Day 1: Seattle
I have had a long-standing, semi-serious plot to drive to Alaska someday. So a couple months ago, when the parents informed me “we’re going to Alaska next summer,” that was my cue. Technically, they replaced the driving part with flying, but that’s probably for the best. The travel blog is now back open for business for our trip to the 49th state.
The plan… First week will be Juneau and Glacier Bay. Second week will be Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. After that, the parents hop a train to Denali, but Nicole and I hop a plane back to Chicago. By the way, Nicole brings her blogging skills to the Land of the Midnight Sun during the second week. Until then, I’m all you got!
Day 1 however, is a stop in Seattle, Washington – a function of coordinating a Sunday-morning flight to Juneau with my parents. More important, spending a day in Seattle afforded me a rendezvous with Bernard, who lived in the Emerald City a couple years ago, and returned to meet me at the airport (after driving up from Portland).
From SeaTac Airport, we made the short drive up Interstate 5 (which is a freeway that should appear next to the word “bottleneck” in the dictionary) and found a parking garage that hadn’t been taken over by Mexican and/or Equador soccer fans in town to watch the game at Qwest Field (why are Mexico and Equador playing in Seattle???). Our first order of business was to walk north along Puget Sound and find lunch.
Continuing north, we walked up from the water toward the Space Needle. Today’s fantastic weather thwarted us here, as the line to take the elevator to the top wasn’t worth the hour wait. Instead, we decided to throw a bone to our old boss Paul Allen and check out his Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, featuring exhibits on Nirvana and Battlestar Galactica, respectively. Good hunting, indeed.
After the museums, we stumbled upon Seattle’s Folk Festival. An annual gathering featuring music, food and entertainment”¦ or perhaps a gigantic excuse for the population of Seattle to dress up like hippies and get high? Probably the latter.
Heading back south, we walked along 1st Avenue to the Pike Place Fish Market, where we saw some Salmon get tossed around in dramatic fashion (a la the Monday Night Football cut-ins) and we ordered some more tasty seafood-based dishes, including a hilariously expensive Cobb salad.
Hunger quenched, we continued our walking tour south through “Old Seattle” — a more artistic, bar-hopping part of town. After a free tea-tasting and a pit-stop in a local sports bar, we walked a couple more blocks to SafeCo Field for the Yankees-Mariners game. Thanks to the great weather and the influx of Yankee fans, the scalpers looked realtively busy.
My primary objective in attending a Mariners game at SafeCo was tracking down and eating an Ichiroll, which is a spicy tuna sushi roll named after good ‘ol Ichiro. Mission accomplished. It was better tasting and more filling than I expected. The only problem is that Ichiro’s face is not plastered all over the Ichiroll box. Hey Mariners marketing staff, what gives? You’re not gonna trade him, are you? So just put his face on the box already!
Later in the game — at least four times — fans decided to “enter the field of play” for a chance to greatly disappoint the public address announcer who solemnly reminded us each time that fans who do such a thing will be escorted from the stadium and subject to arrest. I subscribe to the theory Keith Olbermann tweeted later, which suggests a reasonable portion of the paid attendance might have been comprised of the pot-smoking hippies from Folk Fest.
We left the game in the 8th inning, walked to the car and drove to our Super 8 near SeaTac. Leaving the game early turned out for the best because it went into extras and I had an early-ish flight to catch to Juneau the next day. Plus, I didn’t want to make Bernard watch any more Yankee baseball than he had already been forced to watch.
Tomorrow, it’s off to Alaska.