Back in Austin and the sunshine

Sher and  I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Seattle with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson for the past 3 weeks. On our way out there, we flew Delta from Austin to Seattle with a layover in Salt Lake City. Scroll though our blog for recent posts about the highlights of our Seattle trip.

Real winter in Seattle 2020

Before we left someone commented that we were nuts going to Seattle in January. Guess they were right as we were snowed in for three days the first week we were there. Seattle does not have the road equipment to handle snow! Oh, and Seattle maintained its reputation of rain, fog, rain, fog and more rain. We witnessed the sun one day, I should say about 3 hours, while we were there.

Returning to Austin we had the de-ice process at Cincy airport on a heavy frost morning

This is the first time in over 10 years since we have traveled by air. (You know, with an RV you don’t need planes!) Next time we fly we’ll have one large suitcase to check and each of us will have a small carry on bag. It was a pain carting those “carry on” size suitcases and stuffed smaller bags around. Coming back we flew Delta from Seattle to Cincinnati for crying out loud. Now I know what they mean when they say “red eye” flight. Left at nearly 11 pm, got into Cincy about 6 am. Got in to Austin about 10:30 am.

Welcome home!

Once in Austin, we got back to the La Hacienda RV Resort. Got the RV out of the storage yard, parked in our new site, hooked up the utilities and got things somewhat back to normal. My were we tired! Got carry out fast food for supper. We’ll hit the store next day. It was good to get back to our RV.

The Snohomish haunted Oxford Saloon

Snohomish, Washington is one of the most historic and haunted locations in the state. We recently had the pleasure of having a private tour of this historic and ghost filled structure originally built in 1900.

1st floor bar

After a delicious meal Rebecca Caden, General Manager of the Oxford Saloon, started our tour of the building by leading us to the basement. Used for parties and other events, the basement of the building has two pool tables, a full bar and seating scattered around. Rebecca shared with us some of the history of the place. After a time as a store, the saloon opened and immediately became one of the most notorious joints in town. It even was a speakeasy during prohibition, with a basement entrance from a tunnel.

The basement bar, where the black caped figure was seen

One of the resident ghosts is a chap named Henry. Henry was a policeman and tried to break up a fight resulting in his death by stabbing. He died on the bottom step of the basement stairway, and is known to stand behind the bar talking to folks. Rebecca shared with us that she personally does not like to be in the basement, and goes there a little as possible. She has seen a large black shape with a black flowing cape down there. The son of the owner finally became a believer when he too saw this figure the same time as Rebecca.

The infamous doll locked safely (?) in her case

Above the main floor bar is an old antique doll in a glass case. This doll has a creepy history. Ready? Many people have bought the doll and all soon returned it to the person or antique store where they got it. Rebecca says she has determined that the doll does cause chaos and is best kept in the case and inside. She once took the doll without a case from the upstairs and slipped outside and then back into the main floor. There was a large and happy crowd. When the doll came into the room conversation ceased, everybody felt bad emotions and said “what has happened”. The doll has been in the case ever since.

At the top of the 2nd floor stair

Upstairs rooms

 

 

 

 

 

The upstairs is equally filled with other-worldly beings. It was once a thriving brothel, and the Madam of the business still walks the upstairs hall and the many rooms. The rooms are currently used for special events, and are beautifully furnished. One of the furnishings, however, has a tragic story. The claw foot bathtub was the location where a young lady’s body was found. Stories say she fell down the stairs (or was pushed) and placed in the tub to make it look like suicide.

On the left is our tour guide, Rebecca Caden

Rebecca shared other instances of strange happenings. One time after a band was done playing on the stage on the 1st floor one of the ghosts had fun with the speakers. It played music and when they tried to turn it off, it wouldn’t. Unplugged from power, it still played. In addition, for a while there was a jukebox in the bar. The ghosts had too much fun with it as well, so it was removed.

