Friday, December 27, 2013

Seattle Free Walking Tours

Our tour Guide Jake...He loves his City!

The Owner of the pickle shop explaining the health benefits of  Pickle shots lined up

Pickle Brine Shots! they explained you need a shot at least every few days to keep the digestive system in good health.

Pikes Famous Fish Market, we are getting a personal tour

She didn't really volunteer to catch the fish but she caught it!

It comes and goes

The beginning 

The thick of it

Off to the Pikes Brewery tour

Should have brought the truck

She is the most knowledgeable Brewery tour guide in Seattle for sure!

Can't do it without the Hops!

Plenty of Malts
This is the machine that fills the Kegs

22 Oz. Bombers are very popular in the PNW

These Manhole covers/maps of Central Seattle are all over to help you find your location

Chief Seattle

Some interesting history regarding the old Seattle buildings

The Old and new defining Seattle today

I hope to get back to this pub for sure.

This is a experienced  Ivor's Vulture

Planing a day trip to Bainbridge Island on the Ferry

Time for a late lunch!

Chorizo and crab, oysters?...Yeah Buddy!

No words

Seattle Free Walking Tours

The first Free Walking tour we did was the Seattle Center one, we liked Jake and the tour so much we decided to do his other two, the Seattle 101 and the Pikes Market tour. All three tours gave great insights in how to enjoy Seattle's Best. I am not sure after living in Austin for over 35 years that we know as much about Austin as we learned from Jake in his three tours around Seattle. The West Coast is very young since it was the last to be settled and so the way the City has evolved in the last couple hundred years to the High Tech world happened much faster than the old world of the several hundred year old Eastern Seaboard.
Jake has something for every age in his walking tours and I guess that is why he gets such high reviews on Yelp. Either way he feels passionate about his City and he shares all that with anyone willing to listen. If you come to Seattle pick your tour but be sure to walk up front and ask all the questions that come to mind along the way.  You will get a custom tour that will have lots to look forward to as you try and check the best parts of the City off your list of things to do.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Ballard Locks AKA Hiram M.Chittenden Locks

Every calls them the Ballard Locks or just The Locks

Separation of State and Federal Governments for Sure!

while the Admiral went to the Gardens to do some bird watching I went straight to the locks. Certainly did not want to miss any vessels coming or going. 

Looking Northward toward the channel to Puget Sound

Looking Southward toward Lakes Union and Washington

Argosy tour boat locking through

Could not believe this flock of Canada Geese choose to lock through rather than just fly over!

The tour boat had to wait on the flock of Geese, the lock staff through bread in the water to encourage the flock to hurry along.

Small tug towing two large barges through

The lines holding the two barges looked like they have seen the end of the Rope.

I was surprised at how the skipper was able to enter down the center of the lock and then guide his barges over to nudge up against the wall. 

We got lucky and got in on the last tour of the day.

We are collecting those pennies that you get out of these machines stamped flat with a image on them like a Salmon for our youngest Grandaughter. 

In the summer this lock would be full of pleasure boats. 

Trading places, one coming, one going. 

The Locks also provide flood control for Lake Union and Washington with these gates.The Salmon ladder is just to the right of the gates. 

The Gates have served steady for years and now they have to be replaced due to old age. 

The Gates to the locks were designed from Leonardo Da Vinci drawings. The water pressure from the inside of the lock keeps the gates water tight.

The Ballard Locks AKA Hiram M. Chittenden Locks


This is probable the third time we have been to the Ballard Locks but the first time since we moved up here. This is a great place to visit especially during the summer when the locks are super busy with commercial and pleasure boats of all kinds. Also at certain times of the year when the Salmon are returning upstream to lay their eggs you get to see them climb the Salmon ladder built in to assist them through this obstacle.
We happened to arrive just when the last free tour was scheduled so we joined in. The History of Lake Union and Lake Washington was the most interesting part as they had to decide just where to build a connecting canal and where to place the locks. Hiram M.Chittenden was the man who engineered it all and turned down the locals request to build the locks out of wood (wood was plentiful and the locals wanted the contracts of course). Concrete and steel won out and has served for almost 100 years.
Lake Washington was 30 feet above sea level and Lake Union was 20 feet above sea level. After the joining canal was dredged it lowered Lake Washington to about 22 feet to match lake union. The locks, depending on tides can lock vessels down 26 feet, or up 26 feet always using fresh water. The water is provided mostly by rains and or snow melt from the Cascades.
The other cool feature is the Salmon Ladder that assist Salmon returning upstream to lay there eggs and then die off providing the environment with natural food an or decaying material that maintains the cycle of life.
We have been through our share of locks on the Gulf ICW but none were near as interesting as this lock and it's running history in the PNW. Got to see it to understand.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Queen Anne's Kerry Park, Marshall Park, and More

We learned during our Seattle Center Walking Tour that one of the best views in the city was up on Queen Anne Hill at Kerry Park.

