Washington Travel

From the Space Needle to the Gum Wall - An Adventurous Day in Seattle

We woke up to a warm and sunny Seattle day.  That kind of sounds fake, doesn't it?  Warm and sunny in Seattle, you betcha!  We mapped out our itinerary for the day, grabbed some breakfast and walked from our hotel to the check-in kiosk at the Space Needle.  I highly recommend buying tickets on-line for the Space Needle, as the lines can get long especially in the summer.  Buying on-line allows you to bypass the ticket line and head right inside to show your bar code and ride the elevator all the way to the top of the 605 foot structure.  After growing up in New Jersey and spending a lot of time riding to the top of both the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center, the ride to the top of the Space Needle didn't seem all that long or impressive.  However, when we stepped out of the elevator, the views were amazing.  All around you, you can see water and snow-capped mountains.  It wasn't particularly clear enough to see through the cloud layer and get a good view of Mt. Rainier.  I had been to the Space Needle when I was about 18, but guess I never realized just how impressive Mt. Rainier is.  I decided to do a little research and saw that this massive 14,000+ foot volcano is actually termed a dangerous super-volcano. Now doesn't that just make you feel comfortable?  I guess the millions of Seattle/Tacoma residents just put that right out of their minds.  To me, the beauty and recreational opportunities of living here far outweigh the risk of the volcano. SpaceNeedle

After the Space Needle, I was able to accomplish another first (hang on as there were several on this particular day) - heading into the Chihuly Glass Gardens.  Spectacular was the first word to pop into my mind when I saw this amazing collection of glass works by Dale Chihuly.  After spending a bit of time reading about this artist, I came to realize that I have seen his work featured in both Salt Lake City and the ceiling inside the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.  Words cannot describe the beauty of this artist's work.


The second "first" for the day was heading down to Pike Place Market and into the Le Panier French Bakery.  Wow, the food in here was delicious.  I spent several years living in Belgium, so was able to be blessed to go to Paris quite a bit.  The bakery was like stepping back in time to my years over there.  The bread and macaroons were beyond divine.  We had grabbed some cheese from the next door cheese factory Beecher's (www.beechershandmadecheese.com ) and combined with the bread and macaroons, a day spent in heaven was what we experienced.  When I travel outside of Utah, I am always amazed at how much better the food is for some reason. Is this due to scenery, better chefs, I am just not sure.  All I know is I was able to enjoy the best food I have had in a very long time.

20150610_124941No trip to Seattle would be complete without checking out the Gum Wall near the Pike Place Market.  According to Wikipedia, The Market Theater Gum Wall is a local landmark in downtown Seattle, in Post Alley under Pike Place Market.  Similar to Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California, the Market Theater Gum Wall is a brick alleyway wall now covered in used chewing gum. Parts of the wall are covered several inches thick, 15 feet high for 50 feet.


As our day came to an end, visions of a delicious dinner swam in my thoughts.  Alas, we will save that for the next post!

Until My Next Adventure,

P.A. Walker

Off to the Beautiful Emerald City I Go!

Off to the beautiful city of Seattle I go!  After spending five days in Oregon with family to celebrate my nephew's graduation, the road took us on our way to the beautiful city of Seattle.  After we left our rental cabin in Oregon, we took the scenic route down through Hood River, OR.  Hood River is an amazing place right on the banks of the Columbia River.  As we winded our way through town, we came upon another idea for a first!  Paddle boarding in the mighty Columbia River.  No easy feat as you watch the wind whipping down around the water.  Hood River is a mecca for people to come windsurfing and kiteboarding.  Folks travel from all over the world to sport here.  The beauty is jaw dropping and the water looks inviting but can be crazy dangerous with the currents and winds.  We chose a mellow spot that appeared to be kind of it's own little quiet enclave. After getting in our swim suits, we headed into the rental shop to get our paddle boards.  This particular concession is right by the marina. The staff was really helpful and the equipment was perfect for our first foray into the river.  As we dropped in at the mouth of the marina, it became very apparent that this not your quiet tidal pool.  Waves slapped at our boards as we struggled to navigate our way through the waters.  After paddling for just a bit, the fun turned into taking the boards to surf the waves onto the shore.  A good time was had by all, a good work-out and time to jump into the car.  Our route took us over the bridge into White Salmon, WA and on down WA-14 towards I-5.


As the driver, I was the only one who did not get to partake in the heavy napping that was going on inside the car.  Their loss as I got to see some incredible scenery along the banks of the river.  It's about an hour drive to I-5 when you come into Vancouver, WA.  We decided to stop and eat at one of my favorite places for lunch.  Beaches Cafe (www.beachesrestaurantandbar.com) is a great spot where you can sit and look out into the river, enjoy the sunshine and some great food all at the same time.  They are very kid-friendly and brought my son the usual placemat to color on, but it was the trip to the treasure chest to retrieve a toy that usually brings the smile to his face. The menu varies from burgers, shrimp and all the way down the line to the wonderful beef teriyaki bowl that I decided to order.  We had to, of course, finish up our meal with the delicious key lime pie that they have on their menu.

Back in the car we go and on the I-5 Northbound for about another two and a half hours.  As we rounded the final bend into Seatlle, I was met with the lovely skyline that let us know our destination was near.  It was a long day but filled with adventure.  Knowing that I had another first on my list made me realize how blessed I was to be living this adventure.  The excitement of paddle boarding was amazing and ending the night by having a great dinner at one of Seattle's cool restaurants Rock Bottom (http://www.rockbottom.com/locations/seattle) was the perfect end to a perfect day.  Stay tuned for my next installment where I give you the reader, a tour into some cool Seattle tourist spots!


Until My Next Adventure,

P.A. Walker