Day 19: Seattle and Southward

There were still quite a few time-consuming stops in Seattle that took up much of the day. Traffic was definitely better, especially downtown. But stops west and east of the city proved more complicated with zigzag-ing inefficient routes. Although things were very well planned out, it still took way more time than anticipated. The weather was not my friend either. For the first time on this trip, it rained. Not torrential enough to stop shooting. But it did make for dull compositions, grey backgrounds, and calling it a night a couple hours early. Better luck tomorrow.

One thing that surprised me about Seattle was the number of hills. There were some roller coaster drops where you had to keep your brakes on all the way down. In fact, I recall a street named appropriately Nob Hill (like San Francisco) in a neighborhood I was happy to only have a couple stops in. The views and houses were nice but I’m not into white knuckle driving. There were also lots of irritating hills where you were at a 45 degree and had to stop for a stop sign. Then you have to rev the engine back up to get beyond it and get going again (usually with scary oncoming traffic).

The dogs got to play at Alki Beach (West Seattle) in the drizzle. No, it wasn’t legal but nobody seemed to notice. I think we were concealed by the concrete seawall. I love it when the dogs shake off and get sand all over the van. To me, seeing sand in the crevices and carpeting for a few days is just a memento of the good times we’ve had.

Here’s a nifty dragon in Chinatown:

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This sign was in West Seattle. The moon is three-dimensional.

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Uh, something happened when I popped out of the van to take photos of something for a few minutes. I’m not sure who is responsible – most likely Grem who will eat just about anything. Must have been a drop of something that smelled good and then she just continued to eat up an important part below Seattle. Luckily, my printed maps were enough to get me through this area but it would have been easier with a better highway map.

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For a plastic sign, this one in Seatac has a lot of pizzazz:

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I really, really wanted to see the Rocket gas sign in Des Moines. Unfortunately, the Butler Bar & Grill where it was displayed is closed on Mondays. So I tried and tried but this is the best I could get through the window:

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I went to Maple Valley to check out the Lake Wilderness Lodge which had a great mid-century building. I took a bunch of shots but the place is too big to really carry well into photos. Very often that’s the case with great Art Deco buildings: too big to photo well. On the way back to the highway, I noticed these two fun places across the street from each other. The Maple Valley Library is probably a contemporary construction — although maybe it could be midcentury. Wonderful sloped roof with visible wood from the exterior — and equally great view of the trees from the inside. This person has some more photos of the place:
http://flickr.com/photos/kcls/sets/72157604370059682/

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And lastly, the Maple Valley Community Center across the street has this fun fence.

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