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Our trip to Seattle & Boise 2001

This was our first opportunity to travel to the Seattle area in over 30 years. Our first trip was on our way to Tiachung, Taiwan while in the Air Force. During that trip we saw the entire area from the window of the airport and flights in and out of the SeaTac Airport. It wasn't exactly the type of trip that left lasting memories.

The trip this year certainly left a lot of lasting memories, the first being our concern over flying to the West Coast so shortly after the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center tragedy. But aside from our pre-flight jitters and a few long lines, our memories will be of seeing our sons and their friends and feeling like our family remains connected even though many miles seperate us.

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But before we get started just a word or two about our concerns over taking this trip. I never thought we'd see the day where we were hesitant to take off on a trip here in the United States. We have never really had a lot of interest in traveling the world, and in some respects that is because of our concern over safety. But as nervous as were were we felt that since we had made plans long before the terrible events of September 11th that we needed to carry on, and we were so happy we did.

We began our trip with a short drive to Minneapolis and a night in a motel near the airport. It is a "Park and Fly" deal that we have used before and it always works out well for us. Our ride to the airport was early because of the delays caused by the added security. I was upset to loose my pocket knife through my absent minded failure to pack it in the checked baggage. Then I set off the security beeper with change in my pocket, a cell phone, and a pocket pen that had a lot of metal as part of it's construction. Needless to say the once over with a wand was enough to make me very careful coming back from Seattle.

But the added security did offer us comfort in knowing that all the passengers that would be borading our flight would face the same level of inspection. Our travel agent suggested listing ourselves as standby passengers on an earlier flight since we would be in the airport anyway, and are we ever thankful that we did. It got us to Seattle two hours earlier leaving us that much more time for fun.

Brian met us at the baggage claim and following a short delay in getting our rental car we off to the heart of Seattle, in the rain. Now Brian has been telling us that the sun shines most everyday and all the stories of rain are just a ploy to keep everyone out of the Seattle, but this one legged sea gull reminded us how miserable even a little rain can be.

But our spirits were not dampened as we drove through the rain enjoying the skyline of the city all around us. We stopped first at our hotel, which is know as Inn at Queen Anne, and is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood. This hotel is a 1930's structure that appears to have been studio or efficiency apartments in a former life. You can click here to see their web site. The image below is the connecting canopy between the two buildings.

The buildings have a very pretty courtyard between them and the building is very well kept despite their obvious age. Our room was on the second floor on the street, which did make for some distracting noises. We dropped Brian off at his place so he could tend to a few errands and we drove to Highland Park for our first clear view of what would become our landmark while in Seattle. The Space Needle is of course as much a part of their skyline due to it's height as well as it's design. Our hotel sets a block or so away from the City Center where the needle is located but the view below shows all of Seattle.

Puget Sound from Highland Park

We did not get close to the needle until our last night in Seattle, but have learned that it was built in 1962 as part of the World's Fair. It is an amazing structure to behold even after nearly 40 years of weathering the Seattle storms and tremors. We were wanting a nice cloudless day for picture taking but once we saw this image on the screen we realized that the clouds themselves made for a more interesting image. You can visit a web site for the Space Needle for more information. We have more images towards the end of this page.

Seattle is such a big place with so many things to do it was hard to find a place to start. We had lunch at a place called the Five Spot and although the main course does not stick in my mind the dessert certainly does, and for those that know me they understand this. It was a short bread with custard between and drowned in dark chocolate. following this we drove around a bit and went to the Shilshole Bay Marina for a view of how the other half lives. We were amazed at the thousands, yes thousands, of masts that we saw along the bay. Most of the boats were not visible but just seeing the masts told the story.

The web site indicates that they have moorage for 1500 sailboats and powerboats along with guest and dry moorage for another 180. The total facility looked much larger as we drove by and stopped to snap a picture or two.

Our next stop was a ride on the Bainbridge Island Ferry. We took a walk-on trip across Puget Sound, walked off as required and right back on. The weather had cleared a bit as you can see from the images below.

