21 July 2010 - 2:47Trip, part 4

Thursday night we stayed in Sandpoint, Idaho. In the morning before we left, we went for a walk down to the lakefront, supposedly just a few blocks from the hotel. Stopped a man and asked how to get to the actual water, which we seemed to be missing. Got to the city beach & took a few pictures, but didn’t really walk along it. Got some drinks at a local coffeeshop on the way back, got in the car, and left only ~an hour late. We stopped at a small Mexican restaurant at the outskirts of Spokane for lunch. The waitress’s kids came out with her and, when she learned we were heading to Seattle, she talked about going to Olympia to get their liquor license. She said “this is homemade” and “that is homemade.” The food was good – fitting since it was all homemade. There was lots of icky traffic in Spokane, especially given how little we’d seen over the last few days. I was surprised – though I must have driven this before – that much of eastern Washington geographically seems a lot like North Dakota, only with 100x more traffic. We got to Greg’s in West Seattle at around 7:00 and went to dinner down on Alki, where we ate just across the street from the shore.

Saturday morning Greg and John got haircuts down in Pioneer square. Greg’s younger daughter sat with John for his hair cut, and we have photos documenting the event. I sat with Greg’s older daughter and drank tea and chatted. Afterwards we walked to elliot bay cafe for coffee & cocoa and then down to the waterfront. Great view of West Seattle across the water, and of Seattle sky scrapers behind us.

We went to an Italian bistro Greg likes for lunch and sat outside in the sun. I had pasta with shrimp and some sort of cream sauce with orange in it. The orange appeared to be actual pieces of pulp, intact little cells. I have seen these kinds of cells from lemons and limes but did not know you could do that to an orange. We had clams for an appetizer, and garlic bread and bruschetta. All the food was fantastic. We took up a table and a half, and as we were finishing, another couple asked if they could use the other half of our table. Sure, and we gave them the end of our carafe of wine as well.

Saturday afternoon was a birthday party for one of Greg’s daughters, and we met some of the parents. Sunday morning we did the crossword puzzle and in the afternoon we took the kids to the movies. We went to an Indian restaurant in Freemont for dinner; again we sat outside. Walked a bit afterwards, mostly down by the waterfront. We saw the drawbridge open, walked under the Aurora bridge, saw the troll. Saw the Fremont rocket and the statue of Lenin. Oddly, it seems I didn’t spend a lot of time in Fremont when I lived in Seattle – though I knew the troll and the statue of the people waiting for the bus, I had not seen these other things.

Monday morning I met up with my friend Christie from grad school and her son. We picked up bagels and coffee and went to the playground in Lincoln park, where we did standard running-around-with-a-toddler-stuff but also managed to talk a bit. In the afternoon we brought Greg’s daughters to the Ballard Locks and saw the fish ladder and the locks in action. (This, like the Fort Peck Dam, is run by the Army Corps of Engineers. I thought this might turn into a minor theme for the trip, but the Hungry Horse Dam appears to be run by a different agency.) In the evening I drove by the places I used to live (one house has been painted green; another has a new fence) and then met up with another grad school friend, Doreen, for dinner. We had interesting food and a good conversation, and as a bonus it turned out that she had several suggestions for the next not-well-planned part of our trip, going east from Portland.

This morning we went to Discovery Park, one of my favorite places from my time in Seattle. It would not have been obvious or particularly easy to get to from my neighborhoods, and I wondered how on earth I had ever found it in the first place. Then I remembered that when living here I had gone on a kick to explore different parks in Seattle. We walked along the bluffs (now significantly more restricted and therefore not quite as pretty as they used to be) and along the south trail to the lighthouse. Sometimes I am wary to revisit places, music, books, etc from my past – some things just don’t live up to my memory – but other than the bluffs being more restricted, Disco park was just as I had remembered it, and I was happy. Later we purchased salmon, sausage, and some veggies at pike place market and had delicious homemade dinner. All in all a lovely few days. Many thanks to Greg and his family!

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