A few spins of the roulette wheel!

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I like roulette. Oh sure, it’s got terrible odds, but it’s so unambiguous. I don’t feel like I need to know all the ins and outs in order to play, and it’s pretty easy to figure out if you’ve won. And man! The stack of chips you get when your number hits! That’s awesome!

We started our day with Leslie in Fresno. Her mom made us a really delicious frittata for breakfast (it’s kind of like a crustless quiche) before we hit the road for Laughlin. I have to say, we have not missed driving in the desert! It’s so boring! The drive from Fresno to Laughlin is almost as bad as driving through Florida! We got so bored that Mike actually let me drive for a while. I think the only high point was hitting 14,000 miles somewhere in the Mojave Desert. That’s right – we have survived over 14,000 miles in the car together – and we still have to drive across Arizona today!

We got a room at the River Palms Casino because it was the cheapest room we could find. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones who chose it based on that fact – the lobby was full of…well, let’s just say there were plenty of opportunities for people watching. Anyway, we got checked in (the room is a bit ghetto but clean so that’s good enough for us) and headed out to gamble. My parents really like the Aquarius, so we started there. Man! It’s hot in the desert these days! Walking there was, well, warm. Poor Mike – I really wonder how he’ll survive a summer in Phoenix. I think some road trips to the mountains are going to be required – that’s if he ever agrees to get in the car again! (Don’t worry, Lisa and Dave – the road trip to your wedding will be a pleasure – mostly because it is pretty much guaranteed that it will be cooler in Colorado than Arizona!)

Anyway, we wandered from casino to casino, playing some slots and mostly roulette. Our best luck was at the Pioneer, where I won back all the money I’d lost (and then some) with a few well placed chips on the roulette table. Once we were up a bit, we decided to leave before we gave it all back. Overall, we did okay – we’re only down about $15 between the two of us, and we were out gambling until after 2am.

Today we’re headed home to Phoenix. We are both sad and glad that this road trip is over – we’re definitely getting a little tired of traveling every day (and the car could definitely use a break as well as a trip to the mechanic!) We miss Luke (our dog) – although I’m pretty sure he doesn’t miss us at all with the way (I’m sure) my mom has been spoiling him! I’m afraid it’s going to take us months to break him of all his new bad habits! (Walks at five o’clock in the morning? I don’t think so!)

We’re taking the slightly scenic route home – we’re going to drive through Lake Havasu City (where I was born) so Mike can see the London Bridge and marvel at just how hot it is in the desert even if there is a big lake right there. It should be fun. But first, I think we want to try to give the casino a little bit more of our money. Wish us luck!

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Do you know the ‘no? (Fresno, that is!)

If you’re ever lucky enough to stay with Doug and Deric at their awesome house in Oakland, you might get even luckier and have Deric cook breakfast for you. I don’t know what magical ingredients he adds to his eggs, but they are delicious! After some breakfast and a leisurely morning we hit the road for Fresno.

Yeah, I know. We’ve gone to all these amazing places and now we head for Fresno? What are we thinking? Well, my good friend Leslie grew up in Fresno, and has found herself back there for school, so how could I drive through California without stopping to visit?

We took the scenic route (I know – shocking!) through Gilroy. I tell you what – you can smell Gilroy coming from miles away. (For the uninitiated, Gilroy is known for it’s garlic farms – they even have a garlic festival every year.) We stopped at Garlic World, where we sampled several types of pickled garlic and garlic stuffed olives – and left with a cup of garlic ice cream. I’m really pretty surprised that Leslie let us in the house when we arrived – I’m sure we reeked of garlic!

Eventually we made it to Fresno, and Leslie spoiled us with a delicious homemade dinner (gluten free even!) Ah, the joys of having a friend in culinary school! We got to hang out with her brother and his three adorable boys – Mike spent quite a bit of time playing Angry Birds with her oldest nephew. It was an awesome night.

Today we’re headed for Nevada – no, not Vegas. That would be cliche. We’re headed for Laughlin – we’re going to be kicking it old school for our last night of this epic honeymoon of ours. Today is day 52! Only one more day to go!

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We drove into a tree! On purpose!

