The Bluest Sky You’ve Ever Seen, in Seattle

Airlines are hilarious, aren't they?

How about this one: A Boise to Seattle flight that departs at 6:30 a.m. in the morning!  And THAT means arriving at the airport at crazy-stupid-hour for the obligatory meet-n-greet with the TSA. Yet there we were, Natalie and I willingly bound to lunacy by the attraction of the lowest fare via Delta’s once-a-day non-stop to the Emerald City.

Hey! Remember the TV show Here Come the Brides? You know, the one about the mythical goings on during Seattle’s rough and tumble early days starring heartthrob Bobby Sherman? It aired for four years (1968-1972) which coincided with the best of the Vietnam war playing on TV as well. TV sucked back then. Anyway, the theme song for the show opened with the line, "The bluest sky you’ve ever seen, in Seattle." Simon assured us this claim is patently false. Like Tolkien’s Mirkwood Forest, there is no day or night in the Puget Sound. There is only a cold, damp grayness dripping from a dreary sky cast in the perpetual gloom of dark twilight that seeps into the soul, removing any remaining vestige of life.

We were perplexed as our plane touched down. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Just blazing sunshine in quite possibly the bluest sky we'd ever seen. Were we in Seattle? Why yes we were! And, as we were about to find out, Seattleites were dazed and confused... So began our four day Seattle odyssey.

Do like pictures?

Of course you do! Who doesn’t like pictures?

Come along as I share our Seattle journey in a convenient bite-sized picture-n-caption format. It’s fun for the whole family!

Let's begin. Shall we?

Named after a Seattle beer, and glistening like a white diamond in the morning light, Mt. Rainier stands at 14,411 feet above sea level. Sea level also happens to be exactly where Seattle sits, some 50 miles away. Wikipedia states Mt. Rainier is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of its explosive power and proximity to a boatload of people and their property (a.k.a. Seattle).

Flying over the Cascades in the bluest morning sky we'd ever seen reminded us that the Cascade range and its line of volcanoes visible from our 30,000 ft. view - from Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Baker - is one of Mother Nature's pimply teenagers ready to let loose in a truly spectacular fashion.

OH! Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is visible at the bottom-center of the image!

Well OK, there was ONE cloud over Seattle as we circled the city for landing. Is it coincidence that the cloud hovered directly over the Space Needle? Is it coincidence that the Space Needle looks like a flying saucer? Could the Space Needle be a secret space port under alien control? I don't know... I'm just asking.

Simon's office view from the 27th floor of the 514 ft. Rainier Tower in the heart of the city's downtown is pretty cool! Ironically, Simon spends a fair bit of his day wearing virtual reality headsets doing work for the worldwide architecture firm, Perkins and Will, where my brother Marc works as well.

No trip to Seattle is complete without a stop at Pike Place Market. Our early Friday morning visit was rewarded by a lack of other tourists. Nevertheless, there were still men slinging large dead fish to one another for our entertainment! That job's a resume builder!

Among the attractions at the Market is the Giant Shoe Museum. Alas, The Greatest Shoe on Earth was not open, though for $0.50 we could have seen the world's largest collection of giant shoes!... but we didn't. Adding flavor to this oddity is the offer to see a shoe worn by Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man.

Robert Wadlow was nearly as tall as I am by the time he was five years old. His life was brief, but he lived the dream we all dream: being a Ringling Brothers Circus sideshow freak! Robert's Wiki page includes a disturbing photo of him standing next to his 5'11" father. 

There's also a photo of one of Robert's shoes, and you don't have to pay me $0.50... unless you think you should. You probably should. After all, you didn't you know anything about Robert Wadlow a few seconds ago, right?

Located near the Market and along the Alaskan Way Viaduct is Victor Steinbrueck Park. This young man was dumbfounded by the bluest sky he'd ever seen in Seattle, and by the giant ball of molten fire hanging in the sky. Not knowing what to do or how to react, he decided it was easier just to shut his eyes and pretend it wasn't happening.

Touch my unicycle and I'll bite you right in the...!

Yummm... Nothing says haute cuisine more than downing a dog with a swig of espresso!

A stone's throw from the Market is Post Alley, a popular walking street filled with restaurants and shops. Take a close look at the Sisters European Sandwiches sign. The sisters appear to be engaged in a European cleansing ritual involving giant grapes and their leaves. We didn't eat there. 

Maneki-neko, or "beckoning" cats are said to bring good luck to their owners. On the other hand, it looks like they bring bad luck to curious shoppers who can't read English. I want to go back just to touch EVERY cat.

Part way through Friday's 7-mile walk-about, while Simon worked, we stopped by his office for a second time to shed a layer of clothing; it was getting WARM. The curving structure in this photo is the base of the Rainier Tower.

Another Seattleite, suffering from cloud and rain withdrawals, chose sleep as the only viable alternative to manage through the day. It was either that or having to stare at the bluest sky he'd ever seen. Can you blame him?

