Blog 23, back at Anacortes, then Seattle.

Blog 23, back at Anacortes, then Seattle.

Back at Pioneer Trails, in a different site this time-one with more room.

Beautiful summer flowers everywhere, so pretty.

We played a game of pickleball on the afternoon we were back and then took a 6km walk.  The next day we took a drive to Deception Pass State Park for some hiking.  The park is only 8km down the road, we parked at North Beach.  We did an 8km walk around the park taking in the coast which is very pretty.  Watching the current flowing through Deception Pass between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island is quite something. The tide can reach a speed of 8 knots creating whirpools.

The lone Mariner, searching for his beloved Warrior!

After walking away from the coast, we took a forest track though enormous redwoods which smelt wonderful.

We reached an area called the ‘Balds’ which is a bald rocky outcrop, stripped of its soil when the glacier that covered the rocks rapidly retreated back to Canada 11000 years ago.  Looking out at the view we could see Mt Rainier to the South and Vancouver Island to the North.  A very picturesque area and exactly what I expected Washington State to look like.   I really like it here.

The next morning was about getting ready to leave for Fall City, east of Seattle.  The drive was mostly highways with the odd glimpse of a snow-covered mountain.

 

Arriving in Fall city was a bit toe curling, Washington is called the evergreen state and tall green fir trees line the roads. It’s beautiful but always marginal for Tiffin to get through.  Stuart as always drove the coach with great accuracy, skill and confidence.  We are staying in this area to explore Seattle, a city we’ve both always wanted to explore.  It’s about 30 minutes away by car.  We are staying in an RV park called Tall Chief.  It’s woodsy and rustic here and we like it very much but it’s quite dusty and very expensive.  In fact, it’s one of the most expensive campsites we’ve stayed at. It has an advertised price but when you get here you realise you are penalized by staying less than a month.  That’s a bit naughty.  Add the tax and the penalty and you’re paying about $95 US a night for power and water only, no sewer.

This is the site were we camped in.  We forgot to take a photo of us in situ…

 

We drove into Seattle today for an explore.  We had been prewarned that the city has taken a bit of a dive and there are lots of homeless people here.  The outer suburbs are very nice.  Big woodsy sections with nice houses, and tall green trees everywhere.  We parked near Elliott Bay Marina in a parking area that said on one side, no parking and on the other parallel parking only, so we really didn’t know if we could park there or not but we thought we would as there was no street parking anywhere else around.  We cycled around the marina which was one of the biggest we’ve seen on our travels.  We then got on a cycle way that took us all the way into the city.

We had to initially cycle through an industrial area with some fish processing buildings that really did smell so bad you could almost never eat seafood again!  Past some railway tracks and yards which also didn’t smell so good and onto a prettier ride into town.

Mt Rainier in the distance

We passed Pier 91 that had the Ovation of the Sea’s moored.  When it was built it was one of the biggest cruise ships ever built.  I think it’s obscenely gargantuan, it’s so big it can’t dock in Auckland but has to moor off in the channel.  I’m amazed that so many people are prepared to cruise again so soon after Covid.  We cycled past Uptown and Belltown and along to the beginning of the industrial district on the other side of the city.  Stuart was not overly impressed with the city.  I went in with a positive outlook and tried to see the very best of Seattle.  Like Auckland they have an extensive waterfront area.  In some parts it’s done well, in others it felt scruffy and industrial.  Centrally in the city between the waterfront and the city the road that runs parallel to the shore, Alaskan Way is being torn up with huge earthworks.  It really has disrupted the whole vibe of the city’s waterfront area.  Apparently, there was a viaduct or elevated roadway there.  This should be replaced by a tunnel and according to the internet completed in 2019.  They must have an Auckland crew planning and working on the project.  It’s a mess.

We headed into the city which rises steeply from the sea.  I had to push my bike up the hills as they were too steep for me to cycle.  We rode through Pioneer Square.  There was a man there playing wonderfully on a tuba.  This area of the city felt old and had nice character.  Originally the city was founded in 1851 based on the logging industry.  It was built on the then marshes of the shore at sea level.  It was settled by the old pioneers and therefore this area is thus named.

On from there we rode along 1st Ave to Pike Market Place which really seemed like the heart of the city.  Its vibrant, colourful and entertaining.  I had a quick walk through and enjoyed the fish throwing at the fish market, and other interesting stalls but I felt nervous of Covid.  I don’t think about Covid much here in the US but this was full of passengers off the cruise ships and felt like a dodgy place to be, even with a mask on-I was the only person wearing one!  Otherwise Pike’s Place was a place I could have hung out for a few hours, browsing, listening, smelling and watching.  It’s essentially a farmer’s market and has been an attraction in Seattle for 108 years.  Over 10 million people visit each year!

We would have liked to have gone to the top of the Space Needle, and I would have liked to see the Chihuly Glass sculpture but combined these would have cost about US$100 each, we didn’t want to see them that badly.  We thought that was very expensive, and again weary of Covid in these touristy congested places.

Cycling back to the car I reflected on the city.  It’s pretty much what I expected, but not as nice as I had hoped.  Because it’s a tech city, with Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia, Boeing etc I thought there would be lots of trendy young business people in the city, but we only saw quite scruffy government type workers that seemed a bit down trodden.  Perhaps the tech hub is out of the city.

There are lots of homeless.  There were many gaggles of young homeless on the streets and others that have just stopped in a sitting position like a mannequin where the drug has taken them down.  Sad.  I think the homeless we saw in the city today was only the very tip of the iceburg.  Driving out along the freeway there are tents along the road side, like little villages.  Sadly, there is always trash too, so it gives the city a grubby feel.  Apparently, there are almost 12,000 homeless in Seattle.

I just don’t know where all these people have come from, and how did they end up on the street.  I know for sure they are all victims of something or someone, but they are so young-to have no hope at such a young age-how will they ever get out of the rut?  I see the homeless issue in the US as one of the country’s greatest failings.  These poor people must literally freeze in the winter here.  If you read on the internet about Seattle’s homeless people it talks about the cause being rising cost of living, Covid fallout, rising house prices, but all cities in the world have these issues…

 

When we got back to the campsite I took a stroll and went blackberry picking.  It’s still quite early in the season but there are a few that are ready.  I asked one of the ladies working here if there are bears, as it says on the notice board go be ‘Bear Aware’!. She said yes, they really are here and right in the campsite.  They too are looking for blackberries!  Imagine coming face to face with a bear over a blackberry bush!!

 

Over a beer this evening we reflected on how wonderful it is to explore a city new to us.  We both really enjoy driving to the outskirts, and riding off to explore on our bicycles.  We cover a lot of ground and try to see the good and bad parts to get a ‘real’ feel for the place.  We thought Seattle was similar to Pittsburg and Chicago.

 

A lovely day of exploring!