Humbug mountain was a pretty cool place to camp – mainly because it was actually fairly warm! Apparently it exists in a little area where the colder weather tends to skip right over the top of it, so while the area around us was cold and foggy, we woke up to sunshine. Now, if only that bubble of sunshine could have stayed over our heads for the rest of the morning…alas, no such luck.

The whole point of driving the coast road is to see the ocean and the cliffs and the general awesomeness that is the Oregon/northern California coast. Unfortunately, for most of the morning those cliffs were hidden by thick fog, and ocean? What ocean? You could barely see it. It’s probably for the best, since we managed to be an hour later than we expected in our arrival at Mike’s dad’s house, and I can only imagine how late we would have been had there been beautiful scenery to stop and gawk at the entire way!

The one drawback to Humbug Mountain is that when you leave it headed south, you have to drive a good thirty miles before you find a coffee shop. Oh sure, Mike probably could have settled for gas station coffee, but after driving past hundreds of little espresso shacks on our way from Portland to Humbug, he was just sure that there was another one just around the corner. As it was, he had to wait until we stopped for breakfast at Mattie’s Pancake and Omelet House in Brookings. I’ve never seen anyone so happy to have a cup of coffee! (The omelets were pretty delicious too.)

After breakfast and a little bit of backtracking for the cheap(er) Oregon gas ($3.56/gallon vs. the $4.15 Gas Buddy was reporting for northern CA) we crossed into California (and got our border sign picture without incident.) Now, this is where driving the 101 gets fun. The roads are extra curvy, and now you get to throw in some steep grades up and down as well. It’s very fun to drive.

Then there are the redwoods. I’ve seen them a few times, and they still amaze me with just how freakishly huge they are! They’re as wide as our car, and so tall you can’t see the tops (because they’re in the clouds.) It’s seriously awesome. We took the detour and drove through the Drive Thru Tree, which was nifty – I was a little afraid that the tree was going to keep our side mirrors, but we made it through without incident. Mike even looped around a second time so that I could have the pleasure of driving through the tree as well. (Again, the mirrors escaped without harm.)

We also stopped briefly at the Trees of Mystery to watch the kids talk to Paul Bunyan (they have a dude hiding nearby making him talk to the kids who crawl all over his boots – it’s very entertaining.) He can also wave, which I had never seen happen before. Ah, the joys of the tourist trap!

Once you leave the redwood forest, there isn’t really a whole lot to stop and do unless you’re wine drinkers, which we aren’t – as soon as there’s a beer region where every few miles there’s a brewery to stop and tour and have a taste, were there! Wine regions just aren’t that thrilling for us. So instead of stopping at all the wineries, we booked it for San Francisco (well, Oakland, which is where Doug lives these days.)

By the time we arrived (like I said, an hour later than we had intended) everyone was starving, so we went straight to dinner. Doug had found a little Mediterranean place on yelp called Wally’s Cafe, which was hidden behind a bar. So hidden that we had to drive around the block a few times before we found it, and then you have to walk past a dumpster down an alley to get in the door. It was pretty awesome. The food was crazy good, so it was totally worth the searching and dumpster passing.

After dinner we went back to the house and kept Doug and Deric up way past their bedtimes chatting and hanging out. I even let them try some of my salted caramel ice cream (but just a taste! The rest is all MINE!) We had brought Doug some honey lavender ice cream, and I’m really glad he liked it better than the caramel, because I might have had to share more of my precious Molly Moons if he hadn’t! (Ha! I kid…mostly.)

Today we’re headed for Fresno (yes, on purpose!) to visit my friend Leslie. She recently finished culinary school, and has promised to cook something delicious for us, so we’re really excited. We’ve decided to skip Santa Monica this trip, and plan a longer visit later in the summer so we can go to Disneyland and actually hang out instead of just blowing through town. So, instead of south on Friday we’re going to head east and add another state to our list (Nevada!) before heading home to AZ on Saturday.

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Back to the scenic route!

There are quicker ways to get to California from Portland than highway 101 along the coast, but I’m not sure any of them would be as beautiful or entertaining as the PCH. Of course, the drawback is that it takes hours and hours to make any progress. This might be due, in part, to the fact that we stopped at nearly every turn out to see if we could get some good pictures. Needless to say, yesterday was another one of those nights where we set up our tent in the dark.

