Sunday, June 14, 2009

Interactive Road Trip

So, last week, Alex and I decided that the next time I had 2 days off in a row we would hop in my fiesta and go on a road trip, not making any plans ahead of time and letting the people who follow us online make all the decisions on what we'd do, where we'd go, what we'd eat, and pretty much any other decisions we'd run into on the course of the trip.

Basically, whether or not we had fun relied on whether the people on blogtv and twitter made good decisions for us. The only rules were that we had to let other people decide what roads we took, we couldn't decide ahead of time where we'd end up, and we tried to avoid major freeways and establishments that were chains (ie. Starbucks, Safeway, Pizza Hut, etc.) We would hold BlogTV shows whenever we stopped at a place with wifi, and we asked twitter everything from whether we'd go north or south to what flavor of SnoCone to get.

What resulted was probablt 2 of the most fun days I've ever had. I'm going to write up everything Alex and I saw and did for my own personal record, but also for those of you who didn't get to follow us on our journeys.

Days: June 12-13.
Total Miles: 485.

DAY 1:
We took off from my house in Seattle and asked BlogTV if we should go East or West. Almost unanimously the room said East, so we looked at our trusty map and asked twitter if we should take I-90 or Highway 2. It was pretty split between these two highways, but a few people said things like "Highway 2 looks less mainstream, you should go off the beaten path." We were convinced, and it was at this point that we decided to avoid major freeways or anything chain or familiar at all, if we could. We set off on highway 2 (via I-5 North and Everett) and immediately loved the decision because literally 5 minutes off I-5 (the major North/South freeway I live by) it was just cute little towns and cows and prarie as far as we could see. And we weren't even far from home yet!

A few miles into Highway 2, we passed the "Reptile Zoo & Museum". Alex and I looked at each other, and turned right around. I told him, "We're not doing this trip right if we're not stopping at Reptile Zoos." It cost $6 to get in, but we were SO GLAD we did. We saw the 10 deadliest snakes, Alex got to take a picture with a Chameleon, we saw a two headed turtle and terrifying tarantulas, and then this girl who worked there who was about our age convinced us to hold a snake. We weren't going to, because we're both wimpy, but she was pretty much like "Yeah, you can't leave here without holding a snake. Children hold snakes."
So we did! Alex and I held two different snakes! It was scary but once I got passed that, it felt really neat feeling its muscles contracting as it curled around my wrist. So awesome.

We left after about 40 minutes or so at the reptile place, and headed back on highway 20. We were starting to get hungry. We could have stopped at any number of places, but we were being really picky about choosing a place. It had to look cute. It had to look fun. It had to be in an adorable town. Eventually we drove past this place called Cascadia that had a big sign advertising its Centennial, and we were so proud of this little town that we stopped in at their diner and had lunch. They miraculously had wifi (even though I barely got a phone signal there) so we went on BlogTV for awhile.

After lunch we took off again. We had a ways to drive before we got anywhere interesting, but Alex and I were really enjoying driving through cute town after cute town. We asked twitter what music we should listen to. Finally we got to Leavenworth. I'd been there before when I was younger and told Alex it was a quaint little German town, but he had no way to anticipate what I meant by that and was shocked when we got there. It's a Bavarian town where everything, even the Starbucks and Subway, look totally old fashioned and straight out of Germany 100 years ago or something. There is a big maypole in the middle of the town and horse carriage rides and they have events year round like Oktoberfest. We walked around for awhile, and went into each sweetshop (3 of them) to find the best icecream. :)

We were reluctant to leave Leavenworth, but we had to keep going. We drove for awhile until we got to Wenatchee, the first large(ish) town we'd passed since Everett. We stopped in at the Walmart parking lot just to look at a map and see what our options were (and take goofy pictures with the 'Welcome to Wenatchee' sign). In the mean time, a small car enthusiast driving a Yaris started taking pictures of my car so I went over to talk to him and let him look at then engine and ask me questions about the fiesta and whatnot. It was kind of fun, showing it off. xD

We then turned to twitter again, because we had two options. We asked if we should go north on highway 97 or south on highway 285, and the people of twitter decided on highway 285, so off we went. It was starting to get dark, so we knew we'd need to find a motel soon. Finally in Quincy, we'd had enough driving, so the first sort of small place we found we pulled into. It was called the Crescent Hotel. We were expecting something kind of sketchy and weird but this place was SWEET. We had a couch and a mini fridge and microwave, and a flatscreen tv! We didn't... use any of that stuff. But it was there. So it was awesome.

