Saturday, June 29, 2013

AK to CA: Day 9

Bellingham, WA to Portland, OR via Seattle

After disembarking the ferry and re-packing the car, we were happy to be on dry land and our own travel terms again.  Our plan was to head into Seattle for the morning and explore Pike's Place Market before continuing south to the Portland area.

We have quite a bit to get used to now that we are back in the Lower 48.  Traffic.  People everywhere. And heat.  The heat wave seems to have followed us again, and it was over 90 degrees.  In hindsight, throwing the family directly into such a place as downtown Seattle may not have been the best plan.  But it did give us a crash course in all that we need to teach the kids about life outside of Alaska.  Watching out for wild animals is very different than not getting separated from your family in a crowded place.  I have a feeling that acclimating to city life could take us awhile.

Pike's Place Market was not at all what we expected.  But it was awesome.  Wall-to-wall people flowing through the stands with every fresh vegetable imaginable, specialty foods, and the flowers.  The flowers were amazing.  For $5 you can buy a bouquet that would cost $40 anywhere else.

The dog even joined us as we pushed through the crowds.  He was given many compliments on his behavior and made a few new friends.  In fact, he was the best behaved of our bunch.  Hmmm...maybe I should leash my children, too.  I'm beginning to see the purpose of those kiddie backpack leashes...but I think they are probably a bit too old.  This is the first time they have been in a place like this without the use of a stroller to keep them contained and safe.

Next we strolled around the city for a bit, and stopped at some food trucks for lunch.  Gourmet grilled cheese with blueberry dipping sauce?  Yes, please.

We'd definitely like to return to Seattle when we have a little more time, but we needed to continue south to reach our stop for the night.  A 3-hour drive quickly turned into 5 hours thanks to the unbelievable traffic that stretched for well over 50 miles south of Seattle.  By the time we were approaching Portland, the traffic returned.  I don't know why, but we weren't expecting the Portland area to have so much congestion.  We are staying a few miles out of town, and we quickly decided not to head back into the city for dinner as we had planned because it could have easily taken a couple of hours.  It reminded me of the stretch of I-95 north of New York City.  Even at noon on Saturday, the lanes leading into Portland were backed up.

We are here for another night so that The Nana and Mike can enjoy a tour of some favorite Oregon wineries.

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