The Run Around

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, July 15, 2012

Howdy folks,

It started raining last night at 5am and we didn't have the fly on the tent. I felt the first couple of drops come through and thankfully the trees took most of it before I was able to put the fly over the top. Can’t say I have ever been woken by the rain before! We had a couple more hours of restless sleep before getting up and packing the wet tent away. Continuing south along Highway 101, we made a brief stop at the Humptulips Salmon Hatchery. There were two large and 5 medium outdoor, in ground pools where there were various sizes of salmon spawn that were being bred for reintroduction into the river system. It was interesting to see, but there wasn’t any information about the program and nobody around to ask.

Just south of Humptulips are the twin cities of Hoquiam and Aberdeen. They weren’t actually twin cities, but it was hard to tell when one finished and the other started. It also marked the return to civilisation for the first time since Port Angeles. From there it was a straight shot east to Olympia, the capital of Washington State. Olympia is quite small in comparison to Seattle with a population of only 46,000. We parked at the Washington State Legislature which is part of the government district and across from the Temple of Justice which sounded like it was out from a Batman movie.

We started the free tour of noon and were led to the centre of the 4 storey huge domed building where there was a giant Tiffany lantern hung from the ceiling over the state seal. After hearing about the only state that is named after a President, we went upstairs to the Governor’s Ballroom where the governor is inaugurated. The biggest continual loom of carpet in the world is located on the floor and the marble lined room is prestigiously decorated. The embroidery on the curtains was even made from 14 carat gold thread.

Next we were led to the Viewing Galleries for the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are twice as many elected the House of Reps than the Senate and they also have public voting (an interesting approach). Apparently 20-30% of all the bills that are presented get passed so not that many and they have to sit for 110 odd consecutive days. Lastly we were lead into the Lieutenant-Governor’s press room and the Governor’s office which weren’t so interesting, but it wrapped up the bicameral government tour nicely. With brains full of information, we happily sat outside to eat lunch.

With a broken camp stove and quite a number of days camping coming up, we stopped in at an outdoor store in Tacoma to see if we could find someone to fix it again. They weren’t able to give us any leads despite good effort and the only other place they recommended was Sportsco which also didn’t help. Unable to contact the customer support, we had to buy a small hiking stove for backup instead and hope that we could fix it sometime.

We contacted Zemeer from Couch Surfing who graciously allowed us to stay with her for a few nights in Seattle with her two cats Vincent and Cozy, their dog Lilly, her daughter Quill and her partner John. She came back from downtown to meet us and then took us into Georgetown to have a late dinner at Square Knott 24 hour diner. It was a super cool, retro 50s diner attached to a pub in an old industrial district turned into late night bar and pool halls. The roast turkey was huge and we tried a local brew – Rainiers. A beer so good they named it after my father.

We had a sleep in the next day and had a lazy morning. In the afternoon we headed to The Museum of Flight at the Boeing Airfield which I had been to last year. It was really busy there because they had a helicopter airshow in the carpark with all number of different helicopters: Chinook, Apache, MASH, TV, emergency and tiny little ones. We headed inside and proceeded through the evolution of flight until the late 60s in the main hangar which is full of great old aeroplanes and replicas. We then went and saw the Concorde and Air Force One across the road which was next to a new hangar with part of the Space Shuttle Trainer inside. With time running out, we quickly went through the warbirds exhibit and a brief walk inside the original Boeing Red Barn. I still love this place! We drove back to home base to make dinner for the family which was gobbled right up. We had a lazy night drinking a few Rainier beers on the patio.

We got up early to drop in the car for a service at 9am. After having the same rough idling issues for the last month, we needed to get it checked out once and for all. We dropped the car in at Firestone and walked along Martin Luther King Jr Drive until we caught the Light Rail Train into town. It was pretty quick and only $2.25 a ride. We got out at Pioneer Square station and walked up towards the Columbia Centre which was closed and past Rainier Tower. We debated on whether to pay another $3 on the monorail to the Space Needle, but decided to walk instead. The Space Needle was very crowded and there was a new art installation called the Garden of Glass next door with some very funky looking glass sculptures. With both attractions being $20 a pop and with big lines, we decided to give them a miss. I didn’t realise that the Space Needle is 50 years old now!

We walked back to Pike Place Markets via the Chief Seattle sculpture. It was pretty windy so we were glad to get into the hustle and bustle of the markets and see the fish throwing, market pigs and usual commotion. I showed Steffi e the gum wall and we walked down to the waterfront to find a payphone. I called up Firestone which hadn’t done much and said to call back in an hour, so we walked back to the markets and had lunch. At 3:30pm we caught the LRT back to the garage to pick up the car.

Apart from the oil and filter, the diagnostics told them the car computer was probably cactus which we knew already. We had to call back in the morning to see how much a replacement part was. Great we both thought, that won’t be cheap. I guess we will have to think about it.

Back at home base, we made some homemade garlic bread with our left over pasta and researched some more information for the upcoming trip. As they say, "Things can only get better!"
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