Wednesday, May 28, 2014


We left Friday at about 5 pm and took our sweet time getting to I-90.  First, we dropped the dog at the kennel, where he acted as if he couldn’t get away from us fast enough.  It’s a good thing he’s just as happy to go home as he is to get there, otherwise I would worry.  It starts with the whining and squealing when we get off the freeway, then evolves to prancing in the backseat and trying to move back and forth between the back window and the windshield to get a better view of the kennel.  Aren’t we going to the kennel?  We’re going to the kennel, right?  THERE IT IS, THE KENNEL.  I SAW IT.  I SAW IT.  WE’RE GOING THERE.


We leisurely drove the back roads and avoided I-405 and the mess that is Greater Seattle Traffic (it’s totally a proper noun), arriving in North Bend right around dinner time.  We went on our merry way, hitting some traffic over the pass and finally arriving in Richland shortly after 11 PM.  We put the kids to bed (Jamie sang and danced in bed for at least ten minutes, happy to have arrived at last), watched the meteor shower (we saw one meteor), and took ourselves to bed.  All in all, a fine trip.


Our way back, however, tested the limits of car and bladder endurance.  We left Richland around 11 am on Monday, Memorial Day.  I knew that the pass would be busy, I was totally prepared for a slow drive over, but I failed to take into account the many thousands of people leaving the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge that same day.  Not your regular holiday traffic.  As we passed Ellensburg, I thought, hmm, there’s an easy rest stop near Cle Elum, we’ll stop there for a bathroom break. 


Juuuuust beyond the last Ellensburg exit, we slowed to a stop.  A dead standstill.  Not even a crawl.




It took us two hours to drive the 21 miles from Ellensburg to the Cle Elum rest stop.  At one point, a young guy got out of the car next to us (clearly a Sasquatch attendee) and walked on his hands around the car he had just vacated.  “Girls,” Tony said.  “He’s riding with girls.  He has to show off.”  Whatever, if I could walk on my hands, I’d do it all the time.


Do you have (or have you had) small, potty-trained boys?  Ever noticed how they can’t just pull their pants down a little ways, or unzip their flies (if they even have them) to pee?  No, they have to drop their pants all the way to the ground, putting their cute, little boy-butts on display as they do their business.  Lucky me, I got to teach Jamie and Charles about why they shouldn’t pee into the wind.


You know who didn’t pee by the side of the road, a road bordered by fields and low scrub bushes, with nary a copse of trees in sight?  Me.  I’m not sure I could have balanced to squat anyhow, but there was literally no place to go.  I held it until the rest stop, at which point I didn’t even get an offer to let me, the visibly pregnant lady, cut to the front of the line.  Where has common courtesy gone?


We split off a couple of miles (and many, many minutes) later to head north on Highway 97.  We hooked up with Highway 2 and started over the pass.  It was a beautiful drive and passed at a reasonable pace.


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A rest stop near the Wenatchee River


Until we got to 20 miles east of Sultan (which is on the west side of the pass, about 30 miles from Everett).  Then, another standstill.  Stopped cars, no explanation.  Except, weirdly, every once in awhile we would move about 50 car lengths.  It took us two-and-a-half hours to drive the 20 miles into Sultan.  The reason?  Sultan has three stoplights, all of them timed for about 50 car lengths, despite the nonexistence of cross-traffic. 


Of course, the entire time we were stuck outside of Sultan, the kids asked, every five minutes, “When are we gonna beeee theeeerrre?”


We arrived home around 8 pm, hungry, tired, and sore (if you’re keeping score at home, that’s a NINE HOUR CAR TRIP).  At least I was sore.  My back, my butt, my pelvis, my hips.  I was dehydrated because the last thing I wanted to do was have to pee every half an hour, especially when we might not have moved more than five miles in that half an hour and there was no bathroom anyway.


It’s the mark of a good weekend, however, when a drive like that cannot eclipse the fun we had.



Boy cousins had the BEST time together


We played with cousins and I got to catch up with a great friend (who also happens to be my sister-in-law).  Tony’s brother-in-law set up an elaborate splash park in their backyard and we had a barbeque that was also (surprise!) a birthday party for me.

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Cousin Juliet was BEGGING to have her chubby cheeks chomped all weekend.  Lucky for her, I was too hot and swollen to attack her in all her cuteness.


My friend Maggi visited from Walla Walla, so we got to sit around and be lumps of pregnant inertia together.  We’re due within three days of each other, so I’m hoping our babies can be birthday buddies.


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Ultimately, the weekend trip was all about family.  We won’t get a chance to drive east again for awhile, and despite the God-awful trip home, I’m really, really, really glad we went.


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But I’ll say this: Never again will we travel on Memorial Day.  Never.  Again.

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