Catch a Movie at The Flicks in Boise

Like going on a road trip, going out to the movies is one of those experiences that everyone loves to do. A good movie, seen on the big screen, can be the perfect way to top off an evening. A good movie can also be a great activity to do in the evening hours once your road trip activities have finished for the day. No sense doing too much late night driving anyway, you want to be able to see all that scenery you’re passing by.

Boise has an awesome little movie theater that you really need to check out next time you are there. The Flicks is a four screen cinema in Downtown Boise that also offers espresso, a cafe, and an outside patio for eating and hanging out. Beer and wine are served at The Flicks, and this adds to the grown up feel of the establishment.

The Flicks

What you will find when you go out to enjoy an evening at The Flicks is an intimate setting where friends can comfortably watch a film together while enjoying food, drink, and a great atmosphere. What you won’t find are big budget summer blockbusters coming straight out of Hollywood. The Flicks shows a great selection of independent, foreign, and art films. The best of what comes out of Hollywood will make its way there too, but mainly what you will be viewing is the kind of film that doesn’t see time on the big screen in most other cinemas.

Boise is a great little city to visit and a true gem in the Pacific Northwest. Part of what makes it so great are the special little places like The Flicks. If you find yourself there, you should definitely go and check out a show while there.

Stay at the Comfort Inn Downtown Wenatchee

Wenatchee is a great place, not only for what it offers, but for what it is close to. You can setup your base of operations there and take day trips to Stevens Pass, Blewett Pass, the Cle Elum – Roslyn area, Lake Wenatchee, Moses Coulee, Grand Coulee Dam, Lake Lenore Caves, Soap Lake, Chelan, and more. There’s so much to do that it is a little mind boggling.

The Comfort Inn Downtown Wenatchee has provided me with clean, quality rooms for an economical price on more than one occasion. They offer a great continental breakfast in the morning too. Plus, a plunge in the swimming pool or hot tub can be the perfect way to end the day.

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When you stay there you are also close to a number of local attractions, including the 11 mile long Apple Capital Loop Trail which is popular with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.

The Comfort Inn Downtown Wenatchee also offers ski packages too which is convenient whether you are looking to ski at either Mission Ridge or Stevens Pass.

Having stayed there a number of times, I can always be confident in the service provided. Oh, and did I mention that breakfast? 😉

This is one place that is definitely worth a look.

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5 Fun Facts: Washington – George Washington Memorial Bridge in Seattle

Also known as the Aurora Bridge, the George Washington Memorial Bridge carries State Route 99 over the west end of Lake Union in Seattle, between Queen Anne and Fremont. Here are five fun facts about this iconic feature of Seattle’s infrastructure.

Happy Birthday!
The George Washington Memorial Bridge was dedicated on February 22, 1932, on what would have been George Washington’s 200th birthday.

Just Shy of 3,000
The official length of the George Washington Memorial Bridge is 2,945 feet.

How Many Timber Pilings?
Holding up the two anchors of the George Washington Memorial Bridge are over 1,500 timber pilings that range in length from 110 to 120 feet long. They were driven by a specially designed pile driver into the lake bottom an estimated 50 to 55 feet below the surface of the water.

Extra Protection Features
Due to heavy use of the George Washington Memorial Bridge by those wishing to commit suicide, several unique features are in place on the bridge. There are six emergency phones place on the bridge, along with numerous signs showing the number for the Suicide Hotline. Also in early 2011, at a cost of over one million dollars, an eight foot tall suicide prevention fence was added outside the pedestrian walkways on the bridge.

How High?
One of the main reasons for the building of the George Washington Memorial Bridge was that it would eliminate the need for a draw bridge in that area. The bridge deck sits 167 feet above the surface of the water.

Portland’s Hotel Monaco

Visiting Portland, in need of a stay, and wanting to sample one of the city’s “boutique” hotels, I was able to book a room at Portland’s Hotel Monaco.

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I was in town for some general fun. I intended to get downtown and sample some craft beer and do some shopping. I also intended to hit some industrial areas and see if I could come up with any good ghost sign action. I had fun doing both but this wasn’t too big of a surprise as Portland is always a great destination.

One big reason that I had such a great time though was the Hotel Monaco. Honestly, there were quite a few times that I just wanted to head back to the hotel and hang out there. I was won over immediately by the hosted wine reception in the lobby on my first evening. Turns out this is an every night event. The hotel also included a fitness center, business center, room service, and morning coffee. It was just so over-the-top welcoming from the minute I walked in the door.

