Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seeing the Sights in Seattle

Thursday, April 2nd - Friday, April 10th

We arrived at our campground Thursday afternoon and drove over to Snoqualmie Falls Park, about 20 miles east of Seattle.  The power plant built here in 1898 in a cavity in the bedrock is 200'x40'x30' high.  It was completed in just 16 months by a 35-man crew working around the clock in shifts and is still producing clean, cost-effective electricity.  

They get 61" of rain here and 105" in the mountain tops of the Cascade Range where the river originates.  The rather fancy lodge at the top is Salish Lodge and Spa.

I couldn't resist including this picture that was on one of the panels along the hike to the bottom of the falls.  It is three loggers felling (by hand) a fir tree 51 feet in circumference in 1906.  I can't believe they even attempted to fell trees this large and how did they move them once they were down?

Friday we drove up to Everett, Washington to tour the Boeing factory, in the world's largest building, as measured by volume.  There are six big blue doors along the right side of the building where they drive the finished planes out.  Each one is as long as a football field and two are long enough to include the end zones!  Inside we looked down on the building of the planes.  We must have been at least six stories up and the ceiling was at least ten stories high.  During the hot, humid days in August clouds would form near the ceiling and it would actually rain a light mist inside the building.  Ventilation was late installed to prevent this.  The building covered 98 acres, large enough to enclose the whole of Disney land, as big as 75 football fields.  They have another separate building for painting the planes.  Three layers of paint on an airplane can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.  Their production line moves 2 inches per minute.

The Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour offers the only opportunity to tour a commercial jet assembly plant in North America.  We rode on buses over to the factory, as it was a mile or so across the airfield.  We also rode the bus from one end of the building to the other end for two separate parts of the tour.  Our guide told us they currently had 22,000 working on the day shift and they had three shifts.  They have a dry cleaner on site, a fitness center, an indoor jogging trail, a massage place, a cafeteria that serves 22,000 meals and several coffee shops on the premises.  She said it takes a lot of caffeine to make a plane!  They also have 1,600 bikes that the workers can check out to use on their jobs, if they need to travel a lot around the building.

This is the G.E. 90-115B engine.  It has 115,000 pounds of thrust and a 128" diameter fan with 22 blades that cost $150,000 each.  It is the world's largest and most powerful jet engine and one of the most fuel efficient and quietest engines G.E. has ever produced.  This one engine has more thrust than all of the Blue Angels.  The interstate is nearby and they have this huge special fence where they test the planes, because they would blow the cars right off the highway.

This is the Dreamlifter, a jumbo modified 747 cargo plane, that is used to transport the new Dreamliner's large parts from every corner of the world to Everett for final assembly.  The 787 Dreamliner is the first commercial jet made of lightweight composite materials with more efficient engines and advanced wing design.  It burns 20% less fuel and makes 60% less noise than the airplanes it replaces.  A 747 can hold up to 525 passengers.

Finished plane going out for its first test run.

Customer taking their new plane out for a test run.  About 8% of our country's power comes from hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass.  Washington state gets 64% of its electricity from hydropower.  Iceland gets 100% of its electricity and heat from hydropower (87%) and geothermal (13%).

Saturday we decided to ride the Ducks to get a little overview of downtown Seattle.   They have 22 Ducks in their fleet with interesting names like Caffeinated Cathy, Aurora Bridget, Alki Ali and Emerald City Emma (above).

After a little tour around town, we drove right into Union Lake where we cruised by lots of house boats.

They told us the houseboats people live in here run from $600,000 to $2.5 million.  I am having a hard time picturing paying $600,000 to live in a houseboat like these.

The little pale blue one to the right was originally a logger's tool shed (250 sq.ft.) and rents for $1,200 a month and has a waiting list.

The light-colored one on the far left in this picture is the one that was used in the movie Sleepless in Seattle.

This is the downtown sky line from the lake.

I think this was the first draw bridge in the state.  Large locks in 1916 enabled ships to pass from Puget Sound into Lake Union and Lake Washington via a connection cut between the lakes, expanding shipping-based industries.

