Tag Archives: Travel

Wandering Down the Road: Okinawa

Sometimes you find the most interesting things when you just wander around, camera in hand, going nowhere in particular.

EPSON MFP imageA view up the hill from the road.EPSON MFP imageIf you can’t have the real thing, make your own.

EPSON MFP imageShisa standing guard, protecting the home.EPSON MFP imageA little landscaping for sale.EPSON MFP imageOkinawan tombs are unique and beautiful.EPSON MFP imageThere’s a storm headed our way.EPSON MFP imageSwan boats on a lake south of Nago.EPSON MFP imageA Temple in the Nakagusuku area.EPSON MFP imageA rainy day at Hedo Point.EPSON MFP imageDowntown Nago.EPSON MFP imageOlder house near Shuri Castle.EPSON MFP imagePaved road or dirt trail, we drive Everywhere!EPSON MFP imageGodzilla wants to communicate.EPSON MFP imageHiga River.EPSON MFP imageIt’s time to harvest the sugar cane.EPSON MFP imageSwimming at Kadena Marina.EPSON MFP imageThere are bullet holes from WWII in this Shisa.EPSON MFP imageTaking a picture of you taking a picture of me.

EPSON MFP imageOne of the new hotels.EPSON MFP imageA wonderful place for a picnic.

EPSON MFP imageI love tunnels.  This one is on the northwest side of the island.EPSON MFP imageBuild it and they will come.

EPSON MFP imageWow.  Somebody has a cool house.

EPSON MFP imageSome things just are not there anymore.  This is a blurry photo of Aquapolis.  A futuristic concept of a city of the future.  People could ride solar powered go carts on the top and walk thru a glass tunnel under the water. It was towed away and scrapped in 1993.  Too Bad.  It was pretty cool.

These are just a small handful of photos that our family took while stationed on Okinawa from 1985 to 1988.  I’m saving the touristy places photos for a different day.

Mōichido kite kudasai

The Cure for Cabin Fever

With all the snow, ice, freezing drizzle and being warned to stay off the roads for the past few weeks it’s no wonder I got “cabin fever”.  I needed to go somewhere!  I have been wanting to have breakfast at a mom and pop diner in my area for about a year now.  I’ve put it off because it was so close that I figured I could go there anytime.  I’m such a procrastinator.  With the uncertain road conditions I decided that this was the perfect time to go. Not that I was driving, my husband Rick was the chauffer. It was far enough to be a nice drive and close enough so that if the road was bad we wouldn’t mind.  The road was actually pretty good.


The destination was Lillee’s Sunrise Grill &Catering in Reeds Spring, Missouri, about 30 miles to the south of us.


The town was built around a spring, which had a wall built around it and a roof put over it, many, many years ago.  One hundred years ago Reeds Spring was a bustling town.  At one time it had the fame of being the capital of railroad tie production in the USA.  There was also a very large tomato canning factory in the area because the weather was very favorable for tomato farming. DIGITAL CAMERA

Another claim to fame for Reeds Spring is that one day in 1934, several weeks before they were killed, Bonnie & Clyde drove into town in a stolen car, had a shootout with the local police, and kidnapped a local man so that they could make a getaway.  The 3rd Annual Bonnie & Clyde Days event was held in Reeds Spring in October 2013. DIGITAL CAMERA

Lillee’s Sunrise Grill is easy to spot on the main road through town.


The current owners have only been here for one year, but have already gained a lot of support from local customers because of their good home cooking.  I tasted it a few days ago and I’m ready to go back.  20140208_082325

They are also catching the attention of folks in Branson, MO.  As I was looking through the photos on their Facebook page I noticed that a popular group of Branson entertainers had been shooting what they hoped would be a future TV series, The Bucket Lid Café, using Lillee’s as the show’s café.  Another photo was of Barry Williams, aka, Greg Brady of The Brady Bunch fame.  He had stopped by for lunch one day. 20140208_081756

The owners are not new to the food industry.  Melissa and her husband moved their restaurant to Reeds Spring from the nearby town of Spokane, MO, where they had been for 2 years.  Before that she had worked and managed a catering business, The Wild Fork, in Nixa, MO, for 10 years.  Her husband was doing the cooking the morning we were there and let me tell you, he is a darned good cook! 20140208_082343

Their menu is not huge, a good thing because I don’t want to read a book before ordering.  It runs the gamut from good for you healthy food to total cholesterol bomb.  Melissa was our waitress.  The service was excellent, she is such a pleasant person to talk to and brought us more coffee just before we needed a refill.  I swear she is psychic. 20140208_083308

I ordered the Birds Nest, 2 eggs on a huge pile of hash browns and asked to have it topped with gravy.  Yes, I went with a cholesterol bomb.

