Day 21 - Spokane to Seattle, WA

A funny hazard of hopping around like we are - you get up early to work on a blog post, realize you need something from the car, head down, and then walk in to the hotel to realize that for about three minutes (before coffee) you have absolutely no recollection of your room number.  Actually, you have a recollection, but it's of 10 room numbers from the previous two weeks. It's a fun few moments when you slide the key card into the door with fingers crossed, hoping for the little green light vs. getting a red one which would of course mean that someone thinks you are a stalker trying to get into their room.

Greetings from Seattle!  We learned yesterday that they have an average of 3 days a year at or above 90°.  Yesterday was their third in a row, so quite a heat wave and completely sunny, so certainly not the damp dreary Pacific Northwest we had heard so much about.

We arrived into town after an uneventful and relatively brief four hours in the car from Spokane.  The first stop was one of the original 'Let's Do That' ideas for the trip - a tour of the Boeing factory in Everett, WA.  It's the largest building in the world (by volume) and yes, it is completely unimaginably enormous.  So much so that it's really hard to put it all in perspective.  You get some visitor center exposure, a little history movie and then a bus ride to one side of the plant.  A walk and elevator ride gets you to an observation deck.  747's going down a very slow moving assembly line, looking like little toys.  The tour guide tossed a million facts and figures at us trying to describe the numbers. 40,000+ employees work in one building.  More than a million parts in each plane.  If they put football fields in the building, it is so big that they could play the all of the games in an entire NFL season inside the building in one weekend.  Disneyland could fit inside it and still have room for 12 acres of parking.  On and on.  Then a bus ride to the other side of the building (yes, you had to have a ride to the other side) to watch another line of planes and then back.  For the ex-manufacturing guy in me, it was pretty cool.

No pictures, however.  They didn't allow cameras, phones or basically anything to come along with you on the tour.  No camera or phone for me sort of felt like no pants.  We shall live with the memories!

We were then off to Seattle's waterfront area for a tour that took us via boat to Blake Island a few miles out into Puget Sound for the Tillicum Village experience.  This was a 4 hour deal, boat cruise, some history, dinner and some time on the island which is also a state park.

The food was a buffet with traditional Northwest Native American prepared salmon and other great related items.  The food was an A+.  The overall longhouse facility was also good.  After dinner there was a storytelling and dance experience related to several of the tribes which historically inhabited the area.  Overall pretty good, although a little hokey and contrived - more pre-recorded stuff vs. real live talent than I would have preferred, but overall good stuff.

After dinner we took a walk around the island and for me it was a highlight just to take a walk.  Even though this wasn't quite Pacific Northwest rainforest, it was pretty close. We were immediately in dense forest that we would never see back home - ferns as tall as we were, giant moss covered trees, etc.

Back on the boat and to the hotel for the night.  We will be hitting more Seattle this morning.  It is a big place, and the waterfront downtown area is all that and more as far as a large urban area.  We arrived for the tour right around when a Mariners MLB game was getting started so traffic and parking was a complete mess.  The girls also got several walk-by situations involving public recreational drug use.  One was humorous, one not so much.  Chalk up another educational experience, right?  Sort of kidding, but really not.  I won't dig into it in a blog post, but suffice to say that our wonderful suburban-raised kids continue to slowly get the veil lifted on everything the world has to offer.  That was part of the plan.

Cheers to a great Tuesday.  This morning we will ht Maggie's trip highlight!  And does anyone know of a coffee shop I can find in this town? ;-)

- Jim

Lighthouse and Mt. Rainier from Puget Sound.  Mt Rainier was STUNNING, 70+ miles away.

Seattle skyline from Puget Sound.

Bright and sunny in Seattle.  Wait, what?

Outside the longhouse, Tillicum Village, Blake Island near Seattle, WA.  We were greeted with clams when we arrived.  You tossed the shells and crushed them on the ground which formed the path to the longhouse.

Blake Island, WA.