In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Seattle and Safeco

I spent a little over 2 weeks in the Seattle area working in Tacoma and staying with some new friends in Des Moines and I didn't actually get to Seattle until the last day I was there. I headed to Seattle a little after noon on Wednesday and planned to spend the whole day there. I started by stopping by Glazer's camera store to find a new camera bag or two but didn't have any luck finding anything that fit my needs. I'm a total sucker for bags and I'm amazed I left empty handed. After that I drove through downtown and found a place to park my car so I could stroll down to Pikes Place Market, which I guess has to be on every tourists agenda. Maybe I just wasn't quite in the mood and maybe it's just because I don't like really touristy stuff but I wasn't terribly impressed. It's just a large open market with pretty much the same stuff you see at every open market everyplace in the country. The only exception was the fish vendors where salmon were flying willy nilly to the delight of the large crowds gathered around the watch it. The whole thing was pretty much like a circus and there were even barkers at the flower and fruit stands.

I ducked into a restaurant to grab some food and although I knew I should be getting seafood the strawberry and blueberry pancakes on the menu board sounded really good. The place didn't look that busy but I waited around about 5 minutes in a line with about 10 other people to be seated with no acknowledgment before I decided to get food somewhere else. I walked across the street and ordered greek just for wasn't very good.

I was thinking about leaving Seattle early and not going to the Mariner's game but decided I'd give the market one more chance and I walked down into the lower levels. While the upper level had been packed the lower levels were nearly deserted, it was weird. The shops still weren't very interesting but at least they were different. I found a used book store and spent about 1/2 just looking around. I was feeling a little better when I left and I ducked into a Army/Navy surplus store to look for some bags and camping gear. I ended up finding a Camel Back with extra storage for a little food and a camera as well as some really light weight SmartWool socks that I'd been unable to find anywhere. Spending money always seems to cheer me up so I was in pretty good sprits by the time I left the store. I walked towards the space needle so I could get a shot of it before returning to my car so I could get to the ballpark early and explore it a little.

I got to Safeco Field about 1 1/2 hours before the game started and got a ticket for lower outfield seats in right field. I figured it would be cool to be sitting in right field to watch Ichiro in action, it wasn't until game time that I remembered he'd been switched the center field. I found my seat which was just a few rows up from the outfield wall and it was a great place to watch batting practice. A few balls got hit over the fence and one came within just a few feet of me. I didn't have a glove so I didn't feel the urge to go for it, instead letting the guy next to me have a clean shot at it. He totally botched the catch though (and he did have a glove!) so someone else got the ball.

I walked all around the park and went clear up into the top rows where I was greeted with a great view of the city skyline; Seattle really is a pretty city. Just before the game started I ordered some “World Famous Grounders garlic fries” and chicken fingers. I don't know what it is about baseball stadiums that makes it seem perfectly reasonable to spend extravagant amounts on food and drink but I just can't help myself. I got back in my seat and as soon as I sat down a lady behind me asked if I was a season ticket holder.

It seems she was part of a large group of people attending the game and when they bought their group of tickets the seat I was in was the only one they wouldn't sell the group. It must be held by a season ticket holder who gave it up for that game or something. Anyway, she told me I was in the middle of a large group of prosecuting attorneys who worked for the King County DA's office. It seems the DA had died last year and in honor his son (who is about 35-40) was throwing out the first pitch of the game. They were all here to cheer him on. They were a pretty fun group so I was happy to stand up and cheer with them. They were all holding signs and the cameras panned the entire group while the first pitch was being thrown so I got to be on the big Jumbo-tron screen in Centerfield. I was really enjoying myself and although I was going to try and limit my spending at the game I couldn't help but pay $7.25 for a Mike's Hard Lemonade when the vendor walked by. Like I said, there's just something magic about ballparks.

It turned out to be a great ball game too. Felix Hernandez pitched a good game for Seattle who had a comfortable lead going into the late innings and I got to see Ichiro make an excellent running catch in center and then throw out the runner at home who tried to tag. Gary Matthews Jr. (whose father I used to watch play right field for the Cubs growing up) hit a 2 run home run with 2 outs in the top of the 9th for the Angels to tie the game at 7-7. It was a rare blown save for Seattle's star closer J.J. Putz.

Extra innings were exciting too with the Mariners getting out of a couple bases loaded jams before finally loading the bases in the bottom of the 12th and somehow sneaking a grounder through the infield after the Angel's had brought in their centerfielder to be a 4th infielder. I was surprised how many of the crowd stuck around on a week night and they were a pretty happy and rambunctious crowd after the Mariners pulled off a win against the team they're chasing for a lead in the AL West.

I ended up having a great day in Seattle but it felt great to finally be back on the road again and heading somewhere new.

If you want to see a few more pictures from the game you can see them here

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You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.