20140208_083138 Rick ordered the South of the Border Omelet.  20140208_081227

Both dishes were delicious, and the coffee was really good.  Almost 100% of their food is made from scratch.  Our next trip will be for lunch.  If you live in the Springfield area or will be visiting Branson, make the trip to Reeds Spring for breakfast or lunch.  Their Winter hours are Monday thru Saturday from 8am to 3 pm.  The rest of the year they will be open Monday thru Saturday from 7am to 3 pm.  You will find them on Main Street, in the original part of town.  The address is 22221 Main Street, but don’t trust Google Maps, it landed me in the wrong place.  You will get much closer by just entering Reeds Spring, MO.  The restaurant will be across the street on the south side of the bend in the road, which is also know as highways 413 and 265. DIGITAL CAMERA

Bon Appetit!

And for photos of their food go to their Facebook page.


Superman Lives, In Metropolis Illinois

There is a town called Metropolis along the Ohio River at the very bottom of Illinois. In 1972 the state of Illinois made Metropolis the official hometown of Superman.

metropolisIn 1973 a California man named Jim Hambrick opened a Superman Museum.  The museum has a collection of over 100,000 items.  One of his most prized items is the suit worn by George Reeves in the first color television episodes of “Adventures of Superman.”

metropolis museum Every year over 30,000 visitors from around the globe descend on the town for the annual Metropolis Superman Celebration.  The annual event is held the second weekend of June.  This year will its 36th year.  The celebration will be June 12 to 15, 2014.

 The celebration includes a lookalike contest.  Hundreds of people dressed as Superman gather around a 15 foot bronze statue of the superhero that the town erected in 1993.  superman

 The town of Metropolis is hoping to become a Guinness World Record holder by being part of the world’s largest-ever gathering of people dressed as Superman.  To date the largest gathering of people dressed as Superman is 867 people that gathered in Cumbria, UK, on 27 July, 2013.

A Little Piece of Sweden in Nebraska, USA

About an hour north of Omaha Nebraska on Highway 71 we found this little town of Oakland.  We stopped to find a restroom and lingered a while to drive on the town’s brick road.  Yes, an actual brick road.  Something very unusual in this part of the country.

DIGITAL CAMERAThis sign told us that there is a lot of home town pride in this small town started by Swedish immigrants.  Lawns were neatly trimmed.  There is a large golf course and the county fair grounds.  And those beautiful bricks neatly laid for their streets.

DIGITAL CAMERAIt was pretty early in the morning, We left our Hotel in Lincoln Nebraska at dawn. We found a public restroom in the park by the fairground. Even the restroom was cute.

DIGITAL CAMERAThe “Swedishness” was not overdone. Just little signs here and there to let you know this place was special.



DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this was also a town with a sense of humor as you can see by this sign at the florist, where the bricks turned to pavement.

DIGITAL CAMERAYou never know what you will find when you use the road less traveled and explore along the way.

Happy wandering.

The Smallest Bank in Missouri, USA


The First State Bank of Long Lane opened on August 15, 1910, with the amount of $10,000.  By 1926 it had $46,500.  There was a bank robbery in 1930’s.

IMG_9411Today Long Lane is a small community with an Elementary School, one small store, a garage and a handful of homes.  The area Lion’s Club now owns the bank which sits on a corner, in a grassy lot.  It’s front porch held up by a pile of rocks and a brick.

Smaller than a small town, Long Lane Missouri also has the smallest bank in Missouri.

The first settlers, Daniel Beckner and family, came to the area from Virginia in 1846.  A community grew in the area.  The town was named Long Lane because of the 6 mile long straight piece of road, or lane, that the town was built around.

IMG_9409Lone Lane is a community that is about 10 miles east of the town of Buffalo Missouri, which is the county seat of Dallas County.  According to the Missouri Postal History Society, a post office was opened in 1850.

IMG_9413By 1910 the small town was large enough to support 2 General stores, a pharmacy, a school, a doctor and the bank.

IMG_9410Long Lane is located on Highway 32, ten miles east of Buffalo, MO.  The bank is at the intersection of Hwy 32 and County Road P.  For a step back in time, come and visit the First State Bank of Long Lane.  The outside has been restored to how it would have looked back in the 1930’s.  It’s a great photo opportunity.