We began our day at Glenn and Donna’s house in Portland – Donna was working from home, and had a class to attend so we didn’t stick around for long, opting instead to hit the road for the coast. (We stopped to get Mike some coffee, of course.) We (okay, I) really wanted to see Cannon Beach, so we went a little more north than was strictly required just so I could see the Goonies’ beach. Cannon Beach is a super cute town – although the restaurant I wanted to go to was closed (seriously – I think I find more closed restaurants than open ones!) so we got candy instead of breakfast. (What? It’s really good homemade hard candy!)

We finally found a restaurant that was open and not too terribly touristy to stop for breakfast – and none too soon, because we were starting to get a bit testy with each other! For the record, it’s Kelley’s Place in Garibaldi – and it’s pretty new. The fish sandwich I had was quite tasty, and Mike inhaled his omelet, so it must have been good as well. (Sorry Kelly, they didn’t have a t-shirt and they spell their name wrong anyway!)

Our next stop was the Tillamook cheese factory, which was just like every other food factory we’ve stopped at on this trip of ours. You can see the production lines, hear a bit about the company’s history, and sample some of the goods. They had five or six types of cheese for us to try, which was exciting except that, other than the cheese curds (which they called squeaky cheese) it was all stuff we’d had before. Oh well. We resisted the urge to get ice cream and headed on our merry way.

We had been pretty excited about the weather – it was actually sunny! We’ve both driven this road before, but never when the weather was decent! Of course, that was not going to last long. Somewhere around Reedsport the clouds rolled in. It didn’t rain, but it did make the views from the coast a little less exciting. Oh well.

Our final stop before setting up camp was at Shark Bites Cafe in Coos Bay. The reviews mentioned gluten free clam chowder, which was exciting for Mike. Of course, on their actual menu it was called clam bisque, but it was gluten free, so we tried it. It wasn’t exactly a bisque, or a chowder, but it was tasty. (I had the crab cakes which were delicious, although hugely different from the ones we had in Maryland!)

By the time we had finished dinner, it was dark and Mike decided to let me drive to our campsite. Apparently the animals knew I was behind the wheel, because they all decided that it was time to cross the road – generally just close enough that I would have to slam on my brakes. It’s a good thing we got those fixed in Milwaukee, otherwise at least one elk would have had a very bad night indeed (not to mention how sad our car would have been!)

We made it to our campsite without incident, and although we had to set up in the dark, it was a really nice spot. We stayed in Humbug Mountain State Park (with a name like that, how can you resist stopping?) If you ever decide to camp along the coast, we highly recommend it – really nice showers and such! Our only complaint is the complete lack of cell service, but maybe that’s part of the appeal?

Today we’re off to San Francisco to see Mike’s dad, but first I want to see some of those giant redwoods! I seem to recall there being one that you can drive your car through!

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So much for the scenic route!

We had the best intentions of taking the 101 around the Olympic peninsula, stopping in Forks to make fun of the vampires, in Poulsbo to see Nick and Heidi, and just taking our time on our journey from Seattle to Portland. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, Mike slept until 10 while I loudly folded laundry trying to wake him up. Then we went to breakfast (which was more like lunch by that time) with Benita at Skillet Diner. The restaurant is just close enough to Benita’s house that we decided to walk, which takes longer but is so much more fun (not to mention that it allows you to order the bacon jam on your grilled cheese with slightly less guilt than if you had driven to the restaurant.) Of course, walking there means you have to walk home, and then we had to say goodbye to B and thank her for putting up with us for a few days… Anyway, long story short, at noon we were still wandering around Capitol Hill in search of several pints of Salted Caramel Ice Cream from Molly Moon’s and a hunk of dry ice to keep them frozen until we can get it home to AZ or we eat it – whichever comes first. We also got some salt licorice ice cream for Mike, which he swears is delicious but I have my doubts about…I’ll let you know how it goes.

Side note: have you ever had salted caramel ice cream? I think it may be my very favorite thing ever. Molly Moon’s is by far the best I’ve had but it’s sort of like pizza – even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. So if you ever see it at an ice cream shop, you should most definitely try it!

