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phoebus - The Amazing Adventures of Sid - Week 11
Port Townsend, Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver
North along Water Street
Looking north along Water Street in Port Townsend.
Jefferson County Museum
Jefferson County Museum on Water Street.
April Fool & Penny Too
A small shop called April Fool And Penny Too! on Water Street.
Before checking out I made a fairly enormous international call expecting to have to pay a fortune for it, but it didn't appear on the final bill and the woman in reception said that it hadn't appeared on her computer, so that was nice. I drove into the downtown area of Port Townsend and went for a walk along Water Street, the main road through the town with pretty much all the shops. The road parallels the harbour and ends where the shoreline turns inwards. All along the road are excellent shops, galleries, restaurants and cafés, mostly in original
South along Water Street
Looking south along Water Street.
East along Hood Canal Bridge
Driving east along the Hood Canal Bridge which links the Olympic Peninsula and the Kitsap Peninsula.
East along Bridge to Bainbridge Island
Driving east along the bridge from the Kitsap Peninsula onto Bainbridge Island.
late 19th and early 20th century buildings, creating a nice, friendly atmosphere (and with only one tramp). Having perused the excellent selection of shops and bought a few items, effectively cancelling out my saving on the telephone call, I drove out of town along route 19. The road met up with route 104, which then passed over a large bridge and onto a long, complicated peninsula called, I think, the Kitsap Peninsula, which sits between the Olympic Peninsula and the mainland. The road met up with route 3, which I followed for a while with the intention of going all the way south to Tacoma, but turned off at the last minute onto route 305 and, via another bridge, onto Bainbridge Island.

Seattle from Ferry
The northern part of Seattle, with the Space Needle, that didn't quite match up with the panorama.
Panorama Seattle from Ferry
A panorama of downtown Seattle emerging from the mist.
At the far eastern end of the island was a ferry port, where I decided to take a ferry straight across Puget Sound to Seattle. The ferries run quite regularly so I only had to wait 10 minutes before boarding, and the trip only took about 20 minutes so there was barely enough time to get out and take pictures. The wind was blowing a gale and extremely cold, so staying outside for too long was very uncomfortable, although I did manage to watch Seattle appear out of the mist. It appears to be one of the largest cities I have so far visited, both in extent and in number and height of skyscrapers, with the Space Needle off to the north (and
Car Deck on Ferry
Looking out the back of a half-empty ferry from whence I came.
Train crossing Atlantic Street
The long freight train I had to wait for, other side of which is Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners baseball team.
left from where I was situated) of the main downtown area. The ferry docked and I ended up heading south by mistake along a fast main road, the Alaskan Way South, before managing to turn off east and instantly being confronted by a fast and very long freight train right in front of me (with no barriers by the tracks, or warning signs, or lights, or anything). I sat and waited as the train ground to a halt just as the last few empty cars were making their way past me, and then sat and waited as it reversed and made its way back again. I continued on my way and made it into the downtown area along 4th Avenue and after a few more quick turns stopped at the Westcoast Vance Hotel. The hotel wasn't flashy by any means of the word, but it was a lot cheaper than the ones surrounding it (which were all well over $200 a night) and more than sufficient for my needs, so I checked in and went down for some dinner.
North along 6th Avenue from Nordstrom Bridge
Looking north along 6th Avenue from the Nordstrom bridge link.
Southeast from Space Needle
The view southeast from the Space Needle. You can see the monorail running from the bottom of the picture into downtown along 5th Avenue.
I went for a walk around the area of town near to my hotel in the morning and visited a few shopping malls, of which Seattle has many. After having my fill of shopping I went back to the hotel and got the car from the parking valet and set off for the Space Needle in the Seattle Centre. I finally arrived an hour later after getting horribly lost in the surrounding
Southwest across Elliott Bay from Space Needle
Southwest from the Space Needle across Elliot Bay and into Puget Sound.
streets and repeatedly ending up on main highways out of town. The Seattle Centre was built for the 1962 World's Fair and the needle sits near the southeast corner of the 74-acre area. There is a monorail that can take you from the centre of downtown to a station right next to the Space Needle, but I chose to drive, a decision I would live to regret.

