Seattle, Washington - 2008 . . .
during our travels in the Pacific Northwest

Updated: 11/30/08



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 . . .


a f0906wa s _101 first skyline_1.JPG (30893 bytes)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.

            a f0906wa s _104 tunnel_1.jpg (26484 bytes)                a f0906wa s _107 tunnel_1.JPG (33770 bytes)



a f0906wa s _110 traffic_1.JPG (51561 bytes)a f0906wa s _112 people_1.jpg (55556 bytes)a f0906wa s _113 pike place_1.jpg (67365 bytes)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.






a f0906wa s _334 parking free_1.jpg (49378 bytes)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. 




a f0906wa s _114 hc boat_1.JPG (44431 bytes)   a f0906wa s _120 hc boat_1.JPG (64294 bytes)   a f0906wa s _121 hc dock_1.JPG (35160 bytes)   a f0906wa s _154_1.JPG (71807 bytes)

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. 






a f0906wa s _131 hc table_1.JPG (25555 bytes)a f0906wa s _130 hc table_1.JPG (31383 bytes)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.



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Look, a sailboat heading for a collision with a freighter and the paraglider landing on the freighter.         Well, not really.


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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.


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The narrator pointed out that we could see Mount Rainier.

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As usual, three cruise ships were in Seattle.


a f0906wa s _174 hc norwegian star_1.JPG (47130 bytes)   x f0906wa s _290 hc cruise ships cop_1.jpg (27920 bytes)




a f0906wa s _175_1.JPG (55340 bytes)a f0906wa s _176_1.JPG (64602 bytes)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.


   a f0906wa s _183 bldgs_1.JPG (39886 bytes)   a f0906wa s _197 bldgs_1.JPG (46514 bytes)   a f0906wa s _199 hc grain_1.jpg (35848 bytes)



a f0906wa s _186 hc harbor master_1.JPG (61581 bytes)a f0906wa s _196 sphere_1.JPG (38511 bytes)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. 






a f0906wa s _207 hc fishing pier_1.JPG (52466 bytes)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.





a f0906wa s _210 hc busy piers_1.JPG (36320 bytes)These are the two busiest piers in Seattle.







The views were beautiful . . .


a f0906wa s _219 hc sailboat_1.JPG (36572 bytes)   a f0906wa s _226 hc ferry_1_1.JPG (48439 bytes)   a f0906wa s _228 hc three mtns_1_1.JPG (34753 bytes)   a f0906wa s _234 hc two sailboats_1_1.JPG (45715 bytes)


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. . . the Seattle skyline was fantastic.





x f0906wa s _262 hc harbor seals_1.jpg (53115 bytes)As the boat turned near a buoy, these harbor seals did not flinch.





x f0906wa s _285 hc uscg boat_1.JPG (76507 bytes)This Coast Guard boat cut the tour boat's wake, three times. They must have been out for a joyride.







x f0906wa s _270 hc container boat_1.JPG (45995 bytes)x f0906wa s _265 hc crains_1.JPG (44049 bytes)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.






x f0906wa s _273 hc dry dock_1.JPG (47864 bytes)   x f0906wa s _275 hc dry dock cover_1.JPG (44504 bytes)   This was the first time we saw a dry dock with an environmental 'drape'.



Another look at Mount Rainier . . .

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These cranes are HUGE. The last photograph gives you size comparisons.


x f0906wa s _295 hc crane crop_1.jpg (54736 bytes)   x f0906wa s _297 hc crane operator_1.JPG (58675 bytes)   x f0906wa s _298 hc crane crop txt_1.jpg (63678 bytes)



a f0906wa s _303 hc bldg tall taller_1.JPG (43468 bytes)a f0906wa s _304 hc bldg_1.JPG (49826 bytes)a f0906wa s _305 hc ferry_1.JPG (69092 bytes)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.

a f0906wa s _311 hc docking_1.JPG (66697 bytes)




a f0906wa s _321 hc glasses_1.JPG (37777 bytes)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?   

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If you can afford it, you can live and/or work with a great view out your window.


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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. 


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After the enjoyable look at Seattle from the water, we explored a little by foot.



a f0906wa s _337 art mc parts_1.jpg (90280 bytes)This metal sculpture was made from old motorcycle parts.














Art was common. Even this fence was a piece of art.


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a f0906wa s _343 sign waterfront _1.JPG (34555 bytes)a f0906wa s _344 stairs uo_1.JPG (47036 bytes)Behind us were stairs from the waterfront.

In front of us, stairs to the main street.

    a f0906wa s _346 parking waterfront_1.jpg (47291 bytes)





a f0906wa s _363 pike place mkt_1.JPG (63261 bytes)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.


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a f0906wa s _353 fish mkt_1.JPG (62653 bytes)   a f0906wa s _357 fish mkt_1.JPG (53392 bytes)   a f0906wa s _361 fish mkt_1.JPG (54512 bytes)   a f0906wa s _365 fruit mkt_1.JPG (71991 bytes)

Yes, we saw the home of the "flying fish".  However, no fish were flying while we were there. 



Balloonman was there.

a f0906wa s _352 balloon man_1.JPG (71129 bytes)



a f0906wa s _391 traffic_1.JPG (46806 bytes)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.