Anyway, once we escaped Seattle, we headed for Tacoma to meet up with my friend Tom from my days at the Starbucks at Westlake Center. Tom is the type of government employee who has to get clearance to go to certain areas of the world, and Puerto Peñasco is on the ‘don’t even think about it’ list, which is unfortunate, because he probably would have been very entertaining at our wedding. Instead, we got to have coffee with him in Tacoma, which is not at all the same. Anyway, it was good to catch up with him, and he gave us a couple of awesome prints of his photos (he’s a very talented amateur photographer) for a wedding present, so when we find our AZ home we’ll have something to put on the walls! Thanks Tom!

Having told Mike’s Aunt Donna and Uncle Glenn that we would be in Portland in time for dinner, we booked it out of town. We did make a stop at the state Capitol to take some pictures of the building – somehow we have managed to go through the capitol of almost every state we’ve driven through on this trip, so now it’s sort of a thing for us.

Eventually we made it to Portland, and we went to dinner with Glenn, Donna and their son Geoff at the Hub, which is this organic brewery that serves gluten free pizza. You can guess that Mike was pretty happy about that. Pizza is the thing he misses the most, with pepperoni rolls from podunk towns in West Virginia being a close second. (No, he still hasn’t forgiven me for eating that. He’s threatening to withhold all things gluten from me for a month after this trip is over as punishment for eating so many delicious things in front of him.)

Anyway, dinner was delicious and the company was wonderful. After dinner, Glenn drove us to the top of the hill to take the Portland Aerial Tram. It was pretty cool, although Geoff wasn’t a huge fan as he’s slightly afraid of heights, and apparently a metal and glass ball suspended from some rope doesn’t feel incredibly safe to him. Go figure. Anyway, our timing was good as the sun was just beginning to set, and Portland is a beautiful city. I thought it was pretty cool.

We’re in the home stretch of this honeymoon adventure of ours! Only five more days! Tonight we’re camping in Northern California, then Wednesday it’s San Francisco, Thursday in Fresno, Friday in Santa Monica, and Saturday it’s back to Arizona to rescue my parents from our rotten monkey of a dog. After that we have to find an apartment and get jobs and probably get our car fixed and be adults again, so I suppose we should try to enjoy these last few days!

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Where’s the sun, Seattle?

I always tell people that summers in Seattle are perfect – it’s sunny, it doesn’t rain much, and it’s warm. Yeah, apparently that hasn’t really been happening this year. Yesterday the weather promised some sun, but it just never made an appearance. Oh well. We don’t need no stinking sun!

We started out our day with Eli – she was nice enough to make us a delicious (gluten free!) breakfast and allow us to encroach on her quiet time for a while. It was so good to catch up with her – she’s usually crazy busy and so I’ve missed her on my last few visits. After saying our goodbyes, we walked downtown to meet up with Scott, Bryce, and Romy at the VI. Mike and I have been spending too much time in the car – walking up and down those Seattle hills was a bit rough! We survived the trek, and were greatly entertained by Bryce and Romy’s two year old daughter Verona. She fed us all French fries and cracked us up with her crazy faces.

Mike and Scott went off to see Green Lantern, while I stayed behind – I actually got to read a newspaper at the bar! I’m all kinds of up to speed on current events now. Okay, not really. You’d be amazed at how out of touch a person can get while driving around the country! I haven’t seen the Daily Show since April, and you know that’s where I get most of my news…

Anyway, eventually Oddessa arrived to tear me away from the VI for a while – we headed out to get some Pho for lunch before she had to start the dinner shift. It was nice to get some one-on-one time with her…and the Pho was pretty good too. (For those of you who have never had Pho, it’s this delicious Vietnamese noodle soup that I am slightly addicted to. Here’s hoping there’s a Pho place in Phoenix for me!)

In the afternoon, once the boys had returned from the movie (their verdict: it’s okay – worth seeing as a matinee) and we were joined by my friend Kristen from my days of working at Starbucks. It was great to catch up with her – it’s been altogether too long! Hopefully we won’t wait another three (or more? I can’t keep track!) years before hanging out again!

Once we decided that the six hours we had spent at the VI was probably good enough, we decided to go to the Attic with Benita and Matthew. We all gorged ourselves on nachos (and salads!) before heading back to Benita’s for the night.

