G is for Grandeur – #atozchallenge

The United States is a vast and diverse country. From sea to shining sea there are sweeping vistas and spectacular scenes of nature.

The grandeur of this country is not seen on the interstate highways, but on the back roads and the gravel roads that have woven the fiber of this country.

Grandeur as seen on a back road in North Dakota – The Enchanted Highway
Mt. Moran in the Grand Tetons as seen from Colter Bay Lodge

I am always awestruck by the superb landscapes that one can witness on the back roads. Some of these landscapes, such as the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains, are known by everybody. But there are so many more spectacles to feast your eyes upon.

When speaking of grandeur, perhaps one of my most favorite locations is Monument Valley in the northwest corner of Arizona and the southwest corner of Utah. Located within the Navajo Indian reservation, this amazing natural wonder has been the backdrop for many movies and television commercials. And one can only stand in a location or another and must turn their head from left to right to catch the full glory of this spectacular wonder of nature.

Visiting Monument Valley with my family in 1993
Coal Mine Canyon in Arizona
Sumoflam at Coal Mine Canyon in Arizona in 1990
Coal Mine Canyon in Arizona, ca. 1983

Not too far from there and also on the Navajo Reservation is a much lesser known, but in another way very spectacular sight. Called Coal Mine Canyon, it is a hidden gem off of a two lane highway east of Tuba City, AZ.

Coal Mine Canyon is filled with a variety of HooDoos…ghost like rock formations that can form eerie shadows and spooky formations at night.  The view goes on for miles into Blue Canyon.  In any other state, this might be a National Park or Monument.  It is just one more canyon in Arizona.

Sitting high up on Mt. Evans in Colorado in 1990 looking down at a crystal lake,

Head north into Colorado and take a ride up to Mount Evans north of Denver. Nearly 13,000 feet up, it offers up an amazing view of the mountains and lakes below.

The Beartooth Range in northern Wyoming.
At Beartooth Level — looking at the mountains from the top of the world

Not to be outdone in the words of grandeur, is the scenic highway that traverses the Bear Tooth Range along the Montana and Wyoming border. I have only been there once and it was in the very early spring on the first day the road was open. There were still piles of snow on both sides of the road. But the expanse of the mountains left me in awe.

 

An antelope and her calves run through the grasslands near Craig, CO
SD 63, a gravel road, runs through northern South Dakota’s grasslands and badlands

But grandeur is not just mountains or spectacular geologic formations. I can drive through the plains of North Dakota or South Dakota and experience miles and miles of grasslands.

I have driven through these great plains in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. To some, the drive through these vast grasslands might be considered boring. To me, the vast expanse of grasslands is stunning.

The Oyate Trail highway in southern South Dakota
Wide Open Spaces near Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Mountains and grasslands near Glacier National Park and Bynum, Montana
Expansive views across Wyoming
Sandhill Cranes fly over high plains near Dell, MT
Expansive corn fields in central Missouri
Atlantic Sunrise in Maine

Then there is the grandeur of the oceans. I have been blessed to have been able to see the Pacific Ocean from the northern parts of Washington and Oregon all the way to the coast in Southern California. I have also seen the Atlantic Ocean from points in Maine all the way south to Florida. The amazing sunrises and sunsets over the water provide unspeakable grandeur and a glorious feeling.

Like the oceans, the Gulf of Mexico offers similar sights. Nothing like witnessing the spectacle flocks of pelicans flying in sync overhead.

Christmas sunrise near Ocean City, Maryland with a dolphin swimming by
Waves crash on the Pacific Ocean in the northwestern-most point in the continental US near Neah Bay, WA
Brown pelicans fly in synchronized formation over the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, TX
A hoodoo at Hell’s Half Acre in Wyoming

The most gratifying part of experiencing grandeur for me is that every back road and numbered highway offers a peek at splendid views. One needs only crest to the top of a hill and laid out before your eyes are wonderful scenes like that of Hells Canyon in Oregon, or in Hell’s Half Acre in the middle of Wyoming. Drive along a two Lane highway in the eastern United States in the fall and you get to the top of the hill and see nothing but spectacular fall colors as far as the eye can see.

