Sleepy town in western Washington state, where you can see Gonzaga University’s bulldogs!


Nearby is wolfie’s.  Fresh from the fryer French fries and old fashion grilled till it’s crusty hamburgers.  If you’re in Spokane, go try the hamburger stand.

The Spokane Falls are nice to look at.


Hanford, WA

The Manhattan Project has been turned into a historical preserve, managed by National Park Service.  There are 3 sites – Los Alamos, NM which honors it’s heritage by building around some of the old houses that the scientists lived in, Oak Ridge which has a museum that Monty Burns would be proud of, and Hanford where you can see an industrial “pyramid” of that project, the reactor that yielded plutonium.  The Hanford reactor has that wow factor bc of the big reactor you get to see.  But it is smack in the middle of Washington state.

The visitor center is in nearby Richland, where they offer free tours daily of “B reactor” by bus.  Don’t go to the armed guard station at Hanford.


Next to the Visitor center, is a BBQ place.  The pulled pork was ok.


Where to go for the free tour, and where they bus you.

While your driving there, it’s right next to the Columbia river and there are interesting geological features if you can find them.  Columnar Basalt rocks.  Just something to keep an eye out for to keep the drive interesting.  A good place to see them is across the nearby Wanapum Dam.

There are groves of fruit trees along the path there.  It’s great to see too.



Revisiting Seattle in 2017

Made it all the way back to Seattle, but on a slightly tighter budget this time.  But I have more than just 2 days this time.  Skipping the tourist locations I visited last time, ie. Pike Market.



I’ve only been on the light rail once here and I like it.  $5 roundtrip from Tukwila International stop to Stadium stop.  Well kept modern stations.


Museum of Flight in Tukwila is right next to an operating Boeing Field (I forget what it’s called now).  Every first Thursday night of every Month is free, from 5 to 9p.  And everyone seems to know it.  You can see planes take off from the airport.  Good gift shop.



On Aug 3, the Blue Angels were in town for the next few weekends.


Seattle Chocolates also has a factory tour in Tukwila.  But even if you chose to skip how they make the chocolate, there are free samples, including a new pairing of dark chocolates and hard cheeses.  A kind of deconstructed milk chocolate I guess.  On every second Saturday, they sell their “seconds”, or their imperfect chocolate truffles (I mistimed my visit) for a discount.  Everyday, they sell chocolate by the pound.


Tukwila also has a great Westfield Southcenter mall, if you want to get your shop on.  But importantly it has affordable food court for those of us on a budget.



The Boeing factory tour is in Everett, 30min north of Seattle.  It is called “The Future of Flight”.  For $25, you can see operating factory floor of the largest building by volume in the world, according to Guiness.  It’s not like a car assembly line yet.  No cameras or electronic devices allowed on the tour, but they have free lockers.  The tour will take hour and a half.  But a great gift shop.


Before the factory tour, you can look through their exhibits on their current model of Boeing planes, and the technology that goes into them, for about 30min to an hour.


Outside you can see all the new Boeing planes on order, on various stages of testing, on the way to their buyers.  They’ve even been painted with the colors of their airline they are going to.

outside.from deck.JPG


Hour and a half north of Seattle, is Anacortes.  Site of where ferries to San Juan Islands live.  You can pay $13 for a individual roundtrip, thru Puget Sound to Friday Harbor, which you have a ever so slight chance of seeing a whale or orca.  But there are dedicated whale watching tour packages in the location, so if you are only there to see the whales, they will go whale chasing (while the whales would feel the need to chase the ferry for you to see them on the ferry).  If you are feeling international, the ferry can also take you to Victoria in Canada.  But added to the price of the ticket, is the cost of parking which is $10/day.

Ferry from Anacortes:

Ferry from Friday Harbor

Seattle Chinatown

Somewhere hidden away in Downtown Seattle, is a small little Chinatown.  But what is truly important about this location, is that it is a 10 walk away from Safeco Field.  And there is food, coffee and tea shops that are still open, when the baseball game is over. $4 ice tea at Oasis.  $9 Cantonese roast duck and roast pork over rice special.  $9 hearty Vietnamese pho noodles.  $9 self cooking premium fried rice on a hot skillet in front of you at Ironsteak?


