Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Planes, trains and automobiles

Seattle is often known for it's inclement or deary weather, but whomever was in charge of fog this week must have been on vacation as well, because the Halls could not have ordered a more perfect backdrop for their activities.
Rising bright and early, Erick drove them past the great ports downtown to the Museum of Flight. Celebrating the early careers of prominent aviators and pioneers in the business of flying, the Wm. Boeing Museum of Flight offered not only many hands-on exhibits and videos, but a chance to visit and explore static displays of some of the Halls' favorite rides. Walking through the pedestrian bridge to the aluminum playground, Mr. Hall could barely be contained. Mrs. H. had never seen a Concorde up close and was surprised at how small it really was. A stunning example of a Constitution (or a "Connie" as it was known) was there, but unfortunately, not available to tour. While Mrs. Hall was just about to tell Mr. H. that that was okay; she had toured one last summer at Chanute Air Force Base, she turned to discover he was not behind her. On the verge of worry, Erick pointed to a boarding ladder behind the SST. There was Mr. Hall, standing on the landing, waving and looking as presidential as ever.
It was getting late and the little band headed downtown to see if they could arrange to get the rental a day early. The crowds were coming in for the holiday, but overall the city looked bright and festive. "There goes the monorail!" said Mr. Hall and at that point Mrs. Hall knew exactly what was going to happen next. As she tossed out any hopes for shopping, Mr. Hall was already heading up the stairs to purchase tickets to ride the train.
The monorail, another relic from the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, had a short track. Running only from the downtown shopping district to the Space Needle/City Center and back again, it's usefulness as a mode of mass transit was suspect. But it's coolness factor was never a matter in doubt- it was very awesome indeed to fly around at over 40 mph smoothly along a single track. The Halls had purchased a round trip ticket, so when the crowd filed out and left the train empty for the return trip, Mr. Hall slid up to the front and struck up company with the engineer. After all but piloting the train back successfully to downtown, he floated back into the city a very happy camper indeed.
The rental situation being taken care of, they were heading home when Erick wondered if perhaps they would like to take in a ballgame. As a National League fan, Mrs. Hall was only modestly acquainted with the Mariners, but when he told her they were playing the San Diego Padres, and had already beaten them the previous night, she was all in. As a diehard Cubs fan, she knew, that if there was even the remotest chance to boo or razz the Padres- she was going to be there.
Alas, a victory was not to be. After a boring pitcher's duel, the Mariners dropped the ball, so to speak, and gave up the game; 1-0. On top of that, the only run that came in was due to an error on the part of the umpires; unbelievably, they sent a runner to first base on what they thought was the called fourth ball, but was, upon video replay, determined to be just the third ball. No one on the field caught it and the game progressed to its unfortunate end.
Returning to Erick's neighborhood, they slid into the home pub to drown their sorrows and share a cup before heading off to rest. Next episode: Portland, the Cascades and beyond. Stay tuned!

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