Thursday, September 20, 2007

Roadtrip 1995 - Part 5: Seattle, WA

My next stop was one of the few urban destinations that I had on my itinerary. I headed up to Seattle and checked into a motel near Bellevue, WA. I was still sore from the climb up the Muir Snowfield on Mt. Rainier and I was walking like a zombie – all stiff legged. I figured Seattle would be a good place to recuperate.

I drove into the Seattle and aimed my sights on the Space Needle. It was cloudy, overcast, and a little foggy when I got there so I decided to kill some time in the area hoping that the weather would clear. I ate lunch at a nearby McDonalds and walked around the park. The nearby Pacific Science Center gave me an opportunity to kill some more time. I ended up watching two IMAX movies (Titanic and Discovery of Space) – my first IMAX movies if I recall correctly. I browsed the center’s exhibits. Most of them were aimed at the younger crowd but it was interesting never the less.

By mid afternoon the fog had lifted a little bit but it was still cloudy. I took the elevator up to the top of the Space Needle. The views were nice but the mountains were hidden by the haze. It was still pretty cool.


The next day I slept in. I was still sore from Mount Rainier. I obviously overexerted myself. The fact my legs were burnt to a crisp didn’t help either. I had a good breakfast and drove over to Redmond to see the Microsoft campus. I know what you’re thinking – what a geek! It was a geek thing to do. I’m not much of a fan of Microsoft stuff but it is what I use everyday and back in 1995 I actually thought Microsoft made good stuff. I know better now. Anyway, I drove around the corner took a turn and before I realized it I was actually driving through the campus. I was surprised by the lack of security or restriction (kind of like their operating systems). I also saw someone out of the corner of my eye talking to a contractor (There was new construction taking place) that looked a lot like Bill Gates. I doubt it was him but it could have been.


After my pilgrimage to Redmond I drove around a little. Ended up in a mall where I browsed for a while. I’ve always been a window shopper. My travels have shown that malls are the same all over the country. They never change so if you want a place of comforting conformity, the mall is the place to go. I ended up going to a movie – a crappy movie named “
The Prophecy”. My choice of movies was not very good back then – not that it has improved with age.

The rest of my stay in Seattle was filled with reading and resting – nothing exciting. At this point, though, I decided against going into Canada. I had not researched the requirements for going into Canada and, while I doubt it would have been a problem, I wanted to avoid any border crossing issues. I didn’t even have a passport though it probably wasn’t needed back then.


I left Seattle the next day and drove on US-2 east. The drive started out pretty cool winding through the Cascade Mountains. One town I passed through,
Leavenworth, was decorated in Bavarian style that went well with the Alpine feel of the mountains. Even the McDonalds was decorated in Bavarian style.

US-2 leaves the mountains and enters the rolling hills of farm land. There were stretches where the road went straight as an arrow. It was a little monotonous. I was driving with a pack of cars that were really booking. I was near the front of the pack when a cop passes us going the other way – DAMN! He turned around came up behind me and … pulled the car behind me over. I was so lucky. I was sure that I was going down. I slowed down the rest of the way to Spokane.


I spent the night in Spokane and did laundry for the first time. I had packed four suitcases on this trip. I even packed smartly – each bag had a mixture of pants, shirts, and underwear so I only needed to take one or two bags into the hotel at each stop.

After Spokane I continued on US-2 east across the Idaho panhandle. I had looked in the Idaho AAA book for places to visit but nothing attracted my attention so I drove right through. I was slowed down by road construction along this stretch. By noon I had reached Kalispell, MT. I continued on to the west entrance to Glacier NP and found a room in a lodge across the road from the park entrance. I ended up going back to Columbia Falls to wash the two weeks of nasty filth off my car and to visit a grocery store.

I kind of regret not driving through Canada. In retrospect, the scenery along
Trans-Canada-1 would have been awesome – much more impressive than US-2. I made up for it a little by honeymooning in Jasper and Banff. Of course, that just reinforced what I missed in 1995. This could be a future vacation with the wife. By not going into Canada I had a few extra days which I used later in the trip.

Pictures are
here. Next stop Glacier National Park.

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