Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Monday, August 30, 2010

when in Seattle

On a clear day you see Mt. Rainier in the distance of course (well I think on a clear day you can see this beautimous place from 150 miles away), and hopefully you see Safeco Field and Qwest Field (as in the photo below for you Joshua and Patrick, and did you notice Frick, I've changed the map above the posts now that we are here in Oregon).

Word has it that one of the "must dos" in Seattle, is Pikes Place, and well "dah" yeah of course  we did ...

As seems to be the way of late,  I (no, we) didn't really do our research and find the "must do" list if you have limited time because you have a four legged pal at home!  Anyway, I assume (shame on me) anyone going to Seattle does Pike Place right?  Well that was top on my "to do list" - the very top on my list.  Why would anyone want to miss flying fish (the kind you can't possibly capture on film - huh what's film?)

I really had no idea what to expect when we got there.  I did realize from the map(s) that I had of Seattle that Pikes Place was not an outside venue and it encompassed more than one building (unlike the Haymarket Square  area of Boston (outside) - no NOT Faneuil Hall Marketplace, but when we entered the first building from the elevated walkway that connected the multilevel parking garage to the markets, I think all my senses were assaulted all at once - what I saw, what I smelled, what I felt, what I heard .... 

Unfortunately, the photos I took of the first flower stall were not blog worthy - as in, I think, I was so darned over whelmed I couldn't keep the camera still enough through a dozen photos to get a decent one!  As you may remember from a previous post or ten, I truly truly miss the gardens I had when we had a "stick home" ... sometimes I even miss mowing the lawn (but never ever have I missed shoveling snow).  So to see bunches and bunches by the thousands of bunches of bouquets in front of me with prices ranging from $5. to $12. just blew me away - I'm talking HUGE HUGE HUGE like an arm load of flowers at those prices .... how could I possibly keep a camera still enough to properly focus?

It seemed we walked passed about six or so of these flower "stalls" on the left then I look right and I see these stalls with all this gorgeous fresh produce (photo above) - Oh man .... 

Then come the seafood stalls .... one upon another and we hear some commotion and yup, there were the flying fish .... 

How could I possibly capture it?  No way, no how ..

I had no idea, absolutely NO idea that Seattle was a city of hills leading down to the docks.  What the heck is with this lack of knowledge as we are going into new cities  lately? 

The photo below truly doesn't do the incline justice, but it reminded me so so much of San Francisco and those HUGE hills.   I had no idea!

When touring Pike Place you must stop at the "original" Starbucks.  Well as I learned from what little research I did, this was not the original, but it is the oldest of the Starbucks locations that are still in operation today ... confusing I know, but as I write this I can not find the blog or the name of the book that referenced this - therefore, I guess I am a very UNreliable source of non information.  Chad, do you know the name of the book - something about the building of Starbucks "empire" ....

After we left the Pike Place area ~ I left very reluctantly ... (I could have spent an entire day and many dollars enjoying all the baubles, trinkets and treasures ~ none of which were anything I needed but it sure was eye candy for this fat old woman) we went to the Space Needle.

When I realized we were going to be in the Seattle area there were two things I wanted to do - Pike Place and the Space Needle. Well I do have my limits and $18.00 to go to the top of the Space Needle was far beyond my limits - seriously, I know I've gotten a bit "cheap" about some things lately and this was surely a case in point, it just didn't mean that much to me I guess.  $18.00 come on is that absurd?  There was something a couple days after the space needle "experience" too that I just thought was insanely priced so I didn't bother .... hmmm I'll let you know when I remember it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the Creme de la Creme

You know what "they" (who are "they" anyway?) say about the weather here in the Pacific Northwest?  Well it isn't true from what we've seen.  We've been here twelve days close to  the coast and it hasn't rained once ... yup, the days start cloudy but have always cleared in the afternoon.  So we chose one of the days that started out clear and beautiful and headed to .... 

TAH DAH .... the creme de la creme ...

Mt. Rainier.  OMG what an awesome, surreal place!  Once again I will say it ~ being from New England we thought we knew mountains .... NOT!

