Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pike Place Market/Olympic Peninsula

May 14, 2014.  It was a good day.  But before I write about the day's activities, I wanted to write about my thoughts as I laid in bed earlier this morning.  I did not write last night (5/14; it was too late when we got in the room).

It is such a joy to spend time with Big Sis.  I look back at my life, and regret so much the more than 55 years that we were not friends.  I won't go into all the whys about the situation, but I/we were foolish to waste so many years with contact usually only at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There's nothing we can do now about the wasted years, but we can and have discovered each other over the last10 years and have been proactive in trying to make up for the lost time.

This is our 5th major trip together.  The first, a week in Alaska, traveling in a rented motor home, was a gamble that paid off.  We had not spent any time traveling anywhere together ever, except as young children.  So, neither of us knew if we'd leave wanting to do it again, or whether we'd have had enough of each other.  Thank God, it was the latter, and when we get home, we will have spent a total of 9 weeks on the road together in the USA.  And, we've made wonderful memories along the way that soften the regrets for the wasted years.

Two significant facts I've learned by traveling with Bar--One is how much we are alike.  We really are in many ways that I would not have imagined.  And, two, what a great memory she has.  She remembers everything about growing up together.  When she tells me something about our youth, it comes back to me as she's telling it, only to fade quickly back into the mush in my brain very quickly. but it is a treat to relive those moments even if only for a few moments.

And now, I'll get to my lesson for the day.  If your life includes a sibling with whom you think there's a possibility of spending some quality time them just bite the bullet and do it.  Plan a trip, if possible, for just the two of you.  Who knows how it will turn out?  No one knows.  But if you don't take the gamblel, it will never happen, and you may wonder about it and regret it when you're on your death bed.  

I am proud to say that my travels with Big Sis have inspired my good friend, Clay, to take a trip with his sister, the first one ever.  They leave today for Yellowstone National Park, and I am so happy that they're doing it and will learn about each other in ways that they never imagined.  Just do itQ

Ok, off my soapbox and back to the current adventure.

My day yesterday started somewhat unpleasantly.  I woke up at 3am and could not go back to sleep. I needed to sleep, but my mind was racing with thoughts all over the place, and I could not turn it off.  So, the day was a very long day.

The first order of business was to get the car.  So, we packed our backpacks and walked the two blocks to the rental agency.  At the counter was a nice man who I initially thought was going to be problematic.  Long story made short, he found our reservation, agreed to honor it (after a bit of persuasion of the previous day's phone calls to extend it).  However, when he printed the rental contract, it came up about $300 higher than what we were told.  We showed him the rental agreememt Bar had made when she reserved the car, and explained that they had agreed to allow a second driver (me) free, he was agreeable to "fix" it to the same amount as the agreement.  In the end, he got it to within a few dollars of the original amount, and we accepted it because he believed what we told him.  We're in a red Chrysler 200, and it meets our needs just fine.

We headed into Seattle.  Ugh--stop and go traffic for the next 30 minutes or so.  No misadventures, thankfully, and the gps got us to Pike Place Market with only a few missed turns by the driver (me).  We  were lucky and found a parking place right in the market area.  More about this later...

We meandered around in the market area, looking at handicrafts made by local artesians, fresh seafoood of every genre, and people of every type.  We saw a couple having a cuss fight, with the female doing all of the cussing and the male taking it.  We saw a shirtless guy who was either drunk, on drugs, just plain crazy, or acting (we never decided which), who was dancing around in a small park on the north end of the market, trying to pick a fight with other local rough-looking guys.  He would dance around, twirling his body and throwing his legs in the air, while drawing fist in a prizefighter stance.  He'd take some jabs at the other, but none ever found flesh.  The other guy would always try to calm him down, obviously they were associates of some knd, and then there would  be hugs, more threats, and eventually the crazy one would move on to another guy and repeat the same act.  And, it may very well have been an act for all I know.  The police never showed up, making me believe it happened frequently and was of no concern.  Body tattoos all over the place.  Just a great mixtyure of people different from Big Sis and me, so it was all quite entertaining.

Perfect weather!  If I could have ordered weather for the day, it would have been just what we got.  High was around 83.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Absolutely no fog or drizzle for whicgh Seattle is famous. A light breeze to keep it from being hot.  It was a day God made for us and it was perfect.

After a couple hours looking and watching, we decided to walk up Virginia Avenue to have a cold drink.  We found the Virginia Inn at the top of a really steep hill, sat outside in the shade at the corner of the streets, and watched people walk up the steep hill and talked about each one of them!  Very pleasant, and a highlight of the day.

When we finished the beer, we decided it was lunchtime, so we went in search of the Pike Place Chowder House, a place I had read about yesterday morning when I could not sleep.  It is supposedly reknown for its chowders.  I like chowders, so I wanted to try it.  Well worth the trouble finding it in an alleyway.  The best clam chowder that has ever gone into my mouth!  Very, very good.  I just wished I had ordered a larger order!

By now, it was time to be moving on, so we walked back to the car, only to find a white slip of paper fluttering under the window wiper on the driver's side.  Yes, a parking ticket!  I didn't see the 1 hour limit sign, but there was one that was hard to see.  So, what's another $44?  We'll write it up to inexperience in a big city, pay it, and try to be more careful.  Since the car was there for more than 3 hours, we were probably lucky it wasn't towed...

Next, we wanted to see some of the Olympic Peninsula.  I had been told it was beautiful, so we wanted to see what it was like.

Down the 5, the famous I-5 that runs the length of the west coast.  Not quite as busy as in the morning, so it was not a bad ride.  We finally got on US 101, the coastal road on which we will spend quite a bit of time on this trip.  This northernmost part circumnavigates the peninsula, at times running right beside the Puget Sound, and sometimes meandering inland away from the water.  Curvy and with lots of ups and downs, it is a road made for motorcycles.  Made me wish for mine...  Beautiful drive.  Lots of evergreens, little cabins on the water, boats working on the waters, a mom and pop grill or motel every 5 miles or so.  Just a beautiful and relaxing ride.

We never actually got into the Olympic Natiobnal Park; not enough time (there never is enough..).  But I saw what I realy wanted to see, and was satisfied with the decision to turn around and head back towards the motel in Kent.

About dark, we were ready to eat, so we found the Model T Pub and Grill and stopped for dinner.  An Alaskan Amber later, fried chicken and potato wedges later, we headed east and north to Kent.  The foosd was good, the waitress entertaining, and the other clientelle very interesting in the Model T Pub and Grill.

Got back to the room around 10:30pm, crashed and went to bed.  It was a great start for our adventure on the Pacific Ocean.

Tomorrow (well, actually today), we're driving due south to Mt St Helens to see what happened there.  We had planned to do Mt Ranier, but the heavy snows have most of the roads closed.  they were due to open on or around the sercond week of May, but the openings are delayed a bit longer.


At May 15, 2014 at 9:48 PM , Blogger Sheila said...

Seattle and no rain! That's wonderful. Love the pictures. Wasn't the Farmer's Market fun. Hope you saw the Starbucks nearby. I understood it was the first one.
Hope the beautiful weather holds and you have a great time.


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