Today we’re back on the road (and none too soon, because I fear these posts get a bit boring when all we do is hang out at a bar!) We’re going to swing through Tacoma to visit my friend Tom, then we’re Portland bound! I hear Mike’s Aunt has found us a place with gluten free pizza, so we’re excited to check it out!

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Seattle, Day 2!

I usually try to start at the beginning when recounting our daily adventures, but all I can think about after yesterday is the amazing show we went to last night. I’m so lucky to have talented friends like Elizabeth! She wrote and performed Sick, which is this amazing true story about how side effects from medications can really wreak havoc on a person’s life. We laughed and cried and laughed some more, and it was all Mike and I could talk about for the rest of the night. If you live in Seattle and have not seen it, you must go to see it next weekend, because while it has been extended a gazillion times, they keep saying that it has to close (for real this time) on the 25th. I really believe that this is just the start of things for this show – and for Eli – and how cool will it be to be able to brag that we knew her when, and that we saw the show before it was the next big thing.

Anyway, other than the show, our day was a typical day in Seattle for us. Soon after we were ready to face the day, Benita and Matthew showed up with coffee and wood fired bagels. The perfect breakfast (Mike just had coffee. Gluten free bagels aren’t exactly easy to find.) Then it was time for Benita to go to work so we tagged along with her and sat in the VI (that’s our affectionate name for the Virginia Inn) while they got ready to open. Mike ditched me to meet Scott for a movie and I made a quick trip to the Pike Place Market (reminding me how obnoxious the market is on a Saturday!)

And then you can probably guess what happened. Yup, that’s right! We spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the VI. The best part about hanging out where you used to work is that you get to actually talk to all those regular customers that you loved so much when you worked there. The VI has no shortage of regulars, so I got to catch up with Tom and Rebecca, Scott, Spencer, Bryce, Sam, and even John made an appearance (too bad Rebecca is in Florida these days!)

I had planned to go to the Solstice Parade to meet up with several groups of people (Solstice is this crazy festival that they have in Fremont every year. It’s famous for involving people on bicycles wearing nothing but body paint.) Of course, it was raining, which lessened my motivation to leave the warm and dry spot I had at the VI, and more familiar faces kept showing up, so the next thing we knew, the day had flown by and we had to head up the hill for Eli’s show. So, if I told you I’d try to make it to Solstice and then didn’t show, I’m sorry – I got sucked into the VI void again.

After the show, we walked back downtown to the VI. One of my favorite coworkers from when I worked there, Damian, is moving to New York City, and last night was his last night, so we went to say goodbye and good luck. The whole gang was there – Patrice and Gwen, Julia and her awesome mom, and Oddessa, so we wound up sitting at the bar until after midnight. Finally, when it was just Oddessa, Mike, and I left at the bar, we called it quits and shared a cab home.

It was a good day. I’m sure today will be no different. We get to have coffee with Eli, Mike gets to see another movie with Scott, and I’m hoping my long lost friend Kristen from my days at Starbucks will be able to hang out a bit as well. And yes, we’ll probably be at the VI most of the day again. What can I say? It’s my Seattle home.

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We finally made it to Seattle!

After our Lewiston dining experience on Thursday night, I was less than anxious to give the city another chance yesterday morning. So, instead of having breakfast there, we decided to drive to Walla Walla for a late breakfast. By far the coolest part about driving from Lewiston to Walla Walla is all the cute little towns you get to pass through on the way! Dayton and Waitsburg were our favorites. Lots of old buildings and signs for us to take pictures of – just how we like it.

Now, it’s been years since I went to Walla Walla, and I remember it being this charming little college town. Well, it’s grown up a bit since then, and it’s gotten quite trendy! Who knew! Of course, we’re not much for trendy, so of course we found a restaurant off the beaten path to stop at before wandering main street a bit. Breakfast (okay, more like lunch) was good, and we were fired up to head for Seattle, so we hit the road soon after.

A few hours of interstate driving later (and through the beautiful Snoqualmie pass!) we hit some lovely rush hour Seattle traffic. Ouch! We’ve been pretty lucky with traffic this trip – I think New Jersey and San Antonio were really the only places we’ve been stuck at all, so we’ve gotten a bit spoiled. Oh well. What can you do?

