Two weeks of travel

The past couple weeks have been ones of travel for me, with an emphasis on driving. A couple weeks ago I went through Downey, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, and last Sunday night we got back from a weekend in Spokane. Got to see lots of family, which is always the best part. The intent of my first trip was to meet up with family in Las Vegas, but since my parents were also going to a convention in Phoenix and doing the whole trip with driving, I decided to fly to Southern California to do most of the drive with them.

 

Monday 4/11 was a pretty easy travel day. I got to the airport well ahead of my flight and was able to have a leisurely lunch and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Got to Long Beach with no hiccups, and not long after getting to the house my dad had udon ready for dinner. Knowing we were getting an early start, I turned in early.

Tuesday 4/12 saw us leaving the house at about 6am on our way to Phoenix where my parents were going to a trade show covering art materials. While it's a pretty direct drive, I pulled up the map on my phone to make sure and to also scope out possible rest stops. I loaded a bunch of CDs into the changer and my mom being who she is, we had more than enough snacks for the six hour drive.

 Windmills along I-10, Desert Center

Windmills along I-10, Desert Center

We pulled into Phoenix and the bellhop started unloading the car. My parents had brought all sorts of cookies, candy, canned goods, etc. for people, so a lot of things came out of the car. We checked in, then went downstairs to find some lunch. I saw a bunch of my parents' friends finishing up, so we joined them. It was fun to watch everyone catch up with what's going on.

After an afternoon class, several people met up for drinks in the early evening, then we all walked over to District and had a great dinner.

 Lobster gnocchi

Lobster gnocchi

Wednesday 4/13 was another day of travel, but it began with my parents going back to the convention, while I wandered around the downtown area. We had lunch with Aunt Frances (who had flown in about the time we arrived on Tuesday then stayed the rest of the week) then got back into the car for the "short" five hour trip to Las Vegas.

 Sunset along I-515

Sunset along I-515

We checked into our rooms, had a quick dinner, and met up with family members as they arrived. My parents then settled into their favorite machines and got down to business, Vegas style.

Thursday 4/14 involved no travel, for a change. I had originally thought about going to the Strip to take photos, but decided to spend a good part of the day with my cousins, and had a great time. After dinner, I headed to the Fremont Street Experience and ended up seeing people ride the zip line and listening to a band doing 80's covers.

 Zip line rider

Zip line rider

 Live band

Live band

Friday 4/15 was the last day in Las Vegas, and people dispersed to their homes. My parents and I had lunch at Makino, a Japanese buffet restaurant, and I actually was able to plan the meal well enough to have room for dessert. Afterwards they dropped me off at the airport and I flew back, wishing Melody a happy birthday when I got back home.

Tuesday 4/19 was when Jean picked Celeste up from the airport and they showed up to spend the night. It was great to have time to chat with them before we all fell asleep, and we made good use of the time to catch up. The two of them went to Keith's place on Wednesday, spending the night. Jean went back to Yakima on Thursday while Keith dropped by with Celeste, and we had a chance to chat before he went to Issaquah for a performance of Iron Curtain (which we saw earlier in the run).

Friday 4/22 involved driving east on I-90 to Spokane. We got a slightly later start than we hoped and ran into a bit of traffic near Snoqualmie Pass, but decided to still have lunch in Ellensburg, even though we didn't get there until 2:30. We had no traffic problems the rest of the way, but westbound traffic looked very bad.

We eagerly sought out Neal and Irene after checking in, and they both looked great. Irene is recovering from hip surgery and while she's in a wheelchair, she seems to be getting a lot of her strength back. She certainly had a healthy appetite when we had meals together. Afterwards, Melody, Celeste, and I went out for a walk and grabbed dinner at the new Five Guys while we were out.

Saturday 4/23 started with joining Neal and Irene for breakfast, then Melody checked in to make sure things were going well with work (where they were working on a major site launch). We then went to Downtown Spokane, first heading to the falls. Because of all the runoff, the river was quite high.

 Spokane Falls

Spokane Falls

A quick lunch (immediately followed by ice cream!) and then we were off to look at some of the sculptures in Riverfront Park, following a Sculpture Walk that Melody had.

 Lantern, Harold Balazs (1974), Riverfront Park

Lantern, Harold Balazs (1974), Riverfront Park

 East-West Arbor, Jody Pinto (1990), Riverfront Park

East-West Arbor, Jody Pinto (1990), Riverfront Park

Back to Rockwood for resting and dinner, after which Barbara stopped by and we all had a great chat.

Sunday 4/24 had us returning to Seattle and running into no slowdowns at all, much to our relief. We had a quiet dinner and turned in early, and Celeste flew back to Austin on Monday.

While the traveling is done for a while, we'll be having more visitors throughout May. At least we have a couple weeks to rest up first!