Wednesday, September 4, 2013

you *can* go home again

Todd and I just returned from a trip to Seattle, where I spent 15+ summers and one or two elementary years.  I've always been more inclined to live in the Midwest, but I get antsy if I don't go back to the Pacific Northwest at least once a year.  We had a limited amount of time on this trip (we're planning a more extensive one next year), so we had to be organized about what we wanted to see.

A day trip I never get tired of is a quick jaunt to Mt. Rainier. 

If you can make it in late summer, you can see an amazing variety of, orange, white, and, of course, purple.

We weren't among the serious hikers...

...but we did hike close to two miles up the mountain, at an extremely steep incline.  We were just below 6,800 feet. 

Not quite to the glacial basins, but it felt pretty close!

The mountain is not the only attraction.  You've got beautiful meadows...

...and jewel-like lakes.

I love the moss here.

Besides our upward hike, we took a hike to the Grove of the Patriarchs, some seriously big trees.  Todd is dwarfed by this one!

Some are nearly 300 feet tall!

No trip to the west coast is complete without seeing the ocean, although we had to settle for Puget Sound instead of the coastal beaches this time.

The best deal in town:  I think we paid $7 each for a round trip ferry ride (35 minutes each way) to Bainbridge Island.  Lovely trip and amazing views!  On one side you have the mountain (see it in the right-hand corner?)...

...and the other, a front-row seat to the Seattle waterfront.

I love taking the ferry! 

Bainbridge Island is not very big and is very walkable.  Since we were on foot, we didn't make it to the Bloedel Reserve, but we did find homemade ice cream and a quaint knitting shop that sold Emma Bridgewater still my heart!

We also made it to the Ballard Salmon Locks and to the Botanical Gardens.  A blues band was playing while we were there, the sun was shining, and it was a near-perfect day.

The real "star" of this trip, of course, was Star Wars.  A big group of Todd's collecting friends met over the weekend, and we got to see some really incredible local collectors' homes.

How about the original Death Star?

The belt worn by Luke Skywalker in all the movies?

Cool set props?

Trust me, these are just drops in the bucket!  Original costumes, sketches, film scripts, toy sculpt models...I could go on and on. If you can imagine it, we probably saw it. 

One house had a huge home theatre with three rows of seats and a very futuristic look.  I didn't get a shot of the interior, since all 6 Star Wars movies were playing on a loop, but here is the hallway that leads to it.

Yes, that is a life-size "Han in Carbonite" that is identical to the one used in the movie!  Heck, it could BE the original. 

How about every Star Wars video and pinball game that ever existed, in a three-room arcade?  And yes, they all worked...and I loved playing them!

The library is modeled after the one at - and I may have this wrong - LucasFilm?  Or George Lucas' personal library?

The collections themselves were displayed in a museum-like setting.

There's no way I could properly or accurately describe the scope of these collections.  When I say to take the above view and multiply it by twenty, believe it!

The best part, though, was seeing all of our collecting friends...still relatively new to me, but some Todd has had for close to twenty years.  It's always a good time when we get together!  Todd and I are already planning our next trip, this one to Olympic National Forest and then to Victoria/BC.  Check out these photos!

That will give us something to daydream about until our next trip west.  However, now it's time to get back to reality...unpacking, cleaning, and the business! 

Have a great week!

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