Not feeling my best (thank you summer cold...in a state where it is damn near impossible to buy real sudafed) and the most of the gang feeling the effects of the wineries the day before it was a slow morning. A good friend of ours (T and I) drove down from Portland to spend the day with us and to get to spend some time on the Oregon coast. It was the perfect day for a trip to the coast too - cool, cloudy with some rain thrown in! Breakfast was here, then we made our way west.
Destination? The Sea Lion Caves. Not often you get to say you've been to the world's largest sea cave, and get to see whales! That's right, you heard me right...whales. Besides Gail (friend from PDX) it was everyone's first time there...again, you heard me right: T and I drove by there countless times on the way to other things (hikes, camping, wine festivals) on the coast and never stopped!
Then we stopped at a beach so people who needed to reconnect with the ocean could get their fix. It's T's thing. The water, even in July was freakin' cold.
After that we made our way back to Eugene for a lovely dinner here with an influential person from T's academic career at the U of O. Great food, great wine and even better company.
Time to say good-bye to Oregon, after a quick stop at Pre's Rock, and head back to Seattle. Well, with one small detour that is...Mt. St. Helen's.
Beautiful, awe-inspiring scenery. Right up to the point where the mountain was socked in by clouds so you really couldn't see it. T and I had been there previously on a gorgeous day but didn't have a camera. This time we're prepared for photographs and what's left of the mountain wouldn't co-operate! Bastards!
Last day. A bit more site seeing, including the Boeing factory in Everett, WA. I'd love to be able to show you some pictures but you'd think that they were protecting secret technology there or something! We did get to see the DreamLifter land though.
One last phenomenal meal - sushi that was awesome - before the arduous task of stuffing 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag, or packing, began. I may have not mentioned earlier, but on the winery tour day some of the travelers procured 12 bottles of wine to take home. That's not a typo, 12. One case. Anyone who has traveled in the last 8 years or so knows that you can't carry that shit on anymore! Not to mention a 50 pound limit per suitcase. Hilarity would ensue later. Took one last chance to catch a beautiful sunset over the pacific...gotta savor it 'cause you never know when you'll be back in shangri-la, I mean the PNW.
At the airport finally. Never mind the near death experience when the cabby almost ran the mini-van off the road (nice driving T!) and I'm not going to mention almost having to spend the night in the Chicago airport but I'm going to direct your attention to check-in. Remember the wine?
While we're waiting in line D, who is with us but bought his ticket later so he's traveling on his own, comes by and says his suitcase was under the limit and he's good. He then disappeared into the security line.
V, his companion in the wine buying, plopped her suitcase up on the scale and it weighed in a whopping 75 pounds. OVER THE 50 POUND LIMIT. I nearly pissed myself trying not to laugh at the expression on the face of the person checking us in that day. The wonderful person behind the counter pointed out that if she split up the bag into two, there would only be a $50 charge for the second bag as opposed to the $125 extra-weight fee. No dice, no extra bag. Cha-ching for the airline. The woman did do V a solid though...she only charged her the over-weight fee, not the fee for just checking a bag.
Things were fairly uneventful the rest of the day, right up until we evidently lost an engine as we approached GR. Even got a warning from the flight deck not to be alarmed by the fire trucks/etc on the ground when we landed.
So there you have it - 2009 PNW Summer Tour. All in all it was a great trip. We got to spend some much needed time back home and we got to show that home off to friends. It was just what I needed after the last three years and the years to come until we end up back there.