We're not in Kansas Anymore

Trip Start Aug 12, 2012
Trip End Aug 25, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 6

Today we left our Tacoma hotel (with the gorgeous view of Mt. Ranier) and headed on to it's big sister , The Emerald City, Seattle. The city and the port are huge, it reminded us of very much so of San Francisco with its skyscrapers and steep hilled roads. It took some time, but eventually we found a parking garage that wasn’t full and we began our trek around Seattle. We decided first on the agenda was of course, food. We dined at Ivar’s on the pier overlooking the water and the ferries shuttling people to various places, the day was beautiful and sunny. We sampled their 3 versions of chowder and each had an order of their form of Cioppino called the Pier 54 Seafood Bounty. Dad (Mike) would have loved this! It was overflowing with clams, mussels, halibut, salmon, lingcod, prawns and Alaskan snow crab all in a delicious tomato broth…Oh my God….so good! It was definitely the seafood we had been looking for on our great coastal trip. The best part, I didn’t stain her white shirt flicking tomato sauce everywhere cracking crab, score! After our seafood bounty we walked to Pioneer Square to get our tickets to the Underground Tour. The tour was really awesome, it began in Doc Maynard’s bar then walked several blocks around the city entering back doors of establishments and winding through these underground tunnels. We learned of Mr. Crapper and his flush toilets, and how those in Seattle tried to use them (without knowledge of the concept) and flush them out to the bay, only to get a very big, stinky and messy surprise when the tide came in and all the toilets would back up and explode! After the fire department watched Seattle burn, since they could not get water pressure to combat the flames, the city decided to rebuild, but they had a few rules. Obviously now all buildings had to be stone or brick, not wood, and they decided to use the opportunity to re-grade all of the streets to help with the gravity of flushing the toilets. So the merchants rebuilt their shops and were told that after some time when the roads were done their first story would eventually become their basement and their 2nd story would become their street level. Only problem was this didn’t happen for quite some time; they ended up creating these huge retaining walls between blocks reaching up to 35 feet in some parts of the city. This meant when you walked out of a store you came face to face with a retaining wall (which would eventually flank a road) and had to climb a ladder to cross it for every block, but don’t worry, this only last 14 years… 14 years! Imagine being a poor woman in a dress carrying groceries up and over ladders for blocks. The guide also mentioned that it was a bit comical that not a single person died in the great fire, but several drunks died attempting to climb these street ladders. Eventually they finished the streets and created sidewalks, however they continued to use the underground for some time. They even had these skylights inlaid into the sidewalk to provide light to the underground, the glass was treated with Manganese so now the skylights all have purple glass, they are really quite pretty. After our tour concluded we decided that a visit to the famous Pike Place Market was a must. The market itself is beautiful overlooking Elliot Bay, it’s full of fish mongers and market stalls overflowing with produce and various goods, as well as numerous eateries. It happened to be a special event on that day, a fundraiser of sorts called the Sunset Supper (ticket holders only) so unfortunately most of the shops were shutting down early. We meandered through the shops and shared a lox bagel then decided to hit up an attraction we had been waiting to see: the very first Starbucks. We made the two block walk through the market only to be met by a sign on the front door apologizing for closing early due to the event "love, the 1st Starbucks", very depressing indeed, I wanted a chai tea latte. It was very interesting though when we looked through the windows it was very plain and look like a regular old coffee shop, not at all like the corporate clones we see on every block. Keepin’ it real I guess. We left Seattle and drove on toward the border, first the excitement building, then the frustration, realizing that once we crossed the border we would lose all of the 4 options of gps we had in the car, oops. The border itself was a calm experience, for some reason I thought it would be more of a hassle, probably due to Jon teasing me about them listening to our car conversation on their microphones. The agent simply copied our registration (since we still don’t have plates) and asked what our business was and what we did for a living. He commented on Jon being from Canada, then asked if it was the “little lady’s” first time in the country to which I replied in a Canadian accent “I’ve never been”. Though I asked several times Jon would not let me ask the border agent to take a picture of him checking my passport, darn. Once into the county we squabbled in the car a bit about finding the hotel without our trusty gps, then ended up using the internet at astronomical roaming charges to look up directions. Canada is a bit confusing in the sense that you have to remember kilometers not miles per hour, though it appears most people here speed. Also, in Langley (the town we are staying in outside of Vancouver) the streets made no sense to us going from 88 A to 102 to 79, huh? Eventually we figured it out and made it to our lodging to some much needed rest. Tomorrow we plan to visit Jonathan’s grandparents and see a bit of Canada in the daylight.

New license plates spotted: (2) Tennessee, and Kansas
Total: 26
Miles traveled today: 165 miles
Total:  1,264 miles
Borders crossed: 1
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