*** SHOW NOTES ***
I had a recent last-minute trip to Seattle which requires flying out on a Sunday morning and then back home the following Friday night. Due to the finances and geographics involved, there are no direct “affordable’ direct flights from Orlando to Seattle.
The best that I could come up with was Southwest with two stops and only one plane change. Leaving Orlando 10:00 AM Sunday morning and arriving in Seattle at 6:00 PM Sunday evening. Roughly 11 hours of travel time after you factor the time zone change. This trip required 5 days of dress clothes, etc so my carry-on wasn’t going to cut it so I went with a bigger bag thus requiring it to be checked. Two broken travel rules – connecting flights and checked luggage.
My initial leg, Orlando to St. Louis was perfect, I had the whole row of seats to myself, called a plane couch.
Southwest now allows for inflight text messaging. Right before landing, I get a text message. “SWA Flight 3153 on Sep 08 from STL is canceled. To rebook or request a refund call 1-800-Your Day Is About To Suck”. Get off the plane and immediately dial the number as well as head over to a gate agent. Whichever one responds first gets to be the winner.
I explained to Matthew about the canceled flight and he begins typing away and comes back with two options – there’s a 2:20 PM St Louis to Oakland, CA. The flight leaves Oakland CA and gets you into Seattle at 9:00 PM. There’s a second direct flight that leaves St Loius at 4:40 PM that gets into Seattle at 7:00 PM. It’s oversold but I’ll put you on standby, and I’ll transfer your luggage to that flight so even if you don’t make it your luggage will be there long before you are.
Matthew says to keep checking back in case a seat opens up on the 4:40 PM and you can get booked. It’s roughly 10:00 AM time for some brunch, besides I’ve got 4 hours to kill. A few hours later I check back and yes there are 9 open slots on the direct flight that gets me in earlier. I ask, “Can you book me on it?”, sorry, unfortunately, you have to go to that gate and they can do it.
I head to that gate and explain the whole I have a confirmed seat on the 2:20 PM flight story, but I understand there are 9 open seats on the 4:40 PM direct flight can I get one of those seats. The gate agent goes on to explain that she can’t release any of those seats until an hour before the flight……. What….. I get booked on earlier flights all the time. Besides my flight leaves at 2:20, which later got pushed back to 3:00 PM, so I won’t be here an hour before the 4:40 PM direct flight. I probably could’ve had got one of those 9 seats, but if I didn’t I’m not sure what time I would’ve made it to Seattle.
My flight leaves St. Louis and arrives in Oakland California a few hours later, I had an open seat next to me, it’s a beautiful thing. My Seattle flight was supposed to have left Oakland somewhere around 7 PM arriving in Seattle at approximately 9:10 PM. That flight was also delayed so we did not leave Oakland until 8:30 PM arriving in Seattle at 10:30 PM, at this point it had been over a 15 hour day of travel.
The one bright side, I thought, was that Mathew had put my luggage on the 4 PM direct flight so I knew that I wouldn’t have to wait for my bag to arrive… I was sadly mistaken. Walked to the baggage claim office, they had no record of my bag as on the earlier flight, but they said don’t worry we still have one more flight coming in from Oakland at 1 PM we feel confident that your bag is on that flight.
At this point I was so tired I gave them the address of the hotel, told them please don’t call me I’ll be asleep, and to just leave the bag at the front desk.
I got to the Marriott somewhere around 11:30 PM told the desk clerk that I would be expecting my luggage and it please do not ring my room when it arrives. Right around 4 AM Pacific time I get an email that my bag had been delivered, and since my body still thinks I’m on the East Coast time I’m awake so I headed downstairs ready to start the day. When traveling I normally try to stay on East Coast time, it makes it rough when folks want to go out, but it takes less of a toll on my body. Here’s a good rule for life, when out for a night of adult beverages, do not go to the third bar. The first bar, you’re good, the second bar, you’ll normally be safe, the third bar is where Jagermeister and Fireball enter the picture. No one starts the evening with either of those, but by the time you hit the third bar, those drinks suddenly become a great idea.