Seattle, Starbucks Reserve Roastery

It’s  nice place for a gift shop, but much too busy to sit and relax.  It feels more like Disneyland Food Lines as a child, but for adults.  But you can try out some of their newer roasts, and product trials as higher end productions.  You even get to see a demonstration of one of their packaging machines.


Everybody’s favorite software maker chose the lush forests of northwest Washington State to build it’s headquarters.  They have a free visitor center where you can view their next generation consumer technology like facial emotion detection, surface pc’s, and minecraft.  You just might have to sheepishly ask the busy reception desk of a active business where it is. Great gift shop w logo’ed gadgets.  Good for spending an hour of your time.  Unfortunately, geeks don’t do funny things like waddle, hunt for food, or stick their heads out in unison for food, so they aren’t really worth spending photography time.

  1. Life sized Halo, some blue guy shooting Master Chief in the back.
  2. Visitors to Redmond
  3. The Visitor center at Microsoft where you get to see their newest Surface PC’s, and some new tech they got in thr works.
  4. The founders of the Geek-dom
  5. The campus.  Actually the campus is in the middle of a Washington State forest.  It’s very wooded compared to Silicon Valley.

Snoqualmie Falls

30min west of Seattle is the Snoqualmie Falls.  You get to see some fantastic Washington State lakes and mountains on the way there.  To see the falls is free, except if you want to get a premium parking spot.

But free parking lot is just a extra 5min walk over a bridge.


Mets at Mariners, Jul 30, 17

I’m starting to feel like that Indians fan from the movie “Major League”.

Indians Fan #1: No way, too high.  Too high.
Indians Fan #2: “Too high”?  What does that mean. “too high”?
Indians Fan #1: Too high, I thought.  Because of the trajectory of the ball, it looked way too high.

-From the movie “Major League”, courtesy of http://likethe80s.com/movie-quotes/major-league-quotes/


-Courtesy of Nelson Cruz

You know it was hit hard, if the hitter (Cruz)  and catcher looks up like gophers and the pitcher (Lugo) doesn’t even react.  That happened way too often.

But before the game, it’s nice to see the players still interacting with the fans for autographs.

But the game itself.  Wrapping normally assuming HTML rowspan rules, from upper left.

  • Nice play on a Jay Bruce liner to second
  • Liner by Granderson, to right.  Great sliding play not pictured (queue Indians drums)
  • Granderson realizing how the game was going to go
  • Another error by the Mets, Cespedes loses a fly in the high sun (queue Indians drums)
  • (center) Rip by Cano, over first baseman
  • Nice play at second by Reynolds on a grounder in the hole
  • Throw back to first
  • Reyes hit on forearm by a pitch.  (queue “Wild thing, you make my heart sing…”)
  • Intensity at the plate by Cespedes
  • Mariners love their big Canadian pitcher (except when they goto Mt Rainier)
  • One of the errors by the Mets on grounder to second (queue Indians drums)
  • Just out of reach by the shortstop on a hard hit grounder in the hole.
  • Nice play at short on a grounder
  • Armchair General of the Mets assessing the situation
  • d’Arnaud, late on the high heat (queue Indians drums)
  • (center) Granderson and Comforto have a moment
  • Cespedes again
  • Nice backing up the right fielder, by Comforto
  • Nice turn at second, for the double play
  • Nice play at second, again by Reynolds
  • Wilmer Flores looking the ball into the mit.
  • Granderson lining up a shot up the middle for a single
  • (Bottom) d’Arnaud looking the fastball into the mit.

Seriously, they might have been trying to climb the barbed wire last night.


Mt Rainier

Entrance fee is $25/7days.  Note, Mt Rainier is a dormant volcano.  Mount Ranier has a northwest entrance at Mowich Lake, but you can’t get to the rest of the park thru by car.

