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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

We left Spokane, Washington in the morning and headed West excited knowing that we were going to reach the Pacific Coast.  The drive through Central Washington brought us through more, smaller mountains, but the amount of fir trees we passed was incredible.  The last part of the drive into Seattle is literally downhill, so the van was speeding up along with our anticipation.  Then it all came to a dramatic halt.  We hit Seattle rush hour traffic.

We are very fortunate that we do not deal with traffic on a regular basis.  Our normal daily commutes are short, and for the most part we do not usually deal with congested roads.  Adding this to the fact that we all were ready to get out of the car made the situation seem worse.  We decided to head down to the waterfront and have seafood.  We inched along through traffic, and our trusty Navigator guided us in the right direction.  We parked in a lot right off the waterfront and went in search of “Ivar’s House of Clams”.  It was the first thing that came up on a Google search for Family Dining in Seattle, so congratulations to them for successful Search Engine Optimization.  The pier area of Seattle has all of the trappings of a tourist hangout.  It had your restaurants and souvenier shops, but most of all it had panhandlers.  It was a little shocking to see the number of people sitting on the sidewalk with signs asking for money – something else that we are insulated from in our normal lives.  Ivar provided us with a great meal, and then we headed back out to fight the traffic to the hotel.

The next morning we headed down to Pike Street Market, and somehow avoided major traffic.  We had the idea in our tourist heads that the market was a fish market where they threw fish for the enjoyment of tourists, but it was so much more.  There were stalls selling fresh flowers, produce, pastas, arts and crafts, and anything else you could ever need.  There was truly a buzz in the air as we made our way through.  We were even able to take in a couple of street performers as well.  We found out that most panhandlers are not early risers, or that the market does not allow them in the area.

We stopped at Half Price Books on the way out of town, so the girls could reload their book boxes in the back of the van.  This might have been the highlight of Allison’s trip.  Dad and Andrew took a drive by the Space Needle while the girls were book shopping.  Bausch & Lomb was doing a promotion that day providing free entrance into the Space Needle, thus creating more traffic and congestion.  We settled on a Slurpee and a picture. 

We swung back by to pick up the girls and headed to the freeway,  passing what we thought would be the last of the panhandlers.  We found that many stoplights in cities in the Pacific Northwest had someone stationed there.  It must have something to do with the weather here and in Texas.  You could not survive standing or sitting on a street corner in Dallas for any length of time in the August heat.  We made our way South towards Portland only to find more mind numbing traffic.   Every suburb South of Seattle had its own little traffic jam on the interstate just waiting for us.  How thoughtful.

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