Sleepless in Seattle

So yesterday, after my post of seriousness, was spent in Seattle. I drove the 2+ hour drive in the mountains and hills from Yakima to Seattle. Good drive, good views.

The plan was to hit four things: a duck tour, the Space Needle, Washington University’s stadium, and some seafood.

Since it’d take the longest, I dropped by the Ride the Ducks of Seattle tour group and got a ticket. When our group loaded, one of the captains on the duck that just finished recognized my Clemson stuff and asked how they did against BC and whether they stand a good chance for a bowl. That’s Clemson reference #1. Keep count! I figured I’d be one of the ones farthest away, being from South Carolina and all. But I wasn’t even close. Our group had two from Alaska, two from Singapore, and three from the UK. Crazy people raining on my parade!

And speaking of rain, there was absolutely none. It was sunny in Seattle. Isn’t this place supposed to be all doom and gloom 360 days a year? The ticket guy at the ducks place told me I was lucky to get good weather. A guy in the Space Needle gift shop told me I was lucky to get good weather. I still swear by the fact that I bring good weather wherever I go.

Back to the tour! Our guide, “Captain Clem Chowder,” was amazing. It was really cool because he has a son, I’m guessing mid to late teens?, and he had actually done a TON of the stuff he took us to see. So he had personal anecdotes to go along with the spiel of trying to get us to visit the different sites. Seattle’s a cool city if half the stuff we learned on the tour is anywhere near as cool as it sounds. I wish I had had the time to do the Underground Tour. The city used to be on this level but was raised up to the second floor. So the streets, sidewalks, etc are all elevated. The ducks tour took us by several skylights built into the sidewalk that shed light onto the first level. Very cool! He also explained why there was public art EVERYWHERE! Seattle people love them some public art. They decorate a lot of it for Halloween and call it an “art attack.” But the reason behind it is that there’s actually an ordinance that says if your building project accepts any city funds, at least 1% of the funds have to be put towards some form of art. So the football field has art around it. The baseball stadium has art. Everything has art on a lawn, by the sidewalk, on the building. Another very cool thing.

After the land tour, which was about an hour, we spent 30 minutes in Lake Union. We got to see all kinds of fun stuff! They have floating houses…which are houses, that float, but anchored to the shoreline. A little odd. The Alaskan mom behind me asked how different that was from the Carolinas. You see something new everyday in this country, for sure. But he also took us by the house used for the floating house scenes in Sleepless in Seattle. There’s also a park with Kite Hill that was used in 10 Things I Hate About You. Random, useless, yet fun trivia is always a good time. There’s also a crew club that has a structure on the lake. It looks like a regular two story building floating on the water, but our guy told us that they didn’t qualify for a permit to have a structure on the lake. So to get around it, the building is actually a boat. On the 2nd story, there’s a steering wheel on a deck and every 90 days, he said they have to disconnect it from the land (utilities, etc) and prove that it’s a vessel by driving it around the lake. Just so odd! Here’s a shot from the water of the skyline and one of the Sleepless in Seattle house.

Also, just as a side note, Seattle doesn’t play around with their coffee shops. There will literally be city blocks with a Starbucks on two of the four corners. Our guide tried to point all of them out to us on the tour. Even Pike Place Market, known as one of the oldest public farmers’ markets in the US, only has one corporate partner…Starbucks. Just absolutely ridiculous. He (half jokingly) said you can order a coffee at one Starbucks and be at another by the time you finish it. Crazy stuff. Crazy people!

From there, I hopped across the street to the Space Needle. It and the monorail were built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Just odd to me that so short ago, we had localized fairs to show off the world’s technology. Now, everything’s a convention somewhere, several times a year. Everything’s broadcast online. Aside from the Olympics, it’s rare for anything huge and spectacular to be built for only one event. Yet for the World’s Fair, it was done on a regular basis.

Back to my trip! I paid the absolutely ridiculous fee of $18 to take the elevator to the top. I’m completely glad I did it to say I’ve done it. But you’d have a hard time getting me to pay that again. So overpriced and so not worth it. I got to the top, walked around, snapped a few pictures, and in 10 minutes, I’m left asking “Okay, what now?” That’s an expensive 10 minutes, folks. But while I was walking around the top, this older gentleman walks up to me, offers up his hand, and says that’s a good looking jacket and hat I’ve got on. Clemson reference #2. He lives in Oregon, I think. But his son was out visiting on fall break. He’s in grad school there. They said were originally from Spartanburg, but the dad had moved out west. After we parted ways, I went to grab a seat inside and just watch (I was going to get my $18 worth, damnit) when a girl walked outside and looked at me funny. She looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Well, I get up to walk around outside again and bump into her. She said she had gone to Clemson and wanted to ask me if that’s what my stuff was for. Clemson reference #3! It’s crazy that I can go across the entire country to Seattle and bump into three people who recognize the Clemson brand. I haven’t seen any South Carolina fans, just as an FYI 😉

But here are some pictures from the top and of the needle itself. The second picture is showing Mt. Rainier in the background. It’s hard to see, but it’s there!

After that, I took a stroll down to the piers to try and find a place to grab some seafood. I ended up settling on the Salmon Cooker because everything else either looked too fancy or didn’t have anything on the menu that caught my eye. I wanted a halibut sandwich, but nope! They were all out of halibut. So I settled for a salmon one, huge potato wedges, and a cup of clam chowder.

I don’t think I’d ever had clam chowder before (I’m trying to push myself to try new things 🙂 ), but this stuff was fantastic. Delicious! The salmon sandwich was a little blah. So that was disappointing, but you can’t win them all!

And with that, I took a stroll back to the truck, said goodbye to Seattle, and wound up in Tacoma for the night. I missed Washington’s stadium but I can live with that. All in all, it was a very good day. I might be willing to throw Seattle into the hat of places I’d consider living after this trip. It’d be down on the list, given the distance, weather, and liberal tendencies, but it was cool enough to make the list!

Happy November!

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4 Responses to Sleepless in Seattle

  1. Hmmm, I lived in Seattle/Tacoma. You had a pretty day, but those drab ones really pile up. And the cost of living is pricey. Of course, it’s too far away from South Carolina, you know. Glad you had a great time, though. It’s a good city to visit on a vacation.

  2. RMJinAK says:

    Is Seattle the biggest city that you really spent some time in on the trip? Sounds like you took in a good measure of what it has to offer, given a very short visit. I don’t know if you find it interesting, but Boeing has a airplane museum that you could have checked out. I have seen it from the air (flying into and out of Seattle so much) and it includes either a Concorde or a US prototype SST – can’t tell for sure which. Sorry I missed your call last night. I have your Pass, and will bring it with me. Make sure we touch base this evening for final arrangements. I am really looking forward to traveling the Pacific coastline with you and seeing the redwoods!

    • I’m not sure, it might be. Depends on if it’s bigger than Baltimore or Cleveland. I definitely crammed more into my short stay in Seattle than the other two, but I was probably in all three about the same amount of time. I’m looking forward to it tomorrow!

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