Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Oregon, Oregon. Portland, Oregon.
We left Marc’s cousin’s house in Washington on Thursday morning and arrived in Portland after a 15-20 minute drive. Portland is right on the border of Oregon and Washington, so it didn’t take long to get there. We started off in downtown, driving around trying to find free parking, one of our many plights in life. Finally we found free 2 hour parking, so we got out and began our quest. Firstly, we came across a record store that was pretty sweet. They had a lot of old CD’s for anywhere from $1.95-3.95, definitely a price I could live with! But as always, we are just window shoppers.  Moving on, we came to what we were in the area to see: Powell’s City of Books. This bookstore is HUGE! Seriously. It took up a square city block and had 3 or 4 levels.  We spent as long as we could there, but our van beckoned to be moved, and off we went.
Friday was a bit more exciting-it was Marc’s birthday! Last year, we had a little bit of money when it was my birthday so we had an awesome time in Maine. We were able to go out to eat and get ice cream and coffee, it was wonderful and perfect. Then by the time Marc’s bday came around 2 months later, we didn’t have enough money to do anything and I felt terrible! So this year I tried to do everything in my power to make it super awesome! In the morning we used our gift card to Jack in the Box to get him his favorite breakfast sandwich and have a place to sit and have our study. Breakfast was delicious and then we were on our way! We also had $11 worth of gift cards to Regal, so we went to the matinee and only had to pay $5 out of pocket for 2 tickets. I’d say that’s a pretty awesome deal! We watched Gravity with Sandra Bullock and I felt like having an anxiety attack the entire time! It was intense! After that, we walked over to the train to see if we could take it into the city. It ended up being $10 for both of us which wasn’t bad for an all day pass, but we figured we’d probably spend less than that in gas to get there, park and walk around, so we started back to the van.
As we walked, there was this skater boy in front of us that Marc began a conversation with. He grew up going to Catholic school, which he actually liked, but got kicked out and hadn’t gone to church since. Marc got to talk to him about repentance and following the Lord, to which he replied that he smoked weed, but knew he needed to stop. All in all, the conversation went very well. He seemed very grateful to have run into Marc and had that conversation.
Meanwhile, in creepy town (located 10 feet away on a bus stop bench), I was sitting, praying for Marc and minding my own business, when a guy sat on the ledge to the right of the bench. “I like your hair,” he started with. Had I been thinking logically, my reply would have been, “it’s in a bun and I haven’t washed it in 3 days. You don’t like my hair.” But caught off guard, I mumbled off a cordial, “thanks,” and continued not talking to him.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
Ugh, I thought, I haven’t been hit on by a stranger in quite some time, but I told him my name and didn’t look at him, hoping he’d get the hint.
“That’s pretty,” he replied. “Where’s Clyde?”
I’m so glad you asked. “He’s right over there, in the red shirt.”
As Marc wrapped up his conversation with the skater boy, he came over to where we were sitting and started talking to Victor, the Russian, who made sure to note he had a girlfriend. As Marc asked him about his life and beliefs, he said that he believed in God but was probably going to hell because of the things he had done. And yet, God’s grace is bigger than that! He still had views of God and the gospel that were a bit off, but Marc was able to explain it in ways that made sense. At one point, he interrupted Marc to say, “Let me ask you a question. I know your views of God, but what is your opinion on God and cannabis?”  Seriously? Who says that?! Marc started to answer him and say that it’s not about what we can and can’t do, that’s not why we believe in God, but he interrupted again to say that he was only asking because he wanted to know if we minded that he toke up. We said we did mind and he replied with, “Well, I have my card.” We were just about done anyways so we wrapped up our conversation and went on to the next awesome birthday event-Voodoo Doughnuts. Apparently, it’s a well known place in Portland. They have been on TV for their wacky donuts and everyone seems to love the maple bar that has two small strips of bacon on it. Our friend Danelle, who is a Portland native, told us that the line always takes 45 minutes to get through but it is worth it. We were pleasantly surprised as we walked up to the building and there was no line! That is, until we got around the corner. The line went halfway down the building. Apparently she was right! So we waited and it only took about 20 minutes to get through it. Once we got inside, we saw the craziest donuts ever! One had fruit loops on top of it, another nerds, another cocoa puffs, another sprinkles and marshmallows, there were vegan donuts even! Marc got one the maple bar with bacon on it and I got one that was called ODB, after the rapper. It was a donut with chocolate glaze, crumbled Oreos, and peanut butter drizzle. It was so good!!! Surprisingly, they weren’t too expensive and they were quite big!
We didn’t have to move the car for another hour, so we walked around the downtown for a bit. It was getting into evening and there wasn’t much going on except for food trucks, so we began back to the van. 