The Needle is 605 feet tall and has an observation deck at 520 feet with a revolving restaurant on the floor below. Amazingly, the motor used to revolve the restaurant is only one-and-a-half horsepower, although it has a gear ratio of 850,000 to 1. The observation deck provides amazing views of the whole of Seattle and Puget Sound and on a clear day you can
Lake Union from Space Needle
Looking northeast at Lake Union from the Space Needle. About half-way up the western shore is where Sleepless in Seattle was filmed. In the distance on the far right you can just see Lake Washington.
Rotated Space Needle
The Space Needle.
see Mt. Rainier, and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. Unfortunately today was a low cloudy day, so the views didn't stretch very far, but were still very good nonetheless (I managed to find Microsoft's world headquarters in Redmond). Inside the deck is a series of panels explaining the construction of the needle, which were very interesting, and another
Barrier beside Space Needle Car Park
The rather arty barrier between the car park and the Seattle Centre.
few panels comparing other feats of construction from around the world (including the Great Clock Tower next to the Houses of Parliament in London, which they correctly point out is not called Big Ben). After descending from the Needle in one of the three elevators, which run up the outside of the structure, I looked around the rest of the Seattle Centre, although much of it was closed. Upon arriving back at the car, I discovered it had been broken into and a number of things stolen. All the doors were unlocked and the alarm had not activated so I don't know how they managed to get in; I specifically remember locking the doors and setting the alarm. They had taken a few gifts I had bought for other people, and my new tripod and head (including the empty boxes) but inexplicably left the three camera lenses sitting in the bag in the boot (which they had to rifle through to get to the gifts), and all the CDs in the door pocket. It never ceases to amaze me, the things that thieves steal and leave behind. Anyway, that incident did an excellent job of cutting short my day of touring
Experience Music Project
The left-hand side of the Experience Music Project with the pedestrian entrance.
Experience Music Project
The right-hand side of the Experience Music Project with the Monorail entrance.
the town, as I had to go back to the hotel and call the police (I didn't have my mobile with me) and await a call back from them to log the details. They sounded distinctly doubtful that the perpetrators or stolen items would be found so I guess it's up to the insurance company to sort it out. I shall have to plan a return visit to Seattle (it's only a two-hour drive from Vancouver, so it shouldn't be too tricky) as there are several other places I'd like to go.