 

Hell’s Half Acre in Wyoming
Hells Canyon in northeast Oregon is actually wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon
View of Cincinnati, OH

But the grandeur is not just in nature. From a different perspective, the views of the skyline of a big city offers its own brand you were. Whether enjoying the skyline of Manhattan from across the river in Hoboken, NJ to witnessing the scene of riverine cities such as Pittsburgh or Cincinnati from the top of a hill, one gets a sense of how small they really are.

Three of my grandchildren look out at the lights of New York City from Sinatra Park in Hoboken, NJ
A panoramic shot of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington
Seattle as seen from a boat in the Puget Sound
Massive bald cypress forests in Caddo Lake in NE Texas

I am grateful to live in these United States and my heart is filled with joy that I have been able to travel many a back road and experience the grandeur of this country.

With each new road comes a new experience. I still have yet to personally experience the special nature of Yosemite National Park or the giant sequoia trees of Northern California. But I have seen the vast expanses filled with volcanoes in Hawaii or the old volcano cones in New Mexico and Arizona.

Grand Tetons as seen from Driggs, Idaho
Humongous field of sunflowers in Central Kentucky. This too offers a feeling of grandeur

I have driven the long highway over Lake Ponchatrain in Louisiana and over the amazing Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. These man-made spectacles still offer a sense of grandeur.

The river into Juneau, Alaska as seen from a mountain top near Juneau
Fall colors as seen from a highway near Damascus, VA in 2016
Fall colors in horse farm country on a small road near Lexington, KY
Grand scene of the Badlands National Park
Visiting White Sands, NM in 2013
Bison relax in a wide field with antelope grazing in the background. Taken form the road in Yellowstone National Park
Sawtooth Mountains as seen from Stanley, ID
Two Medicine River canyon in Montana
Rock City in Central Montana
Fall colors from the Virginia Creeper Trail in Virginia
The grandeur of nature with sunbeams shining over a lake in Kentucky

So, get out on the road and experience this country for yourself.

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Washington State: Point Defiance Zoo

All packed in and ready to head for the zoo.
All packed in and ready to head for the zoo.

On Day 4 of our visit to Washington we packed up the kids and a couple of cars and made our way south to Tacoma to visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.   Though not as huge as some of the zoos we have been to (such as San Diego, Louisville, Cincinnati), it is still a nice zoo with some great opportunities to see some good wildlife.  The thing I like about most zoos is that they not only have a lot of animals, but they also have an abundance of flowers and foliage that is always pleasant.  So, this trip on this day was about grandkidz, animals and flowers.

Point Defiance Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo entrance

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is apparently the only combined facility in the Pacific Northwest.  It is a 29 acre park and a major tourist attraction in the Tacoma area.

I was actually pleased with it as it was much smaller, quite clean and seemed like you could get a bit more “intimate” with the animals, though there was less of a variety of them.

A tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo
A tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo

Following are a few photos of the animals that I took.  They had four or five tigers in a couple of places, an elephant and a few other critters.  They had a goodly amount of birds, including penguins and puffins.  I always enjoy photographing the animals.

An Asian Elephant playing in the dirt
An Asian Elephant playing in the dirt
A Tiger Cub
A Tiger Cub
A puffin on watch
A puffin on watch
Puffin in a nest
Puffin in a nest
A Polar Bear tries to stay cool in the water.
A Polar Bear tries to stay cool in the water.
A playful otter does the backstroke
A playful otter does the backstroke
A tiger relaxes
A tiger relaxes
The small penguins stand majestically at feeding time
The small penguins stand majestically at feeding time
A sealion underwater
A sealion underwater
A blue budgie
A blue budgie

The Budgie exhibit was lots of fun, especially since the grandkidz were there and could actually feed the colorful birds. The real name for a budgie is “Budgerigar” and these cute little guys are native to Australia and New Zealand.  This parrot species is very social and it was very apparent, just being in the exhibit with them.  They were not afraid of hanging around people.

