Category Archives: Travel Journals

Exploring Seattle – Part 6

Exploring Seattle – Part 6

Friday, March 1, 2002

At breakfast, we met a wonderful couple in their 60’s, who had been married 44 years. They were still obviously in love, with the sparkle in their eyes when they talked to each other. They had been skiing for the first time the day before. Very adventurous! It was so encouraging to see that one can keep the flame alive after all those years. They smoked Terry and me in the longevity of their marriage, and we are proud of what we have accomplished (August will be 20 happy years).

We drove to Snoqualmie Falls. It is a waterfall that is Y shaped and very beautiful. The problem is that they built a power plant at the top, which completely mars the beauty.

Exploring Seattle - Part 6

We headed back to Seattle with just enough time to visit Cosmopolitan Motors. Terry wanted to see the two Delahayes and the Bugatti. The Bugatti turned out to be an excellent metal reproduction from Brazil (not Italy). Personally, I liked the miniature cars, and love a curvy Delahaye, but Terry is the real car buff.

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Chuck met us for dinner, which was nice. We actually got to see him a little while when it wasn’t quite so crazy with having so many guests to entertain. We knew that we wouldn’t get to spend much time with Chuck on this trip, but we wouldn’t have missed seeing him get his first ship for anything.

We were lucky because most of the days we had clear blue skies on this trip. We had a little rain, but not much.

 Saturday, March 2, 2002

We were up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready for our flights, which were uneventful. I noticed that on every leg of the flight the captains announced that they were glad that the passengers were flying, and thanked us for our patronage.   When we left Seattle, we saw Mt. Saint Helens from the air. The rim of the cavern, where the top of the volcano blew off, was visible even though it was covered by snow. It was pretty from that angle, and I wished that we had been able to take a picture of it. However, we could not get to our camera bag quick enough.

We changed planes in L.A., and had a three-hour lay over. We walked around the airport for a while to kill time. We found the arch that has the restaurant inside of it and took a picture of it. We have changed planes three times in L.A. now, and still have only seen the airport. We are going to have to take my uncle up on his offer to come visit him some time.

15B LAX Restaurant Building Looks Like a Spider

As always, even though we enjoy traveling immensely, we are glad to be home.

The End

 

 

 

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Exploring Seattle – Part 5

Exploring Seattle – Part 5

Thursday, February 28, 2002

We drove to Leavenworth, WA today. We went through a ski resort area called Stevens Pass. I saw my first trees that still had snow on the limbs. It was very beautiful. The temperature gauge got down to 24 degrees. Terry got to drive on snowy/icy roads for the first time. He had to put the Explorer into the 4-wheel drive mode for a while.

We saw a local that had run into the snow bank and had broken down. We stopped to see if he needed any help because there wasn’t much traffic out there. The man said that he had called for help already, but that it would take two hours for the help to arrive. The steering in his pickup truck was damaged from the collision.

Exploring Seattle - Part 5

We stayed at the Leavenworth Village Inn. Our room was incredible. It was called the luxury suite, but we got it for off-season rates at half price.   Timing is everything. One first enters a large living room/dining room combination. There was a table with four chairs and a small kitchenette area. The living room area had a couch, a gas fireplace, and a couple of chairs. The bedroom had an over-sized Jacuzzi tub and a king size poster bed. The bed was so tall it came up to Terry’s hips.

5K

After lunch we went to drive snowmobiles. The company provided everything that we needed from head to toe. We had helmets, snow suits, gloves and snow boots.   That was the most enjoyable afternoon. We didn’t go all that fast, 35 mph was probably the maximum speed, but it was fun. It was both of our first time to be on snowmobiles. The ride was very bumpy. After a while I learned to drive on the side of the bank to reduce the bumps some. We both had a blast. When we stopped for a picture break, I made my first snow angel.

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They took us to the top of the Cascade Mountain range so that we could look at the mountains. The views were spectacular. I don’t think we will ever get tired of seeing mountains.

