"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mt. Rainier and Seattle -- home of the one and only -- probably -- Gum Wall

A cloud hovered over the top all day.  This was the best it got.
Portland to Seattle is about a three hour drive. We headed out without having made any motel reservations, totally unaware that the Seattle teams were both playing  and there were "no rooms at the inn".

We called a Travel Lodge who got us in at a Travel Lodge in down town next to the Space Needle for -- $69 a night. We thought this must be a hole in the wall place.  When we finally find it, it's $369 a night plus $100 parking.  After a little bit of dickering, (they came down to $190 plus the parking) and squabbling, I think Dotti would have preferred to stay there, but I didn't want to park my car in the street, so we (more I) decided to find something else.  We ended up out by the airport at a Doubletree. It was okay, but they only had one room left and it had one bed and a fold out couch. So we took it.

Also, if I wanted to use the wifi, I'd have to pay for it -- so I went to bed. But we got a damned good cookie!

Saturday, I contacted Lori Jean Freeman and we made plans to meet on Sunday.  We were half way to Mt. Rainier from where Lori lives, so Dotti and I went on to see the wonders of that area by ourselves.

Compared to the trip up Pikes Peak, the drive up Rainier was a piece of cake. Like Hood, the road doesn't go to the summit.  It does go nearly to the timberline. This second picture shows a nearly dry river bed coming down off the mountain. If you look closely, you can see the stream in the foreground, Like I said before, pictures do not do justice to these awesome sights. I was standing on a bridge, high above the river bed.  What appears to be river rocks or gravel is actually bolders washed down during flooding snow melts.  Washington and Oregon both have had below normal rainfall the past two years.

The pastures here look like Texas and the forest fires are still burning in some areas.

The altitude of Mt. Rainier is 14,410 feet. That's just 300 feet taller than Pikes Peak. I'm not sure how high up on Rainier we went but I never felt the symptoms of altitude sickness like I did on Pikes Peak, thank goodness.

Rainier has the most awesome wildflower meadows.  I took this picture when we reached the lodge. There were so many people up there, every parking space was taken. Many looked like they were geared up to  go hiking but I didnt stick around to find out. We headed back to Seattle.  We got a room at the Country Inn. It was another one with one bed and a pull out couch. This one wasn't as comfortable as the one at the Doubletree -- and we didn't even get a free cookie.

Seattle -- much like Portland is hard to get around in, but we made it down town to meet Lori Jean at the Space Needle. It cost $20 to park -- and the machine takes credit cards!  We didn't go up in the Space Needle. There was a long line. It wasn't on my or Dotti's bucket list and Lori had already been up numerous times. I figured it wouldn't be much different than the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio and we wanted to go to Pike Market. Interesting place.

We rode the Monorail to within a few blocks of the market, then walked. Also like Portland, Seattle has a huge homeless population. Many of these people are down close to the market. We walked past people sleeping on the sidewalk.
Unlike Texas, though, the police in Seattle and Portland don't harrass the street dwellers.

Entrance to the Public Market.  Some call it the Pike Market.
Gum wall

Before going into the market, Lori led us to the Gum Wall. Yes, folks, that is all wads of ABC gum and it covers three or four walls of an old alley way near the Public Market.  It is now considered "art". Only in Seattle. In some places, people wrote messages but it looked like eventually they would all get covered up with wads of gum.  I don't chew gum so I didnt get to contribute to the community "work of art".

The Pike Market is on the Port of Seattle.  It is the best place to buy fresh caught fish and other seafood.  There are also fresh, much of it organic, vegetables, fruit, baked goods, flowers and art of many different genres.

Seattle Cat

When Lori Jean came to meet us, she brought me a bag of "white coffee" to brew at home plus some vanilla syrup to put in it.  I had thought I'd leave her with a copy of my books but I left the parking lot without them.  Down the first aisle of the market, we found the booth of the artist that painted this picture. Lori,  as well as Dotti and I loved it, so I bought it and gave it to her as a thanks for coming all the way into town to give these two old Texas gals a tour.

I was astounded by the flower market.  There were rows and rows of mixed bouquets wrapped in paper, standing in vases.  These were not low quality flowers.  They were huge, healthy blooms! I started to buy one just for the heck of it but decided I'd worry about not being able to take care of it.

Besides we intended to head back to Oregon as soon as we left the market.

This bouquet two full stems of a pink variegated  lily, dahlias, alpine lace and some fillers for $10! Lots of folks were carrying them around.  I saw several with many bunches in their arms,  Must've been gonna have a PARTY!

Leaving the market, we came across this man. He was sitting on a sidewalk, rolling a joint.  I stopped and talked to him.  He said with the new laws in the state of Washington, rolling the joint was not illegal. "When I light it, I will be breaking the law." Smoking weed in public is illegal, but, he said, most of the law enforcement looks the other way as long as folks are peaceful.

I could have stayed and talked to him all day -- just to find out why he was there in Seattle, what point he was trying to make and if he felt like he was succeeding. I did talk to him long enough to find out he had been in the military. He also alluded to the fact that he had worked for "the government".  I don't know if he referred to his stint in the military or if he'd worked for the government in some other capacity.  He seemed intelligent, spoke sensibly so why would he want to go to so much trouble to appear so bizzarre as to give the impression that he isn't playing with a full deck of cards? Beats me but I wish him all the best.

When we arrived back at our parking lot, we had only used 2 hours of the ten we'd purchased.  There was a car full of friendly young kids behind me wanting our space in the over flowing lot -- so we "payed it forward" and passed our parking permit to them. In return, they got a whole string of cars behind them to back up so we could get out, then they pulled in. We all honked and waved as we drove away.

We headed back to Oregon! Thank God for GPS!

Lori Jean had told me that the two men, James and Yessler, who designed Seattle, disagreed on how to do it, so they both went about building and laying out streets.  Their ideas didn't hook up well in the downtown area. The GPS directions said things like "in 200 feet, make a slight right to go toward I 5 S" "In 25 feet, stay right then left to get on 189th NW."

In Seattle and Portland, which wasn't any better as far as driving in it,  I became a "Professional u-turner."

Monday, we hook up with more of Dotti's family -- including her brother Warren and his wife Donna, who live in Otis, Oregon.

Downtown Seattle as seen from the Space Needle