We finally made it downtown, found a parking spot, and headed for the VI. Wouldn’t you know it? Two of my favorite regulars were sitting in their customary spot outside! I love when that happens! After a round of hellos, I ditched Mike at the bar and invaded their space outside. It’s so fun to catch up with Jen and Amy – they are always entertaining!

Eventually Scott showed up to keep Mike company at the bar, and they heckled me via text message enough that I pried myself away from the girls and we headed for dinner. Scott really wanted to take us to El Gaucho – this fancy schmancy steakhouse down the road from the VI, so we headed there for dinner. Now, I’m not a huge fan of steakhouses. Generally I think they’re overpriced and I don’t really enjoy the pomp and circumstance that surrounds their meals. Give me a greasy spoon diner any day! El Gaucho is very nice – Mike and I felt a wee bit underdressed in our t-shirts and converse. Oh well. The steak was delicious, and it was nice to catch up with Scott a bit.

After dinner, we headed back to the VI for one last drink before we headed to my friend Benita’s house for the night. Of course, there were a bunch of familiar faces there, so we wound up sitting and chatting for a couple hours before we finally called it quits. Benita has a sweet guest room, and we were so happy to spend a night in a real bed!

Today, Mike is going to see a couple of movies with Scott and leaving me to my own devices for most of the day. Then tonight we have tickets to a show on Capitol Hill. It’s going to be a good day! Now if it would just stop raining…

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You think it’s windy in Chicago? Try Idaho!

Next time I try to pack up the tent by myself I hope it’s a bit less windy than it was at the Bruneau Dunes yesterday. It was all I could do to keep the darn thing from flying away! Of course, Mike returned from the showers just as I was putting it in the trunk, so I suspect that he was watching and laughing as I battled with it.

We were a little overdue for another oil change, so that was our first order of business in Boise. (This road trip isn’t all fun and games!) While we were waiting, we debated where to go for lunch. We even asked our friend and former Boise resident, Tom, for advice. We just couldn’t decide. Finally hunger overtook us and we went to the closest place we could find. That just happened to be Big Jud’s of Man vs. Food fame. No, we didn’t do the Big Jud Challenge. We just got their regular burgers (Mike got his without the bun, of course) and they were delicious! We ordered both French fries and tater tots to go with our burgers and had trouble finishing everything – I can’t imagine trying to tackle the giant burger! As we were leaving, a football team had arrived and several of them were attempting the challenge. I would have liked to hang out and see what they looked like, but there was a line out the door waiting for tables, so we went ahead and left so some other people could have lunch.

We took the scenic route north through Idaho, following along the several quite impressive rivers. Apparently this is rafting country, because nearly every town proclaimed itself to be the rafting capitol of Idaho (or something to that effect.) We saw quite a few rafts filled with people making their way over the rapids (and a couple of people walking along the road with paddles, clearly in search of their lost kayak.) Like most of the rivers we’ve seen on this trip, these were clearly larger than normal, swallowing trees along their banks, so I’m sure rafting is particularly exciting these days.

In the afternoon we drove through Hells Canyon – once known as America’s deepest gorge before those Alaska kids figured out that there’s a deeper one near Mt. McKinley. It was really beautiful, even if it did rain on us for a good chunk of the time. (What can I say? The rain loves us!) When we reached Lewiston, we crossed the border into Clarkston, WA briefly so that we could get our welcome sign photo out of the way. (Can you guess who Lewiston and Clarkston are named after?) That done, we decided to stop for the night and set up camp in Hells Gate State Park (because how often do you get to camp at Hell’s gate?) It was kind of early, so we set up our tent and headed back into town for dinner.

We had a hard time finding a non-chain restaurant in Lewiston/Clarkston that we could agree on. Most of them were burger joints, and we were still reeling a bit from our Big Jud adventure. Finally, Mike got tired of debating and picked a Chinese food place. After all, we had delicious Venezuelan food in nowhere, West Virginia. They can have good Chinese food in northern Idaho. Right? Wrong. It was easily the worst food we’ve had on this trip of ours. I’d even venture to say that it was the worst food I’ve ever been served in a restaurant. Yes, it really was that bad. We took our leftovers just to be polite, and chucked them at the first opportunity.