State #45, can you believe it?!

no idea what's up with the reindeer

the line at Voodoo Donuts.

holy moly!

chocolate glaze, crushed oreos, peanut butter drizzle!
maple glaze, bacon.

got milk?

When we finally got there, we drove towards the airport but stopped at a park and took a nap in the back. Why were we driving to the airport? Why did we take a nap? Well let me tell you! Marc’s cousin, Danny Boy, flew up to Portland from San Francisco when he got off of work, just so he could be with Marc on his bday! We expected to be up most of the night engaging in debauchery and ridiculousness, and I’m a grandma at heart, so I knew I’d be tired. Eventually, we woke up and it was time to get him! Once we picked him up from the airport, we headed out to this outdoor mall similar to Victoria Gardens for dinner. We walked into a restaurant and saw they charged upwards of $30 for a plate and we walked right back out! Instead, we found a Claim Jumper and had some BOMB food! Not to mention, we had a server who was absolutely amazing! I always find some little thing that makes it not quite perfect (I don’t mean to, it’s just the side effects of being a waitress for 5 years) but this guy went above and beyond! It was superb! I was super grateful to Danny Boy for treating us to dinner and helping to give Marc the birthday that I couldn’t. I know just having him there was awesome enough for us, but he made sure Marc had a good time, especially after dinner! We went to this place similar to Dave & Buster’s called Big Al’s. It had arcade games, bowling, darts, and pool! So we had at it! We played games until 12:30 in the morning, and then got in some darts and pool before they closed at 1. Then it was off to the van to go to sleep, much earlier than I expected!  No lie, I love sleep so I wasn’t complaining! We laid down, got all comfy, and prayed and I began drifting off into la-la-land, when Marc says, “I’m not tired.” And my dreams were shattered! Well, my almost dreams anyways. So we got up and played cards for a little bit, until the boys were tired, and then we crashed. It was funny to see Danny Boy getting a taste of the van life, but he adjusted well enough.

a sweet treat for my sweet on his birthday

Danny Boy getting beat at Buck Hunter

Danny Boy getting beat at racing

the only thing he seemed to be good at, pool
Marc got a bullseye on his first shot!

van life!

In the morning, we went to Starbucks to have our studies and charge our phones. When that was done, we headed back to Big Al’s to spend the rest of his play card on breakfast. When we got there, we noticed that all they really had was pizza, ice cream, and baseball game food, so we used the rest of the gift card on games. While we were playing a racing game, a worker walked by and asked us if we wanted this other card that had $12.75 on it. Heck yes we did! So we played skeeball! Marc doesn’t really care for ticket games, he really only likes games like racing or shooting or basketball. We are cut from a different cord, because all I care about is getting tickets! So now that it wasn’t his bday anymore, I used the new card to play some games that I like, and we got a nice little chunk of tickets. After they played their last round of Big Buck Hunter, we cashed in our tickets, got some prizes and headed for the door. Before we even made it down the stairs, Danny Boy asked, “Why didn’t we play ticket games the whole time?!” That’s what I’m saying! So we went back up and played a few more games, got more tickets, and used them for more cheap, awesome stuff! And then we were off to the Portland State University Farmer’s Market to be, as Marc called us, “sample abusers”. Well, I suppose we did abuse the system. We had so many samples I almost didn’t want lunch! Almost. By the time we got there, it was only open for another hour, but we walked around anyways and tried some bomb food. Danny Boy found a food stand that said, “Special today: Paleo Plate,” like it was meant to be! Then we were off to the Saturday Market out on the waterfront. This one was more goods than food, but still an awesome time of walking around, enjoying family, and seeing people’s crafts. We couldn’t stay more than a couple of hours because we had to get Danny Boy back to the airport, but it was nice while it lasted.

good times with mustaches: 

After we took him, we went back to hang with Marc’s cousin Rachel and her husband, David, at their new house, which, by the way is beautiful! His grandmother gave it to them and she has lived in it since the 50’s! And you could kind of tell with the décor. It was super retro, but actually really awesome! Rachel said that the kitchen hadn’t been redone since the Grandma had moved in, but if that was the case, the house was in spectacular condition! The wallpaper wasn’t peeling anywhere, the green, crackle paint blinds didn’t have a speck of dust or discoloration on them, and the burnt orange shag carpet looked new. The house was in great condition and I totally fell in love with the retro feel! That night, Rachel and David treated us to dinner at a pizza place they go to and it was delicious! 

