10 August 2008

Northwest Tour, Part 1: Seattle/Lynden

Back from vacation! It's good to be home, but I also had a lot of fun and I don't want to forget it. For your entertainment, and for my memory, here goes. :-)

The last 10 days I've been in the northwest-most corner of our country, not counting Alaska of course. Well, and I guess I was also in the southwest-most corner of Canada. I visited my grandparents (on my dad's side) in Lynden, ferried across to Sidney (Vancouver Island) to see friends I've known since childhood, and then hopped a ride out of Anacortes with a cousin to spend a few days camping and skiing with my aunt and uncle in eastern Washington.

After flying into Seattle last Thursday at 7:30am, I was planning on getting a coffee while I waited for the shuttle to Bellingham to leave at 10am. I even held off having my usual morning coffee before I left home. I was really looking forward to famous Seattle coffee! I got off the plane, picked up my baggage, and started looking around for a good spot to sit. But first, I figured I should check out the shuttle area and stick close to that end of the airport. I walked outside, a uniformed guy asked me if I was headed for Bellingham, I said yes, and before I knew it I was on board! So much for coffee...
The Space Needle, Seattle

The sun tried to peek through the clouds, between raindrops.

This guy had a license plate that read "MAGNETS". The little white specks?
Hundreds of those conversational fridge magnets!

After a couple hours of riding and picture-taking, the shuttle brought me to the Bellingham airport, where Grandpa and Grandma were waiting for me. We all got in the car, and the first thing on our agenda was coffee. :-) Grandpa started to head for a gas station, but Grandma (thankfully!) said, "I don't think that's quite what she had in mind." We found a little coffee shack that referenced moose droppings in its name and after a few sips I decided the description was quite accurate. Should have gone to the gas station.
Next we stopped at a giant hardware store, appropriately called "Hardware Sales", so Grandpa could get a few supplies for his projects at their new house in Lynden. Apparently the business spans several buildings across the street from the one we were in, but each looked different. Inside the hardware store, we went up and down tiny little aisles just big enough for one person to walk down, stuffed floor to ceiling with parts. Grandpa was in heaven. He told me it was one of his favorite stores. Just when I thought we were finished and heading for the register, suddenly a staircase appeared on our left and up we went. There's a whole other level up there! I had never seen so many parts. Home Depot, good riddance. Later Grandpa explained the employees' "high tech" system for getting things from the upstairs office to the cashiers, who stand directly below the second-floor office, at the registers on the first floor. They drop them. Yes, the drop items down to the cashiers, or use a little rope with clips attached. No worries about workers' comp there. On to Grandpa and Grandma's house...
Grandpa hard at work replacing the In-Sink-Erator. Yes, that's really what it's called.

Grandpa and Grandma on the front deck of their new house.

Friday morning we were sitting at breakfast and I started asking Grandpa questions about Lynden. "How many people live here?" "I don't know," he said. "Look in the phone book." We figured there would be some sort of demographic information in the front. So I started flipping through the pages, one by one. I came to a page that gave information about crossing the border. Nope, not what I'm looking for, next page. Wait. There's something about that page... (brain cells started waking up at this point--no coffee at G&G's house) Oh no. Ohhh... NOOooo.... I suddenly remembered that in order to get across the Canadian border to spend the next 3 days with my friend Charlene, I would need a little itty bitty piece of paper known as a passport. I have a passport. It is a very nice one. It even has my name and picture inside so they know it's really me. There's only one problem with my passport--it doesn't pack itself. With technology these days, can't they fix that? Multiple phone calls later (maybe 15 total?), after all the panic and drama had subsided, my passport had been put in the mail, compliments of my dear friends Monica and Susan. Dear, dear friends. Hey guys, have I told you how dear you are to me? They were sweet enough to break into my house, find the closest mail place, and spot me the one hundred fifteen dollars it cost to get the passport to Lynden by 11am the next morning. Like Grandpa said, for $115, I might as well have chartered a plane and gone down to Boise to get it myself. Criminy.
Later that day I was in dire need of sugar and good company, so when my cousin Philip invited me to hang out with him, his girlfriend Andrea, and her two roommates over at her place, I jumped on it. We got to catch up while Grandpa and Grandma were at a friend's wedding on Friday night.

On Saturday morning, we picked up Aunt Marian and headed for the ferry at Anacortes.

Beautiful countryside just outside of Lynden. I think those are blueberry bushes on the left?

More beautiful views. I just couldn't get enough of the blue and green.

Aunt Marian along for the ride.

Grandpa looking cool in his aviators.

Aunt Marian, Grandma, and Grandpa, seeing me off at the ferry.


Deb said...

Criminy indeed!!

Heather Hekman said...

Those are beautiful pictures. Sorry you had to pay so much for convenience, but glad your friends were there for you!

Anonymous said...

So where is the link to Grandpa & Grandma's new blog? : )

Glad to see they are doing well!