“With a lot of help, if I make Number One you can change a word or two and I’ll give half of it to you. I’ll be a star tomorrow, … Continue reading Nashville, Tennessee
“In a big country dreams stay with you, like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside. Stay alive.” In a Big Country – Big Country
(July 14, 2015) state has a not-so-nice area or region, however I have not found it thus far. Montana amazes and astounds at every turn. This wasn’t lost in Kalispell.
This town gives you the feeling that it possesses history while also displaying modern living. Mountains play softly in the background of what looks to be a town that stepped out of the old west. In fact, there is one place here named, “Moose’s Saloon” where they have saloon doors and there was some talk of having those same swinging saloon doors since their established date but of this I am not certain.
We were hungry and in need of nourishment and this place looked cool. It was definitely different because the people were NOT friendly who were serving us.
It may have been deliberate or unintentional, either way it wasn’t my favorite place but I definitely appreciated it for what it was. We made it a good time anyway 😊
If I lived in this state I would sit outside every day - on not so cold or hot days – and gaze at these mountains. I have fallen in love. Too bad I have no interest in ranching.
“She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there was a little more to life somewhere else. After all it was a great big world with lots of places to run to and if she had to die tryin’ she had one little promise she was gonna keep.” American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
During the 4th of July, most all of America is up and running. People are gathering with their families to roast hot dogs, hamburgers, eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and basically enjoy all things American. In Belhaven, where I’m from, they PARTICULARLY LOVE and celebrate the 4th with major festivities. They start off the day before with a Miss Independence Padgent then move into a “Street Dance” that lasts until very late. People dance the night away and have a great time. Then the next day there’s quite a large parade with festivities around every corner and booths to buy lots of cool junk. Up the road from this, there is a famous “Mud Run” where trucks are forced into the mud with their tires-a-spinning and the redneck in every one of us flying. You could say Belhaven is pretty hoppin’. But there’s one thing that can make all of this not worth the effort and that’s THE HEAT! One of the sayings go, “It’s hotter than the Belhaven 4th of July’s in here!” That’s when you know it’s hot! LOL So…this year I took great satisfaction in enjoying our day of independence in the nice 78 degree weather that was Aberdeen WA. :p
Everyone gathered together: Me, mom, dad, sister, nieces, cousins, cousin’s girlfriends and children. We feasted on some wonderful dishes: watermelon, cheese/summer sausage and crackers, pasta salads of all kinds, crab salad, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cookies, WA cherries and other fruits. We played “Washers” (which is something like cornhole I suppose) and were just all around merry. Check these guys out. Dad (on the left) is attempting to explain something in the best of ways. Tommy (my cousin on the right) of course looks confused, but I assure you he’s not. Though he may be deciphering the white man’s speak.
It was really great because I got to hang out with my cousin Chris. This summer’s trip was the first time I’ve seen him since I was 13 years old. I have great memories of those times. I met him and a lot of other relatives at a family reunion in Cowden Illinois (look for that post to come). He was 18 then and now we’re both in our 30’s. My how time flies!
We really were having a great time. It was the first time in many years that I’ve really enjoyed myself. There was no heat really and it seemed like the most simplest, easiest action to just put food out and hang with the family!
Now, let me say that Belhaven puts on a nice little firework show at 9 p.m. It’s nice. BUT, in North Carolina, only cities can administer big fireworks. They’re illegal for residents to just shoot them off (or at least some are). In WA State…THEY’RE LEGAL! This town and every other town is lit up with explosions. Here, there, EVERYWHERE they shoot them off. Fireworks had been blasting off for days before the 4th actually came around. So naturally, Chris being the dude he is went and bought a lot of fireworks so we could have our own firework show!
Everyone was ready to kick it off! Even the kid.
It was so funny because he set all the chairs up in a row to watch the fire show commence. Hey look! It’s Kenny again! LOL
These fireworks weren’t just some run-of-the-mill fireworks. These were the BIG ones!
It was so exciting even I decided to try my hand at it. I lit several off. I have to tell you I was a little nervous to start with but after that it was all in good fun! After the show commenced we were all lit up; on the inside as well as outside. I know I definitely was. Yes, that IS a sweater. The nights are cold in Aberdeen.
Our 4th of July celebration was a hit and I’d LOVE to do it every year. I do love America. God bless our soldiers and all of those who fought for us to be free! We know it comes at a price. We love you and will always support you.
“Comin’ down the mountain. One of many children. Everybody has their own opinion…” Mountain Song – Jane’s Addiction
Like most fantastic sites to see, Mt. Rainier is coming in hot on the “fantastic sites” meter. Boy what a huge volcanic mountain! I tell you, along with Mount St. Helens this place is just as enormous and wonderous! One thing I noticed after we left, was how mysterious Mt. Rainier is! It’s this huge, gigantic mountain that seems like it has its own personality.