DAY 2:
In the morning we had a free continental breakfast where we stuffed ourselves while watching the news and laughing at the fact that the breaking story was a former president skydiving for his 85th birthday. Sigh. Although some kid invented paper waterbottles, which is pretty cool. On the way back to the room, I saw a poster on the wall that said "Summer Events in the Area!" so I checked June 13th to see if anything fun was going on that day. It listed a few softball games and boring stuff, but then it said "Ephrata Sage 'n Sun Parade". I'd remembered seeing on the map and knew it was only about 20 miles away, so Alex and I looked it up online and found the parade was staring in two hours! So we packed our stuff up quickly, broadcast quickly on BlogTV from the lobby to tell the internet our plans, and headed off toward Ephrata.

We parked at a grocery store and walked in the direction of the parade. There were people everywhere, and the parade was adorable. You could definitely tell this was a tiny country town because there were tons of old men in their vintage cars, a marching band, army vehicles, people with bales of hay, horses.. but then there was some cool stuff like the moving float that had gymnasts doing stunts on uneven bars. We had a good time watching, and afterwards they had a street fair and all sorts of fun vendors and things. We were going to ride the giant purple slide but it cost money so we skipped it. Then we shared a SnoCone (Alex had never had one before) and let twitter pick the flavor (CherryLime).

The we went to their library where they were having a book sale, and we collectively bought 7 books, for which they charged us a dollar. A dollar! :D We stopped in at a guitar shop, where I drooled over this awesome pink guitar (the Parselmouths NEED one, am I right?) and then after stopping in for something to drink at a gas station (Alex asked twitter's opinion on his flavor of iced tea) we get back in the car and for the first time started heading back in the direction I live.

We had to hop on I-90 West briefly to get to I-82 South which would take us back to the fun sorts of smaller highways we'd been using for the trip. From here we had another choice of highways, so we asked twitter if we should take highway 12 or 410. By an alarming 18 vote lead, we headed off on highway 410 back toward Western Washington.

We decided to stop for lunch in Selah simply because we liked the name of the town, parked the car, and decided to find a fun restaurant by foot. We walked down the street, around the corner, and there as if it were a beacon was this dinky little Chinese place called the Golden Bull and without even saying anything, Alex and I both knew it was perfect, as far as living on the edge goes. The place made me a little nervous (a Chinese food place in a dinky country town?) but the lady who owned it was nice and the food was honestly some of the best Chinese food I'd ever had. Alex had sweet and sour chicken and I had General Tsao's (the lady laughed and said that's the two things everyone gets) and we enjoyed a very lovely lunch.

Highway 410 lent us more little towns, and long stretches of desert-y terrain, which was a nice break from the praries and farmland we'd been immersed in the day before. After about an hour we saw a sign that just said "Scenic View", so I said "alright" and pulled off to check it out. It ended up being this pretty amazing lookout area where you could see what was left of the petrified Ginkgo forest and the lake that had formed in the hills that were carved out by a lava flow from a volcano ages ago. It was beautiful.

As the road started to curve north, we were then heading toward the mountains. The drive through the Mt. Rainier national park was the only bit of the trip that wasn't loads of fun. The roads were small and windy and there was all this fog and really steep drop offs that scared me, and my left foot was starting to get really sore from using a clutch and I was just tired of not knowing how much longer we had to drive through the stupid mountains. Although, to be more positive about it, there WAS snow everywhere and waterfalls along the road at every turn, so it was pretty, it was just also an annoying drive.

FINALLY we got through the national park (it was too foggy to see the dumb mountain anyway, so that sucked) and found ourselves with one last option on how to get home... we could go north on highway 164 or 169. Twitter told us to take 169, but then we drove around for a good 25 minutes on a detour that we got lost on, and then eventually it took us back to highway 164, because they were doing construction on the other one. So that was pointless. We took highway 169 until we got to Muckelshoot, which is a town that is on an indian reservation, so we drove by casinos and all sorts of firework stands. We stopped and bought $5 worth of fun things at one of the stands. :)

We were going to drive straight home, but once we got on highway 167, we realized how close we were to the Drive-In theatre again. We had blankets and snacks in the car already, so we decided to stop and see another movie as a last fun event for the trip. We were going to ask twitter what to see, but the only movie playing that looked good was The Hangover, so we got our tickets and pulled in, only about 30 minutes early. The movie was pretty funny but really weird at the same time. We bought hot dogs and popcorn from the concession stand and that was fun.

