2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 7: From Willits, California To Dallas, Texas

June 7, 2019

Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I had so much fun on our trip in the Pacific Northwest. But we all had to admit, we were ready to go back home. The night before, we’ve sorted and packed our items in the luggage, making sure, what we want to take on board as a carry-on and what will be checked in. Everything was in the car, and we were ready to drive to San Jose the next morning. In San Jose, we had to bring back the rental car. In the airport, we’ve still had time for another hour to print out our tickets and check in our luggage. Sara saw a piano and played some tunes for a few minutes. This girl needs piano lessons. She needs to learn to read keys and play by sheets, and she will do great at the instrument.

Once we could check-in, we all had lunch in the airport. At 2 p.m. Kevin gets a message on his phone, we didn’t like at all. The flight was delayed from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. I got frustrated and said, that the company sucks. Kevin got even more frustrated, that I had to calm him down. He was tired, and he just wanted to get home. The girls were well-behaved, played games on their phones, watched a movie and had snacks. At least that helped the situation. We also had to make plans, where we would eat for dinner in the airport. When we were in the airplane, the pilot took the shortest, but safest airline route to get us to Dallas. The jet stream did its part as well. We’ve arrived in Dallas at about 1 a.m. (CDT). The flight was about 30 to 45 minutes shorter, than planned in first place. That night, we didn’t care about unpacking. We went straight to bed and worried about everything else the next morning.

Tired and frustrated, I wasn’t sure, if I’d fly with Southwest Airlines again. But after we were rested for a couple of days, I said to Kevin, that the company was always friendly and even when they screwed up, they did their best to accommodate us. They kept their word and still delivered. So, it wasn’t that bad after all. I’d give them another chance. But I would prepare for any lost luggage and delay in the future.

~ THE END ~

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 6 (Part II): From Redwoods National & State Park To Willits, California

June 6, 2019

We back tracked from the beach to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. There we parked at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Kevin, the girls, and I hiked at the Prairie Creek Trail, where we saw lots of Redwoods, ferns, wildflowers, a jay bird, a few ground squirrels, and a daddy long-legs. When we came back to the parking lot, we could see some wild elks on the meadow. I guess, the park staff guides those elks to a certain area, so the vegetation has enough time to recover, grows back; and the elks can feed again. It seemed like a controlled area.

After our hike, we had dinner in Trinidad. Kevin and I debated how far we still want to go. I looked at the map and suggested Willits, which was about three hours down the road. That way, we would have only another three hours to San Jose. We didn’t have to get up too early and rush to get to the airport. Kevin booked a motel room, and we were on our way to Willits.

…to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 6 (Part I): From Grants Pass, Oregon To Redwoods National & State Parks, California

June 6, 2019

On Thursday, we’ve made our way from Grants Pass, Oregon to the Redwoods National & State Parks. First we drove through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. A little bit into the ride, there was a huge pot hole filled with water and not enough space on the road to get around it, without having the passenger wheels over the hill’s edge. And the edge was to brittle. With the little Ford Fusion we’ve used as a rental car, we really didn’t want to try anything stupid (at this moment, we wished we still had our Jeep Grand Cherokee). I told Kevin to screw it; we’ll turn around. I’ve got enough photos of the park. And it was just not worth to risk getting stuck in that hole or falling several hundred feet upside down into the gorge.

We’ve rather decided to get out of that State Park and drive long the beach into the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park on US 101. Katelynn and Sara could walk barefoot at the Crescent Beach, until the tide came in. We’ve found some sand dollars, Dungeness crabs, sea stars and some broken shells along the beach.