Washington was the first to turn a coal gasification plant into a park.  They just tore down the building, fenced in the inner workings and made a nice park.

A women's rowing team out for their daily workout.

This guy was paddle boarding past a very big ship.  I think, by the looks of it, it could be his first time paddle boarding.

Leaving the lake and back to base.  We entered the lake here in the suburb of Fremont, home of the Solstice Festival Parade in June.   No motor-powered floats are allowed and everyone participating is required to wear shoes and a helmet......and that's all!

Just two doors down from the Ducks, we went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor's Center.  It is free and very interesting.  In the bathroom, the doors on each of the stalls had pictures of the toilet facilities used in different countries.  A toilet that flushes into a working sewer is nothing to take for granted.  More than 2.5 billion people worldwide don't have toilets or latrines.  They just use the outdoors which can contaminate their fields, water and food.  Over a billion people worldwide live in extreme poverty and chronic hunger.

In 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates joined Warren Buffett, who gave a $30 billion lifetime donation, in "The Giving Pledge", an effort to encourage America's wealthiest families to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charities.  The three programs they work on are Global Development (giving people tools to overcome hunger and poverty), Global Health (using science and technology to save lives in poor countries) and the U.S. Program (improving educational opportunities for everyone in the U.S. - 80% graduate high school, but only one third are ready for college).

Many small farmers in developing countries, mostly women, face challenges like poor soil, plant and animal diseases, pests and drought.  They struggle to grow enough food for their families to eat.  The foundation is working to improve seeds, farming methods and access to markets and information.

People need approximately 15 gallons of water per person every day for bathing, cleaning, cooking and drinking and many have to walk a mile or more to get it.  How many trips would you have to make just to get enough for yourself?

Machines like this are being installed next to public wells, so people can add one pump of chlorine to each bucket and get the correct amount to purify their water for drinking.

Solar bags like this can be filled with 3 gallons of water and left in the sun to purify it for drinking.

Mothers are being taught to wrap their babies directly against their skin to keep them warmer.

Machines like this, similar to an elliptical trainer, are used to pump water from wells and generate small amounts of electricity for their homes.

Insulated containers of vaccines like this are carried to remote areas on bikes, mules, camels, etc.  One small tube can immunize 50 children, but it has to be kept cool.  

Leaving the Gates Foundation, we see a very strange building across the street known as the EMP, Experience Music Project, built by Bill Gates's original partner in Microsoft, Paul Allen.

Right behind it is the Space Needle built for the 1962 World's Fair.  We ate in the revolving restaurant at the top a few years back, but there certainly is a lot more stuff to do and see now, right here in the immediate area surrounding it.  The shape of the EMP building is meant to evoke a feeling of sound waves, music scores, guitar shapes, etc. to represent the rock and roll experience.  There are galleries inside dedicated to two famous local musicians, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.  When we were touring in the Ducks, we went by the Hard Rock Cafe, which had an upside-down guitar out front to honor Hendrix and Cobain because they both played left-handed.  It is the only Hard Rock Cafe with the guitar upside-down.

Another view of the outside of the EMP. 

And their playground.  Tomorrow we'll be back to spend the day inside.

May the force be with you!

All sorts of interesting sculptures in the area.  Sunday we were back to explore the EMP.

Tornado shaped sculpture in the center of the EMP that is three stories tall made of 700 instruments, including 40 computer controlled, self-playing guitars which perform a series of compositions expressive of the roots of American popular music (jazz, blues, country, folk and rock).

In the Fantasy gallery there were all kinds of things from movies like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and such, but this one's for you Kathy.

This one's for you Dawn.  "My name is Inigo Montoya.  Prepare to die."