Finally around midnight the movie ended and we made our way home. The drive home wasn't too exciting, as we just took 67 to 405 North, and from there took I-90 West to I-5 North and then we were hoooome (at about 1 in the morning). Exhausted, but full of memories of a really exciting and random two day road trip. :)

Thank you to everyone who came to BlogTV or @replied me on twitter; the trip was so great because of you guys following along.


VicMorrowsGhost said...

Sounds like soooo much fun.
You need to have more Twit-ventures... Twit-ournys? Twiter-quests? Twanderings?
Lookin' pretty cute in the pics too. :D

Anonymous said...

Aw sounds like you had an awesome trip! I wish my life was full of fun little adventures like yours ^_^

Great pictures too, you both look lovely.

Anonymous said...

In response to VicMorrowsGhost's ideas for what to call your journey...I like "twip" :P

Kelly said...

Sounds amazing!
I've been to Leavenworth once and it kind of blew my mind. I mean, I WAS only 5, but you know.

Also, this reminds me of when I introduced an english boy to the wonders of the SnoCone. You must get to introduce many illustrious american traditions to Alex.

VicMorrowsGhost said...

OH YEAH! @somethingstark

That's the one!


Jenny Boleyn said...

I am jealous.

Also, did you have a nice little conversation with the snake you and Alex held? Did you have to translate for him?

And, oh yes, the Parselmouths DEFINITELY need that guitar.

Catherine said...

"We didn't... use any of that stuff."

Hmm... So what did you do? =) Glad you had fun. I don't think I would have had the guts to go into the Golden Bull. There's nothing worse than bad chinese food. But there's nothing better than finding a little restaurant that is exceptionally good. I'm looking forward to any fiesta adventures in the future.

(Why did you not mention Sally-Amber "Sailor Moon" Carselmouth?)

SpinachPuffs said...

That sounded like one awesome trip. And your pictures are really cute! :)

Caitlin said...

1) My cousin used to have a pet snake, and I loved it. I want one, but I'm not allowed.

2) I thought the sign said "Meeting Rivers, Meeting Friends, Meeting Nerds" at first, and got excited...before I realised I was wrong.

3) I have that guitar in red! I was gonna get it in pink, but I liked the red better. Imma learn to play it in the summer holidays.

Looks like your trip was awesome, yayyyy (:

Sarah said...

I love the pictures! I'm glad that you had a lot of fun, it makes me want to do that sometime! I replied on twitter for the snow-cone and the ice tea :)

Sarah said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! I LOVE the idea to just take a road trip with no destination in mind. I think it's awesome that you take every opportunity to live your life and have great experiences. :)

Elizabeth... said...

That sounds like one of the best experiences ever AND you now have a photo in shorts in the snow which is one of the things that has bamboozled me if I saw it anywhere without explanation...


Also, now you're a proper parselmouth having held a snake!

partyweetow said...

Your blog is like a really addicting book haha.

Kaitlyn said...

Yay, sounds like it was a great trip! I'm glad you recounted it for us blog readers.

P.S. This is SO nerdy of me to admit, but I giggled a little when you said that you stopped in Selah, as "Selah" is a Hebrew word meaning "pause."

kalimagination said...

I'm still ever so slightly bitter you didn't take my advice and go to McGinn's while you were in Wenatchee.

I'm certain it would have made your pretty-much-the-greatest-thing-ever trip just a little more great :)

Glad you had fun regardless :)

Sam Y said...

Your trip sounded awesome! I'm sad I missed out on following you, though :(
Me and some friends have been wanting to go on a road trip, so I hope ours will be as fun as yours sounded!

And you should definitely go on more "twips" as lemonfairycake said. Haha ;) Hopefully I'd be able to follow any more that you go on!

lavinia said...

I've ventured over here from the comfort of my Google Reader, finally ending my months of passive readership, just to say this:

You should make posters of that snowcone picture and plaster them all over town, because I don't know how someone could see that and not smile too. Yeah. =)

Callidora said...

I live like 15 minutes away from Selah. Sounds like you had an amazing time. This is something that I want to do sometime in the future.


I'd love to do something like that :) Glad you guys had fun! <3

janitorbud said...

i still can't believe that alex got only 2 books.

Mia said...

Sounds like awesome fun.
How could you not want to hold a snake? You're in the The Parselmouths lol

Kira902k said...

I am officially doing this.
Even if I dont have a large following on twitter, I'll still have an adventure.
As soon as I'm old enough to drive, that is.

Jack said...

1. Great blog!
2. "Muckelshoot" is the best name ever devised.
3. Why don't they sell SnoCones in England? This is a gross injustice.
4. Next time, ride the giant purple slide.
5. Go on more Road Twips nao!

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