Our next stop let us to the Redwoods National Park. In the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center we asked for more information. I found out, that the Park Ranger spoke German due to his German parents, who originated from the Sudetenland. He said, he brushes up his language from all the German tourists, who are the main visitors of the Redwood Parks. He also mentioned, his two sisters moved back to Germany, while he rather stays here in the US. The world is small. Well, after this little chit-chat, the Park Ranger explained to us, the best place to visit is actually Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, while driving on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy. Dangit! we’ve bypassed it on US 101. So, we had to backtrack a little bit …

…to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 5: From Everett, Washington To Grants Pass, Oregon

June 5, 2019

Gosh, we all were sore from walking around in Seattle. Kevin and I decided, we would take it easy that Wednesday. David and his wife had lunch plans with us. So, we made our way back down to Vancouver. After lunch, David and Karen did show us a little bit of Vancouver along the northern shore of the Columbia River. Walking around felt good, since we needed to get the soreness out of our bodies, anyway. Later that day, we still had a long “hike” to get to Grants Pass in Oregon. That night, we had a room with a king-sized bed. I didn’t sleep so well, since I left home. We all needed that rest.

.. to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part VI): The Seattle Aquarium (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

The Seattle Aquarium is only a few piers north from the Argosy Cruises. Kevin and I decided, we would go to the aquarium first, because it closes at 5 pm. And then we would have dinner at Ivar’s. At the Seattle Aquarium, we saw a lot of cool sea critters. Most of their families live either right in the Elliot Bay, Puget Sound or in the Northwestern Pacific. Of course, there were also some species from Hawai’i and across the ocean all the way down to Great Barrier Reef. But mainly we learned quite a few facts about the sea creatures close by. First we wanted to the feeding of a Great Pacific Octopus. But our girls rather had other ideas, and wanted to play with sea urchins, sea cucumbers. sea anemones, “Mr. Krabs”, some of “Patrick’s” family and a hermit crab at the “Life on the Edge” exhibit. The girls were so busy and fascinated touching and playing with spongy and stingy animals, they forgot almost about the rest of the aquarium.

The Seattle Aquarium has two big sections. One is with the fish tanks and sea critter interactions; and then there is the second part with the sea bird, sea mammals and the Underwater Dome. This was my first experience, with fish and mammals swimming above my head. At the harbor seal tank, I would hold my hand against the glass. And the harbor seal came as close to me as it could in the water. The sea otters snoozed until it was dinner time for them at 5 pm. The entrance of the aquarium closes at that time. But there is still plenty of time for the visitors to watch the feeding of the otters, and look around for a little bit. It is encouraged slowly making the way to the exit.

Once, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I made our way to the sidewalk at the Waterfront, we got hungry. Our dentist’s receptionist gave me a tip at our last cleaning visit. Since she lived in Seattle, she was telling me about all the little side places. Oh boy, I definitely have to go back to Seattle …. Anyway, she mentioned Ivar’s at Pier 54. Since Katelynn and I love seafood, we had to go there. Even Kevin ordered a dish with shrimp. Sara was more satisfied with having a burger. The “Acres of Clams” was huge and so good. We had berry lemonade with our food. While we ate, we watched the seagulls fighting over some fresh caught fish between two piers. Darn “sea rats” with wings! 😀

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“Acres of Clam” – Ivar’s at Pier 54

After dinner, we walked back to the monorail, rode to the Seattle Center to get to the parking garage. When we were in our motel in Everett, we weren’t quite ready to rest. So, we went to Denny’s next door. There we all had a milk shake and talked about the adventures we’ve had in Seattle. Katelynn and Sara talked about what they liked best. There are too many “liked best” moments to mention them all in this blog. But we made it possible to see all the CityPASS attractions hassle free in one day. If you being as a tourist with children in Seattle for the first time, I would always recommend the pass. We saved tons of money and we had a plan. Therefore we were not walking around clueless in the city. I know, next time I will get the CityPASS for New York City as well. But this will take longer than one day. 😉

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part V): Argosy Cruises -Harbor Cruise (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

When Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I walked from the Pike Place Market to the Waterfront, we had to weave our way through some construction zones. The Alaskan Way Viaduct is in the middle of a demolition to make place for a much nicer street with a pedestrian bridge and to pretty up the Emerald City’s Waterfront. On a good note, when we finally made it to the Waterfront, we were standing right in front the Argosy Cruise at Pier 55. What a coincidence?! We just wanted to go there, and we were were lucky with the boat as well. Five minutes after our arrival, the vessel was setting for nice one-hour cruise around the Elliot Bay, where we had a nice panoramic view of the Seattle Skyline, Puget Sound, the shipping port, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part IV): Seattle’s Famous Pike Place Market

June 4, 2019

Next to the MoPOP is the Seattle Center Monorail Station. Kevin got round trip tickets, and we rode to the Westlake Station, where the Pike Place Market is only a few blocks away. Once, we arrived at the Public Market Center, I was fascinated from the fresh fruits, vegetables and all kinds of sea foods. At one corner we saw a crowd of people and heard  loud noises. When we came closer, we’ve noticed, it was the place, where they throw the fish over the counter. Pike Place Market/Pure Food Fish Market is famous for that “Fish Throw” all around the world. Kevin and I wanted to witness it. And we didn’t come short. One sales person shouted the order, and the rest of the crew repeated the order in sync several times. Nobody can say, they didn’t hear the order. People come from all over to buy fresh fish from Pure Food Fish Market. Katelynn wanted to throw a fish, too. I said, she needs to apply for a job at the fish market, then she can practice throwing fish, before she can go do it like the big guys behind those counters. “It’s hard work, throwing a good fish over the counter in a famous place”, I replied. We also looked at these small, nifty little stores on several floors, before we moved on to the Water Front. Card readings, Buddhist supplies, Pagan/Wiccan supplies, clothes, second hand books, .. just to name some of the stores, we’ve seen in a small area. Now, I wish we’ve stayed longer at the Pike Place Market. It’s a good reason to come back to Seattle.

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part III): The Museum of Pop Cuture – MoPOP (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

After lunch our next stop was at the Museum of Pop Culture also called MoPOP, formerly EMP Museum. The Museum has a lot to offer. Tons of exhibits, instruments, recordings, etc. Katelynn and Sara spent some time in the Indie Game Revolution room, playing some older video games. In the meantime, I enjoyed photographing the Guitar Sculpture, which I also call “The Guitar Tornado”. It sure does look like a big instrumental tornado. It also includes other instruments, like keyboards, trumpets, clarinets, drums, …

Upstairs, Katelynn, Sara and I played some instruments. Wow, I had some serious fun playing drums to a Rolling Stone song. First the video did show me, how to play the drums, which made me play out rhythm a little bit. But once, I “played with the band”, it was fun. I guess, I had to hear all instruments coming together. It made it easier sticking with the rhythm .

But we’ve also visited some of the exhibits. it was very interesting to look at some original instruments, clothes, journals, and other items, Nirvana, Prince and Jimi Hendrix used in the recording studios and on tour. UGH! May they all rest in peace!

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Nirvana – Taking Punk to the Masses

The exhibition features instruments like Kurt Cobain’s Fender Stratocaster, Krist Novoselić’s Hiwatt DR103 bass amplifier head, and Dave Grohl’s Tama Rockstar-Pro drum kit. In addition, a diverse set of objects like the Cobain-created Fecal Matter shirt and the casting call flier for the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video will be on display.

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Prince From Minneapolis

From the very beginning of his career, Prince worked to create a unique and dynamic professional image. He reached out to photographers in Minneapolis to construct and disseminate what is now his legendarily theatrical image and identity. Four of those photographers—Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen, and Robert Whitman—are showcased in this exhibition. With nearly 50 artifacts, including 25 photos of Prince, 15 Prince-inspired artworks, a Prince guitar, and 2 outfits from the film Purple Rain, this comprehensive gallery allows guests to experience Prince’s unrivaled artistry at key moments in his career.

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Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966 – 1970

From his arrival in London to his untimely death on September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix was rarely in one place for more than a month. Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970 offers a contemplative look at the period of Hendrix’s life spent on the road as he catapulted to fame.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

Explore the lives and legacies of the genre’s greatest in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors science fiction and fantasy’s leading creators and most impactful creations.

