Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sleepless in Seattle

Somehow we scored another unbelievable campground last night. Brian said it’s just because there are no bad ones in this part of the country, and I think he’s right. Instead of the typical cereal, bagels, yogurt, whatever we have in the cooler breakfast that we usually eat while camping, we went all out. After all, it’s CHASE’S BIRTHDAY! That’s right, we have an official teenager on our hands.

Today we were bound for Seattle. The first two hours we drove but the last hour we ‘gave our car a break’ and took a ferry into the city. The kids thought it was cool that we could drive our car onto the boat. I thought seeing the Seattle skyline from the water was pretty spectacular too. We spotted jellyfish from the side of the boat and scoped out the waterfront homes that lined the shores. By now I’m pretty much used to everything we do and everywhere we go being windy and slightly chilly. I’m sure the weather will change drastically as we travel across the Midwest, so I’m telling myself to appreciate the constant cool breeze of the Northwest.

In Seattle we hit the usual tourist traps, starting with ‘Ye Old Curiosity Shoppe’, which Chase has been longing to see. Walking through the store I felt like Harry Potter in Diagon Alley. It features shrunken heads, a giant whale rib, several two headed animals, a mummified prospector, an old player piano, novelty gadgets, and other odd, quirky contraptions and relics both real and contrived. Brian wasn’t impressed and was ready to leave after about five minutes but the kids were not to be rushed. They’d both earned souvenir money and were determined to spend it at this shop. We sent Brian to feed the meter so they could have more time.

Once C&C were satisfied with their purchases, we set off for the gum wall. We chomped sticks of strawberry flavored starburst gum as we walked so they’d be good and ready to contribute to the city’s most disgusting alley. I was unprepared for how repulsed I’d feel when I got there. The smell, the germs, it was all. just. gross. But for the sake of the kids and the sake of being tourists I played along. 

Pikes place wasn’t far from the gum wall, and we walked around there next. That’s where the fish smell really got to Clara, who hates seafood of any kind. I'll be honest, due to the unpleasant fragrance of the gum wall immediately followed by the pungent smells of the fish market, my stomach was also starting to turn. We didn’t stay long, as most of the vendors were starting to close up for the day. Plus we wanted to get dinner and make it to a ‘Seattle Underground’ tour we'd heard about. 

We let the birthday boy pick dinner and he wanted Chinese food or wings. We found a little hole in the wall within walking distance that happened to have both! But once we sat down to eat none of us were in a hurry to get up again. It felt good to take a break from all the walking we'd done. We talked about when Chase was born, and the things we each love most about him. A birthday dinner tradition. Our ‘Seattle Underground’ tour time came and went, and none of us were all that concerned about skipping it. Besides, we still had to find a place to get Chase a birthday treat (the Chinese/Wings place surprisingly didn’t have any cake or ice cream ;)) and we wanted to visit the Space Needle after the sun went down. Oh yeah, and the troll bridge. I almost forgot about that! We drove to the Troll Bridge and let C&C climb all over the giant sculpted troll while we took some pix. Around the corner from that were two treat shops; Pie and Bluebird Ice Cream/Soda Shoppe. Chase chose Pie, and the nice folks there even had a birthday candle for us!

By the time we finally made it to the Space Needle it was well after 9:30 pm and we were tired. Then we saw the sign that all the observation deck tickets were sold out for the evening. Bummer! That's the risky part about having a spontaneous itinerary, and both Brian and I felt bad that we hadn't reserved tickets in advance. I don’t know how he did it, somehow Brian talked the manager into opening four extra spots for us (even though she was turning everyone else away right and left)! We tried to be inconspicuous about getting in so the other people wouldn’t get upset. (Side Note: I’m starting to think Brian has some kind of Jedi magic because people bend the rules for him all the time. He’s ‘that guy’ who always scores the best parking spot, wins raffle drawings, talks his way out of speeding tickets, and gets in to things even when they're sold out. Maybe it's his pretty blue eyes...) Anyway the observation deck Space Needle was worth the wait! The view was stunning. Seattle really is beautiful and I’m so glad we got to see it in all its ‘city skyline at night’ glory.

I don’t even know what time we checked into our hotel, but it was LATE. Like pushing midnight. It took a little while to get the kids settled down and all our things situated. By now it's 1:45 and we have to get up at 6:00, so I’m going to bed!