Free range travel

Our Holland America cruise package officially finished this morning when we checked out of the hotel. We have today and tomorrow to explore a little of Washington state before flying out to Denver on Saturday.

I had neglected to synch my Fitbit last night so it was still on Alaskan time. When I woke around what Fitbit said was 5:30, Majella was already sitting up with her phone in hand and tapping away. I soon realised what had happened and we were up and about.

When I posted last night we were waiting on a message from Jane who was going down to visit Vince. She had let us know so that Majella could call and speak with him while Jane was there. His recent illness has made it more difficult for him to speak so Jane and Hannah had cooked up a plan to help him use his iPad to communicate. Hannah has been studying assisted communication for Claire and her job. She found an app she thought would do and Jane was going to do her Apple Professional Learning Specialist thing to get Vince up to speed.

Jane sent a message when she was at the hospital and we called her using FaceTime. That way Majella and Vince were able to see as well as hear each other speaking. They did not speak for long since we did not want to exhaust Vince but it was good for them to talk. It did make us a bit late to bed and justified a later start.

We ate breakfast at the hotel, packed, and checked out in good time for our 9:00 am shuttle to the airport. There we took a shuttle to the rental car facility and collected our VW Beetle. Majella was delighted to have the next best thing to a kombi and drove us out while I dealt with navigation.

First stop was an AT&T store where we replenished Majella’s data allowance. We also got the zip code that had been used when our SIMs were set up. I found I needed that to create an account so I can recharge.

That done we headed north toward Arlington but were distracted just a few km up the road by signs for the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. Majella made the necessary u-turn and we spent a couple of hours exploring the exhibits there. As we entered one of the volunteers mentioned there was guided tour at 11:00, about 20 minutes on. He suggested viewing the space exhibit while waiting. We did that and then enjoyed a 30+ minute tour with George, a volunteer guide who shared a wealth of information and stories about exhibits from the Wright brothers on.

After the tour we walked across the bridge over the road to an area that included a space shuttle, Concorde, a retired presidential Air Force One, a 747, a 787, and more. We were able to walk into and through each of those I listed and could have inspected more if we had more time.

We ate lunch in the cafe there. Majella had a sandwich but I had been reminded about sweet soft bread by one I had yesterday and opted for a bowl of chilli. We were pleased to find that the bowl, coffee cups, and even the cutlery were compostable.

Our drive to Arlington took just more than an hour up the I-5 so we arrived around 1:30, too early for 3:00 pm check-in. Majella had noticed that we passed an outlet mall not far back and needed shoes. We headed back to shop. Skechers had a bling pair she liked on sale and a 50% off a second pair deal. That was too good to pass up but what to buy? She wanted walking shoes and we found some that looked OK but she was not sure. We went off to explore alternatives in other stores. There was no Merrell store but we explored a couple of others including Doc Martens without finding what she wanted. Back at Skechers we bought the bling shoes and eventually settled on a pair in the same style she was wearing but black which will suit her Sing Australia uniform.

While we were scouring Skechers for the right shoes my phone made unfamiliar noises. By the time I realised it was my phone and checked I had lost the connection but could see that It was Simone. I assumed she was trying to catch Majella for her birthday. The call came again and I was able to catch what turned out to be a video call through Facebook Messenger. Majella was hesitant to carry on a conversation there in the back of the store but when we had Nick and Simone and their 4 kids, Hannah and Matt and their 2, and Jane, Jane who had stepped out of a work meeting to join, there really was no alternative. There was much merriment with 4 parties appearing on the screen and more amusement as Nick, and probably others, began to apply special effects like super size smiles, goggle eyes, and the like. It was a fun surprise and a fine start to Majella’s extended birthday celebrations across multiple time zones.

By the time we had done shopping it was safely after check in time so we drove back to do that. After almost 2 weeks traveling with no laundry beyond rinse and dry we were pleased to find the Quality Inn has a guest laundry. Once we had settled in the room we got stuck into the laundry.

Dinner was at the steakhouse next door where guests get 10% discount on meals. We both had steak, Majella with vegetables, me with salad, and large glasses of merlot. We enjoyed our meals and then headed back to relax.