Seattle area suggestions
With the MOA rally in Redmond Oregon next July, I thought I'd offer some suggestions about unique places to experience. I'm sure that others in the area will add to this.
First, be aware that the largest building in the world is located at Paine Field just south of Everett, WA. It's the Boeing final assembly plant for the big planes such as 747, 767, and 787. I was riding by the building once on highway 526 and I clocked something like 13 seconds at 55 mph, to get from one end of the building to the other. Not too long after that, they expanded it and made it even bigger.
Boeing has an information center called "The Future of Flight", and also a factory tour that takes you right into the final assembly building and up to a balcony where you can look down on several huge planes being completed. Tours are hourly from 8:30a to 5:30p daily (except holidays) The info center includes stores where you can purchse Boeing memorabilia (want a leather flight jacket?) and a cafeteria. Be aware that you can't bring backpacks, cameras, cell phones, binoculars, etc.
For information, seasonal pricing, and advance ticket purchases, go to [url]www.futureofflight.org[/url] or telephone 800 464-1476. Yes, get tickets in advance if you want to go; this is VERY popular.
Visitor center location: 8415 Paine Field Blvd. Mukilteo WA (about 30 mi N of Seattle, via I-5 and west on 526.
We also make the 777 here at the facility and yes it takes about 20 min to walk from one end to the other. Each large door is the size of a football field, there are about 30,000 employees at the plant, blah, blah, blah you get the picture.
There is also the Museum of Flight at Boeing field in South Seattle [url]http://www.museumofflight.org/[/url]
If folks want to see Seattle there is also Pikes Market, the Space Needle, Pioneer Square.
Other things that are a tad South towards the rally are Mt Rainier Ntl. Park [url]http://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm[/url] and one of my favorites is Mt St Helens park. The road up is (or was) very nice and there are a variety of visitor centers that are very educational [url]http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/[/url]
If you'd like to hit a spectacular road take Hwy 20 over the North Cascades [url]http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/map.htm[/url] and see that National park or do the Cascade scenic loop [url]http://www.cascadeloop.com/index.php[/url]
Don't forget the Olympic Peninsula either. That park has a bunch of fun and interesting things to see and do. [url]http://www.olympic.national-park.com/[/url]
Anyway that's a start for things to see and do.
What a gel-head, If I had read the Tips to the rally post I wouldn't have bothered with all this :doh oh well... I haven't been on here for a while.
Great thread, guys. Thanks!
For a seriously different activity in Washington State you could try "glamping" (ie., glamorous camping) at Alexandria Nicole vineyards near Prosser. Their website doesn't have all the info available right now as the reservations system is down for a reload...but some of the info and a picture gallery is available at [url]http://www.ancglamping.com/[/url].
I'm not attending the Rally for the whole time, plan on leaving Seabeck (Hood Canal area west of Seattle) on Thursday. Making a quick pass through Tacoma to get out of traffic, then the backroads via Randle past the east side of Mt St Helens to the Columbia Gorge near Hood River, OR. You're most welcome to tag along if you'd like to see some of our paved back country Forest Service roads...that is if you decide NOT to go glamping! :)
Cheers, Bill J :dance
Visitors to Seattle will notice a strange flying saucer over the Seattle Center about a mile north of downtown. This strange vehicle is the Seattle Space Needle, built back for the World's Fair in (1962??) There is an observation deck on top, and a revolving restaurant one floor down. High speed elevators whisk you up the 500+ feet to the top.
The Space Needle is sort of a Seattle icon, and you might not want to pass up a chance to visit. You can walk around the observation deck and see all around, including Puget Sound, the mountains to east and west, downtown Seattle, the waterfront, Mount Rainier to the south, and so forth.
Note that the elevator fare is somewhat pricey, and so are full meals at the SN restaurant, which looks out over the same turf, but revolves at one RPM. Here's the hot tip suggested to me by a waiter years ago. I hope it still works:
Reserve a table at the restaurant for maybe 9pm. The restaurant reservation includes elevator access. At your table, order dessert and Kalua coffee--or whatever modest snack strikes your fancy. They won't be as eager to boost you out, since it's way past dinner hour. When you're through with dessert, climb the stairs up to the observation level and spend as long as you want. The elevator ride down is free.
The Museum of Flight is at the southwest corner of Boeing Field, about three miles south of downtown Seattle via Alaska Way, First Avenue, or Fourth Avenue, intersecting with West Marginal Way. Keep on truckin' past Boeing Plant II, and the Museum will be on your left.
There are a number of airplane oriented exhibits, including the good old days of Boeing on the Duwamish River (Plant I), and some famous planes suspended from the ceiling in the great hall where you enter/exit. There may be additional meetings, temporary exhibits, etc. And there are some big planes parked outside.
I say this is one of the nation's premier airplane museums, and worth a visit. Figure on at least two hours, preferably three or more.
