We have all eternity, and you’re worried about the time it would take to walk to the back door? ~Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, Chapter 21, p.407
Yes, it was Sunday morning Nicole and I woke up early to find the church we chose to attend. Just because we were on vacation doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop in to God’s house and pay respect. With all the traveling that we were doing, we really needed His blessing to get us around safely, not to mention it was Ascension Sunday! As we exited the church, it began to rain. We were waiting for the inevitable, and to be honest I didn’t mind it. It wasn’t too cold, just soggy, wet and hazy. A perfect way to start our day of adventure, Seattle style.
We made our way to Pike’s Peak. I will admit it took us awhile, since we parked the car and my sister was navigating the streets, but we found it. And boy, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was PACKED! We really had a tight schedule of sights planned, so we didn’t spend too much time there. Finding a place to sit and grab a bite to eat before making our way around the city, became our priority. Nicole and I both had egg sandwiches on sourdough bread, which was the BEST breakfast sandwich I ever had! While eating, Nicole and I kept coming back to the topic of bacon. Everywhere we went, when we had bacon, it was magnificent. I mean it really. It was perfectly cooked, not fatty but not burnt and full of flavor. It seemed like the state of Washington had stock in perfect bacon. Nicole said, “They must have pig farms somewhere around here.” I died! That was too funny! I said, “Nicole, it’s everywhere we went, even on the Olympic Peninsula in Forks. We have pig farms and butchers around home, but the bacon is not like this.” We had no other solid theories explaining the great tasting bacon.
Once we were as full as pigs, we needed to get up and walk around, heading for our first tour, The Underground City. Just to give a brief overview, Seattle was built at sea level, so when the high tide would come in, it would flood the first, second and even sometimes the third floors of buildings. Eventually, Seattle built up the roads to the second floors of the building. As time moved on, to eliminate the need to climb ladders every time someone wanted to walk across the street, they enclosed the side walks overhead, meeting the same level as the road, which now made the once second and third floors, the first floors. This created an underground city of sidewalks and forgotten first floor buildings. Through the tour we learned the city is slowly starting to restore these areas and use them as functional store fronts. The tour was so educational and fun! Great pick on Nicole’s part!
After all that walking, I wanted to walk some more. Even thought it was still drizzling and overcast, I didn’t mind, I wanted to use foot power to get to the Space Needle. Together, Nicole and I agreed and headed in that direction. Now there is an on going joke, a funny if you will, about me getting to the tops of famous monuments. You see I never can, for one reason or another, reach my destination with respect to monuments. Now I will admit I was fortunate enough to get to the top of one of the World Trade Towers, which can never happen again. I am blessed to have had that opportunity. But let’s discuss my string of missed occasions. When I went to the Statue of Liberty in high school, we ran out of time and I only got to the pedestal. When I went to see the Eiffel Tower, we got there too late and I only could go to the first tier and let’s not discuss the Washington Monument. Nope, this time I broke free of the curse. I got to the top and walked around the outside about three times and the inside twice, to make sure I had the full effect. I was happy and my life at that point was complete! Mom asked me later, “Did you get to the top of the Space Needle?”, as she asked with a curious grin. Very funny mom! All I could reply was, “YES!”
As I roamed around the Space Needle, and eventually making my way down to the gift shop to look around just out of curiosity, I stumbled upon a Space Needle Lego set. Now how could I resist? After all, I didn’t see anything that I really thought Kyle would want, except a pin that said ‘My Aunt Brought Me This From Forks’ or something along those lines. Boy was I excited to surprise Kyle. So as we made our way across the street to the Ducky Tours, our next big adventure of the day, I called Kyle while we waited and told him I got him something. He naturally said, “What Aunt Heather?” and I retorted by saying, “It’s a surprise, you’re going to have to wait and see when I get home.” Kyle instantly was not going to accept that and then asked me where I got the gift from. Answering him, what I thought was harmless knowledge, he caught me off guard because I was so wrong about my assumption. Kyle said, “O I know what you got me! A Space Needle Lego set!” I was flabbergasted! I tried to play it cool and asked him why he thought that, only to hear his reply, “They have all famous monuments in Legos. Lego White House, Lego Statue of Liberty, and what’s that tower in France?” I assisted by saying “The Eiffel Tower?” while Kyle picked up on my words and said, “Ya Lego Eiffel Tower, and I know they have a Lego Space Needle.” I said, “How do you know all this?” followed by Kyle saying, “They have them all listed online.” I guess Kyle has memorized all the known Lego’s. I shouldn’t be surprised.
As we took our very cold, wet Ducky Tour, I still kept playing that conversation over in my head. I said, “Can you believe that little creep? He knew right away what I got him and he was so sure of himself, he wanted to know when I was going to give it to him!” Nicole and I just laughed. I said, “I’m going to wait till the weekend to give him the goods.”