The Park has a downstairs as well where there is a small ball field and a playground.

Great view of West Seattle and Alki Beach also.

We are several miles away to get this complete view of the Port of Seattle.

The West most waterway is the Duwamish river and lots of barge and small ship traffic head on up past the Port.

This Sculpture at the park gives everyone a chance at some creative photogrophy

Something like this

Culled twenty pictures to choose this one with Mount Rainer Visible. 

Walk two more blocks South and get to another view at Marshall Point

Elliot Bay Marina...Count the Mast! The cruise ships are gone for the year, if they were here they would be blocking this shot since they dock just above all the work boats you see in the foreground. 

Looks Like a nice Club House for the Marina, Have to go check it out, Stay tuned.

These PNW Marinas have Serious breakwaters I am sure that is probably 12' tall. 

Nice Nordhaven

I am Learning the names of the peakes of the Olympics, Ellinor on the left and Washington Peak on the right.

Very well known as the "Brothers Peaks"

Constance on the left and Warrior on the right.


and Townsend Peak in the middle

Russell, my Son in Law found this Panorama for me on the net. The very bottom is the Western half of the Olympics as seen from Seattle and the very top could be pasted to it since it is the Eastern Half of the ridge. The ones in the Middle are mostly the Cascades but the fact is all of these Mountains are visible from some point in Seattle on a clear day. 

You can see some grain Elevators in the foreground. The ship anchored off is waiting it's turn at the dock to load up. The dock can only handle one ship at a time and it takes about 5-6 days to load one of the 225 Meter long ships up with grain. Sometimes there are 3-4 ships anchored off waiting to get in to the dock. I wonder how the crew of those ships keep themselves occupied while at anchor for weeks just waiting?

This cool sidewalk goes around the top of Queen Anne Hill giving the pedestrian great views as you walk around the top circumference of the hill. 

This is why Sailors do not stay in one place for long.

Short cut to the top of Queen Anne, couldn't resist.

I think this is some type of NW sparrow or maybe a Pipit?

Hey is is a bit cool but Sunny and very clear, that is why we came up here to experience the view today.

I see these guys fishing the same spot every single day. I saw that boat on the left pull into Bell Harbor Marina and realized they were providing fish for Anthony's one of the better known Seafood restaurants here.

Maybe I can volunteer one day to learn and maybe get some free Salmon?

On the way back down to our starting point we discovered this garden, more birding...This might be a Junco, that is our best guess.

I was intrigued by the twisted bark on this evergreen

There must be a story with this tree

You have to visit to know why?

Queen Anne's  Kerry Park, Marshall Park, and More

We were waiting for just the right Clear day to drive up the short distance up Queen Anne Hill to Kerry Park where we heard there was a great lookout point to see the City. We got up there around 10am and they were right excellent views all around the city and the entire South Puget Sound, Olympics, and more. the only times we had been to Queen Anne was to pick up some great Sandwiches from Homegrown our Son in Law's and Daughters favorite sandwich spot. The sun has a strange angle this far North and at this time of year. It was clear that if we wanted pics of the Downtown area it would be best to be up here around 3 or 4 in the afternoon to get the sun behind the shots. We took what we could thinking we could always come back some afternoon and try again. I took a loo Westward and noticed some people down at the end of the street and more clear blue sky so we walked a couple of blocks to find Marshall Park another great spot facing Westward. Besides the better view of the Olympics I liked the view of Elliot Bay Marina. Every summer on Thursday evenings the Bay is filled with boats participating in a late afternoon race and most of these sailboats come out of this marina. I plan to get down there soon to check it out, definitely one of the more popular Seattle Marina. The
Slip rates are comparative to the better marina's on the Florida West Coast.
We walked on around to find a sidewalk around the edge of the top of Queen Anne Hill through the neighborhood so we continued our exploration through this very cool neighborhood with old an some new homes, all with interesting architecture. We came up on a sidewalk that led up the the next street above us near the very top of the Hill so we climbed the steps and a few birds were in the underbrush so the Admiral got into her Birding ways the remainder of the adventure. More cool homes on the top and then on the way back down to where we started we found a cool public garden which was pretty neat but I am sure is much better to see in the summer.
After we got back to our Baby Drew duties we reported to our daughter our findings and they wanted to go up and take drew for a stroll so we were happy to have the chance to go back and get some pics with the sun in a better angle. Drew loved it up there!