The photo above was not taken from a Chamber of Commerce brochure, I took it, honestly I did!  As well as all the others in this post.  I'm not sure it's possible to take a bad photo of this mountain.  The thing is you can see it from 80 miles away.  The shot above was from about 40 or 50 miles away!

I think we took around 200 photos that day so it was really difficult to narrow it down to 15 or 20 to put on a post.  The photos of the mountain are just random shots of what I thought were the most "outstanding" of the lot!  There are no words I could write that would possibly do justice to this area so I'll let the photos do it instead.

The photo below was of a river bed along the road up and up and up.  In the spring, with the glacier melt the waters apparently are a beautiful blue but towards the end of the summer it is pretty much a brown, mucky color with greatly reduce flow as in the far left of the photo.  I would love to have seen this wide wide area all covered with blue water - amazingly enough some of these trees have been able to survive years of these rushing waters with the early melting.

I believe, but am not certain by any means, that there are two entrances into the Mount Rainier National Park.  We entered at the south western point (UGH just fumbling through my basket of very important travel information ~ etc ~ the etc means yes, a "junk basket", but I can't find the Mt. Rainier info, perhaps it's still in the car??).  Once we entered through the pay the admission gate (no thank you WE have a National Parks Pass for the next year, thank you very much, and in 23 months we can get a SENIOR pass for I believe $10.00 - yipppppeee, age certainly, most definitely does have benefits ~ well earned benefits, that we are delighted are recognized!) it was another 30+ miles up to "Paradise" ~ seriously, I thought I'd been to Paradise many many times over the last few years, but low and behold there is this place called Paradise in WA state and there is the Paradise Inn (and for sure I tried to find a tee shirt there that said something to the effect that "I've been to Paradise and back", but no could find!!).  Gosh darn if I didn't spend half an hour last night perusing their website to find out the elevation of the place.  I thought this was as high as we could go on the road we took in, but in hind sight ("ain't" it just 20/20 for sure!) I think that is incorrect.  I am fairly certain that is as high an elevation as King Richard was willing to travel (in the passenger seat, eyes closed for a great deal of the travel).  Well, no I take that back, King Richard would have preferred that Sir and I leave him off about 3,500 feet (at least) prior to where we stopped).

I've clearly digressed however.  When we reached the Paradise Inn (and search and search for a parking space, just like at Old Faithful in Yellowstone ~ yeah, alright, I won't get on that soapbox right now) ~ which is shown in the photo above looking down at it from one of the trails leading off from the property.

The next few photos are taken from the trail above the Inn.  There are several (perhaps six?) originating from the Inn.  I attempted to get closer to the peak.  Well I guess I did get closer, but two of the trails (each about 1/2 mile from where I was) were listed as something falls ... I assumed waterfalls, but never got that far - Rick and Arlo were waiting for me and I knew it would be a looooong and very very very slow climb for me so I turned back about 1/2 way.  

Along the trail that I did attempt were these wonderful wild flower meadows but darned if I could identify any of the flora (I thought the plant in the photo immediately below is some sort of lupine, but not certain).  The other two, I have no clue - what say you Candyce?

Above, just random shots as far as we traveled, from the trail I tried to walk looking at the glacial paths, the Inn and just the absolute beauty of the entire region.  Another one that has left us scratching our heads wondering how we ever got so fortunate.

As we headed towards the National Park we passed this outstandingly blue gorgeous lake (aka Alder Lake) with a very impressive dam (aka Alder Dam) ~ as you see from the distance in the photo below.  

We decided to stop on the way back (well we tried on the way into the park, but there were many people and dogs and boats and vehicles and we surely did not want a repeat of the craziness that we encountered at Lake Roosevelt.)  On our return it was a splendid stop for Sir to take in the beauty (yeah like he cares about the beauty surrounding him right!!!) and have a coooold swim and perhaps go after a stick or three....

All in all it was a terrific trip, a terrific day, in a terrific area with terrific weather .... isn't that terrifically terrific!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How did this happen?

