Lewis & Clark Trail

Day 42: October 1st, 1999 Port Angeles — Seattle

Today is my last day on the highway. Therefore I want to start easy and sleep in. Originally I planned to leave around 10am but it is half past ten when I leave the Joshua’s. Breakfast is also a bit expensive but plenty and really good. After a stop at the gas station I start my last journey to Seattle around 11am.

Highway 101, WA Highway 101, WA
Highway 101, WA

I follow Highway 101 for another 120 miles. There are a couple of nice views into the bay were I can see the big city Seattle on the other side. The highway ends in Olympia were it enters I-5. Now the hectic city life has caught me again. Also the driving style changes to being big city like aggressive.

After another 55 miles I am almost at the airport and at the destination of today: The Motel 6. But it is not easy to find the right exists. Eventually I make it. Around half past two I am checking in. I am pretty amazed because the motel is already almost booked out! Maybe it is due to the location close to the airport. Whereas I am still having luck and get a room on the first floor. I put all my stuff into the room. Now it’s time to dismount everything in the car: Carpod, GPS and all the wiring harnesses for my equipment. Then I have to repack my suitcase for my flight back home tomorrow. Before that I take a look at the Space Needle Brochure where I plan to have my good–bye dinner tonight. This is the perfect spot to end a 6 week journey through the whole United States. But they recommend to make a reservation. I call and I am lucky: There are still two time slots available. One at 6pm and one half past eight. The later one fits perfectly because this gives me the chance to enjoy the sunset from the observation deck before. Ok, now it’s time to repack everything. The TV shows the movie “Titanic” which gives a perfect good–bye mood. And I have the chance to see the movie with the original soundtrack.

I am finished with everything around half past five and I start my drive to downtown. The free maps of the city are not really good but I hope I will find my way anyway. This time I am lucky and catch the right exists. Only at the Space Needle I am not allowed to turn where I planned to. This forces me to drtive a little detour before I reach the parking lot. Unfortunately the Space Needle parking lot is closed due to a celebration. Not too far away is another public parking lot which I give another try. The fees are pretty exceptional: $10 fee for a couple of hours parking! But I have seen this in Pittsburgh before. I put my folded ten Dollar bill into the slot for my parking lot number and walk over to the Space Needle.

Elliott Bay from Space Needle, Seattle, WA Elliott Bay from Space Needle, Seattle, WA
Elliott Bay from Space Needle, Seattle, WA
Seattle from Space Needle, WA Seattle from Space Needle, WA
Seattle from Space Needle, WA

This is where I have to pay next. The ride with the elevator to the observation deck has another fee. But this fee can be deducted from the dinner price. The lift operator is a real comedian. When we arrive at the deck everyone leaves the elevator laughing. It looks like this guy never runs out of jokes. First I go outside on the observation deck. Now I am 520ft above ground and I have a great view of Seattle and the whole area. I look for a good place to capture my sunset. Beside me are a lot of fotographs around with the same idea. Some of them have real professional equipment. It is extremely cold now up there, but I want to have the pictures and movie. So I have to wait in the cold until the sunset is finished. Then I go back inside to warm up a little bit.

I read all informations in the exhibition about Seattle and the area around. Then I amble through the souvenir shop. I still have plenty of time and I try to get some nice night shots of Seattle. But it’s now even colder and I go back into the warm very soon.

A couple of minutes before half past eight I go down the steps to the restaurant. I tell my name at the counter and the lady asks me to take a seat for a couple of minutes. A table will be free shortly. In the meantime I can take a look at the restaurant. It’s on a turning deck which makes one full turn in an hour. This gives the opportunity to have a full round trip during the whole dinner. I hope I will be able to get a window seat!

After a couple of minutes I will be guided to my table. I almost cannot believe it, but I really get a window seat! Was this luck or do you get the better spots with reservations?

I don’t care, I have the perfect spot for my good–bye dinner. The only thing that really amazes me is how tight everything is up here. When looking at the dimensions here in the US I am sure a couple of people are in trouble here. First I receive the menu. I need to grab the table when I see the prices. It looks like I picked the right restaurant for a whole menu. This is the cheaper one of the two restaurants, the Family Restaurant. I don’t want to know the prices at the luxury restaurant where the celebration is right now. At least the elevator ticket compensates a bit of the entrée…

I planned to have a full menu for good–bye and I will stick to that plan. More than $50 for a dinner does not really lift the total costs when looking at the costs of this vacation. While having dinner I still have the opportunity to do some movie out of the window. To complete my exceptional dinner I order the legendary Lunar Orbiter Dessert. The icecream will be served in a big bowl which consists of two parts. The lower one has dry ice inside which takes care of spooky fog out of the dessert. The upper bowl contains the dessert. The Americans know how to do special effects!

I leave the Space Needle around half past nine after having a fabulous and rich dinner. I walk back to my car and drive to my motel. I will not be able to have much sleep tonight, because I want to be at the airport latest 5am. I want to have a little bit of buffer time if something goes wrong or I need extra time for returning the car. To save some time tomorrow I also make a stop at the gas station tonight.

  • Sights
  • Space Needle
  • General
  • Breakfast: Joshua’s Restaurant, Port Angeles
  • Dinner: Space Needle Family Restaurant, Seattle
  • Motel: Motel 6, Seattle
  • Distance: 199 miles