O is for Offbeat Oddities – #atozchallenge

For me there is a difference between “Offbeat” and “Quirky.”  I like to look at things that are offbeat as being similar to something conventional or recognizable, but just somewhat off.  On the other hand, quirky is closer to non-conventional and sometimes even absurd (my Q post will focus on Quirky).

Oddville, Kentucky

When I am traveling I love looking at the beauty and nature around me, but I also seek out the offbeat and quirky.  One source I always use to help me find these locations is the Roadside America app. This app covers all 50 states and most of Canada and includes almost anything offbeat, odd, quirky and even downright outlandish and ridiculous. There are literally 1000s of sites and things to find and this makes for something fun on a roadtrip.

Sumoflam at the Mushroom House in Cincinnati
Mushroom House front side

So, what do I mean by offbeat?  Let’s take houses for instance.  The normal home is brick and mortar, or a trailer home.  But how about a flying saucer or a house that looks like mushrooms?  A trip to the Cincinnati area offers up both of these.

First, there is a house in Cincinnati literally referred to as the “Mushroom House.”  It is built almost completely out of either natural materials or recycled materials.

It is like a house…it is a house.  But it certainly looks different than the “normal” human abode.

A view of Cincinnati’s Mushroom House
Beam Me Up Scotty at the Front Door of Futuro House

Then there are the homes that look like flying saucers.  Called “Futuro” homes, there were many built in the 1960s by a company in Finland.

Across the river from Cincinnati, on a hill in Covington, KY overlooking the Ohio River and US Interstate 75, sits a Futuro House.  It is in a regular neighborhood and stands out like a sore thumb.  If you look carefully off to your right from the Interstate driving south out of Cincinnati right after crossing the Ohio River, you will see it.

The Futuro House in Covington, KY
Beer Can House, Houston, TX

Finally, take a tripdown to Houston for another Offbeat house…the house built totally out of Beer Cans!

Basically done as an art project, this house is also lived in and is built out of 1000s of aluminum beer cans.

I think the owner’s name must be Bud Weiser??

Beer Can House Front
Beer Can House
Voodoo Doughnut – Portland, Oregon

But houses aren’t the only offbeat places.  If one looks hard the discovery of offbeat eateries can also come to the fore.  Like the houses, these are normal in most respects, but there is just something a tad different.

For instance, there is a great place in Portland, Oregon called Voodoo Doughnut.  The main shop (yes, there are now a few of them) is located downtown and there are lines there 24/7.  They make a great variety of doughnuts and even a few offbeat ones, such as the actual Voodoo Doughnut, which is a person shaped doughnut, covered with chocolate and filled with raspberry filling.  It is stabbed with a pretzel stick…yes, like a Voodoo Doll!

The Voodoo Doll – Raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stick!
It is no wonder there are always lines at Voodoo Doughnut – 24/7

Then there is the other offbeat thing…the original shop also has a chapel and some of the bakers are ALSO ordained ministers.  You can be married at Voodoo Doughnut legally and be surrounded by chapel-esque stained glass and everything!

Voodoo Doughnut Stained Glass
Voodoo Doughnut in Portland — lost my selfie
Sumoflam and wife at Lambert’s Cafe – Home of Throwed Rolls

Head on over to Missouri for another unique treat.  There is a restaurant in Ozark, Missouri (and another near Branson) called Lambert’s Cafe.  These huge facilities cater to tourists and buses.  They offer a variety of yummy meals and have a few things served “home style” – wheeled in on carts and served out of pots at the table (including black-eyed peas, potatoes, tomato stew and more).

But what really makes them famous are their “Throwed Rolls.” And this is where they fit into the Offbeat category.  Literally, they come to the middle of an area in the restaurant, ask who wants rolls and then throw them across the room to you.  You miss them, too bad…

Throwing Rolls at Lambert’s
Lambert’s Cafe – Sikeston, Missouri – big place
The Throwed Rolls with Sorghum – yummy!

Then there is the offbeat looking restaurant in Mississippi with amazing lunch offerings…

Sumoflam at Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, MS
Mammy’s Cupboard Dining Room – Much bigger than it looks on the outside
Sumoflam and MSR Pyramid in Nekoma, ND

Convention gets thrown out the door when visiting a facility just outside of Nekoma, ND.  There is a huge cement pyramid in the middle of nowhere.  Seemingly deserted (but fenced off), this used to be an old military facility.