But the southwest Nisqually entrance is the start of a road that takes you along the southern border of Mt Rainer National Park, and then north from Ohanapecosh campground, the eastern border of the Park, to the entrance to the White River campground and Sunrise Visitor Center.  The drive is stunning around the edge of a mountain and several switchbacks.

The Sunrise Visitor center is the highest elevation that can be reached by car, and you get to see a great snow cap of the glaciers here.


But I think the better view of the mountain is at Paradise Inn (or on google, Henry M Jackson Visitor Center) on the southern observation, where you can see several glaciers and wildflowers in bloom.  And even hike further up the moutain.  I think because it’s next to the Inn, the visitor center is nicer looking too, with a nice cafe.



As you pass the Nisqually, you can have you’re first picnic at the day picnic area at Cougar Rock Campgrounds in southwest, where they do have fire grills pictured below.  Ohanapecosh campground at southeast entrance, also has a day picnic area with limited firegrills to use.


At Longmire, you can see the cross section of an old Douglas Fir, outside the museum.


This is the Nisqually River, with Rainier in background, before you reach the road to Paradise Inn.  All along the road, there are pullouts where you can park and hike the trails or just enjoy nature.


Past the Paradise Inn, is a lake where you can see below Rainier.


This is probably red state humor, and the car is only just from Canadian.


Before you get to the Nisqually entrance, you can visit the Trout and Salmon hatcheries.  You can see the little trout.  It won’t take more than 10 to 15minutes to see each, but if you’re on the way to the southwest entrance anyway.


And see the salmons stairs attracting salmon, from the river.


And they have a cute state highway symbol.

Mt. Saint Helens

Ok, if you want to see the crater, goto the northface.  Search on GPS for the Johnston Ridge Observatory.  It’s incredible to see what happened to this mountain.


But on the South side of Mount Saint Helens, is a lava tube, that might be fun as a group halloween stunt, called Ape Caves.  It is a old lava tube, that cooled.  They haven’t lit the cave at all but the tube is like 12ft high.  You need to bring your own lights.  Highly recommend something very bright.  A camera flash will help with photograph of the walls.  It is $5, but the drive is so long that you will likely not be able to see the Johnston Ridge Observatory and Ape Caves in one day.

But there are several stops along the way to get a view of Mt Saint Helens.

There seems to be a retention wall where they hold back all the debris from the original mudflow, but I didnt see anything interesting to actually divert to.

You can see what seems to be either cooled lava with water flowing over it now (maybe it’s just hor the dirt looks now).


But Johnston Ridge Observatory is really where the incredible view is.



Pacific Coast, Day 3-4, to Seattle by Train

The Canada-USA border by car from viewpoint of train (above).

Train Station is nearby CenturyLink Field.  Wrapping normally from upper-left.

  1. Inside King St Station
  2. Welcoming you in, for good coffee
  3. CenturyLink Field
  4. Inside Zeitgeist Coffee shop
  5. Zeitgeist Coffee
  6. Outside of King St Station

Pike Place Market.  It’s a huge market.  Fresh seafood, restaurants, vendor stands.

At Lowell’s, clam chowder sprinkled w Paprika?  Cayenne?

I can’t remember the place anymore, but everything was pretty good.

Ferry to Alki Point, wrapping normally from upper-left

  1. Clock at Seattle’s Ferry/Water Taxi Terminal
  2. Ticket line for Ferry/Water Taxi
  3. Help to get to Water Taxi
  4. Alki Point is on West Seattle?
  5. Obelisk at southside of Alki Point Beach
  6. Restaurant at Alki Point
  7. Bus running from Alki Point Water Taxi terminal throughout West Seattle
  8. WaterTaxi schedule
  9. Clam Chowder with dil (dil added to cream sauces, seems to be a West Coast thing)
  10. Fish and chips
  11. Alki Point Beach
  12. Menu from a restaurant Alki Point Water Taxi terminal
  13. Fish tacos from a restaurant Alki Point Water Taxi terminal



On to Portland, OR!  Bolt Bus stop near Chinatown.  From the left,

  1. Chinatown gateway as seen from BoltBus stop
  2. Area map
  3. Area map
  4. SafeCo Field, as we leave Seattle