Rachel & David

I have a new found love for green olives and a mild (but increasing) like for pepperoni
After dinner, we went our separate ways. Well, they stayed home, but we drove to meet our friend Danelle, who had driven up for 4 hours to see us! Her husband’s sister lived in Vancouver so they were at her house hanging out with the family. How awesome that we had never met these people, but they were still happy to invite us into their house and be super gracious hosts to us! We all hung out and talked for the next 3 hours or so and in that time they fed us snacks galore! Chips and salsa (that she had made and canned herself), pickled green beans (that she had made and canned herself), zucchini bread (yes, that she made herself), and all the candy we could want from their candy jar. We had a really great time just hanging out with our old friend and making new ones! But the 4 hour sleep the night before took its toll on my granny self, and I had to go to bed.
Sunday morning brought more awesomeness! The homeowners, JR & Danielle (not to be confused with Danelle)  made us a delicious breakfast of turkey bacon, French toast (made with eggs from their chickens), sausage, coffee, and raspberries. What more could a couple of vagabonds ask for!? It was fantastic! From there, Danelle, Marc, and I headed off to church, where the pastor looked like he could be Marc’s brother. He was probably about 29, had a beard, and even had dreadlocks, and his message was fantastic! The worship was moving and the message was solid. The part that Marc liked the best was the usher. It was a pretty large church so when we walked in the foyer, it took a minute to figure out where to go from there. Marc asked the closest usher, "excuse me, where do I go?"
"Is it your first time?" he asked, then proceeded to not only point out to Marc where the sanctuary was, but pointed out the cross, why it was there, and what it meant, effectively giving him the gospel in less than a minute or two. How awesome, instead of just saying "good morning," he took the time to show that he cared. He took the 90 seconds he had with Marc and made sure that, even if at no other time, he would hear the gospel then. Awesome. After church, we headed back to the house and relaxed to football for a little while while everyone got ready to go to the pumpkin patch! When we got there, it was closed, but Danielle in all of her niftiness, found another one that was AMAZING!! It cost $9 to get in (thankfully Danelle and Paul fronted it for us) but with the price of admission you got:
Corn maze, straw pyramid, 2 small pumpkins to launch at the pumpkin launch, a free hot cocoa, apple cider, or coffee, a hay ride, and a pumpkin!
I’d say it was super worth it! We had so much fun! I love being festive and being able to participate in stuff like that. God is so good to provide that for us, even while we’re jobless and on the road.

that's what I get for making him take a cheesy picture

Marc, me, Lorenzo, Danielle, Jason (in the hole), Paul, & Danelle

midget goat!

Marc & Danelle milling corn! 

PUMPKIN LAUNCH!!! Very serious business:





free hot cider & cocoa!

hay ride! Marc, Lorenzo, & Jason

I know you can't tell, but this thing is massive. 

After we were done, we went back to the house and watched the 16 year old son do his homework. I know that sounds boring, but it was for his culinary class and his homework was to prepare dinner, so he busted out his mom’s recipe, and went to work making salmon puff pastry, stuffed with spinach and pesto with a side of rice. I don’t normally like salmon, I actually super hate it because I think it tastes like cat food, but this one wasn’t bad! I only tried a few bites of Marc’s, but I must say, if I was hungry, I would have served myself a portion!
Chef Lorenzo!

their GIANT cat!

After dinner, Danelle and Paul took off back to Coos Bay, Oregon and we said goodbye and thanks to our new friends. I really enjoyed meeting Danielle (and her family) because she was a great example of a 21st century keeper of the home. She has a large garden, and she cans a lot of food. Her stock pile is impressive! She also noted that from the time her boys were born it has been important to her to be home with them and play an active role in raising them, rather than letting a babysitter or someone else do it. AND! She knows how to cut hair! Not that I'm all about learning, but I just see it as one more thing that she can do to help balance the budget and be a good steward of the money that God has blessed them with. She reminded me of certain verses from Proverbs 31:

13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 

27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.

