If this is Seattle, I must be on vacation

We left the house yesterday evening with the USAF Thunderbirds flying formation overhead, McCloud anxious and Sophie frankly pissed. She knows well in advance when we are planning to leave her- must be something about the washing machine and dishwasher running simultaneously, the litter box smelling of Pinesol and filled anew and then there are those damnable suitcases…

The flight was fine, although I always wonder about people who weigh much more than 128# because for the life of me, even in an exit row seat I want to start elbowing and kicking the person next to me to get a bit more space. I restrained myself (it was Rich, after all) and I slept a couple hours. We got in at midnight here, took the courtesy shuttle to the wrong hotel and spent another hour getting rerouted and reorganized around that. I chalked that up to the high price of using all of Rich’s travel points and booking 3 different places for the nights we aren’t camping on the islands.

This morning we headed over to REI’s flagship store and, swear to God, I’m ready to live outside. Forever. I’ve always been a pretty avid camper and frankly, I’d rather use a campground toilet than an airplane toilet anyday, so my issues around germs and cleanliness don’t seem to phase me in the great outdoors; I always find a way. It’s been a few years since I’ve been outside outside; the last time was canopy camping in Costa Rica with the Snarl. I haven’t been in an outfitting store for at least five years and whoa! REI is the mother of them all. We spent about an hour just sorting through the wide selection of freeze dried fine cuisine and tomorrow I’ll try to post a picture of our food selections for this trip (I mean, in addition to FISH.). Then we checked out the seven story rock climbing wall and finally, moved on to clothing. Along the way we looked at tents, kayaks, packs, stoves and every imaginable kind of gear. I promise you, if I won the lottery, I could spend it all at REI.


In clothing they have underwear that advertises: “Five countries, sixteen days, one pair of underwear.” That didn’t seem like a huge selling point to me and it’s probably where I’d draw the line on roughing it, although, at this point Michelle de Seattle met up with us and she swears by the stuff. But every indication is that she changes it more often.

Michelle, aka Sparky (from when she tried to burn down my brickhouse while attending BlogHer) spent the rest of the day with us as we ate fish and chips on the waterfront and explored Pike Place Market. Bless her friendly heart, she had loaded up her car with the pots and pans and dish soap and paper towel type stuff we need for camping but couldn’t carry on the plane. We bought a small Coleman stove we’ll leave with her at the end of the week so, between us, we’re in great shape to board the ferry early tomorrow and head over to Friday Harbor on San Juan in Puget Sound.

Right at the moment? I’m sitting in the ultra chic bar area of the W Hotel, enjoying a vodka and tonic and a huge bowl of edamame. I must be on vacation. Cheers!

(I’m not going to get far in terms of comments at your place; my battery is running down and there’s not a plug in sight. But I’m going to make a quick scoot around the neighborhood right now and if, per chance, we get a lot of rain I’ll head up to the lodge at Lakedale where they have wireless. Drizzle? Doesn’t bother me a bit. All the better for fishing…)

17 responses to “If this is Seattle, I must be on vacation

  1. I apologize for the crappy weather; August is usually our NICEST month. I think we have a flood in my cul-de-sac…It’s pouring!! REI is an amazing place, isn’t it? I could spend hours in Whole Foods also or the huge Asian supermarket/department store in the International District. (can’t spell it to save my life) Hope you enjoy and relax. See you Friday. I’m at the Sheraton.

  2. You’re here! In our time-zone, in our weather. The sun came out a few times today on the Olympic Peninsula. It was beautiful. It’s still warm and summery, no matter what. I think the weather is going to improve as the week progresses. Hope you have a grand time in the San Juans. It’s lovely there.

  3. Vicki, even though I am not a happy camper, I could spend thousands in that store….LOL. It amazes me that there are so very many specialized items for use in the outdoors!

    Have a wonderful time on vacation and enjoy seeing all your friends.