Grandson Benson enjoys handling a budgie
Grandson Benson enjoys handling a budgie
Charles watches as he carefully feeds a budgie
Charles watches as he carefully feeds a budgie
A pair of budgies
A pair of budgies
No...he is only acting like a budgie.
No…he is only acting like a budgie.
White budgie
White budgie
Bald eagle
Bald eagle

We brought our lunch and enjoyed it while watching a stage which featured a number of animals from the zoo.  I was most enthralled with the bald eagle.

It was as close as I have ever been to these amazing (and quite large birds).   I saw a couple of them on our road trips in Washington, but could never capture any on camera until the zoo.

Winspan
Wingspan
Grandkidz
Grandkidz

Of course, watching the kids was also fun.  They had a variety of facial expressions at the various exhibits.  Here are some “grandkidz” shots from the zoo.

Their curiosity is always a joy to experience.  Going to the zoo with young children is fascinatingly fun!

Livvy points at the elephant
Livvy points at the elephant
Charles is bored?
Charles is bored?
Kade watches
Kade watches
Charles shows some excitement
Charles shows some excitement
Livvy flirts
Livvy flirts
Hanging with my sweetheart at Point Defiance Zoo
Hanging with my sweetheart at Point Defiance Zoo

DSC_5699Part of the joy at a zoo is the variety of plants and flowers.  I enjoyed a few closeup shots of these, including some varieties I have never seen before.

Following are a few of my shots:

A bee grabs a snack
A bee grabs a snack

DSC_5676DSC_5589

Amazing Lily 1
Amazing Lily 1
Julianne with bamboo
Julianne with bamboo
Amazing Lily 2
Amazing Lily 2

DSC_5674DSC_5778And finally, I have to say that the view of Mt. Rainier from the zoo was spectacular.  Could not have asked for a more beautiful day and beautiful views!

Mt. Rainier as seen from the Point Defiance Zoo
Mt. Rainier as seen from the Point Defiance Zoo
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

After the zoo we headed back home, dropped the kids off, changed clothes and all of the adults headed for Seattle to go to the Mormon Temple there.  We took a ferry across the Sound.

Ferries are a way of life in the Seattle area.  Many live on one side of the Puget Sound and

On the Ferry to Seattle
On the Ferry to Seattle – Mt. Rainier in the background

work on the other side, including my son in law Aaron. The give you a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the city job.  I really enjoyed sitting on the deck and taking in the views, smelling the fresh air and have the wind blow through my hair.

This particular ferry ride offered some amazing views of Mt. Rainier as well as some nice views of Seattle on the approach in. They were different views from those of a couple of days earlier.

View of Seattle from the Ferry
View of Seattle from the Ferry
A ferry passes by us in the sound with Mt. Rainier in the backround
A ferry passes by us in the sound with Mt. Rainier in the background
A shot of the Seattle skyline
A shot of the Seattle skyline
Another Seattle shot
Another Seattle shot
Thai food at Tangerine Thai
Thai food at Tangerine Thai

Once we crossed the Sound, it was back in the car and heading towards the lovely Seattle Temple. We stopped along the way to have some great Thai Food. Tangerine Thai was a classy little place with some amazing cuisine that I hadn’t seen (or tasted) before.

Grilled Eggplant at Tangerine Thai
Grilled Eggplant at Tangerine Thai
Grilled Salmon Curry at Tangerine
Grilled Salmon Curry at Tangerine

After dinner it was off to the temple.  Nice to visit another temple!

At Seattle Temple
At Seattle Temple
A symbol of LDS Temples - the Angel Moroni
A symbol of LDS Temples – the Angel Moroni
Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge
Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge

After doing some baptisms for the dead, we headed back to Port Orchard with the sunset.  It was a wonderful day with family!!

 

 

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Washington State: A Day in Seattle

Flying to Seattle
Flying to Seattle

After a long day of travel to Washington via Delta Airlines, first to Salt Lake City and then into Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and then a good nights rest, we had the opportunity to spend a day in Seattle with the family.