While we’ve been here it feels like I’ve been “chasing” this mountain for weeks now. You can see the mountain from hours away because of how large it is. We can see it here in Aberdeen, which is about 3 hours away. You can definitely see it from Seattle, 2 hours away and so it seems as though in specific spots you can see the peak or part of this amazing wonder. However, at times it has been hidden by fog, clouds or darkness; the one time I got to see it before we actually went to it was on the Bremerton ferry to Seattle (check out Seattle Part 1 to see what I’m talking about). This elusiveness kind of gives it an interesting trait. It’s like it’s playing a game with you and knows you want to see it but won’t come out until it feels sorry for you and only then will it let you glimpse at it. But on the flip side, it seems to be quite visible from every direction – thus giving it it’s elusiveness. It only took a couple of hours to arrive at Mt. Rainier and so, like most of the attractions, there are many pull-offs you can stop at to get out and take pictures. On route you can see that everything is quite rustic: the cabins, houses, food places etc. It’s not only rustic but it’s VERY green! Along the way you can see moss growing on all the trees inside of the forest area. And no, this is not spanish moss.
Whenever I end up in a spot so beautiful that I have to make an image, I say to myself, “Gosh I want everyone to see this.” And so it goes that I have to show you this beautiful image with the light busting through and hanging over the trees and spilling onto the little walkway.
That was our first stop coming into Mt. Rainier. Our next stop was directly in the national park. You do have to pay to go through it:
There are four entrances to Mt. Rainier, we went in through the “Paradise” side. It’s not as beautiful as the “Sunrise” side but it was still beautiful…as you can see 🙂
We kept on going until we reached a place where we could have a nice picnic. We had quite the caravan with us; 10 people. But we found a place – a NICE place!
Here are some of the picnic crew.
What you DON’T see is that FANTASTIC “Yeti” cooler to the left-hand side of the image. That cooler is the end all, be all to coolers! I highly recommend it. My friend Kelly and her husband Heath have one and swear by it. We do as well. It has kept our food cool for at least 4 days like it was the first day! We haven’t gone longer than 4 days but we will find out when we go camping at the Clearwater if it can keep the cool longer.
You would have thought I was the paparazzi the way I was snapping pictures (and I’m sure you can tell from the images above). It’s the same mountain just different angles. LOL, it was so magnificent I just want no one to miss anything!
Info on the Mountain:
*In Mt. Rainier, 97% of the park is wilderness and is protected from development. It became an official national park in 1899. It’s an active volcano and has repeated eruptions! When it erupts again they say it could be devastating. Geologists also say that Lahars will be the devastation that comes from the eruption (a slew of material looking like wet concrete).
Engineers designed the roads specifically for view and not by how easy it would be. Even though these roads are nice to drive on, it’s because of the winter snow and ice that much of the park is inaccessible. They say that sometimes you can hear the glaciers pop and crack as they move as well as avalanches! Another thing that I thought was pretty neat was that the mountain creates its own weather system. I think that’s clever. I never knew that.*
We finally arrived at the visitors center at “Paradise Inn”.
This is the final stop to see her in all her glory.
These signs are plastered all over the picnic tables throughout the entire drive up:
These are obvious warnings but if you’re unfamiliar, wildlife inhabit this entire national park and so when you picnic, you are not picnicking alone. 😉 Somewhere there is a bear smelling your food like Yogi and wanting to get your “Pic-a-nic Basket!” Just make sure he doesn’t have a sidekick named “Boo Boo” or you may have bigger problems than wildlife.
When you leave the visitors center, just a little ways down there is an area named, “Packwood” where there sits a BEAUTIFUL little waterfall and a nice tall view.
I thought it was kind of neat how the wind had blown in just one direction that the branches permanently face this way.
And of course, there is the tallness of everything that really puts you in your place.
“You’re the one thing I can’t get enough of. So I’ll tell you something, this could be love because I’ve had the time of my life.” I’ve Had, The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley
Seattle….it was love at first site…and boy, WHAT A SITE!
My dad kept saying, “I’m interested to see how Heather reacts to Seattle”. Well, I can tell you I absolutely FELL IN LOVE. This is the COOLEST, most fantastic city that I’ve seen thus far! Words cannot even describe how awesome and friendly this place is. This city was meant for me!
We got off to kind of late start but headed toward the Bremerton Ferry. It crosses the Puget Sound and takes you directly into Seattle. Check out the video of us boarding the boat: Boarding Bremerton Ferry
The view is just beautiful and picturesque during the entire ride.
I mean, the water is beautiful but what can top it? Oh I don’t know, maybe Mt. Ranier! It’s hard to see it in this image but it’s so clear when you’re on the ferry looking at it.
Oh and just to let you know, this ferry ride is a little chilly! It’s summer, but it’s chilly.
I will tell you, riding the ferry IS the way to see Seattle for the first time. If you were thinking about driving in, DON’T! Ride the ferry because when you peer around the corner, it’s at that precise moment that you can see the city of Seattle and something happens. This amazing feeling floods over you and it feels spectacular.
You can see the CenturyLink Field upon entering Seattle. It’s the home stadium of the Seattle Seahawks, and houses concerts along with other events.
