The road-trip was better than any of us were expecting and we’re hoping to have annual reunions.  It was a great two weeks made up of memories that will last a lifetime.  For the pictures of the Seattle leg, click.  To read Steph’s [very well written] version of our trip, go here.

Day 1
Steph and her mom arrived on Sunday night and after hugs and introductions we went inside and sat around the family room talking for a while.  It was really nice being able to meet Anne, she has a very lively, fun spirit.  We all went to bed fairly early since we had a long, early day ahead of us.

Day 2
We woke up and were out the door around 6.  Anne had a flight to catch which we initially thought left the San Francisco airport but quickly found out it was leaving the Oakland airport.  After dropping her off at the correct airport, we were on our way for real.  I drove the first part and Steph and I enjoyed singing at the top of our lungs whenever a Disney or Moulin Rouge song came on.  We stopped in Weed, California at "Hi-Lo Cafe" recommended to us by Steph’s Youth Pastor.  We enjoyed our lunch and headed out again with Steph at the wheel.

As we passed through Oregon we saw many beautiful, green hills, lots of cows and loads of signs with "Butte" on them.  We’re so mature.  It was an easy drive, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the company.  We stopped again in Portland for dinner and once again switched drivers.  About an hour away from Seattle I realized that a cop was following me.  After I pulled over he told me that I was going at an inconsistent speed (I was nervous because he kept following me and the car’s cruise control didn’t work) and swerving in the lanes (again, I was nervous, but I wasn’t swerving anymore than any of the other cars on the road).  He let me go after telling me to drive safely.

We finally arrived in Seattle but had a little difficulty finding Matt’s house.  We got to the house around 11 and were greeted by all the family except the two youngest who were sleeping. We all sat around the living room and talked for a while (déjà vu) and finally got a blessed night of sleep.

Day 3
After finally dragging ourselves out of bed and getting ready for the day, Steph, Matt and I headed to downtown Seattle to have lunch atop the Space Needle.  It was a gorgeous day, clear, sunny and not too cold.  We were all relatively dressed up since there’s a dress code for the restaurant.  The restaurant is right underneath the outdoor observation deck, it rotates and takes roughly one hour to make a full revolution.  Since it was such a nice day, we could see everything and greatly enjoyed the view as we ate our $30 meal.  Since we paid so much for the lunch, we were able to visit the observation deck for free (technically it came with lunch but whatever).

We left the Space Needle and headed over to Pike Place Market, a street lined with many different shops, some full of souvenir knick-knacks, others with fish.  The original Starbucks also resides there.  We continued around the area and stopped inside a used/new bookstore where I picked up Jane Austen’s Persuasions for a mere $3.

Back at Matt’s I got to spend some time with the two youngest, Zach and Madeline who took me out to their fort.  Matt and Mason started sword fighting with Zach (I got videos of course) and eventually headed inside for dinner.  For dessert we had a delicious chocolate cake that Emily and Arita had made.  Mmmm.  When dessert was finished, Maddie and Zach brought Steph, Matt and I into the basement to play with them.  They discovered how fun it is to take videos on my camera and I spent a good amount of time recording them and immediately watching it with their tiny faces squished against mine.  Precious moments.

Day 4
We had wanted to go to Mount Rainier so we packed a lunch and headed out.  Unfortunately we found out that the only road to Rainier was blocked off due to snow.  So we stopped there and found a place in the woods to have our picnic.  We stopped by the library on the way back to Matt’s house and also tried to get a good view of the beautiful Lake Washington.  At the house, Matt’s mom had suggested going to Kubota Gardens which was close-by and free.  We walked around for a while and after getting back we played Scattergories.  Jackson 5 and Daphne!

Day 5
The whole gang (Matt’s Mom, Emily, Arita, Mason, Zach and Maddie) came with us to the Seattle Science Center.  We walked through the dinosaur area and then the best part, the butterfly house.  We stayed in the humid room for a while trying to get decent pictures of the different butterflies that flew past.  The IMAX theater was putting on a show about Lewis and Clark which was really well done and very interesting.

While the rest of the group went back home, Steph, Matt and I were dropped off to take the underground Seattle tour.  Before the tour started we walked along the piers, checking out the stores and grabbing some ice cream.  The tour started and we were led by a very lively and hilarious tour guide to underground Seattle.  When Seattle was first settled, the city was built on the tide flats and whenever the tide came in, the city was flooded.  Many other problems occurred before the Great Seattle Fire devastated the city in 1889.  After the fire, the city was structured so that the storefronts were two stories below the streets and to get into the stores, the people had to climb up and down ladders.  Eventually the streets and storefronts were on the same level, making the original storefronts the basements, which is the part we saw.  To read more about it go here.

Next stop: San Francisco!


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