Sunday, August 15, 2010

That one time when I was in the car with Grant and Jill for 25+ hours



I don't know how common it is to enjoy every minute of an eleven hour car ride but with Grant and Jill Ensign every moment was entertaining! We drove up to Portland to visit Josh over Memorial Day weekend. The drive from Provo to Boise and through Eastern Oregon was one of the most fun roadtrips I've been on yet! Whatever self-built barriers we had prior to the trip were obliterated as we slowly lost our minds on the long drive. We talked, listened to music, played games, teased Grant about losing every ABC game we played, sang numerous songs really loud, talked some more, giggled, then giggled uncontrollably, then started crying... It was a hilarious drive up to Portland!
The last few hours were rather intense for me. I was anxious to see Josh (since I hadn't seen him for four weeks) and I was anxious for Jill as she bravely drove along the Columbia River Gorge in a downpour. She safely got us to the hotel where we met Josh. I was so happy! After settling into our rooms we let the GPS guide us to a good place to eat--Buffalo Wild Wings. We hungrily devoured our food and caught one of the NBA playoff games. Afterwards, we drove across the Willamette to tour around Portland and check out the Rose Festival carnival. We spent most of the time driving around in circles trying to get to the place we wanted to park. We awkwardly snatched the spot and walked in the drizzle down to the water front. The whole park was covered in mud. Jill was picking her way through in her new white tennis shoes and I was climbing up Josh to avoid getting my sandals sucked into the mud pits. We were cold and damp but the carnvial lights were beautiful and helped make the whole adventure fun. We found a little zoo where they displayed a huge porcupine, a gigantic Bengal tiger, a juvenile lion, and a super creepy reptile room. The boys spent a lot of time in the reptile room while Jill and I stared in amazement (and suspense) at the tiger. It was being kept in a cage of pencil-thin metal bars and plastic tie-downs. It didn't seem very stable or safe--so we stood there and stared anyways.
The main event we were waiting for at the Festival was the Lighting of the Bridge, the Lighting of the Rose, and the fireworks. We stood huddled in a fairly small group as we waited for the highly anticipated Lighting of the Bridge. The four of us couldn't wait to see beautiful white lights draped along the bridge or whatever stunning decor the city had planned. At the end of the countdown, the bridge we were looking at on our right didn't change. We looked around and followed the stares and pitiful "OOooos" to the bridge on our left whose concrete pillars were being teased with fading lavendar, rose, and blush colored lights. It was a huge disappointment. But it prepared us for the Lighting of the Rose behind us which was nothing but flipping the switch to the neon lights. Lame. So we were ready to leave before the fireworks even started. It must be noted that Grant and Jill are firework conessieurs and we've learned our lesson from taking them to firework shows that don't meet their high standards and expectations. I so badly wanted to electrify them with my beloved Portland city and felt that a lame show would start them off with a horrible impression desperately in need of redemption. Well, redemption was able to save its grace for another day because the fireworks show was off the hook! The lameness of the previous events was directly related to the 1% of the budget used for non-firework displays. They shot incredible fireworks from off of a boat in the river for 45 minutes! Grant and Jill were actually getting tired of the spectacular but long show. The four of us cheered loud for the big ones, hoping to put an end to it so we could get out of the cold rain but the fireworks had the Energizer bunny as their champion. We endured and were grateful.
The next morning we drove to Shari's (one of my favorite places to eat on the mission) and played Go Fish while we waited for breakfast. The food was not so great but they serve pie there 24 hours a day so it made up for the tasteless forkfulls of breakfast--even though we never ended up ordering a slice of pie. After breakfast we drove to Multnomah Falls (another one of my favorite places). Again, we walked around damp and cold from all the spray coming off of the water. The waterfall was so beautiful and definitely worth it. Grant and Jill hiked to the very top while Josh and I enjoyed some time together on a bench in an outlook.
We then drove back across the river and made our way around town and up to Washington Park. We walked around the Rose Gardens enjoying the soggy sunshine. While the dad in Jill made her want to hike to the top of Multnomah Falls, the dad in me made me stop at every rose bush and take pictures. The gardens were filled with stunning rhododendron bushes and rows and rows of rose bushes (I'm rather tickled by that line). After meandering through the gardens we drove through the gorgeous hillside neighborhoods and made our way down to 23rd Street for some incredible window shopping. We found a beautiful dress shop, a thrift store that left us with a bad feeling we couldn't put our finger on, kitchen stores, furniture stores, and a soap store celebrating a grand opening with a band, finger food, and wine. The placed was fun, festive, and packed. We stayed long enough for Jill to have an awkwardly large glob of lotion spill down her pants and shoes. Then it was on to lunch at Pizza Schmizza for delicious margharita and meat-lovers pizzas, embarassing videos, and lots and lots of laughs.
We spent the evening driving to the Oregon Coast and picking out the perfect camping spot at Cannon Beach. Josh and I had camped there two years earlier on our first wedding anniversary. Now we were celebrating our third year anniversary and couldn't have picked better company. The four of us set up our tents and then wandered down to the beach. It was a nice, chilly evening on the coast which made a hot chocolate treat aftwards a perfect ending to the night.

The next morning it rained so we all crammed into one humid and stinky tent to watch Wall E on a computer. When we woke up again we headed down to the beaches to walk around. Josh took the opportunity to astound us all with his knowledge of sea creatures and their scientific names. It was neat to listen to him tell us every detail he knew about each jellyfish, crab, seaweed, seal, sand dollar, and sea star. The beaches went on for miles and miles (as most beaches do). It was really nice to be able to spend that quality time with Josh just meandering up and down the beach. We were going to have our lunch of hot soups with bread and brie (provided by Safeway) on the beach but we decided to grab a warm, dry hotel room and eat it there instead. The hotel room was nice except for the fact that the room decor was hideous (I'm changing my major to hotel decor) and the hotel was next to a store with a giant picture of Bigfoot on it. Despite the numerous songs I made up of Sasquatch/Bigfoot/Harry from Harry and the Hendersons on the drive up to Oregon, I really am scared of finding it. He's creepy and ugly. I hate him--and was teased constantly about it throughout the trip.

The next day, after spending a pleasant night enjoying the sound of rain from inside our warm hotel room, we walked around the shops and candy stores of Cannon Beach and Seaside. The climax was eating at Mo's for dinner. One of Josh's favorite traditions is eating a heaping bowl of hot, sandy clam chowder at Mo's. I became converted when we came out to the Coast for our two years ago and now we were happy to share the tradition with Grant and Jill.

The trip was too short but we had a really great time. I've never laughed so hard, so often! One of the highlights was making Grant nearly throw up from laughing so hard! Oh...good times. We left Josh in Portland to wait for his ride down to Coos Bay, four hours south of Portland. Actually, we said our goodbyes at the Best Buy which made us think it was just like the BuyMore from the TV show Chuck. That made the goodbyes seem cooler and more bearable.

The drive back to Provo was a little sad but still pleasant nonetheless. Grant and Jill deserve kudos for driving the eleven hours straight home. It was exhausting for all of us but made for a happy ending to a happy weekend.

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