Getting on the Foot Ferry in Port Orchard
Getting on the Foot Ferry in Port Orchard
Kitsap Foot Ferry in Port Orchard
Kitsap Foot Ferry in Port Orchard

Bremerton Ferry

Riding the Hyak from Bremerton Terminal
Riding the Hyak from Bremerton Terminal

Since my daughter Amaree and her family live in Port Orchard, we had to take ferries across the Puget Sound to get to Seattle. We started with the Port Orchard Foot Ferry Service that took us from Port Orchard into Bremerton. Then we got on the Bremerton Ferry which is a much larger ferry that also carries automobile traffic and enjoyed the one hour boat ride to Seattle.  We rode on the M/V Hyak, which can carry up to 2000 passengers and as many as 144 cars.

The family gets ready to board the Hyak Ferry in Bremerton. We were all decked out in our matching shirts.
The family gets ready to board the Hyak Ferry in Bremerton. We were all decked out in our matching shirts.
The grandkidz join "Grammy" on the Ferry Ride across Puget Sound
The grandkidz join “Grammy” on the Ferry Ride across Puget Sound

It was a beautiful day, probably in the 80s and sunny as can be. Prior to our trip Julianne and I had created T-shirts for all of the family so that we would be color coordinated and easy to find. These “safety green” T-shirts were very easy to see and it was fun throughout the day to get the comments from people.

A flock of seagulls on the deck of the Hyak
A flock of seagulls on the deck of the Hyak
Feeding the seagulls on the ferry
Feeding the seagulls on the ferry

I enjoyed sitting on the outside deck as we travel to cross the sound and loved watching the waves, the birds and other things.  We got to a point where a couple of people and brought food to feed to the seagulls,  who would swoop down and grab the food right out of these people’s hands. It was fun to see all of the seagulls up so close. I was able to grab some amazing photographs, some of which are posted below.

A seagull glides gracefully alongside the ferry.
A seagull glides gracefully alongside the ferry.
There were about a dozen seagulls soaring alongside the ferry. Here are a couple of them.
There were about a dozen seagulls soaring alongside the ferry. Here are a couple of them.
One seagull had his eye on some goodies
One seagull had his eye on some goodies
This was a luck shot...literally a couple of feet away
This was a luck shot…literally a couple of feet away
Seattle in the distance
Seattle in the distance

 

From the ferry deck we could not only see Seattle, but off in the distance we could see the beautiful cone shape of Mt. Rainier.  Even in the heat of July it was covered with snow and glaciers.

A panorama view of Seattle from the Ferry
Seattle as seen from the Ferry
Seattle as seen from the Ferry

As we approached Seattle, I could see the full expanse of the city and over to the south I could see the Space Needle clearly.  The Seattle city scape is certainly a beautiful one.

Seattle's famed "Great Wheel"
Seattle’s famed “Great Wheel”

Finally, we all arrived safely at the port and disembarked from the ferry into the crowded waterfront area of Seattle. This section of Seattle is certainly built to accommodate tourism. There is a giant Ferris wheel, called the “Seattle Great Wheel“, a couple of fun shops/museums, plenty of fun eateries, lemonade stands and much much more.

 

 

Birds glide by on the Seattle waterfront
Birds glide by on the Seattle waterfront
Amaree gets lemonade at a real lemon stand
Amaree gets lemonade at a real lemon stand
A unique view of the Seattle Waterfront
A unique view of the Seattle Waterfront

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Visiting Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront in Seattle
Visiting Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront in Seattle

Our first stop once we hit the sidewalk was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Julianne and I had the opportunity to visit this place a few years ago when we were in Seattle prior to taking a cruise to Alaska. But, honestly, it was much more fun with all the grandkids being able to see all of the odd things in this museum/store.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle
This guy greets you as you walk into Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
This guy greets you as you walk into Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
A two headed sheep in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
A two headed sheep in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Always the sucker for oddities, the store for that craving with some of the strange creatures that they have on display along with many of the unique items that were for sale in the store.