Upstairs, former brothel room

Original double sliding doors

 

 

 

 

 

It was very interesting to hear of all of the paranormal happenings at The Oxford. Also interesting is the fact that there have been several paranormal investigations held on the site. Rebecca shares that investigations are still allowed, however the Oxford does not want anyone to try to remove any of the ghosts. She says that they are happy and will move on when they are ready. Rebecca shares that some employees like the basement, others prefer the upstairs rooms.

Sign from the 2nd floor

By all means visit the Oxford Saloon in Snohomish. Not only is there a fascinating history and some ghostly residents but also great food and good times. Live music is common on the weekends. Private parties can be accommodated. The main floor is family friendly. Here is The Oxford’s website.

Total immersion at Teatro ZinZanni show in Seattle

We had heard about it, we had looked at the web site, but nothing prepared us for the extravaganza that was our evening at the Teatro ZinZanni Seattle presentation of A Night Like This. It’s hard to describe, but here goes:

Imagine walking into a real life vintage circus tent. This tent, made in 1910, has fine wood work, mirrored walls and wood floors. Fancy does not do justice to the opulence of this structure.  Daughter Katy and son-in-law Mike arranged for us to all go to the show.

Entering the world of Teatro ZinZanni

Striking fabric ceilings in the lobby

 

 

 

 

 

The lobby offers coat check, a full bar, and even a “Boutique” for purchasing boas, masks, hats and other trimmings for your outfit. We were seated at our table big enough for 8, but private for the four of us. It was an amazing sight to see how ornate and big the tent was!

The walls are ornate, table is set

Orchestra stage in background, seating where the action takes place

 

 

 

 

 

Right after we got our drinks, things started to happen. Cast members started roaming around, interacting with the crowd. The show had started, even tho there was no official “start”! It was time to start eating: course 1 was a delicious beet salad. Keep in mind that this evening includes a full 4 course meal, each served with a flair by waiters/actors. The spacing of the courses is just perfect.

Cocktail time!

My two beautiful girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The star of the show, Christine Deaver, brought laughter and mirth throughout the evening. Her singing was terrific, and she brought members of the audience into her act several times. Her improve work is sensational and she keeps the audience in stitches.

Christine, photo courtesy of Teatro ZinZanni

Christine, photo courtesy of Teatro ZinZanni

The orchestra is just, well, fabulous. The variety and quality of music those four guys put out is incredible. Throughout the show you will be treated to songs that will bring back memories and get your hands clapping and foot a tappin’.

Both seating and performance area

The salad course: delicious beets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words cannot describe the excitement you feel when viewing the gymnastic and aerialist acts. An international cast ads to the quality of these performances. The thing about this show is that there is always something going on. When a center stage act in not happening, cast members are wandering around having fun with the crowd. Star Christine liked and felt of Mike’s hair, and another actor repeatedly stated he liked my mustache. You are totally immersed in your experience at A Night Like This.

No photography once the show starts, so we had our group photo taken by the in house photographer

Sher and I have been to many places, events and entertainment venues during our years on the road. We both feel that our night at Teatro ZinZanni Seattle was the best and most unique of any we have experienced. We would strongly suggest that you also attend a performance.

 

 

Huge walk through ancient tree stump on I-5 Rest Stop

Usually interstate rest areas are straight forward: a truck and RV parking lot and a separate car parking lot. In between are the restrooms, vending machines and a scattering of picnic tables and a doggie “poop here but pick up” park.

The story

However, the Northbound I-5 Smokey Point Rest Stop at mile marker 207 north of Seattle has the above mentioned features (including an RV dump station) and a huge tree stump. Yes, it is a piece of local history. The story of this artifact is fairly well documented on the story board. The size of the stump is obvious in the photo.

The stump

When I first saw this I thought that it was some kind of new picnic table shelter. Then I saw the story board. Strange but true are the things you find when traveling!