5P Cascades Mountains 2

One of the other riders tipped over with her little sister on the back. The little girl had fallen asleep, and awoke in the snow after they tipped over. Once we were sure that both of them were okay, it was quite funny, because we couldn’t convince the little girl that she had been sleeping. But, both Terry and I had watched her with her head tipped all the way back as though she were looking at the sky for a long time.

Later on, we walked around down town in Leavenworth. This is a very small tourist attraction where the whole town is designed to look like a Bavarian village. It is a little gimmicky, but not so bad that is over bearing. There is a town square area that had a gazebo and a sledding area. We ate dinner at a place called Café Crista. I ordered sauerbraten and found that I do not like that. I ordered some Hungarian stew and found that it was very spicy, but I did like it. That is the thing with trying new food, sometimes you like it, and sometimes you don’t.

5B5

We took some Starbucks Carmel Apple Cider back to the room and drank it while we soaked in the Jacuzzi tub. Finally, I am warm again. We decided that we should have enough money to live like this all of the time, not just when we are on vacation.

To be continued…

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Exploring Seattle – Part 4

Exploring Seattle – Part 4

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

We are off to Canada today with more blue skies. The border crossing was very easy. It took maybe 5 minutes, including the cars in front of us. On the way to Vancouver we saw a bald eagle in flight. It was majestic and graceful as it soared overhead.

We stopped at the visitor’s center at the border. The agent was very helpful. We didn’t have any reservations, and we didn’t have any idea what we wanted to see while we were there, which is not like us. We usually have a very long itinerary mapped out.

The agent assisted us with booking a hotel. Then we told her that we liked nature and hiking, so she suggested that we drive north of Vancouver and to see Shannon Falls. Perfect!

Shannon Falls had a little snow on the banks. I had hoped for more. I wanted to add a winter wonderland waterfall to our collection in the dining room. I guess that will have to wait until another trip.

Exploring Seattle - Part 4

We tried to find a waterfall called Brandywine Falls. However, the road was completely covered with snow several feet deep. We may like to hike, but we were not outfitted for that kind of trek. While we were driving around, the temperature on the Explorer’s thermometer got down to about 28 degrees.

There were train tracks all along the route that we were driving. The tracks ran right along the mountains and by a stream. What a wonderful way to see Canada!

10S

A lot of the restaurants in Vancouver were ethnic, especially Asian. We ate at a real Japanese restaurant recommended by the bellhop. We had some tuna sushi, pan fried dumplings, and another dish called tuna gomaae. We are acquiring the taste for a few of the types of sushi. The tuna gomaae is basically raw tuna (we call it bait) in a ginger sauce and sesame seeds. It was pretty good once you got past the idea of it being raw. We still can’t eat sashimi (raw fish with no spices).

Earlier that day we had been walking around in the snow and I forgot to treat our hiking boots before we left. So when we saw a sign on a shop that said leather cleaner we stopped in. The guy who was there asked us whether we knew of its other uses. We told him no and he explained that it was used to make some drug called poppers. Since we knew we had to come back across the border, we didn’t buy any. We didn’t want to have anything with us that might be conspicuous. Needless to say, we got an education that we weren’t expecting.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

It was cloudy today, so we decided to walk around a nearby shopping district to let some of the fog would burn off before we went site seeing. We ate at a French restaurant called Café Crepes that the bellhop had recommended. The crepes were light and fluffy. The restaurant was decorated with French posters from the 1970’s. There was a sign on the door that said no pictures were allowed, so we were disappointed, but complied. The waiter said that the restaurant’s owner had found that other companies were trying to steal his idea, and that was why pictures were not allowed.

We went to Capilano Suspension Bridge to do some more hiking. This bridge is a few hundred feet high over hangs the canyon near another waterfall. The bridge was wobbly, but not scary. Of course, neither of us is afraid of heights either.

 3F Capilano Suspension Bridge

We took a scenic drive around the Stanley Park area to see some views of the marina. While doing so, we saw Vancouver’s version of the Space Needle. We did not go up inside of it, but we thought it was neat that we saw it, too.