More On Seattle Part Three – The Last Installment

From hustle and bustle to calm and serene, Seattle has it all.  Yes, it rains, but that is what keeps it lush and green.  Cold and damp?  A hot cup of coffee will make it all better.  Or how about a double tall skinny Mocha?  Yum!  And on a sunny day…..OMG…..the city absolutely sparkles!

Starbucks – The Original Store

1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA

Why go to this Starbucks when you can go to one almost anywhere in the world?  Pure and simple, for bragging rights.  Yup, get a cup here and you can tell your friends you got coffee at THE Starbucks!  And you know that on a cold and rainy Seattle day you are going to want a hot cup of coffee, so why not here?  The original store opened at Pike Place Market in 1971 a few doors down from it’s present location.

Volunteer Park

1400 East Galer Street, Seattle, WA

This park is about 40 acres that was purchased in 1876.  A beautiful Conservatory was built in 1912.  It is filled with flowers and plants from around the world with a wonderful orchid collection.  It is now a little over 48 acres and includes the Seattle Asian Art Museum which is located at the 1400 East Prospect Street end of the park.  Both are places that you will want to see.  Bring a picnic lunch because they have a very nice picnic area and play ground for the kids.

Gas Works Park

2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA

Called Gas Works because it was originally built to make gas from coal in 1906.  Later it was converted to use crude oil to manufacture gas.  In the 1950’s the plant was closed.  It opened as a city park in 1975 with the machinery and smoke stacks still in place.  Come here to picnic while you watch the boats go by on their way to and from the locks.  Gas Work Park is at the north end of Lake Union so you will have a great view of the Floating Houses.  What was the exhauster-compressor is now a children’s play barn.  Bring binoculars and a zoom for your camera.  This is an amazing place to take photos of the city.  The Space Needle is very prominent.

The Arboretum

2300 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle, WA

The Washington Park Arboretum covers an area of 230 acres and has a collection of 4,000 species of trees, shrubs and various plants.  There is Japanese Garden with a carp pond and a tea house.  The Arboretum is free but there is a $6 admission to the Japanese Garden.  If you need a quiet place to relax after the excitement of Pike Place Market and the Seattle Center, this is the place to go.  Make sure to bring your camera because this is photo op mecca.  The main paths are asphalt, but there are also woodsy trails to explore.  There are guided loops for short walks.

The Ballard Locks and Ship Canal

3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA

The Ballard Locks and Ship Canal were built and is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.  They opened in 1917.  The grounds include a visitor’s center, a fish ladder with underwater windows for fish viewing and a botanical garden.  The actual name for the locks (there are 2 locks) is the Hiram M/ Chittenden Locks.  Locals call them the Ballard Locks because they are at the southern boundary of the community of Ballard.  The locks were built to allow boats from Lake Union and Lake Washington to go out into the Puget Sound.  It’s a great place for boat watching as there is usually a lot of boat traffic.  The locks adjust the water levels and are also a barrier to keep the salt water from mixing with the fresh water from the lakes.  The Lake Washington Ship Canal runs from Lake Washington to the east, through Lake Union, and out to the Puget Sound at the north end of Elliot Bay.  Elliot Bay is the waterfront of downtown Seattle.

Green Lake

Green Lake Park    7201 E Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA

Green Lake Park, picnic tables, play areas, lots of trees and grass, a 2.8 mile paves walk around the lake.  What’s not to like.  This park is north of downtown Seattle and a favorite park for many of the locals.  The park has lots of parking and even a beach for swimming, on those few days when it’s warm enough.

Alki Beach

Alki Beach Park    1702 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA

Alki Beach is in West Seattle.  It’s a long beach with restrooms on the south end along with a monument to the first white settlers that arrived in November 1851.  Alki beach is where they came onshore.  During minus tides the beach is sandy, a rarity in the northwest that is known for its rocky beaches.  Stop to the north of the beach for a great photo of downtown Seattle across the bay.

Museum of Flight

9404 East Marginal Way South, Seattle, WA

The Museum of Flight is located south of downtown Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5. Free Parking is adjacent to the Museum.

$19 Adult (18-64 yrs)

$16 Senior (65+ yrs)
$11 Youth (5 –17 yrs)

Kids 4 and under FREE

The Museum of Flight is accredited by the American Associations of Museums, and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.  The museum contains a huge collection of planes, (including the Concord and Air Force One) spacecraft, and artifacts along with the history of Boeing.  I liked how they had so many planes hanging from the ceiling.  It is also worth the walk over the sky bridge to the Space Gallery to go in the Space Shuttle Trainer.  There is a space for younger children that has small models that they can climb in and operate.  There are planes inside and planes outside.  It’s easy to spend 2 hours just looking at the inside exhibits so plan on at least half a day.

