The Good And The Bad Of Travel

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
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Trip End Sep 29, 2011


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Where I stayed
With Cousin JR

Flag of United States  , WA
Saturday, August 27, 2011

There are so many benefits of travel, and there are so many pitfalls if you're not careful. I experienced both today.

I actually showered last night so I could get up early and get to the airport for my 7:00 am flight to Seattle. All went well until I headed to my rental car and couldn't find my keys. I searched for half an hour and still couldn't find them, finally giving in, calling Hertz and having them tow it to the nearby airport...yea there was a charge for that and a charge for lost keys too. I took the shuttle to the airport beating my brains out trying to remember what I might have done with the keys. It was a "proximity" key, so I had to have it with me when I locked the car last night. Oh well, a lesson learned...keep track of your keys. But the story wasn't over...

Went to the airport, checked into my Alaskan Airlines flight to Seattle...all very smooth. I went through security (no scanner this time, just the usual metal detector...remember that fact.) I headed for my gate, found it and found a seat near the gate. When I sat down, there was a sharp pain in my posterior. When I went into my back pocket to find out what it was, low and behold, the keys to my rental car. (Insert laugh here!) I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I NEVER put my keys in my back pocket. Now I have felt pretty stupid in my life on many occasions, but this one might have taken the cake. I called Hertz and straightened the whole thing out. But then I got to thinking...how on earth did I get through that metal detector with those keys in my back pocket???? I have no idea. But I don't feel as secure about our air travel as I did a day ago. I also don't know why the keys didn't poke me when I sat on the hotel shuttle bus to the airport. Anyway, that's the bad part of travel. It got exponentially better as the day progressed.

I was met at the airport by my cosusin, Karl Ward, Jr. Karl Wayne Ward Jr. as I recall specifically, but we just called him Junior or JR when we were growing up. He, along with his Sister, Karlene (Sis) and his Mom and Dad Uncle Karl and Aunt Lois lived in Napolean, Ohio. JR spent four years in the Navy and then went to work for United Airlines. He spent more than 40 years with UA in several capacities, but mostly he enjoyed being a flight attendant. JR is a free spirit and some might say a refugee from the 60s. Long hair, loves the blues and loves to have a good time! I've always liked him for those attributes. JR has no family at this time, having lost Mom, Dad and Sis. My Mom has almost adopted him as a son of her own...she's like that.

Anyway, JR picked me up at the airport and gave me a tremendous one-day tour of Seattle. First, I must tell you he lives in a condo about six blocks from the Space Needle. You can actually see it and a great view of downtown Seattle from his front patio. Very cool.

We first went to the locks and dam between Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Much like the locks and dams a buddy of mine and I went through when we canoed from Chicago to St Louis one year. We saw a few fishing ships and peleasure boats locking through. And then we saw the "fish ladders." Fish ladders were installed to allow the salmon to move upstream to spawn. Very cool. They have a viewing area where you can actually see them move up the ladders into the fresh water of Lake Washington and on to the streams where they were born themselves. As I say, very cool.

Then we went to where all the Seattle tourists go...we rode the monorail to Pike's Market and the famous Pike Place fish market where the guys "throw" the fish to one another as they yell, "Two mackerel going to Minneapolis!" (for example). I know all State Farmers have seen the video. Then it was a bite to eat at Lowell's. Remember it? Well, do you remember the restaurant scene from "Sleepless in Seattle?" Well, it was filmed at Lowell's. Good fish lunch.

Then to the original Starbucks. The thing I noticed while driving and bussing around Seattle is that there are so many coffee shops in Seattle. Not just Starbucks which got its start and still has its home office there, (and they are ubiquitous), but hundreds of other smaller coffee shops. Never seen so many coffee shops.

Back to JR's apartment and some rest before heading to the game. We first made a stop at "The Brooklyn" restaurant and bar where we split a dozen oysters on the half shell...very tasty!

We walked by Seahawk Stadium on our way to Safeco Field. A beautiful ballpark. Great chandelier made of lights shaped like bats in the entryway. A great place for kids in center field. And a mural made of license plates from states representing their ball team (Illinois plates for the Cubs)...very cool. They did a nice job both inside and out. Weather was great 80 degrees...warmest it's been in Seattle all summer JR told me.

We sat in a unique area called "The Hit it Here Cafe." It's in very deep right field. Tickets were $48, but it includes $18 worth of food and drink. Great idea and a fun place to watch the game, if a bit far away from the action. Unfortunately, the Mariners lost to the White Sox 4-2. I am now 14-12 for the home team. The Mariners did have the coolest grounds crew I've ever seen. They came out, dragged and raked the diamond and then started dancing in step to the music...made you laugh out loud.

On a fun note, I learned that Brad Burke's (guy I worked with at State Farm in Purchasing) Mom and Dad would be at the game. We got in touch with one another and I took pictures. It's sort of funny and good to see people from back home when you're so far away. Brad's Mom and Dad a great people (wonder what happened to Brad!? LOL!) Sorry Brad, couldn't resist!

Back to JR's house for some rest before he shipped me on to Los Angeles. I'll try to get a win there! It was a great time with a great cousin in a great city. I had never been to Seattle, but I'd like to go back!
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