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Seattle Space Needle Day . . .



a f0907wa sn_100 hh camp_1.JPG (79027 bytes)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.




a f0907wa sn_280 look up_1.JPG (41261 bytes)a f0907wa sn_107 all_1.JPG (26053 bytes) 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.

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   a f0907wa sn_108 elevator_1.JPG (29583 bytes)                                   a f0907wa sn_110 elevator_1.JPG (28474 bytes)

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.       


a f0907wa sn_113 ff_1.JPG (52921 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_114 ff_1.JPG (50970 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_115 ff_1.JPG (55249 bytes)

a f0907wa sn_197 ff bars_1.JPG (60353 bytes)  



a f0907wa sn_119 store_1.JPG (67102 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_120 store_1.JPG (59622 bytes)    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.

   a f0907wa sn_121 way up_1.JPG (59545 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_122 gift shop_1.JPG (65196 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_123 gift shop_1.JPG (62213 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_276 gift shop_1.JPG (53251 bytes)



In the hallway near the elevator, three photographs showed various stages during construction.






a f0907wa sn_239 cage_1.JPG (44357 bytes)a f0907wa sn_264 cafe view_1.JPG (55883 bytes)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 . . .


a f0907wa sn_129 on elev_1.JPG (44045 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_144 three masts_1.JPG (37845 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_181 freighter 2 sails_1.JPG (39066 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_196 bldg five crop_1.jpg (46557 bytes)




Parking lots on the ground and on rooftops . . .                                The monorail . . .


a f0907wa sn_165 p lot roof_1.jpg (47759 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_151 p lot grd_1.JPG (56614 bytes)           a f0907wa sn_157 monorail_1.JPG (69688 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_187 monorail_1.JPG (50887 bytes)




a f0907wa sn_134 piers 45d_1.JPG (45707 bytes)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.

a f0907wa sn_161 heliport k5_1.JPG (71618 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_160 heliport k5_1.JPG (57144 bytes)                           a f0907wa sn_162 mc d roof_1.JPG (41717 bytes)



Another look at Mount Rainier . . .

   a f0907wa sn_169 rainier_1.JPG (20448 bytes)



We watched part of a soccer game.

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This fountain drew many people. Some tempted the fountain not to come on while they were at the dome. Oops.


a f0907wa sn_269 fountain fr elev_1.jpg (51746 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_178 fountain_1.JPG (41295 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_179 fountain_1.JPG (35655 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_180 fountain_1.JPG (31461 bytes)   


Do you see the rainbow?



This was one large orange cone . . . you tell us what the other art object is.

a f0907wa sn_208 org cone_1.JPG (49356 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_210 org art_1.JPG (39872 bytes)   





a f0907wa smr_231 ram parked_1.JPG (68190 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_217 ram from 605_1.JPG (44399 bytes)    Nice truck!.




a f0907wa sn_219 seaplane_1.jpg (61030 bytes)A seaplane flew in front of us. It landed in the lake. It was followed shortly by a second seaplane.

 a f0907wa sn_228 seaplane full_1.JPG (46986 bytes) a f0907wa sn_228 seaplane_1.jpg (40698 bytes) a f0907wa sn_233 seaplane_1.JPG (44923 bytes) 




A cafe on the observation deck was available. The restaurant on the next level down was too expensive for OUR lunch.

a f0907wa sn_267 cafe_1.JPG (39758 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_265 cafe_1.JPG (47327 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_244 cafe_1.JPG (37895 bytes)




a f0907wa sn_250 girlcam_1.jpg (42791 bytes)This little girl was using a joystick to move the roof-cam.









This wall display presented facts about the Seattle Space Needle.


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The entrance and the area surrounding the Space Needle displayed many art pieces and landscaping. 


a f0907wa sn_286 entrance_1.JPG (42728 bytes)    a f0907wa sn_288 art_1.JPG (47657 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_289 art_1.JPG (65654 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_292 art_1.JPG (54167 bytes)


a f0907wa smr_230 flowers_1.JPG (59957 bytes)   a f0907wa sn_291 art_1.JPG (37335 bytes)                                                  a f0907wa smr_233 mariner mural_1.JPG (59968 bytes) 
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. 

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a f0907wa smr_227 ticket booth_1.JPG (47944 bytes)a f0907wa smr_100 sign_1.JPG (84764 bytes)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.




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Some people treated the rail like a wishing well.

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At the station, the area under the rails was a work trench for mechanical repairs.

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The ridership was light on this day, so only one train was being used.


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The 'driver' walked to the other end of the train and off we went.  



a f0907wa smr_149 mcd lunch_1.JPG (54757 bytes)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.

a f0907wa smr_168 sunglasses_1.JPG (43045 bytes)   a f0907wa smr_169 sunglasses_1.JPG (54533 bytes)



This intersection was 'tiled' not paved. It was very interesting - a mall with pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

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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. 


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a f0907wa smr_195 inside_1.JPG (54541 bytes)      a f0907wa smr_197 driver_1.JPG (53228 bytes)   a f0907wa smr_221 inside_1.JPG (51454 bytes)    a f0907wa smr_198 roof window_1.JPG (40286 bytes)




a f0907wa smr_235 hilly_1.JPG (66462 bytes)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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