The rooms were top notch too and best of all, it didn’t feel like I was in a motel room. The decor was amazing. It really made me feel like I was spending the night in an upscale apartment or vacation rental.

The staff at the Hotel Monaco in Portland were incredibly friendly and very knowledgeable about the local surroundings and fun things to do and see. I was even steered towards a dinner theater that was a blast and something I never would have sought out myself.

I cannot say enough about my time at the Hotel Monaco in Portland. Incredibly, incredibly memorable.

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The Awesome Mt. Hood Resort Condominiums in Welches, Oregon

The small town of Welches, Oregon is a place we stumbled on based on a last second decision. We’d spent a couple of nights in Portland and were thinking our next stop would be in Salem. That morning, we’d gotten up and instead decided to see about exploring south of Mount Hood.

Mount Hood dominates the local scenery in the Portland area and it was acting a bit like a magnet to me. I’d driven through the Columbia River Gorge a number of times and see the mountain from the north. But I’d never experienced the southern side. We headed east out of Gresham on Highway 26. It didn’t take long and we came to Welches. It looked like a good place to stay for a couple of nights while we explored Mount Hood.

Luckily for us, as we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants that day, we found an available place to stay at Mt. Hood Resort Condominiums. We were so impressed with the staff and their welcoming ways. We were even more impressed when we got to our unit and saw the large living space, complete with fireplace and television. Though we were there in summer, I imagine these units are pretty cozy in the winter when all the winter recreation is taking place on the slopes of the mountain.

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Driving all over Mount Hood, up to the ski resort and off on a couple of forest roads, was great fun. This truly is a beautiful place. Exploring the southern side was a great decision. So was staying the night at Mt. Hood Resort Condominiums. That really added to the experience. It was something to really look forward to each night.

Two days later we decided to keep heading east, made it through the mountains, and then drove across the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, seeing yet another piece of the Pacific Northwest that had eluded us up to then. No place we stayed on the rest of that short trip through northern Oregon compared to the place we had at Mt. Hood Resort Condominiums though.

A Visit To Wellington, Washington – Great For Railroad Buffs!

Stevens Pass was again the site of a quick road trip recently.

Located just off Highway 2 is the former town site of Wellington, Washington. This tiny spot, once a small railroad community, is situated near the east entrance to the original Cascade Tunnel that ran beneath Stevens Pass. The community was found in 1893 and was an instrumental location for the early railroad days in the region. It is more famous today though as the site of the March 1, 1910 Wellington avalanche, the worst avalanche in United States history.

You can reach Wellington by taking the first road on the west side of the summit of the pass, right across the highway from the entrance to the ski area’s lower parking lot. That road is known as either the Tye Scenic Road or the Old Cascade Highway, depending on who you talk to.

Roadtrip to Wellington Map
Roadtrip to Wellington Map – Click to Enlarge

After reaching the parking lot, we went to the left first, or headed east, for the chance to view the western entrance of the original railroad tunnel. This structure looks great. The trail leads to a nice viewing area and has some good information on historical markers along the way. There are also some old foundations from various railroad related structures still visible too. Water flows at a pretty good rate out of the tunnel mouth now and it is well marked as too dangerous to enter. Still, seeing it from the outside is very cool.

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After this viewing opportunity, we returned to the parking lot and continued on the same path, this time to the west. Down this path, past a small meadow, is the entrance to the old snowshed. Early in the season, water flows down the mountain near the mouth of the snowshed at a pretty good rate. We were there late in the summer and there was very little water running. This is also one of the entry points to popular Iron Goat Trail that goes through the area.

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The snowshed has aged some since it was built in the years following the 1910 avalanche. It was dark inside and if you look past the small amount of graffiti, it’s very impressive to see such a huge structure that was built so long ago. This is a great piece of history that I and my kids both enjoyed being able to walk through.

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About halfway through the snowshed, there is a pathway that leads to a observation deck that overlooks the forest. Reading the markers there tells you that what you are actually looking out at is the avalanche field where rail cars and occupants were moved down the mountain with the flowing snow and debris. There is quite a bit of good historical information on the markers there.

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Continuing on down the path through the snowshed makes you feel more and more isolated. It’s a very interesting experience. By the time we reached the end, it was nice to see some open sky. The point where the trail leaves the snowshed is interesting in its own way. Here you will see a portion of the snowshed going through a slow collapse. Even my son said that the suspended chunks of concrete in the twisted rebar had an almost artwork look to them.

