0013 PDT Monday, 30 July 2007 -- airborne, enroute from Seattle to Charlotte, NC
I've been in Seattle four times in the past nine years. On two of those occasions, I've managed to arrive in the middle of Seafair, the annual celebration of all things Seattle. Throngs arrive to watch hydroplane races [crashes?], mingle with Sailors in town for Fleet Week, enjoy the parade, and redistribute lots of money in the local economy.
All of this is a lot of fun if you plan ahead. I, however, have managed to show up in the middle of the festivities not once, but twice, without a hotel reservation. The first time this happened, I arrived in town after having hiked about 110 miles around Mount Rainier, and popped up at Seattle Center trying to figure out why so many people were welcoming us to town. We wound up staying at a motel somewhere between Seattle and SeaTac.
This time, the crowds were heavier than before. After trying Seattle and SeaTac, we wound up in Tacoma, at a place next door to the Tacoma Dome. It was a pretty nice place (at a steep price), but it was a place to stay. We still got to see a lot of Seattle on foot, but we spent a whole lot more time driving than I originally planed.
During our search, there was no room at the inn at any place I'd consider staying. My standards have shifted somewhat as I've grown older (and less financially desperate). There was a day when I wouldn't think twice about staying at a no-name, off-brand, night-manager-behind-bullet-proof-glass kind of place. Based on the advanced discrimination capability I showed last night, those days may be gone forever.
So, word to the wise: don't plan on arriving in Seattle in late July or early August without plenty of advance planning. Let's see if I can remember that important advice on the next trip to the Emerald City.