Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A quadrillion? Really now...


Duluth.

Little known fact: Duluth is one of the original seeds of thought that eventually grew into our road trip a
s we know it today. You see... I (Amy) have had this sweet spot in my heart towards this city on the water ever since I visited as a student in 2005. My discipleship school spent about a week in Duluth serving the community with the local Vineyard church. I really felt at home and inspired by the Vineyard Duluth's heart for simple relationship with God and with his people. Their most popular slogan is "Love God. Love People. Period." Every time I have visited this church or hung out with the people who make up this body I'm consistently blessed by their authenticity and ability to relay God's love in a very real, very natural, very tangible way.

So back to my original point - I was considering a solo road trip for this summer to visit Duluth and spend some time exploring the area... maybe paddle around the Boundary Waters, meet up with friends, and really just be with God. This idea inspired Bethany to play around with a solo trip herself, hers to Kansas City. But as we continued to talk to each other, we decided that a trip together was a much better idea. So the solo idea was tossed, but not the destinations.

As we drove from Minneapolis to Duluth, it is becoming more and more evident that the Fall is in the air. Trees laced with red tipped leaves are beginning to show off and lighting is starting to get that sepia tone look to it. It was really fun to share this place with Bethany - she is so good at appreciating the things that are meaningful to me. And really, it's not that difficult to enjoy Duluth!

First of all, we have some great friends here:
Karl and Stacy Kaldor! Karl and I were students together in the college I attended in Boise, so we share some great memories. And Stacy is the best addition - her laugh alone is worth the entire drive! I simply love our friendship. We had many a good laugh over local brews, fo
ot rubs, scrabble words, and dairy-alternative cheese products. Karl even let us inflict a chick-flick upon him.

Ok - so enough about the personal details of Duluth... did you know that Lake Superior is
actually the world's largest fresh water lake? And when I say largest, I'm talking 3 quadrillion gallons. I don't know about you, but I have no grid for a word like quadrillion. From what I've been told that's about 2,900 cubic miles of water, which means it could cover all of North America with 3 feet of water. Wet is an understatement.

I personally find the lake culture to be a fascinating mystery. This is probably because I am an inside-out, thoroughly native, mountain girl. I'll take solid over liquid any day. Water is a shadowy, ominous figure that I have very little desire to engage with. My mom, who grew up in the Finger Lakes of New York, has this bizarre urge to jump into any body of water that we come across, whether it be a mountain lake, rushing creek, fountain, you name it. She's in it. I however cringe at even getting into the swimming pool at Holiday Inn. I cried the first time I saw the ocean. And they definitely were't tears of joy. I hyperventilated the last time I tried to snorkel. And I can't help but stare blankly when my friends suggest that we try to touch the bottom of the lake... . . You mean, with our feet? Really???

I say this all to preface this coming story so that you can truly appreciate it.

So apparently Duluth is really picky about which side of the street you park on. (One of its downfalls). Picky enough to hand out a $21 parking fee to Taurus for being on the right hand side instead of the left. This really wasn't what we were budgeting for. However, it comes with the territory of a road trip I guess. But it would seem that my hatred towards unnecessary fines is greater than my fear of water. Because when our friend Asa offered to pay for our ticket if I would dive (not jump - dive) into Lake Superior, I literally jumped at the offer.

Parking ticket paid.
My fear of water tackled.
Jeans... still soggy.

Boy, this is turning into a rather long entry... but it must be recorded that I wasn't the only one stepping out of my box. No no.
It was in fact Bethany Haglund, native of Southern California, my fashionista who still refuses to wear any sort of outdoor hiking footwear, who suggested that we spend a day canoeing on the Boundary Waters.
I couldn't have been more thrilled! And so we did. It was such a peaceful time! Neither one of us are experienced paddlers to say the very least, so after about 4 miles of "J-strokes" and "forward sweeps" ("doggy-paddling with sticks" would have been a more apt name), we felt extremely accomplished.


And extremely pleased with our time in Duluth!

Stay tuned for our next update... you'll never believe how side-tracked we got! (:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Back to my roots


Bethany here.
So as many of you may or may not know, my dear mother grew up in Minnesota. So going back there is always a pleasant, familiar time: filled with family, memories, and lots of people like my mother, and consequently like me. It felt very homey.
We got there and were welcomed in with open arms by my lovely Aunt Diane, who proceeded to tell us all sorts of colorful stories that kept us entertained for quite some time. (She's a very cool aunt). Then we were joined by cousins and uncles and ate yummy spaghetti and got geography tips from my uncles.

