Seattle, Washington - 2008 . . .
during our travels in the Pacific Northwest
Use the links below to tour with us during our two days in Seattle.
Elliott Bay Harbor Tour Day . . . Seattle Space Needle Day . . .
Elliott Bay Harbor Tour Day . . .
Seattle was the first large city we had been in for several weeks. The traffic and the closeness of city life quickly surrounded us. We had to adjust to the 'in city' campground. The morning after our arrival we drove to Seattle for a one hour narrated Harbor Cruise. On the way, we got our first look of the Seattle skyline. The woman told Mary Lou to take the first exit immediately after the tunnel - and it was. Maybe, 20 feet out of the tunnel.
We learned quickly about the popularity of Seattle's waterfront area - cars and people. It was bumper to bumper traffic and a mass of people. One big attraction was Pike Place. We will visit Pike Place after the harbor cruise.
We found a parking spot leaving just time to buy our Harbor Cruise tickets (senior price $20) and get in line for boarding.
Parking on the street was $1.50 per hour. We understand you have to be there by 8:00am to get a spot. Due to the heavy traffic and limited parking, they had drop-off parking places with a three minute limit and some places permitted 30 minutes.
Two hours of parking in a lot started at $14. We paid $17 for 2.5 hours.
The pilot really churned the water backing out of the slip.
While standing in line we saw the similarity of the tall hills we saw on the road with tall buildings in Seattle - antennas.
Standing in line we could also look into the tour boat's dining deck windows. Our tickets were for the harbor cruise, not the dinner cruise. So, we were directed to the top deck. There were chairs for about half the people - some people took chairs out of the dining room, others sat wherever they could or stood for the tour. The narrator could be easily heard from anyplace on the boat.
Look, a sailboat heading for a collision with a freighter and the paraglider landing on the freighter. Well, not really.
We had several views of the Space Needle. We understand the Space Needle got its name because some people thought it looked like a space ship balanced on knitting needles.
The narrator pointed out that we could see Mount Rainier.
As usual, three cruise ships were in Seattle.
These Victoria Clippers from Canada were parked at the Port of Seattle International Dock. They shuttle back and forth to Victoria, BC, Canada. A favorite get away location of residents of the Seattle area.
The narrator told us who the various buildings and businesses were owned by - however, we forget almost all of the details.
The white building is the Harbor Master's headquarters.
This spinning globe says
"It's in the P. I." - the Post-Intelligencer,
one of the two daily newspapers.
This fishing pier uses old bus stop shelters for the fishermen shanties. Below the pier, is an artificial reef built of old tires cabled together as a fish habitat.
These are the two busiest piers in Seattle.
The views were beautiful . . .
. . . the Seattle skyline was fantastic.
As the boat turned near a buoy, these harbor seals did not flinch.
This Coast Guard boat cut the tour boat's wake, three times. They must have been out for a joyride.
Seattle has a very active shipping 'island'. It is said to be the largest manmade island. where container ships, primarily from China, unload and load. Notice how many containers at stacked on ship in the photograph to your right. Those are what you see on rail cars. These are huge ocean going vessels.
This was the first time we saw a dry dock with an environmental 'drape'.
Another look at Mount Rainier . . .
These cranes are HUGE. The last photograph gives you size comparisons.
Until 1988, the white building with the pointed roof was the tallest building in Seattle.
The cars on the ferry are another
good size comparison.
The captain did a good job centering the boat in the slip after the harbor tour.
We were surprised that the tour boat served the drinks in glassware. Paper or light plastic glasses would blow around - we felt heavy acrylic would have been a better choice?
If you can afford it, you can live and/or work with a great view out your window.
On the way off the boat, we walked through the dining deck to the restrooms. Nobody stopped us 'upper deck/harbor cruise ' people. The cruise line offers lunch and dinner cruises.
After the enjoyable look at Seattle from the water, we explored a little by foot.
This metal sculpture was made from old motorcycle parts.
Art was common. Even this fence was a piece of art.
Behind us were stairs from the waterfront.
In front of us, stairs to the main street.