While on the tour we were able to learn more of Seattle’s history and see famous sights such as the boat house from Sleepless In Seattle. They also showed us the newly built or ready to be built boathouses. Did you know that you have to purchase the ‘landing’ for the boathouse separate and the boathouses themselves are upwards of a million dollars? Here, I thought we were living in a recession and the housing market was lagging. Guess not in Seattle on the water.
Once we made it off the boat and back on dry land, we started to head back toward our car, which happen to be on the complete other end of the city. Yep, in one day Nicole and I managed to walk from one end of Seattle to the other and back again, not to mention the distance we covered trying to find Pike’s Peak. Our shoes certainly put on a few miles that day. Then, when we finally made it back to the car, we saw one of our tires was flat. I mean hugging the road in a serious sag, flat! Yikes!
We called the car rental and would you believe, flat tires are not covered? Apparently, it is the responsibility of the driver to replace the tire. I am a bit embarrassed to say, I did yell at the woman on the phone, especially when she gave me an attitude. I argued that tires are wear and tear on a vehicle and should be covered. She said, “You’ve had the car for more than four days, so it must have happened with you.” I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I could have rented the car and it sat for the four days. What did she know? I was mad! I actually I threatened to drive on the rim. She said, “Well that’s your choice.” I couldn’t believe her attitude toward me! My responsibility? I think not!
Once I was done with my rant, Nicole turned to me and said, “We are not driving on the rim! I will pay the $70 for the new tire.” I said, “No this is on principle! Neither of us are going to pay for this tire. We are turning it in tomorrow anyway.” Nicole rolled her eyes and said, “Then how are we going to fix it? Let me try my On Star” We called Nicole’s On Star service and disappointingly found out the service only follows the car, not the driver. I knew I had roadside assistance, but I had no clue what my information was. After being rejected by On Star, in a very nice and friendly way, Nicole was ready to call the rental place back and pay for the tire. Nope! I was on a mission. Nicole was not amused and we did argue. I said, “You make it out like you’ve been privileged all your life. Haven’t you ever been stranded without money?” Now I could tell Nicole wanted to take control of the situation and I wouldn’t have it. Since my phone died earlier and I was using hers, I had Nicole GPS the closest gas station. She said with an attitude, similar to my rental lady, “How is that going to help us?” I replied, “Haven’t you ever heard of Fix-A-Flat?” Nicole was skeptical over my solution, which I thought was brilliant. Once we found the closest gas station, which I was in luck, it was about a half a mile away. The only downside, it was up a hill, and I mean up a hill! Nicole threw me a glare and said, “I’m not walking!” I said, “I’ll go.” Since Nicole was sitting in the car, in the middle of Seattle, in a rental car, nearing dark, by herself, I thought, I’d better hurry up.
In the rain for about a half a mile, I ran up the hill toward my destination to purchased Fix-A-Flat. Once I got to the gas station, my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. I spotted the front desk guy and ask in a breathy desperate, almost non existent voice, “Do you have Fix-A-Flat?” He looked puzzled and said, “If we do it would be under the football.” I thought, the football? Then my eyes caught this huge cardboard cut out of a football hanging over a few rows of items. As I walked back I said a prayer to two. My eyes scanned the car care items looking desperately, until I saw the words Fix-A-Flat. I let out the biggest sigh of relief. Playing it safe, I purchased two cans, which totaled about ten bucks. Did I mention I was using Nicole’s credit card? He actually asked my for ID. Yikes! Well ironically, I had my license in my pocket, but we clearly are not the same person. I was ready to take the goods and run. But to my comfort, as I was trying to explain it was my sister’s credit card, he looked at me and said, “As long you have the same last name.” Sigh!! God was on my side! Without dilly dallying, I ran back down the same slick hill in my converse. I almost bit it and slid down on my butt a couple of times but I managed to get through unharmed. I remained focused and delivered the goods back to the car to get us on our way.
Immediately getting to work on the tire, Nicole came got out of the car to inspect or supervise or bother me or whatever. It worked like a charm! Nicole, still skeptical said, “How long do we have to wait?” followed by response of, “We can drive on it now.” She didn’t believe me grabbing the can and scanning the directions. All I heard was a grunt from her. We filed back in the car and headed out. Nicole quickly said, “Let’s try not to go mock speeds.” Ok, now she was on my nerves.
Once we got back to the hotel, Nicole still unsure said, “What if it goes down overnight?” I said, “That’s why I bought a second can and we can swing by a gas station to put air in the tire before heading out to the airport. She said, “But what about the person that uses the car after us?” I said, “It will show a low tire and the company will have to address it.” Yep, I got a lot of eye rolling and grunts. Once we got back to our hotel, we were both beat. After packing and showering I managed to sit back and continue reading and relaxing until my eyes fell heavy. This was the end of our fun filled adventurous vacation. Completely worth it! Now I just had to make it back home, which always seemed to be a challenge for me.
Alas, due to the flat tire, we were never able to meet up with my cousin Mariann. I was upset over that, but she was busy much of the time we were there too. No worries, that gives us another excuse to fly out and visit her.
To Be Continued…
Read the trip from the beginning.