Wednesday 17 June 2015

Road Trip Diary: Good morning Seattle!

Day 33
Olympia to Seattle
Friday 5th June 2015

On our way out of Olympia, we drove to Wolf Haven International, a non-profit sanctuary for captive wolves and coyotes. For $12 per person you get a 50 minute tour with a volunteer guide- in our group it was only us and one other person which meant we got to ask loads of questions like proper nerds. They take in displaced animals and are actively involved with other organisations to roll out species survival plans, specifically Red Wolves at the moment.
The wolves were amazing and Wayne, our guide, was a no-nonsense, very black and white guy who told us some horror stories about people buying/stealing wolf pups and trying to bring them up in houses. People are genuinely unbelievable. It was hugely educational and that's their whole aim, making sure the world knows that the ecosystem needs wolves and that humans should never try and tame them.
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We had a lot to fit in to today so we jumped back in the car and made our way to North Bend, an unassuming little town which David Lynch chose to play host to his cult hit Twin Peaks. Ed and I are big Twin Peaks fans so this place has been on our to-do list since the beginning of our planning. We stopped off for damn fine coffee and cherry pie at Twede's Cafe which, it has recently been confirmed, will be fully restored back to the Double R diner for the new series due out next year. We posed next the iconic mural out back by the dumpsters and headed to the road made famous in the credits shot. Just add a 'Welcome to Twin Peaks, population 51,201' sign and some barer trees and you're good to go.
We also popped to Snoqualmie Falls, which is also seen in the credits and was an awesome sight, just seeing it made me want to hum that theme music and dance in front of a red velvet curtain.

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We arrived in Seattle later that afternoon to beautiful weather and a warm welcome at our next Airbnb, a huge Victorian-era home in the Central District owned and run as a bed and breakfast by the lovely and amazing Melissa and Abil and their assistant Courtney. It was beautifully decorated and full of amazing vintage bits and pieces, which I loved. We got settled into our room and headed out for dinner at a local bar called Neighbour Lady which had great salads, pulled pork burgers and a decent happy hour. Chucks Hop Shop (a very busy, buzzing, fast-food style tap room) was on the way back so we took a look at some of the 50 (!) beers they currently have on tap and tucked into a couple before going home.

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Day 34
Saturday 6th June 2015

The Airbnb was in a great location and only a block from a bus stop, which was $2.50 each for 3 hours travel. It took us straight to downtown and we got off on 3rd Avenue near Pike Place Market, one of the biggest attractions in the city. Its a huge working food market and is famed for it’s enthusiastic fishmongers, who literally throw the fish at each other. We also came across the Gum Wall, another of Seattle’s iconic sights. It started as a few pieces of chewing gum left by Market Theater-goers and escalated into an entire alley covered in brightly covered sticky stuff, some artfully moulded into tiny masterpieces and initials. The sickly sweet scent and hoards of people spitting their gum out made us feel a little bit queasy so we took a few a few photos and got out of there. 

We were lucky enough to snag a couple of City Passes, a sort of voucher book for attractions, that another couple of Airbnb guests had left over because they had run out of time. We managed to get a free 1 hour harbour cruise which was a great way to see the city from afar in the sunshine. We also got a couple of free tickets for the Space Needle but more about that tomorrow. 

Abil, one of the Airbnb hosts, worked as a tour guide at Pike Brewing Company, a micro brewery nestled in alongside the market. Tours begin at 2pm on a Saturday and Abil gave us and the rest of the group a funny and fascinating look at the work that goes into their finest English-style craft beers. We drunk a couple of pints because it would have been rude not to and realised we were a bit knackered so headed back for a nap.
We’d seen that a band we both like, The Warlocks, were playing a gig at a venue called Lofi, so we’d booked tickets a couple of weeks earlier. I’ve really wanted to see more bands here but trying to find them to coincide with our dates of stay is pretty tricky, so this was really lucky. We shared a drink with our hosts in their glorious garden before ordering a cab via my Uber app which I was thrilled to see still worked in the big cities and it seems to be cheaper here somehow, considering it’s already quite cheap!
Lofi was a cool little venue with a bar and club area and then another room for the bands. We saw Birdstriking, a noise rock band from China, who were ace and then The Warlocks who, considering they’d had all of their equipment stolen a few nights previously in San Francisco, played a great set. We got pretty drunk on the $5 dollar drinks, took advantage of the old-school photo booth and called another Uber to ferry us home to sweet bed, knowing hangovers were coming our way.

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Day 35
Sunday 7th June 2015

Our last full day in Seattle started with, as I predicted, a couple of hangovers. We decided to do the Space Needle and called an Uber because we couldn’t even hack the easy bus into town. Yikes. We perked up a bit after a couple of excellent muffins made from scratch and some strong coffee courtesy of our hosts. 

The taxi driver was hilarious- he said he didn’t have many top tips for us apart from where to eat and was the second person to mention Ezell’s Chicken so we made a mental note for later and got in the queue for the Needle. Then the next queue. Then waited an hour for our allotted turn. Then came back and queued some more. Then queued for the lift until finally after nearly two hours, we were at the top. The view is spectacular and we were lucky to have a really clear, fog-free day so we could see for miles, including another view of Mount Rainier, looking magnificent and snow-capped. Then we jumped in another queue to go back down. It’s definitely worth doing but if we hadn’t had the free tickets (it’s normally between $18-28 per ticket) and due to the queues, I think we would have considered one of the cheaper views available via the Smith Tower Observation Deck which gets really good reviews. 

We grabbed a hotdog after touching down and decided to make like proper, fully-fledged tourists and buy a couple of tickets ($2.25 each) for the monorail. It was built for the World’s Fair in 1962 and although the ride only lasted a couple of minutes, it was really fun and had the feel of a 1960’s sci-fi b-movie. It’s just over the way from the Space Needle too which makes it all very convenient. 

We decided to try out Ezell’s Chicken for dinner so got the bus back and walked a couple of blocks to the heaving chicken shop. After tasting it, I knew why it was so busy, this place is a neighbourhood favourite. This was good fried chicken. We ordered way too much and ended up full and happy and sleepy so said goodnight to our hosts and Seattle, ready to leave bright and early the next day.

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