Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our Latest Trip--Part I

So, for our latest adventure, we decided to load up the car and drive to the west coast. This was roughly 9-10 hours each way and we only had 3 days to do it (plus squeeze in the fun stuff we had planned). It was doable, but would've been more fun with more wiggle room.

The first day, we ate breakfast and hit the road. We managed to make it to the Montana border before pulling over at a rest stop to take a break and eat some sandwiches. Apparently people like to feed the ground squirrels at this rest stop (bad idea, people). They had no human fear at all and were quite aggressive little buggers. There are 6 of them in this picture (more are outside the frame) can you spot them all? Oh, and I was just sitting at the picnic table when I took this: Shortly after our stop, we crossed into Idaho and soon after that (we were driving I-90 across the panhandle), Washington: Washington was a new experience. Aside from the weather, central Washington looked like Texas, which surprised me (in a good way....the mountains are pretty in small doses, but they make me feel closed in--my natural habitat is wide open spaces and gently rolling hills). Also, all the rest stops we saw provided free coffee and cookies to help people stay awake while driving, which was nice.

We also got our first taste of Washington weather. We stopped for gas and it was starting to rain. By the time we filled up and ran the girls in for a bathroom break, it was really windy and then it started pouring rain and pea-sized hail. We parked under an overhang to wait it out and all the while, we had a nice view of "Blustery Burger" Finally, we made it to Seattle. We had enough reward points for a cheap hotel room, so we opted to do that and have a morning in the city
On our second morning, we had about 3 hours to spend in Seattle before we needed to move on to our next destination, so we chose to go to Pike Place Market and walk around. We were lucky enough to find street parking that was free that day, so that saved us some money. I definitely don't belong in a city...too much input for me. But despite the huge crowd, Pike Place was definitely a feast for the eyes.

The girls didn't want to leave this cheese shop. They were fascinated watching the workers stir the giant vat of milk and stack huge blocks of cheeseWhen we did get them to move on, they insisted on stopping to smell the bouquets at every flower stand They were less impressed with the fish smells. Sierra would pinch her nose shut as we walked by, while Sedona just jabbed her pointer finger in one nostril and thumb in the other My favorite sights were the fruit stands And some of the handmade goods were pretty cool too Before we left, we splurged and bought a $4 chocolate bar. This factory was one of the attractions I was hoping to stop at, but they require reservations for weekend tours and we hadn't done that. Their chocolate is organic and fair trade and they handle every step of the process from roasting the cocoa beans to actually making the bars. The chocolate was totally worth $4. Even Sierra (who has no idea how much it cost) blurted out, "this is REALLY good chocolate" as soon as she tasted it. While you won't find it at every corner store, they are available in a lot of places and available for online order as well. Check them out On our way out of town, we stopped for a close-up look of the Space Needle (more free street parking) By then, it was time to hit the road again. We made some PB&J sandwiches and got going.

We made it to our big destination, Great Wolf Lodge, that afternoon
I don't really have many pictures from here because I don't want to put pictures of other people's kids in swimsuits up and also because we only have our DSLR camera (which we weren't leaving out on a table at the water park), so we had to make a choice between getting in the water and playing with the girls, or taking pictures of them. Aside from a very short break where I took a few pictures and ran the camera back to the room, actually playing with the kids won out over picture taking. Here are a few from inside the lodge though

I won't lie...Great Wolf is expensive. But we were very happy with it and the kids had a blast. We will be going again at some point. One night was not quite enough to do everything we wanted to do. Aside from the big indoor water park, there's an arcade, spa, kid's club, and so much more. I appreciated that there's a refrigerator and microwave in each room too--we purchased an "add on" to our reservation that got us a large pizza, salad, breadsticks and 2L of coke for $10, so we did that for dinner (you had to get it at lunch time, but we picked it up as late as possible and saved it for dinner), but we were able to bring in our own food and not pay for breakfast or snacks, which helped with budgeting for this trip. I also like that the adults' wristbands, but not the kids', have a built-in RFID tag that doubles as your room key. So you don't have to take anything to the water park with you or worry about losing a key. If you want, you can also link your wristband to the credit card you paid for your room with and if you buy anything (like that caramel apple we picked up for a late night treat, or arcade tokens), you can just swipe your wristband, then you sign a receipt just like you would for a credit card. It was also nice to find swimsuit spinners in the locker room. You are allowed to stay in the water park the day you check out, but you have to leave your room at 11am. It was very nice to throw the swimsuits in the spinner and get them mostly dry before we loaded up in the car. I heart you Great Wolf. And should my linking to you get you to visit my humble little blog, I'd be more than happy to visit again with some freebies thrown in so I can do a more thorough review!! ;-) ( daughter's birthday is in October and we'll be in Texas, I'm sure she'd love to celebrate at the Grapevine location)

Part 2 of our trip coming up tomorrow!


Big Fat Gini said...

I need to know how you managed to not get queasy walking through the market. Because, the smell of that would make me gag now and I'm not even pregnant!

So glad y'all had such a great time! One of these days, I'll drag Jon and the boys to Great Wolf Lodge for a weekend o' fun! q

The Hills said...

The girls are overly dramatic about smells ever since all the "stinky geysers" in Yellowstone. The smell wasn't really bad at all ;-)

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