My brother recently moved from Chicago to Seattle, and thanks to the flexible schedule of grad school, I was able to take a few days off to accompany him and his two cats, Sprout and Turnip, on the three-day drive. Evan is my only sibling and our family is very close, the two of us even lived together last year. It’s been hard to adjust to having him so far away, but I’m excited for his new adventure and I’m grateful we were able to spend this time together.
We stopped in St. Cloud, Minnesota to see Evan’s friend Sten and grab dinner at the White Horse, a nice bar in the charming old downtown area. We spent our first night in Fargo, North Dakota. The next morning as we left town, we watched the floods rise to meet the expressway. Had we left a few hours later, we would have been stuck. It was eerily beautiful in the early morning light, but it was clear that the families who owned the farm fields we passed would be facing a hard year without their crops.
Sprout and Turnip are young cats and they did amazingly well with the drive. We were able to let them out of their crate for most of the trip and enjoyed watching them peer out the windows or find sunny spots to sleep. We drove all day and made a quick stop for dinner at the excellent Montana Ale Works in Bozeman, Montana. Thanks to many family trips to National Parks growing up, Evan and I share a deep love for Montana. Bozeman was a gorgeous spot to stop and enjoy the sunset behind the mountain range.
We stayed in Missoula, Montana that evening and had breakfast at the Hob Nob, a fantastic diner recommended by my friend Angela. Their menu included pancakes made with 100 year-old sourdough starter from Red Lodge. I’m normally a savory breakfast type, but I couldn’t resist a legacy like that and they were delicious.
Our third day of driving was our shortest. The state seems to have a bit of an image problem, but for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Idaho, I think the beauty of the northern portion is one of the best kept secrets in the U.S.
On the afternoon of an uncharacteristically sunny April day, we made our way along the Puget Sound and into Seattle. We stayed at a lovely place in the Fremont neighborhood and set to work trying to find Evan an apartment. The cats were pretty thrilled to be out of the car, as were we.
Apartment hunting might not sound like a great way to spend a vacation, but it was actually really wonderful to be outside all day, getting to know different neighborhoods, and sampling the local fare. I went to school in Portland, Oregon and visited Seattle a few times, but I never got a great sense of the city before.
We spent the majority of our time in Fremont, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne. Rent rates weren’t as bad as we had been expecting, but nearly every place in Seattle appears to have carpeted floors and electric stoves. It was a rough transition from the hardwood and high ceilings that seem plentiful in Chicago. Ultimately, we did find a nice spot in our favorite neighborhood.
I have two great friends who live in Seattle, Tara from high school and Jen from college. It was really fun to finally get out to see them and I’m looking forward to more frequent visits. They took us to some excellent local establishments and helped us get a better sense of the housing market.
Seattle is a beautiful city, full of interesting people and lush landscapes. The air feels amazing, their produce beats Chicago’s nearly all year round, and the opportunities for outdoor activities are endless. I’ve really missed the northwest since I moved away years ago. It is nice to know that I will have a good excuse to get reacquainted.
I’m really excited for Evan. It’s hard to move away from home, but I know he is going to have an incredible time in his new home. It was so hard to say goodbye at the airport. And even harder during a few idle hours in Chicago last weekend when I went to give him a call, and had to remind myself that he wasn’t in Logan Square anymore. He’s one of my best friends and I already miss him a ton. I’m so grateful we were able to take this trip together.