All in all, we were blessed to have met the family. I guess we're always blessed when we meet new people who take us in, but especially this time because they treated us like family before they even had met us. I do hope that our paths cross again!
 Our first stop after leaving their house was to get gas. At the station, Marc pumped our gas but then went back in to give the cashier the gospel. He knew he didn’t have a lot of time, so he dropped it on him quickly, and then came back out. He got in the car to leave, but noticed a man across the way walking his dog, and off he went! The man was very cordial but said that he didn’t believe that God existed. “What if I could give you overwhelming evidence that showed He does? Would you be interested?” Marc asked.
The dog walker replied, “Well, I’m pretty close minded….”
That statement basically ended the conversation. Marc recommended a book to him, thanked him for being so cordial, and then off we went to find a Walmart and go to sleep.
The next day was Monday morning. We went to Jack in the Box and finished off our gift card. We weren’t really sure what we were going to do that day, but we pulled out our tourist brochure and found some free stuff, then off we went. The first one was a rose garden in the middle of Washington Park, just on the other side of the Burnside Bridge. (Sidenote, there are a ton of bridges in Portland! TONS! The main one that we went back and forth over was Burnside Bridge.) We walked around, stopped to smell the roses, and made our way over to the Japanese Gardens. Unfortunately it cost $8.50 to get in, which I probably wouldn’t pay even if we had jobs, so we turned around and made our way to our next destination: the Pittock Mansion. Apparently, it is a must see, but it, too, required an admission fee. Instead of going in, we just walked around and took pictures. When we got to the opposite side of the house, the view of the city was awesome! As I started snapping pictures, Marc began talking to the guy sitting on the bench, reading his book. He had a very noticeable accent, so Marc asked where he was from. Paris, France! How cool is that! His name was Ulysses (I’m not sure I spelled that right, but I sure hope so!) and he had spent 3 months travelling Canada and would spend the next 3 travelling the states, making it back to France just in time for Christmas. He was couch surfing his way across the country with no car, just hitchhiking, seeing the sights, and making friends as he goes. We spent probably an hour and a half talking with him, sharing about Jesus, asking him about why he is an atheist, and answering his questions. It was seriously, the best conversation we’ve had with anybody on this trip-not just because it was the longest but because he asked great questions. In the end, he said, “you said God wanted us to have choice, but with what you’re saying, it seems like there is no choice but to believe in God.” There is always a choice, but you are left with a good option and a bad option. Far too many people take the bad option because they don’t want to believe in God, they don’t want to be accountable to someone, or someone has been telling them for their whole life that it’s a lie. Whatever the reason, people take the bad option all too often. That is why the Bible says that the road to life is narrow and few find it, but the road to destruction is broad and many go in by it. People choose the bad option for many reasons, but we still all are given a choice.
After about 2 hours of hanging out with him, we gave him a ride to his host’s house, and off we went.  We didn’t know what else to do, so we walked around the mall. Marc found a guy sitting alone at the food court and began to talk to him. The conversation didn’t go very well-we think he might have been not all there because many of the arguments that he was saying didn’t make sense. So we continued on through the mall and found ourselves killing the end of our night in Barnes & Noble because we had nothing else to do. Soon after we were off to bed.
We pulled into Walmart, parked, and got out of the van just in time for the security guard to pull up next to us. I’m talking right next to us, even though we park all the way in the very last space down at the end of the row. Coincidence? I think not. We said hi and kept walking and he drove off. Phew. As we walked, he pulled up next to us again and said, “Can I ask you guys a question?” Aw man, here it comes. And then something unexpected happened-he began to talk to us about Jesus! He’s been a messianic Jew for the past 4 years, but a believer for over 40! Man, were we going to sleep good that night?! Or so we thought. Two hours later while I was cozy in my sleepiness, we were rudely awakened by LOUD, repeated knocking on the windows. It was a different security guard this time who said, “County ordinance, no overnight parking. You guys can’t stay here.” As groggy as can be, Marc got up and moved the van. It was our first time being kicked out of a Walmart, our first interaction with a security guard, and definitely the rudest awakening of the whole trip. It was more than a 10 minute drive to the next nearest Walmart, so in an effort to conserve gas, we just found a place close by to stay. It was a street in between a field and a McDonald’s, nobody was parked there and we didn’t see any signs, so down we went. I lay awake for a while, fearful that we’d be woken up to move again, seeing as though we were still in the same county. I don’t remember getting tired or when it happened, but eventually I fell asleep, only to be woken up once again by loud knocking and tow truck in front of the van. Thankfully, the driver gave us a heads up instead of just hauling us away in our sleep, but he said it was a private road and that we couldn’t park there. By this time it was around 9, so we just got up for the day and had breakfast. We weren't really sure what to do that day, so with no direction, we went to the only free place we could think of, Barnes & Noble, to charge up and have our study. I ended up writing my blog (this one), which took up a good chunk of the day. Afterwards, Rachel & David invited us over for dinner, so we crossed back into Washington for the 3rd or 4th time since we had been in Oregon, where we had dinner and are currently sleeping in their living room, on a comfy air mattress with no security guard to kick us out, praise the Lord! :)
It looks as though we'll be leaving for Idaho tomorrow, but who knows what the Lord has in store. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of "Marc & Bonnie's road trip across the country that's almost over, praise the Lord!" :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Washington (and 10 Things I Hate About You)

Washington! Woot woot!
State #44 began by continuing down the road with Jonny, Mindy, and Robert!  We left Eureka, Montana around 4 pm on Wednesday afternoon.  It was strange driving in Jonny’s car and following the van for 2 reasons. One, Marc and I were always together, but we split up boys and girls. We got the car because it has a heater, unlike the van. Two, because I wasn’t in the van-I’ve never gone to a different state not in the van, and why would I have?
It was about a 500 mile drive so we didn’t make it to Seattle until around 1:30 ish. Marc seems to think it was 2:30, so somewhere in between the 2 is probably the most accurate. We have a tendency to remember details a little differently. Either way, we got there very late, found Walmart, parked it and went to sleep.  Mindy slept in the back of Jonny’s car, while I slept on the floor of the van and all 3 boys slept on the bed. I could have slept in the bed, but I thought it would be a bit weird to have someone else in bed with us, so I opted for the ground. It was an amusing fit to say the least.  As it always does, morning came. We survived the night, and woke up to face Seattle.

