The Pacific & Portland.

The week has almost come to a close and I finally feel like I am 100% out of steam.  Yesterday I dropped my buddy off at the rental car place so he could go visit his family in southern-ish Washington and I headed south and west out the coast.  It was around a 3 hour drive to get from our BnB to the beach but it was worth every minute of driving.

I got to the beach around an hour before dusk and walked about a half mile from where I parked and set up to witness the glory that is yet another west coast sunset.  It was an absolutely perfect evening, with a breeze and the temperature steady in the 60s.  Since I had brought my light jacket I was all set.  The surroundings were something out of a book.  Miles of off-white sand beaches flanked by hundreds of yards of shore grasses before the homes of those fortunate enough to live near by.  The town was called Ocean Shores and it was charming though relatively small.  As the sun began it’s descent I felt the way I always do when I am so lucky to witness it:  completely at peace.  I take these opportunities to remember how truly fortunate I am to be able to live the life that I do.  Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe it!

After the sun dipped in the water the temperature dropped off quickly so I hopped back in the car and headed back toward “home” for the evening.  As I rounded Olympia to head north toward Seattle, the 95% full moon began to rise over the mountains to the north and east.  Add that to another essentially perfect day.  Life is good.

Today I woke up and headed to Portland with absolutely zero plans other than to see St. John’s bridge and visit Voodoo Doughnuts.  Since I accomplished both of those things and checked a state off the list I will put it in the win category, but I do feel as though I need to see more of Portland before I make a decision how I feel about it.  If it were based solely on today I’d probably say I do not care for it but I didn’t see much except a heap of construction downtown and nightmarish traffic congestion.

Now I am back in our home away from home, planning to begin packing for the flight tomorrow so I have it out of the way.  We don’t have much on the agenda for tomorrow and will need to check out by 11:00 AM so I am not 100% sure what we will get up to until our flight in the afternoon but I do plan to pick us up a couple day passes to the Alaska Airlines lounge so we can chill for a couple hours prior to the flight.

It has been a great week and my feet hurt as much as they ever have but I have added so much experience to my memory that I will gladly endure the healing.

Insomnia in Seattle.

The past few days have been an absolute blur of activity.

During the first day of this visit to Seattle/etc., I saw Pike Place and began to piece together the madness that is downtown Seattle.  Through a maze of homeless people and more Starbucks locations than I can count, I started to acclimate.  This was after almost 36 hours on zero sleep.  Oh, did I forget to mention that we attended a Flogging Molly / Dropkick Murphy show on the first day?  Yeah.  I was barely even conscious during this.  Great show but I was in no way ready to enjoy it.

On day two we ended up visiting a Nordic heritage museum and ate at a place which shared the name of a town my mother used to haunt:  Portage.  You can figure it out with that much information.

On day three it was time to hop the border and see Vancouver for the first time.  I must say that I am absolutely impressed by the city of Vancouver.  It is such a clean, beautiful place, and the Canadian people are an uncannily friendly bunch.  Our agenda was non-existent but we walked along a bay, visited Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium, and topped it off with a visit to Granville Island Market.  We watched the sun drop over the bay and I sat in astonishment at what I was fortunate to witness.

Today is day four and it was an absolute legend of a day.  We decided early on that the first order of business was to visit the Woodland Park Zoo and we were not disappointed.  They had some of the finest and immersive wildlife experiences I have seen to date.  I have always been a sucker for wildlife parks of all kinds and this was no exception.  Top notch stuff.  Zoo knocked off the list, we decided to visit Puget Sound and walked the beaches.  We stuck around for a sunset that rivals anything I have ever witnessed before.  The sun disappeared behind the Olympic range and cast colors that are too many to name.  It was amazing and the day was only just ending.  Up next was the Space Needle.  We arrived approx. an hour and a half prior to closing time and as we approached I could feel a sense of the staggering size of the structure.  Once we hopped on the express elevator and walked out onto the catwalk, it was strikingly apparent how far away the ground was.  The vertigo faded quickly and I was standing in stupid amazement looking at the city from 500+ feet.  If this weren’t enough, the full moon (99%+) rose as the sun dropped, casting a pale blue hue over the entire cityscape.  As I was making a lap around the rotating glass deck, I happened to glance the direction of SEA-TAC and saw 4 planes all in their final approach for landing.  This continued the entire time we were at the Space Needle, almost an hour and a half.

This is single-handedly one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever had the privilege of experiencing.  I am truly fortunate.

More to follow as the week moves on.

Sleepless for Seattle.

About 4 hours from now I will hit the road to go to a 6:00 AM flight from ORD > SEA.  Naturally I can’t even consider sleeping because the squirrels are running a rampage now.

It has been entirely too long since I was kept awake with anticipation.  Travel does that to me though.  This may end up being one of the longest days of my life but it is in the spirit of adventure so I will make due.  As long as I stay awake long enough to get to the terminal and shuffle my way on board, I can at rest easy, even if metaphorically.

Thankfully I have a co-pilot on the drive up and a travel companion in a long time friend who was able to take the whole week off and go with me.  What’s more, he is going to be able to visit family in the area that he hasn’t been able to see for a few years.  It’s always nice to have the opportunity to catch up with family while on an adventure.

I’ve all but given up on the idea that I will sleep tonight.  I will just bide my time.

Bag is packed, thumbs are sufficiently twiddled, time to go!