Our last stop on this westward adventure was Salt Lake City. We had lunch with Mel (a former playwrighting student from Iowa) and then headed off to Temple Square. If one only has a couple hours in Salt Lake it seemed like the thing to do. And yes, we did hear a pin drop at the Mormon Tabernacle. David noted that we went between demographic extremes: in Downtown Seattle, pets outnumber children 4 to 1, while large families seem to be the norm in these parts.
Tomorrow an early morning flight with a layover in Denver. Tomorrow we'll post about all the things we are excited to come home to!
Sorry we got behind, we've been with THE KROEGERS!!!!
We did some swimming, some hiking, a little drinking, and generally had a great time. We had a blast at a mountainside party/concert, complete with a ride up the ski lift to admire the wildflowers on the way down. (This has been the trip of heights for AmyRuth). Our swimming adventure was at Lava Hot Springs. The pool was a perfect temperature for AmyRuth, although the slides - especially the 5 story one that went over the highway was a bit much for the 3 McGraws who tried it. We saw bears at the zoo and the kids experimented with skateboards and scooters at the skate park. (YiYing was much more skilled with the hula hoops at the concert. And hula hoops are more our style.)
We highly recommend the local sarsaparilla as well as the $1 ice cream. We also recommend spending the last several days of a long trip with good friends - eating homemade food, playing games, and sending kids off to play with each other so grown ups can have real conversation.
No photos this time - they're all on the camera and not on the iPad.
Today was the one day where we really just needed to get from one place to another. We left Seattle feeling ready to come back any time. We had a wonderful time and we know that we only saw and did a fraction of what was possible.
Today's drive took us east through Washington, the northeast corner of Oregon, and into Idaho (with a minimum of car sickness.) Our stopover point is Boise - and we know someone here! (David is starting to think I know someone everywhere.) It was great to see Claire (a fellow Obie) and meet her beautiful daughters. Many thanks to her for feeding us a home cooked meal.
After expending energy in the hotel pool, we are headed to bed. Tomorrow Pocatello and the Kroegers!!!
We had quite the day - starting at Pike's Place Market and ending with dinner on the waterfront with a "Ride the Ducks" excursion and a visit to the science museum in between. We highly recommend the light rail system for getting in and out of town.
We are bushed, so mostly pictures from today. More writing tomorrow.
We have been rotating the posts and today is my (David's) turn. After a great, but sadly brief, visit with Ryan Seeberger and his family, we ventured into Seattle.
I thought I would prefer Portland, but Seattle has been my favorite city to vist thus far. In a statement that will surprise absolutely no one, I love order and efficiency, and Seattle has not disappointed. Plus it is incredibly beautiful!
Seattle is what a major city in Maine would look like. Puget Sound is gorgeous and the water is surrounded by pine-covered hills leading to mountains. I would love to catch an Indians/Mariners game with my father and my son here.
In true tourist fashion, our first stop was the Space Needle.
The whole Seattle Center is wonderful and we hope to return tomorrow. I am very jealous of Seattle Children's Theatre's location. We also happened upon a pretty amazing fountain.
We ended the day with dinner on the water with AmyRuth's high school friend Kat. We unfortunately can't see all of our West Coast friends, but it has been great to connect with people in just about every city. Next stop: Pike Place Market!
Today we went to Portland zoo, it was so fun. We also went to Powell's Books, Dad said we(mom YiYing and me) should get 3 books, but I got 5. It's ten o'clock now so "bye,bye"! Paul!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(p.s. I'm awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We started the day meeting a high school classmate of AmyRuth's and her family in a local park. After the kids got acquainted, we headed off to a local place for breakfast biscuit sandwiches and cinnamon rolls - yum! Then we all went off to the zoo. The animals were mostly resting, but a polar bear, even when napping, is impressive.
After we said our goodbyes, we headed off to Powell's Books where we may have gone a bit overboard. The line at Voodoo doughtnuts was still too long to brave so we are holding out for them in Seattle.
After a quick stopover at the hotel we introduced the kids to Sweet Tomatoes - a favorite from Arizona days. Then we headed to the North Clackamas Aquatic Center where we spent a couple hours in the wave pool and on the water slides. With luck the kids are so worn out they won't move a muscle in bed. (Unlike the thrashers we slept with last night.)
Tomorrow we bid goodbye to Portland and head for the northern most point of our trip - Seattle - before we head east to Idaho. More soon!
We love Portland. It is very fun. We very much enjoy the Saturday Market (which happens on Sunday too!) We very much recommend it.
In the morning we went to OMSI - the science museum - and we saw real mummies. (We debated whether to call them "real live mummies" or "real dead mummies." Dad suggested if we met the former we would need to run fast.) It is sort of scary seeing mummies - including mummies of children and animals. In the mummy exhibit there was a story of a young woman, her husband, and their baby son. The mom had a disease (TB) and she gave it to her husband and son and they all died. Very sad. They were discovered, along with over 100 other mummies in a tomb in Hungary. They had been naturally mummified. Now their remains are being used to help develop better vaccines for people with drug resistant TB. Fascinating stuff. This exhibit is the result of a discovery of multiple mummies in the basement storage of a museum in Germany.
After the mummy exhibit, we went to the Saturday Market. We weren't sure why it was so crowded and hard to park. From a distance we thought we saw a parade. David wondered if it was a political demonstration. Turns out we were there on the morning of the Pride parade. We enjoyed a variety of things for lunch - pizza, burritos, potato pancakes, and pierogies. Yum. Topped that all of with "elephant ears." We did a little Christmas shopping and AmyRuth bought herself a graduation present. In a small world moment AmyRuth bumped into a student from her ASL class. Hawkeyes all over the world I guess.
After the market we went back to OMSI to do more of their permanent exhibits. David and the kids went on the submarine tour. They would recommend it. We learned how the crew slept, ate, and even took showers. We got to look through the periscopes. There was a navy vet on the tour who was sharing stories during the tour as well.
The chemistry lab was a hit, as was the ball room and the earthquake simulator. We probably could have stayed for another hour or 2 but at 6 we decided dinner was a good plan. A local burger place did the trick and now we're trying to calm down at the hotel so we can all get some rest before the zoo tomorrow!
Last night was the hooding ceremony and reception (intimate and lovely!) and today was the big graduation on the football field. Hot. The kids really hung in there. When the ceremony was done, we left Monmouth and headed into Salem to explore. First to the children's museum, then to the carousel, then for frozen yogurt with many toppings, and lastly out for burgers. Tomorrow we are excited to head to the science museum and the open air market in Portland. May there be Voodoo Donuts in our future.