Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Seattle Post-Trip Report

First, let me just say that the seats on the 757s of United are much more cramped than the 737s of Southwest. I could not even open my computer on my lap once the person in front of me laid his head in my lap. I much prefer Southwest even if finding a seat is like a cattle call.

Our arrival in Seattle was greeted by the greatest traffic jam of all time. Apparently there had been a major fatality accident south of us that shut down all lanes of southbound traffic (along the route from the airport to Gig Harbor, our first destination). Traffic delays were roughly 3 hours and there was no realistic alternate route to Gig Harbor (short of turning around and heading north and waiting in line for a ferry...another 3-4 hour alternative). We did eventually get to the boat sales office before it closed and saw the boat that we flew all this way to see (the owner had just dropped the price significantly...we were interested in the boat at the higher price, so the drop necessitated quick action on our part, before others became more interested). We took the traffic jam to be our first sign that this boat was not meant to be ours. The boat itself was marginal...it had many nice attributes but the layout was cramped and it needed a lot of work.

Ultimately, we rescinded our offer on that boat and made an offer on another that was very different from the first. I think we finally tired of looking at what I like to call "classic" boats...boats that are beautiful on the outside but not always so nice on the inside, requiring lots of maintenance and upkeep. I like to call them the '57 Chevys of the boat world. While dropping off an application for the waiting list at a marina in Seattle where we hope to moor any boat we end up with, I stopped in a broker's office to inquire about a boat he had posted in his window. While that boat wasn't at his dock, he did offer to show me another that was that he "thought I might like." My husband was down at the market while I ran this little errand, but I went ahead and took a peek at the boat. While on the boat, my husband called to ask where I was..."um, I'm standing on a beautiful boat, wishing you were here." To which he responded, "come get me, I want to see it too!" So off I went to pick him up, telling the broker to keep the boat open for us to look at together. Although the boat was more modern than others we had been looking at, it had all the features we desire...a large cockpit (for enjoying picnics on the water with friends and family), an open layout, nice galley, lots of storage, simple rigging for easier sailing (preferably something that either one of us could handle on our own if we had to), and an overall comfortable feeling. I know we would enjoy living on and sailing this boat. We had never been on a Catalina boat before, so we went to our hotel that evening and did some research and found nothing but good owner reviews and other good reports on this American built boat (most of the boats we've looked at were built in Taiwan). We went back the next day and made an offer. The owner has already made a counter offer that is very generous. I pray that we make the right decision on this.

Boats aside, we had a great trip to Seattle. I absolutely love this area. In addition to the water and beautiful sailing opportunities, my favorite part of Seattle is this (I must have drooled over the beautiful and very cheap(!) flower "bokays" for hours, while nibbling on several pounds of cherries, blueberries, raspberries and figs):

(Pike Place Market - Home of the Flying Fish and Rachel, the pig)
(One of many flower "bokay" vendors - $4.60 gets you a huge bokay)
(Live Music in front of the world's first Starbucks - Three Dog Mafia)

Here are some virtual gifts for my friends, from my favorite store in the country, located in the eclectic Seattle neighborhood of Ballard (Archie McPhee's):

For Adam, at Isoglossia, a new Zombie rubber ducky for playing in the public fountain; and for Jen, the Patron Saint of Television for more quality TV!

Our timing on the return trip from Seattle could not have been more perfect. Monday at 3:00 pm PST, Air Force One landed at Sea-Tac airport. And Monday at 3:00 pm, we arrived at Sea-Tac for our economy class departure. Which meant lots of traffic (again) and delays getting out of town. It's hard to imagine living a President's life in which entire freeways have to be cleared and shut down everywhere you go. Sadly, we understand that a police officer lost his life in a motorcade accident. We only had one scare inside the airport...while clearing security, stripped of half of our clothes (or at least our shoes and jackets), we heard a loud explosion. It took a few seconds to register what was happening. We finally realized that something (a bullet?!) had caused the inch and a half thick (bullet proof?) glass wall that shielded security officers from the public to shatter and crumble to the ground. Startled airport security officers took quick action and...got out a broom to sweep up the mess. I know! What if it was a sniper? Doesn't this warrant a little bit of hysteria or something? Maybe a lock down of the area and a call for backups? I mean, the President is somewhere in the building, you know. But no. We were told to get our shoes back on (to protect our feet from the broken glass) and keep moving. My beloved husband claimed he felt "the bullet" swoosh past his ear right before the glass exploded. What a joker, that one. We still don't know what really happened.

And that, in a nutshell, was our weekend. I wish there were a lot more like that one.

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At 10:18 AM, August 29, 2007, Blogger beth said...

The Catalina sure is pretty (that's the one you linked to, right?) Makes me wish I got less seasick than I inevitably do. :)

Sounds like a fun trip - airport scares not withstanding.

At 7:06 PM, August 29, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Beth, I sure hope I don't get sea sick easily. ;-)

At 10:14 PM, August 29, 2007, Blogger Janie said...

That boat is gorgeous!!!

And the trip sounds lovely...we love Seattle.

I think I already said that once.

We love Seattle.

Just sayin'....

At 7:56 AM, August 30, 2007, Blogger John B. said...

I've not had a chance to read blogs in a while, so it's good to a) be able to visit yours and b) read this cheerful post.

Nothing profound from me to say; just, you know, Hey there.

At 2:02 PM, August 30, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

Wow, Gwynne. That's a heck of a weekend trip. Guess all that traffic-waiting made the bid easier to place. So you two are really stone-cold serious about this? Can you do the trans-Atlantic thing with this sailboat?

Can you detect the green-gilled envy look I have plastered on my face? Do you need an extra body to be used as ballast or chum?

At 1:45 PM, September 01, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Janie, we'll be sure to invite you up when we've made our move...we might need an extra deck hand or two. ;-)

John, thanks for stopping by...I've been taking a bit of an unplanned break from blogging lately and not reading as much either, so plans to peruse your sites again this weekend are underway.

Darko, asking if we can do the trans-Atlantic thing with this sailboat is akin to asking if we could orbit the earth on the Space Shuttle. I'm sure the craft is worthy of the mission, but whether we are capable of manning it has yet to be tested. Of course, the simple answer that my husband would give you is, "YES!" And we may well need a few extra hands for that journey when the time comes. I'll be sure to keep you posted. ;-)

At 7:02 AM, September 02, 2007, Blogger Foo said...

"I like to call them the '57 Chevys of the boat world."

Perfect metaphor. The classics always hold a special place in our hearts and might be nice for cruising the local main drag, but if you want to take off for a trip across the country, you want something newer that won't require periodic stops for transmission replacements along the way.

Proceeding (pre-ceeding?) backward to glean the history of this whole boat business...


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