Friday 7/31/09 I had to make it up to Will for the Museum of Glass so today we are going to the Boeing plant in Mukilteo, WA just outside Everett for the tour they offer to the public. We never dreamed what a spectacular tour/day it would be....Will said it was definitely the highlight of the trip so far for him.
As you approach Boeing www.futureofflight.org you can't believe how big this entire place is and how large and beautiful the buildings are. We find a place to park, leave everything in the car, no purses, cameras, cell phones...nothing can be taken in. Our luck is still with us, as we arrive at 11:45 am we find there is still room on the 12 noon tour which will last 90 minutes....fabulous, 2 senior tickets please!
First we are ushered into a movie theater & view a short movie on the history of how Boeing started, Mr. Boeing, and the airplanes and then we were escorted onto a Gray Line bus to start our tour. This is an actual working factory where they build the 777 and are working on the newest & latest Boeing the 787. The plant works 24 hours a day, 5 days a week with weekend off and has 3 shifts. I don't remember, of course, all the details our guide Christopher told us but the place is absolutely gigantic. We get off the bus & head down a stairway into a tunnel. This tunnel holds all the cables, fiber optics, electric, everything so when a problem arises it doesn't interfere with the workers on the plant floor to get it fixed. We get into an elevator that takes us up several floors where when we exit and are looking down at the workers and the airplanes they are building. Really, words cannot describe what you are seeing, the assembly line, people everywhere, desks, computers, an unbelievable sight. Will was in 7th heaven and I really was enjoying it also.
We exit and they take us to a second building where we do the same routine but in this building they are finishing the planes, installing the interiors, engines, they are actually completing the plane right there. After completion, it is rolled out, a Boeing test pilots flies it, the customers pilot flies it (I'm sure more than once) When the buyer is completely satisfied, they make their final installment of payment (there are 3 payments - start, painting, delivery.) He said the cost for a 777 is approx. 800 million, which at that time Will & I decided not to order one. We then start the bus ride back to the Boeing center which has a gift store (of course), cafeteria, Gallery, which explains how the planes are built...the engine, the body, movies, you can even ride in a simulator, the down side of that, beside getting sick, is they have a camera on your face the whole time & the public outside is watching.
After our tour we head back out to our car to have our picnic lunch that overlooks the airstrip they have there. We set up our lawn chairs, get out the cooler & presto...lunch. Now parked near the airstrip is a gigantic airplane that is called Dream Catcher. It is a huge 787 that carries only cargo/parts for the 787 passenger plane they are working on, our guide had pointed it out earlier on the tour. While we are eating we see them pulling this plane out on to the air strip as if it is going to take off. We get so excited at the prospect of seeing this up so close. We had seen one couple set up a camera on a tripod a good while earlier as if they knew something was going to happen. As the plane is being towed they are waving at the pilot & then all of a sudden, the engines fire up and after what seemed like forever, it takes off slowly down the runway. Now this plane is soooo big it didn't seem possible it was going to get off the ground but just when it seemed he was running out of runway...he was up off the ground & climbing. Truly a magnificent sight. After lunch we returned to the Gallery to view all the exhibits & didn't leave there until 4:00 pm....another days work for us & now we are going home in WA work traffic which is probably almost as bad as Los Angeles. But believe, Will didn't care it was his best outing of the trip....he was in seventh heaven. We arrive home, dead tired, eat some dinner, read a little, then fall into bed. The Museum of Glass is now only a memory.
Saturday, 8/1/09 Today we have been gone from Fresno 2 months...we left 6/1/09 and gosh the time has flown by, we still have so much more to see before we arrive back in Fresno on 10/1. Today is a rest day, but first we have to go grocery shopping & we remember passing a Fred Meyers store yesterday on our way to Boeing. We head off & find it was about 10 miles away in Redmond, WA. When we return I gather up the clothes to wash & Will decides to wash the motor home (his way of relaxing.) With both jobs complete & lunch over we still have lots of afternoon left so we decide to go & see Snoqualmie Falls which is only about 6 miles from where we are.
"The girlfriend" guides us down the road to the town of Snoqualmie, WA www.snoqualmievalleytourism.com or www.snovalley.org where we discover the falls are located right off the main road way, no hiking involved to see them. We also find a huge parking jam but find a spot & walk toward the crowd. As we come up to the railing we can't believe what we are seeing....this is a real waterfall, 287-foot waterfall, the highest in the USA & the second most visited tourist attraction in the state of WA...first is Mt Rainier. An absolutely awesome sight, I really wished today I had a camera. In a cave 270 feet underground the first powerhouse at Snoqualmie Falls was built in 1898. This power plant supplies power to the surrounding area. Located overlooking the falls is Salish Lodge www.SalishLodge.com a beautiful, old lodge that has rooms with balconies overlooking the falls. We wandered through the place, just like we belong, stopping at every opportunity to see the waterfall. I sure hope you can view it on one of the web sites.
We then discover that in the actual town of Snoqualmie the Northwest Railway Museum is located www.trainmuseum.org As we come into town we spot the Railway Museum and see the vintage train sitting out front getting ready for it's last train ride of the day - 3:00 pm. We quickly park to see if it's to late to buy a ticket for this 1 1/2 hour train ride that goes between No Bend, WA & the top of the falls, we had just been at. Luck was with us again, the train was running late and yes we could buy tickets as a matter of fact, a very nice lady had a coupon...buy one ticket, get one free...so I shared her deal, $5.00 for me and Will bought the senior for $9.00.
We boarded the old train which the conductor (all volunteers run the train & museum) told us all of the railroad cars were from 1911, 12 & 13. Each car was different & were used for different things. One car was flat (no seats) & hauled fish stored in ice. Now they had chairs set up to look out the rail doors that were open. Other cars had wood, clothe & leather seats, with wood sticks holding the windows open. During the summer they offer train rides on Saturday & Sunday four times each day. It was a great and very relaxing ride, first we headed toward North Bend, WA which is at the base of Mount Si www.ci.north-bend.wa.us after that stop we head back up the tracks toward Snoqualmie, passing through the town on our way to the falls. Now the tracks have crossed over & we are viewing the falls from the other side. Looking down on top of the falls and seeing the river headed towards the falls, the Lodge & then just a short distance later we park & are looking down & straight ahead at the water/river that has just come over the falls. The windows in the train were open for a great breeze & a beautiful view, we were parked there about 10 minutes then headed back to the railroad station to get off. Gosh, this was a completely, unexpected great afternoon we couldn't have planned it any better than how it turned out. The weather is still really warm for Washington and terrific for us. It's late now so I am signing off with much love to family and friends and the adventure continues.