The taurus, as you can see, had quite the bug collection on the front when we got to MN, so Aunt Diane suggested we borrow her hose and make it better. So the Taurusaurus got a bath, but I had to get a picture beforehand :).



Then we met up with one of my friends, Susie (who's the bomb) and she took us to a mosque. This is a picture of us with our mosque-appropriate garb. The mosque was a very interesting experience, I had never been to anything quite like it. Susie's friend from the mosque invited us to join them in their evening fast-breaking ceremony (since it's Ramadan they eat every day together after sunset). We met some awesome women and ate some awesome Pakistani food. Yummmm!

In between the mosque and the food, we went and toured the grand city of Minneapolis.
For as many times as I've been in that area, I've never really "seen the sights." So we went downtown and saw the Mississippi River, and also happened to see a Bald Eagle! Just flying around over the river! It was quite the sight to be seen.

Facts we learned about Minneapolis:
  • they produce a lot of flour. (I think the most flour in the country?)
  • There are a lot of immigrants in Minneapolis. There's this one block where there are more amounts of different languages spoken in one place than anywhere else.
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis is the largest (or one of the largest) college campuses. Boasting a killer engineering program.
That's enough for now.

Then we went to the Guthrie. Which is this big theater thing. Anyway, they had this big yellow box that you could go into and look out of, a glass floor, and a balcony. Here is Amy taking a picture on the balcony, with me and Susie in the background.


Overall Minneapolis was a nice town. Humid, but nice.


Then on our way out, we met up with my Aunt Julie and her lovely family at Perkins. We ate some pancakes and I didn't even get that gross-I-just-ate-pancakes-at-a-restaurant feeling that I usually get after I eat pancakes. They were delicious! Here's a picture of us in the parking lot:














and then we went to Duluth...

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Windy City: Chicago!



Chicago was a whirlwind inDEED. We got there at midnight after our Mankato adventure, and hit the ground running!

Chicago is a special place for me (Bethany) because my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew live there. Not only do I love the city, but I love my family! It was so great to see them. I see them about twice a year, and each time I get to see how much the kids have changed. Isabella (3 years old) (picture at left) is talking a lot now and she was so much fun to play with. I learned a lot from her, just watching the way she is so vibrant and alive and carefree. She's amazing! And the cutest niece in the world (yes, I'm partial :)) We made cookies, painted each other's nails, danced, and just had a great time being together!

So on Saturday we went downtown to the Celtic Fest (oooohhh yah!) and saw more men in skirts than I have ever seen before in my life. I think I could go the rest of my life and never see another kilted man and I would be totally OK with that. The place was crawling with harpists, kilts, bagpipes, river dancing and shepherd's pie. It was quite the celtic experience.

Then we saw all of the big downtown-y things. One of my personal favorites is THE BEAN. Some people may not appreciate the amazingness of this structure, but once you actually spend some time with it, you'll see why we love it. Here is a shot of it from a distance:



The tourists were out in full force while we were there, as you can see. So we decided to take a "where's waldo"-esque picture:
















...can you see us?






After the Bean we walked down Michigan Avenue several blocks, to get to the American Girl Place. It was an unresolved piece of Amy's childhood (always wanted to go, never did) so we settled that right then and there! It really is quite the marvelous place. Every little girl's fantasy. And while I was there I learned that Samantha (the doll I have) is currently discontinued. Time to check on ebay to see if she's worth a bunch of money....


The next day was Sunday and since my sister and brother-in-law live in the Hispanic district of Chicago (Little Village), we just happened to be there while the Mexican Independence Day parade was going on. Which meant louder than loud Mariachi music, men on horses, ginormous Mexican flags, sombreros, and parties till the wee hours of the morning.


