Saturday, June 19, 2010

Seattle: June 14-16, 2010

- Started the first day in Washington by driving out to Mt. St. Helens. It was very cloudy and when we got within 15 miles of the closest view of the volcano (3000 feet up), it got so foggy that you couldn’t see the road much less the volcano so we turned around. We stopped at the Forest Learning Center were you could see lava flows in the valley below so it wasn’t a total loss.
- Lunch with H’s friend, Jamie, in Lacey (near Olympia) at a pizza place that had a much better buffet than Cici’s.
- Once we arrived in Seattle, we went up to the quintessential Seattle landmark, the Space Needle (B referred to it numerous times as the Space Shuttle). 5PM in the afternoon is a great time to go up to the top. Lines were short and it wasn’t crowded at the top. The views of Seattle from the top were outstanding.
- J enjoyed a smoked salmon chowder for dinner at the Southcenter mall food court near our hotel.
- J & H started the coffee tour of Seattle with a vanilla latte from Seattle’s Best Coffee at the mall after dinner. More coffee stops to come.
- Also after dinner at the mall, J purchased 2 hats (Seattle Mariners and Seattle Sounders FC) at Lids. J encountered a very determined clerk who was desperate to get him to have something embroidered on his hats. She suggested an embroidered Space Needle on the Mariners hat. Ah yes, just like the players have on their hats. J passed.
- J swam with Z and B in the indoor pool at the hotel. First indoor pool of the trip. Believe it or not, the SF hotel pool was outdoors. J can’t imagine that anyone would ever want to use it considering the temperature stays around 60-65 most of the time.
- J and H finished the first night watching local Seattle news where they had video of a Seattle policeman punching a jaywalker in the face after she initially pushed him during an arrest. We have no problem with the policeman's reaction ... people need to respect authority. The best part of this story was that it occurred on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd - isn't it ironic. This story blew up nationally the next day.
- More fun Seattle local news stuff - they had temperatures and conditions for areas around Seattle on a crawl on the side of the TV screen. Most of them said temperatures in the 50s and cloudy. The best one though was for Snoqualmie Pass where it said 35 degrees and mixed precipation (in June!)
- Day 2 in Seattle started with B saying her stomach hurt. Maybe Z did have a virus? H stayed with B and A in the hotel room where B tried to sleep off the pain. H suggested that J take Z to the Museum of Flight for the morning which was nearby.
- J and Z really enjoyed the Museum of Flight. Lots of planes to see, interactive kid exhibits which Z loved such as flying a Blue Angels plane and a flight simulator where you tried to land a Space Shuttle (Z crashed his)
- Coolest part of the museum was walking through a Concorde and an old Air Force One plane used in the 1970s. There was a typewriter in Air Force One. J asked Z what it was. He had never seen one of those and guessed that it was a copier.
- We got back to the hotel around 12PM and B met us in the lobby jumping up and down and smiling. H, B, and A were in the café when they saw us arrive. H was drinking Tully’s coffee (2nd stop on the coffee tour). We were very glad to see B feeling better.
- We all then went to Pike Place Market – home of the 1st Starbucks coffee house and place where guys in overalls throw fish. J really wanted to see guys throw fish and he was not disappointed. At one market stand, fishmen threw a number of fish long distance to customers who routinely dropped them. One of the fish throwers also liked to use colorful language as he cursed walking past us as we were eating lunch. Fortunately, Z and B didn’t hear it.
- After lunch, J paid an exorbitant $2 for a 5 piece bubble gum pack to put our used gum on the “gum wall” at the market. Kind of gross and unsanitary but our used gum is now immortalized on the wall.
- We got doughnuts afterwards (erasing the Voodoo Doughnut experience) from a stand where the vendor put on a show for us throwing 1 of our dozen doughnuts high into the air and catching it in the bag where the remaining donuts were. Very impressive.
- Next stop was the original Starbucks. H got a caramel frappucino and a 1st Starbucks commemorative mug and J got a caramel macchiato. The barista took our order, wrote the kind of drink we ordered on the cups, and threw the cups across to the barista making the drinks. J was impressed and tipped the barista for his performance. Memo to local baristas, if you want a tip, you must throw the cups to another barista.
- The overall theme of Pike Place Market was “if you throw it, they will come.”
- We then went back to the Space Needle area (called Seattle Center) to let Z and B go on a couple of rides at the Fun Forest Amusement Park next to the Space Needle. The rides were “state fairish” in nature which scared H. Z and B picked a roller coaster and a boat ride that spun. We told them 2 rides was all because we had other things to do. B, of course, wanted to ride more and begged and pleaded with us to get what she wanted. We said no so she fussed through both the Seattle Monorail and the Experience Music Project.
- B’s best outburst came in an interactive area where you could jam on various instruments in different rooms. When you went into a room, you had 10 minutes to play the featured instrument. We went in a drum room. B got mad because we were all in the room. She wanted to be the only one in the room which was clearly not going to happen. She screamed for the 1st 3 minutes while not letting anyone play the drums. Finally, we were able to wrestle a drumstick away from her and J, H, and Z played while B melted down. The long trip had finally taken its toll on poor B.
- Overnight, H had horrible stomach issues and threw up most of the night. J felt so bad for her. Z had to have a virus that went to B briefly and crushed H. Either that or food poisoning.
- H stayed in the room all day to rest and hopefully feel better. Early on in the day, it was questionable that we would able to come home the next day.
- J took Z, B, and A to the nearby Southcenter Mall for their 1st Webkinz each of the trip. Z got a baby penguin, B got a spotted seal, and A got a rooster.
- To close out the sightseeing portion of the trip, J took Z and B on a Washington State Ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and back to get great views of the Seattle skyline. We sat inside for the trip to Bainbridge Island. We were right in the front so we could still see the skyline through the windows. B wanted to go outside, Z didn’t want to, of course. J decided to compromise (not a win-win-win) and told Z that we would go outside on the return trip. He was reluctant at first but after we enjoyed a snack of Sun Chips in the ferry snack café area, he agreed to go outside. It turned out to be a win-win-win as we all loved being outside on the way back to Seattle.
- When J, Z, and B arrived back at the hotel around 7PM, the 2-day Ashley Furniture job fair in a hotel ballroom was winding down with the sweet sounds of that "Everybody Clap Your Hands" song blaring. That's one wild job fair.
- As the day progressed, H started to feel slightly better and we packed our things for the extremely early 6AM flight the next morning to start the return trip home.

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