Kind of how the Civic felt near the end of the trip, but it unfortunately did not smell quite so nice

Traveling with two boys in a Honda Civic has its moments, but there is nothing quite like the hug you get from a friend you miss.  The three of us were ripe after a few days camping in Northern Washington and enjoying the sun in a park somewhere in Seattle where Sam escaped a near duck attack from two very curious feathered friends. We stretched in the sun with grumbling tummies, while we waited to hear from our gracious host, my dear friend Alejandro, who had agreed to take all three of us in for the night before we headed south.

I was so excited about seeing my friend that I almost forgot how much fun Seattle could be.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner, not cooked over camp fire, of fantastic tacos and an evening walk in Seattle’s Gas Works Park.  The park includes remnants of the former coal processing plant that once stood there and is often used for public gatherings including fireworks, open air concerts and peace rally or two, I suppose.

He showed me his basement beer operation, and introduced me to his latest, delicious mistake- “bowl beer”, so name because you had to open in a bowl because most of the beer wanted to escape the bottle before you could drink it.  The next day, we had a fantastic west coast breakfast (that means that salmon was in what ever we were eating) and mingled with the locals at the food market.  Warning:  The market was enough to make a Go Girl want pick up and move (sorry Chicago).  Fruits, veggies, cheese, baked goods, music and more.  Sigh, it must have been a dream.

Bowl Beer

Just after a late lunch of University of Washington’s finest food, spicy pho with plenty of sprouts, Alejandro got the call.  There was a giant water slide set up on the lawn in the middle of campus that screamed slide down me.  Like a little kid, I suited up,  excited to slip down the slide.  I was anxious to try it and a tad shy in my cherry covered one-piece.  Let me tell you- if someone ever sets up a giant water slide, just do it.  It was worth every bruise and grass wedgie.  Worth it.

It was too soon that I was hugging him goodbye and we were on our way to Portland, Oregon to visit another one of my long, lost loves- Amy.  The two of us had a girls night out and left the boys at her parents house to contend with her adopted German Shepherd, Nita.  A glass or two of Sangria later and we were dancing like we were in Spain again, except the music was all Michael Jackson (it was just a few days after his passing) and we were the only ones really dancing.

Of course we visited the famous Voodoo Donuts after a fun dinner with friends.  Austin and I split something delicious, and the entire group was intrigued by the option to have a Voodoo wedding in the shop, complete with donuts.  The thought to marry Amy on the spot crossed my mind more than once, but reality set in and it was nearly time to return home.

We laughed, talked about missing Barcelona, and fell right together like no time had passed at all.  That’s how it is with friends like Amy and Alejandro; I’ve traveled with the two of them, lived with them, and shared bottles of wine on long nights.  Those are the people you can trust for a good hug, secret jokes, and a place to sleep.  When you have become lost with somebody in conversation and in a foreign place you never forget them, and a special few of those people become your life long loves.

The boys and I returned the Civic to it’s owner and said our goodbyes to the west coast.  Sam and I had a new adventure waiting for us in Chicago and I could hardly stand the wait to find out what the future would hold.