“Call me Ishmael Gabba.”
Where I last left you off, our trip was just arriving in Seattle, having visited Mt. Hood for some camping, mountain biking, skiing, and other adventures. Since then, we have attended a Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners baseball game, kayaked on Lake Union, visited the world’s second most unhygienic landmark, the Gum Wall, situated outside of Pike Place Market, which we subsequently explored, and participated in a hybrid boat/driving tour around this great city!
This week, we, the staff, introduced our trip mascot, Gabba, to the group. Gabba, a cuddly stuffed creature, will be escorting us on our various expeditions around the Northwest to each landmark we visit and to every event we attend. A few facts about Gabba, he enjoys long walks on the beach, loves being photographed, and thoroughly enjoys sitting on shoulders and receiving hugs.
Once we arrived in Seattle, we stopped at our hotel, the SpringHill Suites, for some much needed relaxing time and a bit of hanging out before heading to Safeco Field to attend the baseball game. That game, which happened to be the most entertaining game I’ve ever attended, thanks to the hilarious antics of Tyler and Julian, as well as Ean’s spectacular “dancing.” Even though we root, root, rooted for the home team, the Mariners fell to the Orioles 5-4, despite some late inning heroics by Seattle.
The following morning, the trip woke up early so that we could get a full morning of kayaking on Lake Union in. Lake Union, the link between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, was calm as can be, allowing us to enjoy the morning breeze and get the day started with a leisurely yet energizing paddle.
Following the paddle on Lake Union, we hopped on the bus to visit the world famous Pike Place Market and the Gum Wall adjacent to it. The trip was given free reign of the market, which extends to the very first Starbucks. Despite the long lines and tiresome wait for their coffee, Noa and Jenna L succeeded in visiting the landmark coffee shop. With some great music playing in the background and some snakes available for petting and pictures, Pike Place Market was an incredible experience.
Following the Market, we ventured over to the Experience Music Project. This museum, whose design was based off of a pile of broken guitars, was one that allowed for the trip to enjoy musical history and participate in the creation and enactment of the art. Whether it was through visiting the AC DC, Nirvana or Jimi Hendrix exhibits, or watching the multimedia art display of music videos on the nation’s second largest screen, or even creating their own music in the state of the art production and recording studios, the trip members really demonstrated that music is more than just art, it is an inspirational part of life!
Following the EMP, our trip walked around the building, past the Chihuly Glass Gardens, to the Space Needle, where we were able to view the sprawling city, the Cascade and Olympic mountain regions, and Puget Sound from 158 meters in the air. While staring at the jaw-dropping view of the Emerald City, Lee enlightened us with a bit of pop culture trivia, as he taught us that Mt. Rainier, in all of its cloud-enshrouded glory, is the inspiration for the Paramount Pictures logo.
After a great Italian dinner at Buca Di Beppo, the trip headed to an evening of Whirlyball, which was a fun time for all! That evening ended with ice-your-own-cookies and some fireworks for the fourth of July.
The 5th was yet another full day, one which we started on hilarious “duck tours” of the city. The “duck tours” started on land, near the Space Needle and led us through the city, by Pike Place Market, past the building that is used as “Seattle Grace Hospital” from Grey’s Anatomy, by the very first “Skid Road” and was both informative and entertaining! After driving around for nearly an hour, the bus suddenly pulled up to an entry slip at Lake Union, where the re-formatted WWII D-Day boat slowly entered the water to take us on a tour of the beautiful lake, including a quick stop near the house from Tom Hanks’ and Meg Ryan’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” on which we kayaked the day before! With two comical tour guides, being Captains Beau Dashius and Phlip Dover, we had a very fun, yet very educational tour of one of America’s most interesting metropolitan cities. That afternoon, our trip journeyed to Wild Waves Theme Park for an afternoon of fun in the sun with rides, slides and great company. Without a cloud in the sky, Wild Waves was the setting for Stefan and Sami S helping staff member, Sam T get over her fear of roller coasters, while Sam K and myself, Max, had the pleasure of falling in love with three friendly sea lions.
With some help from Noah M and Macie, our bus rides have been filled with music and entertainment that we will not soon forget. I’d also like to congratulate Macie on conquering her fear of border patrol agents and making it across the usually docile Canadian border!
The past few days have been busy and tiring but fun has triumphed over all, yet again!
Stay tuned for more about our upcoming stops at Whistler Blackcomb and Vancouver! Special thanks to Stefan and Ryan C for helping write this blog post! Welcome back!