Seattle and on to Vancouver


Our last full day in Seattle, Thursday,  Aug. 8, included meeting friends and some site seeing attractions. Starting at Pikes Place Market our eyes feasted on all the fresh produce, proliferations of flowers, fish markets, clothing, restaurants and more.

Filled with color and very crowded it is a great people-watching place.

Pikes Place Market is near the waterfront, not a long distance from our hotel, although it did require walking down a hill and stairs, which meant walking back up again.

The market and surrounding area was a hub of activity. The long stands of fresh cut flower bouquets were delightful to see but also to smell the fragrances. The fish markets displayed all sorts of catches from the sea. Fish eyes stared at everyone passing by. The surrounding areas of the market were just as lively with more vendors of foods, flowers, chocolates, souvenirs, clothing and much more.

Nearby a huge Ferris wheel beckoned us and we succumbed. Quickly boarding we soon were high above the street level observing all below including overlooking the Pugent sound.

Then having to walk back up the hill, I had noticed many people were taking an alley half way up, so that is the route we followed. At the far end of the alley a large group were standing about taking pictures of what, from a distance, looked like some multi-colored mural or graffiti. Upon closing in, we found something quite different and a bit gross. 


All the colors were not paint, rather thousands (literally) of chewing gum that were stuck to the bricks in globs or even pulled and stringy. This definitely is a new art form, but it did make everyone smile and laugh, including us. Around the corner an equally eye catching display was of multi-colored sticky notes with all sorts of notes and messages, including inspirational quotes, words of encouragement and love notes. Oddities for sure, but fun to discover and see.

Having not used our pre-purchased monorail pass, we boarded near our hotel and rode it to the other end at the Seattle Center, then back again. The monorail was also a part of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and although it travels just under 1 mile, it was and still is an engineering marvel. 

To top off our Seattle visit we had made plans to meet Craig and Jeff who we befriended on our Cuba cruise in January. They live out of downtown Seattle and Craig graciously offered to come pick us up at our hotel, sparing us driving in the afternoon traffic.

Before going to his home for dinner, Craig had a few things in mind to show us that are uniquely Seattle. He took us to see the Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladders (is that a                                                                                      oxymoron?) and canal locks. The fish ladders allow the salmon to detour around an obstacle to continue on upstream.

While salmon are typically running at this time of year, they were not doing so while we visited.

Craig then drove us to the canal locks where we were fortunate enough to see about 6 boats of various sizes and types line up in one of the locks at a higher water level (from Lake Washington), then, after the gates were closed forward and aft, the water very quickly dropped which allowed the boats/ships to pass through the forward gate that opened into the sea. To see that operation from alongside the canal locks was fascinating, where we literally watched for only minutes to see the water level drop. Of course, the opposite would occur when the vessels return upstream, bringing them back up to the lake level.

To the left:

Boats lined up in a lock.

The water in the lock is at Lake Washington (higher) water level behind the boats. The back gates were closed and then water in the lock is released, dropping the water level down to sea level whereupon the forward gates would open allowing the boats to proceed out into Pugent Sound.

The green moss on the lock’s side walls indicates the higher water level where this procedure began.


To the right:

The water in the lock was lowered (quickly), which brought the boats down to sea level. The forward gates were opened and the boats/ships were allowed passage into Pugent Sound.

Returning up to Lake Washington would be the reverse procedure, where water fills the lock up to the lake water level.

I was very happy that Craig was driving, as we twisted and turned on hills through several nice neighborhoods with views out over the water and back toward the city.

Arriving at Craig’s home, we learned that he made nearly all his furniture. In the Craftsman style, it was the perfect compliment to his home. There, we soon found that Craig is an exceptional chef also, where we enjoyed cocktails in his backyard and then a salmon dinner at his beautiful handmade dining table. Having a salmon dinner in Seattle was so fitting, made more special in the home of friends.

Dinner with Craig and Jeff.


This was our last night in Seattle, whereupon, the next morning we drove north to Vancouver, Canada.

North of Seattle, in Marysville, my former manager Kris lives with her husband Ritchie. They were the next on my list to visit. Over pastries and coffee we caught up and visited. We learned that Ritchie is an accomplished photographer, which was of particular interest to both Mark and I.

The most interesting part of this visit was visiting the photography studio they have created. They have a niche market concept with boudoir photography. With props provided, and some examples of their work on display, I admittedly was a bit taken aback upon entering the studio where photos of sexy women in sensual poses were on display. This is an area of photography that had not entered my imagination, but obviously is one that provides very personal portraits for a wife to present to her loved one.

Time marches on, as was so for us. With Mark navigating we headed straight north into Canada. The border check was effortless, and we were on our way to Vancouver, British Columbia, where we were booked at the Howard Johnson’s downtown. The accommodations were very nice and in downtown, where we soon were out walking about. Walking along Davie Street, we found an ATM and got some Canadian dollars for spending while in Canada. Being a very lively street with an active LGBTQ community, we had a leisurely drink along the way before deciding on dinner.

From Mark’s time spent in Japan he searched out a place where we might find a particular dish he enjoys. We did find a Japanese restaurant that served it, although it missed the mark according to Mark’s tastes.

The following day we took a city bus tour, which took us to several places, including the huge Stanley Park, China Town and Granville Island with its marketplace. As bus tours go, it was “adequate”.

Lunch time found us at Rodney Oyster Bar, which was suggested to us by my neighbor Beth with the comment “the servers are hot”.   And Beth was correct.

Waiters, with their positive attitudes and good natures made our lunches all that much nicer.  

Before ending the day, we drove back to Granville Island for a more thorough exploration of the public market, and ended the day with another stroll down Davie Ave.

The unease I had written about earlier seemed to be more intense as we were parting ways in the morning and                                                                                         as I was about to set off on a new different type adventure.


 © Donald E. Kline 2012