Due West Please… Day 1 in Seattle WA

Thursday June 7th: Flew from Nashville to Denver – late after layover with weather delays & we didn’t arrive in Seattle until 12:45 am local time ( 2:45 am cst ) – exhausted & worn out . Starting getting sort of “goofy” with the fatigue… and laughing at the ridiculous pattern of Rental Car companies and Hotel’s trying to talk us into buying “more” or  “up selling” us everything they could along the way… felt like a consumer epidemic as we stumbled from the sleek Avis Seattle Airport counter into the local airport Hilton – terrible & funny all at the same time… after 23 hours on your feet, it was a bit aggravating to say the least. Thank God for the black out curtains on the windows of our room. I noticed Jessica was giddy and excited. Texting each step of the way. But we were in Seattle !

Top Pot Donuts ! Oh My

Friday June 8th: Tried to sleep in… but too excited. We were up by 8am pacific time – headed out for downtown Seattle & some sight-seeing. Jessica had some plans for us to find local eateries from her Diners – Drive In’s and Dive’s research 🙂

Surprised by the shift in weather, we had to grab some light jackets… it was a typical Seattle morning…partly cloudy & cool (55F) After a cow attacked our GPS (ask Jessica) we were finally able to figure a way north to the city and grabbed our cameras as we drove down into the bay of Seattle, gray clouds parting briefly so we could snap some pics of its famous skyline and the space needle. Magnificent ! After a few minutes of one-way navigating, we found and visited the original Top Pot Donuts ! Beautiful, deliciousness  with an extra heap of Awesome thrown on top! We gorged on donuts, coffee, milk and a Ovaltine Latte (house special) combined with several huge donuts ranging from a cinnamon & sugar to an old-fashioned chocolate and raspberry icing cake ! Supercool and eclectic modern vibe that felt authentic and perfectly preserved from the 50’s until today – ( A MUST VISIT if you go) WE LOVED IT 🙂

 Buzzing from the sugar and caffeine we decided to go a few blocks to the west and slowly zigged our way to the waterfront & the famous Pikes Place Market : full of beautiful and iconic flowers & thrown fish & hundreds of super fun and artistic Seattle trinket shops sprinkled along the crest of the hill near the bay. Smells and sights were terrific, but lots of tourists and lots of stuff all at once… we liked it, but moved on.

We saw lots and lots of great artists paintings, photographs,  eateries and of course the original Starbucks Coffee was right on Pike Street…itty bitty in size, but what a huge impact its flavor and style of coffee had made on the world! remarkable to consider…

We decided we were ready for some out of the city adventures, it was time to head for our car and the Olympic Peninsula. So we caught the Washington State ferry  (a version of a water bus that carries cars and people) to cross the bay to the west and save us hundreds of miles of driving. After sampling some local waterfront cuisine ( fish & chips from local chain of “Ivars”) at the ferry terminal, we walked the downtown waterfront and enjoyed the blend of building styles…the old and the modern, stone and glass and steel. A mixture of western and asian and classic architectures all in one unique location that we call Seattle!

We were soooo excited to be here.  (Somewhere between eating Fish and Chips and boarding the Ferry…it seems that Jessica ‘accidently” took someone’s RayBan sunglasses from the eatery we enjoyed, thinking they were her own…At least, that’s what she claims…?  🙂

After we ate…the ferry left with us on it and the grey skies started to lift as the  sun slowly came out. We were treated to a spectacular golden view of the Seattle skyline as we slowly chugged across Puget Sound to Bainbridge island! The sun stayed out for five or six minutes and then quietly left as quickly as it had appeared.

Our View of Seattle on the Ferry

Perfect and Surreal at the same time, it was clear we had arrived in another world. 24 hours ago we were in Nashville TN, 97F and not a cloud in the sky… but today we were on the Pacific ocean, shivering in our light jackets as the sea spray blew across the ferry deck…Crazy Cool !

This epic Road Trip had really begun… and we were stoked to find out where it would lead…. WoooHooo!

I’ll post our second and third days full adventure and how we found the perfect Lodge on the perfect lake…a gift from God just for Jessica; Tomorrow…

Peace out RTP !

Loving our last Great “Daddy – Daughter” Date!

Fresh back from my week-long West Coast RoadTrip… I’m still processing. But I had a throughly enjoyable time exploring the unknown. It was just the two of us (my oldest and I)  in a rental car, no firm plans…simply a general desire to see the sights and wander around uncovering the treasures and tastes sure to be found along the 3000 miles and seven days of open road ahead. We had only brought along the basic clothing essentials, a camera, smartphone (of course)and my favorites…Red Vines, Coffee, Cornuts and a map.

Jessica and Dad at Crater Lake 2012

Jessica now eighteen years old… fresh from her High School Graduation, had planned the basics of the trip six months earlier in the year… She wanted to visit Olympic National Park, the iconic city of Seattle and then drive the Pacific Northwest Coastline south to California and a stop at Yosemite. After that it was a bit vague… so we improvised and drove each day feeling our way south and pacing ourselves as the weather and coastline allowed.

What follows is a bit of introspective dialogue from of a father and a journaling of the places we saw and the things we did. All of it was exactly as it was meant to be and maybe the most bittersweet for me. I was aware that his epic roadtrip may be destined in fact to become our last great… “Daddy- Daughter” Date ! 😦

It’s important to note that in our house… the legacy of the Road Trip is a serious thing and the pattern of having regular “Daddy – Daughter” dates is over a decade old. I’ve been dating my daughters since they were able to walk… starting with tea parties, and wacky singing teddy bear karaoke at bedtime and growing into movie matinees’ with Chucky Cheese or Sonic Ice Creams and eventually becoming full on dinner dates at nice restaurants and special escapes to the beach or to a favorite city for a surprise weekend away.

So… for my oldest, watching her graduation day looming and knowing that she would be leaving our home this fall to start college, she was aware that in that transition… our Road Trip was waiting. A symbolic and treasured tradition that would mark in part the passing of one season to another.… the coming of age of a young-woman as she moves from the safety of her familiar world into the uncertainties and challenges of the unknown world of University life.

And of course… this RoadTrip would offer us both a chance to discover and taste of the spectacular beauty and culture of the Pacific Northwest…up front, close and personal…together. Just the two of us. Free from the constraints of a scheduled life and responsibilities…just the liberty of the open road and the power of a “whim” to redirect our way at a moments notice.

Ahhh… the lifelong lure of the Road Trip, about to be passed to my oldest. Life is good. 🙂

So much for the introduction… as you may have guessed, things didn’t “Quite” go as planned and my assumptions and her’s were about to be “updated” as we sorted out the realities from the fantasy and re-connected as father and daughter along the way. Exactly what the Road Trip is so famous for doing on our family, in my life… and if you take the risk… YOURS.

Blessings RTP Families…. part 1 of our seven-day epic trip will post  next monday. ( 6- 25-12)

Follow along next week with us as we uncover some spectacular beauty. Starting from the soggy, lush green Rainforests of Northwest Washington State and following the iconic Hwy 101 into Oregon’s rugged coastline to the arid and harsh high Sierra’s of North-Eastern California and everything in-between. Find out where to stop for food and where to keep on moving… and laugh and cry with us as I share some of the personal discoveries that can only come from spending 192 hours alone with your oldest child… Buckle up tight, it’s sure to be a wild ride 🙂