Bellingham, WA: It was a beautiful, sunny day as we made our way up from Portland to Bellingham to meet Torrey’s brother who goes to school at Western Washington University. Timmy was staying there for the summer working a few jobs and we were spending the night before leaving him the car and heading to Seattle. The sky was so clear that we were able to see both Mt St. Helens and Mt Rainer that day… a rare occurrence for the northwest!
As we pulled into Bellingham, the odometer read 6,000 miles and we had reached the most northern stop on our trip. We realized that we didn’t have any further to drive. It was a sad, bittersweet moment after six weeks of driving and exploring new places… but impressive all the same! Bellingham is located 17 miles south of the Canadian border, so I think it’s safe to say that Dicken covered as much land as he could without actually crossing the border (which he is currently not allowed to do). It is also right on a bay overlooking the San Juan Islands and only an hour away from Mt. Baker, the mountain where Timmy spends all of his time snowboarding. It’s a great, outdoorsy college town with lots of fun bars, restaurants and parks all along the waterfront.
As only would happen with Timmy, we had to do some kind of extreme sport within an hour of getting there. He drove us to nearby Lake Toad, where there was a very high rope swing that he said was a right of passage in Bellingham… even though he tried it for the first time three days before. Needless to say, it took us a while before we actually got the courage to climb up the fifteen-foot tree to the platform, grab the rope and jump; but we did it! There are some pretty embarrassing videos of our attempts, but luckily this site doesn’t allow video postings.
After our near death experiences, we went out to dinner with Timmy and his girlfriend Melissa at Boundary Bay, a brewery that had great views of the bay and the sunset- another rare occurrence for Bellingham. Like all of the places we have been to in the northwest, it had great food and awesome craft beers… the east coast really needs to catch up here.
We had a great night seeing the town and meeting some of Timmy’s friends; it’s not hard to see why he loves it here! But Timmy, come home every once in a while, OK?
Seattle, WA: We reached our last destination on our road trip not by car, but by greyhound bus. After a great breakfast with Timmy, we left him the car and headed onto the bus for the easy hour and a half drive down to the city. Upon arriving we were picked up by a family friend (and my mom’s good friend from high school), Dottie and headed to the Microsoft headquarters outside Seattle to visit her husband (an engineer at the company) for lunch. This was an awesome experience and one that you don’t get to do every day! It was made even better by the annual “new product” fair going on, where all of the employees were given a preview of new Microsoft products coming out, as well as free food carts, massages and live music.
The Microsoft campus was HUGE, complete with ten food courts, bars, a gym and an indoor mall that sold everything you could possibly need. We also got to sample the new Xbox, that requires no cords, remotes or footpads… all you do is move your hands and Tiger Woods swings a golf club for you! It was a pretty cool to experience the Washington state empire that employs 60,000 people, all of whom are probably some of the smartest people in the country.
Later that afternoon, we spent our time walking around Pikes Market and the piers along the water. Pikes Market covers nine acres of space along the Seattle waterfront and came into existence about a century ago. At the time, the cost of food had risen tenfold and outraged citizens decided to cut out the middleman and have farmers sell their food to the public directly. Today, everything from fish and pasta to flowers and handbags are sold at the market. Our favorite part was watching the fishermen take an order and then toss the purchased fish around the hall until it was packaged and ready for the customer.
The piers along the water stretch out into the bay so you can look back and see the skyline of the city. There are tons of restaurants, bars and coffee shops along these piers, as well as a new park that has plenty of space to bike, run and just hang out. We walked around for a few hours before meeting up with Torrey’s cousin Sarah and heading out to her aunt and uncle’s cottage on Lake Sammamish.
We couldn’t have had a better night out at the cottage. It was great to see Annie, John and Sarah and check out their new place on the lake… especially since we were able to grill and eat dinner outside all while watching the sunset! Not a bad place to spend the summer…
The next day was our last day on the west coast, and we all got up early so we could catch our flight back to New York. As fate would have it, we woke up to emails from United saying that our flight had been delayed three hours… so more time for us! We got a chance to kayak around the lake and spend some time with Annie, and then headed up to SEA-TAC to leave.
Usually, the story would end there and we would have gotten on our plane and gone home. But that’s not quite how it worked out. After about two hours of waiting in line to check our bags, and then SPRINTING through security to catch our flight that was due to leave in 20 minutes, it was cancelled as soon as we got to the gate. It was a painful three hours of waiting in lines and getting hotel vouchers for the night, but we were given one more Saturday on our trip!
Not wanting to waste our ‘new last day’, we headed back into Seattle to check out Pioneer Square and have a fun night out in the city. We weren’t walking along the water for more than five minutes when we heard a women yelling over the loudspeaker about a half-price harbor cruise deal going on. So we grabbed some fish and chips and made our way onto the boat to catch a glimpse of the city from the water. The cruise took us all around the harbor and into Seattle’s shipping yards where dozens of large cargo ships were being loaded and unloaded by giant cranes. It was also such a clear night that we could see Mt. Rainer off in the distance, as well as Bainbridge Island across the bay.
We spent our last night in a hotel right by the airport, and had to wake up the next morning at 3:45 to catch our flight. It was a little bit of a hassle, but it did allow us one extra night in Seattle, so we can’t complain! This time, everything went smoothly and we made it back across the country… quite a different experience than our outbound journey! What took us six weeks to cover now took us six hours in the other direction.
If it were up to us, we would take the long way every time.
Stay tuned for our last post on all of our favorite experiences and places from the trip! We’re going to post a “superlatives page” that covers them all.