A stare down in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
A stare down in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

CuriositytShop2Ye Olde Curiosity Shop got its start when Joseph Edward Standley set up his curio and souvenir shop on the waterfront in 1899.  Back then Seattle was a rough ‘n’ tumble town. Even at that time, Standley’s shop presented a jumbled mix of curiosities and significant art objects. He collected and sold what came his way, but also had local Native American artists make objects to his specifications. CuriosityShop2He sold genuine Tlingit totem poles, but also replicas by carvers descended from the Vancouver Island-based Nuu-chah-nulth tribe, who were living in Seattle, and even inexpensive souvenir totem poles made in Japan. A flair for the bizarre and grotesque led him to include items such as shrunken heads from the Amazon (some of them definitely genuine, others probably not). It is certainly a must visit location if you are in this part of Seattle!

Seattle Waterfront

Miner's Landing on the Seattle Waterfront
Miner’s Landing on the Seattle Waterfront
The Crab Pot...one of many eating establishments on the Seattle Waterfront
The Crab Pot…one of many eating establishments on the Seattle Waterfront

We then continued to walk towards the area where the Pike Place Market is located. Along the way we passed eateries, shops and the Great Wheel. We skipped by most of these places but did take stops for a quick break. All down the path there are cornhole games and other things that are set up for people to just stop and play and we did so.

Another place of interest that we did not stop at but probably would’ve enjoyed was the Seattle aquarium. That will have to be on our agenda for the next trip. We had planned to visit the aquarium in Tacoma later in the week, so we skipped this particular venue.

Welcome to the Seattle Waterfront
Welcome to the Seattle Waterfront
The Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium
Unique sign for the Seattle Aquarium
Unique sign for the Seattle Aquarium
A nice Orca Sculpture across the street from the Seattle Aquarium
A nice Orca Sculpture across the street from the Seattle Aquarium
Orca Wall Art in Seattle
Orca Wall Art in Seattle

The “Parking Squid”

Hanging with the grandkidz on the "Parking Squid" in Seattle
Hanging with the grandkidz on the “Parking Squid” in Seattle

At that point you can cross the street towards Pike Place Market, and visit the rather unique parking squid. This squid sculpture was made specifically for parking in attaching your bikes which makes it a rather unique item. As always, I am always looking for unique sculptures and so we stopped for a photo opportunity with the kids and I got another photo of this.

The "Parking Squid" by Seattle artist Susan Robb
The “Parking Squid” by Seattle artist Susan Robb

This unique utilitarian sculpture by Seattle artist Susan Robb, was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Transportation in 2009 and installed in 2012.  It was originally installed on the north side of the EMP building in Seattle Center, but was eventually moved just outside of the Pike Place Market parking garage (the Pike Street Hill Climb) across the street from the Seattle Aquarium.  The structure is made from galvanized steel and is a fun addition to a walking tour.

World Spice Market

World Spice Market in Seattle
World Spice Market in Seattle

On our way up to Pike Place Market (we took the elevator instead of the Pike Street Hill Climb), we just happened upon the World Spice Market. What a fabulous little shop! If you like spices this is the place to go because they have everything.

Spices line the wall at the Word Spice Market
Spices line the wall at the World Spice Market

The shop is set up more like an apothecary with jars of spices along the walls and in bottles and jars throughout the store. You can open each one and take a whiff of the spice and then you request what spices you want and in some cases they actually grind them up for you fresh.

Relaxing at the Spice Shop while they prepare our order
Relaxing at the Spice Shop while they prepare our order
One of the World Spice Market staff prepares spice mix
One of the World Spice Market staff prepares spice mix
Spices on the Wall at the World Spice Market
Spices on the Wall at the World Spice Market
Rules of the Game at World Spice Market
Rules of the Game at World Spice Market
Some Great fragrances emanate from the World Spice Market
Some Great fragrances emanate from the World Spice Market

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market in Seattle
Pike Place Market in Seattle
The Golden Pig (on the right!!!) and Sumoflam at Pike Place Market in Seattle
Rachel the Golden Pig (on the right!!!) and Sumoflam at Pike Place Market in Seattle

We finally made our way to the entrance of Pike Place market and took a quick stop with Rachel the Golden Pig, which is one of the famous pieces of artwork associated with this world renowned farmers market.