One of my favorite places to visit are the "Ballard Locks" (actually the Hiram Chittenden locks of the Corp of Engineers. These locks allow ship travel from sea level on "Puget Sound" to the fresh water of Lake Washington, connecting to the locks by the Ship Canal, Lake Union, Portage Bay, and the Portage "cut."
The complex includes both a large and small locks, to accomodate different sized vessels without wasting too much water. There is also a spillway, and at the south end of the spillway a series of fish ladders to allow native salmon to get from the ocean back to the fresh water streams entering Lake Washington.
When I have taken guests to the locks, they first wonder what the big deal is, but almost immediately they get captured by the drama of boats large and small powering in and out of the locks. The crew on the big Foss tug shows little emotion as they quietly tie up; then break into guffaws as some local yachter comes crashing against the wall with his expensive yacht not quite under control.
It's all I can do to pry my guests away. "Wait, just one more cycle! Look at this big yacht coming!"
The main access and big parking lots are on the north side, near the suburb of Ballard. I prefer the south access, go west on Nickerson past the Fishermans' Terminal, hang a right, left along the waterfront. You'll eventually come to a small park on the south side of the locks.
There are viewing windows in the fish ladder, so you can observe salmon and other fish face-to-nose. Of course, different fish return at different times, and the major runs are usually in August/September. But who knows?
If the locks or the fish ladder don't ring your chime, stop at the first intersection to the east of the locks, at (are you ready for this?)
Harley and Davidson streets. I kid you not.
My son lives pretty close Everett, I'll warn him you're comin' :-)
+1 on the Boeing tour - I've been twice, it's fantastic.
North and west is the [URL="http://www.leavenworth.org/modules/pages/index.php?pageid=1"]authentic German town of Leavenworth[/URL] - well worth a visit for anyone who owns a Bavarian motorcycle.
The old section of Seattle centers around "Pioneer Square". Here's old stone buildings, creaky old hotels, warehouses, and today a few new office buildings and condos. Back in the good old days, Seattle was a southern port for travel to Alaska, especially during the gold rush days. Steamers plied the inland passage to Alaska, and miner wanna-be's flocked to Seattle to buy gear and book steamship passage. The goal was to venture up to the Klondike and strike it rich.
To commemorate this huge boom (and bust) the National Park Service has established several museums. One is in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle, tucked into a small section of an old brick building. It's the country's smallest national park.
Klondike Gold Rush Museum, 319 2nd Ave S.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, 117 S. Main St.
For more info, maps, photos, etc. search for "Klondike Gold Rush Museum"
Figure on about an hour, if you want to include panning for gold. Half hour to look and listen. Then wander the streets nearby. Consider signing up for a Seattle Underground Tour in the Pioneer Square area.
Lake Washington is on the east side of Seattle, and Puget Sound on the west. That's what makes Seattle a north-south city. And Lake Washington is a beautiful fresh water wonder, crossed these days by several floating bridges.
However, I'm going to suggest a nice peaceful ride along the shore of Lake Washington. From wherever you find yourself, find Madison Street, which runs from downtown Seattle northeast to Madison Park on the shores of Lake Washington. This is an old trolly line, but now a paved arterial.
Keep going northeast until you find Lake Washington Boulevard. If you turn left you'll wind through the Arboretum. If you turn right you'll follow a curving path downhill through the woods. Just keep riding south. If you'd lie a cup of coffee or a snack, stop at Leschi Park, a collection of sailboat docks, lofts, etc.
If you keep riding south, the street makes a little jog to get under the entrances to the floating bridges, or you can climb up over the top on the Boulevard and snake back to the lake through Colman Park. You'll pass Mount Baker Park and the Stan Sayres Memorial Park (hydroplane pits for Seafair) and eventually you'll come to Seward Park. Go ahead and take the ride around through peaceful trees and flowering bushes. If you remembered to stop and get some lunch supplies at a deli somewhere along Madison, this is a good place to have a picnic.
From Seward Park, if you bop west over the hill to Rainier Avenue, and ride north for a few blocks on Rainier, you'll find Liberty Sidecars, home of the Ace Cycle Car. Say "hello" to Pete Larson. Oh, yeh, there's a clean little Subway sandwich shop a couple of doors down.
For those of us who have lived in the area, the Seattle waterfront is interesting, but nothing special--until we realize that it's a deep water port right next to a city. There are few other cities that have deep water ports where big ships can come and tie up.
You'll notice that all the piers along the waterfron are slanted at a strange angle. That's so the sailing ships could use the prevailing winds to sail right up to the pier. Gradually, the old piers are being replaced with more modern facilities such as marinas and parks. There's a long park at the north end of the waterfront, Myrtle Edwards Park, just a short walk north of Pier 70.