I was just watching the local news channel and it's seems that I left the Olympic Peninsula just in time: huge gusts of wind invaded the coastal and island areas, cancelling lots of the ferries and tearing down trees and buildings along the shores, affecting areas from near Seattle all the way up to Vancouver. Pictures of Yakima (where I stayed a couple of weeks ago) were shown with huge gusts of wind blowing people over; the poor town always seems to be getting it.
Mukilteo from Ferry
Looking back at Mukilteo from the departing ferry.
Bridge over Deception Pass
Looking along the bridge over Deception Pass at Fidalgo Island.
I headed straight out of Seattle on I-5 with the intention of going straight to Vancouver, but turned off at the last minute onto state highway 525 towards Mukilteo (pronounced MUCK-l-tee-oh). The town was hit very badly the previous night by the high winds and waves and as I pulled into the downtown area I could see the restaurant that had been on
Sunset from Deception Pass
West from a viewpoint next to Deception Pass.
the news. Its entire veranda had collapsed into the water of the Puget Sound and Saratoga Pass area. Apparently the restaurant was open when it happened and everyone rushed very quickly into the main building as their dinners slid into the water. I queued for the ferry to take me over to Whidbey Island (I thought it was a bridge, the map doesn't show it very clearly), which only took about 15 minutes to get across. The 525 continued along the island (past a road rather amusingly called Useless Bay Avenue) until it met up with route 20 coming in from the ferry from Port Townsend (another large circle complete), which I stayed on all the way to the top end of the island. At the top of the island was a bridge over a small waterway called Deception Pass, beside which were a car park and a few trails. The area is called Deception Pass State Park and has a number of trails going further into
Sunset from Beach by Deception Pass 1
The same view west but from the beach beside Deception Pass.
Bridge over Deception Pass from Beach
The bridge over Deception Pass from the beach.
forest, and one that went down to a beach. I followed the trail to the beach, which turned out to be very steep indeed, and got there just in time to see the sun set over the southern tip of Vancouver Island (of which I was now slightly further north). When Captain Vancouver was mapping the islands in the area, he assumed that the island to the north
Sunset from Deception Pass 3
Sunset from Deception Pass.
of the pass was actually a peninsula attached to Whidbey Island, until his first mate pointed out that the pass went all the way through and he had been deceived, hence the name. He honoured his first mate, Whidbey, by naming the southern-most island after him. I made my way back up to the car and continued along the bridge over the pass and onto the next island, called Fidalgo Island. The road curved to the eastern side of the island (on which is Anacortes, a large town that I wanted to go to from Sidney a few days ago) and over another bridge to Skagit Island (to be honest, on the map these two islands look like they are joined by a fairly large area of land, but there you go). Route 20 continued east until meeting up with I-5 again, which I took north (after a couple of wrong turns) and into Bellingham, the last major town before Canada, and only 55 from the border. There seem to be a couple of factory outlet malls in the town, so I'll no doubt be visiting them tomorrow before heading into Vancouver (at last). I found yet another Best Western and checked in, during which time I noticed that it was extremely windy outside, a trend that was to continue and get slightly worse for the rest of the night.
I left Bellingham on I-5 with the intention of finding the factory outlet north of the city, but must have driven straight past it because I didn't see it all. I continued north and did pass a large collection of shops in Custer, but the junction was a mile or so back and the next one was a good five miles away so I decided to give it a miss. I can always drive back down at a later date if necessary. The wind was even stronger in the morning than it had been the previous night and the car was being blown all over the road (not literally, that would have been incredibly inconvenient, but most cars seemed to be having trouble keeping within the lanes: slightly scary when overtaking trucks). I stayed on I-5 all the way to the Canadian border, where I was interrogated again about where I'd been and why, but this time by American border officers just prior to getting to the Canadian customs office. Obviously the Canadian border officers can't be trusted so the Americans have to do the job themselves. In fact the American officer asked me to specifically name all the places I'd visited but must have become bored after the tenth state because he just gave me back my passport and told me to have a nice day in mid sentence. The Canadian border officer was much more polite and friendly, a trend I was to encounter many more times. The I-5 turned into route 99 at the border and this I took all the way into Vancouver. Upon discovering that the 99 doesn't actually go directly into downtown Vancouver without some tricky turns (that I, needless to say, missed) I attempted some cunning manoeuvres that rather handily ended up with me heading in almost exactly the wrong direction. Half-an-hour later I managed to make it into the downtown area through the Chinatown district and found a Days Inn right in the middle of the financial district, which I booked into, figuring (correctly as it turns out) that most of the stuff I'd need to do (like applying for a Social Insurance Number, Health Insurance and such like) would require visiting buildings around there. The bloke behind car valet desk gave me a copy of the Georgia Straight for jobs and apartments but it didn't actually have much of what I wanted so I guess I'll have to look elsewhere. I spent most of the evening in my room doing research on the Internet and went to a Keg for dinner, where the Canucks were playing LA on the television resulting in a fairly lively evening (they won, 3-1).

I suppose that this officially ends The Amazing Adventures of Sid, since I won't really be doing any more travelling of any significance. I've been on the road for nearly two and a half months and covered around 9500 miles and seen the most amazing things. I'll keep posting messages every so often of how my attempts to be a Canadian get on, but this will be the last major entry. So thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.

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