We’re Off To See The Wizard

Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Greetings from the Emerald City. Yes we made it to Seattle on the first leg of our Holiday Vacations journey through the great North American North West.  But our adventure had a rather auspicious start.
“It’s 3:30 a.m.….my god, we’re late!”                                                  
That was how I awoke Tuesday morning.Linda’s voice pierced the darkness when she discovered that she’d somehow managed to push the snooze alarm and drift back off to dream land leaving us dangerously close to being left behind on our own “Doug and Linda Lund- hosted tour of the Canadian Rockies.
It’s not her fault that we overslept, of course.  I’d planned to stay awake all night but gave in to the sleep monster..dozing off around 2:30.
It turned out to be no big deal. We managed to put our final packing preparations into panic mode and, thanks to our daughter’s running a couple of red lights taking us to the airport,  we arrived in plenty of time to meet and greet the other forty folks taking the tour with us.
I haven’t flown in a few years so I was a little worried that I might not be able to get the seat belt fastened around my ample abdomen..but, to my pleasant surprise, (and, perhaps 10 days of Nutrisystem meals) I had room to spare. Flying in coach, though, is still exercise in overcoming claustrophobia. The seats are way too cramped, especially for a big guy, and any airline frills that used to make the flying experience memorable, like a  friendly smile and a free sandwich have long since given way to the bottom line of today’s no-frill attitudes in the name of efficiency and profitablity.
Our journey to Seattle was pretty uneventful…aside from the guy wearing a turban sitting a few seats in front of us. Sorry to profile but it seems odd that we have to strip down to our socks and endure random searches that defy common sense, while those who practice the same religion as the terrorists of 9-11, can don their headgear without question.There was also a bit of excitment as one of our tour members suffered some sort of siezure shortly after take-off from Minneapolis which brought a call over the intercom asking if there was a doctor aboard. Paramedics were waiting at the airport after we landed  in Seattle and took her off for a check-up but it turns out she was given the okay to continue the tourA few of our fellow sojourners in the Seattle airport waiting for our motor coach ride.Linda and I have hosted a couple of these excursions over the years and you’d be surprised at how much fun we old geezers have when the restraints of living in South Dakota get a little tight and are cast off for a few days. Everybody seems to loosen up a little bit. Keep in mind that most of us are conservative Lutherans anyway so it’s not a big leap off the deep end but it IS fun to see folks like the 95 year old lady(she doesn’t look a day over 80) from Rapid City slammin’ back a few red wines and sharing memories from the days of bootleg booze and prohibition-era speak-easys.
The last time I was in Seattle was in 1962.
My folks piled my two brothers and me into our 58 ford station wagon with the police interceptor v/8 engine and headed to Washington state for the big event. Relatives who lived in Seattle had invited our bunch to stay with them for a few days to see the fair. It was an unforgettable vacation. Most memorable was riding to the top of the newly constructed Space Needle which is about all that still remains from the fair. We got to drive right next to it  today on our way to Pike Market..a place that’s hard to describe. It’s a farmer’s market ..and a fish market gone wild. Acres of shops, restaurants and weird street entertainers that dazzle a South Dakota flatlander’s mind and make sipping a cup of strong Seattle coffee while people-watching..the highlight of the trip so far.
It was such a nice day here that even the oftentimes elusive Mount Rainer was in full reveal mode.
Tomorrow, we catch a ferry boat to Victoria.
Bags need to be out by 6:30 A.M.
I hope Linda doesn’t sleep through the alarm again.Kidding…I’m just kidding!

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