In the same parking lot with Walmart was a Safeway and Panera, so we got up and got a dozen eggs to make breakfast for our houseguests, then used our free coffee voucher to sit at Panera and have our study before our adventure.  Just before we got in there, we noticed that there were Jehovah’s Witnesses walking in a path that would lead them straight to us, so we walked a bit slower to ensure an encounter. They passed us a magazine and we stopped to talk. Marc dominated one of the conversations, and Jonny began talking with the other lady. I considered butting into Jonny’s, but I think that experience can be one of the best teachers, so I hung back and let him ask his questions. Afterwards, we talked about different ways to approach it. I do always love talking about different cults. I think I might like to teach a workshop on it one day, Lord willing anyways. I need to learn a bit more, but it would be awesome!
After we finished up at Panera, we headed into Seattle, thus beginning the usual frustrating situation that we face in major cities-trying to find free parking. After a good bit of research and driving around, we gave up and Jonny paid for us to park in a lot. We now had 5 hours to explore! We walked to the Seattle Space Needle, which was fairly close to us anyways. We didn’t pay to go up because usually awesome things aren’t free, but we took pictures then headed on down the road to find Pike’s Place. (p.s. I’ve been informed by a local that they call it Pike’s Marketplace, not Pike’s Place or Pike’s Market, so if you wanna be in the know, there you go!) On the way, we passed a man who was dressed rather nicely in business attire, crouched down on the sidewalk pouring what looked like water over 2 wires that were twisted together in a circle. Marc said, mostly in passing, “I can’t wait to see what it is you’re doing.” And just like that, we were having a conversation with this man named Paul. He told us about his artwork, and Marc told him about our trip. As the conversation progressed, we found out that he knew the Lord, but wasn’t really living for him, according to his own admission. It was a good conversation and sweet to see that Jonny naturally joined in by sharing verses and encouragement. As we moved on down the road, there was a guy standing outside smoking. We asked him a bit about the city, things to see, where to go, etc. The first thing he said was that Pike’s Marketplace was lame. I made a joke about thanks for making me feel like a lame tourist since that’s where we were going. A necessary evil of being a tourist is being predictable and going where everyone else goes, but you can’t go somewhere like Seattle and not do what they’re known for! So anyways, he told us of a couple locations. One funny thing that he said was, “If you drive by (whatever place) you can see a bunch of prostitutes. Just see them, though; I don’t recommend engaging their services.” It was too funny. The touristy conversation was coming to an end, so Marc gave him a tract and began to ask him about his beliefs. Very politely, he said that he was on a 10 minute break from work and as he was just about at the end of his cigarette, he had to go back inside. He seemed sincere and apologetic in saying it, so hopefully he’ll read the tract and it will minister to him. His name was also Paul, oddly enough.

