Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 13 Friday June 28



This is the 13th and last of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. 

Last night I heard one guy who I thought wasn't as nice to be as he could be get scolded for an unrelated reason by his girlfriend/wife/platonic female companion. I looked away in my bed so my smile wouldn't be too obvious. I had a bit trouble sleeping but mainly just nerves before the trip back. I lugged my heavy stuff as well as I could to the ferry terminal, putting the stuff down briefly to I could dash to Rachel the Pig at Pike Place Market briefly.  By the time I reached the ferry terminal I was sweating like crazy. A panhandler approached me; I indicated no. He started asking me for a Bainbridge Island ticket anyway. I scolded him that I was dying here and he left me alone after that. I grabbed McDonald's breakfast at the terminal and then got on the Washington State Ferries ferry to Bainbridge Island. At Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal I took the 90 bus (Kitsap Transit) to Poulsbo, where I transferred to a 7 bus (Jefferson Transit) and got a daypass.

Jefferson Transit changed their timings so I was able to ride all the way to Haines Park & Ride in Port Townsend instead of having to cross twice earlier at Four Corners (a stop just outside of Port Hadlock).  At Haines I took the 8 bus (Jefferson Transit) to Sequim. At Sequim Transit Center, I got a guy I'd been talking with a little to keep an eye on my stuff while I did a quick run around, including the small park (but not as small as Mill Ends Park) Seal Street Park. Back at Sequim Transit Center I took the 30 Commuter bus (Clallam Transit) to Port Angeles' Gateway Transit Center. I didn't feel like walking so I sat by the Dairy Queen there until they opened and then had lunch there. I then wandered to Black Ball Ferry Terminal. That terminal has two sections; the path to the second section had new black railings this time.  I didn't want to do much climbing so when I got on the Coho ferry I didn't go to the upstairs viewing area at the back of the shop but rather found a decent spot at the front. By this point I had noticed that one of my travel cases was a one-use wonder; no further trips a good idea for that case.

Probably at this state seeming more run down than a threat to national security, I was one of the first to clear Customs and I wheeled my stuff as best I could to my apartment.

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 12 Thursday June 27



This is the 12th of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets.

Well, it was overcast all day today so I didn't make it to Alki Beach. I once went there on an overcast day and it was depressing, so not this time.

It was raining a bit as I set out this morning and made it to Freeway Park (a park built over the I-5), passing through Washington State Convention Center en route. I returned to the hostel for breakfast and then to get out of the elements bought a ticket for the Underground Tour even though I just did it last year. I still had close to an hour before the first tour of the day, so I passed through Occidental Park (a park made of concrete; skid row; some art pieces like the Firefighters Memorial.  I also visited Waterfall Garden Park (and enclosed space that, yes, has lots of plants and mad-made waterfalls.  From there I went up the steps at CenturyLink Field and through railing got a few pics of the football field.  I visited Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park (actually a free museum) before retuning briefly to Waterfall Garden Park and Occidental Park en route to the Underground Tour, which has three underground sections, the third being the shortest.

I decided to go to Smith Tower as Underground Tour participants are $1 off. It was 35 storeys high, low compared to Columbia Center but being open air was a lot scarier. My hands were sweaty and I kept worrying that I'd drop my camera and it would take the express route downward. 360 degrees though so I got some great shots, albeit shots with railing in most of them beyond a few zoomed shots.  I found a pamphlet about another free museum whose name unfortunately escapes me at the moment (and the pamphlets packed). It's basically promo for the Alaska Viaduct, so advertises  having the most boring exhibit (i.e. boring through ground; no Oregon aspect).  I went to the food court at Uwajamaya in the International District (got Chinese food) and also visited a Japanese book store and Hing Pay Park (another concrete park) before heading to that area's Downtown Transit Tunnel.

To kill time and avoid possible rain, I took the Central Link light rail (Sound Transit) to SeaTac Airport and visited the airport briefly.  They have a bird cage near an entrance to attract wild birds that get in so they can be released back into the wild. Seemed to be working on one sparrow that did indeed get in.  I then took the Central Link back to Westlake Station; because I was still on an ORCA transfer, I was still on the clock from the first trip and didn't have to pay for the return. So a good $2.75 investment with some nice photos taken from the trains.

I visited Pacific Place one more time (scrap metal penguin, Barnes & Noble), then Pike Place Market (Left Bank Books, Rachel the Pig; also wanted to use the bathroom but the people in the cubicles were taking a very long time and I finally decided I didn't want to use the toilet after either one of them). I visited Holy Cow Records before leaving the market. The goats under the freeway rank were gone when I headed north, finally crossing Bell Street Bridge one more time and checking out the observation area on the other side again briefly.  I made one final trip to Olympic Sculpture Park (only got so-so photos of Love & Loss as people were sitting on part of that art piece) and checked out the newly opened (today I think) Western Oracle art piece (a small house). You were allowed to go in, but the only thing to really see inside were support beams. I went to the International Fountain at Seattle Center and stayed a while until I got the sense that it might rain again. So I went to the McDonald's across from Seattle Center (I ordered cheeseburgers with no mustard and pickles and she thought I said no mustard and ketchup; I realize my speech isn't the best but does my pronunciation of "pickles" really sound like "ketchup"??). This time I got photos of the poles with sports balls (one type of ball each: soccer, baseball, football, basketball; the latter must now push a few Seattlites' buttons).

