Friday, September 21, 2018

Touring Seattle with the Pitzl Tour Company

Posted from Verdi, NV

(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

For additional pics not included in this blog, click on the links below:

Pike Place Market
Seattle Space Needle
Chihuley Garden and Glass

After leaving Anacortes, WA we moved a bit south of Seattle to Graham, WA. The campgrounds in this area are a bit few and far between, but we selected Ranier View RV Park because we had plans to meet up with our good friends Bill and Debi. They live a short distance from the park and the campground would facilitate a somewhat central location for us to meet up.  Little did we know in advance just how busy the coming week was going to be. Bill and Debi were again GREAT hosts and "tour guides" to show us around their home state.

After a short day of rest, Bill was knocking on our door the next morning. It was time for pickleball. They are definitely dedicated players as the drive to the Lakewood Community Center is approximately 45 minutes each way. We played several mornings during our stay of a week in Graham. Thanks again Bill and Debi for picking us up each morning!

Let the sightseeing begin! On Saturday, August 18th we were picked up by Bill and Debi and decided to take the light rail into the center of Seattle. We had heard how bad the traffic in Seattle was, so public transportation worked out well. We headed to the Pike Place Market in the heart of the city. Think HUGE market place with a large amount of vendors (and crowds because it was a Saturday).

Here's a picture of our wonderful tour guides before we ventured inside.

One of the attractions at the market is the "throwing of the fish" by one of the fresh seafood vendors. Crowds gather waiting for someone to purchase a fresh catch, then the tossing begins. Here is a very short video of this event.

After being moved through the market by the ebbing and flowing of the crowds, we wandered down to the waterfront. The Seattle Aquarium is nearby and the Seattle Great Wheel is just south of that location.

We walked a few blocks north to the Westlake Center to ride the Seattle Monorail to the City Center. The monorail was built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

The two attractions we were interested in visiting were the Seattle Space Needle and the nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. The Space Needle is a Seattle icon and has recently undergone some renovations.

The Space Needle was also built for the 1962 World's Fair and the top floor is 518 feet above the ground. The 360 degree views were excellent, but the area was still somewhat hazy from all of the recent fires in the area.

Looking slightly northeast, there was a nice view of the port area. We were lucky, the cruise ships were few today.

Just north and east is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center. (The double V-shaped buildings to the left side).

Near the base of the Space Needle and terminal station for the Monorail is the Seattle Center Armory. A great place for a quick bite. From above, these two giant spiders were thought to be metal sculptures. I learned later that they are actually large murals painted on the surface of the roof by a talented artist named Marlin Peterson.

The final stop on our tour for the day was at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. Rather than detail the work of Dale Chihuly here (mainly because I'm not familiar with him), just click on this link for more information. 

I will readily admit that I'm not an "artsy" kind of guy, and especially when it comes to wandering through galleries. In this instance, however, I was wrong. Mr. Chihuly's work is amazing. 

The color used in his creations are beautiful. The Persian Series lined an entire room and was displayed as a ceiling of color.

The entire gallery is dimly lit to enhance the beautiful colors and shapes of the glasswork.

This is from his Chandelier Series.

Because I honestly can't recall the names of these works, I'll just show a few pictures instead.

After visiting the displays inside, there was an outside garden area where his works are woven into the beautiful gardens surrounding the center.

I love the placement of his creations among the living plants.

There is a huge display of his work on the ceiling of the conservatory beside the garden. I understand that it is possible to rent the conservatory for events and weddings.

By this time, everyone is getting a bit tired and ready to head back to the light rail station for our ride home. Again, the public transportation is a great choice for anyone wishing to visit "downtown" Seattle.

The next blog will continue our exploration of the Seattle and Mt. Ranier areas of the state.

As always, thanks for dropping by to take a look!

Monday, September 10, 2018

First Time on the Washington State Coast

Posted from near Sunriver, OR

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Click on the clicks below for additional pics not included in today's blog:

Washington and Cap Sante Parks
Deception Pass State Park

After leaving the Grandy Creek TT near Concrete, WA we drove a whopping 45 minutes to Swinomish Casino RV Park, just east of Anacortes, WA. Maybe we've just been lucky, but we have stayed at some very nice casino RV parks the past few years. The park is located behind the casino and overlooks Padilla Bay. The sites were a bit tighter beside your neighbor than we like, but the roads were paved and the sites were nicely graveled.  All utilities worked fine and internet reception (through our Verizon phones) worked great. As an added bonus, diesel at the Chevron station (near the front of the casino) was one of the lowest priced in the entire area.

Okay, so much for the infrastructure. We were here to explore the area. We haven't stayed near the water in a bit and we wanted to get out and explore. One day we took a drive in to Anacortes and visited Cap Sante Park. The park is located on a hill which overlooks Fidalgo Bay.

From the high vantage point, you can sit and reflect and watch the boats heading into and out of Cap Sante Marina. Here's one of the whale sightseeing boats returning to port.

A short distance away is Washington Park. This was a beautiful park to drive, or hike through, or simply to sit under the huge old-growth trees and watch the water. Here's the Anacortes-Orcas Island Ferry heading away from Anacortes.

Many trails lead down to the waterline. That water is pretty darn cold, too.

He we are on the south side of the park looking out towards Burrows Pass.

On another day, we were invited by Debi and Bill to Debi's sister's house for some great seafood and a chance to view the area from the water. Cherie (Debi's sister) and her husband James live right on the water at Miller Bay, which is a short ride via water to the Deception Pass Bridge.

From left:Steve, Debi, Cherie, and Teresa
James and Cherie have a boat which allowed us to take a pre-dinner boat ride up through Deception Pass.

 The water current is very swift in this area.

Bill and Karen seemed to be enjoying the ride on a beautiful afternoon.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me to photograph the dungeness crabs which James (and Debi) pulled from crab pots just prior to dinner. WOW, it doesn't get any fresher than that! Along with the crabs, James cooked up some very fresh Sockeye salmon. It's definitely not a stretch to say that we enjoyed both the seafood and more importantly, the gracious company provided by Cherie and James.  THANK YOU AGAIN DEBI for the invitation to meet them!

Of course, no visit to this area would be complete without a trip to Deception Pass State Park. We picked up tips from Cherie on what to visit while here. In one part of the park is an interpretive center devoted to the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). The CCC, as most already know, were responsible for building much of the infrastructure in the parks we enjoy today, especially in this part of the country.

The building was originally a bath house for the beach nearby. They did a nice job inside of creating displays which depicted the life of the typical CCC worker.

Afterwards we hiked Lighthouse Point Trail which began near the interpretive center and followed the perimeter of Lighthouse Point.

The trail provided several opportunities to view the Deception Pass Bridge from various angles.

As the trail moves away from the rim, you are hiking thru large old-growth trees. Here's one that has survived a fire.

As I mentioned earlier, the currents are very strong in the area beneath the bridge. A huge volume of water is moved because of the tidal water flowing through a relatively narrow opening.

Here's a look at the underside of the bridge from the north shore.

We rate Deception Park Pass as a "must see" for anyone visiting the area. The entire Anacortes area was a wonderful change from some of the mountainous areas we've stayed in recently.

I've really moved thru our stay in this area quickly, because I'm so far behind in our blogging. Please click on the picture links near the beginning of this blog to view MANY pictures not included in today's blog.  In the next blog, we move a few hours south to Graham, WA and have some great visits with Bill and Debi.

Thanks again for stopping by to take a look!