Seriously, how is it possible that my grandson, and Rick's favorite "hopping friend" had his first day at kindergarten today?  What a wonderful milestone, with a big smile on his face.  Thankfully his Michigan grandparents were there to share in the excitement with Connor and Trisha.  Joshua unfortunately missed it ~ he is in Yuma  ;-(

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How I spent my birthday .... by Tracey Whelan

Crossing Puget Sound on a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton.  

Sir was so confused and concerned - seriously, how could he be in the car, and on a boat at the same time?  He didn't hear the car running but felt it and himself moving!!  Very confusing the transportation that day!

It was about a 45 minute or so crossing with lovely sights throughout.  We were a bit dismayed when we got to Bremerton however.  It seemed like there should be a "downtown" area along the water, but darned if we, or the gps (aka "smarty pants") could find it so we ended up having lunch at some "sandwich joint" we found ~ don't even remember the name and I guess it doesn't matter anyway now does it!

We and the gps could, of course, find the Elks Lodge in Bremerton.  The photos below were taken from their property, their beautiful property overlooking the sound.

The mountains you see from their property are the Olympic Mountains - another outstandingly gorgeous range.  The one still wearing snow is the Brothers with an elevation of 6,866 feet.

That's it for today ... two posts in one day is certainly my limit.  Stay tuned for more adventures.

to puyullap

We left Moses Lake (WA) and headed to Puyallup on Monday the 16th.  Along the first 25 miles or so we kept passing these blue signs along the highway.

They identified the crops being grown, crop after crop after crop ~ alfalfa, timothy hay, wheat, potatoes corn ... I found it so interesting.  Often times they had metallic streamers along side (as in the wheat sign above).  I wondered who put these signs there - the farmers or the WA Dept. of Ag?  I suspect it was the farmers, although I'm not sure why they'd do it.  Whoever did ~ thank you.

Eventually we came upon the Columbia River as we approached Vantage, WA.  You know Rick and bridges ~ we came around a corner, headed down a "hill" and spotted the bridge in the photo above.  Rick says "we aren't crossing that right?"  Well I truly didn't believe we were.  OOOPS keep in mind however, I didn't put it there nor did I plan the interstate to traverse the Columbia River (some things really are out of my control, you know!)

It was very pretty for those of us that could look left and right while crossing.

As we were climbing climbing climbing yet another steep grade in the Cascade Mountain Range we came upon this "windmill farm".  It reminded me of the first time I'd seen windmills such as these when we crossed through mid Texas in February of 2008.  I was so intrigued by them and reminded of the battle that's been going on for years and years amongst the residents of Cape Cod and their strong opposition to a windmill farm miles upon miles upon miles out in "their" bay (I guess I shouldn't get on my soap box regarding those from "on cape" (I was recently chastised by a "niece in law" about such a thing).  It is such a passive form of energy I just don't understand the opposition.

Eventually we could see the mountains of the North Cascade National Forest (they range from 8,000 feet to 10,778 feet) off in the distance to our north.  Gorgeous aren't they!

Rick and I have commented to each other several times lately, while crossing the Rockies, the Bighorns and now the Cascades that we thought we knew mountains, being from New England.  WRONG ~ now we've seen mountains.  It truly makes me have a twinge of desire that I had the physical stamina to do some walking/hiking in these mountains and someone who also had the same desire!  Kimberly you and Jack would love it in these parts I'm sure.

Just a random photo along the journey from Moses Lake to Puyallup of an old abandoned building - I seem to be on a "kick" of abandoned building photos.  I wonder if they were abandoned before or after the interstate became their front yard?  I want to know a portion of the stories the walls could tell.

And somewhere along the way on that travel day, Sir Arlo awoke ..... and moved off his bed (where he travels).  Hmmm that could be a topic for another post - when I'm not backed up with three more pending posts!  

I did accomplish a few things today - some of the emails I owe, some sewing until "heat n bond" really annoyed me and I have to re-do an entire project because the damned stuff didn't bond!  I only wasted about five hours on that one!  I had done another of this project using steam a seam and it worked perfectly.