We were up early yesterday in order to leave Canada and get back down to Seattle. The car was packed up, thankfully not broken into by the people hanging round in the car park last night smoking weed and drinking from a brown paper bag. First stop was to locate a post office which we did with relative ease. After munching down some breakfast we headed to the border.
It didn’t take long to get through the border and the guard was very pleasant as he asked us about our journey so far and where we were going to. Then, we were back in the USA.The weather, in keeping with the last few days, was dreadful. It was actually cold as well as being horribly overcast with fierce downpours. Not what we wanted when heading into a city! Everyone at home is complaining about how hot it is over there yet we end up with crap weather! Send it our way!!
We had about a hundred miles to get to Seattle-Tacoma airport to visit enterprise and swap cars. We had done about 4000 miles so thought it best to take it in to swap out as it needed an oil change about 1000 miles ago. We got there and parked up. Nathan went into the booth and it was probably a good ten minutes before he came out saying they have no idea what is going on. In I went and was greeted by assistant manager Drew who informed us that at the last location, Denver, it seemed they closed out our agreement and they couldn’t find any history of our swap outs or anything. Eventually he sorted it all out and waived the costs for additional driver and under 25 driver so that was a total result. He also gave us an upgrade into a minivan! Why on Earth we didn’t have one of these to begin with (cost) is beyond me. They’re so spacious and comfortable! It also the quickest car we’ve had so far! He also assured us we wouldn’t need to swap cars again until we hand it back fully on the 30th. Phew.We were all set the try and work our way into the city centre. As we drove in, the skyscrapers towered around us.Trying to find a car park was difficult. Every street was one way and you had to go like three blocks down and then five blocks up in order to get to the turning you missed. City driving in America is very stressful! Eventually we found a car park, thanks to our built in sat nav in our new car! Parked, we ventured out and just as we did it started raining again! My tan has pretty much gone now it’s been washed off we have had that much rain! I’m going to end up going home less tanned than everyone there!
First stop was Pike Place. It is this huge market, over about five floors on the seafront. It was incredible. They sell everything. And I mean everything. From clothing, the leather bound journal, pens, fish, meat, flowers, pasta, knives, hair accessories, jewelllery, decorative home pieces, and more! It was Nathan’s worst nightmare as it was just hoards of people crowded in, and it was only a Tuesday. I dread to think how busy it gets at weekends! The market opened in 1907 and prides itself on a ‘meet the producer’ ethic. That means that everything from the bakeries, to the fruit and veg, meat, cheese and fish are grown by those selling it. It is an absolute must visit if heading to Seattle!
Another gem here is the very first Starbucks! The first shop opened here in 1971 and is still in the same spot! The queue to get a coffee was huge.We walked the road about three times and the queue hadn’t died down even a little bit! As you head towards the clock then back into the centre there’s another Starbucks! Probably serving the same coffee in about two hours less time 😂! Still, an iconic place to see!
Another stop, probably not the most hygienic however, we stumbled across was ‘gum wall.’ We came across it purely by accident when trying to find our way back up the the market. It is a wall, well more like an alley, covered in chewing gum. Started in the 1990s by the market theatre patrons, this alley is covered in gum. You can purchase the colourful gum for 25c inside the market! The last time it was cleaned was in 2015. Certainly wouldn’t want that job!We headed back up the market once we figured out where we were and entered some of the lower floors. Down there seemed to be more second-hand items for sale. There were books, toys, old vinyl records, paintings and galleries. Look at all those books!! 😍We didn’t know where to start in this place! As you walk through, you have the fishmongers shouting and throwing fish to each other once someone places their order, stalls offering tasters of things like chocolate linguine or chilli sauce then you step out onto the road and you can smell the freshly baked goods from the bakeries lining the pavement. It’s quite hard to describe the atmosphere but it was buzzing. Buskers playing a mixture of instruments and singing, produce sellers offering tasters of pears and nectarines, which were deliciously sweet and refreshing.
After a few days of eating junk food we had forgotten what fresh fruit tasted like! We had decided to go back via the fruit stalls to buy some on our way back from Hard Rock Cafe, but then we realised that it had probably be sat there all day so in the end we didn’t. When we reached the clock, we headed into the city to eat at Hard Rock Cafe. The food was scrummy like usual and we then headed back out to the market to fight our way to the viewpoint.Had the weather been better and it not taken about two hours to sort the car out, we would have done the Ferris wheel and taken a ride on the ferry boat! Even with the rain and heavy clouds, Seattle has a lot to offer. I definitely would have liked to spend longer there but sadly we didn’t have the time.
We made our way back to the car, paid the attendant then proceeded to try and make our way out of this city. Big mistake. Never ever ever try leaving a huge city like Seattle at 5pm! A lot of the roads are closed to any vehicles except buses and bikes, which makes it even more challenging, especially when you get forced down those roads by a bus! One way systems, plus roadworks, plus certain roads you can’t enter, topped off by the city being full of steep hills, made for a very interesting exit.
Two hours after we left the car park, we finally hit 30mph on the freeway! Then we were moving! We had no plan again, just to head as far south as possible before we needed to sleep. The idea of sleeping in our new ride was inviting, however the lack of campsites we passed wasn’t. It wasn’t long before we were passing through Portland, Oregon as the sun was setting. It was pretty!We pulled into Taco Bell to use their facilities and wifi to find somewhere to stay. I found us a motel 33 miles south so we headed there. When we walked out of Taco Bell, the boot on the car was wide open!! We ran to the car to check nothing was missing. Thankfully it wasn’t. The car may be nice but you can open the doors and the boot as well as start the engine on the key fob. When he sat down he must have pressed the open boot button! There are so many buttons in the car!! At least nothing was stolen!! We were both tired and had planned to get up at 630am as we still had about 15 hours to go until we got to LA, so a problem at check in wasn’t really what we wanted! They had no sign of our reservation anywhere. Even after showing them the confirmation email, nothing. The girl behind the desk called her manager, said several times that she doesn’t know what’s happened or what to do, then she called Expedia and hotels.com to seek their advice but apparently they were closed. Then her computer froze so she called the manager again and this time a dude in shorts and a baseball cap, who clearly misses leg day and does nothing but arms, arrived, again checked the email, then basically just said check us in and he will sort it in the morning. Finally!
About forty five minutes after we arrived, we were finally able to get some sleep before that dreaded alarm goes off!!