Naturally, since it was the end of July and everyone is on vacation and touring Seattle, the Pike Place market was packed to the gills! To go anywhere it was bump and grind all the way.

 

Pike Place Market was packed
Pike Place Market was packed
One of the famed fishmongers of Pike Place Market
One of the famed fishmongers of Pike Place Market

Despite the crowds, we were able to still enjoy some of the fun things of the market including the well-known fishmongers to throw the fish across the way yell out the customers name etc.

My grandkids, especially little Charlie, being smaller, were able to weasel their way up to the front and I soon saw Charlie playing with the crawfish, which were still alive. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze in and get close enough to grab a couple of good photos!

Charlie and the Crawfish at Pike Place Market
Charlie and the Crawfish at Pike Place Market
Another great shot of Charlie with a crawfish
Another great shot of Charlie with a crawfish
Wild Fish caught by Wild Fishermen
Wild Fish caught by Wild Fishermen

Here are a few more random photos I got at Pike Place Market.  Such a unique and fun place (other than the crowds).

Famous for its fish, Pike Place Market has a number of fish shops and plenty of fish
Famous for its fish, Pike Place Market has a number of fish shops and plenty of fish
Squid at Pike Place Market
Squid at Pike Place Market
The family hangs with the famed Rachel the Golden Pig at Pike Place Market
The family hangs with the famed Rachel the Golden Pig at Pike Place Market
Fresh Fish Neon at Pike Place Market
Fresh Fish Neon at Pike Place Market
A Balloon Man at Pike Place Market
A Balloon Man at Pike Place Market
King Salmon at Pike Place Market
King Salmon at Pike Place Market
We've got fish at Pike Place Market
We’ve got fish at Pike Place Market
Spicy Noodles at Pike Place Market
Extreme Habanero Spicy Noodles at Pike Place Market
Yes, there is Volcanic Ash Art at Pike Place Market
Yes, there is Volcanic Ash Art at Pike Place Market
Unique Pillars
Unique Pillars

DSC_4851The Pike Place Market seems to go on forever and there is not a place to sit down anywhere along the way and so it got to be very tiring. We finally did get out of the market and walked down to a large park it did have plenty of seating.

Seattle Scenes

Pike Place Market entrance at Virginia and Western
Pike Place Market entrance at Virginia and Western
An artist relaxes by his booth along the waterfront in Seattle
An artist relaxes by his booth along the waterfront in Seattle

After a brief rest, we decided that we would venture to the point where we can catch the large duck boats and Ride the Duck. even this was about a mile away and a good part of it was uphill, towards the terminus of the monorail station.

Grabbed a shot in front of the original Starbucks in Seattle. Line was a mile long
Grabbed a shot in front of the original Starbucks in Seattle. Line was a mile long

Along the way we walked by numerous shops including the origina Starbucks. Starbucks is now all over the place, but this was the first one and I have a picture showing I’ve been there!  Here are a few more random scenes from our walk.

A unique Hot Dog Eatery along the waterfront
A unique Hot Dog Eatery along the waterfront
There were street musicians everywhere. Seattle is known for its music. This man was playing old Benny Goodman classics.
There were street musicians everywhere. Seattle is known for its music. This man was playing old Benny Goodman classics.
On a building side...reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s
On a building side…a cornerstone from 1981
Another street musician trying to make a buck by the original Starbucks
Another street musician trying to make a buck by the original Starbucks
Buildings old and new in downtown Seattle
Buildings old and new in downtown Seattle
Always love my Pink Elephants...this time in the form of a Car Wash!
Always love my Pink Elephants…this time in the form of a Car Wash!
Met the Seattle Smile Guy along the way. Didn't want money... just wanted smiles
Met the Seattle Smile Guy along the way. Didn’t want money… just wanted smiles
An Old Clock on a building
An Old Clock on a building
The Hammering Man by Jonathan Borofsky
The Hammering Man by Jonathan Borofsky

I should note that the Hammering Man, by artist Jonathan Borofsky, is one of many artworks around Seattle.  Borofsky has installed the Hammering Man in other places around the world as well. This one is 48 feet tall and is directly in front of the Seattle Art Museum.  I have visited other works by Borofsky in Council Bluffs, Iowa (Molecule Man), in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon (“Walking to the Sky“) and the “Man With Briefcase” in Fort Worth, Texas.  I love the simple grandeur of his art and hope to see more in the future.

