(2008) Seattle

Independence Day

Finally! After 12 years of “ooooing” and “ahhhhing” over the fireworks display in Seattle, my parents were coming out to join me to see if for themselves. Below is a brief recount of our holiday adventures.

July 2~ 7, 2008
Seattle, WA

Mom and Dad came into Seattle on Wednesday in time for dinner, which I didn’t have ready for them. In fact, I was an awful hostess and didn’t even have much of anything for them to eat. But they were polite about it, and I tried to make up for it the rest of their time here by having lots of good food. We spent Thursday exploring a bit of Seattle and catching up, at least until Dan’s flight arrived that night. Yes, this would be a “meet the parents” weekend, as Dan had agreed to come up and visit with me as well as meet my parents for the first time. Exciting!!!

And of course it all went well. There’s nothing not to like about Dan and my parents are cute and likeable themselves, so we all got along very well. Friday was a relaxed but short morning. The plan was to arrive at Gasworks Park at the north end of Lake Union early enough in the day to secure a prime viewing spot for the evening’s festivities. I had never gone there with the intention of saving space, so I really didn’t know how early to start. We shot for noon. A picnic was packed, blankets and chairs were tossed into the car and we were off. A quick stop to pick up Kathy (who had packed a cooler full of cold drinks) and then we were at the park. Jay, from my Oregon adventure had decided to join us and followed us to the park on his bike, having ridden up from Vancouver, WA earlier. The five of us found a great spot and the day was perfect for sitting out on the grass. It was also fun to watch the crowds gather and I think Mom and Dad were impressed by the sheer number of people who filtered in over the next nine hours. Boats of all types plied the waters of the lake while police boats shooed them away from the barge. Kites filled the skies and people of all ethnic backgrounds surrounded us. It was a scene of constant motion and entertainment.

There were vendors, children’s’ games and business displays in some areas and we all took turns walking around and checking out the sights. Finally, around 10pm the show started. Each year the fireworks are launched from a barge that has been towed to the middle of Lake Union, giving us a view of the city’s skyline as a backdrop for the explosive show. And now I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

null
View across Lake Union to downtown

null
We picked a spot to the left of the white tent

null
Here we are, as the hill starts to fill up

null
Looking to our right

null
Inflatable head (no, there’s no body behind the hill)

null
Interesting characters wander by

null
A better look at our crew

null
Cloud cover kept us from burning in the sun

null
Interesting boats went by constantly

null
A few more people filter in

null
Dad shoots mom, Kathy, Dan, me and Jay

null
Whoa! Where’d all of the people come from?

Looking to the west (Aurora bridge showing)

Behind us

null
“Ride the Ducks” – getting your ducks in a row

null
Still more people join us

null
Lots of political campaigning – all for Obama

null
A view from the back of the park

null
The barge (left) and tugboat (right)

null
A close-up of the boats anchored in the lake for the show

null
Another way to see the show

null
Part of the old “gasworks” that give Gasworks Park its name

null
Let the show begin!

null
Note the two-level display – why its important to be able to see the barge

null
They are all set to music, played on massive speakers for the crowd

null
More fun

null

null

null
Neat things with modern fireworks

null

null
Grand finale after 20+ minutes of entertainment

That was fun! But it’s only Friday night – Dan’s still here for two more days and we have things to do! Saturday we quickly left the house in order to make it to our reservation on the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad. Naturally I cut it very close so we only had to wait in line for a short time. Unfortunately, the beautiful weather of the previous few days had left us and our views were very limited. In fact, it did manage to rain for a short bit, but my family (bless their souls) barely noticed, even as others fled into covered rail cars during the ride. The ride wasn’t as scenic as I would have expected, but we manged to enjoy ourselves nonetheless. Here are some more pictures:

null
The showpiece of the train

null
The lineup of eager participants

null
Weird family portrait

null
Our conductor

null
Typical view

null
Dad’s hat gets some protection during a brief shower

null
More expansive views; some sunshine would have been nice

null
Happy travelers

null
Family group shot!

null
The engine heads to the other end in order to push

null
Dan making sure he enjoys ALL of the cupcake

null
Its green!

null
The highpoint (literally): an 80′ trestle

null
Coming back over the trestle

null
The engine uses recycled motor oil for power

null
One of the covered cars (with glass in the windows)

null
The other covered car (with open windows)

null
Looking out the back of the train

null
Mom and I

null
Trainbuff Mark

null
An unrestored car sitting on a sidetrack

null
The engine

null
Inside the engine

null
Probably the most important dial in the engine

So Saturday was ok. I would have preferred vast views of Mt Rainier and some brilliant sunshine glinting off of dark pines, but hey, I guess this is the Pacific Northwet, after all. Sunday morning rolled around and we had a date with some airplanes. Boeing’s Museum of Flight is just a few miles from my house and we all wanted to see what was inside. The sun was out, lighting up the massive indoor space where dozens of planes were on display. Hey look! More pictures!

null
Mom and Dad’s rented PT Cruiser. None of us liked it

null
Dan tends to the BBQ spare ribs. Mmmmm..

The next day was beautiful again. Dan had to go home the previous night so Mom, Dad and I went down to Alki beach to people watch and soak up some sun. This is really a beautiful place, despite the ghetto-look in some of the photos.

null
Typical of a weekend, here are some volleyball players practicing

null
Walking the dog

null
A hang glider with pontoons is getting ready to go home

null
Chasing (slowly) after a volley ball

Mom, Dad and I all left the house the next morning, but while I was just going to work, they were headed east in order to continue their adventure. It was good to know that they would be able to enjoy the western states for a while longer. I had a lot of fun seeing them and it was a very relaxing time. I’m looking forward to seeing them again over the Christmas holiday!

Tell me what you think! I want to know!