  4. Have a GREAT trip! For me, it’s not camping without my OWN toilet and my temperpedic mattress, thank you very much! That’s why we bought a motorhome! But, to each her own. I hope you catch lots of huge, delicious fish and make up fantastic stories about bigger ones that got away!

  5. I could wave at you from atop Tiger Mountain but for the clouds and fog. Welcome to the Emerald City!

    The only snobbery in Seattle centers around one’s REI membership number. The lower your number, the higher your social status. So, how long did it take you to climb the wall?

  6. Welcome to our drizzle! Margaret’s right; we usually have glorious bluest-skies-you’ve-ever-seen weather in August. The REI mother ship is spectacular, isn’t it? A gorgeous building housing a world of wonderful toys. Hope the fishing’s good, whatever the weather. See you Friday!

  7. Margaret- all day I’ve been saying, “Darn! that Margaret! If only she could have done better with the weather! Can’t wait to see you.

    Bonnie- oddly, we have a pretty low number. 😉 I joined about 7 years ago and today, at check out, after wracking my brain for the phone number attached to it, they found me.

    Robin- I thought about you and pointed out the place on the map where I think you are. About that lottery win- I’ll snag your place, too and keep it as a respite for all of us bird/water/sea/sky people to come pitch our REI tents.

    Judy- You’ll smile when you see my photos- I made a small purchase today at Pike Place with you in mind.

    Lizalee- I know what you mean about comfort on wheels. Much as I complain about the white elephant- literally- that Rich brought into our marriage in the form of a 34 foot Gulfstream that gets pulled out every other year of so due to gas prices- a motorhome can be a blast. We took it up to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton two summers ago and that was on of our best trips ever. You should have seen us loading THAT puppy aboard the Halifax-Portland ferry!

    Kimberly- bless these organized women! I can’t wait to see you Friday evening!

  8. Here you are, starting your vacation, and here I am, starting back to work. Wish I could join you. Have a blast, Miz Vicki!

  9. Oh, REI, my son would be in heaven. He probably has some of that underwear. He took a group of hikers into Utah on a ten-day hike while he was at Penn State. His comment was, “Mom, after you all smell the same, there’s no caste system. Everyone’s the same.” When they arrived at a place where they could get a shower, heads turned as they entered, people wondering what on earth had entered their facility.

    I know you’re going to have a wonderful time. Enjoy.

  10. We, too, enjoyed REI in Seattle. My guys worship the place.
    I have to say the nice hotels there have great bars. The place we stayed had a most excellent oyster bar within the bar. We feasted on all types of Pacific oysters, a different critter from its cousins here on the Gulf.
    Pikes Place Market rocks.

  11. I was in REI and Pikes back in ’83, and I was amazed even then.
    Have a great trip!
    Good luck with the fish.

  12. Wende is the Mother Of All Organizers!

    Karen is right; Pacific oysters are great. Though, as Bruce and I have experienced “complications” after dining on too many, my advice is to try to use a bit of moderation.

    *blowing kisses*

  13. Uwajimaya is the fabulous Asian store Margaret mentioned. (Former Seattleite here.)

    Have a wonderful time meeting up with the ladies! And enjoy the ferry ride from Anacortes–it’s so beautiful.

  14. I really prefer maid service, air conditioning and a nice hot shower. But! I would enjoy one or two nights in a tent. that’s about it.

    Sounds like a great vacation you’re having despite the all-nighter. Enjoy, Vicki! Feel the rain. Love the fish :o)

  15. I think I would spend half my lottery money at REI and the other half at Uwajimaya.

    If you get a chance to wander around Port Townsend, try to stop in at the Elevated Ice Cream company. I really liked working there.

  16. A little rain won’t hurt nothing. Ain’t like Minnesota or Oklahoma. And pretty soon (like tmw) won’t be no rain atall. You are in for spectacular camping and I wish you well on the fishing. Tell Margaret hello for me.

  17. Alala: I mentioned my brother in law lives in Port Townsend! He’s a musician. We’ve enjoyed Elevated Ice Cream more than once while there! Small world.

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