Alaska Road Trip: Day 25 (The Final Chapter)

We arrived in Bellingham, Washington just before 8:00 am and quickly packed up our belongings. 

The disembarking process was painfully slow. Tightly parked vehicles on the car deck are not conducive to loading luggage. The passengers all seemed agitated and tempers were slowly rising. These kids were hungry.

But at least they were happy.

It was, however, another we-are-not-ready-for-a-trip-to-South-Africa realization.

We stopped at a gas station with doughnuts and bananas and drove towards Seattle. Although we were originally scheduled to spend two full days and two nights in Seattle, Steve was suddenly very anxious to get home to return to work. Sonora Grill's magnetic forcefield didn't reach us while we were in Alaska, but Seattle is, apparently, within range.

I convinced Steve to at least let us stop at Pike Place Market. Because I love fruit. And because the kids had never been to Seattle and everyone who goes to Seattle needs to go to Pike Place.

Suddenly, amidst the busyness of the city, those four kids seemed so small.

We admired the pretty flowers: 

And the brightly colored vegetables:

We bought some delicious peaches. . . and strawberries. . . and raspberries:

We watched guys at the Pike Place Fish Co. throw some fish: 

And then, amongst the thousands and thousands of people at Pike Place Market:

We looked over and saw these guys:

I wish I had an audio recording of Sam. It went something like this: "What? What! What? WHAT!"

We didn't know they were in Seattle, and they didn't know we were in Seattle. It was wild.

Of course, I quickly asserted my position that we needed to stay in Seattle for the day. Because that's what you do when you run into your brother and his family when you are eight hundred miles from home. Sam is one of Steve's favorite people in the whole world, so I knew I had some bargaining power. Steve was completely focused on getting home, but he reluctantly agreed that we could go to the Space Needle with them.

We walked back to our vehicles and couldn't believe that we were parked seven cars away from their Pilot. 

We (narrowly) made it to the Space Needle without losing any of the kids. 

Sam didn't stop talking during any of the five pictures I took of the group. 

Blue skies and warm temperatures made for a ridiculously long line at the Space Needle. And none of us could successfully download the program to let us pre-buy our tickets from our phones. 

So Sam and Kacie saved the day by letting me and the kids use their city passes to go up without them. (Steve refused to go up to the top of the Space Needle, saying it was the lamest tourist attraction ever.) 

Kacie quickly took India to the mall. Sam and Steve stayed with Fred and Finn. And I took the four kids to the top of the Space Needle. Lucy wins the prize for the best facial expression: 

The views were pretty amazing: 

This is what Sam looked like when a man came up to him and Steve and offered to take a picture of "their family". It's too bad that they instinctively said no because a picture would have been awesome. 

After all of that waiting, Steve decided that we needed to go eat at Paseo.

Because they have the best Cuban pork sandwiches ever. 

The small seating area inside the restaurant was already overflowing with customers, so we decided to take our food to the Fremont Troll Bridge. It was, quite possibly, one of the worst decisions of our entire trip.

There we were, with bags and bags of to go boxes. (Because sometimes Steve wants to order the entire menu.)

The food was fabulous:

But it was not the right atmosphere. Because the Troll Bridge is actually disgusting. 

 Some of the adults (and one of the kids) were good sports and dug right in:

Some of the kids wished they had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich:

Some of the kids thought the thick layer of dirt was just as good as a sandy beach: 

And some of the kids were completely grossed out. I can hear Rachel's voice, "There are homeless people who live under this bridge and they go to the bathroom outside. So this dirt is has poop and pee in it. And you just laid down in it."

All while we were trying to enjoy these amazing sandwiches:

How did we forget that the Troll Bridge was so dirty? 
It was not a good place for food. 
Or kids. 
Which made it a horrible place for food and kids. 
At least we had good company. 

Steve took the little kids back to the car, took their clothes off, and gave them baths with bottled water and baby wipes. 

Rachel and Lucy bribed Sam to tell them the story of the time he and some friends dumped thirty gallons of pig poop on Union High School as a prank. The prosecutor wanted to make an example of them, so they were punished punitively, stripped of scholarships, and charged with felonies. (The charges were lowered after years of fighting in court.) 

Rachel thoroughly enjoyed the story:

But Fred was the most entertaining to watch: 

We said our good-byes and started driving. We drove and drove and drove. Actually, Steve did all of the driving between Seattle and Ogden. When Rachel and Lucy were tiny, I drove them to Portland by myself. I had no idea that, since then, Steve had felt like he had something to prove in the driving department. (I would have been more impressed if he had held his bladder for six-plus hours like I did on my trip.)

I do a whole lot of the driving in our family. Partly because it gives Steve time to work on other things and partly because I am a nervous passenger. . . or maybe Steve makes me a nervous passenger?

Me: You are way too close to the side of the road.
Steve: How many miles have we driven together?
Me: A lot.
Steve: And have I ever run into anything?
Me: Just think of all of the times I've stopped you.

The kids slept through the night in the car, and Steve and I had such a good chance to talk. Somewhere around Malad, Idaho, as we were pushing through the night, we planned next year's road trip . . .  to Mexico. Which has since then evolved into Panama. . .

We arrived home at 6:18 am. Our official trip mileage was 6530 miles.

Steve unloaded the sleeping kids. Check out his white beard:

He admired the landscaping that Jared Bradley with Los Gringos completed while we were gone:

And then he trimmed all of the weeds. Because apparently, that's what you do at 8:00 am when you have just returned from a twenty-five day road trip.

I love my husband. 
And I loved our Alaska adventure. 


Kayli said...

See, that is why we are friends even though we don't technically know each other. When your brother and my brother-in-law have a pig poop felony in common, it just brings us together. It was Bell pig poog, I'm proud? to say. And that story will go down in history... or infamy?

Also, I can't BELIEVE you saw them in Seattle!!! That's the best thing I've ever heard!

So sad Alaska posts are at an end. Looking forward to Mexico. And then, Switzerland!

Rachael said...

Oh, I am so sad that the Alaska trip blogging is over! Your trip was amazing and I have loved reading about it. Such a fascinating adventure!