Monday, June 22, 2015

Seattle to Anacortes

Saturday we went to Alki Beach in West Seattle, where Karen and her family always went when she was growing up.  There's a seafood place called Spud, that's been there for 75 years and one of their favorites, so of course that's where we went for lunch.  We met Karen's Mom, her sister, Gretchen, and her boyfriend, Tim, and their little dog, Mork.  It was great to see all of them again, and to meet their new little dog, but, since we had had to run a number of errands before we got there, and had to go into a shopping mall, we weren't able to take Sophie with us to meet the dog, but another time.  It was a beautiful day with lots of folks on the beach, but few in the water, as it's still a mite chilly out there!  John had fun running through the shallow water and looking for shells.

After lunch John had one of his longtime school friends over for the afternoon, while I took care of some details on getting things all set for the big trip.  After another delicious meal Karen and Todd fixed, Trisha and I stayed home with John while they went out to a movie.  Very nice and pleasant evening.

Sunday morning Karen's mother came so she could meet Sophie--she's had small breed dogs like Sophie for years, so she naturally fell in love with our little princess!  And Sophie loved her as well.  Karen and Todd whipped up some wonderful blueberry buckwheat pancakes for a Father's Day breakfast celebration and then we hit the road for Anacortes, where we would meet up with our caravan group.  Had a lovely drive here, with super views of Mt. Baker, and the campground where we are rallying is on Fidalgo Bay, a beautiful spot.  Though there are some industrial smokestacks in the foreground, we have a perfect view of Mt. Baker from our campsite, which is smack dab right on the water.  And, as a good omen for our trip, shortly after we arrived and were eating lunch, there was a wedding going on right out on the water's edge, just in front of our RV--how cool is that??!!  So we figure this is a sign of wonderful things to come, for the newlyweds and for our great Alaska adventure!

We met our Wagonmasters and the Tailgunners--the Wagonmasters are the tour leaders, and the Tailgunners are the ones who bring up the rear as we travel, and are equipped with tools to help out in case of any mechanical breakdowns.  The Tailgunners were inspecting everyone's rigs to make sure things are all in tip top shape, and to help show us how to rig up some wire mesh inside the grille to help protect the radiator from flying rocks along the AlCan Highway.  The Wagonmaster said when he first started leading these tours, they had a few accidents where rocks pierced a radiator or two, but since they've been having everyone put on these mesh screens they haven't had any problems.  So, it was worth it to spend an hour or so crawling around on my back on the gravel under the engine to install the screens, rather than have a problem when we're on the road in some desolate part of the Alaskan wilderness!!  Trisha and I drove into town to pick up a few groceries and had dinner at a Thai restaurant to celebrate Father's Day.  It was delicious, but we had to laugh when the owner said we had our choice of 5 increasingly hotter levels of spiciness--we chose #3, but it was hot enough to keep us gulping down lots of water!  Reminded us of when we were in Thailand and Jeremy would always get the hottest levels, much more than either of us could tolerate.

Anyway, as I'm writing this post, I'm sitting out at the picnic table outside our RV, looking over the peaceful blue waters of Fidalgo Bay, watching the sun reflect off the snow-covered top of Mt. Baker, with the temperature in the 60's, what a way to start our great adventure!!

Here are some pics from Seattle and our drive to Anacortes:

Pike Place Market, always a fun visit!

Lunch at Jack's Fish and Chip Spot

Always love the flowers, here above the walkway along the street
The Piano Man!  He's been busking on this same street corner at the market for years, and we always love to see him.  That pole strapped to the back of the piano is what he uses to tip it up onto the rollers and then he pushes it uphill to where a truck picks him up at the end of the day
This is the famous fish market right inside the main entrance to Pike Place, where they throw the fish
In our many visits to Pike Place over the years, somehow we had missed the "Gum Wall,"  a place where people stick wads of gum onto the wall--in some strange way, from a distance, it has a kind of modern art beauty, but when you get up close and think about all these coming from people's mouths, it turns sorta yucky on you!!

After lunch, before Karen headed back to work
The Hammering Man statue near Todd's office building--the hammer goes up and down
Karen making her delicious granola for us to take on the RV

Todd with his pasta!

John giving us a violin concert--he has made so much progress since we were here last Christmas
Karen with her mother and sister at Alki Beach

One of the many ferries coming into Seattle
Karen's sister, Gretchen, her boyfriend, Tim and Mork

The Space Needle

Karen and Trisha by the beach

Mt. Ranier
Father's Day with my boy!!
Sophie with Karen's mom
Sophie and Lucky, the cat--both a bit wary of each other!

So proud of the father our son has become for his son
Father's Day breakfast of blueberry pancakes--yum!

The tie dyed shirt John picked out--in the Seattle Seahawks colors, no less!

Driving past the football and baseball stadiums on the way through Seattle toward Anacortes

Even on Sunday morning, the traffic is pretty heavy

Mt. Baker

These little drive-through espresso stands are ubiquitous in this part of the country!
Swing bridge open to let boat pass in Fidalgo Bay
The wedding right in front of our RV, on the banks of Fidalgo Bay!

Mt. Baker in the distance, over the smokestacks, this is the view from the table outside our RV

Sunset on Fidalgo Bay!

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