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Seattle/Olympic/Rainier Trip Report

Day 6 of 9

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Wednesday, September 15th
Pike Place Market

After breakfast in the hotel, we made the short drive to the Seattle REI. It's the flagship store, and boy is it impressive. It's at least 4-5 times bigger than the Saratoga REI, which is big in its own right. Included are a chamber where you can test gear against rain, an outdoor mountain bike course including a pretty waterfall, an art gallery housing work by photographer Art Wolfe, a sizable auditorium for their free lecture series, a World Wrapps restaurant, and of course huge sections for tents, kayaks, ski/snowboard gear, biking, etc., etc. Suffice it to say, next time I'm in Seattle I'll be revisiting the REI store there.

My PowerMax fuel canister was still half full after two days and nights of use, and we only had two days and nights left of car camping, so I decided to return all the other fuel at REI. I also picked up a hiking map of Mt. Rainier National Park.

One of the most frustrating things about driving in downtown Seattle is the lack of left turns. Many streets prohibit left turns, and where they're not prohibited the drivers stuck behind you are ticked off. There are also too many one-way streets for my taste.

Wild Ginger restaurant

We had lunch at Wild Ginger, a unique restaurant which features Southeast Asian food and a satay bar. It was so good we ended up eating lunch here again the next day. Highly recommended.

Teddybear sunflowers at Pike Place Market

After lunch we shopped and walked around Pike Place Market. It's something like Fisherman's wharf in San Francisco -- very touristy. There are lots of little shops selling artsy things, and a great food market with lots of vendors selling everything from flowers to fruit to mushrooms to seafood. The seafood is the main attraction, with lots of yelling, flying fish (thrown by employees), and lots of tourists taking. pictures. They also ship ( and

More flowers at Pike Place Market

Jean wanted some coffee so we stopped at a Starbucks across the street. While I was waiting inside, I noticed that this wasn't just any Starbucks -- it was the very first Starbucks. Nothing special about it, other than the sign denoting it as the first one, and the huge stack of mugs saying so, too.

The very first Starbucks store

The market grew increasingly crowded in the afternoon. Soon it was a mass of humanity. We escaped and drove to the Pacific Science Center. We were just in time for a viewing of "Into The Deep" in the 3D IMAX theater there. The science center is similar to the Tech Museum in San Jose, or the Exploratorium in San Francisco. After the movie, we went outside and walked around. There are actually working displays among the pools and fountains. Fun ones, too. There are giant squirt guns which you can aim at rotating wheels and targets. Jean and I spent several minutes playing with these. Unfortunately they have a limited turning radius, so you can't actually aim them at other people (this is probably a good thing, considering how powerful they are).

I was hoping to visit the nearby Space Needle, but it was a cloudy day with not much to be seen. I decided we'd wait for another time. Instead, we retreated to our hotel before going to dinner at Serafina, a great little Italian restaurant in a quaint neighborhood next to Lake Union.

After dinner we went through the mundane task of doing our laundry at the hotel and preparing for our trip to Mt. Rainier.

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