Washington and Oregon 2004

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Note: This travelog was written in 2018, so many details have long been forgotten since we took the trip.

Friday, December 24, 2004: Tom, Debbie, and Jill landed in an airport somewhere. But where?
These little salmon on the floor gave a clue.
This totem fish tells us that we must be in the Pacific Northwest. Yep, this is Sea-Tac Airport.
An hour later, we were in a rental car driving past the container port of Seattle.
We had our little mascot friend, Orchy, with us and he posed in front of the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project building.
Let's get a closer look at the cool exterior of the building.
Instead of visiting, we walked around Seattle Center, stopping in at the food court where this adorable Christmas train scene was on exhibit.
We had 6:00 reservations at the Space Needle, where we met up with Debbie's family.
Before dinner, we went to the observation deck to look at Seattle at night. This is the view toward the south, with West Seattle in the distance on the right.
Debbie's dad helped her set up a shot of ...
... Orchy on his binocular perch.
Here's the view to the north.
We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at SkyCity, the restaurant in the Space Needle. Here are Jill and her cousin, Stewart, ...
... and here are all eight of us.
The highlight of a dinner at the Space Needle is their signature dessert, the Lunar Orbiter.
It is a large ice cream sundae served on a bed of dry ice, and the kids love it. This dessert has been on the menu since the Space Needle first opened in the early 1960s.

Saturday, December 25, 2004: Merry Christmas!
Presents got opened.
Looks like Stewart's got some snorkeling in his future!
Jill recorded the action ...
... on our video camera.
Here are our hosts, Susan and Doug.
Stewart couldn't wait for us to open our package.
It was Jill's turn to open presents, ...
... then Stewart hit the videogame jackpot.
Wispy got some love from her mama, Susan.
We stepped outside for a few minutes, ...
... to do some stuff in the mild Seattle weather.
We went back inside to open more presents, ...
... and to play with Stewart's new games, ...
... and play some more.
Here's a heartwarming group photo of all of us.
Wispy was exhausted after a long day of looking adorable.
When it was dark, we went out for a little sightseeing, passing houses fully lit up for the season.
Our main destination was Doug's office, a software company that creates video games. The kids were immediately drawn to the arcade games in the breakroom.
The company was pitching to get the rights to develop a game for "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe." Part of their pitch involved building an actual wardrobe that led to the conference room. Debbie's dad tried it first, ...
... then Debbie's brother.
Here's Doug's office. Those are classic 3M Bookshelf games on the left behind the red stapler Debbie gave him.
The walls show some of the games that the company has released.
Here are some more, ...
... and even more.
We said hello to Aragorn before we left.

Sunday, December 26, 2004: The next day, Tom, Debbie, and Jill headed back into the city to do some sightseeing.
We spent an hour or so going through the Experience Music Project museum. Orchy was there.
We also visited the Science Fiction Museum, which is part of the same complex.
Here's the excellent entrance.
We rode one of the rides at the Seattle Center.
Hang on, everyone!
Then we rode the monorail from Seattle Center ...
... to Westlake Center.
We looked around a bit, then came right back so we could fit in a quick visit to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop before returning to Woodinville.
Back at Doug and Susan's, Tom had a book, a beer, and a lap kitty. He was all set.

