Saturday, September 27, 2014

A visit to Seattle Pt 4 – Nisqually Wildlife Refuge


Sunday morning we only had a little energy left, and decided to spend it on a short hike at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, which was really close to where we had camped in Lacey, WA.





It was very pretty, but there weren’t a lot of birds to be seen, at least not in the parts we were at. We only walked in about half a mile, to the twin barns, since we had forgotten sunscreen. The part we walked was mostly on the shady boardwalk.



We saw cool trees,







And frogs.





Finally we got to the barns, which were pretty cool – for old barns.




For a second I thought I hadn’t gotten pictures of both of them, but they are different, just very much alike!


Once we realized the rest of the walk would be out in the open sun, we headed back via the shady walkway again. Visiting a refuge is a much more contemplative visit than running around at air museums or photographing downtown.




This was a nice way to end our vacation!



A visit to Seattle Pt 3 – We finally arrive in Seattle


We rolled out of the Air Museum headed for Tacoma, but before we could even get on the freeway we had to turn around and go back, when we drove by what appeared to be a giant hat and boots.




Hmmm. Yup, gonna have to confirm that one. It’s the Hat ‘n’ Boots in Oxbow Park.



Damn big boots!



Well, that was unexpected and fun – on to Seattle proper!

You can’t go to Seattle without taking lots of pictures of the Space Needle. I think there’s a law…




And of course every angle is more interesting with this monstrosity, er, I mean, creative-looking building next to it.



I does make for interesting pictures!








Neat reflections!





Chihuly glass sculptures




After wandering around the Space Needle for a bit we decided to head up to Kerry Park, because I heard it was THE place to get a great shot of Seattle. We knew it would be really crowded, as it’s a tiny park, and you have to park blocks away and walk to it.



There were tons of people there already, taking pictures. We even saw foreigners taking selfies with their cameras held out on long sticks to get a better view of themselves! I guess they didn’t want to hand their phone to strangers to snap a pic for them? Anyway, we worked our way around and found a spot with a view to snap a few pics at.



Totally worth it. Seattle with Mt Rainier in the background, and sailboats and ferries on Elliot Bay.



Closer view of Seattle (with a little tweaking to make it pop!)



I wanted some sunset/night shots, so we decided to go to dinner to kill some time. Our favorite restaurant, The Keg, was not very far away, so we headed there, going over the floating bridge…which was open for boat traffic!



Well, that was fun. Don’t get to stop on a bridge, get out and walk around everyday!

Back to Seattle after dinner



Still lots of people at Kerry Park, possibly MORE than during the daytime. Or it just felt like it because now they all had tripods for night shots. I brought my tripod too, just for this! So I had to just be patient and wait for a spot to open up. I aimed for this grassy area below the main viewing rail and waited to squeeze in there.



Again..Totally worth it!



I’m really impressed with the quality I’m getting from my Nikon 5100 and kit lens. For a cheap little DSLR, I think it does pretty well. Check out the close up!



That was enough fun for one day. We had to pack it in, since when you take a weekend trip, you really only have Saturday to play. Well, Saturday, and maybe a tiny bit of Sunday. Coming up next – Sunday!



Friday, September 26, 2014

A visit to Seattle Pt 2 – The Museum of Flight


After finishing with the zoo we headed for our next stop. Well, first we took a meandering trip through Tacoma, admiring all the vintage houses overlooking the amazingly blue water of Commencement Bay – seriously, the most beautiful blue I’ve ever seen! Did I get a picture? Well of course not! I kept thinking we were going to stop somewhere but got caught up in traffic and swept off course onto a freeway before we had a chance. Maybe next time!

We continued north to the Museum of Flight. Knowing the museum would take most of the rest of the day, and not wanting to have to eat a museum-dog for lunch, we stopped at an amazing little thai restaurant in Sounthcenter,  Bai Tong, which was fabulous! We split a Pad Thai and a Crispy Garlic Chicken and it was all amazing! This is our first major trip with a smartphone, and we never would have stumbled into this restaurant tucked away in a strip mall without it’s help!

Full and happy we continued to the museum. Now I love animals and nature, but I also love engineering and machines, and particularly airplanes! I grew up near Portland International, and it was a regular no-money-fun outing to go hang out at the fenceline and watch the planes come and go.

First thing you see as you approach from the parking lot:


Ah, who doesn’t love a B-17?




Followed by something a little more Cold War…



The engines seemed so small for what they had to do.



There was also a restored B-29 Superfortress which would have been a lot more impressive if it hadn’t been shrink-wrapped for protection from the elements.



According to the signs, this plane spent time being used as an artillery target before it was rescued and restored! I would love to see more pictures of it before the restoration started – I can’t imagine something used for target practice would even be a candidate for restoration!



We walked around the front of the building and spotted this Intruder, same type of plane one of our college professors had worked on back in the day.





A Harrier…



And looking into the gaping maw of a MiG



It was getting hot, time to head inside…








This may actually BE the definition of OVERLOAD!



So many planes!



And pieces of planes!



Some of our favorites:

The Blackbird



The Electra (same kind of plane as Amelia Earhart disappeared in)



Polished like a mirror!



Once we’d had our fill of eyeballing on the planes in the main display area it was time to head over the skybridge



What’s on the other side?



How about a Concorde?



They have a nice Space museum section, including the Space Shuttle Training mockup from NASA, with a very nice display showing it in use in it’s glory days. Next best thing to an actual space shuttle. Definitely gives you a feel for how big the shuttle really is.



But the good stuff is parked out on the tarmac…



Like Air Force One



Since we love Mid-century design, there was lots to love in this Airstream-like interior of wood paneling and aluminum trim.


Bunks (not for the Prez, he had his own space)



Crowded little conference room.



And the President’s office even had a little doggie door!



Back out in the hot hot sun we got to see the first 737



The Concorde



And my favorite – the first 747! I have a soft spot for 747s for some reason. I think I had a book about it’s design when I was a kid – after all, it was new then. And then it was featured in the Airport movies, and it’s so distinctive when you see one. Anyway, we couldn’t go on that one, had to admire it from the ground.



So we were hot and tired and ready for a break. Time to head to Seattle…