We woke Sunday, got ready for the day, went down to the continental breakfast and toasted a bagel and brought it back to the room. In anticipation of the bagel being the only vegan option we brought some fresh ground peanut butter from home to accompany it.
While waiting for our friends to get ready we got in the car to find a Starbucks. The hotel coffee was weak at best.
By the time we got back everyone was ready for the day. We decided on heading back into Seattle to the waterfront as Jared was really interested in touring the USS Halsey. Tours were free.
Off we went. Parking was found after minimal fuss and we headed towards the ship.
|(First stop - wrong pier)|
Andrew asked some heavily armed men where we needed to be for the tour and they directed us to Pier 66 - the one with the line.
As we were walking to Pier 66 we noticed the HMCS Oriole was also docked and they displayed a sign stating free tours. In case they wondered why no one actually took them up on the offer, there was absolutely no way we could find to get down to the ship. No signs on the pier, no directions, nothing.
|(HMCS Oriole - nice to see the Canadian Flag)|
The HMCS Oriole according to Wikipedia, is a 31 meter (101 feet) sailing ketch based out of CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, BC and is currently the oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy. Read the entire article by clicking this link ----> link.
We lined up and began to wait. It was nice and sunny. Everyone waiting in line seemed to be in a good mood. Someone from the ship's crew volunteered to dress up in a bull mascot outfit and work the crowd.
|(She volunteered for it)|
We asked one of the Officers that were walking with her why the bull mascot. We were informed that the bull represents Fleet Admiral William "Bull" Halsey Jr. His motto was "Hit hard, hit fast, hit often." The bull and the motto are depicted on the Halsey Crest.
Our view from the line:
|(Looking left towards the USS Halsey)|
|(Looking right towards the very large Norwegian Pearl cruise ship)|
I must say that cruise ship was huge. Having never been that close to one before I was surprised. It was interesting watching them load it with provisions. We laughed when we saw the boxes of instant ramen noodles being delivered. Not what I'd expect on a cruise. Maybe it was for the crew.
|(Norwegian Pearl cruise ship)|
While standing in line I noticed the pattern of the railings and windows of a restaurant. I had to take a picture.
|(Anthony's restaurant - one of my favorite pics from the trip)|
While looking into the water we noticed a few starfish - one that was missing a leg, and also a mama (or daddy) raccoon and it's baby that came out from under the pier to wash their paws then disappear again.
|(Poor starfish - it will grow back I'm sure)|
|(Rare to see raccoons out during the day)|
|(Baby following behind)|
There was a small wading pool on the pier and animals two-legged and four gathered to cool off.
|(Cool water feels so good)|
|(Was fun to watch him bite at the waves)|
Standing in line we could see the security check point. Full fatigues, machine guns and bullet proof vests. Those must have been so hot.
|(That had to be hot - and I don't mean sexy)|
After an hour or so of waiting in line it was time for us to enter. They were taking us through in groups of 25-28. Show your picture ID to get through the gate, then sit down for a quick orientation. From there it was through the metal detectors and purse x-ray screening area, sign your name and rejoin the group.
View while standing on the dock waiting to board.
|(A large ship with large guns)|
|(The black and white flag means the Captain is not on board)|
|( one MK45 MOD 4 5"/62 caliber gun mount)|
|(Using Windows 2000 Professional, really, they were)|
|(They wouldn't let us play this video game)|
|(Oh my, that is a large 'gun' you have there)|
|(Navy personnel with machine gun on Coast Guard vessel deterring bad guys)|
|(Pretty lady with a big gun chatting with Troubadour)|
|(Quick self portrait as we were waiting to leave the dock)|
(While on the dock we were escorted to and from the ship by Navy Officers)
I am not a fan of war so it was good to hear that the destroyer, based out of San Diego, had recently returned from a tour in the gulf protecting people from pirates. 24 people were rescued. Good for them.
We were all very hungry when leaving the ship so we decided on lunch at Anthony's Restaurant. It is right on the pier we'd seen the food being served as we were standing in line before the tour.
There wasn't a lot on the menu that was vegan but what we found was delicious and it turns out was the best food we'd eat all weekend. Troubadour and I each had a house salad with wasabi vinaigrette and a side dish of asian coleslaw and then shared the edamame. It is great when you can eat off the appetizer menu. Our bill, including Troubadour's $5 pint of Kiltlifter Ale, was only $18 (plus tax and tip).
On the way out of the restaurant I noticed Mojo the Coho. A coho salmon statue who's body was made from baseballs. According to the sign, 51 of them were signed by the coaches and staff of the record setting 2001 Seattle Mariners.
|(Mojo the Coho)|
After lunch we wandered towards Pike Place once again for a quick look see. On the way I decided that if I ever go back to apartment or condo living I'd want to live in a place like this:
|(Beautiful views of the waterfront)|
......or the one beside it. This one would do nicely too.
|(Love all the patios with plants and pergolas)|
I am continually amazed at the quality of the flowers on sale at Pike's Place. There were very vivid bouquets at the stalls inside but too many people to stop and take a picture. I did manage to stop at one of the stalls outside though.
|(Gorgeous Oriental lilies)|
|(Colorful bouquets - these were only $5 a bunch)|
Our friends were getting a little tired and the sun was getting to them so we decided to go back to the hotel and relax a bit. They had a nap and we weren't tired so we headed off driving. Yes, we found a Starbucks for a cold yummy coffee - since it was over 90˚F, then wandered a few shops. Nothing too exciting.
We had a late dinner at Red Robin (nothing to write home about) and after some visiting in the hotel lobby until late called it a night. The next morning after breakfast we all said our goodbyes and promised not to wait another 9 years before we see each other again. I think camping would be great fun for the next meet up.
On the way home we stopped at Native Foods Cafe in Bridgeport Village, just south of Portland. Whenever we are through that area at mealtime we try to stop by. It is an entirely vegan restaurant and so nice to be able to pick whatever we want off the menu. We each had the special. The only food porn of the trip. Check out their menu by clicking this link ----> link.
|(Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of lemon-dill potato salad)|
(Had to eat the battered pickle chips before putting the two halves of the burger together)
|(Everything is made in house from the grain based meats to the sauces)|
We washed it all down with some Native Iced Tea (organic hibiscus and wild berry tea sweetened with agave and made fresh daily) It was so good and we were so stuffed by the time we left. Good thing we went and wandered around REI for a bit. From REI we drove home. Basil was glad to see us and immediately wanted outside. Well actually I think he wanted to eat then go outside.
We had a great trip but were very happy to be home and sleep in our own bed.
- Au Revoir
"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." - Emily Dickinson.