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From here, you can continue on down the Iron Goat Trail to a couple of different exit points. We went a short distance down the trail and then turned around and returned through the snowshed and back to the parking lot. On the way back, one feature that was very interesting was the leftover evidence of railroad tracks inside the snowshed. There are no rails left there but there are plenty of railroad ties, most of them in some sort of decay.

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The 1910 Wellington Avalanche was responsible for the deaths of 96 people, some of them passengers on the train and some railroad workers who had been working to clear the tracks of snow. The avalanche and the massive death toll made the newspapers across the country. Later that year, the community of Wellington was renamed Tye, after the local Tye River, in an effort to distance itself from the memory of the tragedy. The depot that the community was centered around closed in the late 1920s with the opening of the second Cascade Tunnel which exited the mountain further to the west.

Even though we had been there before, we had a great time at Wellington again. The combination of history and nature is perfect. It’s a great destination for a road trip and also works nice for a stop on US 2 if you’re on the way to somewhere else.

The Washington State Ferries

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When we’re roadtripping around, we generally think of our activities taking place on the road, or at least on land. A little known fact though is that Washington State’s ferry system is operated by and considered a part of the Washington State Department of Transportation. It is the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the entire United States, and the third largest in the entire world. Ferries arrive and depart from terminals in locations like Seattle, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Point Defiance, Clinton, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Kingston, Keystone, Port Townsend, Anacortes, and all of the major San Juan Islands. You can get pretty much anywhere in the Puget Sound area aboard any of the Washington State Ferries.

Riding on the ferries is not only part of your transportation, it can be part of the fun. When you get on one of the longer routes, you have time to get out, walk around the decks, sit and enjoy the view, or hang out at the railing where you can enjoy the sound of the huge ship going through the water. There are all kinds of photo taking opportunities when you ride the ferry. I make use of that, probably a little too much, each and every time I get on one. There is seating available both inside and out, and depending on the weather, you can enjoy the ride from either spot.

Whenever possible, I love to add a ferry ride into a road trip I’m taking. The last time I did this, after a trip around the Olympic Peninsula, I took the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. The weather was great which gave us some awesome views of Mount Rainier and the city of Seattle. There were a lot of other boats out on the water that day too and it’s always fun to check them out. Like every other time, it was a great time and so much more than a means of transportation. It was definitely one of the better attractions we experienced that day.

The Crab Pot – An Awesome Place to Eat on the Seattle Waterfront

The Crab Pot

It’s no secret that Seattle is one of the top road trip destinations or stop offs in the entire Pacific Northwest. It deserves this attention because it has an incredible list of things to do and see. It is also very easy to access and has a very diverse population. The locals are very friendly and you can easily have a great time there.

One of the most popular spots to visit in Seattle is the Seattle Waterfront. Here, you will find all kinds of great businesses and also have a nice opportunity to view the very active waters of Puget Sound where they meet the city of Seattle.

The Crab Pot

In addition to the sightseeing, the Seattle Waterfront also makes for a great place to go to get a bite to eat. There are all kinds of great places to eat on the Seattle Waterfront, but one of my favorites is The Crab Pot.

The Crab Pot has an awesome atmosphere, friendly servers, and some of the best seafood in the city.

Our last visit to the Crab Pot also coincided with a visit to the Seattle Aquarium and a nighttime ride on the Seattle Great Wheel. This combination made for a great afternoon and evening and the Crab Pot was the perfect way to top it off.

I started my meal off with a cup of clam chowder. I mean, how could I skip that necessity? I also had a share of some sourdough bread that had been ordered for the table. We then took advantage of one of the best parts of the Crab Pot, the Seafeasts.

Seafeasts are sold by a set price per person, then butcher paper is put down on your table, and a whole variety of seafood is poured out in front of you. There are a variety of options for the Seafeast. We went with The Alaskan that night. This included king crab, Dungeness crab, snow crab, shrimp, steamed clams, Pacific mussels, sausage, corn on the cob, and red potatoes. What a delightful mix!

By the time I left, I was stuffed. Stuffed and happy, that is. I hadn’t been to the Crab Pot for a number of years and had never eaten in the Seafeast style before. Now that I have, this is gong to have to be a semi-regular thing.

The Crab Pot is a great way to perfectly complete a visit to the Seattle Waterfront.