So we kept walking and FINALLY made it to Pike Marketplace. It wasn’t actually that far, maybe a 10-15 minute walk and with good company, but I’m an exaggerator, so I use all caps. So the market place was pretty sweet. We walked around a few of the surrounding shops first before making our way in. It was crowded, but not crazy. There were a lot of free samples, everything from jerky to dipping oils to flavored almonds and the BEST apples I’ve ever had. (I know I just said that thing about exaggerating by using CAPS, but it seriously was so good!) I suppose that’s how they get away with charging $3 an apple, but it’s totally worth it! There were tons of produce vendors and just as many flower vendors. All of the produce people looked like hipster hippies and all of the flower people were little Asian men and women. The flowers were GORGEOUS. While I do love flowers, the idea of spending money on something that is going to die quickly and be useless just seemed pointless, so I never want them unless they’re free. However, if I lived there, I have a feeling I would buy these flowers. The bouquets were stunningly beautiful, prettier than I’ve seen even at any wedding. From farther down the walkway, we heard people yelling and cheering, so we approached just in time to see the throwing of the fish.  A cliché, awesome must of the marketplace.
As we finished walking through, we ended up at a small waterfront park just at the end of the shops and vendors. It was actually more like a strip of grass and some tables than a park, but that’s ok. To the left sat many, many homeless people at the tables. Some slept, others sat, others socialized. To the right on the small grass slopes were, for the most part, couples sitting enjoying the view, friends hanging out, and other non-homeless people. It was odd to see the divide-as though people knew where their respective “place” was; one side so very different from the other. Right away, Marc found a target! There was a man sitting on a bench. As he and Jonny began a conversation with him, Mindy and I took pictures and went for a walk. When we came back, they were still talking, so we went over and hung out in their area to see if we could be of assistance. Marc moved on to the other guy on the bench, who believed in God but wasn’t walking with him, the story of a lot of people that we meet, especially the homeless. I’m not sure if these guys were homeless, but I got the feeling. Jonny was still talking to the first guy the boys had started talking to, a Native American man named Bear. I got pulled into the conversation when he asked what the difference was between Christianity and other religions, namely Mormonism. I gave him an answer, but he didn’t really seem to interested to hear it. He brought up questions like, “What about the people who have never heard of Jesus? What’s going to happen when they get to heaven?” I told him that I didn’t know, but that God is a just God and that it says in Romans 1 that He has made the world so that man is without excuse. Also, Acts 4:12 says, “’Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’” This is a fairly common argument that people have and is usually presented with the wrong heart-people ask it because they want a scapegoat or an unfair reason not to believe in God, so after I told him the verses, I said, “But that doesn’t matter for you because you do know.” The brunt of his objections, which came up many times even before we got there, had to do with his heritage: “I just think that it’s more important to have children and take care of your family. If you live a good life here on earth, that’s what’s important. Nothing really happens when you die.” As much as we presented different reasons, it always came back to that. It lent to the idea that he didn’t really care and wasn’t listening at all. In other words, we were casting our pearls before swine. Marc came over and said that we had to move the car, which was true, so off we headed.  
one of the more colorful produce stands

this picture doesn't do justice to the flowers I was talking about
Our next stop was one of the places that the 2nd Paul had recommended us to see: the Fremont troll! There’s this giant sculpture under a freeway overpass of a troll grabbing hold of an actual Volkswagen Beetle. When we got there, I was delighted to realize that it was a filming location for one of my favorite movies, 10 Things I Hate About You. So we took pictures, did our tourist thing, and headed up the road to spend Jonny’s Olive Garden gift card. Dinner was delicious, but it was quite odd to be out to dinner at a sit down restaurant. I felt out of place, as though I didn’t belong in a place where people spend money so freely. Most of us got the endless pasta bowl, which of course, filled us up but we took a bowl to go and headed back to lay our heads.
The next morning, Friday, we woke up to rain. I guess we should have expected it, seeing as though Seattle is known for constant rain. We headed to Starbucks to have our studies and figure out what to do.  At first we looked up the mall, but I didn’t want to waste our day trying to avoid the rain. I looked up cooler, inside things to do and didn’t find very many, but luckily the rain let up and we headed off to see Gas Works Park. Apparently it used to be a gas refinery (I think) and when it shut down, most of it was torn down. Some parts, however, remained and it was turned into a park. So we sat and had lunch-smoked salmon and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches all around, then explored the park a bit. Happily, this was also one of the filming locations for 10 Things I Hate About You! If you’ve seen it, the paintball scene was filmed here. They set up the whole paintball park for the movie, but you can tell it’s the same place. 
Gas Works Park

photo sesh!

the boys chowing down on smoked salmon

the view!

we had to take our 10 Things picture :) 

