Saturday, May 16, 2009

San Juan Island

We rose early to drive up the coast to Anacortes where we hopped a ferry for an hour long ride to San Juan Island. We were somewhat expecting to see a kiosk selling espresso floating somewhere along the way to the island as there seems to be one every half block on the mainland. It was much colder than we had hoped and we weren't sure that our golf pullovers were going to cut the sting of the wind coming off the Pacific. We disembarked in Friday Harbor and mosied around the town for another hour before we got on the Sea Lion, a 55 foot cruiser to head out on a whale watching adventure. It wasn't long before we approached a pod of 22 or more Orca whales. Laws prohibited us from getting closer than 100 yard away so we were kicking ourselves for not bringing our paparazzi camera. The pictures in the album do not do the experience justice. We followed along side the whales for around an hour and a half and marveled at their leisurely behavior and their size. Ruffles, the largest male, had a dorsal fin that was estimated to be up to 6 feet high and was 18 tons. He was very easy to spot. Granny, the oldest whale in the pod, is estimated to be 98 years old, an age almost unheard of in the whale community.

On our return we passed a private island, originally owned by 2 wealthy taxidermists, that had been stocked with some exotic animals for hunting safaris. We saw a few bald eagles, some harbor seals, deer and mooflawn sheep (those were the exotic ones).

We got back just in time to get on the early ferry and head back to the mainland where we proceeded to sit in 2 hour bumper to bumper traffic all the way to Seattle. Mind you, this was at 8 p.m.!!!!!!! While this is decidedly one of the most beautiful states we have visited, we simply cannot understand how anyone could live here and deal with this kind of traffic on a daily basis. We heard that the metro area has added suicide hotline phones on the bridges due to the traffic. Have not verified that fact as of yet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sleepless In Seattle

No... Seriously, we really are sleepless! Between the rock hard bed, the arguments outside our bedroom window and the door to the stairway right next to our room slamming every 5 minutes in the morning we managed maybe 4 hours of sleep. As a Platinum Member with Holiday Inn we were told we had the best room in the hotel. No doubt it is very spacious with a separate bedroom, living room and kitchen. Its just a little louder than we expected. We arrived to a very cold, rainy evening Wednesday. It was so cold we could see our breath as we walked out of the airport to get to the rental car. What were we thinking? Didn't we leave Minnesota to escape this kind of weather? We made the best of it and tried to enjoy the 2 hour, bumber to bumper commute 35 miles north to our hotel where we got checked in and asked for a recommendation of a good seafood restaurant... We are, after all, right next to Puget Sound, so you'd think they'd be a dime a dozen here. We ended up going to a place called Arnie's.... not exactly a name you would associate with great seafood. However, we got there and had a great view of Puget Sound. And, regardless of the name, the food and the service was exceptional.

Today we rose to a fabulous breakfast of biscuits and gravy and set off on a drive on the Cascade Mountain Loop. We were flying by the seat of our pants and didn't have much of a travel plan. We spent the day hiking around the Cascade Mountains, which included several waterfalls, more snow than we would have ever imagined still on the mountains in the month of May, and a stop at a quaint town called Leavenworth. Its a Bavarian town about 3 blocks long lined with small specialty shops, wine rooms and bistros.

Considering we have an early morning ahead of us and the fact that we had an exhausting day, we decided to buy a bottle of wine, some cheese and San Francisco sour dough and spent a relaxing evening in our hotel room watching the Wedding Singer (one of Michelle's favorites).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Futbol to Fabulous!

What a whirlwind weekend it was for the girls. They played in the Dakota Rev soccer tournament and had games Friday night, Saturday morning and Sunday morning. On Saturday after the 10 a.m. game we rushed home so the girls could shower and get ready for their big night at prom. All I can say is Thank God for Molly. She came to the house and did both of the girls hair in a very short amount of time. They looked absolutely stunning! After their dates arrived we proceeded to take a plethora of pictures (slide show to be posted soon). We started with pictures at our house and followed that with a trip to Memorial Park where all of their friends were. With 20 or more kids, it was extremely difficult to get any pictures where they were all looking at the camera. After the last photo we rushed to the High School to watch the Grand March. Every girl was dazzling and the boys were all very handsome. They all seemed to be beaming with grins from ear to ear as they took a "Walk through Paradise", which was the theme of the dance. As we left there were limousines lining the parking lot. We had a minor emergency because Stephi couldn't find her school id so she could get into the dance. Luckily John knew exactly where it was, so we drove home and brought it back to the school before their limo-bus picked the group up. As we left them at the school mom got a little teary eyed to see how beautiful and grown up the girls looked. We were comforted by the fact that they were together and both of their dates are very respectable and responsible and knew they'd be home by their curfew (which was extended to 1 a.m. for the big day). Suprisingly, Julia was home long before the curfew because she was battling a terrible cold and was exhausted. Stephanie arrived home at 1 a.m. on the nose. After some chatting about their evening we all went to bed so we could get up early and be back at the soccer field by 9:15 a.m. for our final game in the tournament. Needless to say, after the game we all went home and took a well deserved nap.