Tillicum Village

This is a venue presented by Argosy Cruises.  You have a choice between a cruise with dinner and a show or just the cruise.

1101 Alaskan Way, Pier 55, Seattle, WA

Cruise and dinner:

$79 Adult (13-64 yrs)
$72 Senior (65+ yrs)
$30 Youth (4 –12 yrs)

Kids 3 and under FREE

Cruise-Only option:

$40 Adult (13-64 yrs)
$15 Youth(4 –12 yrs)

The dinner and show is The Pacific Northwest done Luau style.  The boat takes you to Blake Island where Chief Seattle, also known as also known as Sealth, Seathle, Seathl, and See-ahth, was born in 1780.  The tour includes the round trip boat ride, narration along the way by trained guides, a fantastic meal, and a dinner show.  During the show you will learn a lot about the area’s Native Americans.  After the show there is time to walk around the grounds or on the beach and visit the gift shop.

According to USA Today the Tillicum Village tour is “One of the best tourist activities in Seattle”.  You can read the article at:


The Houseboats (Floating Houses) on Lake Union

Take exit 168A off of southbound I-5 to Boylston Ave. and turn right onto Roanoke St. at the light.  Go about 4 blocks to the Roanoke Street Mini Park. You can see some of the floating houses from the Mini Park.  You can also see Gas Works Park across the water.  Then drive south on Fairview Ave. to see more Floating Houses.

The West Point Lighthouse

3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle WA

The lighthouse was built in 1881 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is now part of Discovery Park.  It is also known as the Discovery Park lighthouse.  This is one of those picturesque white lighthouses with the red tiled roof.  The light itself is in a 23 foot tower.

The lighthouse sits out on a point at the north end of Elliot Bay.  Discovery Park has a good beach, nice hiking trail, a good view of the Olympic mountains and Mt. Rainier.  The park is located just to the south of the Ballard Locks.

The Piers along Alaska Way

Between Pier 50 and Pier 70 you will find many restaurants, shops and parks, along with boat terminals, the Wheel and the Seattle Aquarium.  Piers 50 and 52 are Washington State Ferry terminals.  At Pier 53 you will see fireboats.  Pier 54 has Ivar’s, a waterfront restaurant since 1938 and a curio shop named Ye Old Curiosity Shop which has been around since 1899.

You can catch a Water Taxi to West Seattle on Pier 55.  Also the tour boats Royal Argosy, Spirit of Seattle, Lady Mary, Goodtime II, and Sightseer.  Among its routes is the boat to Tillicum Village on Blake Island.

The Seattle Wheel is at Pier 57 along with a carousel and many shops and eateries. Just to the north is Waterfront Park and north of that is Pier 59 with the Seattle Aquarium.  North of the Aquarium is where you will find the big cruise ships and Edgewater Hotel.

More On Seattle Part Two

Between the sea and the sky there is a jewel sometimes known as the Emerald City.  Lush and green, Seattle’s official nickname became The Emerald City in 1981, the result of a nicknaming contest.

In Part One I gave information on The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Aquarium, The Underground and The Underground Tour.

In this article you will learn about The Pacific Science Center, the University of Washington, The Monorail, Woodland Park Zoo, The Experience Music Project , Seattle Art Museum, Uwajimaya and the International District.

The Pacific Science Center

200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Winter Hours Of Operation

Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri – 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.


Sat, Sun, Holidays – 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission Fees:

$18 Adult (16-64 yrs)
$16 Senior (65+ yrs)
$13 Youth (6-15 yrs)

$13 Child (3-5 yrs)

Free Children (3 and younger)

The Pacific Science Center is located on the south side of the Seattle Center and was part of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle.  It is geared towards kids, but adults can also enjoy everything there.  The best way to learn something is to be able to experience it hands-on and there are a lot of hands-on activities in the Science Center.  You will want to visit the Volcano Watch exhibit, Starlab Planetarium, the dinosaurs and butterflies and the Photography Of Modernist Cuisine.  You will also want to see a 3-D movie in the Boeing IMAX Theatre, however there is an additional cost for the theater.

