Friday, November 03, 2006

Trip Recap #3:

On Monday the 23rd, we checked out of our suggestively-wallpapered hotel and made our way to Pioneer Square for an Underground Tour. The Underground is made up of a few different areas that used to be sidewalks and ground-floor storefronts but are now below the city streets.

In 1889, downtown Seattle (what is now Pioneer Square) burned to the ground in the Great Seattle Fire. According to our guide, the owners of downtown businesses rebuilt at the original street level, even though the city had been plagued by drainage and sewage problems before the fire. City officials later decided to raise the streets by as many as 8-20 feet to help solve the drainage problems. They built brick retaining walls at the curbs and filled the space between, then laid new streets over the top. This turned the existing sidewalks--which the businesses owned--into pits, 8 to 20 feet below the new curbs. Allegedly, the businesses continued to use their sub-street-level-sidewalks for a while, but eventually they built new sidewalks at street level, effectively turning their ground-floors into basements. Confusing? Here's a blurry photograph that has been tranformed into a helpful diagram:

The tour was great, mostly because our guide was hilarious. The tour is full of funny and semi-scandalous stories and lots and lots of puns and bad jokes, and our guide had good timing and delivery.

Here's a shot taken walking down what used to be the sidewalk:

From Pioneer Square, we drove north to take the Edmonds-Kingston ferry across Puget Sound. We did not feed the birds, since doing so apparently causes them to projectile vomit.

From Kingston, we drove north and west up around the outskirts of Olympic National Park and then down the other side of the peninsula to Forks. We saw quite a few of these along the way:


The highway took us along the southern shore of Lake Crescent shortly before sunset, and it was lovely.

Near the lake, we saw some of these:

VBG: Elk Xing. That's where the elk go really fast across the road, so you have to watch out for them. ZIIING!

MB: Speed elk.

VBG: Speed elk!

MB: Olympic Elk.*

Other amusing / bizarre signs seen along the route:

"Apple Maggot Quarantine Zone.
Please do not transport fruit past this point."

"Litter and it will hurt."

in memory of Jerry Garcia"

For more photos from this leg of the trip, go to Shutterfly.

Reading: Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Playing: a brand new Flogging Molly mix that I made for KW--now KJ

*please tell me you got the joke. It was a bad one, but surely someone besides me will find it funny.


  1. Hey, I got it! Sounds like a great trip. Check out my blog sometime. I finally updated it!!! Any chance of coming down to CA?


  2. I groaned heartily at the Olympic Elk portion.

    Are the litter and it will hurt a WA only thing? Somehow I never thought they might just be a WA thing. We're strange ones.

    Additionally...I'm desperate to see all your pics therefore I'm off to flikr though I have this sneeking suspicion that not ALL the photos are there and I WANT TO SEE THEM ALL DAMMIT!!!

    p.s. I did not know you did the underground seattle tour! WOOT! I haven't been in years!

  3. desperatey jealous about the underground tour