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Texts of the exhibits are not from me, but from the official website: https://www.mopop.org/exhibitions-plus-events/

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part II): The Pacific Science Center (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

Originally, I really wanted to go to the Chihuly Garden & Glass. But when I asked my family, which place we want to visit next, I’ve got outvoted. The Seattle CityPASS gives a choice: the Chihuly Garden & Glass or the Pacific Science Center. I had to agree, that the Science Center would be much more fun for the girls. What we didn’t know, the Seattle schools are not on Summer Break, yet. A lot of Elementary Schools use the warmer days for Field Trips. As soon as we entered the Courtyard, we heard a whole bunch of kids. We looked back. And sure enough, there was a “herd” of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders entering the gates. I said: “Oh boy, this might be a short stay here in the Science Center! RUUUNNN!”

Entering the Building, Katelynn and Sara had so much fun touching, playing, exercising, etc. We didn’t go through the whole place. But the girls enjoyed running around in the buildings for over two hours, before we went to lunch. That got the excessive energy out of their system and made them hungry.

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part I): The Seattle Space Needle (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

Tuesday, we’ve started very early in the day, because we wanted to get as much out of the day as possible. The forecast promised sunshine all day. So, it would be a perfect day to walk around in the city, without worrying about a poncho or an umbrella. In Seattle, we exited the Interstate 5 for Mercer Rd. If I remember it right, it was Exit 167. We parked in a parking garage, which is a stone throw away from the Seattle Center.

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Seattle Space Needle from below

Our first destination was the Space Needle. Being one of the first visitors, we didn’t have to wait in line. Once the Ticket Sales Agent explained to me, how the CityPASS works in the city, he scanned our tickets on my phone, which I had stored in a email folder.

The elevator took less than 45 seconds to transport us from the bottom to the observation deck at 520 feet (160 m) above street level. The guide told us some cool facts about the Space Needle, while we were on our journey to the deck. Katelynn and I went outside to see the city, the suburbs and Puget Sound through the glass panels. Sara, on the other hand, wanted to stay in the lobby for a little bit. Once she got used to this height, she stepped out for several steps, before she said she would rather go back inside again. Kevin an Sara rather watched some fun fact videos about Seattle on the screens inside the lobby. While Katelynn played with the thought sitting on the glass bench (I rather sat on the edge of the bench), I heard a couple taking in English and what kinda sounded German. I asked the lady from what country they came to visit this part of the world. She replied, they were from Austria. Since I’m from the northern parts of Bavaria (Lower Franconia), we can understand each others slang. We were standing and talking about Seattle, the Crater Lake, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Texas, Austria and Germany for quite some time. It doesn’t happen every day, I can practice my home language. This was a welcomed opportunity. During this conversation, we found out we share the same first name.

After Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I signed our names and the city we are living on the World Wall, we went to the rotating lower level, which is at 500 feet (150 meters) above street level. The rotating part of the floor is made of thick glass. And fun to walk on it, when there is barely any fear of heights. Katelynn watched the glass floor moving for a few minutes, before she put her hands on it. Since the floor rotates so slow, she had time to adjust her lower body with it. Shortly she sat on the glass. In the meantime, I laid with my back on the glass. I did it twice, because I wanted Kevin to capture photos with both, the Nikon camera and my cell phone. Kevin and Sara rather stayed on the carpeted non-rotating part of the floor. Katelynn and I had so much fun, we walked all around the lower level to see Seattle under our feet.

When it was time to go back down to the base of the Space Needle, we waited for the elevator. The lady that took us down to the souvenir store was from Denton, Texas which is northwest across Lewisville Lake from The Colony. She mentioned, she was going to school in Carrollton. Sara replied: “Oh, I was born in Carrollton, Texas! That is so cool!” In the souvenir store, I purchased some items. Come to find out, if I had gone to the store across the Space Needle, I had paid $6 -$10 less for each item. But hey, I live only once. 😉

… to be continued …