Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bainridge Island

Bainbridge Island is west of Seattle across the Puget Sound.  We were going to go to Victoria in Canada, but the ferry was so expensive you would want to stay for a while to make it worthwhile, so decided against it.  Also an early start, which we haven't been good at while here - 10am breakfasts have been the norm.

I was disappointed that the shots of the autumn trees weren't very good, but the colour was spectacular, especially the maples, such a glowing red, they looked like they were on fire.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today we looked around Seattle, the Pikes Place Market and the downtown area.  It was extremely cold, only about 6'C.  Nice thing is its unlike most crass American cities, more like San Francisco.  Here are some pictures

These are ornamental cabbages, that they put into bunches of flowers.

Never seen so many chilies in so many colours

These are the size of a tennis ball, don't know if they have much flavour or not.

Lots of fish stalls in the market, this is a real seafood town.

Didn't like to ask!

This is one window of the shop, and there were 5 windows, double height, and each one was full of these old sewing machines.  Every inch of the interior walls as well, but they wouldn't let me photograph them.

The very first Starbucks shop, opened in 1912.

This is the footstool in front of the lounge chairs in our room, in front of our fire.  Yes we have a fireplace in our hotel room.

And here's the teddy on my bed.  You can take them when you go, they just add it to your credit card.

Tomorrow we hope to take a ferry to Bainbridge Island which is on the other side of Puget Sound.  Apparently very pretty place.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More trip

This is the first snow we saw along the train line.  This is on the prairie in North Dakota.

Then as we moved into Montana it got more and more.  This is the outside of our carriage at Whitefish, Montana.  This is solid ice.  The only thing that stops the train apparently is if it is extremely cold, such as minus 45'F.  Then the brakes freeze.  It has happened.

It is actually snowing in this shot, and not long after this I was hit by a snowball thrown by this jolly gentleman.

This guy had only been waiting for the train for about ten minutes and already had a layer of snow on his car.

This is the view as we came out of the Rockies and into the Cascade Mountains heading into Seattle. So picturesque

hard to get a clear shot while the train is moving but this gives you some idea of the sort of things we were looking at as we came through the Cascades.

Photos of our trip

Does this mean if you bump off your spouse you can get a discount at the jewellery store?  Deer hunting season started this week.

Bill and Bob in the studio looking at his latest work.  Has just won a major art prize in the US with one of his series of paintings of rocks.  He makes a good living in his retirement with his paintings.

The river through Chicago, just outside of the station that we left from.  There is a bridge like this on every cross street and they open for larger vessels to go under.  It is a really pretty downtown area.

This is what our carriage looked like, its 20 feet high.  We slept on an upper deck.
The inside of Shelby, Montana station being refurbished.  The wood work is gorgeous and the ceiling is amazing.  Those light fittings are wrapped in plastic to protect them from the dust.

Finally, the internet

Well its been ages since we've had internet access but we are finally in Seattle and the hotel has it so I can catch you up on our trip.

We left Houston for a couple of business stops in Dallas and Chicago and then we went to Clarkston in Michigan, which is about an hour north of Detroit, to stay with friends we've known for 40 years.  It just seems that it doesn't matter how long since you've seen them you just pick up like you saw them yesterday.  We had a lovely three days with them, just relaxing.  Bill of course had to go to the big boys toyshop - aka the Home Depot and Lowes, both hardware stores similar to Bunnings.   Irene and I went to a giant supermarket near their house and you would not believe what they can buy there - even clothes and a pharmacy.  Unbelievable.

Then at 6.05 am (I kid you not, we got up at 4.30) we boarded the Wolverine train service from Michigan to Chicago, where we picked up the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle.  If you ever get a chance to take one of these trips grab it.  We had a ball.  We had a sleeper with ensuite (little bit squeezy but didn't have to line up to use public facilites).  We had two days and nights on board.  The dining car did an exceptional job, the food was actually quite good.  They had a wine and cheese tasting on the second afternoon, and I won one of the opened bottles in a trivia quiz.  We shared it with a lovely couple at dinner that night.  They go to pains to sit you with different people each night and we met some great people.  All except the one lady who said her job was a body repairer.  Now we thought crash repairs, but no its one of those touchy feely hippie type things.  Weird!!!

The actual trip took us through 8 states just south of the Canadian border.  The snow started in western North Dakota and by the time we got to Montana it was really snowing.  We got off and played in the snow a bit, crazy Aussies.  Then overnight we came through the Rockies and after breakfast we saw some of the loveliest mountain scenery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We use the phrase "only in America" a lot over here.  They do some weird things.  Like there are no pedestrians in the streets other than in downtown areas.  NOBODY walks anywhere.  They don't even have pedestrian lights at traffic lights.
We were taken out to a hamburger joint the other night where its the rule that the waiters are as rude as can be to you and the patrons love it. OIA.  They also sing and dance on the counter while you're eating.  So the trick is to avoid eating at the counter.  See the pictures, I tell no lies.