The alarm went off at 5 am, and I ignored the “Arabian Night” song that chirped from my phone. It wasn’t even light out yet…blerg. Luckily, smart Kate had already packed, and only had to swipe on some chapstick and put on non-pajama clothing and drive to Chelsea’s abode.
Our roadtrip involved four people, one Honda Accord in a beautiful white, no CD’s or iPods that would work, and a lot of spontaneous opera (that’s what you get when you travel with a music major). There were two Kates, and the trip had some mix ups as a result, but nonetheless, we were a positive and happy group heading from Montana to Olympia, Washington.
We stopped about 30 miles out of town to get fresh mountain spring water flowing from a tap, and then stopped another 150 miles later to eat some 50’s diner themed fare- I got a cinnamon roll and bacon, Harlan devoured an enormous omelette, and the others got sides of things and we all sipped coffee from white, chipped mugs.
The next stop was to buy cherries and eat them in Idaho, then stopping again in Ritzville, Washington, to devour Zip’s burgers and fries. All in all, we stopped a lot. Probably more than necessary, but hey, we weren’t in a rush. Everybody took turns driving, taking full advantage of the 75 mph speed and the cruise control while the passenger seat person DJ’ed our drive (usually to country or whatever we could get).
Arriving at last in Olympia, Chelsea handled the traffic with ease as her inner city driver came out. She cut across lanes and maneuvered through the masses like a professional, and we pulled into her grandparent’s beautiful beach house at a prompt 6:00 pm. They greeted us with hugs (“We don’t do handshakes”) and took our things upstairs. Harlan, being of a different gender than us women folk, was banned to a couch, which Chelsea’s gracious grandmother quickly transformed into a luxurious bed with layers of blankets and many pillows- the couch was not a bad thing to sleep on!
The grandparents insisted on feeding us large amounts of food, and after saying grace, we enjoyed the view of the sound, and then took a turn on their yacht, Miracle, before collapsing in warm beds with the windows languishing a breeze upon us.
We woke up and once again were fed fresh food by the doting grandparents (Chelsea informed us we were officially honorary grandchildren) and all climbed back into the Honda. Chelsea once again sped us into Seattle in no time at all, and our first stop was my favorite: the aquarium!
Growing up in rural Utah and Montana, I appreciated every moment of my childhood spent in New York, Boston, Cape Cod and New Jersey, and relished the ocean. Any sort of aquarium automatically sucks me towards it; I was helpless upon entering! There was so much to do and see! We were allowed to pet sea urchins, anemones, sea slugs and cucumbers, and starfish! A lovely octopus was quite the actress, putting on a show of changing from a burnt orange to a beautiful deep red while swimming around, and the tanks of exotic tropical animals drew us in.
The aquarium went by quickly, and by the time we were out, we were craving something cool. A gelato shop just past Pikes Place looked doubtful, but my taste buds were soothed by the perfect hazelnut gelato, which could have easily passed as one I picked up in Lugano- the hazelnut, essentially, blended into the nocciolo flavor I got while downtown at school.
Post-aquarium and post-gelato we marched up to the Seattle Library, a beautifully designed building full of every type of city goer possible. Homeless people had their carts tucked in corners writing letters, and children sat in enormous chairs hearing stories read while people came in and out of elevators whisking people up 10 stories to see the panoramic view. The entire time I was surely a light green shade of envy, but also in absolute awe at the vastness of the resources available. They had books in Esperanto, Thai, Russian, Serbian, any language imaginable, and had beautiful books with hand-marbeled covers blending in with encyclopedia collections.
We walked down the spiral steps until finally giving in and taking the elevator, we walked to Iver’s, a Seattle classic with great clam chowder and a special treat for the brave. I ordered an extra side of fries, as Chelsea had previously told us of the option of feeding seagulls. The bold birds lined the fence, and we tossed them fries. The afternoon was wiled away by a ferry ride to Bremerton, and coming back, we climbed into the car and went to Olympia for dinner- finding I-5 was quite the adventure!
The Spar Cafe got our business- Chelsea had spent time here as a youth, and so we thought we’d kick back and enjoy Chelsea’s nostalgia. I ordered pesto pizza, which was delicious! A weak pesto is a sad thing, but no disappointments with this pesto- it had all the zing necessary!
We then drove back to the beach house and slept, ready for the next day of our road trip to get started.