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Ah, vacation!
August 6, 2008

Ah, vacation! After nearly 17 months without a proper vacation, we've finally managed to book the time off – and actually take the time off – from everyday life. After having nieces and nephews visiting for three weeks leading up to our vacation, we were certainly in need of the escape!

We started our two-week vacation with a drive to Vancouver, Canada. There we met with John, Paul's brother, and Claire for a three-day tour of the city and its environs. Once we settled in we found our way to a brewery in the Gas Town district for dinner and beers before heading to the Granville Street Bridge to watch the 2008 Celebration of Light. The next morning, Thursday, we had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Once the "culture" portion of the day was complete, we headed to Stanley Park where we enjoyed ice cream and sat with our feet in the warm sands of the Burrard Inlet then it was off to Granville Island to run quality control on the local breweries.

The following day we had breakfast at the Elbow Room Café – a place known for their great food and abusive service – then headed into North Vancouver where we spent the rest of the day enjoying the Capilano Suspension Bridge and its surrounding park areas. Once we arrived back to the city we made our way to a local Indian restaurant, knowing that once we left the following morning there'd not be a curry for miles.

On Saturday we got up early (well, early for vacation standards) and headed south toward the Blaine border crossing. When we arrived at the border there was a two-hour wait so Paul, John, and Claire played international Frisbee in the park that straddles the USA and Canada while Frances inched the car slowly forward. After finally crossing the border we made pretty good time to our next destination, Snoqualmie Falls. By then, we'd been in the car for about four hours so we took the opportunity to hike to the bottom of the falls and stretch our legs before our final destination of Cle Elum where we had barbeque with Frances' folks before descending on her sister, Claudia, to partake in a night's free accommodation.

After a nice breakfast at Claudia's on Sunday morning, we headed to the Roslyn Farmers' Market and the Roslyn Brewery before heading to the Palouse for a few days at home. On the way we stopped at Gingko Petrified Forest where the trees were nearly as petrified as our guests after reading signs warning of rattlesnakes in the area. We are quite pleased to say that we didn't see any snakes along the way. When we finally arrived home everyone was pleased that the long journey was done. It also confirmed that John and Claire didn't want to rent a car to drive on to their next destination of Portland, Ore., so plans were made for flights, trains, and busses to continue their trip along the I-5 corridor.

By Monday, we were all pretty tired of being on the road so decided that we'd have a quite day at home. After yet another large and leisurely breakfast, however, Frances needed to make a trip into town to get some groceries. By the time she returned it was time for a nice, leisurely lunch complete with a bottle of wine from a local winery. Later Paul and Claire took a trip to the local swimming pool while Frances and John took the chance to just "veg out" for the afternoon. To continue the day's theme of leisure and food, we had a nice dinner with more wine then adjourned to the living room where we just sat around and visited for a while before turning in for the night.

Thanks to Monday's restful schedule we were all feeling energized for a day out and about on the Palouse. Our first stop was at Kamiak Butte where we enjoyed a 3 ½ mile hike before heading into the town of Palouse for lunch at the Green Frog. Then it was off to Moscow, Idaho, for a bit of casual shopping and a trip to the Camas Prairie Winery. We ended our day out with a stop in Pullman to see the grizzly bears at the WSU Bear Center and a meal at the local Mexican restaurant.

The following morning we enjoyed one last leisurely breakfast before Paul drove John and Claire to the airport in Spokane for their flight to Portland. After he returned, we spent the afternoon refinishing a 1940s art deco dining table that we'd found for $20 online before saying good bye to our hot tub which we sold later that day. Thursday morning saw us making a quick trip to town for groceries before heading to Plummer, Idaho, for a bike ride along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's before spending the rest of the day relaxing, once again (it was vacation, after all).

Friday morning we woke up early and headed into Spokane where we were meeting Frances' high school friend, Mark, who was in town visiting for a few days. On the way, we stopped at an antique store in Oakesdale where we found the perfect mirror for above our fireplace then stopped at a furniture store in Spokane Valley to order our library book shelves. Our shopping spree was afforded by the sale of the hot tub – we must be crazy to prefer book shelves to a hot tub! Once we met up with Mark, we spent the day playing miniature golf and "people watching" in Riverside Park before going out for dinner. Frances hadn't seen Mark in nearly ten years, so the two had a great time catching up with one another.

Shortly after arriving back home, Frances' dad pulled into the drive, his car loaded with power tools for the weekend's building projects. The rest of the weekend was spent building a new step between the kitchen and laundry room and building a railing for the landing at the top of the stairs. We all agreed that the newly-enclosed landing will make a great reading nook for kids – assuming that kids today still know what books are!

By the following Monday, Frances was ready to get back to work for the rest and Paul was ready to get Frances out of his hair. The vacation was a much-needed break from everyday life and made us realize that we should take them a little more regularly in the future.

Check out more photos from our vacation


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