Most of the touristy things are farther south. For a number of years Seattle had a waterfront trolley, but budget cuts have left only the rails. Sorry, you'll have to either hoof it, or ride the bike and park. Fortunately, there are lots of free spots to park under the ugly/noisy "Alaska Viaduct."
A stop at Victor Steinbrueck Park provides a stroll away from traffic, some views of boats tied up, and often some displays such as steam launches. South of that a pier or two is the Seattle Aquarium, which is special on several counts, including an actual fish ladder where salmon return to spawn.
Further south are some decent restaurants, including Ivars (acres of clams). Ivars has a fish bar out front where you can grab a hot cup of chowder or some fish and chips.
In the vicinity is Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, an odd collection of trinkets, mummies, off color post cards, and practical jokes. The Curiosity Shop has been moved about three times in the past 30 years, but seems to have put its roots down.
You'll find harbor tours here, including a tour to Blake Island. If they are still doing the Indian Salmon Dinners on Blake Island, I highly suggest you spend an afternoon and evening doing that. There are also boat tours that take you through the Ballard "government" Locks and return by bus to save a little time.
If you would just like to cross Puget Sound on the cheap, the Washington State ferry dock is at Pier 52. If you're heading over to the Olympic Peninsula, you can ride the bike across. If you just want to squander a couple of hours, you can walk on, take a little stroll on Bainbridge Island, and catch the next boat to Seattle. The tolls for "walk on" passengers on the Seattle-Bainbridge run are one way: You pay double heading west, and it's free heading east.
If you're heading for Pioneer Square from the waterfront, you can either take the elevated walkway from pier 52 and go up to First Avenue and south, or walk south under the Viaduct to Yestler, then east one block.
This is such a pleasant place in the summertime that you'll find panhandlers looking for some cash. Once in a while I might give someone some money, but they are here by choice. Once I told my sorry story to a panhandler, simply describing my actual expenses to pay the mortgage, utility bills, and food to support a family (Ok, I added the orthodontal work to melt him), and got him to go deep and offer me a handful of coins. I should have accepted.
Hey. That's your goal, too, eh?
Most of the cities and towns along "Puget Sound"* were originally just shacks and tents along the shoreline. As the tents gradually got replaced with wooden buildings, and then brick buildings, the mud streets were still close to the high tide level. So, it was not uncommon for the streets to be flooded with sea water a few times each winter, and salt water really makes a mess when there are horses galloping through.
*actually, Admiralty Inlet
After much heeing and hawing and more than a few bent elbows, city fathers eventually realized the fix was to raise the streets. So, in downtown Seattle, they built walls at the curb--about 10 ft. high--and filled in the street to the new elevation. To get from a store on one side, you had to climb a ladder up to street level, dodge between traffic, and then climb back down the ladder on the other side to get back down to the front doors of the buildings.
Really! I'm not making this up.
It didn't take long to realize that things would be easier if the sidewalks were covered, the old first floors abandoned, and the second floors now made the business entrances. Same thing happened in Port Townsend and Port Angeles.
So, what we have today, are buildings that look just as if the street level has always been there, except down one level are mostly abandoned "basements". Some enterprising tour guides have figured out where to get down into and up out of some of the old first floors. So, today you can take an "Underground Tour" and get all the spooky stories and cobwebs. For a few years the tours were just informal wanders with guides, but now the one in Seattle has become somewhat melodramatic. All the same, you might enjoy the bad jokes and tired gags.
Dont forget about the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon, home of the Spruce Goose. For aviation buffs this place is a must see too. The Goose is just cool as is the B17. They allow you to go into both of them. A small donation for the B17.
I've been meaning to stop at the aviation museum near McMinnville, but so far I've always been zooming on by on my way somewhere.
I've crawled through a B-17, but not the Spruce Goose. For those who need a reminder, the "Spruce Goose" was designed and built by Howard Hughes during WWII when aluminum was at a premium. Spruce is a very light and tough wood, but of course wood is always softer than aluminum, so fastening it together is the problem.
After it's one and only flight in Long Beach harbor with Hughes at the controls, it never flew again. Hughes stored it in a hangar (as I recall, on the big pier near the Queen Mary).
A few years ago it was sliced into pieces for transport, and hauled up to McMinnville, Oregon, where it was reassembled. I'm not sure who owns it.
McMinnville, a college town, is about 40 miles southwest of Portland, on highway 99W. That's about 140 miles from Redmond over the passes via Sisters and highway 22, a relatively slow road. But this would make a great route for someone headed to the coast after the rally. It would be sort of a waste to rush over to the coast and back during the rally, because there's so much to do and see on the Oregon coast.
If you do head for the coast on highway 18, look for a tiny cafe/bakery at Otis, just a couple of miles inland from the 18/101 intersection. And if its still open and serving fresh baked pastries, please report back.
Does anyone have personal experience (self or visiting guests) with any B&Bs in the area? We'd like to stay close to downtown for walk-able sights, but open to other suggestions.