And then Sunday night came. The long anticipated Sunday night. Since I have the coolest sister and brother in the world.....they got us in to see U2!!!! This was the main reason that we booked it to Chicago. And it was so much more than a concert...it truly was an experience. Bono doesn't mess around, I'll tell ya that
much.
This is a picture of the stage. It looks rather bizarre. It was rather bizarre. And rather AMAZING. It changed colors all throughout the show and Bono did laps around that round circle catwalk thing. It was absolutely incredible to
hear that many people singing together-the stadium was so packed out, and we had some opportunities for just us to sing. It was magical!
The whole time Amy and I were in total awe of the fact that they are so old and have been around for so long...yet they are still really dang cool. No idea how they pull that one off...

The next morning we decided to get up early and seize the
day. This meant a 14 mile bike ride through the entire city. Yikes!
Hector, my brother-in-law's friend, was our tour guide for the day. And Hector is T-U-F-F. As in he rides his bike 100 miles to Wisconsin. Aha. And I hadn't biked in a year. So he definitely gave us a run for our money...but it was absolutely phenomenal.
First stop was Wrigley Field:

(sorry Pappa...) (he's a White Sox fan)

And then we went to Lake Michigan and rode along it for a while, to Navy Pier, and then through the streets of Chicago. It was a great way to see the cit
y-I highly recommend it. Because I do love walking, but you can only get so far on foot. So it was great to get some distance in on the bicycle.
Then we biked by Oprah's studio, down Michigan Avenue, and then back to Humboldt Park. Phew! We were wiped out by the end. But it was probably one of the coolest things I've ever done.

So that's the basics of our Chicago Adventures.

I realized that I'm totally slacking off on the "why's and why not's" of our blog. So I am doing the second edition. This one will be entitled:
The Why's and Why Not's of Chicago transportation:
Why to Ride a Bike:
  • Sights, sounds and smells are so much more accessible. I felt so connected to Chicago
  • No fuel cost
  • Good exercise
Why not to Ride a Bike:
  • Grumpy, horn-honking drivers
  • Out-of-shape legs
Why to Ride the El:
  • Pretty inexpensive ($2.50 per ride)
  • Always a good place to people watch
  • If you come in December, you might get to ride on the Christmas train !
  • Can cover long distances
Why not to Ride the El:
  • If you get train-sick
  • If you're a germaphobe
Why to Walk:
  • Really easy to stop and take pictures
  • Great exercise
  • You can whistle the Chumba Wumba classic...
Why not to Walk:
  • Blisters and sore ankles
  • Can only go so far

Stay tuned for more....! And thanks for reading :D

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Man man mankato.


During the cross-country push, we found ourselves in dire need of a place to lay our heads, preferably in central Minnesota.

As it happens, our dear friends Joe and Liz Bales live in Mankato which was only about 45 minutes off the freeway. Sooo... we ended up crashing at their lovely home in the woods. Their warm hugs, authentic conversations, and shared memories were food to the soul. Joe even taught Bethany some sweet self-defense moves. It was great to spend time with this couple - they have truly let God shape their lives together! They come highly recommended.

It also ended up being time for an oil change. Which is where we met Matt, the most thorough mechanic either one of us has ever met. This is no exaggeration - seriously the best. Not only did he change the oil, but he did a thorough diagnostic of the Taurus... he fixed the annoying rattle (rusted screw), topped off our fluids, and even filled up the spare tire. In the exam, Matt discovered that we
were riding on 3 new tires and 1 that was quite used. This led to a trip to a used tire shop where Taurus got things evened out. Everyone was quite satisfied. AND someone generously paid for our oil change which blessed our socks off. Friends are seriously a gift!


So there you have it... more on Minnesota in the near future as we will be returning after Chicago!

Great Faces, Great Places

After driving through most of Montana (the third largest state) we found ourselves in the state of South "you probably didn't think it was cool" Dakota. Little did I know it actually has a lot to offer. Starting with the obvious: MOUNT RUSHMORE!!!

We were both inspired as we pulled up to this amazing monument, so we decided to bring our art supplies in with us. Amy had the foresight to pack pencils, pastels, paper, watercolors, etc. And I made sure we brought a glue stick (you ALWAYS need a glue stick).
The view was, in a word: breathtaking. We walked around the entire Presidential Path and stopped at various benches along the way to eat our PB & J as well as to artistically interpret this larger than life sculpture. We decided to challenge ourselves and go to three different spots, using three different mediums, and give ourselves 15 minutes at each to recreate MR.
The first one:




lots of people were very interested in what we were doing. They thought we were some cool art students or something like that...(we fooled them ;)













THE COLLAGE. An old urban outfitters catalog becomes Mount Rushmore. (You really have to use your imagination when looking at this one...)


