After a good little while at the park, we headed off to what the internet said was a must see in Seattle-the public library. As odd as that may sound, as soon as we pulled up, we could see why. It was very bizarrely shaped, and the inside had an intriguing design as well. As we rode the elevator to the top, I couldn’t figure out why they called the stacks “spiral” instead. Then suddenly, it all made sense. Rather than having to take the stairs to go between levels, the floor literally spiraled into the next one. A slight downward slope took you through the stacks to the next, lower level of stacks. It was fantastic and sincerely made me miss working at the library. I would be happy to be a paige there any day!
We didn’t have a lot of time on our meter, so we semi-quickly made our way through the stacks and back to the car.
This next story is probably my favorite from Seattle and involves our good friend from back home, Mark Johnson, the sound guy at our church. Quick back story-our very own Mark Johnson was a tour manager for the Red Hot Chili Peppers for 20+ years (if I remember correctly) and has tons upon tons of stories about them and many other bands. Because of this, he knows a great deal of people. One of his friends just opened up a restaurant here in Seattle in the past year, so they worked out a deal that allowed us to eat dinner there that night, all 5 of us! The name of the restaurant was Tanglewood Supreme. Marc called to make reservations as I looked up the menu, which consisted mostly of seafood, with a handful of non-seafood options. Unfortunately for me, I really don’t like seafood, pork, or steak, but with no chicken on the menu, these were my options. Between the 5 of us, we ordered a couple small starters to share and each a different entrée, except Marc and Robert both ordered scallops. So, on the table we had two orders of scallops, Mindy got steak, I ordered pork loins, and Jonny ordered butter poached cod. Let me tell you, everything was AMAZING. I don’t like really any kind of fish but I’ll deal with deep fried fish in my fish tacos, never by itself on a plate, but this cod was superb. It wasn’t fishy or overpowering, but had a perfect blend of flavor and a texture that melted in your mouth. I didn’t care too much for the steak, but I’m not a steak eater anyways. That being said, it probably was the best bite of steak I’ve ever had. The pork got better with every bite I took and the sauce that it was served with was excellent. But best of all was the scallops. I was afraid that they would be rubbery or fishy or something gross that I wouldn’t like, but they were fantastic. These were some of the best entrees I had ever had. The presentation was beautiful, the portions were a good size for being an upscale restaurant, and everything matched together deliciously. They had a garlic aioli that was literally the best sauce I have ever had in my life, which is what I told Kent, the owner, when he came over to check on us. He made a joke about bringing me shots of it, and I was actually hoping that he would have because I would have happily taken them. Then came dessert. I took one bite of the chocolate soufflé and my eyes literally watered because of how good it was. I’ve never had any chocolate dessert that was so good. It wasn’t heavy or too sweet to eat, it was the perfect dessert. We also had a goat milk cheesecake with sake poached huckleberries and a macadamia crust. It was great as well, but I’m a chocolate girl and nothing will ever touch that dessert. I’m a little mad because I’ll probably never have it again! You know what they say: it is better to have loved and lost love than never to have loved at all. I remarked when all was said and done, “tonight would be a good night to die.” Of course, not that I wanted to, but it was a wonderful day with great people and a dinner experience that we’re not likely to replicate again.

The Seattle Public Library!

the stacks that spiral downward

The best food I've ever had: 

