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Should We Go or Should We Stay?

It is hard to know what to do in the situation we found ourselves. Should we go, or should we stay? My vote was to stay, whereas Bruce wanted to head back to Vancouver because he had loads of meetings and work to do. After losing Baxter so recently, he'd had a hard time concentrating on work, and had only just begun to find his way. While I could understand all of that, now that I'd gone along for the ride, I realized how unpredictable it could be. How long could it take, after all?

Saturday morning Bruce drove over to the dealership to find out what he could while I roamed the property looking for anything of interest. Two things caught my eye, one of which are these cool pinecones on what we would call a Christmas tree.
Adjacent to the hotel there was a large lot fenced off for conservation. Walking around the block I saw what looked like evidence that a beaver had been busy. Further, I saw some cone shaped "structures" in the distance.
I never did see any beavers, however, after looking up what a beaver den looks like, I'm pretty sure that is what it was.

Bruce returned with the news that it was some sort of fuel pump inside the gas tank that needed replacing and they would order it from California on Monday. Yup, Monday. Here is the view from our hotel window that I was sick of in no time.
Dreary as can be. To make matters worse, Bruce noticed a ding in the loaner car that he thought was new, adding to his misery. We discovered that the hotel runs a shuttle within a five mile radius, so we had them take us over to the Bellevue Collection, which is really like three malls in one. Hard to describe except to say it is high dollar! After a very late lunch we roamed around the mall coming across a large group of teens ready for a dance. Taking pictures was serious business with this crowd.
Some of you might recognized the Chihuly glass in the fountain and here's another gorgeous piece nearby.
Now some folks would not mind this diversion, however, that is not in Bruce's nature. He likes solving problems rather than waiting for someone else to do so. It took some convincing, but Bruce did agree to take the city bus into Seattle late Sunday morning. Getting to know the front desk folks by now, they wanted to help us in any way they could. The shuttle took us to the Bellevue station,
where a nice young woman there helped us understand how the fare system worked. The ride to Seattle was very interesting, taking us over a bridge, causeway, interstate, and two tunnels during the 10 mile journey. I always love a good transit station, don't you?
Our destination was Pike Place Market, but of course. Doesn't everyone go there? If you have visited,  surely you have seen the "flying fish" vendors just inside the market entrance. They were some entertaining vendors for sure.
This octopus...oh my!
The market is seemingly endless with nine acres of goods and services. NINE acres!

It is tulip season and who isn't thrilled with that?
There's an outdoor deck for viewing the super grey sky. Oh wait, aren't there mountains out there?
By now you know that there isn't much that doesn't interest me, including this fantastic tile work.
We did not pay the 25 cents to view the "world's largest shoe" because someone else beat us to it.
Getting hungry we looked around at the myriad array of choices for sustenance. Good grief the restaurant Bruce suggested was good aside from the service where that whole, "left coast is the best coast" attitude reared its ugly head. Because they add 20% to your bill, whether your server is good or not, may have something to do with the attitude. Aside from that, the crab/shrimp hush puppies and crispy chicken spring rolls were out of this world.
I'm pretty sure we had the best seat in the house, especially when the SUN came out, allowing me to see those mountains from my chair beside the window.
Should you find yourself in the area we highly recommend this place.
I have to tell you that I'd already taken this same photograph because that is what you do when you visit, however, I was more than thrilled to repeat the endeavor with the blue sky as a backdrop rather than the nothingness of a sky filled with grey.
Perhaps you already know that Starbucks originated at the market? Not being a Starbucks girl, I did not prior to this visit. Here is the first store with the original funky logo. (over Bruce's head) Who knew that they once sold spices? And exactly how did they become such a phenom?
Just as it is in Vancouver, when the sun peeps through the clouds the folks come out to soak it all in.
So long Seattle, time to head back for the Super Bowl.
The bus station was but three or four blocks away, an easy walk for these city walkers. Another good bus station, this one underground.
That was some Super Bowl wasn't it? So, we got through Sunday.

Monday morning Bruce checked to see about the part, learning it would not arrive until the following day. Yikes! Although the weather was not to my liking, I asked to be taken to the Bellevue Botanical gardens where I saw more shades of green than I thought possible. I walked over a ravine on this bridge.
Because this post is going on for so long the gardens won't be receiving much blog love, but I did find this pretty cool.
I decided to walk back to the hotel,
which was far easier than walking there as it was all downhill. It is hard to adequately describe what this gloom feels like, however, this photo does a pretty good job showing it.
It just hangs over your head which over time gets very old. I spent the rest of the day in the breakfast area finishing the book I'd brought with me. Our 24 hour trip has now turned into five days. For the record we brought clothes for two days as you would expect. Interestingly enough, or at least it was to me, while sitting in that breakfast room, I overheard one of the managers scolding the front desk clerk about checking identification when someone presents a credit card. So? Well, it turns out there was a little credit card fraud operation happening on our floor. Prostitutes were in the mix and six policemen arrived. My goodness! At least all the action broke up the tedium.

Finally it is Tuesday and the hotel no longer can provide us with a room which seems okay because we'll be going home, right? They had called Bruce saying he needed new spark plugs to the tune of $650, not covered under his extended warranty. What are you going to do? We checked out and sat at the dealership, hoping that day would be the charm. If there is one thing Bruce really dislikes it is nighttime driving, but that seemed to be what was going to have to happen as the day wore on. 3, 4, 5:00 and the car still wasn't ready because now they say he needs new fuel injectors and they have had to go into Seattle to pick one up because they didn't have enough. Closing time and the car is not ready, just as Bruce feared. Fortunately earlier he'd called about a room at another hotel which is where we stayed on Tuesday night. By now we are both sick of wearing the same clothes, and just plain sick of the whole mess. They tell us the shop foreman will start on the car at 7:30 in the morning. The shuttle takes us to the dealership and, you guessed it, the car is still in the shop. Bruce and the foreman go on multiple test drives. They replace another spark plug. They refund the money for the spark plugs and the extended warranty takes care of the other nearly $5,000 worth of work. As to the more than $1,000 in hotel bills, well we shall see.

Finally, we are on our way home. Bruce is just plain nervous, hoping they got it right. The traffic cooperates as does the weather for a while.
I amuse myself by documenting how ugly it is.
One exciting thing occurred as we neared Vancouver and that is that I saw scads of bald eagles hanging out in the bare trees. I mean something like forty! So that was good. Heading into the city at two in the afternoon, I was not surprised to see that it was raining.
What was I expecting, right?

Although this was not an experience we hope to repeat any time soon, we made it and are grateful for that. Lots of positives like, what would we have done if, after paying $500 for a tow to Vancouver, only to learn the warranty was not valid here? Plus, had it happened during our cross country trip in the middle of rural Wyoming where there are no dealerships, that could have been really miserable.

It has been a very long time since last we had car trouble and both of us are hoping that this will be the last for another very long time. Don't even ask me about when the boys were teenagers and they knew us by name at the garage....oy vey!

yours truly,

Gail
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