August 29, 2017 – Tuesday – Tacoma/Seattle
Well, we cancelled the idea of a boat ride after we found out we had to reserve our sandwich choices for the boat ride by 3 pm the day before. We aren’t THAT organized, and dammit, we want food (including some kind of blueberry buckle that is offered) on our boat ride. So we reserved for tomorrow afternoon instead. At least the kids burst into our room at some ungodly hour demanding we wake up as we were going to be late for the boat ride (sorry kids, plans changed. Kudos to Noah for keeping track of our schedule).
We decided to switch our Seattle day to today, and went to the Museum of Flight today. It is located next to Boeing field south of Seattle, and is the #2 ranked attraction on TripAdvisor in Seattle! (#1 being some kind of garden of glass sculptures (sounds like a poor idea for our family)). So we showed up coincidentally just as it opened; Matt was so pumped. This place was huge and had lots of airplanes, history, NASA stuff, moon landing stuff (Sarah: “why bother going over the history of something that was faked?”), and even airplanes that you can tour. Matt and Braden were in heaven (seriously, MiG-15 & F-86 and F-4 & MiG-21 side by side, plus you could sit in a real SR-71 cockpit!). The rest of us… well…. Just kidding, everyone had a good time. Had fun with the kid’s area, the cafeteria, the buttons you could press on displays, and the gift shop. Won’t lie, going inside all the different planes was pretty cool (you could go in the old Air Force One that Kennedy used, and in a Dreamliner, among others), and Sarah loves DB Cooper and the history with the Enola Gay, so that’s cool. Matt’s trip highlight has happened!
We then made a poor decision and thought, it’s only 2:30, let’s drive up to Seattle and go to the Space Needle! We found some ridiculously expensive parking across the street from it, gawked at all the hipsters and restaurants (advertising themselves as unique, artisan, organic, microbrew, we have beards and flannel, we are special snowflakes), and headed on over. We paid WAY more money than we will ever admit to go up to the top of the Needle, watch the kids argue and then Zoe snapped, stabbing everyone with the small airplane umbrella she had purchased at the Flight Museum with her trip money (thanks Grandpa Bob!) until she was hauled down (with B) by Sarah back to the car. Noah and Matt enjoyed a more pleasant experience following that. We’re going to tell the kids later it was awesome.
We then drove back to Tacoma in rush hour traffic (yah for car pool lanes! Boo for forest/brush fires right along the highway (WHY DO THESE FIRES FOLLOW US??)). Kids ate left over pizza and enjoyed dessert consisting of cookie chunks and vanilla ice cream from Metropolitan Market (we are going to hell at this point anyway, might as well enjoy ourselves). We had a salad from the Market and then Matt went out and got us wine and a cheese and meat tray from Stink. Yes, we have been making fun of the name of this cheese/tapas/wine place since we first saw it when we visited two years ago, and then tonight we were like, fuck it, we have to actually go there now.
The owner was lovely and made recommendations to Matt and we had a Spanish red wine of some kind, a cured meat and cheese plate. It was delicious, and perfect to enjoy looking out over the Bay.
Beer of the day? None, we had red wine. From Spain, in western Europe.
August 30, 2017 – Wednesday – Tacoma/Edmonds
We awoke and laid around the house for the early morning hours, eating donuts as we have done every morning. The temperature, previously having been in the high 80s for days, had dropped to the mid 60s and foggy. Today was day of Sarah’s trip highlight, the boat trip! Now when scheduling this, all Sarah wanted was to be on a boat on a large body of water. Matt interpreted this to be “Let’s go whale watching!” So we were signed up for a whale watching tour that departed from Edmonds, which is north of Seattle.
We motored up there, and decided to get a “pre-lunch” at McDonald’s in Edmonds (we were early) and all of us just got one thing to eat. We went to a cute little park (we weren’t even embarrassed that this was clearly a fancy park with a pool and private tennis lessons, and we were the trashy people with out of state plates who rolled up with McDonald’s) and lunched. We then headed down to the Port of Edmonds and the docks. There was about 2 dozen people on the tour with us, along with the captain and two naturalists, and this tour’s niche was that you didn’t have to take a ferry to an island to get on a boat, you got to get on a faster boat from “the mainland”. They motored us up the Sound at about 40 mph toward the San Juan Islands, and then slowed down when orcas or other sea life were found.
We settled in and they did a presentation about the orcas (Sarah: “wow, these orcas look like killer whales!” Matt: stunned silence), including about reproduction, the pods they live in, the fact that some are transient and some are resident, etc. It was very well done. They communicate with the other tours, so they all tell each other whenever they find the orcas, and told us today would be a good day for watching as there were a lot out! When they don’t find orcas, they hand you a ticket to come back another day for free.
