We were planning on spending the weekend in Seattle anyway, so when the furnace blew up (Don’t worry, I like to say systems “blow up” when they stop functioning and have to be replaced. If something really does blow up, I’ll let you know.) we figured, we can either hang around the AquaHot service center in Centralia, WA and fret about the thousands of dollars it will cost us to replace our hydronic heating system, or we can go to the Seattle Boat Show and pretend we can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a boat.
So we left our coach in the capable hands of the Brazel’s RV Performance Center and got a great deal on a VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) apartment in Seattle for the weekend.
Seattle is such a cool place. A city surrounded by water with snow-capped mountains in the background. And it’s a city famous for airplanes, with the historic Boeing factory.
So our first stop on Friday morning was to once again visit the Boeing Museum of Flight. This may be one of the three best flight museums in the world.
They have airplanes and excellent displays for WWI on one floor, WWII on another, and an outdoor pavilion with a Concorde, a vintage Air Force One, a 747 and the new Dreamliner, each of which you can stroll through. I had my pedometer going and we logged 3 miles Friday morning.
But if you really want to log some miles, go to a boat show. After lunch, we headed to Century Link Field Event Center for the Seattle Boat Show.
What’s up with our interest in boats? Well, Wendy and I love to explore. And we love to experience things from a new perspective (i.e., airplanes, motorhomes, and …. boats). There are three areas of the country that interest us that can only be truly appreciated from a boat. So let me tell you about them.
Juan De Fuca Straits to Alaska via the Inner Passage. This area is vast, with lots of islands and is relatively protected from the wide open sea. Wendy and I have seen some of the wonders of these waters from the cockpit of my airplane and from an Alaska cruise liner. But we have only touched the surface. Since we’ve been in Sequim, WA we have become friends with many people who cruise their boats up into these amazing waters during six months between April and October and we think it would be way cool to do the same.
The Great Loop. Each year, hundreds of boaters travel the great loop, which circles from the Florida keys up through the intercostal waterway along the east coast, stopping at all the major cities and seeing things like the Statue of Liberty from the water, then inland through the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes, then down the Mississippi and down the western coast of Florida. So we’re thinking this would be a fascinating challenge and would give us a whole new perspective. 5500 miles of perspective.
Caribbean. For our 25th anniversary (11 years ago) I took Wendy on our first cruise in the Caribbean. Boy was that habit forming! We’ve been anywhere a cruise ship would take us in that area, including the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico and all the islands in between. If we were to buy a boat to do the Great Loop, we would most likely want to motor on over to the Bahamas, since they are nearby. Of all the places around the world we have snorkeled, the Exuma Cays were the best.
The only questions are: can our energy level and our pocketbook keep up with our ambition? Hmmmm, we shall see.
Anyway, we had a great time at the boat show. You can’t imagine how much research Wendy does before going to something like a boat show. We have read at least a dozen books and mined Internet websites on boats and boating with the idea in mind that we might buy one to fulfill one of the above mentioned objectives. So when we got to the show, we had a good idea of what we were looking for.
Aspen Power Catamaran. We’re done with hoisting sail, so we were looking for a power boat. After a lengthy conversation with Nick Graf at Aspen discussing his fathers’s boat design, we spent the rest of the day looking at displays and boats (7 miles on the pedometer).
The next morning was Saturday and at the invitation of Larry Graf (designer and builder of the Aspen), we met him and his son at the boat dock and took a two hour cruise in Larry’s 40-foot powered cat design. What a great opportunity for Wendy and me to spend time on the designer’s boat with him. His enthusiasm was infectious, and with good reason. We love great designs and this one, with it’s asymmetrical proa hull design, silky smooth handling and awesome fuel ecomony was a complete winner.
Wendy and I had lots of fun putting this amazing boat through her paces.
And the scenery was awesome as we boated past quaint and colorful floating homes and watched lenticular clouds form over Mt. Rainier.
After visiting the Museum of History and Industry (these Seattlites are an innovative bunch: Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Nordstrum, Cinnabon, Eddie Bauer, Red Robin and Starbucks all started here), we capped the day off by walking the piers and having fish and chips at Ivar’s Acres of Clams. Our top floor apartment on the hill looks out over bustling beautiful sparkling city as day turns to night.
We love Seattle.
Tomorrow, we plan to go through the Boeing airplane factory tour in Everett, north of Seattle and then take two ferries back to the Olympic Peninsula by way of Whidbey Island. When you live by a HUGE ocean sound, there are two choices to get places: drive umpteen hours out of your way around the shoreline or suck it up and pay for ferries to hop through islands. Ferries are more fun.
The next couple of weeks should be interesting. Our motor coach will be in the shop for 7 to 10 days while the AquaHot factory custom builds a new unit and ships it to Centralia, WA (2.5 hrs from Sequim) where it will be installed into our coach. So we will be staying at a VRBO house in Port Angeles where Wendy will do a short stent of work (5 days over a 2 week period) to fill in for a vacationing ENT doctor.
And… we will continue taking our US Power Squadron Marine Electronics and Marine Weather courses with some great instructors.
We try to stay flexible and wing it as necessary. Life is good.
I can see you on a boat already…so, start making plans! WOW! I have never heard of The Great Loop…fascinating, but I love the Inner Passage. Lived in Tacoma for four years during the 70’s and have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Northwest!
Thanks for the positive vibes, Rosetta. Tacoma is a cool place.
I’ve gotta say, I am not surprised you two are looking at boats, you never could keep your feet on the ground for long!