We ate lunch in China town. It was incredibly authentic. The locals were speaking Chinese, and the markets had the spices that one always smells at Asian grocery stores. We were among the very few non-Asians there.

Terry’s lunch was a little too authentic for both of us. He ordered a chicken, shrimp, and noodle dish in an egg sauce. The egg was barely cooked and tasted slimy going down. I ordered a fried rice dish, and Terry ended up eating half of my lunch.

Going through U.S. Customs was not so easy this time. It took at least an hour. They need to set up a U.S. citizen’s lane to clear some of the traffic quicker. They did not search us. I suspect that Terry waving like crazy at the security cameras lead them to believe that we didn’t have anything to hide. We definitely were not afraid to draw attention to ourselves.

Gas is probably $.40 more per gallon in Canada. So, we figured we would fill up once we got back into the States. Well we didn’t realize that we would be in stop and go traffic for an hour. Terry was doing everything he could to preserve the gas, as we didn’t know how much of a reserve the Explorer tank held. Terry would start the engine when we could move forward and then turn it off. Then, we coasted down the hill. If we had realized that it might have been so close, we would have put a few gallons in while we were in Canada. Luckily, we didn’t run out of gas.

To be continued…

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Exploring Seattle – Part 3

Exploring Seattle – Part 3

Monday, February 25, 2002

Terry and I drove up to Everett Navy base for the Change of Command ceremony for the USS Paul Foster. Chuck had a driver go and pick up the rest of the gang, but we wouldn’t all fit into the one Navy vehicle. Since we had the rental car, we drove separately. We arrived at the first checkpoint, and we were told that our pass was not the correct pass. Additionally, the list of attendees was not available at the checkpoint yet. We were told to wait outside the gate until the information could be verified. The out-going Commander also had some guests who drove to the event and were in the same situation. We probably had to wait about 30 minutes before they finally let us in.

When we got to the ship, we saw all of these flags flying on the ship from bow to stern.  Soldiers formed two columns nearly the length of the ship were holding flags. The guests were to walk between the two columns up to the stairs to get on deck, where the ceremony was being held. The crew put up a tent on deck, and they were piping in warm air since it was so cold out. We were escorted to our assigned seats by some of the junior officers. It was as formal as a wedding with the departing Commander’s guests on the left, and the in-coming Commander’s guests on the right.

1G

The Rear Admiral, the Commodore, the out-going Commander, and Chuck all spoke during the ceremony. Chuck now has a sword with his uniform, since he is a Commander at sea. Children from the local elementary school sang several songs. The ceremony was steeped in centuries of tradition, and the pride in their accomplishments was apparent. The roles they all played were rehearsed, but didn’t seem stiff.  

After the ceremony, there was a receiving line for Chuck and the out-going Commander. Chuck’s wife was pinned by the Commodore’s wife with a COW pin. This pin is a cow, and it stands for Commanding Officer’s Wife. It was very appropriate, as all of the speakers mentioned what a great part the Captain’s spouse plays in a Navy officer’s life.

The reception was held in the helicopter hangar on the ship. The cake was a masterpiece. The crew had plenty of food, and even made an ice carving of a bird. Chuck had the baker come up, and he thanked him for the cake and told him that it was a work of art. I thought that it was very thoughtful of Chuck to do so right in front of everyone. Again, almost like a wedding, both Chuck and the out-going Commander cut the cake together. At least they didn’t feed it to each other.

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To be continued…

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Exploring Seattle – Part 2

Exploring Seattle – Part 2

Saturday, February 23, 2001

Today, we wanted to site see.  We went to get Chuck’s mom so she could join us, as Chuck had some business to attend to. The first thing we did was look for a memorial to Sadako Sasaki.  Sadako was the little girl in Hiroshima who thought that she could be healed of the radiation poisoning by folding the 1,000 paper cranes. It took us a while, but we found her memorial, and we were glad we did.

Seattle Vacation - Part 2

Continue reading Exploring Seattle – Part 2

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