Back at camp, the threat of rain had passed, so Mike built a roaring fire and we roasted marshmallows while listening to the river flow by. It was pretty nice to camp without rain for a change!

Today we’re Seattle bound! The plan is to have some late breakfast in Walla Walla, then head for the Virginia Inn (the restaurant where I worked when Mike and I lived in Seattle.) We’re excited to catch up with our friends for the weekend.

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Moon craters in Idaho?

For the record, I have the best husband ever. I know this because when we pulled into our campsite last night and were greeted by a swarm of vicious mosquitoes, he insisted on setting up the tent solo so that I could hide in the car. Pretty nice, huh? I’m so spoiled. (In my defense, I did break down the tent while he showered this morning.)

Anyway, did I mention that it was ridiculously cold in the Tetons on Tuesday night? Poor Mike, he spent the entire night trying to get away from my icy cold feet. In the middle of the night, too cold to sleep, I spent a good hour trying to get my phone to load the current temperature with one tiny bar of edge service. I think I’m glad that it didn’t work, because I would have wussed out. As it was, it took three of Mike’s magic reusable hand warmers to allow me to fall asleep again. Needless to say, we were both a little tired yesterday.

Now, let me just start this by saying that I still have not seen a moose. I’m a little upset about this, but I’m comforted by the fact that we saw lots more bison and buffalo and even a groundhog before leaving the park for the day. We got some awesome bison/buffalo pictures that you all might get to see eventually. Driving around the park was fun. It’s incredibly beautiful – giant mountains covered in snow reflected on the smooth as glass lake. We were constantly awed by the beauty around us. I took bazillions of pictures (I think Mike winced a little bit with every click – thinking about how much time he is going to have to spend processing them!)

We decided to take the southern route out of the park – headed in the general direction of Boise, Idaho. We went over Teton pass, which is a crazy steep road with amazing views…until you get to the Idaho side. Now, don’t get me wrong. The Idaho side is also beautiful, but just not in the awe-inspiring way that the Wyoming side is. I think if I ever decide to take that road again, I’ll be sure to start in Idaho so that I appreciate just how pretty it is before forgetting all about it the second I go through the pass.

In our grand tradition of finding the most random of restaurants to stop at, we found ourselves at Cedric’s Family Restaurant in Idaho Falls around lunch time. It was clearly once a hopping truck stop, but now it’s more of a sad little diner next to a gas station. A sad little diner with crazy delicious scones. Yeah, I said scones. My biggest regret of the day is not ordering the burger that came on a scone. I was thinking of the scones that you get from coffee shops. This was not one of those scones. This was deep fried dough, served with sweet butter. I made Mike order one with his omelet instead of toast just so I could try it. (Their menu bragged about their delicious scones but I wanted a sandwich.) I’m so glad I did, although this might mean that I have to make a return trip to Idaho Falls someday just for a scone or two or ten.

Next on our tour of Idaho was Atomic City (basically a ghost town) and Arco (the first town to be run entirely on atomic power.) Neither was very exciting. What was exciting was what came next: the Craters of the Moon National Monument. It’s this crazy area where there was volcanic activity that made all sorts of rock formations – even caves! We would have explored it more, but it was getting late, and incredibly windy (like the kind of wind that could knock you over) so we did a quick drive by and then headed for our campsite.

Our chosen spot for the evening was the Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park. We arrived just before sunset (and just in time for the mosquitoes to swarm), and it’s really beautiful. It’s nothing at all like what we imagined Idaho to look like, but that’s been true most of today. I guess all we expected to see upon crossing the border was piles of potatoes. Maybe that’s a different time of year?

Today we’re headed north – we want to stay somewhere in southeast or south-central Washington tonight, but we haven’t decided on the route to take. Our first order of business is an oil change in Boise and some time with a map. Our goal is to set ourselves up so that we have a couple of easy driving days and can arrive in Seattle sometime Friday afternoon.

(Seattle people: want to hang with us? We plan to be in town until Monday morning, and I can pretty much guarantee that we’ll be at the VI most of the time with a few exceptions: Eli’s show Saturday night and Mike going to see a couple nerdy movies with Scott at some point. Of course, if you want to make sure you’ll catch one or both of us, let me know so we can plan accordingly!)

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