Frank and I flew to Seattle. Our plane was delayed almost an hour in Pittsburgh because they found a scratch on it, so they said anyway. They also said they had to do a lot of paperwork. Actually, I was hoping it was a scratch and not a crack. In the end, we got to Seattle 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We rented a car and drove a couple hours east on I-90 where we are staying three nights. It was cool and rainy by time we got to Cle Elum.
We began the day by driving five miles to Roslyn, the little town where they filmed the TV series Northern Exposure. After that we drove east for an hour. I was very surprised that we soon came to desert. East of the Cascade Mountains they get very little rain, not enough to grow anything but desert brush. Next we drove through apple and fruit country. It seems the fertile valley around Yakima thrives on the growing and distribution of apples and other fruits. Next, we went to Rainier National Park. It was very pretty. We saw a short film about the park at the Henry Jackson Visitor Center. We must have put 300-400 miles on our vehicle today. What a variety of climates we saw today!
We drove over the mountains to a town called Leavenworth, WA. It was a Bavarian village, with lots of shops and flowers everywhere. Later we drove to Wenatchee and saw the Columbia River.
We checked out of Cle Elum and drove to the Snoqualmie Falls. After looking at the falls we ate lunch at the Snoqualmie Casino Buffet. We did not eat again the rest of the day. Next, we returned our car to the Seattle airport and took an Uber to downtown where we checked into the Executive Hotel Pacific on 4th Avenue. We walked around for a few hours including checking out Pike's Market.
We toured Seattle today. In the morning we took the hop off hop on tour bus. We stopped again at Pike's Market. There we ate their homemade mac and cheese then went over to the fish market to watch them throw fish. We went up the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center where we got a fantastic view of not only the city but the Puget Sound and mountains off n the distance. We finished the day by taking a city bus to the Ballard Locks. They had a fish ladder for the salmon to climb over the locks. We saw a few salmon but we didn't see them jump up the ladder.
Today we took an Uber over to the cruise ship,The Explorer of the Seas. We boarded very quickly and had the entire day on board before departing at 4 pm. Our room is nice, better than we expected, and the ship is very nice. For the first several hours after sailing, we could see Mount Rainier and then after awhile we started seeing Mount Baker.
Our ship left the Puget Sound and went out into the Pacific Ocean where we spent the day. We went to a couple of shows that were very good. One was an ice show and the others were singers and dancers performing songs of the 70s and 80s. When that last show was over, we stopped into a lounge to watch "Name that Lyric."
We were at Nanaimo today. It is a town of a little more than 90,000 people. It has a nice waterfront. Frank and I went into town for about 2-3 hours. I got a Nanaimo bar, a dessert which requires no baking and is named after the city of Nanaimo British Columbia on Vancouver Island. It consists of three layers: a wafer and coconut crumb-base, custard flavored butter icing in the middle and a layer of chocolate ganache on top. Before 6 pm we pulled out of dock and started working our way back south.
Today was the last full day of the cruise. We were docked for the day at Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. We walked into the city and back. We were gone for about 3 hours. There was a nice walkway along the waterfront. We saw the government buildings and a huge hotel but the most interesting section was at Fisherman's Wharf. They had a few rows of floating houses and businesses. In the evening we went to a show, The Las Vegas Tenors, a trio that was very good and sang mostly popular songs of many different eras and genres.
We pulled into the port at 6 am; Frank and I left the ship by 9:00 am. We caught an Uber to the airport. It looked like a long day of sitting because we arrived at the airport at 10 am and our plane didn't leave until 3 pm. We were to arrive at Pittsburgh at 12:50 am Saturday. However, we soon learned that our flight was delayed to Chicago and there would be no or little time to make the transfer on to the plane to Pittsburgh. We asked for another flight and got one to Denver and on to Pittsburgh with an arrival time of 10:30 pm. So we got home earlier than we originally expected.