April 04, 2005
Road Trip!

Jamie and Hayley, Woodland Park Zoo

This wasn't Hayley's first road trip (she's gone to Alberta before) but it was the first one to 'Merrrika', as she calls it. We left Thursday afternoon in a torrential rainstorm. We had expected to be questioned at the border, considering upgraded security and guards against child custody disputes usually bring lots of questions when travelling with small kids. Tom had written a letter giving his permission and had it signed by a police officer as a witness. But we sailed right through. All they asked was our hotel name and then we sailed through. I guess, though, best be safe than sorry.

Quickly we designed the 'No whining on road trips' rule. Hayley is just at that age that her voice can bore through you like a supersonic drill. We stopped for shopping about an hour in and then arrived in Soggy Seattle just after 7pm to the beautiful Marriott Lake Union. A two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen overlooking the Lake. 3 TV's. 2 full bathrooms. We were in luxury.

Shannon and I decided to go out around 9pm to get some groceries. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but given the combination of poor directions, torrential rain and confusion, we got lost bigtime. Poor Jamie was left with an overtired, overexcited Hayley for nearly 2 hours while we meandered through downtown. We kept getting text messages from her with increasingly frustrated comments.

The next morning, I was woken up by a very excited 3 year old jumping up and down on my bed, screaming 'We're going to the ZOOOOO', 'We're going to see mammimals.'

We chose to take the shuttle from the hotel to Woodland Park Zoo. A great idea at the time, but I wouldn't do it again. Hayley started to become the wilful toddler as we got into the shuttle. First, it was the fact that she didn't like their car seat, then she started saying about the driver "I don't like that man. Make him stop talking." A little embarrassing!

The zoo was freezing! It was sunny, but a brisk wind made it not very pleasant. The animals, unfortunatley, were smarter than us, and most were not outside but rather in their barns. So we really had to hunt for them. Hayley didn't seem to mind. I guess she had no idea what it could have been so seeing the zebras, tapirs, elephants and giraffes first hand seemed to amaze her. Her favourite animal was the python. She sat looking at it for so long! We thought we'd never get her away!

The statues that decorate the park at first terrified her. She didn't seem to understand they weren't really alive. They fascinated her and she finally, after a few careful pokes, realized they weren't dangerous and fell in love. At one area, by the gorillas, they have 4 or 5 large gorilla statues in a circle. As soon as she saw it, she started yelling 'Mommy, they made me a party!'

We walked for nearly 5 hours when it became obvious she was exhausted. So we called the hotel to ask for the shuttle. Much to our surprise, they told us they couldn't be there for another hour! Not too impressive, considering when they are selling it's virtues, they promise to be there for you whenever you call. So imagine us with two young ones, overtired and exhausted, and now having to wait an extra hour. It was a LONG hour! I don't think a word was even said on the way back to the hotel.

Once there, we decided to have a swim in the pool. Hayley loves the water and has been swimming since she was little. Alex hasn't really had the chance yet, but it was too cold to try it this time so he'll have to wait a bit. While we were there in the hot tub, we met a man and his young son, Reece. The poor man had a terrible story! Reece was his older son and was about 3. They were in the process of moving away from Seattle to California and were staying in the hotel one last night before they left the state. The younger son had been eating something when he choked earlier in the day and the poor man ended up having to give him CPR while the wife dialed 911. The little one, only 11 months old, had turned blue and was hospitalized. He had just come from there but had to do something with the 3 year old so they came swimming. Talk about stress! I wish I would have gotten their names...I would have loved to know everything came out ok.

We went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We don't have those here, and man, what a fantastic steak! I get teased about not ever finishing the food on my plate, but I cleaned up every morsel. Odd thing though, when my nieces ordered their burgers, they were asked how they like it cooked. We have been so aware locally of the dangers of uncooked hamburger - and the chance of e.coli, it took us a bit unaware!

In the hotel, there was a waterfall. It fascinated Hayley and she was so concerned that it was going to overflow. Every time we went by, she would scream 'That's enough', or 'Stop it! It's going to spill!' Amazing how little ones can let you see things you wouldn't normally notice.

All in all, a fantastic but all too short trip. I didn't get out to a pub, or any adult time, as it was just far too busy. And I never got the chance to see Gunner Palace either, which was disappointing, but there's always next time.

The pictures are here.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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