University of Washington

4060 George Washington Ln NE, Seattle, WA 98195

Nicknamed the U-Dub, the University has a park-like campus.  A walk or drive around the campus is made very enjoyable because the campus has about 480 different kinds of trees that beautify the U.W.  Only twenty-eight are species native on campus.  The colors are gorgeous in the fall.  If you are in Seattle when the Cherry blossoms are blooming you will want to walk through the Cherry blossom trees in the Arts and Sciences Quad next to Suzzallo Library.  Everyone is welcome to visit the University of Washington Library and use the books, journals and most other materials while in the library.  The architecture is exquisite. You will enjoy the gothic stone buildings, right out of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.  The art gallery has some interesting work and is worthy of a visit.  And best of all it doesn’t cost a thing.

The Monorail

Ticket Prices

All prices are one-way:

$2.25 for Adults

$1.00 for Youth ages 5-12

$1.00 for Reduced Rate (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards, & active duty U.S. military)

Children 4 and under ride free

The Monorail was built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and has been a Seattle icon since the World’s Fair.  It departs every 10 minutes form it’s 2 stations.  One is at the Seattle Center Station next to the Space Needle and the other is the Westlake Center Mall Station at 5th Ave. and Pine Street.

Woodland Park Zoo

601 N 59th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Ticket costs and open times:

October 1 to April 30:

$12.75 Adult (13-64 yrs)
$8.75 Child (3-12 yrs)

Free Children (0-2)

Senior (65+ yrs) and disabled discount – $2 off regular admission

Open 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily (except Christmas Day, December 25, closed).

May 1 to September 30:

$18.75 Adult (13-64 yrs)
$11.75 Child (3-12 yrs)

Free Children (0-2)

Senior (65+ yrs) and disabled discount – $2 off regular admission

Open 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily

Woodland Park Zoo is a 92-acre park with more than 1,000 animals representing nearly 300 species from around the world.  New exhibits include Zoomazium, an indoor, nature-themed play space for kids.  Wear comfy shoes, you’ll do a lot of walking.  Little legs will absolutely need strollers.  There is so much to see, both indoors and outside.  Along with the normal and expected lions, elephants, giraffes, bears and monkeys swinging through the trees, you will also see birds in the rain forest exhibit.  The animals have a lot of space and realistic habitats.  They are grouped into bio climatic zones.  One region blends very well into the next so walking through the zoo feels seamless and peaceful.

The Orangutan enclosure has several levels with massive trees in it for the animals to climb on. There is also a bridge going right by the animals at tree level as well as a viewing station near a clearing at the base of the trees.  The elephant enclosure is also a very large area.  It is entertaining to watch the bears fishing for trout.  While they are hunting for trout, the bears will get very close to the glass so do your best to capture a picture of yourself with the bear.

Woodland Park Zoo is all about the visitor experience and exceptional animal care.  Every exhibit is suited to the animal that is displayed.  The zoo staff are helpful, fun to talk to, and very engaging and approachable.  There are tons of restrooms and food vendors.  All in all, it’s a great place to visit.

The Experience Music Project

325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Winter Hours are:

September 3, 2013 – May 22, 2014
Open Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

To get there take exit 167 on I-5 and follow the signs to the Seattle Center. Merge onto Mercer Street, continue on Broad, and turn right on Harrison Street.  The Experience Music Project will be on the left.

Tickets cost:

$20 Adult (18-64 yrs)
$17 Senior (65+ yrs)
$14 Student (with valid ID)

$14 Youth (5-17 yrs)

Free Children (4 and younger)


The Experience Music Project, now commonly called the EMP, also includes a wing called the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.  The building itself is a work of art with it’s shining brightly colored, undulating surfaces.  The building is part of the Seattle Center, a 74 acre park that was originally the 1962 World’s Fair.  The EMP is next to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center Monorail runs through the middle of the building.  Parking is easy because there are many parking lots around the Seattle Center.  Many people also park a mile away at the Westlake Mall (Westlake Center) and ride the Seattle Monorail to the EMP.

Plan on spending a minimum of four hours inside this place.  It’s not just a music museum.  It’s a total music experience with many “hands on” things to try.  There are sound proof rooms where you can try instruments, a guitar gallery that shows the evolution of the guitar from very early days to now and booths that are good for beginners because they teach you the basics of several instruments.  The EMP has many collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.  It also includes a great deal of books and materials from science fiction and movies along with a fantasy exhibit that should not be missed! Kids will love crawling through the tunnels and going inside the pretend tree.

