My journey to Seattle began several months ago, I wanted to surprise my daughter – she’s 12. Since she moved to Washington State five years ago, I have not had an opportunity to visit. My last attempt ended before it began due to flight cancellations.
So, here we are!
After flying into SEATAC on Thursday, I made my way to my daughter’s house and ventured down to her bus stop. This was a short journey, but a welcomed one after traveling most of the day. Her bus arrived just a few minutes later. After all of my planning – flights, rental car, and AirBnB locations – I was here. I stood on the street corner nervously awaiting her arrival. Then there it was – the school bus was topping the hill. Patiently waiting for the bus to stop, I could see Emma sitting in the front seat waiting for her turn to get off. She did a quick double-take in my direction. The bus stopped and the door flew open and out she ran. I think she was out of her seat before the bus stopped. Barreling out of the door – her arms were wide-open and she was in (happy) tears. Needless to say, she was very happy to see me! (Video) We spent the afternoon together. For dinner, she requested that we walk down to a hamburger joint around the corner. Not my first choice, but this was not about me. Afterwards, she had her final choir concert of the year. Sitting there watching her smiling face was a great feeling. She was happy and she loves to sing.
After booking the trip, I discovered Seattle was hosting their annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Half/Marathon (race report). I am not really a big fan of RnR events due to their enormous size, but I had to cross Washington State off the running list.
Needless to say, this was going to be a fun-filled trip of sightseeing and adventure.
I began Friday morning with picking up my daughter and taking her to school. I tried to embarrass her – like you see in random TV commercials, but she did not want any part of my shenanigans.
Visiting a new area means a new place to run. Early on, I looked at Strava and Google Maps for an area to run around and discovered Point Defiance, a large park in the Tacoma area. My 5-mile journey took me by a zoo, aquarium, beach area, and lots of wildlife…and a dog that wanted me for breakfast. I could have spent all day running the pavement and trail network, but I had to save some energy for the half marathon the following day.
I met Erin, a longtime friend from high school, for lunch at a place that had a simple but sophisticated menu called Meat & Bread. Afterwards it was time for packet pick up.
Making our way to Centurylink Field was relatively easy – traffic was still pretty light. Trying to make life easier, we parked in the garage across the way. Everywhere you turn in life, someone is looking for money and Seattle is no different. In order to park we had to valet. You know this garage was making bank.
After walking through the expo and chatting up several vendors, it was time for coffee. In a few short days, I learned that coffee was just as important as food. Everywhere we went coffee was a must. It felt as though adding anything to the coffee before you tried it was scoffing at the barista. This is far different than at home where cream and sugar are a must.
After the race we ate pizza, drank some local brews, and watched a parade. This was no ordinary parade. It was Fremont Solstice Parade. The parade began with hundreds and hundreds of naked cyclists. The only way they are “legally” allowed to participate is if they painted their bodies. After ~45 minutes of naked cyclists, the parade crossed in front of us. The parade itself was not that long, maybe 20 plus local groups/organizations celebrating. Each were pretty amazing in their own right.
We finished the night off with one of their friend’s birthdays and a Scotch tasting. This is one area I have no experience with. Over the years, I have wondered about Scotch, but not willing to take the dive – this is not a cheap adventure. The place we met up offered Scotch by the flight, the same way you would craft beer. That being said, I did not find a single Scotch I would consider buying or drinking in the future. I believe this is an acquired taste – like beer and wine. I will keep trying.
On Father’s Day, I asked my daughter what she wanted to do and she chose the park over the movies and waterpark. So, we spent the afternoon at Chamber’s Bay Golf Park. This place is absolutely amazing. It is not only a golf course, but there is also a trail that circumnavigates the course with stunning views of Narrows Bay.
On Monday, Erin and I decided to take a day trip to Mt. Rainier. Coming from the East Coast where the temperatures are nice, I packed only one pair of pants and the rest were shorts. Let’s just say I am glad the sun was out during our adventure. As we were driving there, we could see lots of snow, but did not realize that snow was still hanging around at the 4,000’ elevation level. Our plan was to hike around the Paradise Trail network. Upon our arrival to the visitor center we could see this was not going to happen – snow covered all of the paved trails. Well, we did not drive for almost two hours to turn around, so up we went. After hiking about a mile, we arrived to an area that allowed us to see snow-covered mountains all around us with the glacial capped Mt. Rainier towering behind us.
All good adventures must come to an end, so this one did, too. I am not really a car buff, but I find old cars fascinating. Good ol’ fashioned American craftsmanship- these vehicles were made to last. So, before leaving the pleasant northwest temperature I visited the America’s Car Museum. There were hundreds of vehicles from the Model A to racing cars to a soon-to-be unveiled Toyota. Do not let the name confuse you – automobiles frequently rotate in and out of the museum.