The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex was the United States’ first operational ABM (anti-ballistic missile) defense system.  The pyramid included radar and other defense systems.  Now unused, it sits in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota and is an imposing offbeat site.

The Pyramid in Nekoma, ND
The Pyramid Shaped MSR of the Mickelson facility
The famed North Dakota pyramid, a vestige of the cold war, as seen from ND Hwy 1 south of Nekoma, ND

And a bank is a bank is a bank…right?  What about one for tightwads?

Then there is place called Tightwad in MO and they even have a bank!
National Mustard Museum Sign, Middleton, WI

Next are museums.  There are hundreds of museums in the United States, but some are more offbeat and unique than others.  Take the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI.  Chock full of mustards from around the world, one can buy a lifetime supply of mustards and never have the same flavor twice.

The original Mustard Museum was located in Mt. Horeb, WI, but later moved to Middleton, to be in a much larger facility. A condiment lover’s  dream.

Mustard Display – Plastic Bottles – Mustard Museum in Wisconsin
MBA Degree (Master of Bad Attitude) from the Mustard Museum’s Poupon University (Poupon U)

There are also other fun museums out there.  How about these?

Jell-o Museum in LeRoy, New York
Spoon Ceiling at JELL-O Museum
Sumoflam at Spam Museum in Austin, MN
Spam Museum Billboard – Austin, MN
Spam Museum – Austin, MN
At the Idaho Potato Museum in 2013 – Blackfoot, ID
World’s Largest Potato Chip – 23″ x 14.5″ at the Idaho Potato Museum

And then there is the actual Oddity Place of all Oddity Places… a museum of Oddities in Seattle, WA called “Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.”

Visiting Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront in Seattle
This guy greets you at the door at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle
A two headed sheep in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, WA

Finally, what’s in a town?  There are some offbeat towns out there.  Many towns have unique names, but some of these are really offbeat and odd.

Odd, West Virginia Post Office
Oddville United Methodist Church, Oddville, KY
Peculiar, Missouri
A Peculiar Church

Some are totally Uncertain….

Finding Uncertainty in Uncertain, TX
Yes, there is a Church of Uncertain!!

And lastly, a town that actually changed its name to a major sponsor…also in Texas.

DISH Town Hall, DISH, Texas
DISH, Texas

Indeed, there is much offbeat in America and this is just a small sampling of the savory and unsavory offbeat oddities of our wonderful country.  Is there anything Normal?

Normal, IL

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2015 In Review: The Year In Travel

San Francisco, May 2015
San Francisco, May 2015
Seattle, WA August 2015
Seattle, WA, August 2015
New York City at night as seen from Hoboken, NJ
New York City at night as seen from Hoboken, NJ, September 2015
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

The year 2015 started off with plans to travel to a couple of locations,
but not the extent of the travel that I enjoyed in 2014. As it
turned out, I had

some great experiences and more travel than had been originally planned. It was truly a good year for my travel as I have noted in my blog posts and Facebook posts throughout the year.

Coast2Coast

Flying in 2015
Flying in 2015

Unlike most of my travel, which I like to do by car on back roads, the year’s travel adventures saw me traveling by airplane on a number of occasions. I don’t mind flying, honestly, but I prefer driving because I can see more of the landscape. However, schedules and other things necessitated my flying to many of the destinations I went to this year.

In a nutshell, in 2015 I was blessed with the opportunity to travel
to the West Coast twice. Once to the Seattle area and once to the
San Francisco area. I also made my way into my old home stomping grounds in Salt Lake City and was able to visit old friends and the beautiful mountains near Sundance Resort on a business trip.

Mount Timpanogos in Provo Canyon, UT
Mount Timpanogos in Provo Canyon, UT
Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT with my sweet wife
Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT with my sweet wife

And, one of my travel highlights of the year was being able to go to New England with my wife, my daughter Marissa and her children and visit the last three remaining states of my 50 states adventure. So, I finally
could say that I have set foot in all 50 states before I turned 60 (see my 50 State Review Here). We also had a couple of smaller road trips including one to Cincinnati and one to Louisville and were able to see if things on those trips as well.

