This morning, my dad and I took the bus into Seattle. The plan was that we would leave mid-morning and walk around downtown doing some of the “touristy” stuff they have there. However, we left a bit later than originally planned, and we wound up on the last bus that was going over Mercer Island. Mercer Island is in between Renton and Seattle, and going around it would take about an hour. So we were really glad to catch the last bus. That was when things got fun…
It turns out that about a billion people wanted to go to Mercer Island to watch the air shows going on during the day. As such, our bus was packed with roughly 34,817 of them, and the rest were driving (slowly) in front of the bus. It took close to 45 minutes just to get *onto* Mercer Island and let the people off our bus who were staying. At this point, it was getting close to 12:45, the time at which they were going to close the bridges on and off of Mercer Island. Because the Blue Angels were flying, nobody was going to be able to drive (or even walk) on the bridges for several hours.
When I say it was getting close to 12:45, I mean that it was 12:40 when we were still about a mile from the exit where we needed to drop off the people staying on the island. Because traffic was so bad, it took us a full 5 minutes just to make it that mile. By then, those of us heading on to Seattle were all but shoving the rest of the passengers out the door in the hopes that we wouldn’t have to stay on Mercer Island for three hours. We barely managed to get the doors closed when the bus driver jerked away from the curb to make it past the barricade… we were the last vehicle through. I have to tell you, driving on a completely empty freeway is a surreal feeling.
Once we got to Seattle, my dad and I walked down to the water front and Pike Place Market. Pike Place is basically a big farmers’ market / tourist attraction. There are a lot of booths with people selling all kinds of flowers, food, and random stuff. We walked around for awhile and got some hot dogs from a vendor. While very good, they were probably the messiest hot dogs I have ever eaten… bar none.
After lunch, we walked around the waterfront for awhile, stopping in at the various shops and booths. In one curiosity shop, they had the mummified remains of two people. I don’t recall where the bodies were discovered, but they weren’t local. The owner of the store probably got them to add to the rest of the oddities.
Later, we bused across town to the Ballard Locks, a series of gates and pseudo-dams that ships use to move from one body of water to another. Basically, if a lake or river is at a different elevation than the other, locks are used to raise or lower ships to the level of the new area.
Also at the locks, we saw the salmon ladder. This is a way for salmon to swim upstream past the dam. Since salmon swim upstream every year, a dam seriously affects their ability to migrate. The ladder is a series of small waterfalls that the salmon swim up to reach the lake. It was pretty cool to watch.
On the way back home, we stopped in Bellevue for dinner at a pretty nice southwestern place. I can’t recall the name of it now, but the food was pretty dang good. Once home, I talked to Becca and went to bed.