Monday, December 27, 2004: We headed back into the city again, but this time, all eight of us went.
We went to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard. There were no salmon in the fish ladders there, ...
... but we did get to see a couple of frolicking seals ...
... and several boats going through the locks.
In the distance was the train bridge, ...
... and we saw an Amtrak train pass by. Eight years later, we were on the same route.
We found these cool sculptures on the other bank of the water, ...
... so we took this opportunity to take a group photo. That's Stewart's little friend Tyler to the right of Jill.
Here's a better look at the lock chambers, ...
... and here's the view back to Salmon Bay which leads to Lake Union, and then Lake Washington beyond that.
Let's watch a boat going through the locks. The gates behind it were opened, ...
... then it moved into position, ...
... and the gates closed behind it.
The water started to be lowered, ...
... and lowered some more, ...
... until the boat was ready to exit out the other set of gates.
We spotted some seaplanes overhead.
After visiting the locks, ...
... we went into the Administration building.
The back of the building leads into ...
... the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens.
The view up the hill in the Gardens provided a nice view back toward the locks.
Debbie got a photo of Doug ...
... getting a photo of Debbie, as is their tradition.
We strolled through the Gardens, ...
... but some of us did less strolling and more playing.
We had lunch at the Lockspot Cafe, right next to the Locks parking lot.
Here are Stewart, Jill, and Tyler, ...
... Becky and Bob, ...
... and Tom and Debbie.
Jill checked out the selections on the jukebox.
Mount Rainier was looking beautiful on our drive back to Woodinville.
That evening, we played a round of Dirty Bingo, a long-standing Schilling family tradition.
We were joined by family friends Gary and Marley.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004: After a nice visit, it was time to say farewell to family and the parakeet.
We struck out on our own in our rental car. We drove through the Cascades ...
... which were shrouded in fog.
We stopped often along the way to enjoy the view ...
... and Jill chronicled quite a bit of it with her videocamera.
We caught a glimpse of Mt. Rainier in the distance.
We reached the Oregon border ...
... and crossed over to Biggs Junction. Welcome to Oregon!
We drove through the Columbia River Gorge, ...
... then followed the Historic Columbia River Highway to ...
... the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004: We spent the night at the Hood River Inn.
The rooms had a nice waterfront view and we took a short stroll to the waterfront before checking out.
It had snowed the night before so it was a beautiful scene.
Orchy helped us visit Horsetail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
There's a beautiful restaurant at the base of the largest of the waterfalls along the Gorge, Multnomah Falls.
Behold beautiful Multnomah Falls.
We followed a trail up the side to get closer to the water.
Here's the view back to the restaurant and visitor center.
There are more beautiful waterfalls along the drive.
We continued through Portland and through the mountains to the Oregon coast, where we stopped briefly at Cannon Beach.
Here's the famous Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach.
Next, we visited Fort Clatsop in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where costumed interpreters portrayed Lewis and Clark and their team. We learned 19 years later when we returned that this was a special event that only happened during Christmas break and for a week during the summer, and is no longer being done.
In the trading room of the fort, two traders traded for modern day items offered by the children who visited.
Jill was able to trade some lip balm for a hair ribbon ("to make her prettier so she could attract a husband") once they determined that the lip balm could be used as moccasin grease. Her first offer, a picture of a squirrel, was rejected: "What use would I have for a painting of a squirrel?"
We left the fort and headed to the town of Astoria.
Here's the lovely Liberty Theater.
We continued to the Lewis and Clark Bridge, crossed over into Washington, and drove north to Olympia.
We had dinner with Debbie's friend Gillian before spending the night in Olympia.

Thursday, December 30, 2004: We visited the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Renton just before we had to fly back home.
Tom visited the mock control room while ...
... Debbie won this round of "Maersk" by spotting this container in the distance. Final score at the end of the trip: Tom - 1 (Seattle pier), Jill - 1 (Seattle pier, different section), Debbie - 2 (this win and a truck in the Cascades). Confused? Read the Maersk rules and you can play too!
Here's an overview of the museum's Apollo exhibit.
Here's a whole bunch of planes. Some look like they go really fast.
Jill got to sit in one of the faster-looking ones.
Tom played a simulator in which he tried to capture a satellite using an MMU.
Tom and Jill rode a simulation ride.
They buckled themselves in and they were off!
They're twisting ...
... and turning ...
... and probably feeling a bit queasy.
A monitor next to the ride showed the scene that the riders were seeing.
Whew! They survived!
The museum has a vintage Air Force One, ...
... and a Concorde.
We went into the Concorde interior and it was really, really small.

A short time later, we were back at Sea-Tac checking out the traveling fish on the floor before flying home.

** THE END **

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