I was happy that Robert, Jonny, and Mindy were able to be there with us. We’ve been so blessed so many times in ways that we cannot repay and I’m glad they got to experience that with us. Much love to our good friend, Mark Johnson. If you’re reading this Mark, we owe you a card playing day!
After dinner, we picked up our van and headed off to Anita’s house. Anita is Marc’s Granny’s cousin. She lives in Seattle with her niece, Michelle, so they had us all over to spend the night. Her place was small but that didn’t keep her from being welcoming and inviting all 5 of us in! We schmoozed for a bit and then bedded down. Mindy got the couch and the rest of us took the floor. We were sleeping on piles of pillows and Robert slept on a human sized stuffed moose. It was a pretty funny sight that I really should have gotten a picture of.
Six AM came, of course too early, and our friends got up and left to go back home.  We went back to sleep and woke up bright and early….around 9:45. It’s one of the perks of being vagabonds. After Michelle treated us to the movies and Little Caesars, (thank you!)  we set out to see what West Seattle had to offer. It was, of course, raining again, so we headed to the mall. It was a pretty good sized mall and we walked all of it, but at this point every time we enter a mall I feel like Solomon-there is nothing new under the sun. Ever.  And yet, we’re not going to meet anyone new sitting around the house so we find public places to be and pray for opportunity. As we walked, Marc spotted a man sitting alone at a table with a few different bags with him. He had the typical, “I hate shopping with women” look on his face while he sat and waited. Marc approached him and easily gave him the gospel. He mentioned as he sometimes does, “I have peace knowing that I can lay my head down at night, knowing that if I died, I’m going to heaven.” He asked, “how can you know?” so Marc was able to talk with him until the ladies came back for their goods. I started talking to this girl nearby me, but she took off before we could really get anything good going. We exhausted the mall, so our next stop was another rainy day favorite: Barnes & Noble. As I sat to write my blog, Marc walked around to look at magazines. After about 10 minutes, I looked over and chuckled to myself as I saw him talking to somebody. I love his faithfulness and willingness to always grasp the opportunity set before him.  Another half hour or so passed and he came back to see how I was doing. I still had to add pictures to the blog, which usually takes a little while, so he went back to read magazines again. He never actually got to the first time because he was side tracked talking to Pat that whole time.
Sunday morning we were off to Calvary Chapel West Seattle. They’re a small congregation that meets inside a senior center. They were very welcoming and we were greeted by many people who seemed genuine in their welcome. The message was based in the 10 Commandments and touched a bit on apologetics. It was good! Afterwards we stayed for a ministry meeting. We had kind of hoped that it would be more of a lesson, but it was what it said-a meeting. The pastor there is beginning a ministry to rally together with people (probably mostly Christians, but open to everyone) who desire to vote with a Christian world view.  He made a great point that if Christians of all denominations would stand together and vote with Godliness in mind, we would be a huge minority; large enough, certainly, to sway the vote, if only we would stand together. His passion for it was definitely inspirational and had I not voted in the last election, I would have felt very convicted!
After church and the meeting, we headed back downtown, where it was free to park on Sundays. It seemed that everyone else in the city knew that as well, because it took FOREVER to find a spot! But we did and did another walk through of Pike’s Marketplace and the original Starbucks. We walked by it when the gang was there, but we didn’t go in because the line was spectacularly long. It was long this time as well, but we didn’t order anything. We just squeezed past to say we had been in, and it was lame! There were boxes all over the place, no couches, no tables, nothing! Just hustle and bustle! There was another Starbucks literally down the block that didn’t have a line, but because this was the original, everyone had to have a drink from there. Madness, I say, madness. After a short but enjoyable excursion downtown, we headed back to the house to spend some time with the family, and that wrapped up Sunday.
Monday was a lazy day. Of course it was raining again, as if you expected anything else, so we hung out with Michelle, did some laundry, and worked on projects that we had going. We did venture out later in the afternoon-Michelle took us to see Jimi Hendrix’ grave site! That was pretty sweet! Later that night, Anita treated us to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, where I had the biggest salad of my life. Usually you go to a restaurant where they charge you $12 for a salad and it’s like, what the heck? Either it’s small or not worth it. This salad practically looked like it was $12 worth of lettuce! It was so good!  I must say, Anita and Michelle treated us so well while we were there! Even though Marc hadn’t seen them in forever and I had never met them before, they opened their doors and treated us with tons of love! We are so thankful for them!
The next afternoon, we headed out! We stopped in Tacoma, a city about 25 miles south of Seattle, to see Stadium High School, the castle looking high school where they filmed (you guessed it) 10 Things I Hate About You.  The actual school looked the same but the surroundings were a bit different. Either way, it was awesome! From there our next stop was the Mt. St. Helen’s visitor center! Unfortunately we got there about 22 minutes after it closed so we didn’t get to go in. Although, with it being the 1st day of the government shutdown, I don’t think they would have been open anyways.
Finally we made it to Vancouver, Washington to visit with Marc’s cousin, Rachel, and her husband David. We enjoyed spaghetti for dinner and awesome company. Not to mention a comfy air mattress and the best wi-fi we could ask for! We spent the night watching Fringe and sleeping cozy!
The next day (Wednesday) we drove around Vancouver to see what it had to offer. We walked the mall (lame) and then headed to downtown, which was also lame. The trouble with Vancouver is that just across the river is Portland, Oregon, so when people want something awesome to do, they just go over there. Needless to say, downtown was not popping, but we walked it just to make sure. One guy was happy to give us advice on where to go and what to see, but we were quickly shut down with the, “I don’t talk about religion or politics with anyone,” as he walked off. Next were two people walking with dogs who responded kindly, but hurriedly on their way.
Next we ran into a woman named Carey. At first she said that she was Mormon but didn’t believe in Mormonism, which she later changed to say that she wasn’t Mormon but still believes in God. Marc shared Romans 10:9 and a bit about repentance and walking with the Lord, and we went our separate ways. As we continued walking, we came across this 16 year old kid and were able to talk with him for a bit. He seemed very mature for his age and believed in God but didn’t exactly walk with Him. He knew he was there for a purpose but wasn’t sure what it was. It was a good conversation and I hope we planted seeds of faith in him. I guess we’ll find out when we get to heaven.
From there we headed back to the van, where we found some disheartening graffiti on the side of our van. Underneath the window that has the giant sign that says, “JESUS SAVES,” someone wrote (in Sharpie) “ur butthole”. I took it rather well-I actually was pretty amused by it. Marc was a little upset, but I was just glad that it wasn’t profane or very bold.  Besides, people in other countries die and are imprisoned for their faith, I think we can handle a little bit of graffiti. We headed back to Rachel’s and the four of us left for church. They attend a Lutheran church, which I’ve only been to once in my life when I was in 8th grade. There was a short study and then they had everyone split up-adults in one room, youth in another and talked about different things. It was an interesting format for a midweek service, one that I wasn’t used to, but the people were so nice and once again, welcoming.  Again we spent the night at Rachel & David’s and in the morning took off for Portland, Oregon. It was a short drive, about 20 minutes, but exciting as we entered state #45! Stay tuned for the Oregon blog! Coming soon!

inside of the original Starbucks-ugly, plain, and no comforts

the OG Starbucks and the ridiculously long line

Hendrix Memorial:

from Alki Beach, the beautiful city view

Stadium High School!
aka filming location of 10 Things I Hate About You