One of the exhibits in the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is a timeline showing events of various periods in science fiction and the real world.  The Gallery of Fantastic Voyages is built to simulate the interior of an orbital spacedock.  You will be able to see animated display of many famous science-fiction spacecrafts.  Anyone interested in science fiction will want to visit the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Exhibits change from time to time, so there will always be something new to see.

Seattle Art Museum

1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

Tickets cost:

$19.50 Adult (18-61 yrs)
$17.50 Senior (65+ yrs) Military with ID
$12.50 Student (with ID) Teen (13 – 17)

Free Children (12 and younger)

Monday: closed
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 10 am–5 pm
Thursday: 10 am–9 pm
Friday–Sunday: 10 am–5 pm

The focus of the Seattle Art Museum is modern art but it also has an eclectic collection of objects, and you can surely find a collection that interests you.  It is a large and airy museum with a respectable Native American collection.  The objects are thoughtfully arranged throughout the galleries so that they aren’t over-crowded.  There is a book shop and a Gallery shop of everything from artistic accessories to clever kitchen necessities. They are currently exhibiiting a beautiful Peruvian art exhibit that captures the native history and art of the country.  It’s easy to see in an hour or two.

The museum’s permanent collections are varied.  They include works from Africa, Europe, the U.S., the ancient Mediterranean and most of Asia.  The museum is in the downtown area near Pike’s Market and well worth a visit.




600 5th Ave S
(between James St & Weller St)
Seattle, WA 98104


Mon-Sat 8 am – 10 pm

Sun 9 am – 9 pm

Huge Asian store with several different areas.  The main part is a grocery store, but there is also a gift shop, a restaurant and a seafood market.  There are a lot of the housewares, toys, toiletries and a large, fancy origami section.  They also have any kind of oriental product you can think of and one’s you did not know existed.

There is parking there; when you drive in, you get a parking ticket and as you check out with your items, the cashier will validate your parking ticket so that your parking is free.  Spend enough to get free parking.  It’s really not that difficult.  $7.50 for 1 hour $15.00 for two.  It is worth doing to shop, then tour the international district while you are parked at the store.  Don’t miss this experience.

The International District   

Seattle’s Chinatown is called the International District.  It is about 23 acres in size.  The main thoroughfares are South Jackson Street and South King Street.  The area is multi-ethnic, mainly occupied by people who are of Chinese, Japanese, and Philippine ethnicity.  There are also significant populations of people who are of Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Laotian, Cambodian, and Pacific Islander descent, as well as other communities.  The district is filled with restaurants, stores and cafes.  Don’t expect it to be like the Chinatowns in New York or San Francisco.  It is still worth a walk around.  Park at Uwajimaya and buy your souvenirs there to get the free parking.

More On Seattle Part One

Seattle is a beautiful city nestled between the ocean and snow capped mountains.

space ne

I will tell you a about each of these places in several articles.

The places a lot of people have heard about:  The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Aquarium, The Underground, University of Washington, The Monorail, Pacific Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo, the Original Starbucks and the Great Seattle Wheel.

Lesser known but still popular:   the Music Project building, Seattle Art Museum, Uwajimaya, the International District, Volunteer Park, Gas Works Park, The Arboretum, the Ballard Locks and Ship Canal, Green Lake, Alki Beach, Boeing Museum of Flight, Tillicum Village, the Houseboats on Lake Union, the West Point Lighthouse, and the piers along Alaska Way.

The Space Needle

Seattle Center
400 Broad Street
Seattle, WA 98109

Open 365 days a year

Addmition: Adults $24.00  Child $15.00

Driving Directions: From I-5, take exit 167

The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.  It was designed to look like a flying saucer.  It has a rotation restaurant at 500 feet.  If you leave your purse on the window sill, it will come back around to you in about 45 minutes.  The observation deck is at 520 feet and includes a gift shop and restrooms.  It’s a fantastic way to get an overview of the city, see the mountains that surround Seattle and Elliot Bay with all of it’s boat traffic.

pike place sign

Pike Place Market

From 1st Ave. and Pike St. to 1st Ave. and Pine St.

Open 7 days a week, 362 days a year.

Public Market Parking Garage
1531 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Pike Place Market was established in 1907.  The Market has several levels and takes up about nine acres.  There are way too many places to list so I have included this website to look through, but be warned, you can spend hours looking through this directory because it is so much fun.   http://pikeplacemarket.herokuapp.com/directory

It’s even more fun being there.  Bakeries and flower vendors make it smell amazing.  The fish market has it’s famous fish throwing to watch, and scattered around there are street musicians playing sweet music and street magicians entertaining anyone who wants to stop and watch.