[NOW: Western Oracle was just a temporary exhibit.]

I visited the statue of Chief Sealth, feeling like a statue of Seattle's namesake was a nice way to end this trip.  I returned to the hostel and packed. There was live comedy show. Quality varied with one person in particular bombing, but it was a time passer, something different for my last day.

And when I say last day, I mean it in more ways than one. I've been doing these Seattle trips since 2006 and so much has changed that it's time to retire them. The weather hasn't helped of course, but really it's that for me a critical part of the Seattle experience was being able to spontaneously (from the International Fountain or whenever) be able to wander to a store that sold my kind of movies (i.e. the strange stuff) and to be able to do so very late at night. Having a store with my kind of movies so accessible was a large part of what I loved about Seattle, also being able to take a fun little break from the fountain and then return to it. It just doesn't feel right without it. There's been a lot of changes and I've weathered them, but this is the final straw variety, losing the nearby Easy Street Records and especially Silver Platters (Tower Records same location the first year) in one fell swoop. I still like Seattle, but not to the point when I can keep it as a yearly ritual. I think I'll invest in a passport so next year instead I can fly to Disneyland. Obviously I'll probably get back to Seattle again some time, but I think it's time for a break.

[NOW: I am toying with the idea of a small Seattle trip this year, but in terms of concrete plans, Disneyland is indeed replacing Seattle this year.]

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 11 Wednesday June 26



This is the 11th of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets.

Okay, I checked in with myself after getting more sleep last night than I had been getting and I can handle continuing on at this stage. Having said that, I'll take advantage of the fact that I already covered today's plans on the first Seattle day and keep it a relatively low key day, sticking downtown unless the weather breaks and focusing on stuff that will keep me indoors as much as possible today.

[NOW: The above was written in the morning. The rest I wrote in the evening.]

First off I do feel a lot better than I did last night. I turned in around 8:15. It took a while to get to sleep because one roommate in particular kept making sounds whenever I started to drift off but I did get a decent rest anyway.

Forgot to mention yesterday: en route to Mercer St Books. the former location of Easy Street Records now had the Chase logo on the building, which wasn't the case Sunday. Sad.

This morning I got some DVDs at Dan's Belltown Grocery (I think this is the first time I ever bought DVDs before 7 am), then walked to the Washington State Convention Center.  I had planned to go to Freeway Park from there but got caught up with photographing art pieces there. Just before returning to the hostel I walked across Bell Street Bridge and this time was able to get photos from the observation area on the other side. I ate breakfast at the hostel (Not sure if I've named the hostel in these reports: City Hostel Seattle, located in Belltown).

I walked to Pike Place Market including First and Pike News and Rachel the Pig. I also crossed the Hillclimb, which sounds fancy but is just a small enclosed space, about as anticlimactic as the modern day London Bridge.  I walkied to the Bay Pavilion at Miner's Landing. I stopped exploring though when I saw trophies on the wall. I don't like looking at decapitated animal heads.  I then walked to the Seattle Aquarium. I had a coupon but even with it, it was still pricey ($20.85). Still it was a time passer and the resting sea otters in particular were very cute.  I then walked to Columbia Center for the Skyview. The price had almost doubled since my last visit a few years ago ($5-$9) and part of it was blocked off for renovations. Still I did manage to get some incredible 73rd floor photos. I visited the Downtown Transit Tunnel at Westlake Station briefly to see how much money was left on my ORCA card, though I didn't use the bus today.

I got lunch at Westlake Center's McDonald's.  Then it was pretty sunny and I was feeling better and better due to some giant shiny globe in the sky that seemed vaguely familiar, so I chance a walked to Capitol Hill. I visited Capitol Loans and then Twice Sold Tales, making sure I saw all three cats there.  I walked to the Jimi Hendrix statue, then Elliot Bay Book Company, then Seattle's sole branch of Everyday Music, which you may recall has quite a few Portland area branches. I got some DVDs there, including Smallville season 1, which I already have but someone failed to return the first disc. This set cost me $2.95 so I'll put in the missing disc and give the rest away.

It was raining for a bit after I left there. Still, I decided to visit an area of Capitol Hill I hadn't seen in a while and visit On 15th Video, but that store didn't seem to have any previously viewed videos for sale. I returned to the main area of the Hill (Broadway) and got some DVDs at Broadway Video. They couldn't find one disc but I had a ringer already in mind for their special (4 for $20; got 8).  I walked to the pop machine with the Mystery buttons, hoping I wouldn't get cherry again. I did wind up with cherry Mountain Dew, but luckily the Mountain Dew dominated the cherry.  I walked to Seattle Center, started once again with the International Fountain. I just got my shoes off and it started to rain again.

[NOW: Broadway Video has since closed.]

