Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Pacific Northwest vacation

We're back! A whole week of exploring, visiting and driving. I was not ready to go back to work today!

I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. This blog is my journal so I'm going to add in all the details :)

Like I mentioned before, we have been looking forward to this trip for a few years, both because I wanted to see Oregon and Washington, and because James has family in Washington that it was about time I met.

We drove all the way to Seattle on Saturday, leaving about 6 AM. James' Corolla has now driven the entire west coast of the US - San Diego (2 years ago) to Seattle!

We arrived at my parents' house for breakfast around 8 AM. Their house is on the way up, so I wanted to see them for a little bit and breakfast was the perfect excuse.

After an hour at my parents' house and consuming what I declared the best breakfast I'd ever eaten (waffles, fruit, bacon, eggs, biscuits... my mom is the best), we drove the 12 (!) hour remainder to Seattle. We stopped for bathroom breaks and gas several times (I don’t like people pumping my gas for me in Oregon… it feels weird), but otherwise drove straight through. We never even got hungry for lunch, which was unusual for us.

We got into Seattle Saturday evening and after getting lost for a while (which happened a lot in downtown Seattle, ugh...) we checked into our hotel, the Mediterranean Inn. It was very nice, but nothing extra special. Sunday we walked around the area near our hotel, which includes Seattle Center.

We ended up walking to the Space Needle and went up.

A view from the top

Then we walked along the waterfront and to Pike Place Market where we had lunch.

Later that night we went to James’ sister Chandra’s house, where I met her, James’ brother-in-law and two nieces for the first time. I love, love, love his family! The girls are so sweet and they’re all super nice. We both agreed that hanging out with all of them was by far the best part of the trip. I won’t post their pictures because I’m not sure how Chandra feels about that, but trust me they’re gorgeous.

On Monday we spent more time with the family. We had a picnic at a cute park at Chambers Bay and went for a long walk on the trail there.

Tuesday James and I took a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia. We took a ferry from Seattle to Victoria that took about 2 and a half hours.

Once in Canada, we got detained in customs! We had to go in a separate room and they took our passports and phones and asked us a bunch of questions. They were nice enough and it only lasted 5 or 10 minutes... but why us? We were just on vacation! So strange.

We took a bus to Butchart Gardens, on the recommendation of blog friend Amber. They were beautiful and I’m glad we went simply because I really wanted to go to Canada but had no clue what to do there. However, I don’t feel like the experience was worth the $30pp admission price. That’s a bit much. Oh, and the ferry was over $100pp. The Canada day was definitely our most expensive day. But you have to have at least one when you’re on vacation, right?

Butchart Gardens did allow for some great photos:

After the gardens we walked around town and did a little shopping, then had dinner before catching the ferry back to Seattle.

The sunset over Puget Sound

On Wednesday we slept in a little, then had breakfast at Mecca Cafe because it was a block from our hotel. The service was rather crappy, but OMG the bacon was the best I've ever had. I've been dreaming about it ever since.... yummmm. Okay, pull yourself together... we hung out with the family at their house for the rest of the day.

Thursday was the day we left Seattle for Portland, but first we had breakfast with James’ family and babysat his niece for a few hours. He rarely gets to see his family and he’s so happy when he gets the chance. We won’t be able to see them again until our wedding next year :(

After a lunch of PB&J (which Laurel described as “amazing,” hehe), we drove the 3ish hours to Portland and checked into the Red Lion on the River at Jantzen Beach. We loved the hotel – big room, lots of free parking, and free Internet. The bathroom was like 3 times the size of ours at home, making me long for a bigger house!

We went out for a nice dinner at Touche in the Pearl District. It was sadly our only nice dinner on the trip because we ate with family most of the time.

Friday was our only full day in Portland. We went to Washington Park – so lush and green! I love Portland!

We walked around the park and found the Holocaust Memorial and Portland Rose Garden.

After that, we walked around downtown a little more and went to Powell's Books, a HUGE local bookstore. I ended up with 6 books that I’m excited to get through!

Reviews coming soon!

On Saturday we drove home, and coming back seemed twice as long as the trip up! It took us 8 hours to get back to my parents’ house, where we stopped again for a short visit. We got to have some of my brother Tom’s birthday cake from the previous day. Happy 20th birthday Tom!

Then it was 2 more hours until we were back home recovering! I’m glad we came back Saturday so I had all day Sunday to relax before returning to work.

Part of my desire to visit Seattle and Portland was that for a while now I've thought that moving to one of these cities would be fun to do, someday. I've lived in Northern California my whole life, and maybe I'd like to relocate one day for a change of pace.

After this trip, I'm now confident that I don't want to live in Seattle, but would love Portland. The suburbs of Seattle are nice, I could do that. I'll keep that info in the back of my mind for the future. I really love Sacramento as well, and would be happy staying here forever... but if the chance ever arises.

There you have it, my short recap of our vacation! Goals accomplished on this vacation:

23. Take a road trip through the Pacific Northwest; visit
24. Portland,
25. Seattle, and
26. Vancouver. (I didn't know we'd decide on Victoria instead... gonna consider #26 done)
64. Go hiking.
85. Spend a day with James' neices.
86. Spend a day with James' sister.

1 comment:

Rose said...

about time you blog this trip! (it wasn't too long at all, perfect length)

i think it would be nice to have people pump your gas!