The beginning of 2019 – Visiting Seattle with my Mom and Steve!


Sunday and Monday, 03-Feb and 04-Feb-2019


Well, 2019 is turning out to be a pretty family-centric year, isn’t it?  We started out with Sarah’s family in Australia, and now my Mom and Steve are coming to visit!  Out plan was pretty ambitious, I’ll be the first to admit… but ambitious plans are the most exciting, right?

Our plan was to rest in Portland for a day, and then take the car up to Seattle for a few days, before heading back in Portland for a bit of rest and downtime before they had to fly back home.  Busy, but it’d be a chance for my Mom to finally see Seattle, and was a good way to make sure that we didn’t stagnate in one place too long.  And I’m happy to report that it went quite well!


Episode 1: Portlandian Adventures

Sunday and Monday, 03-Feb & 04-Feb-2019


The adventure began, as if often does, in the airport with a furry Wonder Woman walking at our heels.

Ollie doesn’t know that the airport is where people get on metal machines to thunder through the sky – all she knows is that the airport is a friend store.  We go there, and either pick up a friend who we haven’t seen in a while, or return a friend who’s been staying with us.  Either way, it’s a trip in the magic adventure box (the car), so she’s excited.  She’s less excited about the Wonder Woman costume that she has to wear… but I think she’s become accustomed to it by now.


My Mom and Steve landed in the evening on Sunday, so there honestly wasn’t that much for us to do that evening – aside from picking them up from the airport, the biggest excitement was making a quick dinner… which wasn’t that huge of an excitement, since they’d already had a snack before getting on the plane in San Francisco, but still.  Home cooked meals by Ben and Sarah!


The main game plan for the week was to relax, unwind, and go to Seattle!  My Mom and Steve hadn’t ever been there, so we were all super excited to spend some time exploring and seeing the sights.  Unfortunately Sarah had to stay home, in order to catch up on some work projects, but we still found a way to enjoy Seattle while staying out of too much trouble…


What’d we do in Seattle, you may ask?

  • Chihuly Museum!  This was our main target for the trip – The famous Chihuly museum!  I’ll be honest and admit that I hadn’t heard of Chihuly before planning the trip, but once I looked into him I realized that I’ve seen his work everywhere!  Getting to see a full museum dedicated to his work, and specifically designed to showcase it, was an amazing experience.
  • Space Needle!  We didn’t go up it, thanks to a slightly-ridiculous ticket price, but we wandered around the gardens at the base of the needle, and enjoyed the views that we got.
  • The Seattle underground tour!  Bill Speidel, the probably-famous tour owner, puts on a great tour.  Or, I should say, his tour guides put on a great tour.  Our tour guide was amazing, is what I’m getting at.  The underground tour goes over Seattle’s history, including how the ground level was raised after a huge fire, and a tour of the secret tunnels underneath the city!  Though, there wasn’t a single necromancer, Chaos cult, or rum-running operation, so it was a bit of a bummer.
    Our tour guide rapped for us though, so that makes up for the lack of treasure I’ll say.
  • Pike Place!  We explored Pike Place, and I learned that I was DECEIVED!  When Sarah, David and I went there I was lead to believe that it was only one level… conveniently the level with the flower vendors that Sarah wanted to see.  What I didn’t know was that there’s multiple levels underground!  With a comic book shop!
  • So much food!  We ate a lot, and we ate well.  From diners to German breakfasts, from fancy coffee to awesome fancy dinners, we ate good food.
  • I also got to play on the playground that Sarah and I played on when we were there – it was excellent, and I loved swinging around and climbing all over everything.  Obviously.  Because I’m me, and I have an inescapable need to climb everything all the time forever.

An attempt on Saddle Mountain, 10-Mar-2019


Sunday, 10-Mar-2019


Sarah had been mentioning that she really wanted to hike up Saddle Mountain for… ohh, roughly forever.  I honestly don’t know why I was against it initially, but for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it.  I’d suggested that she go on her own, but somehow it just never worked out.

Finally, I caved and planned out a trip for us on Sunday.  It didn’t quite go as planned.  It didn’t go poorly (for us, at least), but it… well, you’ll see.


We drove out fairly early in the morning, and hit the main road to the trailhead by 10:00, give or take.  We didn’t make it to the trailhead though, since we came across the first adventure of the day – a hybrid SUV stuck in a ditch!  Yes – the person driving had tried to be polite and pulled off  to the side of the road to let someone pass, and instead drove into a mud ditch.

Well, the Subaru wasn’t about to try pulling it out.  So we sat back and warned people to slow down.

The first truck couldn’t pull it out either, so they offered the driver a ride back to the road (and cellphone reception).

The second truck couldn’t pull it out either, though the driver did decide to stay, in the hopes that the second truck (a huge Lincoln) would be able to do it.

The third truck (actually a Mercedes jeep thing) couldn’t pull it out either.

In the end, it was a combination of the huge Lincoln and an old man in a beat up Subaru that got the SUV out.  Turns out, you need more than just a big truck… you also need to know where to attach the tow straps.  And when an older gentleman in a well-maintained, very old car drives up and tells you how to do it right?  That’s when you listen and learn.  The driver of the Lincoln did both, and so the SUV escaped and made its way back to civilization.


Then, we continued up the road; a convoy of new friends, bonds forged in mud.

Until the Mercedes lost traction.

And slid down half the mountain.

Into the Lincoln.

The Mercedes and Lincoln, stuck together, then slid further down the road.


We all then proceeded to help extricate the vehicles from each other, and then spent another hour or so helping the Lincoln turn around.  Then the Mercedes.  Then we gave up and went to the beach, because clearly the road was cursed.

The beach was fun.  We ran and played and frolicked and Ollie chased seagulls.  I ate ice cream.  It was good.  And we didn’t get stuck in mud, or ice, or anything.

Sunday, 24-Feb-2019 – Hiking to Angels Rest, Columbia River Gorge


Sunday, 24-Feb-2019


Sarah and I have been having rather amazingly relaxing weekends – getting things done around the house, decompressing from the weeks, and trying to keep calm amid the swirling chaos of my new job and Sarah’s art fair deadlines.

For the most part, we’re doing well and staying sane.

But… it’s not easy, and sometimes what we need is an escape into the mountains.  Or, in this case, the cliffs of the gorge.


This weekend was kind of rough, starting out… we knew that we wanted to go on some sort of adventure, but couldn’t decide what to do or where to go.  The mountains of the Pacific Northwest had gotten hit pretty hard the previous week with snow, so all the major peaks were under avalanche warning – those weren’t an option.  Long drives were possible… but we honestly couldn’t see ourselves sitting in the car for four hours after the craziness of the week.

We ended up cutting ourselves some slack, and taking it easy: The Columbia River Gorge is right in our back yard, after all, so why not take advantage of that?  Especially when it’s being blanketed in a new coat of light snow!


We packed the night before, poured a thermos of coffee that morning, and drove in.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about the hike.  It was simple, it was beautiful, and it was easy.  It was, with all of those, exactly what we needed.  A chance to get into the woods, to feel the wind and the snow, and to enjoy the stillness of the winter air.  Or, the stillness of the air being broken by the sound of Ollie sprinting up and down the trail, loving every second of being able to play in the snow.

It was a good hike.