Friday, March 24, 2006
Mondo road trip post!
I also just want to say that while I'm writing this, I'm listening to Seattle's KEXP 90.3 FM on streaming audio. Keeping the West Coast love alive!
So, Reuben and I flew to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday, March 10. The flight was supposed to leave at 7.30pm from JFK, but what with one thing or another ("The plane is not accepting enough fuel to get us all the way to Seattle. If all goes well, we may be able to find another plane") we didn't leave until 9.45pm -- this put us in Seattle at midnight local time, but 3am Eastern time. Doug met us at the airport, and after having grilled cheese sandwiches at a Denny's, we proceeded to our motel room.
Apparently reading is a really loud activity. I woke up pretty early the next morning, and, not wanting to bother the boys (Doug sleeping on the floor, Reuben in the next bed over), I pulled out my book (David Sedaris, Dress your family in corduroy and denim), and started to read. I could make out the pages reasonably well in the dark, and didn't turn on a light. I figured this was pretty considerate of me.
I find out later on that Apparently This Was Highly Loud and Disturbing -- my turning pages was thunderously loud.
Anyway. Somehow in the morning we all got ready. While the boys were getting showered and dressed I ran over to the nearby drive by coffee place. My first Seattle-ish coffee. It was tasty indeed. But maybe it was just because I really needed it?
We had breakfast at a lovely place in Tacoma, WA, called Alfred's Cafe, or Cafe Alfred, or something like that. We found it 'cause Reuben asked a woman working at the gas station where there was good breakfast to be had -- Reuben said her face light up and she said, dreamily, "Alfred's...." High praise! And tasty food. If you're ever in Tacoma, ask at a gas station where it is.
We then drove south along I-5, past Olympia (we saw the sign for the turn off for Sleater-Kinney Road! Yes!!!)... all the way down to Eugene, OR, so that Reuben could meet up with an old friend of his. While they chatted & caught up for a bit, Doug and I wandered around the town.
I hate to say this -- almost too liberal. The only folks were either young (18 years old?) or old (burned out); the only shoe stores were Birkenstock stores. What would you do if you wanted to wear stilettos and meet a hip 30 year old? No luck for you. It seemed a little brainwashed. I think I like a little more balance... but it was definitely pretty.
After we hung out in Eugene, we headed up back north to Portland, where we were staying with Doug's friends Lee & Mary, plus their adorable 2-year old Graham, plus the other folks living at Lee & Mary's house. A full household indeed, but good times, and great folk.
The next day we hiked around the Columbia River Valley -- pictures here include us by Multomah falls (with Graham), the 2nd highest falls in the US, and us at the top of the Angel's Rest trail. Stupidly beautiful. There's more beauty than you can shake a stick at in this corner of the world. We also got to go to Powell's bookstore, now one of my favourite bookstores in the world. Fantastico! I picked up Michael Ondaatje's The Cinnamon Peeler, the Neil Gaiman-writen 1602, about the Marvel characters set in the Elizabethan era, and Peter Singer's short book on Hegel. Huzzah.
The next day we drove on to Vancouver BC. Yay Canada! Obviously life was wonderful. My uncle met us at the harbour in Ladner, we went kayaking -- we saw great blue herons, bald eagles, cormorants, all sorts of birds -- all with the amazing backdrop of snowcapped mountains.
We also had a day to wander aimlessly around Vancouver, shopping and drinking. Doug expressed a love of Canada and tried to elope with a Mountie, as you can see. I recommend the Railway Bar, at the corner of Seymour and Smithe (as I recall), above the 7-11. Yummy bar, great atmosphere. Obviously we all became a little the worse for liquor -- see the picture of me & Reuben.
Also, I think that you should all be warned that there are wild bears in Vancouver! Reuben and I were captivated by their eerie spell. Beware! Beware!
Then we had to back to the Evil Empire (an hour's wait at the border, the bastards!). But Seattle was nifty. We walked around the Space Needle area (the picture is taken nearby, also close to the Experience Music Project). Capital Hill and Fremont - nifty-tastic. And cheap drinks. All good.
Late Wednesday night we headed east to Spokane -- somewhere along the 4 hour drive, from about 8.30pm to 12.30pm, we passed mountains lit by moonlight. It was oddly affecting... but mostly I napped.
Spokane was cooler than I expected. Doug reserved the President's House at Gonzaga University for us -- also known as a 3-bedroom bungalo (though only 2 of the bedrooms had beds, oddly enough). This was our home for the next couple of days... very very comfortable -- the first time the three of us had separate bedrooms all week! I could now turn pages to my heart's delight (but mostly I slept).
We watched the Xavier-Gonzaga game on Thurs March 16 -- so sad that Gonzaga's now out, but that Xavier game was great. Gonzaga was behind, of course, almost the whole game, until the last 2 minutes. Brilliant!
The campus of Gonzaga is pretty cute, actually -- there's no gate. There's a neat social justice/community activism organization that Doug's involved in & he showed us their building. We also had lunch & dinner on Friday the 17th at Jesuit House -- because it was a Friday in Lent, and thus no meat, we had to console ourselves with crab and salmon.
What else? Oh-- on our last day we went to Idaho! Idaho! Idaho!
OK... I invite comments from both Doug and Reuben, and will continue to embellish this post with greatness.
It was an amazing trip.
jane 8:24 PM [+]