Thursday – Boeing, Boeing
This is my personal blog, and is NOT a news story. As such it is my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the station, my family nor anyone else.
This day did not go as expected...or at least, as I expected.
We started out in Leavenworth, leaving our Bavarian Lodge, and proceeded along a two-lane road headed back toward the west. Before long, we were climbing into the Cascades again, and working up a valley to Stevens Pass. Our trip director, Margo, shared with us the story behind the worst U.S. Avalanche disaster near Wellington, WA back on March 1, 1910. The tale sounded familiar, as I think I have seen it covered on “Mysteries at the Museum” or the History Channel at least twice before.
A mid-winter train was traveling the last week of February from Tacoma to Seattle and became stuck when a snow slide blocked the tracks ahead and behind the train. After six days, the storm worsened, not improved, and some individuals walked out to seek help. While they were gone, another slide took out the train, dropping the cars some 150 feet below. In all, 96 souls were lost. And in the aftermath, the nearest town changed its name to avoid the bad publicity.
As we go through the pass, our Driver Dave slowed our motor coach and allowed us to look at the drop off where the famous accident occurred. It is amazingly steep, and even in summer, imposing. Since that time, the railroad has been altered, and at least two different tunnels were dug as the roadway was improved.
We are told our route was supposed to become I-4, but it was shifted to another pass which is sometimes closed in winter.
We pass through a small area known as Sultan, and are told that it was the sight of one of the earliest rock concerts, with Country Joe McDonald, Canned Heat, Jimmy Hendrix, the Grateful Dead among other rising notables and a very young comedian named Richard Pryor. A short time later, several people say they saw signs along the road for a nudist camp, but I can’t decide if they are pulling our leg or not. I never saw them, through we all craned our necks to see the signs.
We stop in the small town of Snohomish, a center for antiques and collectibles. Their main street features a number converted buildings and lots of antique collectible shops. We all scatter for an hour and I choose to eat in the Oxford Bar & Grill. Clam chowder and half a bacon chicken avocado sandwich with a coke comes to about 14 bucks. A Quesada and diet coke add another 14 to total about $34 plus tip. I will say the food was good and fresh, but the condition of the old-time bar, complete with black and white photos from the 18th century, a couple of moose heads, a full suit of armor and a heating system that was on when it wasn’t needed, made me glad to be done and out of there. It’s the only misstep on the trip that I feel I made, and it was entirely my own choice to select such a venue for my meal. We catch the motor coach and proceed to Boeing Air nearby, for the factory tour.
To my great surprise, this was a terrific stop, as the guide was funny and well-versed. He had us in the palm of his hand, explaining the how and why of Boeing’s operation. We entered and watched from an overhead gallery as a half a dozen 747 and other planes were in various stages of assembly. We walked through the underground tunnels and took elevators to overlook the plant during shift change.
One odd thing that was completely logical was the complete ban of cell phones, cameras, purses, objects, weapons, or any items that could be dropped over the balcony onto the workers below. Too many accidents have cause the banning of the objects, which we could and did lock in free personal lockers at the entrance. By the end of the tour, we’re tired and ready to sleep.
An hour drive down the packed I-5 brings us to the airport Double-Tree hotel, where we shower, dress and prepare for our farewell dinner. It consists of either salmon, steak, or chicken with a tossed green salad and wonderful cheesecake. We are stuffed and happy when the meal is over.
We are all slightly saddened to review our final flight connections and prepare for an early morning call (4:45 a.m.) to catch a 5 hour direct flight back to Pittsburgh. We have shared such great sights and memories over the last week, and met some great friends from across the country.
Our next trip has been set for next September 7-16, 2019… a terrific circuit including Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon!
We are looking forward to that trip and invite all our friends to begin planning to join us on our next adventure just under a year from now!
I hope you can come along, and that this personal blog has given you a flavor of our great Holiday Vacation! Next, we have a long travel day to return home again, and our tour director will accompany us all the way!