We saw so many! The naturalists could tell by their dorsal fins which ones they were and how old they were. It was really amazing. One of the naturalists had a crazy long lens and took photos the entire time that you could buy on a CD at the end, which was a clever idea. We motored up over to Protection Island and there there were sea lions resting on shore alone with tufted puffins, the cutest birds ever! We also saw eagles attacking the sea lions and their pups (not as cute (and kind of gory on those close up photos)). Apparently they rarely ever see so much wildlife on one boat ride. Or maybe they use that line every time, but it was pretty cool.
Also good were Cheesemonger sandwiches (we got sucked in by the fancy sounding name – they are probably made in a shed at the marina by the naturalists between boat rides), coffee, and blueberry buckle that we all ate. This was a slick operation. We also had to medicate Noah and B for seasickness preventively, but honestly, we think B just thought it was candy and wanted in it on it. All in all, it was a really fantastic ride – started out at about 2:20 and we got back around 7 pm.
We wanted something nice for supper for ourselves, so for the kids we went to Costco and got them smoothies and hot dogs. That they ate in the car. They were thrilled. (well, except for Z who was way overtired and cried the entire 1 hour ride home, which is ironic as she is the one who requested Costco, but that’s what you get for taking a 3 year old’s suggestion of where to get dinner from). Got home, kids into bed, and we got take out from Duke’s, which is a local Seattle/Tacoma seafood chain, with all sustainably harvested seafood. Sarah had stuffed prawns and Matt had a rockfish taco, and we both enjoyed different kinds of clam chowder, which were excellent. Our menu book at the cottage had one of the kinds circled with the words “must try”, so Matt did (he doesn’t usually cave to peer pressure so easily, unless it involves food).
Beer of the night: High Road Scotch Ale from Walking Man Brewery, Stevenson, WA. Pretty good heavy Scotch.
August 31, 2017 – Thursday – Tacoma (last full day – sniff, sniff)
Another lazy morning! One last morning of donuts, so many donuts. We never want to see donuts again. Our plan was to hit up all the random stuff we had wanted to do and didn’t. We ticked off our list:
- Point Defiance Zoo – Matt has so many memories of walking Noah in a stroller back and forth, wishing he would stop crying. Wait, who was crying? Either way, kids had a great time until the last ½ hour. Really wish they wouldn’t have figured that out when we were in the way back near the elephants, during a presentation. Zoe went from happy to unhappy and B just began running away from us. Everyone agreed: the animals were cool, especially the giant walrus and the tufted puffins. However, the ice cream for lunch and the gift shop were also great!
- Wait, that WAS our list. Well, we didn’t make it to Chinatown to check out the ghetto-ass long term stay motel that we stayed in during Sarah’s orientation out here. The one that had its own alarm system with the password “Jesus”. We didn’t sleep a wink there, partially due to Noah being 3 months old and partially due to being utterly terrified. We also didn’t make it to Ruston Way to walk peacefully along the Bay. I mean, really, let’s be realistic.
- For the sake of having this list, we did go to a toy store on Proctor Street which was excellent and the kids purchased toys to bring home (“souvenirs”). Braden and Noah both thought this was the best part of vacation.
Dinner was whatever anyone wanted, as long as they were eating it out of the fridge or cabinet so we didn’t have to throw it away. Mac and cheese and goldfish with plain bread? Go wild, kiddos. Nothing but a bag of carrots? Yummy. We as adults ate all the leftover random cheese and tuna packets (unsure why we bought packets of tuna) and crackers as well as a bottle of wine.
Beer(s) of the night: Fog Bank Fall Ale – Diamond Knot Craft Brewing, Interurban IP – Fremont Brewing, Brothers Imperial IPA – Fremont Brewing (Matt drank beer anyway, so it wouldn’t “go to waste”)
September 1, 2017 – Friday – Tacoma, WA to Waupaca, WI
NO MORE DONUTS EVER AGAIN. We grazed on all the food we had randomly left in the house and then cleaned up, and packed up our stuff and we were off! Actually, we were off to Target because we needed a duffle bag as our four suitcases were not enough because of the kid toy purchases. Then we re-packed and we were off to the airport! We straggled in early for our 4 pm flight, kids ate McDonald’s (whatever, it made the kids happy (they barely eat it any way, they just want the toys/apple slices/chocolate milk), and then on to the plane and we were off! Again, we are so impressed by Southwest! The staff is great and the other passengers seem pretty chill too (although our guess is high maintenance types aren’t taking the “Friday of Labor Day weekend” 4 pm SEA to MKE flight on Southwest, just saying). We are won over (doesn’t take much). We landed in Milwaukee uneventfully, shuttled to our car uneventfully, and then food (mommy and daddy opted for a quick classy Arby’s stop), and we were off for Waupaca! Miss Debbie, who was watching our house, helpfully texted that she had left us juice and donuts for the next morning. (Next morning – kids: “Donuts! Donuts! Why don’t we ever get donuts!?! Miss Debbie bought us donuts! Yah!”). And home we arrived at 1 am, exhausted. Another trip done….
** there is no photo of the end of the trip as you don’t want to see what we looked like after we rolled in here around 1 am**