Sunday, July 3, 2016

North by Northwest- In Flight

* Disclaimer- Chris and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest and a cruise to Alaska in June 2016 as a 10 year anniversary trip. This will be a multiple entry blog that will highlight our activities, our reflections and of course pictures of these gorgeous locations! I have highlighted the tips and tricks of each post in red. I hope this helps in planning trips to Vancouver, Seattle or Alaska! Thanks again for following along! 

Day 5- June 20, 2016
Seattle, WA 

The day started with a BANG and it just kept getting better! 

My grandfather was an engineer for Boeing in Wichita, KS creating and building fuselages of massive Boeing planes so I knew when visiting Seattle I had to tour the Boeing Future of Flight Tour (the main plant) in Everett, WA. We were on the 1st tour of the day so we left our hotel before 7:30AM for the 20 minute commute north to Everett. We arrived and were able to see the DreamLifter (a large 787 which transports airplane parts from various Boeing plants, including Wichita) take off. On this tour there were no belongings allowed. Meaning no phones, no cameras or even purses and in fact, a security officer followed us throughout the tour to be sure no one was taking pictures in any way. Boeing builds passenger and freighter jets at this facility and several are military grade so it has to be a closed tour with no phone or cameras. That is too bad because what we saw was nothing short of AMAZING! Here are some great facts: 
  • there are over 6 MILLION pieces on a 747
  • The new 777X wingspan will be 253 feet and will have to fold up to be able to fit in today's airports (Comes out in 2020) 
  • The new wings will be 110ft long each and will be made from carbon fiber polymers.
  • This plant is currently producing 20-23 planes   
The tour lasted 90 minutes as cost $20/ per person. I would HIGHLY recommend taking the 1st tour of the day at 8AM as this turned out to be the private VIP tour. We only had 13 people on this tour and it usually runs with 50 people. It covered 3 bays of the largest building on earth and they transported you by bus. It covered well over 2 miles on foot. This was one of our favorite things we did in Seattle and our entire 14 day trip. (All of the photos were taken from the gallery) 
I am ready to learn about my grandfather's legacy!
I miss you Grandpa! 

The 747-8 tail... Chris is under the 7! 

The largest engine in the aerospace industry. 

The gallery alone is worth the $20 in our opinion! 

A brand new 777 for Turkish Airlines about to take off to it's resting place! 

Part of the Boeing plant near the highway! 

Turkish Airlines 777 taking off! 

Later that afternoon we had a helicopter tour booked in south Seattle so we had to travel over an hour to get there. We made great time and there was little traffic so we stopped south of downtown Seattle at Slim's Last Chance, a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives of Food Network. This turned out to be the absolute best chili I have ever had. It was very overpriced at $9-15 per bowl but it was worth it in my opinion! If you have time and like touring DDD I would suggest eating at Slim's Last Chance. 

This chili was so good we got a bowl AND a cup!
If you like chili, and especially if you like Food Network's DDD, be sure to check it out! 
We made our way to Northwest Helicopters in SeaTac, WA for our private helicopter tour. I didn't know what to expect but this surpassed anything I could have ever dreamed. We took a 20 minute tour all over Seattle. We saw Bill Gates mansion, University of Washington and a special flyover Safeco Field. It was a very pricey 20 minutes at $155 for 2 people (that was using a Groupon too) but I have found a way to see a city from now on! It was incredible! Thank you Plexus for proving additional money to do such a thing! Check them out HERE.

We are ready for take-off! 

We have our seatbelts on and we are ready! 

Let's get this started! 

Left- $million homes Right- Bill Gates House- $BILLION house

Mt.Baker on the US/ Canada border in north Washington. 

Ballard Locks from the air! 

I love this city! 

Pacific Science Center in Seattle Center! 

Pike Place Market from the sky! 

Starbucks Headquarters in South Seattle. 

The Boeing plant in Renton, WA.
This is the facility that makes the 737 models. 

Another GREAT shot of Seattle! 

The highlight of the entire helicopter trip!
I have been to 26 baseball stadiums in my life but NEVER seen one like this!

Watch some of our tour below!
Last part of our helicopter tour

We saw the Woodland Park Zoo from the helicopter but we wanted to check it out by foot so we used our last City Pass coupon to see yet another big city zoo. This zoo was so pleasant as the temperatures were perfect at 65* and it was not crowded. Most of all we enjoyed the natural feeling this zoo displayed. This zoo charges $13/ per person to get in but it was included in the City Pass for $74. This is a definite family attraction and if you have kids I would make it a must see. Be forewarned that the parking is $6 and is hard to come by. "Get ready for payment" blazed from the machine as we pulled up! 

We really enjoyed this zoo! 

Awe... Cute little teddy bear!
Little did we know we would see a REAL grizzly bear in the wild in a few short days! 

Penguins... We have not seen these in a zoo since London! 

The spotted Jaguar was VERY active! We loved it! 

This zoo was lined with beautiful flowers and plants!

We left the zoo close to 5PM which was not smart as that was just the beginning of rush hour traffic. It was not too bad and much better than what we are used to in Houston and we were back at the hotel within an hour. We were able to get back in time for happy hour in the lobby for drinks and snacks which was a nice added touch. It is free for all guests and a great way to unwind at the end of the day. I think all Embassy Suites do this on a daily basis. 

We then went back to the room and ordered pizza from Zeke's Pizza, a local pizza place. It was pretty good but nothing to write home about. It cost $25 for one pizza and delivery so it was a little overpriced as well!  We spent the rest of the evening re-packing and getting ready to board the ship to Alaska the next day! 

Zeke's Mega Meat Pizza- $25 for a large... I would say overpriced and overrated!
BUT everyone knows Carnival does not do pizza well so it worked for us! 

The day we have been saving for and counting down for well over 3 years was less than 12 hours away and I was so anxious. We could hardly wait... less than 12 hours to go! Tomorrow we will be NORTHBOUND to ALASKA! 

I hope these tips, tricks and insight of Vancouver and Seattle have helped you plan a trip to the Pacific Northwest. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment! I appreciate y'all following along! "North by Northwest" was our 1st land/ city vacation in well over 7 years and we loved it! Thank you Lord for this blessing! 

God is good... All the time! 

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