Beyond grey skies, Starbucks and the TV show Fraser my knowledge of Seattle was limited. After 4 days I had a new outlook.
- This time of year the temperature was perfect, and yes the sky was cloudy at times and the rain did fall.
- You can tell the folks from out of town by the fact that they are carrying umbrellas. The locals all wear Northface and Patagonia lightweight raincoats.
- This is a millennial town. I don’t recall seeing many retirees, and at times I felt like I was the oldest around.
- Traffic is a giant cup of suck. While they appear to be an “environmentally friendly” town most cars in the downtown area contain a single occupant.
- On the “environmentally friendly” front every place I went to had a multitude of trashcans. One for plastic, one for paper, one for aluminum…… and so on, and so on.
- The homelessness is as bad as reported. I saw tent cities constructed in the median of I-5. Mt best guess is that the legalized marijuana plays into that.
- Great food and beer, more on that in a bit.
- If you’re into investing throw your money into one of the companies that manufacturers ID badge lanyards. Everyone had an ID badge lanyard around their neck.
- The downtown hotels are crazy expensive. Due to the rates, I stayed by the airport which is south of downtown. Due to the traffic on I-5 I will rethink that on my next visit.
- The city is filled with fantastically friendly patient people. With so much traffic I don’t recall ever hearing a single horn honking.
Seattle is an outdoor town, despite the frequent rain showers most restaurants offer outdoor seating. There was no shortage of pay as you go bicycles.
Midori Teriyaki – if you go at lunch it will be packed. It was so tasty we at lunch there two out of the four days. Their General Tso Chicken was some of the best I’ve ever had.
Market House Corned Beef – a New York-style deli in Seattle…. yep. A huge pile of delicious corned between slices of marbled pumpernickel bread.
Tutta Bella Neapolitan – a perfect place to end a long workday. If you like craft cocktails then you’ll love this place. No matter what you order get yourself a side of meatballs, your story will appreciate it.
The Taproom at Pike Place – a great tap house right in the heart of Pike Place so it is perfect for people watching. They offer a couple of dozen beers on tap as well as cans of Washington State favorites.
Spent some time drinking local
Bodhizafa (Georgetown Brewing) – 6.9% ABV IPA
Olympia (Pabst Brewing) – 4.7% ABV Lager
Grapefruit IPA (Metier Brewing) 6.5% ABV IPA
The Two-Pronged Crown (Old Stove Brewing) – 7.1% ABV IPA
Kokanee (Labatt Brewing) – 5% ABV Lager
Rainer (Pabst Brewing) – 4.7% ABV Lager
Prereq Pale Ale (Postdoc Brewing) – 5.5% ABV Pale Ale
Spent a few hours at Pike Place, which includes a couple of stops you need to make. First is the Public Market, also known as the place where they throw fish. This place offers most everything a great farmers market would. The floral booths were filled with an endless variety of cut flowers. The seafood stands were stuffed to the gills. They’ll gladly pack it for you so it’ll keep for 48 hours. Yes, they do throw fish. The market starts closing down around 5:00 pm.
The other stop is the original Starbucks. There will be a line, a long line….. coffee people are dedicated. There seems to be a Starbucks on every corner, but believe it or not Seattle comes in sixth on the list of cities with the most Starbucks. That number is 133 and New York comes in first with 241.
The Pine Box: Pouring Great Beer Since 2012. Built-in 1923, this colonial-style building of vaulted ceilings and leaded glass windows was once the new expansion of E.R. Butterworth & Sons Family Funeral Business. The bar itself and the majority of tables are built from reclaimed oak coffin cabinets once housed downstairs where the “processing” took place. On July 31, 1973, Butterworth & Sons provided these services to the family and loved ones of Bruce Lee. Among his pallbearers were Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Chuck Norris, and Lee’s brother Robert. Cheers to those still here and those who were. Each year on the anniversary of Bruce Lee’s death the Pine Box celebrates with Bruce Lee day.
There you have it, safe travels and thanks for listening.
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