Entrance into another dimension to see all the sci-fi stuff.  Here they had all sorts of costumes and such, like the monster from the Black Lagoon and the ax used by Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

John is trying to measure up again.  Better luck next time.  Of course, there is a whole gallery on the Seattle Seahawks.  There was a whole wall of trivia stats about the team, such as they made the fastest score in Super Bowl history, only 12 seconds into the game.  In 1997 the owner tried to move them to Southern California.  Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, agreed to buy the team for $194 million, if the people would vote to help build a new world-class stadium and they did.  In return he vowed to create a winning franchise.  From 1999 to 2007 they made it to the post season six times and to the Super Bowl in 2005.  In 2014, 38 years after joining the NFL, they won the Super Bowl for the first time.  As the only NFL franchise in the Northwest, the team belongs to fans in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia.  In 1984 the Seahawks retired jersey #12 in honor of their passionate fans, known as the 12s.  Since 2003 the team has raised a 12 flag before every home game for their loyal fans.  For the Super Bowl championship parade in Seattle, hundreds of thousands of people flooded downtown.  

The current uniform of the official Seahawks cheerleaders, the Seattle Sea Gals, known as the NFL's glamour girls.  It features thousands of rhinestones on collar, cuffs and belt.  Doesn't seem like there would be room for that many.  I always wonder how they manage to keep from freezing at some of those miserably cold football games.  

The Sonic Bloom sculpture is sun-loving, harmonic blooms made of custom solar panels that generate their own power.  Each flower top contains 48 solar cells that produce 4.6 watts at peak production.  The electricity generated will make the flowers dance with light through the evening and sing through the day 365 days a year.  This is next to the Pacific Science Center and in front of Chihuly Garden and Glass, where we were going next. 

Exhibition of Northwest artist, Dale Chihuly.  This is an amazingly beautiful place.  Glass Forest was created by simultaneously blowing and pouring molten glass from the top step of a ladder to the floor where the deflated bubble solidifies.  It is illuminated with electrically charged neon and argon.

Baskets was inspired by a collection of northwest coast Indian baskets and the slumped forms they had taken over time.

This is the 15 foot Sealife Tower inspired from the sea and Puget sound.  The sculptures in this room included starfish, octopus, conch shells, sea anemones, urchins, turtles and manta rays.

Mille Fiori (a thousand flowers) on a flat glass pane lit from above.

Gardens of Glass was inspired by memories of his mother's gardens

Inspired when he was doing a seminar in Finland and they were tossing their creations into the river to see how they would interact with the water and light.  The local kids swam out and collected them all in wooden boats.  

Macchia Forest 

Persians is 100 feet long and suspended from the ceiling of the glass house he designed.  His first Persian ceiling is in the Seattle Art Museum and one of them is in the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  Notice the Space Needle towering above it outside.

More glass sculptures outside among the beautiful gardens.

A glass blower was giving demonstrations on a stage built out of the back side of this little Air Stream trailer.

It was so beautiful here that I just didn't want to leave.

His drawings and paintings in the gift shop ran from $1,200 to $2,500 and the glass bowls from $6,000 to $12,000.  We walked to nearby Zeek's Pizza and had a really yummy Thai pizza.  There are 11 Zeek's Pizzas in the Seattle area.

Walking back to our car, we walked under the monorail and passed a statue of Chief Seattle of the Duwamish Indian tribe for whom the city is named.

We also passed this little car wash sign, which is supposedly the second most photographed sign in Seattle.  Barnum and Bailey used to bring their elephants here to get them washed and Elvis brought his pink Cadillac here while he was in town filming the movie, It Happened at the Fair in 1962 .  He was so pleased with how they cared for his car that he gave the workers some of the extras parts in the movie.

Walking by cherry blossoms Monday on our way to Pike's Place Market, the oldest continually operated public market in the country.

The most photographed sign in Seattle and Seattle's most visited destination.  In the 1930s, it was the first large neon sign west of the Mississippi.  The clock and sign stand above the oldest public bathrooms in Seattle, built for the Alaskan Yukon Expo in 1909, Seattle's first World's Fair.

This is the famous fish market and farmer's market with fresh, local produce.

It is six floors and several blocks long, very interesting and like a maze to find your way around.

This is where they put on the show tossing the fish back and forth across the counter.  The crowd gathers around to watch them toss these 5 to 10 pound fish back and forth.

