Seattle City Tour

September 6, 2016

After relaxing and recovering from our Mt. Ranier trip on Monday, we booked a Seattle city tour on Tuesday. The driver and tour guide picked us up at our motel and we headed for downtown Seattle.

Kerry Park was one of the stops on the tour, and its elevated viewpoint gave us the view of Seattle and the Space Needle above.

Around downtown, you can ride the monorail which was built for the 1962 World's Fair.

The monorail passes through this strange rounded building named the Experience Music Project and commonly referred to as the EMP. It was built 40 years after the World's Fair to fit in with the Space Needle and the park there. The building has no straight lines or square corners and is covered in thin metal sheeting, which I guess is in keeping with Seattle being the home of the giant Boeing aircraft construction plant.

The Space Needle stands over the EMP. The Experience Music Project is a non-profit museum of contemporary popular culture. It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. The futuristic building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. The description at the Seattle Center site discusses the museum and its commitment to celebrating creativity.

The EMP location gave us closeup views of the Space Needle.

They certainly had one incredible playground on the EMP and Space Needle location. Right here in downtown Seattle you could leave someone with the kids and go shopping or visit the museums.

This large sculpture outside the EMP was named the Typewriter Eraser. The name of the sculpture behind it is a topic of local discussion - some call it the bamboo sculpture. Our guide's name for it was "the hair on the dog" because from the Space Needle, if there were people walking along the base of it, they looked like tiny fleas crawling through the hair of a dog.

From the Space Needle we moved over to Pioneer Square to look at historic early Seattle. Trying to get a picture of a historic fire engine through a glass door, I also got one of the buildings across the street.

They even had an old horse-drawn firewagon back in the corner of this old fire station converted to a museum.

On our walking tour of Pioneer Square our main focus was on the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. It had a simulation of a ton of gold bars and lots of funny stories about the silliness of Hollywood movies that had people stealing several gold bars and putting them in their saddlebags. They might weigh several hundred pounds! They also had a simulation of an ounce of gold from the Klondike. Having just come from Skagway and having toured a good bit of the Klondike gold field approach route, we were familiar with the stories about requiring a ton of supplies to enter the area. They showed what that would look like.

Smith Tower from Century Link Field later in tour.

We were told about the Smith Tower which was in view from Pioneer Square. Completed in 1914, the 38-story, 484 ft tower is the oldest skyscraper in the city and was the tallest office building west of the Mississippi River until the Kansas City Power & Light Building was built in 1931. It remained the tallest building on the West Coast until the Space Needle overtook it in

One small inner city park was designed to make you feel like you were out in nature. We had been walking in the rain, so our rainwear did make that look more realistic.

Brenda's raincoat did look right in place here. And it had been useful since we had walked around a few blocks in the rain to see other inner city locations.

Other than this little park, we were immersed in the historic buildings of Pioneer Square.

Our next stop was Centurylink Field where we got to peek through the fence at the field where the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders play.

We drove through the historic Pike Place Market, a large open-air market right on the waterfront in Seattle. It looked like you could get about any food item there, and we were told that there were nice restaurants as well.

The next stop was my favorite, the Kerry Park overlook of the city. This doesn't leave any doubt that Brenda has been to Seattle. That Space Needle is one of the most distinctive structures in the U.S.!

It was also a good place to watch the shipping in and out of the busy Seattle port.

The next stop was the Ballard Locks, one of the most famous tourist locations in Seattle.

This is an aerial view of the locks from wiki where they are described as carrying more boat traffic than any other lock in the US.

The drawbridge on the approach channel was up as we arrived since several boats were approaching the locks.

We got to explore the multi-stage fish ladder that lets the salmon through the locks to travel to their spawning locations. There were lots of salmon going through.

When we went over to the active lock, there was a large fishing boat at the lower level in the lock. The front gate was closed to hold back the higher water.

We watched them close the massive rear gates with three boats, including the large fishing boat, in the lock.

We turned our attention to the front gates, which were letting in water from the higher lake level. We watched the fishing boat rise until we were looking up at it rather than down.

We watched the water level rise in the closed off section to the lake level, and then they opened the big gates.

The big fishing boat, which just barely cleared the sides of the lock, moved through the gate and past the observation booth. This boat was manned only by the Captain and his tiny dog. He said he had been out about four months. So he must have dropped off his crew before approaching the locks.

As we returned from the lock, I had this view of the variety of boats that were anchored on the lake side of the locks.

Brenda posed by these sculptures because we had joked about the requirement for sculptures at many buildings. At least these did look like sculptures, in contrast to others we had seen.

After a swing through the fancy Magnolia community, our tour concluded and our tour guide took us back to our motel. On the way I was interested to see this Coast Gaurd cutter at dock. And several times I had mused at the incredible heights that they stacked the shipping containers near the Seattle docks.

We had enjoyed the city tour and now settled down for our last night in Seattle.

Seattle to Atlanta

September 7, 2016

Moments after takeoff from Seattle's SeaTac Airport, we popped above the clouds and got a great view of Mt. Ranier. We had not seen the peak on our trip to Mt. Ranier. I had a moment of envy of those who were visiting Mr. Ranier Park today until I realized that they were seeing it about like we had seen it because that solid cloud layer is well above where we were when we were looking upward toward the peak. So you had to visit the park at ground level and also fly over it to see the whole mountain!

Only three minutes later we got a view of what appears to be Mt. St. Helen to the south of Mt. Ranier!

It was a great privilege to get such a dramatic view of Mt. Ranier.

After our views of new snow on our Skagway trip, I was hoping for snow in the Rockies. But apparently we only went over the more northern and lower part of the Rockies and there wasn't much snow there yet. This was about 1 hr 7 min into our flight.

We had a smooth flight and I got this view of Atlanta as we were landing almost exactly four hours after takeoff. Wesley had just arrived in town and picked us up at the airport.

Fall family activities

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