Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Adventure 13/50 : Seattle Waterfront Day

** Hey readers -- I'm catching up with a bunch of "adventures" over the next couple of weeks. We've been so busy doing things, I haven't made the time to do much writing. So enjoy these stories of our adventures in May and June. **

While Tony and Sue were visiting from the UK, we spent a day down at the Seattle Waterfront playing tourist. Being a Viaduct nerd, I always enjoy seeing the progress on the removal, and how the access to the waterfront keeps changing as the roadway is cleared.

But I know that most people *aren't* nerds about elevated roadways and such... so our real destination was the Seattle Great Wheel:

photo courtesy the Seattle Great Wheel
We arrived relatively early, so it didn't take long to buy our tickets and join the short line. We decided against a cocktail on board (sold at the boarding area to people not traveling with under 21s) and waited.

Each gondola holds up to 8 people -- which, if actually loaded that way, would make for a cozy ride... But on a quiet Sunday morning the 4 of us had a gondola to ourselves.

They load the wheel by turning it slowly, unloading and loading 5 cars at a time. This first loop (and last loop...) is the least comfortable, as the stopping and starting causes the gondola to sway.

But once all the cars are loaded, the wheel turns at a nice, gentle, smooth pace, offering nice views of both the city and the water.

All too soon (and another slow lap full of stopping and starting), it was time to exit the wheel. But then what?

Why, Wings Over Washington, of course!

I'm not gonna lie -- I had thought this was one of those VR simulators, where you climbed into a little pod and saw things on a screen. Then someone said, "It's like Soarin' ... but about the northwest." And I was sold.

We bought our tickets and joined another very short line. We were eventually let into an antechamber and had "welcome photos" (does anyone EVER buy them?) taken, and then waited a few more minutes. We weren't allowed to take photos inside, but I found a few online, including this one of the beautiful 3D map in the waiting area:

image from Wings Over Washington
We were eventually led upstairs and into a room styled like a fire lookout tower -- complete with animated "windows". Traditional northwest tribal masks are hanging around the room, too. The show started when a ranger appeared through the window, started telling stories about the northwest... while the masks come alive when the ranger isn't looking. It's a bit silly, but good fun.

Then we were led into the main room, seated on benches, and buckled in.

image from Wings Over Washington
The main show starts with the story of an eagle, which you magically transform into as you lift off... and then fly over Washington state. The video was beautiful ... apart from the slightly underwhelming animated orcas and other wildlife. We flew over Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Snoqualmie Falls, the San Juans, and lots of other locations ... mainly in western Washington. (This is a big criticism on TripAdvisor by locals ... but western Washington has a much more diverse landscape. And it's prettier. Ha!) All too soon we came back down to earth, saw the raccoon with the stolen wristwatch (a nice touch), and headed blinklingly into the sunlight. 

We wrapped up our Seattle Waterfront Day with -- you guessed it -- a trip to Red Robin for another excellent Impossible Burger:

I've had Impossible Burgers in 4 different restaurants and Red Robin does it best. Excellent presentation (right down to the little Impossible flag, which serves as proof that they've brought you the right burger), perfectly cooked.

In this year of 50 adventures, they won't all be epic, but our Seattle Waterfront Adventure was an excellent day out. 

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