement purse, my new green umbrella (and the chair is green.)

The buffet was yummy until our 2nd plate when Adam found a BUG in the potatoes! We were done anyway, so we just ignored it. I got a Seattle Dockside as my 2nd drink and he got a Captain and Coke.

We went to the outside deck (when we finally found it) for some pics but it quickly got too cold.

Adam spotted a bald eagle in the wild, though!

Some nice people also took our picture for us.

We cruised through Elliot Bay and Puget Sound on the cruise. It had stopped raining but it was still overcast.

After the cruise we passed on our cruise picture (not very flattering) and went to Pike Place Market.

Adam was being silly on the way over and kept flicking my umbrella and using it as a weapon (or miming that). So I got a picture of the sinister umbrella flick:

Lots of junk shops but I did see the fish market!

Beautifulf lowers for really cheap there--I wanted to get some but couldn't justify fresh flowers when I would be travelling and had nowhere to put them really.

Next stop was the Underground Tour. On the way over we went through an alley and I saw someone making a music video, and had to get a pic:

The alley we were in:

Statue on the way:


Browsed the antique shop (lots of gorgeous Bakelite!) and Adam talked about having sex in the bathroom there. Um, no! Instead I actually used the bathroom at the tour, and there was a loud roaring sound in the bathroom that finally prompted me to say "What IS that!?" but nobody waiting in line could tell me. It was like standing by an airplane engine or something. There were a TON of people on the Underground Tour; didn't know what to expect but 3 groups of 45 definitely wasn't it. We went underground in three seperate places. Had Bruce as our tour guide (he also gave us the rundown before leaving). Lots of STUPID bathroom humor about crappers. Tour wasn't what we expected but fun all the same. The premise is Seattle has an underground city, where when they rebuilt the buildings are still down there.

In a nutshell: they had a fire, then flooded. They rebuilt out of stone before raising the city. When they raised the city they raised the roads first 8-35 feet. So you had a TALL road in the center and you were looking in the 2nd and 3rd floor windows of buildings and the sidewalks were down below. It was obviously a hazard so they built the sidewalks level with the street, and eventually connected the buildings to the new roads, leaving the first floor of the buildings under ground. It's weird/dumb/odd/whatever. To give the shoppers underground light 100 years ago, they put skylights in the sidewalk. You can see it throughout Seattle. View from below:

View from above

So anywhere you see these, you know there are walkways/passages under your feet! We were under them as people were walking above.

Adam and I during the tour:

At the end of the tour everyone puts their tour stickers ont he overherad pipes. I noted each sticker represented $11. Passed on that tour photo as well; my hair looked like CRAP from the rain/climate!!

Headed back to our car, went to the hotel and started walking to the Space Needle. We walked quite a ways with no sign of the needle until I turned around and clearly saw it BEHIND US. Ugh! Totally went in the wrong direction!

This is what I saw when I glanced over my shoulder:

This is especially embarassing since when we checked in the night before we were all "Look! You can see the Space Needle so clearly from here!! Awesome!" And totally forgot that you could see it from the hotel as we were walking!! Ended up going back to the hotel on our way back and changing our clothes.

Tried to race each other in seperate elevators to get down to the 1st floor to go back to the Space Needle but I got hung up on the 3rd floor by boarding passengers. It was 2 guys and they were chattering away to each other and then mid-sentence one says "I'm really digging on your glasses!!!"

Successfully walked to the Space Needle. Smelled some yummy Zeke's pizza en route. Took pics of some weird art thing of grass in plastic suitcased on a pallet at a fork in the road.

Adam was upset he didn't know Seattle had a Science Fiction Museum. Paid for tickets for the Needle and went up to the O-Deck. Neat views!

Pretty windy up there but not as bad as I was expecting. Didn't take long to walk around the deck at all--surprisingly short. Kissed on a bench for awhile--I said "Let's make out!" But Adam wasn't too into it. Boo. Went inside and read all of the facts about the Space Needle. The neatest thing that stuck out in my head is that the restaurant rotates and it's so efficient and rotates so smoothly it only takes a 1.5 horsepower engine to do it!

