July 14 - 18, 2014:
A return to Seattle on Monday to more fully explore the Pioneer Square area. It is the old original part of town where they originally skidded the logs (as in the term Skid Row) down to the docks. I visited the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park museum that was quite fascinating. It has an excellent museum with great interactive displays. In the late 1800's there was an economic depression and times were very tough, no jobs, but then gold was discovered in the Yukon and the rush was on. A PR savvy Seattle newspaper editor promoted Seattle as the best place to outfit and depart for the arduous trip to the Yukon. The promotion worked and Seattle became a boom town for Yukon trip departures. The Alaskans helped by requiring that everyone coming to prospect had to arrive with a years supply of provisions, which they could buy in Seattle. This put the town on the map and jump started many businesses.
|The Seattle waterfront|
|The Pioneer Building fronting Pioneer Place Park|
|Another classic building|
|Another great one|
|"Big Alex" MacDonald, one of the richest men of the Klondike|
known as the King of the Klondike, died broke
|The "Cadillac Hotel", nearly destroyed in the last Earthquake|
is now saved, is next door to the Klondike Museum
|60 foot Totem pole in Pioneer Place Park|
|Great fruit stands in Pike Street Market|
|Music in front of the Market|
As I wandered around I stumbled upon the The Arctic Club Building and as I was taking a photo out front, I was approached by the very friendly doorman who invited me inside to take a look. This was a club built by the lucky ones who actually struck it rich in the Yukon (most did not) and built a huge palatial building to celebrate their wealth. The club eventually died out, the state used it for office building, then it was bought by the "Arctic Club Hotel LLC" who have since restored to it's former glory and opened it for business as a DoubleTree by Hilton.
|The Arctic Club Building|
|The grand ballroom at the Arctic Club|
Next was the Amtrak Station which I was very surprised to find was beautifully restored and looking very vibrant. Seattle has a large mass transit system, but difficult to understand (for me). They have it all, Rail, Light Rail, Trolleys, Buses, Ferries and seems to go everywhere if you know how to do it.
|The Train Station waiting room from second floor veranda|
I then came to a park area, Occidental Square, that was populated by many homeless looking types, many who seemed to be smoking Pot. It seems a bit weird, will they now asking for money to buy Pot ? Pot is now legal to buy in Washington, but there is presently a shortage of the legal variety, it seems that the state has totally screwed up on the implementation of this.
|Just be yourself in the Occidental Square|
Another day was spent on local museums; first to the local Suquamish tribe museum who have a small but absolutely beautiful museum. This tribe is quite amazing to me. They once owned everything here, there were an estimated 200,000 people, then the various foreigners came with all their diseases which killed off 90% of the tribe, then we took all their land, put them on a small reservation, tried our best to erase their culture and history and they have still somehow survived and now have a model reservation complex. I next went to the Bainbridge Island Museum which had a special exhibit now on the Incarceration of the Japanese citizens during WWII. The exhibit and accompanying film were hard to watch, so sad what happened to these people. There were a lot of Japanese in this area who owned businesses, farms and were good citizens who lost everything in this sad state of democracy.
|The Suquamish Museum interior|
|The Fog rolling in at the Agate Bridge to Bainbridge Island|
|Chief Seattle's Grave site in Suquamish|
|A veterans monument in Suquamish|
|The Clearwater Casino in Suquamish|
|Ship models at Bainbridge Museum|
|A Creosote pressure vessel at the museum|
Enough of that sad, depressing stuff, so at 7 PM I headed a few miles away to the town of Suquamish to Bella Luna Pizza for their Tuesday live music jam session. I didn't expect much, I was wrong, it was great ! It also has a beautiful shoreline view and is the place to be on Tuesday evening. The makeup band that sort of does this weekly jam was so good, lots of good blues and the food there is awesome. After two beers, I needed some of that great looking pizza. The bar maid told me I that I was entitled to two free Pizza slices, does it get any better than this ?
Another great day trip to the coastal town of Port Townsend, another classic old seafaring town chock full of history. A great downtown loaded with tourists traps. On the south end of town was a large shipyard where many huge boats are out of the water for repair. Port Townsend has the only remaining wooden fire bell tower in the country, a good trivia fact, and you can climb up the steep stairway from downtown to see it up close. There is an elevated section up on the bluff known as the historic Uptown that is also very scenic.
|Tug Boat under repair at Port Townsend|
|The Haller Fountain in Port Townsend|
|Beautiful Hotel in Port Townsend|
|Ship mural in Port Townsend|
|The famous fire Bell Tower|
|Another classic restored Hotel with Owl Cigar sign|
|Victorian on Water Street|
After the heat of the day I checked out the Bainbridge Island Brewery's very cool tap room and Wednesday evening jam session. There were many hard beer drinking types there filling their Growlers. I don't know how people can drink that much beer daily, I have two pints and am ready to explode. I suppose that is a good thing ?
Another trip into Seattle to the EMP Museum at the Seattle center. It is a must see attraction if you are a fan of Jimi Hendrix or the band Nirvana or just guitars. Jimi Hendrix was a native of Seattle and the Nirvana guys all came from the northwestern Washington area. They have lots and lots of personal band memorabilia on display. I believe it might also be the largest collection of smashed guitars in the world ! In another room is an impressive collection of rare, vintage guitars on display. Then a massive room they call the Sky Church with a huge high definition screen showing non stop rock videos and concert footage.
|Jimi Hedrix Experience band instruments, Jimi Hendix|
guitar on left, Mitch Mitchell drums center and Noel
Reddings Bass guitar on right
|Jimi playing the Star Spangled Banner|
|Dozens of classic guitars on display|
|One of Jimi's busted guitars|
|Tower of guitars in central lobby|
|Exterior of ESP Museum building|
|One of Nirvana's busted guitars|
|Curt Cobain in action|
|This was used on an album cover|
They have been complaining here (whining actually) on the local Seattle news about the heat, they had 12 days of high 80-90 degree heat in a row that is almost a record stretch. It's kind of funny to me as I have not had to run the AC at all at night and I wore a light jacket this morning until noon when the sun broke through the clouds.
It's Friday night and I'm back to Seattle, it's so easy, an 8 mile drive to Bainbridge Island, easy parking at the Ferry Terminal, a $4 RT scenic Ferry ride and in a half an hour you are there. I went to see Roy Rodgers and the Delta Kings perform at the "Triple Door". Roy Rodgers is a renown blues slide guitar player, one of the best, who played and associated with the famous bluesman John Lee Hooker. Also the "Triple Door" is a great theater, actually a dinner theater with tables and counter top areas on different levels so everyone has a clear stage view. Great food, drinks and service. It originally was a Victorian age Burlesque Theater saved from the wrecking ball and beautifully restored with the original stage facade. Roy Rodgers as usual was stunning, he plays at a blazing speed, Eric Clapton is really a "slow Hand" in comparison.
After the performance, I walked the streets, I stood on the corner, I absorbed the lights, the smell, the motion and the sound of the city, it's a different world at night and I heard the sound of intense blues music. I followed it and incredibly, it was another hot slide guitar player, Nick Viagarino, who was a finalist at the 2011 International blues challenge in Memphis, Tenn. I had seen him advertised when we were in Anacordes, WA, wanted to see him, but couldn't make it. He actually plays similar to Roy Rodgers and then dedicated a song to Johnny Winter, who had just died a few days ago and was obviously an influence. He played a Gas Can Guitar, made out of a real gas can for a song, it was very cool and it sounded amazingly good.
The Ferry ride back to Bainbridge was a quiet ride, but the music was still a ringing in my ears.
More to be revealed, stay posted;
Twinkles and Slick