Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 17 - In Which We Complete the Move In

Day 17 begins and ends in the fog and drizzle.  Nary a ray of sunshine was to be seen today but it didn't dampen our spirits.  We agreed to meet Lowell at his apartment this morning in order to help him get some groceries and find an ethernet cable.  After 3400 miles of being stuffed into the back seat of the pickup, I finally got to ride in the front this morning!  Woohoo!!  Traumatized by the traffic on I5, we decided to try a route recommended by the neighbor to make the 17 miles north of here to the University.  Route 99 does a fine job of getting there and once we convinced the GPS that we really did NOT want I5 we could look around too.  The road goes to the west of the city center and along the waterfront so there was a lot of shipping related activity to observe.  Water seems to be a large component of the Seattle scene as do trees and hills.  Parking spaces, however, do not.  Especially parking spaces if you are driving your big diesel truck in the land of the bicyclist and Prius driver.  I'd say I detected a few askance glances but I honestly think these Seattlites might be too polite to do that.  We squeezed into the parking garage under the apartment again to get everybody into the truck.  There is a lot more "moving in" activity at the dorms today so vehicle traffic was on the rise.  The GPS directed us to a Safeway less than 1/2 mile from the apartment (Lowell should be able to walk it) and verily I say unto you they even had a small parking lot.  Supplies were obtained and we had fun joking with other parents who were helping their undergraduates get some necessities.  More evidence of "green-ness" today.  The cashier first asked if we wanted a bag for the groceries.  When we said yes, we automatically got paper.  There were plasticky type bags and I heard the cashier discussing what they were made of with the fellow who checked out before us.  Apparently you have to ask for the plastic.  Ethernet cable took a little longer to find but a Staples was located and off we went.  Another parking lot!  Oh joy!  We squeezed in beside a motorcycle and had a chat with the owner before we left.  He said that he works in the city and used to drive a car in but his parking fees went up $200 a month so he bought the motorcycle which gets 100mpg and can be parked on the sidewalk.
Since our errands involved quite a bit of driving and waiting at traffic lights, I was able to look for and found quite a bit of art in the wild today.  My favorite was the yellow submarine.  I have no idea about the shoe on the coffee cup.  Totem poles are seen often in the Pacific Northwest.  I love the pink elephant sign and would like to see it lit up at night.  We saw quite a bit more street art (lots of sculpture in the downtown area).

Ivar's is a seafood restaurant chain based in Seattle (25 restaurants around Washington).  It was founded in 1938 by Ivar Haglund who set up an aquarium nearby and decided it would be a great idea to have a fish and chips restaurant to go with it.  The aquarium closed but the restaurant was successful.  Ivar's was also the first restaurant we encountered that had a parking lot.  I know that's an iffy way to pick a spot for a meal but in this case we were not disappointed.  There is a fast service Fish Bar at the front with inside and outside seating but it was a little chilly and we wanted something inside so we opted for Ivar's Salmon House whose entrance is just around the corner of the building.  We were shown to a table by the window which had a lovely view of Lake  Union and the Space Needle.  If you know Brett, you are wondering why he's eating at a fish house.  There were a few non-fish items on the menu and he said his burger was not good, it was excellent. 

The restaurant is a cedar replica of a Northwest Indian longhouse.  It is filled with Northwest native art, decor and old photographs.  I liked the fish swimming from the ceiling. 

We started by sharing an appetizer of french bread, brie, roasted peaches and walnut chutney.  This was excellent.  Actually, we started with the complementary corn bread muffins with honey, lavender butter.  Then Lowell had Sockeye salmon with roasted potatoes and vegetables.  I had Coho salmon with tomatoes, roasted potatoes, pea tendrils and vanilla bean vinaigrette.  It was a step above excellent.  I had no idea that one could eat pea tendrils.  I always thought they were for compost. 

Brett's burger was also a thing of beauty.  That yellow thing is a thick slice of tomato and there's blue cheese on it as well.  Maybe it was just a coincidence that the police boat appeared just as the meat was served at the fish house. 

They did look like they were a little cold out there but there were a lot of boaters in evidence today.  Lake Union is a natural, glacial lake which is part of the Lake Washington ship canal system.  Water flows into the lake from Lake Washington through the Montlake Cut and out via the Fremont Cut to Puget Sound.  Because it is connected via canal to the salt water of Puget Sound there is some salinity in the lake.  We had noticed quite a few seaplanes in the air.  The lake is home to two seaplane bases. 

The apartment complex was much more festive today.  There were no balloons when we arrived with Lowell on Wednesday.  We managed to get the rest of his effects put away in only two trips. 

I noticed that the apartment is in fact a "water view".  If you look really, really closely over the rooftop you can see Lake Union.

The apartment has four bedrooms upstairs along with a couple of bathrooms.  Downstairs features a living room, dining room, full kitchen, several storage areas and a bathroom.  I wonder if it will look this clean by the end of the quarter. 

There is a very old fashioned drawbridge over one of the canals.  The sign caught our attention,  "Please turn off your engine.  Idling Pollutes".
Since we couldn't get to the Common Ground Fair this year, I guess Seattle is the next best thing. 

Thinking that we might avoid some traffic if we stayed on surface streets, we learned that we were mistaken.  I guess it was to much to hope that at 3:00pm on a Friday afternoon we would just breeze back to Kent.  It did give us a chance to look at more neighborhoods while we waited.  There are a lot of different colored faces here.  The grocery store had a wide range of ethnic (primarily Asian) foods and not as much hot sauce as in Phoenix (per Lowell). 

See the big buses?  They have these and smaller electric buses and an electric light rail system.  They all seemed to contain a lot of passengers.  Lowell said that they can get discounted bus passes through the University.  He hopes to get one so that he can do a little exploring while he is here.  He is a great walker too so I imagine that he will see much.  And we will get to see a little bit more when we continue our explorations tomorrow.

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