The image above was as we pulled away from the city headed towards Bainbridge Island. The strange lighting caused the digital camera to record this image with a cartoon image quality. This was a very impressive view of this area of Seattle.

During the first part of our short ride we were entertained by the anctics of the sea gulls that follow the boat begging for food. There was a person standing on the stern feeding the Cheetos and I'm not sure if he was doing it to entertain us or the gulls.

This was our first trip on a ferry so we naturally wanted to see it all. Upon landing the bicycles lined up first and streamed off the ferry, followed by the motor cycles and then the cars. There were as many cars waiting to get back on the ferry as came off but the whole process took very little time. Dinner this first evening was in two parts, in that we were a little goofed up with the time schedule we stopped an oyster bar for a drink and appetizers before strolling down the waterfront looking in the shops. We came upon a character that Brian just had to have a pickture of, Mr. Salty.

Mr. Salty had the primary goal of selling us a gold coin with the store name on it, and being a sucker for this sort of thing we did just that. There was a sign asking us not to shake or touch Mr. Salty's hand, I guess he had had some tough times in the past....

The second half of dinner was a stop at 10 Mercer, which was close to our hotel. It featured a 30 foot tall back bar complete with ladder for retrieving the bottles at the top. I asked the server what sort of drink I would need to buy to see the bartender climb to the top of the ladder. she knew exactly which one, the $12 to $24 a glass cognac, needless to say we did not send him to the top of the back bar.

Our second day began with a bit of sun and much clearer skies. We picked up some road food from Larry's Market, which offered a huge variety of prepared dishes that would include everythhing from a light breakfast to a full dinner menu. The market was directly across from our hotel making it easy to get back in time for Brian to meet us for our day of sightseeing.

Our first stop was Volunteer Park where we climbed to the top of this very old water tower and observation deck. The tank itself is steel and is inside a very sturdy brick enclosure. A spiral staircase surrounds the tank and although it is a long way up was not too tough a climb. We had an excellant view of the city below and picture taking was a bit tricky with the chain link fence we had to look through. On our way to the park we drove through the Capital Hill area of the city and had a chance to see some of the interesting people that live and work in this area. We also drove around looking at some of the older homes that are simply fantastic.

The remainder of the day was taken up with a trip to Mount Ranier.

The weather closed in on us a bit during the afternoon and made picture taking a bit of a problem. But we did manage to get some real nice views of the mountain and stopped at this bridge for our lunch.

We did not get the name of this bridge, but it crosses a ravine that has a river rushing 180 feet below. The bridge is made of stone and there is a tunnel through the mountain before crossing the bridge. We visited a park information center later and then returned to Seattle for dinner.

We went to dinner with Brian at a place on the western side of Puget Sound and was called Salty's on the Alkai. The view of the skyline was breath taking, unfortunately I forgot to take the camera so the view will remain in our mind until we visit again.

Our next day began early as we picked up Brian and drove to Boise, Idaho thorugh Oregon. We were about 9 hours on the road and had a chance to see several mountain ranges along the way. Our next two days included a very nice visit with our son Gary. We visited a local winery and shot a few images there.

This image of our family were taken at the Ste. Chapelle just outside of Boise. This company grows their grapes and processes them into wine. The grounds were very neat and the main building was an interesting shape and construction.

Most of our time in Boise was spent hanging out with Gary and catching up on each others lives since our last visit 2 years ago. Gary treated us to a fine steak dinner our last night in Boise. We do thank him for his hospitality and for putting up with Dan and the head cold he brought with him from Iowa.

The trip back to Seattle went quickly and we got back in time for a little rest and then an early light dinner at a burger joint just around the corner from the hotel. Up to this point we had not visited the Space Needle so Brian guided us through the City Center park where we were again amazed at the size and beauty of this 40 year old structure. It looks as if it was built recently. Here are another image of the needle at night.

Our final image is of one of the anchor bolts at the base of the Space Needle. We were so impressed with the structure and especially this feature, Brian offered to be our hand model to give some scale to the image. Our trip home left us full of thoughts about family and distance and we hope to make another trip next year with more time to visit new places.

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