Pioneer Square

Several blocks south of Pike Place Market.  This is where the original Seattle was built in the 1850’s.  A huge fire destroyed the wood buildings in 1889.  The buildings that were built in the 1890’s were made of stone and brick.  Over time the street level kept rising so that now the main floor of most of the buildings are actually the second floor of the buildings.  More on that next under The Undergound.

Seattle Aquarium

1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101-2015

Open 9:30am to 5pm daily

Seattle Aquarium fees:           Ages 13 and over – $21.95

Ages 4 to 12 – $14.95

Three and under – Free

The aquarium has a 120,000-gallon tank with more than 800 fish and invertebrates indigenous to the Pacific Northwest’s local waters.  The main viewing window is a huge 20×40 feet area.  Divers go into the water three times a day: at 10am, 11:30am and 12:15pm.  They wear special masks that let them talk back and forth with Aquarium interpreters on the outside of the tank and answer questions from the audience.

There is also an undersea dome with a 360º view into a 400,000 gallon tank filled with hundreds of fish including Salmon and Sharks.  Fish feeding happens daily at 1:30pm.

Best place to park is the Public Market Parking Garage at 1531 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101.

The Underground  and  Seattle Underground Tour

Because the original streets of the area of Pioneer Square flooded quite often during the early days of Seattle, city leaders decided to raise the street level after the 1889 fire.  To do this, they built concrete walls that formed narrow alleyways between the walls and the buildings on both sides of the street, they filled the area where the street was with dirt and rock.  Pedestrians climbed ladders to go between street level and the sidewalks in front of the buildings.  Eventually they paved the streets and covered the sidewalks with pavement and skylights.  This turned to original sidewalks into tunnels.

In 1907 the city condemned the underground area, which were now basements.  Over the years the areas were left to deteriorate or were used as storage.  This area was also being used by prostitutes, gambling halls, speakeasies, and opium dens.

In 1965 a man named Bill Speidel established “Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour” and took customers on a tour of what was left underneath Pioneer Square.  Over the years the tour has become very popular.  The underground areas have been continually renovated to be safer and more visually appealing. The tour remains a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike.

Meet for the tour at 608 First Ave, in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, between Cherry Street and Yesler Way.

The tour lasts for 75 minutes.  Tickets cost:

$17 Adult (18-59 yrs)
$14 Senior (60+ yrs)
$14 Student (13-17 yrs or with valid college ID)
$9 Child (7 –12 yrs)
Kids 6 and under are admitted free, but may find the 75-minute tour challenging.

More On Seattle Part Two has information on:

The Pacific Science Center

University of Washington

The Monorail

Woodland Park Zoo

The Music Project

Seattle Art Museum


The International District

More On Seattle Part Three has information on:

Volunteer Park

Gas Works Park

The Arboretum

The Ballard Locks and Ship Canal

Green Lake

Alki Beach

Boeing Museum of Flight

Tillicum Village

The Houseboats on Lake Union

Seattle, The Seahawks, Starbucks and the Space Needle

The City of Seattle is far from an out of the way place, but considering today is the Superbowl and the Seattle Seahawks (GO Hawks!) are going for the win, I thought it quite appropriate to write about Seattle. And yes, I AM a Seahawk fan.  I also Love Seattle. Wow, did you notice that all of the important things start with an “S”?   I apologize that I don’t have many photos to post.  I lived about 70 miles north of Seattle for 23 years, went there often, and took it for granted.

space ne

Seattle has so many things to see and do that you would need to stay there for an entire month and maybe even then you would probably miss places.

pike place sign

The places a lot of people have heard about:  The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Aquarium, The Underground, University of Washington, The Monorail, Pacific Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo, the Original Starbucks and something I just learned about, the Great Seattle Wheel.

*In my defense, the Wheel was not built until 2012.  The Seattle Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the west coast, standing 175 feet tall.  It has 42 fully-enclosed gondolas.  Each gondola seats up to eight people.  The wheel can hold over 300 passengers at any given time.


Lesser known but still popular:   the Music Project building, Seattle Art Museum, Uwajimaya, the International District, Volunteer Park, Gasworks Park, The Arboretum, the Ballard Locks and Ship Canal, Green Lake, Alki Beach, Boeing Museum of Flight, Tillicum Village, the Houseboats on Lake Union, the West Point Lighthouse, and the piers along Alaska Way.