You can buy beautiful fresh bouquets of flowers here for $5, $10 or $15 already arranged or choose your own stems individually.

Many stands of fresh produce like this.

Pretty wreaths and hanging arrangements of all sorts of peppers.

If only John could just get the hang of all these rules, sigh.

John's just trying to measure up again.  This is an actual guy who used to tour around the country doing advertising pitches for a shoe company.  John's Dad met him way back when he was traveling through Iowa.  Notice they have little coin operated viewers, so you can look inside and see his actual shoes.  There were also several palm readers and tarot readers and vending machines that would tell your future.  I actually saw a young woman put coins into a machine to have her future told.

There were several talented musicians busking through out the market.

I always wonder if they can make a good living doing this.  At least you could set your own schedule and work as much or little as you want or need to and be your own boss.

This funky character was making balloons for the kids.

Dungeness crab, this is as fresh as it gets.

They had organic eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, green eggs, brown eggs, speckled eggs, turkey eggs and even ostrich and emu eggs, but they were just the empty shells, I assume for craft projects.

This candy place had lots of different kinds of fancy caramel apples, but I never see anyone buying these or eating them.  I always wonder if they actually sell them or they are just window decoration.

John had lunch here, but I held out for the famous chowder at Pike Place Chowder and it was worth it.  I had a cup of market chowder and a cup of seafood bisque, both of which were delicious, but there was a line there from 11:30 to 2:30 about a half block long.  It was probably that way all day.  The Pike Pub has an 11,000 sq.ft. stainless steel microbrewery with tours every afternoon at 2:00 PM, except Mondays, of course, so we didn't get to see it.

This is SAM, the hardest working man in Seattle, in front of the Seattle Art Museum.  His hammer moves up and down all day long.

This little artwork was on a side wall in an alley of a bike shop.  It is all made out of old bike tire rims.  We were walking over to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Museum which also includes the historical district of Skagway, the town site of Dyea and a portion of the White Pass Trail.  It's a nice little free museum in the old preserved Chandler Hotel where retired seniors lived during the Great Depression on their $40 a month S.S. checks.  In 1897 it catered to single men, prospectors, loggers, shipyard and railway workers.  Rooms rented for 25 to 50 cents a night (($3 to $6 in todays money).  In 1942 Japanese people operated over 250 hotels in the city.  In 1919 Seattle had the first major general strike in the U.S. with over 60,000 workers and lasted five days.

Replica of 80 gold bars which equals one tone, which is how much was rumored to be on the first ship coming to Seattle from the Klondike.  It actually turned out to be two tons and people went crazy.  The Assay Office took in over $1 million in gold the first day it opened in 1898.  From 1896 to 1900 more than $50 million of gold was produced in Klondike claims ($1.1 billion in 2005).

Walking back through Pioneer Square on our way back to the car.  Pioneer Square was formerly known as the "burnt district" after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 burned most of the town.  It was a hub for laborers who rebuilt the city and lived in the many hotels.

Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial.  The Mariner's game had just gotten over and there were crowds of people walking through  Pioneer Square on their way to various pubs and such for the after game parties.  Notice the police car driving through the pedestrian square following the crowds, making sure everything was under control.

There were a couple of totem poles and these two interesting wooden carvings in the square.  Notice the vines growing all over the building.

This is an old bus stop waiting area.  Probably quite appreciated with all the rain they have.  We have been very lucky and hit pretty nice weather this week.

Utilikilt where the working man shops.

Tuesday we just went for a drive up north to see the country side.  This crane was going back and forth over this pile of logs, which was about 4 or 5 times as long as this picture shows.

We drove around the very pretty seaside town of Anacortes, which is right at the top of this map of Puget Sound on Fidalgo Island.  Puget Sound is on average 600 feet deep, over 900 feet at maximum and about 100 miles long by 4 miles wide.  The first ship to enter Puget Sound was in 1792.

