Once again this was a GT, Belleview, WA, that was too far to drive to, but since we were going to be so close, we decided that we should take some extra time and combine GT-12 with a trip to Alaska. Besides, Washington is so scenic, we hardly missed the A — blasphemy!
We had both just been advised of a job transfer to the Chicago area, where we eventually ended up in a town home with a two car garage. So we had to sell Virgin, our driving companion of twelve years. She eventually found a new home in Grand Rapids, MI. Her leaving was a sad time for us. We left the restoration in Bad Axe (another MGAdventure) and generally cleaned out the garage at the same time that we were planning and taking this trip.
On The Back
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We flew into Seattle and met up with the Bonnays and Jack Kurkowski at the hotel and immediately all agreed that we were hungry and wanted seafood. So we headed for the Seattle waterfront and Ivar's Fish Bar. We'd found this place about 10 years ago on our first trip to the Northwest and decided it was, at the very least, a place with a good view.
How things change: ten years earlier Ivar's Fish Bar was nothing but a diner at the end of a pier and now it had table cloths and fine silver. It turned out that the food was especially good, too, or were we just hungry?
After catching up with MGA news and family news, we decided to walk up the steep steps to Pike Street Market. There wasn't much going on since it was later in the evening, although we seem to recall that Len experienced a close call with some sort of sea creature, when it got tossed from one side of the market to the other. We headed on back to the ole reliable hospitality room at the hotel to unwind and relax with friends.
Jack, Diane, Judy & Len
Friday evening the assembled MGA group traveled to Tillicum Village, Northwest Coast Indian Cultural Center and Restaurant. This meant a boat trip to Blake Island in Puget Sound. Another boat trip; do you see a pattern: GT-2, GT-8, GT-11, GT-12? Tillicum means "friendly people" in Chinook.
As we stepped off the boat we were greeted by Indians (Haida? no, Suquamish), who gave a short history of the island and the peoples. We were also handed a plastic cup of steamed clams in broth — hot! — just throw the shells on the ground. At our feet were all the spent shells of all the tourists who had come before us — we estimated about three to four inches deep of crushed shells. As we passed through the cultural center, our dinner, salmon, was being cooked in the traditional style: open pit, over alderwood. Then, while consuming same in the dining room, we were accompanied by traditional music and a cultural show. This sure describes NAMGAR.
The car show was at the local Community College. There were so many cars there that we never finished voting. This was the first time that NAMGAR had such an event in this area, so many cars were new to us. We just had to yack with each owner and hear all the gory details of another ambitious restoration.
A Portion of the Car Show
Saturday morning was a rally to Snoqualmie Falls for a seven course breakfast at the Shalish Lodge. This area is ski country so the roads are exceptional MGA roads. (As Diane was writing this, the television was showing a monster snowstorm at the Falls.) The views were breathtaking, and the oatmeal at the Lodge was the best we ever had. We bought several boxes at the gift shop to take home with us. We liked it so much that when Diane met a fellow at her new job who vacationed in this area every year, she gave him a $20 bill each time he came out to buy her oatmeal. After several of these trips, in a moment of breakfast boredom, we read the oatmeal box — the oatmeal is actually processed in Chicago. Sigh.
After the Sunday show of winning cars in the hotel underground garage, we packed up and headed for the airport to continue on the rest of our holiday: north to Alaska. By air to White Horse, by bus to Skagway, by boat to Juneau. In Juneau, we looked up a NAMGAR member who was unable to attend the GT. He and his wife took time from a salmon fishing trip to join us for a drink in the hotel lobby and describe their MGA weekend jaunts: driving from one end of Juneau to the other, about 40 miles. Juneau is land locked. We now have a new appreciation for cross country motoring, dead butt and all. That's not the NAMGAR member in the picture. That's a Skagway local who was trying to impress Diane with his knowledge of British motoring.
Diane's New British Motoring Buddy
In Juneau, we caught a cruise ship to Victoria Island, with a port of call at Sitka. Then a bus back to Seattle via Port Angeles.
Our plane home wasn't until early the next morning, so we spent the night in Seattle at the El Camino. Diane had mentioned the curious lighting in the motel. While unpacking at home after the trip, Diane discovered a pack of matches in the bottom of the suitcase: "El Camino - Seattle's only adult motel" .... STEVE!