Up the stairs, we wandered around Pike Place a while. One end was a farmers market that included a fish market and a fruit market. We bought some Washington apples and headed for the truck, hoping we could find it.
Yes, we saw the home of the "flying fish". However, no fish were flying while we were there.
Balloonman was there.
We paid the bail for the truck and drove home on I-5. Fortunately, the traffic jam was in the opposite direction. We only had heavy traffic.
Waiting at a traffic light on W-99, we noticed the name on this car sales lot.
Seattle Space Needle Day . . .
As were leaving our campground, we noticed that with the right photograph composition we could make our city campsite look good.
Our desire to go to the Seattle Space Needle out weighed out desire to avoid Seattle traffic again. The first time we took Route 99 to downtown - what a mistake. The traffic lights are timed to make you stop at everyone of them ... then, you wait for left turn lights. It seems that improving the traffic light timing could reduce the fuel used unnecessarily at idle significantly. Today, we used I-5 both going to and returning from Seattle. It was much better.
Luck was with us. On our first drive down the street by the Space Needle, we saw an empty parking spot on the street - on the street on a Sunday. That meant it was FREE for as long as we wanted it. What a day!
The Space Needle really looks better from a distance than standing close to it.
The elevator runs on the outside of the building.
The ride up was slower than the ride down. Gravity?
Both ways, Fred faced the window - camera in his hand.
At the base of the Space Needle, Fun Forest looked like a great place for children. A couple images are from the observation tower or the elevator.
Some independent retail stores sold souvenirs.
From the ramp to the elevators, you could check out the gift shop area. Or, you go in the gift shop to check out the 'good stuff' closer.
In the hallway near the elevator, three photographs showed various stages during construction.
From this observation level . . .
The following photographs are the result of Fred using the 'stitch' feature on his camera. He has been learning how to use it. They give a view from the Seattle Space Needle from each of four directions below.
and more . . .
Parking lots on the ground and on rooftops . . . The monorail . . .
These two piers were built at a 45-degree angle from shore to create a deep water dockage.
From the Space Needle, what was billed as the largest manmade island in the world could be seen. The 'island' was filled with shipping containers from all over the world. Photographs in the Harbor Cruise above showed the huge size of the cranes and containers on the 'island'.
We watched the KING-5 television station while in the Seattle area. McDonalds made sure you knew where they were.
Another look at Mount Rainier . . .
We watched part of a soccer game.
This fountain drew many people. Some tempted the fountain not to come on while they were at the dome. Oops.
Do you see the rainbow?
This was one large orange cone . . . you tell us what the other art object is.
A seaplane flew in front of us. It landed in the lake. It was followed shortly by a second seaplane.
A cafe on the observation deck was available. The restaurant on the next level down was too expensive for OUR lunch.
This little girl was using a joystick to move the roof-cam.
This wall display presented facts about the Seattle Space Needle.
The entrance and the area surrounding the Space Needle displayed many art pieces and landscaping.
The Mariner mural was across the street,
above a sports bar.
Fred could not resist making a photograph of this little girl and her alien.
At a cost of $2.00 for a 'senior' round trip ticket, we had to ride the Seattle Monorail. One station is just outside the Space Needle, the other is in the Westlake Center shopping mall. There are departures every 10 minutes.
Some people treated the rail like a wishing well.
At the station, the area under the rails was a work trench for mechanical repairs.
The ridership was light on this day, so only one train was being used.
The 'driver' walked to the other end of the train and off we went.
At the Westlake Center, you exit the monorail into a food court with many offerings. After looking at all options and agreeing we did not have to eat the same thing, we both chose McDonalds.
The other levels had upscale shops. This shop only sold sunglasses.
This intersection was 'tiled' not paved. It was very interesting - a mall with pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
As we waited for our return ride, Fred investigated how the monorail boarding worked with a platform on only one side of a dual monorail. His findings . . . the walkway and partitions extend to the train on outside rail and retract for the train on the inside rail.
Seattle is a very hilly city. If you were stopped at a traffic light, it was left foot on the brake to hold the vehicle until you accelerated up the hill.
While we complained about the traffic and city camping, our tour to the Pacific Northwest would not have been complete without a couple days in Seattle.
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