Giant pumpkins at Washington State Fair 2018

Sher and I got to go to the 2018 version of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. We went with our daughter, son-in-law and our 4 year old grandson. The fair was packed with all kinds of “state fair” type stuff, including a large midway, tons of vendors and of course, agriculture exhibits.

Giant pumpkins!

Pumpkin info

We went on the last day of the fair, and the fairgrounds were packed. A good time was had by all, and Sher and I had our first ‘Scones”, a jam filled biscuit type pastry that is a famous item at this fair.

Historic Oxford Saloon in Snohomish Washington

Snohomish, Washington is noted for its historic downtown Main Street stores, restaurants and other businesses. The Oxford Saloon is one of the most popular of the restaurants. Good food at reasonable pricing makes the Oxford a popular place for meals. Live entertainment most evenings attract lively crowds.

Even the exterior of the Oxford is interesting

Every bar needs a moose and a little red wagon

Sher and I had a very nice time at the Oxford. It was a great break from our checking out the shops and businesses on Main Street in historic downtown Snohomish. Hint: Park your car at the bottom of the hill on Main Street. That way when you walk up one side of the street and come back on the other side you’ll be walking down hill to your car.

 

 

WWII Gun Emplacements Once Protected Puget Sound and Seattle

The Army had plans in place to upgrade the Puget Sound harbor defenses when the Japanese attacked Pearl
Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack prompted a feverish scramble to implement those WWII plans.

Fort Ebey was constructed from 1942 to 1944. It overlooked the Straight of Juan de Fuca and the open Pacific
Ocean. It was the first of a series of defensive positions that also included forts Casey, Worden and
Flagler, also on Puget Sound.

One of the gun turret foundations

One of the two gun turret foundations that still look over Puget Sound

Historic Fort Ebey State Park on Widbey Island is home to the remains of Battery 248 of the Coast Artillery
Regiment of the Washington National Guard. The guns are gone, having been melted down for scrap at the end
of the war. What remains, however, are the two circular gun emplacements and the supporting large concrete
bunker where ammunition, powder bags, and other equipment was stored.

The bunker is open to the public. A flashlight is a good companion if you venture into the bunker, as the
rooms are not provided with any lights. You will see the massive steel doors on the powder rooms as well
as the concrete pads where the three large generators were placed.

In front of the bunker towards the edge of the steep cliff you will see the forward observation bunker. A
narrow slit provided a panoramic view of the waters. No ships could enter the Sound without being spotted.

Forward observation post

Forward observation post

Date on the main bunker entrance

Date on the main bunker entrance

The main armament of the fort was provided by two guns on swivel turrets. These guns fired a 108 pound
shell with a range of 15 miles. The 26 man gun crews could fire a round every 12 seconds.

Take a step back in time with a visit to Fort Ebey State Park. Walk where the artillerymen walked. Explore
the bunker. Stand near the forward observation position and imagine being on the lookout for enemy ships
trying to invade the Puget Sound.

Day passes are only $10, with a yearly pass available for $30. More information about Fort Ebey State Park may be found at the park website.

Washington State Cascade mountain range

Beautiful mountain stream

The Cascade Range in Washington is one of the features of the Pacfic Northwest that draws tons of folks each and every year . The Mt Baker-Snoqualimie National Forest offers a tremendous varitey of recreation and nature loving opportunities.

We have family in the Seattle area. When visiting we always try to allow for some time up in the mountains. The Mountain Loop Drive gives you some fantastic scenery, incredible photo ops and a chance to enjoy the lush forests of the mountains.

Roads turn to gravel but are very well maintained. Of course the season does make a difference, as winter snows can be very intense to say the least.

 

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Snow melt and waterfalls on Big 4 Mountain

Snow Melt and waterfalls on Big 4 Mountain

Bridge over Deception Pass

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This is the view from the bridge over Deception Pass. You are looking west through the pass and across the Straight of Juan de Fuca. The road runs south onto Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. This northern route to Whidbey Island avoids the Ferry at Mukilteo, but takes a lot longer with more miles when coming from Seattle.