This was just an interesting home we happened to drive by in Anacortes.  We had lunch at a little local place called the Rock Fish Grill.  I had fish and clam chowder, so yummy!  While we were here we found out that the whole month of April is Tulip Festival in the area, so we stopped at one of the tulip farms before we headed back to camp.

Their large parking lot at Tulip Town Farm had rows of cherry blossom trees trained along fences between each row of cars.

Flaming Parrot Tulips.  Inside the greenhouse was a miniature Dutch town with windmills, canals and fields of tulips painted on the walls.  There were many bouquets of the different varieties of tulips.

Outside were several lovely gardens.  The tulip is considered a symbol of peace by much of the world.  During WWII, Queen Juliana of Holland was harbored in Ottawa, Canada.  After the war she returned home to The Netherlands and to express her gratitude, she sent them 100,000 tulip bulbs.  Now Ottawa has an annual World's Tulip Festival and, in turn, has sent free bulbs to Washington, D.C., Japan, Australia, Istanbul and France to help continue these spectacular World Peace Flower Memorials.

During her stay, then Princess Juliana, gave birth to a daughter.  That day the Canadian Parliament flew the flag of The Netherlands and declared the hospital wing where the child was born to be Dutch territory.  This insured that one day she would be able to inherit her country's throne.  Ottawa presented the U.S. with 5,000 bulbs to start their Peace Garden, in recognition of their friendship and sharing of the longest undefended border in the world.  Each country chosen for a Peace Garden then selects the next country to be honored for actively working toward the advancement of peace.  

The flags in the distance are of all the countries now in the International Peace Garden Foundation.  The fields of tulips were so incredibly beautiful, I couldn't stop taking pictures.  Some were just buds that hadn't started to open yet and some were opened as big as a coffee mug!

They had a couple tractors with trailers taking folks around the fields like a hayride, if you didn't want to walk, or you could just walk around as much as you liked.

The Roozen Gaarde Tulip Farm is just a couple miles from here and even bigger.  John thought we had seen enough tulips for one day, so we didn't stop there.

Ferries out in Everett Bay of Puget Sound.  Seattle has the largest ferry system in the world, transporting 11 million cars a year with 23 ships.  Whale spotting cruises guarantee sightings with four kinds of whales here much of the year, including orcas (killer whales), which aren't actually whales, but the largest species of dolphins.

The arches to the right of the wheel are Safeco Stadium and Century Link Stadium.

Wheel in the Sky at Miner's Landing Pier where we picked up our tickets for the harbor cruise.  The wheel was manufactured in Switzerland, The Netherlands and Kansas before being assembled on the waterfront in 2012.  In 1993 Nirvana had a concert here on Pier 48 called "Live and Loud".  President Theodore Roosevelt disembarked here at Arlington Dock in 1903, landing flanked by 4 revenue cutters in full dress and 60 additional boats in columns of four.  He spoke of the "Gateway to Alaska" to the largest crowd (50,000) assembled in the city up to that time.

Boarding our tour boat on Wednesday.  The young man just ahead of us has Downs Syndrome and he introduced himself to us while we were waiting in line.  Then he took John's hand and his Dad's hand and introduced them and made them shake hands and said, "Now you are friends."  It was very cute.

This is where we took off from on our Argosy Harbor Cruise around Everett Bay.

Edgewater Hotel where The Beatles fished out of their room in 1964 on their first world tour.  Fishing out of the rooms was later outlawed, as the fish caught here are very large salmon at least 15 to 20 pounds, which caused a lot of damage to windows below, as they were being reeled up to the fourth floor.  Plus house maids were finding smelly old fish stashed under beds and in drawers and such. 

Olympic Sculpture Park.

Globe atop the Seattle Post-Intelligencer building (the P-I), the first newspaper in Seattle, and the first newspaper to go all internet in 2009.  When the building was sold, the new owners were not happy that they had to keep the globe in place because it was a national historic site and too large and heavy to move.  But it is now going to be moved to the history museum.

Ship being loaded with grain.  When the ship gets low enough in the water to cover the red part, they know it's full.