Once more, a collage (by Amy B.). (Thanks Dean for the great sketch books!!! You really are the bestest Estes!)





















"Great Faces, Great Places". We somehow managed to get all four in-between our heads. Amy is getting really good at these self-portrait shots.










(By the way, the "Mount Rushmore" collection of original pieces is currently for sale. We would be willing to break up the set of 6, however it really does come as a package deal. Hurry - the lines are forming, the crowds are clamoring, the critics raving!) (smile)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

the wheels on the Taurus go round and round...

One of the reasons we haven't blogged as regularly as we should is that the last few days have involved some serious cross-country accrual of miles. Thankfully we are averaging about 28 miles to the gallon!

So far we have covered the following states:
  • Washington (Note: I HIGHLY recommend driving Hwy 20 to anyone who is interested in the scenic route through northern Washington. I chose to drive this way on a whim and am so glad we did! Just make sure you have a full tank of gas because they charge out the wazoo...)
  • Idaho (been there, done that)
  • Montana (Beautiful! As one friend put it, "Like Colorado without the people")
  • Wyoming (only saw the corner of it... in the dark)
  • South Dakota (more on this later. But SD we like!!)
  • Minnesota (we will be returning to this great state in a week, so stay tuned)
  • Illinois (Finally reached our destination!)
Although we were hoping to take more of the highways and byways of the northwest, time was running out as we had free tickets to see U2 in Chicago on the 12th. However, the diversity of this land definitely showed itself. We've seen jagged mountain peaks, deep blue lakes, wide open prairies, waterfalls, tree groves, canon lands, and corn fields. We watched the moon rise every night as we traveled to our next location. So far we have slept on floors, futons, couches, air mattresses, hyda-beds, and each other's shoulders. The road really does something to open up communication with people - I love the way we have time to think and voice ideas, dreams, questions, and frustrations. I've been incredibly grateful for this time with Bethany - our friendship is definitely deepening as the days continue to burst forth!

We've also found the tricks to keeping ourselves awake on the road. This includes: eating copious amounts of triscuits, screaming out the window, music with a beat (mostly Josh Garrels as of late), air conditioning, stretching at gas stations, quizzing each other on map trivia, and cheering every time we pass a sign that has the miles until we reach our next destination printed on it. So far it's worked.

We've also found that $5 footlongs from Subway are our kind of meal... veggie delight with raspberry vinaigrette. Messy, yes. Worth it, definitely.

So this post is really my attempt of gapping the space from our Washington adventures to where we are currently located (to be announced at a later date). Hope it will suffice.

Stay tuned for the Rushmore collection of photos! (:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In case the US wasn't big enough...

Since we were a mere hour from the Canadian border while in Burlington, WA, we decided: "hey, why the heck not?" So we loaded up the vehicle and headed north. This was Amy's first time on Canadian soil, so as you can imagine the air in the car was thick with anticipation. We pulled up to the customs booth and in response to the border patrol's question "what is your employment" we answered the obvious "we're professional road trippers." We breezed through the border (luckily they didn't apprehend our triscuit stash..) and headed to the quaint city of Aldergrove, British Columbia, to see my friend from worship school (Shauna) lead worship at her church.

Due to our limited amount of time in the great country of Canada, we decided to beeline to the most authentic Canadian experience possible. So we took Amy to Tim Horton's and got maple syrup donuts.

Needless to say, Amy's life has been changed forever. Few times before have I seen her so overjoyed as she was during this experience.

And after three hours, we decided to return to the good old U S of A, and start heading East. Tally ho!







Friday, September 11, 2009

Duh duh duh DAAAAHHH!




"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of
people always posses arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." - Richard Henry Lee, 1787




Enough said.







Apparently shooting a gun has been on Bethany's to-do list for quite some time... and so when our friend Nathan found this news out, he was most eager to oblige! And wowza did he provide an epic experience!

But first things first. Upon arriving in the forested town of Burlington WA, we found ourselves swept up in some of the most amazing hospitality we've ever known! Oh what a family! And such a comfortable bed. (: The Harkness's went above and beyond to take care of us and to provide a true Washington experience. We were extremely well fed - juicy peaches on home-made waffles, bbq'd salmon and veggies, picnic lunches by the sea... lovely.