You don't see many of THESE in Seattle. Not a big coffee town.

Not knowing how to behave below the bluest sky they'd ever seen in Seattle, grown men were reduced to hitting a tiny white ball back and forth. Can you spot the ball?

Meanwhile, the woman in the foreground desperately tried to shade the pages of her book. The giant molten ball of fire in the sky was causing serious glare issues.

Can you guess which one of these two fine people is more excited to be at IKEA on a Sunday morning? Hint, it's probably not Simon... and it ABSOLUTELY is Natalie.

We had been warned of parking difficulties at IKEA due to construction, so we arrived early. So early in fact that we were there for "rope drop." Well, not exactly a rope drop like we experienced at Disney World years ago, but close enough. But there we were... waiting for the clock to strike 10:00 and for the mad rush to begin.

IKEA is not unlike a Disney park in that visitors are cleverly guided through the landscape. But, if you know what to look for, there are secret shortcuts allowing quick passage from one area to the next. And, like Disney, there are lots of screaming kids and food to eat! Unlike Disney, when you get to the checkout line, you're suddenly in a warehouse. And then you realize IKEA is to furniture as COSTCO is to food.

The Space Needle at Seattle Center. Did you know this iconic structure, built in 1962, is approximately 1,320 Milky Way candy bars tall? It IS! You can learn a lot more useful information at the Space Needle's Fun Facts page!

The Museum of Pop Culture - or MoPOP - was built by Paul Allen (Microsoft). With $19 billion, Allen is the 53rd richest person on the planet! And his MoPOP is quite a place. There's lots of cool stuff, like Captain Kirk's command chair from the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the farm dress Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz and the witch's hat from the same movie, or hand-written lyrics of Jimi Hendrix. After a while though, it dawns on you: MoPOP is a super-fancy 140,000 sq. ft. warehouse where Paul Allen stores just some of the stuff he has bought with his piles of cash... and you pay him to see it. Genius!

OH! The photo is of MoPOP's exterior! I don't know... maybe "dark copper-hooded warrior people"?

MoPOP's sculpture of guitars with the occasional drum, accordion, and cello thrown in. It's an impressive use of guitars!

You can't see him (I assume it's a "him"), but the guy at the controls of the orange Rhine Machine of Destruction was having the most fun EVER! We watched in awe as he pulverized reinforced concrete walls with his Giant Jaws of Death! Yes, he was definitely a "him."

It ain't gonna happen in Idaho any time soon, but if you're passing through Yakima (or nearly anywhere else in the fine state of Washington) you can stop at the Slowburn to get your recreational marijuana, or "pot" as the kids call it. I wouldn't know.


Well that's it for the story-picture book of our mini Seattle adventure! But believe it or not, this shutter bug didn't capture the entire trip in digital wonder. Nope! I missed snapping shots of enjoying beers with the entire gang - Natalie, Simon, Marc, Anne, Diana, and Paul - as we soaked in some really blue sky. And there was the Airbnb we stayed at; really nice and affordable at $40 a night. And how about the 3-mile walk around Green Lake on a blustery morning, or fabulous sushi cuisine at a fine restaurant courtesy of Marc and Anne to celebrate Simon's new career. Or how about the lunch we enjoyed on the Ballard waterfront with good friend Sandra?

We made the most of our Seattle odyssey. Traffic is nuts. It rains a lot. But Seattle is a cool city and, if you're lucky, has the bluest sky you've ever seen.

The TourAlongWithTodd BLOG is just getting started for 2017!


Here Come the Brides

The bluest sky you’ve ever seen, in Seattle.
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.
Like a beautiful child
Growing up, free and wild.
Full of hopes and full of fears,
Full of laughter, full of tears,
Full of dreams to last a year
In Seattle.
When you find your own true love you will know it
By his smile, by the look in his eyes.
Some set pine trees in the air
Or some stand around and stare
Look out everyone, Here Come the Brides.


  1. Nice Todd ... head up to Whidbey Island if you have time for blue skies and fresh surf !

    1. Hey Dennis! It was a quick trip, but I'll take you up on that offer next time. Count on it!

  2. Wow, oh wow! I haven't been to Seattle for 17 years, but obviously things have changed!

    An Ikea & sunshine. How inspiring!

    Todd! Thank you for taking the time to share your family adventure.

    1. Thanks Ray! The Emerald City is quite a place... and super nice when the sun shines. See you at the City of Rocks in a few weeks... ~ Todd

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    2. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. Subscribe to my BLOG if you want to! ~ Todd

  4. Hey Todd!
    We both ended up with kids in Seattle! (well, mine's in Kirkland actually, but it's under the same grey sky...).
    Always fun to read your posts!

    1. Thanks Bonnie! Yes, those kids have to live the big city life... at least for a while. See you soon I hope!