Kress Building in Seattle
Kress Building in Seattle

Ride the Duck in Seattle

Ride the Ducks in Seattle
Ride the Ducks in Seattle

After the rather grueling walk up to the monorail station area, it was really nice to have a seat and relax for nearly an hour before our ride was to take place.

All of us waiting for to Ride the Duck. This guy loved our shirts and wanted a photo with us...yes, we were photobombed in Seattle!
All of us waiting for to Ride the Duck. This guy loved our shirts and wanted a photo with us…yes, we were photobombed in Seattle!

DSC_4885Throughout my travels, I have seen the “Ride the Ducks” boats in a few places over the years. I specifically recall seeing one Ketchikan, Alaska, but I’ve also seen them in San Francisco, Stone Mountain (Georgia) and Branson (Missouri). I had never ridden one, so I didn’t know what to expect.

After the wait, we finally were able to board our “Duck” adventure.  We were in for a load of fun!!

Super_DUKWFirst off, a little history about the “Ducks.”  The DUKW (D-built in 1942, U-amphibious 2-ton truck, K-front wheel drive, W-rear wheel drive) was an amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II. It was designed to deliver cargo from ships at sea directly to the shore. DUKWS are street legal to drive on the roads and are also legal to drive on water as recreational boats. (See more history here)

The Kravetz and Matthews family all decked out in our matching shirts Riding the Duck around Seattle.
The Kravetz and Matthews family all decked out in our matching shirts Riding the Duck around Seattle.

DSC_4891Our ride on the Duck was fun.  We had a great driver – Captain Mandy Lifeboats.  She was full of energy and pulled a few tricks out of her hat…or was it she pulled a few hats out of her tricks?  She was both wacky (and even quacky!!)

Mandy in a Unique head dress
Mandy in a Unique head dress
Mandy the Pirate....ARGH
Mandy the Pirate….ARGH
Duck coming up out of Lake Union
Duck coming up out of Lake Union

Our Duck Tour took us from the Seattle Center, where the Monorail begins.  We drove up along Lake Union and had some nice views from the Aurora Bridge.  We then made our way INTO the lake and cruised around the lake.  We saw the floating home from Sleepless in Seattle, and a few other ritzy lakeside homes, not to mention multi-million dollar yachts. We also had a great view of the skyline.

The Space Needle as seen from the Duck
The Space Needle as seen from the Duck

From the lake we drove back towards downtown past the Space Needle, the EMP Museum and then towards the downtown shopping area and along the waterfront. Overall the ride lasted about 90 minutes and we had a frolicking good time.  There were times we all “quacked” at passersby, sang songs, had fun Disco Music and more.

What I enjoyed about this ride was the opportunity to see Seattle without all of the walking!  And it gave a flavor of some of the places we can see on our next trip out there to see the family.

Houseboats on Lake Union
Houseboats on Lake Union
A Mural under a bridge. It was created as a Paint By Number and then many Seattle residents added the paint
A Mural under a bridge. It was created as a Paint By Number and then many Seattle residents added the paint
Paddle Boarders in Lake Union....as seen from the Duck
Paddle Boarders in Lake Union….as seen from the Duck
The view of Seattle as seen from Lake Union from the comfort of a Duck Ride.
The view of Seattle as seen from Lake Union from the comfort of a Duck Ride.

After the Duck Ride was over, we walked the mile or so back to the Ferry Dock to catch the ferry back to Port Orchard.  We were all quite exhausted, but made it in time and enjoyed the ride back.  And we were blessed with a wonderful sunset leaving its mark on Mt. Rainier. It was a splendid, though tiring, day.

Mt. Rainier as seen from the Bremerton Ferry on our return to Port Orchard
Mt. Rainier as seen from the Bremerton Ferry on our return to Port Orchard

 

 

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