So not that long after I decided to go to the EMP which now allows photos, just not flash photos (previously it was no photos); another case of still pricey but coupon helped; $17 with coupon. The EMP has two large sections: music and sci-fi/horror/fantasy. I'm more into the latter so I got the former out of the way first. They had sections devoted to Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and women, plus recording studios. They also have a giant cone of guitars hanging from the ceiling. One main quibble, admittedly as a bit of an outsider to music is that beyond the guitar cone, the only historical musical instruments were ones that had actually belonged to notable musicians. Which was impressive in its own right but it might have been nice to see some older instruments not connected to any one person.  In the sci-fi et all part I was disappointed that my favourite item from last visit was gone (the Captain Marvel costume from the 1940s serial). Still there was an impressive range of movie (and some TV - Buffy's Book of Ascension for instance) memorabilia covering a wide range of eras, be it the Cowardly Lion suit from the Wizard of Oz, the Superman suit from Superman: The Quest for Peace, or for people who like their gore cerebral, the hacksaw from Saw. 

I returned to the International Fountain.  A guy tried to chat me up but I acted uninterested. A good move: from elsewhere I saw him chatting someone else up for around half an hour. Then he tried it on someone else near the first guy when he and his family finally left, and the second guy and his family left almost immediately. I ate dinner once again at Mod Pizza at the Seattle Center Armory (later I really had to go to the bathroom again so I might skip it tomorrow).  I returned to the fountain once more but it was cooling off and I finally left for the hostel.

While I was typing the earlier part of this report I heard a woman arguing with staff and then her leaving after they threatened to call the police.

Tomorrow is the penultimate day of the trip and thus the final full day in Seattle. A few things are definite for the last day, like Freeway Park and Waterfall Garden Park. And if the weather cooperates (it was noticeably a lot better today, which probably contributed to my improved health and ability at points to even walk normally), I absolutely still want to do Alki Beach.  No promises but if I can fit in my favourite Seattle beach, I will!

[NOW: Unfortunately the weather failed to cooperate so I never made it to Alki Beach.]

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 10 Tuesday June 25



This is the tenth of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets.

Some potential bad news. Seven out of day days of touring in rain has noticeably affected my health. I'll see how I'm doing tomorrow morning and if I don't think I can safely continue I'll check out early and eat the cost of a $88 one way ticket on the Clipper home. I can handle the trip on an emotional level still; it's the physical decline that worries me.

[NOW: By next morning I had recovered well enough to complete the trip.]

A couple things I overlooked before: the previous two days some people (usually kids) wandering into the International Fountain carried umbrellas with them.  Also the nearest crossing area near my hostel (heading south has been blocked; last night they moved the barricades slightly so people could at least cross the street on the sidewalk.

Noticed a slight ulcer last night. Not too bad.  Had trouble sleeping due to someone coughing and my toe still being in pain from the new shoes. Got a bandaid before heading out this morning. It was pouring rain as I walked to Target (passing the giant red popsicle statue; I think I did so a few times today), then Pike Place Market/Rachel the Pig, then back to the hostel for breakfast. I then returned downtown and caught a 510 but (Sound Transit) to Everett Station, then a 201 bus (Community Transit) to Marysville;  As usual I found some DVD sets there. I then took another 201 bus back to Everett and after a chase caught a 7 bus (Everett Transit) to the first stop at Everett Mall.

As I limped across the parking lot I felt someone cool on the back of my right thigh; probably blood or puss   I visited Half Price Books before taking another 7 bus to Evergreen Way.  I think I got off too soon and thus missed a connection that had a domino effect on missing buses by a bit. I took a Swift bus (Community Transit) to another Half Price Books in Lynnwood.  While waiting for my next bus I got a $3 DVD at Big Lots, wandered around a little at Strider Lake Park, and then took a 196 bus (Community Transit) to Alderwood Mall.

As usual I got some photos of the nice horse statue outside the mall. Inside the mall I visited f.y.e. where I learned that James Gandolphini (Sopranos) had just passed away; I also got a couple of Godzilla DVDs. I grabbed lunch at Sbarro; at this point the weather was okay so ate the lunch in the outside area of the food court. I went to the bus stop and pretended to be dense about one guys' hint for money.

I took a 535 bus (Sound Transit) to Bellevue Transit Center and then a B Rapidride bus (Metro Transit) to Crossroads Shopping Center (still Bellevue). In my fatigue I decided to skip Barnes & Noble there and just went to Half Price Books and Silver Platters; I got DVDs at the latter. I would have liked to have taken a B bus to Redmond but in my current state decided to just take a B bus the other way back to Bellevue Transit Center. I took a 550 bus to Westlake Center. Not first the first time this trip (though oddly not on the day after I had no sleep at all) I found myself fighting sleep riding the bus. I walked north to the 7-11 across from Seattle Center. I rested with my shoes off at the International Fountain. It started to rain so I went to Mod Pizza for dinner. It was really pouring then. I returned to the fountain a little bit, with the rain more subsided. I walked to Mercer Street Books and saw a graphic novel that I MAY pick up if I continue with the trip.

The day ended with an embarrassing note. [I’ve decided not to share this particular story with the world.]