Friday, May 31, 2013

5/29/13, Wednesday:  We’re sitting at Walmart in Moses Lake, Washington tonight. We’re toward the back part of the Walmart lot. It’s next to the freeway, which is noisy, but the trucks coming back to this place is constant.

Last night we were at Yakima River RV Park in Ellensburg, WA. It was a Passport America campground at $17.50 a night for water and electric. The electric hookup was probably the best we’ve had for power and their wifi was really good. I’ve finally gotten to update all my iPad apps. There are rodeo bulls in a pasture next to the RV park. The owner lives next to the park and evidently raises rodeo bulls. Ellensburg is east of the Cascade range, in a valley, and evidently a very windy place. There are wind turbines all over the place; I have never seen so many.  The Ellensburg area and to Moses Lake reminds us more of North Dakota – rolling hills, flat land and not many trees. Except it’s dry here, not like on the other side of the Cascades, and they irrigate. Hay is a major crop. Some of the crops has signs on their fences saying what they are.

 The rodeo bulls at the RV park 
 hay bales covered up

 Lots and lots of wind turbines

This past week we went to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, did a tour of the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour and tried to find Pike Place Market in Seattle, with a lot of rain thrown in for good measure. We were able to be at one of the visitor centers at Mount St. Helens when it wasn’t raining, but it was still cold and windy. It’s an interesting place still, 33 years later. There’s an area that hasn’t been changed since then, but other areas have had trees replanted. The unchanged area almost looks fake; it looks smooth. We didn’t do any hiking other than the trails they had to some of the view points. The hiking trails were muddy. Some of the roads were still closed on the south and east side, we were on the west and north. All of the visitor centers had movies; some about what happened, some about nature coming back afterwards.

this was one of the roads in the park area - luckily we were driving the jeep

The Seattle area reminded us of Springfield, Virginia, where our son lives. It’s full of hills and trees, except I think Seattle has much steeper hills. They’re ridiculous. We stayed at Tall Chief RV Resort at Fall City, a suburb northeast of Seattle. This was also a Passport America campground, an “encore resort”. The “encore resorts” charge an extra $3, a resort charge. The resorts around this area are really expensive, but then they usually are around large cities. We couldn’t believe this one would be $40-50 regular price. Granted, they can’t stop the rain, but they can fill in the potholes in the roads and level their sites and trim trees. We got there a little before noon and decided to do our “tourist” things that afternoon yet so we wouldn’t have to pay for another night here. That was probably our biggest mistake; trying to do too much in an afternoon.

We took off for the Boeing center for their tour; they do them every hour from 9-3. We had to wait until the 2:00 tour. First we saw a short film about them and then took a bus to go into their building. It’s huge. It’s the world’s largest building as measured by volume. I was kind of disappointed as we were on viewing areas above everything; I was hoping we would be floor level to actually see size, etc. I suppose they don’t want anyone close enough to do any damage. We couldn’t take cameras, cell phones, purses, etc. Nothing could be carried that could be dropped on the floor. That cost $20/person and lasted 90 minutes. There is a gift shop and gallery area also. It was still an interesting tour.

From there we went to find the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as Ballard Locks. I was hoping we’d be able to see that from the street. We couldn’t find any parking near it, so we stopped in a restaurant near and I got out and went to the edge where I could get a picture of the bridge while it was up.  Evidently this spot got more visitors than the Space Needle in 2011 (1,235,000 beating the Needle’s 1,200,000). I'm surprised they found a parking spot!

After that we “tried” to find Pike Place Market. It’s pouring at this time and we’re trying to find our way with GPS. We had addresses to put in the GPS, but still it takes a lot of time to get through town, and from Boeing down to the market was about 28 miles.  We got to the parking lot address I had and drove around for a while trying to find a place to park. They’ve got meters of some kind on the street which we decided to try. I put my credit card in and couldn’t get it back out; Curt finally pulled it out. It was suppose to give us a receipt; if not, try again. Okay, Curt canceled the first one and we tried again; same thing. No receipt. You’re suppose to put the receipt on your window for proof you paid. We started looking at the other vehicles parked by us, none had receipts on their windows. Do you really have to pay? Will we get a ticket or get towed? We had no clue but decided to walk. We had no idea where we were at that point or where to go. We couldn’t see any signs pointing the way for the market. We had parked on the street near the water and started walking down the block. It had stopped raining at that point. We walked as far as the riverfront area went and turned around and went back. I saw a sign that said the market was 6 blocks back the way we came. How could we have missed it? So, now it started raining again and we’re on our way back, pass our vehicle and come to a sign that states it 5 blocks behind us. By this time we’re wet and frustrated. We turn around again and as we’re walking back we stop at a gift store and ask. It’s across the street and up the hill, but they may be closed by now since it’s Memorial Day. This was at 5:00. Terrific. I was sure I had read that they were open until 6. We figured we were this far, we may as well see if we can find it. Turn around again, cross the street and finally we see a sign stating the market is up the hill. We climbed the steps going up and get to another street where we see tourist stores on one side and the back of a large building on the other side of the street, which you have to climb more stairs to get to. A security lady is crossing the street, so when she got across I asked her where the market was. She said, “This is it. You’re on the back side.”  Wow. We found it, kind of. I asked her if it was still open, and she said most of it is closed already. She said there weren’t many things open today because it was Memorial Day. And by this time it is pouring rain again. Time to go home, which is 22 miles from here. Oh, and in all that driving around downtown, we didn’t even see the Space Needle. I hadn’t planned on going up in it, but I was going to get a picture. Yeah, well. That was not the best “touristy” day.

at the steps to go up to Pike's market 
  new Seattle Great Wheel along the waterfront, the biggest wheel on the west coast.

Before we got to the interstate after leaving Falls City, there was a waterfalls/power station called Snoqualmie Falls. Lots of water coming down through there! That was a nice, not planned extra.

More travel pics
 These look like big bolts!
 Bridge crossing the Columbia River

"Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies" is a sculpture depicting an Indian creation tale of the Grandfather Spirit freeing the horses, which represent free will, from the basket from which all life springs.  This is on a ridge above the Columbia River.

Happy birthday Korene!

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