Monday, April 19, 2021

Landing in Seattle

It’s a lovely approach.

We land early to catch the Doubletree bus within 10-15 minutes of “deplaning.”  

We’re first in line and soon we’re in our room, only to realize the hotel air conditioning is not on. We’ve experienced that in hotels from Vancouver to Vienna during Spring and Fall heat waves. Sometimes it’s a government edict and other times it’s simply a hotel cost-shaving measure

Here at least there’s a balcony and we’ll leave the door open for awhile to listen to the sound of planes. It’s still in the low 60s here so we anticipate a toasty night.

Flying High on Alaska

We’re on Alaska AS 753, en route from Raleigh to Seattle, close to six hours in the air.

We’re seated in F and pass on the meal after our delicious lunch at Croquette.

We are happy to find ourselves on one of the first flights carrying alcohol other than cans of beer and wine.

We celebrate...

Raleigh Overnight

We drive up to Raleigh on a Sunday afternoon and check in at our downtown Hampton Inn.

It’s in the “Entertainment District,” basically a bunch of noisy bars and restaurants catering to the nearby North Carolina State students and anybody else who likes cheap booze and lots of noise.

The desk clerk kindly finds us a room on the quiet side - lucky we aren’t  on the loud side!

Later it’s dinner at a noisy but pleasant Mexican joint, La Santa, where Kathy chooses Carne Asada and Brian grilled tacos barbacoa.

This morning after checking out we go for a stroll in the locally famous Pullen Park, and even ride the miniature train.

We’ve enjoyed our fill of Italian, Mexican, and Southern cuisine, so our final lunch is at Croquette, a French bistro in a big shopping mall, where we’re savoring their presentation of escargots and, of course, croquettes, before tackling the lunch-special Beef Bourguignon.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

North Carolina Sunset

At the Wilmington Embassy Suites Rooftop Bar...

A Cape Fear River Cruise on Henrietta

We stroll the entire one-mile length of the RiverWalk today between our hotel and the other end.

 We board a sightseeing boat, Henrietta, for a reasonably-priced one hour cruise, and learn a couple of interesting facts along the way.

First, those big logs we see floating by before boarding are actually going upstream. Post-dredging, Cape Fear River is tidal and changes waterflow direction a couple of times a day.

The river got its name from the fearfully hazardous shoals near the
mouth. Today it hardly seems fearful.

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is actually an elevator bridge.

It’s 408-foot center span can be raised 135 feet.

The massive Port of Wilmington loads petroleum, wood chips, wood pellets (used for heating in Europe), and containers.

A pleasant hour on the water.

Wilmington: Dinner at Marina Grill

A short walk from the Embassy Suites.

We again fail to accurately estimate the portion sizes by ordering two appetizers, hush puppies (right) and a house version of deviled eggs.

For the mains, Kathy chooses shrimp and grits. She brings the boxed leftovers back to the hotel to microwave tomorrow.

Brian’s seared tuna is also excellent.

All in all, a fine place for dinner less than a 10-minute waterfront stroll from our hotel. Now to try to walk those calories off Saturday morning...

Friday, April 16, 2021

Embassy Suites - Wilmington, North Carolina

After leaving Raleigh (actually a forgettable Hilton Garden Inn in Morrisville near RDU, we set off in a reasonably pleasant two-hour drive on I-40, often lined with trees, to arrive at the Wilmington, NC Embassy Suites located on the Cape Fear RiverWalk.

Lo and behold, our suite was ready for us at 12:15 in this newish and modern hotel - no atrium in this ES! We have lovely suite with a great view of the Cape Fear River from our seventh floor perch.

That includes the battleship North Carolina, moored across the river and open for tours.

The weather is perfect for us so we dropped our luggage and immediately headed off to walk nearly the entire two-mile length.

We’ll try out the Embassy Suites “Manager’s Reception” at 5:30 PM and make a 10-minute walk from there to the Marina Grill, well recommended, for dinner.

We’re hoping to have walked enough today to burn a few calories.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dinner at Babymoon Café near RDU

Big portions and tasty,,,

Skagit Valley Tulips

In all our years living in Birch Bay, we’d never gotten around to seeing the. Skagit Valley tulips and daffodils in April bloom. 

This past year at least has given us a chance to explore our own little part of the world, including a quick tiptoe through the tulips about 50 miles south of us.

And the daffodils...

First Flight of the Day

We’d booked seats 1A-B in an Alaska Q400 on the early flight BLI-SEA but they’re blocked due to COVID.

Row 8 isn’t that bad.

A beautiful morning to fly...

Next stop is RDU.