An epic adventure.
It was August. I'd spent my whole summer in Spokane, with hardly any exposure to the outside of our boring little bubble here in Eastern Washington. I was in need of a vacation, bad. Since moving away from Seattle, I'd always gone back once or twice a year. The previous summer, I hadn't gotten a chance to take a week, like I usually do ever summer, to trek to the other side of the state and hang with my family, so I decided that I needed to get out of town and go chill by the Puget Sound for a little bit. I invited my friend Jasmina to come a long with me, and so, together, we took a 5 day road trip to the west side for some new adventures!
Little did I know that this was going to be my favorite trip I'd ever been on, and that we'd stumble upon so many unexpected little spectacles.
September 10th, 8:45 AM: I show up at Jasmina's house. We pack all of her stuff (along with all of my stuff already) in the trunk, said our goodbyes to her mom, and hit the road, excitement coursing through our veins. As we left Spokane, the weather decided to be pretty blasé, with some dark, yet unthreatening clouds hanging overhead. Our first stop, which was unintentional, was a corn field on the side of the freeway about 10 minutes before Moses Lake. As a photographer, it's really easy to see sights that would be totally mundane to the average viewer and get excited, then proceed to make a last minute decision to pull over and shoot them. And so we did! As we left and passed through Moses Lake, the weather promised bluer skies. By the time we got to the Columbia River, it was a beautiful sunny, puffy cloud type of day! Once again, we stopped to shoot there, taking in the sights that I usually don't get to enjoy because I'm not often traveling with other photographers. We continued on, through Ellensburg, made a quick stop at a small fruit and antique mall, and then traveled over Snoqualmie pass. By around 3 in the afternoon, we were in the Seattle area! Here's what we didn't expect that early in the day: traffic. Never underestimate traffic in a big city, because that's when it will most likely scoff at you and decide to start a couple hours early. Luckily, we were not going straight to Seattle: we were detouring off the beaten path to Bremerton, to visit out friend Colton! We decided that we would drive around the Puget Sound to get to Bremerton, and then take the ferry back to downtown. We spent a few hours with Colton, got to see the ports and little art galleries, then went to dinner at a place similar to Zips. It was awesome to see a friend we hadn't seen in a few months and get a different experience than the one I usually have in Seattle!
Next, we departed for the 6:45 ferry, which ended up being the highlight of the whole trip. During that time of the year, 7:00-7:30 is the perfect time to watch a sunset. So you can imagine our enthusiasm as we realized we would get to see the sunset over Mt. Rainier and the Cascades, on the front of a ferry boat, the wind blowing in our hair and our cameras clicking away furiously, trying to to miss a second of all the beauty. And that's just what we did. My mind hadn't felt so clear in months; taking in all the glowing orange and pink light, watching the city approach us and feeling so small compared to the rest of the world is like the best free therapy a person can get. It was an amazing way to kick off our trip!
Day 2 was tourist day. We went downtown, walked around Pikes Place Market, I got Starbucks (Jasmina decided against it, due to her aversion to coffee), walked up the hill into the downtown shopping area, and rode the ferris wheel. Even though I've visited this part of Seattle almost every time I've been there, it's always an enjoyable experience. I don't know how anyone can get tired of this city; it's a perfect mix between city skyscrapers and beautiful landscape. If you're looking for the best views of the city, I highly recommend the ferris wheel! Even if you're afraid of heights, it's 1000% worth it.
One thing I didn't really enjoy on this day was driving in the downtown area. Seattle is all steep hills, and people are jerks, so jerks + steep hills equals a scary experience. Feeling like you're going to roll backwards into the car behind you isn't exactly comforting. I was pretty happy to get out of there!
Day 3 was thrift shopping day. I know I know, cue the Macklemore song and the hipster accusations, but say what you want because it was a BLAST. Spokane Goodwills have nothing on Seattle's. It seems like there's a Goodwill just 10 minutes from the last one, and each one is huge and overstuffed with used goods. Jasmina, a pro at Goodwill shopping, knew where all the best ones were which allowed us to plan out a loop of different ones to stop at along the way. Never have I gotten so much stuff for so cheap! Seattle thrifting has permanently converted me to shopping this way. SO GOOD.
We also got to go check out the University of Washington campus on this day, which was nothing short of breathtaking. The architecture on this campus is stunning; even their library looks like Hogwarts. Walking out of Red Square, you have a perfect view of Mt. Rainier, framed by a fountain and classroom buildings.
On our 4th day, we packed lunches and headed off to Alki Beach for lunch. It was an unusually warm day, especially for Seattle in September, and to our surprise, people were out sunbathing and playing volleyball when we got there. We got a chance to dip our toes in the ocean (okay, the sound, but close enough!) and walk up and down the beach, soaking in the last of the sun before fall hit. After leaving the beach, we stopped on the way back to photograph the skyline. It's so funny how Alki is probably no more than 20 minutes from downtown, and yet you can see the entire city in almost a miniature form from there. Again, Seattle didn't fail us with beautiful scenery!
We then headed to Gas Works Park, something I was curious to see in Seattle before but hadn't had the chance to. The excitement was worn off fast though, when it took us a half hour to find parking, and then when we finally got there, there was kickball games going on and the park was packed with people, including a wedding being set up on the dock. Finally, Seattle had presented me with a disappointment, although this one was small and easily forgiven, because we'd been given such an awesome few days already.
We spent our last night getting gelato at a local gelato place close to UW. This is one (of many) things Spokane lacks, that after having the experience of getting gelato, I wish we had! Honestly, visiting Seattle makes me wish a lot of things about Spokane were more diverse or interesting. Maybe that results from my boredom of Spokane, or the high I get from being in Seattle, or maybe a combination of the two. Either way, after 4 awesome days in this city, I was a bit sad to go. If presented with the opportunity, I'd probably move there tomorrow.
Despite my resistance to leave, it was Sunday morning, and it was time to come home. On our way back, Jasmina and I stopped in North Bend to do some outlet shopping (where I acquired brand new Nikes for $40, score!) and then made a final stop at the Wild Horses monument by the Columbia River. Let me tell you... unless you like precariously sliding around on rocks, hiking a short yet steep jaunt just to see some iron horse sculptures, then go for it. Otherwise, just keep driving.
Our trip ended with a warm welcome from Jasmina's family, followed by dinner and a full recap of our whole experience. And what an experience we had! I'm so happy to have shared an amazing 5 days with someone who loves photography, road trips, loud music, thrift shopping, and adventures as much as I do. These are memories I will hold with me forever, and I've got some photos and a couple videos to quantify those experiences.
If you didn't already see, there is a gallery of my favorite Seattle shots at the top of this blog post, and 2 videos for you to watch right here!
If you haven't ever been to Seattle, and live in Washington, you're missing out. Quit reading this blog post and get on over there already!