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Back in better smelling streets, Michelle dropped into a bagel store and got an "energy" bagel - with apple, dates, nuts, and multiple sorts of grains in it. We'd already packed the car, including making a couple of bagel sandwiches for lunch with the leftover Tillamook cheese and some pastrami, so we just checked out and drove off.
Our first planned stop was Ohme gardens - a large alpine garden supposed to be very beautiful, especially in spring, and just a few miles out of Wenatchee. We tried to take Alternative Route 97 north out of town, as directed by the Lonely Planet, but missed an exit on the confusing road signs and ended up on 97 proper, on the other (eastern) side of the river, without realising it. After driving a few miles in increasing suspicion, we pulled over and checked the map and discovered our error. We turned around, backtracked, and picked up the right road and the turnoff a short way along, only to find a sign indicating that the gardens were closed. D'oh!
Best of the Wurst
Experience Music Project, Seattle
The woman in the coffee shop had told us we could drive up Icicle Road out of town for a good scenic drive before heading to Seattle, so we did that, driving 5 miles or so up the small valley and seeing some snow above us and a small river of impressive looking rocky rapids below. At the turnaround point I ate my cheese and pastrami bagel. Then we drive back to Leavenworth, filled up with petrol, and set out west on 2 to Seattle.
As we climbed up to Steven's Pass at just over 4,000 feet, the landscape became more mountainous and the snow extended right down to, and even below, road level. We stopped at the Steven's Pass Nordic Centre where people were heading off and returning from cross-country skiing trails. We took some snow photos and then headed off again, soon cresting the pass and seeing ski fields near it, with people skiing right down to the road level.
We continued on, stopping at the small town of Gold Bar for a toilet stop and to buy a bottle of lime drink for me. Then we drove right into Seattle, turning into a local road near Monroe and successfully navigating the freeways over the bridge over Washington Lake and getting our first breathtaking view of the city and the lake. It was spectacular, with the sun shimmering off the vast stretch of water, with sailboats flitting to and fro, and the gleaming city skyline in the distance on the far shore.
Space Needle by day and night
With some time to spare, we walked over to the nearby Space Needle and Seattle Centre, only a couple of blocks away. We bought double entry "Day and Night" tickets for the Needle and went up to see panoramic views of Seattle in the sunlight, with a beautifully clear sky. And for the first time we saw Mt Rainier in the distance, huge and looming over the city in the southeast, looking immense even though it was 95 miles away. Absolutely stunning.
We went down and checked out Seattle Centre, which turned out to house a huge food court, as well as a Children's Museum and various community services. We got burgers at a place called Quincy's, which were really good - chargrilled. Then we went back up the Space Needle to watch the sunset and get some great night photos (hopefully, assuming they turn out!).
After seeing a gorgeous sunset over Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, casting soft pink light over the city and Mt Rainier, we descended again and returned to the motel.
I went for a swim in the motel pool - the water was very warm and not clear enough to see the floor of the pool, so it was hard to swim freestyle - I swam breaststroke instead for about half an hour, dodging a small group of teenagers who were throwing a small rubber football back and forth in the pool. Then we retired to our room for the night.
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