My favorite part about the Space Needle was shaking my head at LED lights to see the rainfall amount. Not sure how to quite explain that. Passed on the Space Needle photo too! Asked the guy taking us down in the elevator about a good seafood place--he said "Cutters!"

Trying to squish his head:

Went back for the car and then to the waterfront again. Got pissy because Adam was driving slowly but we finally found Cutters right when we gave up.

Waiter there was fun and kept reminding me of Mark Wahlberg with his mannerisms, not quite sure why. Started with coconut shrimp (yum) and a raspberry Mojito. YUMYUM. I've definitely found my drink!! Fish and chips for dinner for both of us... it was really good. Tipped nicely and then when I left I was a bit tipsy... we were walking on concrete pavement and right to the left of the exit there were concrete steps leading down to some shops and they're not MARKED, and I almost fell down them!!! Adam's arm shot out for me but I noticed my near-error just in time. Phew!!
Monday, October 16th

Up and out of Seattle by 6:45; light traffic on the roads. Grabbed breakfast on the run at BK instead of going somewhere cute. Stupid rental car started to shimmy at anything over 30mph. Not comfy at ALL! We started calling the shit out of Enterprise to find out where we could swap the car out. EVERY SINGLE STORE we called had NO CARS. It was infuriating. Nobody could accomodate us. One store in Mount Vernon, WA said "Hold on" and Adam was on hold for 15 minutes. He called back and the guy who was helping him was outside renting out a car. ARGH. It was so annoying.

We decided to just chance it--after all, they'd have to come and tow us no matter where we were--so we kept going. We made it to the North Cascades... it was foggy and rainy but still beautiful.

Took some pictures at a scenic overlook and saw my first slug!

Token "in the car picture"... like my crazy curl!?

We popped into the visitor's center but didn't learn a whole lot there. Continued on through the North Cascades and the further up we got we saw snow!! It was really exciting to be in the middle of a snow "storm" in the mountains. It was quite the winter wonderland.

We came out of the Cascades and then went to get gas and they had S.L.O.W. pumps. We had to pee and get snacks, so we decided to leave it and go inside. Well, bad idea--the pumps were going so slowly they couldn't sense when the tank was full, and it freaking overflowed (this was like 15 minutes later as I was standing there). I of course got gas on my cute green Champions. OF COURSE.

Back on the road and the stupid Neon started shifting badly. I mean surging, lurching, not wanting to shift, etc. It was horrifying. We call Enterprise AGAIN and they won't meet us halfway with a car. They won't tow a new car to us and then tow the piece of shit back. They wanted US to drive to freaking WENATCHEE, which was 88 miles away, and OUT OF OUR WAY! So we said screw it again and just kept driving it. (This is why you never buy a car that was previously a rental. It's been BEAT, people. BEAT.) After this whole thing every time I saw a sign for Wenatchee (which was frequently) I would say "Fucking WENATCHEE!"

We went to Grand Coulee Dam. I grew up going there. Coulee was awesome... fun visitor's center with a lot of neat things in it, like a simulated jackhammer from when they built Coulee.

(you can see my shoes here)

Rental car!

We got back onto the road toward Spokane. Made good time there and got to Mala and Opa's! When we got there we had lots of hugs and then they were on the phone for a bit with my uncle Steve, who's driving long haul right now. I pulled Adam to the back window to have him look at their willow tree only to discover... it's GONE!!! The willow tree was cut down this summer and nobody told me! I spent my summer vacations fashioning the branches into tiaras, hula skirts, bracelets and necklaces galore and it's GONE.

Everything smelled and looked the same at my grandparent's. Just like home! Memories definitely came flooding back. We had chicken enchiladas from Schwans for dinner, along with fresh carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers from Opa's garden. It was really yummy. We chatted and then went to bed at 9pm--we were beat! I did finish "First Lady" By Susan Elizabeth Phillips that night.

Adam taking a pic of the light in my grandparent's basement:

I forgot to write this for the previous entry--the Underground tour was filled with AWFUL jokes, so the whole Spokane trip was filled with them. Such as:

What do you call a deer with no eyes? No-eye-deer.
What lights did Noah use? Floodlights.
Why does a chicken coop only have two doors? Because otherwise it would be a sedan!