Journey to the birthplace of Starbucks

Seattle rises out of the fog like an impressionistic painting, a gleaming beacon of civilization after a hundred miles of lush green mountains.

It was last night, in a fit of genius fueled by exhaustion, that my friend and I decided to go to Seattle today. She had put ‘go to Washington state’ on her list of things to do on this trip and when we realised that Seattle was barely two hours away, we decided to do something a tad more exciting than just going to Blaine for lunch.

We had an easy crossing into the States at Pacific Highway (the crossing we can see from my living room) and an easy enough drive to Seattle in pouring rain, arriving just shy of noon.  I’d had an idea of what we could do this afternoon, but my friend had seen the Seattle Aquarium as we came in and had her heart set on it, so our very loose plans changed.

I was famished (not news, lol!), so the first order of business was to drive around the general vicinity of the aquarium and look for food. We ended up at the Old Spaghetti Factory, where we both had a very satisfactory meal (I highly recommend the chicken penne).

Parking for the aquarium was the next order of the day and it was found quickly. Such a thing is ludicrously high in Seattle. We paid 14USD for 3 hours of parking, in addition to entrance to the aquarium.

While I had found the Vancouver aquarium to be quite disappointing, the Seattle aquarium was anything but! It has a touch pool, sea mammals, and interesting exhibits. My friend’s joy at the experience was palpable and her enthusiasm contagious. She fell in love with an anemone, while an octopus won my heart.

Rain poured down in sheets all afternoon, covering Puget Sound with a heavy grey mist. Neither one of us felt like driving home in damp clothes, so we didn’t explore the area around the aquarium. It was almost four by the time we got out of there and I knew the drive home would be difficult, so, satisfied and happy, we headed north without exploring Seattle further.

Approaching Bellingham, I suggested we stop and have dinner. Border wait times were already at the 20 minute mark and would only increase. I was also exhausted and achy from white knuckled driving seeing as there was enough rain that the car aquaplaned a few times. In the time it took to eat a fantastic meal at Applebee’s, the sky cleared. We drove the rest of the way home in beautiful sunshine and blue sky.

I didn’t realise that we needed to exit to get to the Pacific border crossing, so we wound up at Peace Arch. This was great seeing as the wait approached 40 minutes; my friend was able to see the Peace Arch and we enjoyed watching the sun set over the ocean. I did find the wait very difficult as I drive a standard and it’s a steady climb from the US to Canadian customs. I put on the hand brake a few times, but traffic was too steady to bring much relief. Crossing back into Canada was a non-event (note to my friend: whispering that the customs guy is really cute, even if he is, is distracting 🙂 ).

Pictures are on the Seattle page.

Each day has topped the previous, so we’re eager to see what wonders will mark our last full day together tomorrow.

As a side note, interstate 5, which connects Blaine and Seattle, WA, goes from the WA/BC border all the way down to the California/Mexican border. I have driven it from the Mexican border all the way to San Francisco and now from Blaine to Seattle. I just need to drive it from Seattle to San Francisco at some point! 🙂

(I never thought I would one day drive HOME from Seattle in two hours!)

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