Some of the major highlights of this year’s travel include:

One of the famed lighthouses on the Maine coast
One of the famed lighthouses on the Maine coast

-Visiting Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, just knocking out the
last of my 50 state visits in the United States (see the first of my blog posts about this trip)

Grampz with grandson Charles on the beach in Neah Bay, WA
Grampz with grandson Charles on the beach in Neah Bay, WA
Watching grandkidz play on Atlantic coast at Old Orchard Beach in Maine
Watching grandkidz play on Atlantic coast at Old Orchard Beach in Maine

-Setting foot on a Pacific Ocean beach (See Neah Bay Post here) and also setting foot on a beach in the Atlantic Ocean (Old Orchard Beach, ME post coming soon)

With my wife in Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
With my wife in Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

-An extended visit and travel around Washington state

Flying over the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in Colorado, including Mt. Evans
Flying over the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in Colorado, including Mt. Evans

-Flying over the Colorado Rocky Mountains and viewing the snow-capped peaks from an airplane

Happy Me at Woodflock
Happy Me at Woodflock

-Attending the famed “Woodflock” gathering in Red Bluff, CA
over memorial day holiday (see my Woodflock Post here)

Welcome to Santa Claus
Welcome to Santa Claus

-A year end trip with grandkidz to Santa Claus, IN at Christmastime (see my detailed blog post)

Heading east with the grandkidz!
Heading east with the grandkidz!

Along with all of this travel, I was able to see a number of unique and quirky sites. I ate at a couple of unique restaurants. Got to
spend time at one time or another with all of my 10 grandchildren.

Along the way I saw mountains, zoos, wildlife, coastal sunrises and sunsets, famed bridges, big cities, small villages.  Some of the more “unique” places can be seen below in pictures.  It was a great year!!

Sandwich, NH - Discovered that you cannot buy a sandwich in Sandwich, NH
Sandwich, NH – Discovered that you cannot buy a sandwich in Sandwich, NH

Following are a few shots of some of the more interesting places

Easy Street in Port Orchard, WA
Easy Street in Port Orchard, WA
Front side of Larry Kirkland's "Agraria" in Santa Rosa, CA
Front side of Larry Kirkland’s “Agraria” in Santa Rosa, CA
Fat Smitty's in Port Townsend, WA
Fat Smitty’s in Port Townsend, WA
Santa Claus Police in Santa Claus, IN
Santa Claus Police in Santa Claus, IN
Dinos at Wells Dinosaur Haven in Uncasville, CT
Dinos at Wells Dinosaur Haven in Uncasville, CT
A two headed sheep in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, WA
A two headed sheep in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, WA
Naches Tavern in Greenwater, WA (featuring Bigfoot!)
Naches Tavern in Greenwater, WA (featuring Bigfoot!)
Carlos Bake Shop in Hoboken, NJ (famous from Cake Boss)
Carlos Bake Shop in Hoboken, NJ (famous from Cake Boss)
Santa Claus exit and Sumoflam
Santa Claus, IN  exit and Sumoflam
Chilling on the porch at Sundance Resort in Utah
Chilling on the porch at Sundance Resort in Utah
Famed Pink Elephant Car Wash in Seattle
Famed Pink Elephant Car Wash in Seattle
"Cyclisk" - Obelisk made out of bicycle parts in Santa Rosa, CA
“Cyclisk” – Obelisk made out of bicycle parts in Santa Rosa, CA
Giant whale mural in Seattle
Giant whale mural in Seattle
Santa Claus Car Wash in Kringle Place - I guess Santa also has a car!
Santa Claus Car Wash in Kringle Place – I guess Santa also has a car!
An obligatory Hershey Kiss from Julianne, at Hershey Chocolate World, Hershey, PA
An obligatory Hershey Kiss from Julianne, at Hershey Chocolate World, Hershey, PA
Sumoflam at MrDHEO's wall painting in Lexington, one of a few new PRHBTN murals
Sumoflam at MrDHEO’s wall painting in Lexington, one of a few new PRHBTN murals
Welcome to Paradise - Washington
Welcome to Paradise – Washington
We all know who is really Nice!
We all know who is really Nice!

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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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