You can actually spend all day on the Alaska Way waterfront.  You will kick yourself if you don’t go to Ivar’s Acres of Clams for lunch at Pier 54.  Get there at 11:00 when they open for lunch to make sure you get a window seat.  You will be able to watch the ferry boats come and go.  And speaking of ferries, taking a ferry ride is one of the must do’s.  Also on the must do list is a ride on the Monorail.  Get there early, find a place to park, and spend the day there.  From this one place you can visit the piers, go through Pike Place Market and watch them throw fish.  You can spend several hours in the Market. There are several levels and many, many shops.  Go across the street and get coffee at the original Starbucks.  The cook in the family will want to shop at Sur La Table on the Pine Street end of Pike Place Market.  Back down at the waterfront, take the kids to the Seattle Aquarium and the Great Seattle Wheel.


Now, for the Seahawks.  When you leave your parking spot up by the piers and Pike Place Market, go south on Alaska Way and drive by the CenturyLink Stadium.  Home of the Seahawks and their fans, the 12th Man.  Yes, I know the 12th Man was coined by the Texas Aggies in 1922, but the Seahawk fans are owning it.  Here is a little know piece of fan history; in 1984 team president Mike McCormack retired the No. 12 jersey and dedicated it to the fans.  The was the beginning of the Seattle Seahawks 12th Man.

The Seahawks were born in 1976.  Their first home was the famous Kingdome.  Named that because Seattle is in King County.  Many of us Old Timers have fond memories of the mighty Kingdome.  Football games, tractor pulls, yearly Home Shows, and the Great Seattle Boat Show.  I can still hear the jingle in my head, “The boat show, the boat show, the Great Seattle Boat Show”.  Hmm….I digress, back to the Hawks and their fans.  The 12th Maners are the Loudest fans in America and have actually caused low grade earthquakes under CenturyLink Field.

Today will be the Seahawks second time at the Superbowl.  So who will win?  Seahawks or Denver Broncos?  I will be in front of the TV.  Beer in one hand, chicken wings in the other, cheering for my mighty Seahawks.

Seattle Aquarium fees:           Ages 13 and over – $21.95

Ages 4 to 12 – $14.95

Three and under – Free

A really GREAT deal is the CityPASS.   This is a pass to six-attractions:  the Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Seattle Harbor Tour, the Seattle Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project/ Science Fiction Museum, and your choice of the Woodland Park Zoo OR the Boeing Museum of Flight. You can purchase a pass at the Aquarium ticket booth.  It is good for up to nine days.

The CityPASS will cost:

          Ages 13 and over – $74.00

 Ages 4 to 12 – $49.00

Paris Springs Junction, a Must See on Route 66

Not much is left of the town of Paris Springs.  Just a church and a few houses.  The town was settled before 1850.  In the mid 1920’s, Route 66 was built less than a mile south of the town.  One enterprising man decided to build a filling station, or gas station in today’s vernacular.


The station was built at the intersection where the road from Paris Springs met the new Route 66.  He joined several other businesses that had already opened at that location, and the community of Paris Springs Junction was born.


The filling station was doing quite well until a fire destroyed the business in 1955 and shortly afterward Interstate 44 was built about 2 miles to the south.  When I-44 bypassed Paris Springs Junction the community dwindled.


Many years later the property was purchased by Route 66 enthusiasts, Gary and Lena Turner.  Gary rebuilt a new station with the character of a 1930’s Sinclair Station.  He filled the area with a collector’s dream of memorabilia.


Not rusty old vintage things, but signs and items that look new enough that a visitor is transported back in time to the 1930’s.


Mr. Turner is known to sit in his office inside the station and talk to anyone who stops by.  He doesn’t sell anything, he just gives away free information.


We have never met the owner because we take our drives at sunrise, way to early in the morning, however, we do plan on taking another drive to Paris Springs Junction on a Saturday afternoon this spring because we would truly like to meet Gary Turner and chat with him for a while.


This special little community is a Must See for any historian, Route 66 fan, or anyone just out for a drive.  See it, you’ll be happy you did. (and don’t forget your camera).


Directions:   Paris Springs Junction lies about 20 miles west of Springfield, Missouri, about 3 miles west of Halltown.  The easiest way to get there is to get on I-44 at Springfield and head west to the Avilla/Hwy 96 exit.  Travel west on 96 for about one and a half miles, turn right on Highway 266.  Drive about 150 feet and turn left onto Route 66 road (turning right will take you to Halltown).  Paris Springs Junction is only about one and a half miles down the road.