Not only did we eat, but we really got to know this lovely land. On our first day, Nathan took us to Deception Pass for an afternoon of playing in the driftwood (note the super cool teeter-totter Nathan and his friends built out of drift wood!) and basking in the sun while sharing thoughts on music, the gospel, and the proper technique of skipping rocks.

Then Nathan decided it was time. So we hustled over to the Outdoor Warehouse to stock up on ammunition. Bethany and I entertained ourselves by strolling through the baby clothes aisle... I'm not even joking - camouflage onesies. We didn't even try to pretend to know anything about firearms and just trusted that Nathan could select everything we would need for this adventure.

Once we were stocked up on amo and caramel corn, we headed for the hills. Nathan turned out to be a first-class firearm instructor. We learned proper handling, correct terminology, and gained a healthy respect for these instruments, as well as tips on how to look incredibly cool when aiming and how not to fall flat on your bum after pulling the trigger. And after demonstrating a few shots, I had my first experience with using a deadly weapon. And what an experience it was! For those of you who know your weaponry, you'll recognize the sleek sharpshooter in Amy's hands as a .22 and Bethany is rocking the 12 gauge. It's pretty obvious that we enjoyed ourselves! We filled the night sky with sounds of explosions as the sun set behind the mountains - truly a Washington experience. I tried uploading the video of Bethany's first experience shooting the 12 gauge, but it seems that blogspot isn't super excited about videos at this point. Sorry.

My favorite aspects of shooting a gun:
  • The stance... man it feels tough
  • The smell after the fact - like the 4th of July
  • Actually hitting what I'm aiming for (I got the flying clay pigeon!)
  • The sweet sore spot on my shoulder the next day
  • Bragging rights

The flash of exploding gun powder was definitely the highlight of this visit, but by no means the entirety of our time in Burlington. No no. We also took to the hills on 4-wheelers to watch the moon rise and let the wind blow the night into our hair. Guitars were played, pianos jammed upon, and tambourines expertly shaken. Trucks were driven. And Washington apples were heartily picked.

AND - the ugly growling that the Taurus was exuding was fixed! Nathan, being the incredible friend that he is, took some time to identify the source of the grow
l... our water pump. We were a little concerned at the fact that since it was Labor Day weekend, no mechanic would be available. However, not only is Nathan a great friend, but he is an accomplished mechanic with a servant's heart. After several hours of manual labor, the Taurus was up and running without a problem! We were SO blessed by Nathan's concern for us and his support of our venture. I'll be honest, I thought a water pump would look like some aquarium device. I stand seriously corrected. Once again - thank you so very much Nathan!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sleepless in Seattle


Bethany here.

My thoughts on Washington. Oh Washington. Well Amy filled you in on the awesome Uncle Jamie, and now I am going to fill you in on make-believe bands, flannel shirts, guns, and cucumber soda.

So as was mentioned last blog, we stayed with my old youth pastor, Mike Rinehart in Federal Way. Not only did he feed us Eggos, but he was the lead singer and
major inspirational factor of our make-believe band (Mister Rogers taught me well..), called One Cup of Butter (inspired by our cobbler recipe). He was basically the glue that held the whole operation together.

(I am particularly fond of this picture of us eating the bush. Not only did it taste delicious, but it really sums up the essence of Mike. Fun, a leader, and in full support of me being a vegetarian) (except for that time that he suggested we go get burgers for dinner. huh.)

So we had a cobbler-making, museum visiting day. And this is where the guitar tower comes in. We went to the EMP (Experience Music Project), which I highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of Jimi Hendrix, or of music in general. They had all of these fun "jam" rooms where you can go in for 10 minutes with your friends and play around on different instruments. It was exciting and educational, all at the same time.

Here is One Cup of Butter's first photo shoot. [from the left] Amy "the bomb" Blakeslee (keys and rhythm) Mike "I have no left arm" Rinehart (vocals, concepts, songwriting) Myself (electric guitar), Chris-Cross Lanning (keys), Matthew "parallel parking" Westfall (better at electric guitar)

Starting a band was such a Seattle thing to do. We couldn't resist...



