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Pacific Northwest Part I

We’ve reached the West Coast! And we crossed the border into Canada!

We had an amazing day 1 exploring Vancouver by bike.

But transitioning from mountains, hiking and lots of space and open skies to traffic jams and crowds and noise took a toll on us. After a day of exploring Vancouver by bike, fighting traffic, and watching lots and lots of tourists, we took a day off. We stayed in the hotel almost all day, and several of us slept for many hours. I went to Starbucks and sat outside overlooking a parking lot while drinking an ice coffee and reading a book. That was pretty relaxing. And then the next day we were back to normal and off to see Granville Island.

I never really noticed this in Toronto, but Canadians are very polite. Even while sitting in traffic and being bumper to bumper, the Canadians never honked their horns. They just sat in silence waiting for the cars to move. And their busses? Their signs say “Sorry, Out of Service”. Sorry???? What bus says Sorry on their sign in the US? None that I’ve ever seen.

Vancouver is the most bike friendly city I’ve seen in North America. Bike lanes set apart from the car lanes on their city wall circle tour of the city. Green lanes painted exclusively for bike use all over the city, and bike signs painted on the streets making sure everyone knows bikes are allowed. It was great and safe to explore the city by bike.

Salmon: I’ve eaten a lot of salmon over the past couple days. Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market had a stand where they sold a large variety of smoked salmon. Not lox. Smoked salmon. And they had about five different varieties of it. Jay and I had a taste of several kinds for lunch. And then I ate salmon at Pike’s Place market in Seattle. I had fish and chips, and the fish was salmon. Today I had salmon and spinach salad for lunch while in Tacoma. And finally, I had salmon as part of my dinner the other night.

We got to see salmon also… While we were in Seattle we visited the Ballard Chittendon locks, where they showed how even though the dams and the locks impede the salmons’ journey up the river to Lake Washington, they built these salmon ladders and salmon chutes that help the salmon go up and down the river, and then they have these windows that let you watch the salmon move upstream to spawn. That was pretty interesting. Salmon is a big deal in this this part of the country and I’m so happy I got to take advantage of it!!!

What we did in Seattle:

Pike Place Market: Number one tourist destination in Seattle is SUPER crowded. Honestly, West Side Market in Cleveland is just as good, nice, old, iconic, historic, etc. The only thing different is this one is near the water. I suppose you have to go just to say you did it, but honestly, I won’t go back again. But I did eat salmon there. Yum!

Ballard Locks is the Number 2 tourist destination in Seattle! The locks connect the Puget Sound to Lake Union and Lake Washington. I described it above in the salmon section. I really liked it and found it to be super interesting. Definitely worth a visit. Seeing the salmon swim upstream was pretty cool. We also saw sea lions hanging around looking for salmon to eat. We learned about how they are a nuisance and are eating all the salmon and how the government is trying to solve the sea lion problem.

Space Needle: Number 3 tourist destination. We went to it but couldn’t get tickets for the time we needed so we passed on it. But it was fine.

We didn’t feel like we missed out on anything. Instead, we went to…

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors’ Center. We all really liked it. You learn about what drives them to do the work they do, how they are working in different areas to make change, and they emphasize how one person can make a difference in the world. It’s my kind of place and even Jay, Danny, and Jeremy found it interesting.

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour: awesome and amazing! Lots of chocolate samples to try! And you see how Theo’s uses fair trade to make organic, kosher, gluten-free chocolate from bean to bar. Great place to go!

Mount Rainier National Park: Amazing, beautiful, crowded, and for good reason. Just look at the photos. 7 of us crammed into my cousin’s van and Jay drove us to the mountain. A road trip inside a road trip. Lots of fun!

And an excellent visit with my cousin Ricki who was a wonderful host!!!

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