It is such a phenomenal view!
We had finally arrived and my heart was pulsing with excitement and readiness. So we knew that we only had pretty much a half a day to see what we could so we started in Pike Place since that’s where you arrive at when you get off the ferry.
The First Starbucks (est. 1971)
We had agendas, and the first one happened to be the very first Starbucks. Check out this video of some really great bluegrass musicians set up outside of Starbucks: Street Musicians
The line was WAY too long to get in. I did purchase a couple of coffee mugs. I’m of the understanding that at one point the mugs sold in that specific Starbucks were exclusive to that store and could only be purchased at that store. Unfortunately it seems as though you can purchase the same mugs on ebay and a couple of other places on the web (probably due to people purchasing them from the store and then reselling them). It’s a bit more expensive but you can still buy them. It kind of takes the fun out of it ya know? Anyway, I was glad I purchased them and have that token memory. 🙂
Public Farmers Market
We tightly weaved in and out of the foot traffic as we made our way down the narrow isles of the market. There were TONS of people and it was a bit crowded but we ended up at the Public Farmers Market…you know, the place where they throw the fish! I apologize in advance, I didn’t realize it was turned sideways, but check out the video anyway: Farmers Market
This video isn’t turned sideways (thank goodness) but they are throwing the fish: Throwing Fish at Farmers Market They weren’t officially throwing fish at that moment but decided to do so for all of us tourists 🙂 That was nice. I also thought this sign was nice, “We only sell wild salmon caught by wild fishermen”. Very funny and cute!
I can’t tell you exactly how I felt seeing this. It would be like watching a movie that you were really in to and you’ve always loved, then at some point in life you were thrust into the very movie while they were making it. It’s like you’re star struck or something. It’s hard to explain. I’m standing there watching these guys do what I’ve seen them do in T.V. shows, movies, documentaries etc. It’s just a really neat experience and I’m so happy I witnessed it.
Just around the corner from the Farmers Market is the famous “Gum Wall” which has tons of pieces of chewing gum stuck to the walls. According to Wikipedia the tradition began around 1993 when patrons of Unexpected Productions’ Seattle Theatresports stuck gum to the wall and placed coins in the gum blobs. Theater workers scraped the gum away twice, but eventually gave up after the market officials deemed the gum wall a tourist attraction around 1999. My thoughts…it’s pretty disgusting.
There are street musicians around every corner. These two were perched next to a neat mural.
Ride the Ducks Tour
So we were definitely looking to take a tour, ESPECIALLY since this tour ride is in a bus/boat! That’s right, a bus/boat. It is a bus on land but turns into a boat when you go into the water! I was totally intrigued, so we got our tickets and hopped aboard, or whatever.
Our driving was very entertaining (I think all of them are). There weren’t a lot of facts and history provided but it was extremely entertaining. Check out these videos: Fantastic Voyage, Carly Rae Jepsen
Dad liked it but I don’t think it was his cup of tea. 🙂 .
You can purchase these little duck callers or toys at the gate and then when you get on the tour the driver tells you to quack them when he gives you the signal. It’s really silly but a lot of fun. Well eventually we were bound to go in the water. Look at this video to see it: Duck Boat Ride Also, I think I may have done a Cosby face in this. LOL
This was the MOST entertaining ride I’ve had when touring a city or place. It was so enjoyable and the Captain was really cool. Oh yeah, also, he was on the show The Deadliest Catch in 2005! He used to be a fisherman, but it was so dangerous doing that career that he left that job and decided to stay alive and be a tour guide. He was very nice and I hope when I take Miriam (my niece) to Seattle we will get his bus again. 🙂
5 Point Cafe & Bar
We decided to wrap up the day with some good grub from a local restaurant/cafe/bar that’s pretty iconic and has some good food. This place has been here for 85 years and is the oldest running family eatery in Seattle. Some rock stars and VIPS have been thrown out of the restaurant. This is the type of restaurant that does NOT cater to anyone. They are not, “The customer is always right” kind of place. Apparently the idea is: if you act like a jerk, then you get treated like a jerk. Not to mention there is a sign located somewhere that says, “We cheat tourists-n-drunks since 1929”. I couldn’t even tell you if they put that into play (which I’m sure they do) because I didn’t look at the tab for any discrepancies. I would venture to guess that they did so we just wont go there again. LOL Honestly I’m not interested in getting cheated. They have a cool place, and that’s nice but I’m not about to go back and get cheated, potentially a second time.
Unfortunately we did not get to do the Space Needle tour. By the time we got around to doing it the next shuttle was going up at 10:15 p.m. and we just couldn’t stay that late. We will go up the next visit which will be in a couple of weeks with my niece. That’s why this is part 1 🙂
So for anyone who has been to Seattle, what are some other great restaurants to go to? I’d really like something local and authentic that WON’T cheat me out of my money. What do we HAVE to do or see? We plan on doing the underground tour, Ride the Ducks, Ride the Monorail, and go up in the Space Needle. I’d like to get some feedback of any kind! Please comment below 🙂