Then we got dinner and looked out over Seattle.
Nice view. Our mascot makes his first appearance:







After this scenic event, we went to see one of favorite artists, Josh Garrels, in concert (picture below). This was a long anticipated event for Amy and me, so as you can imagine we were very excited! It was a fabulous evening, and we sipped on cucumber and rhubarb soda while listening to the pleasant noises coming out of Josh's mouth and guitar. I highly recommend him if you're looking for something new to listen to: www.joshgarrels.com


Post-concert we chatted with Josh, mostly Taurus talk. Turns out he used to have an old Taurus as well. Trusty vehicles...
And then we met Emily! Happenstance meeting. She turned to us and asked us if we wanted a pretzel. Which led to talk and getting-to-know-each-otherness. She was a lovely girl and she is now on our postcard mailing list.


That sums it up for the Seattle portion. Northern Washington is still on it's way..




Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blogging constipation!!!!!!!

Being a novice blogger, neither Bethany nor I realized how quickly our updates would pile up!! Especially when internet was not available. Please forgive our sluggardly scribbles!

Ok, big breath. Time to catch up.

Our adventure post-Portland involved crossing the Washington border and setting up our new living quarters in Federal Way, about 30 minutes outside of Seattle. Bethany's former youth pastor offered his futon for us to crash upon, as well as a king-sized box of eggos for us to feast upon. I love eggos.

First impression of Washington: BERRIES!!!!!



Apparently western WA considers blackberry bushes to be weeds. Being from Colorado where blackberries run at about 3$ a box, this was atrocious. We definitely took full advantage of this opportunity - by the end of our travels we had picked approximately three gallons worth of berries. Oh the cobbler! We unashamedly polished off an entire home-made blackberry cobbler in one sitting. And we would do it again without any hesitation. (:

Here's the recipe of our blackberry cobbler. For all of you blackberry enthusiasts:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour*
  • 1/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a 10-in. round or oval baking dish, melt 1/2 cup butter; set aside. In a saucepan, heat sugar and water until sugar melts; set aside. Place flour in a mixing bowl; cut in remaining butter until fine crumbs form. Add milk, stirring with a fork until dough leaves sides of bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface; knead three or four times. Roll out to an 11-in. x 9-in. rectangle 1/4 in. thick. Spread berries over dough; sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up, jelly-roll style. Cut into 1/4-in. thick slices. Carefully lay slices in baking dish over butter. Pour sugar syrup around slices (syrup will be absorbed). Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over top and bake 15 minutes more. Serve warm or cold. (*If self-rising flour is not available, use 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder.)

But blackberry picking is just the beginning of this blog.

Seattle is one of these places that I've wanted to visit for quite some time. Mostly because it is home to my Uncle Jamie (UJ for short). For those of you who don't have an Uncle Jamie, I'm sorry. Because they are great to have. My UJ just happens to be the biggest animal enthusiast I have ever met. He offered to take Bets and I to the zoo where he volunteers in the cat exhibit. Boy oh boy was this a once in a lifetime experience!! We began at his apartment which is actually a zoo in itself - his room mates include: 2 dogs, 2 cats, several snakes including a boa, a tarantula, a gecko (that he let us name - "Velvet Elvis"), 2 love birds, a macaw, several other birds that I can't remember the names of... oh, and a coral reef. We were overwhelmed. And hadn't even gotten to the zoo yet!


(Me and the Velvet Elvis) (on the shoulder)
This friendly gecko was about to be euthanized, but luckily UJ got to it in time. As you may notice from this picture, the gecko has no tail, therefore he is "useless" to the average person. Not to UJ though. He rescues animals of all sorts.












After the tour of the house, we headed off for the Woodland Park Zoo. Bethany did an awesome job parallel parking on the street (and saved 5 $ from the zoo parking fee). While there we got to go...dun dun dun... BEHIND THE SCENES! We saw the jaguars being fed dinner (picture at right), and we saw zookeeper flirting with the female jaguar. Yup.

All in all, the zoo was an enlightening experience. I have never learned so much about animals in my entire life. If you want a proper Seattle zoo experience, be sure to call up Uncle Jamie!

Then we went to grab fish and chips on Alki Beach, from Spud's. Definitely recommendable. Great place. It's a lovely walk there along the beach.

That was part one of our Seattle experience. Part two is on it's way. (we promise!)

Stay tuned....!!