Marina full of sail boats.

A couple of sea lions sitting on a floating buoy with Seattle skyline, from Space Needle on far left to their tallest building on the far right.  The Space Needle is 605 feet tall with the observation deck at 525 feet.  The tallest building on the right was supposed to be 1,000 feet tall, but it wasn't allowed to be that tall because of the air space rules for the airport, so the builder lowered each of its floors by 6 inches, making it 976 feet tall, the shortest 76 story building ever.

The small plane is photographing one of Boeing's newest planes for the customer buying it.

Off-shore oil rig.  It gets submerged under water up to the brown part on the cylinder at the top.

This barge looked like it was tipping sideways, but they were just trying to line it up with the railroad tracks, because they had train engines to drive onto it, that they were hauling up to Alaska.

These loading cranes were shipped over from China fully assembled, three per ship.

If you look close, you can see the Starbucks emblem on top of this building.  It is the international headquarters for the 22,000 stores they have worldwide.  Our guide said there were 136 
Starbucks stores within a 2 mile circumference of where we were in the bay, with half that circle being in the bay.  I believe it.  We seemed to see one on every block as we walked around and some other coffee shops and some tea shops.

Container ship.  They haul semi-truck loads of products around the world.  Believe it or not, 10,000 of these containers are lost every year because they fall over board.  That sounds like a lot, but it's actually a very small percentage of the 18 million shipped every year.  Our guide told us about one that fell over and broke open and it was full of rubber duckies.  Scientists actually tracked their movements and where they showed up to study ocean currents.

We read about this wall of gum in Post Alley at Pike's Market in one of the guide books.  So, just like everyone else, we had to come and check it out.

A little closer look.  People were busy chewing away and adding their gum to the wall in any artistic way they could think of.  Egad!

Whatever will they think of next to attract tourists?

This is definitely not me.  I just grabbed the first man I saw and, lucky for me, he just turned out to be perfect.  Well, as close to perfect as a man can be, anyway.

Downtown Roslyn, Washington is where one of our favorite shows, Northern Exposure, was filmed, so we had to stop and check it out.

The Brick (oldest operating saloon in the state of Washington) where all the locals in Cicely used to meet to socialize.

The Coal Miner's Memorial is right in front of the store that Ruth Ann used to run in the TV series.  Roslyn was founded in 1886 when coal was found here, starting 35 years of extensive mining.  Immigrants were recruited from 28 nations to work in the mines, including Lithuania, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Italy and others.  During the 1888 strike, hundreds of African Americans were brought in as strike breakers and many stayed making Roslyn their home.  In 1892 an explosion killed 45 miners.  Another in 1909 killed 10 miners right beneath where the memorial stands.  By 1901 over 1 million tons of coal were produced each year, peaking in the 1920s.  In 1926 coal cutting machines replaced pick and shovel contract work at $5.00 a day.  By 1963 the last large commercial mine was closed.  Four fifths of the coal in the area remains unmined, an estimated 283 tons.  There are 182 names of miners killed on the base beneath the statue and all their ancestors who donated to pay for the memorial are listed on the wall behind. 

Walking down an alley in town.  Everything really looks just like you would imagine a rustic, little, old town in Alaska to be.

The Cicely Gift Shop in one of the old buildings downtown is the only thing there to let you know that a TV series was ever filmed here.  Kind of strange, most little towns would take advantage of something like that to get tourists flocking in.  We had a nice visit with the man in the gift shop and he told us all about the characters from the show and what they are up to nowadays. 

We got to Helena on Friday afternoon and the girls were very excited about the souvenir quackers we brought them from riding the Ducks in Seattle.  Their parents were not so excited and made them go outside to do their quacking.

Lookout Jeff!  The little guy is starting young and he looks determined.  Are you ready for another 16 years of baseball and coaching?

Did I say determined?  He just does not give up when he wants something!  I'm sure the kids will keep us busy here for the next 5 or 6 weeks, so no blogs for a while.

As Spock said, "Live long and prosper."
Happy Granny signing off!

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