Riding The Ducks Through Seattle

I understand there is still morning of loss after a year three years ago a terrible crash involving a Ride the Ducks vehicle resulted in serious injuries and a few lost their lives when one crashed into the side of a tour bus on the Aurora Bridge. I respect those who remember this terrible tragedy, and in no way being insensitive by riding this vehicle. I was in the area when the crashed happened and remember those who put their lives in danger to help those injured. Below is an account of riding the ducks after major changes to how the tour operates and the route. All I asks dear reader is to not post any mean-spirited comments below. Thank you, and continue prayers for those who were affected by this tragedy.

I will admit it has been a while since I have been down town at the Seattle Center. I was a little nervous in not being able to find a parking spot, but alas there was a grange not even full! *cue happy dance music* I believe this made my day more than riding the ducks.

We started the tour on the Duck when the sun was out and ended with the sun starting to go behind the clouds. Thank goodness the rain was kept at bay for the whole ride. I had a wonderful time riding around down town Seattle and cruising Lake Union in a strange vehicle.

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About to ride the duck

The tour started from Seattle Center, down to the waterfront to drive under the US most dangerous elevated highway (Viaduct), past Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, shopping district, Westlake, Fremont, boat around in Lake Union, and then back to Seattle Center. All this while partying like a bachelorette party minus the inappropriate behavior and dancers.

In downtown Seattle we cruised through the old and new parts of town, with silly music blaring. Random people on the streets did play along with our crazy antics. One guy even started dancing to the music on the street corner to the embarrassment of his girlfriend. Another decided to engage us all in a sign that told us to smile more. In SLU it was hard to get the “Blue Badges” of Amazon people to look up from their phones at the stop light. Oh well! I guess we all cannot be fun all the time.

While aboard I saw a condense version of the sights in Seattle and listening to the tour guide tell funny jokes and stories about the history of the city. Being from the area I enjoyed seeing how the locals reacted to the crazy tourists on a boat with wheels. As I said above, the whole thing can be down right comical.

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Two ducks taking a selfie

Cruising Lake Union in the Duck was by far the best part. One minute you are driving on the pavement, and then next you are floating on the water without sinking. I have never been boating on Lake Union, so this was what I was looking forward to. Sights seen on the lake were the original Sleepless In Seattle house boat which when seen looks just like an ordinary house boat, Gas Works Park and the Seattle skyline from South Lake Union,  from the comfort of a steel military boa

Since taking a spin on the Ducks I will be more willing to go along with the crazy when a Duck pulls up at a light. After all it makes the day go a lot smoother when you can have some fun. After the ride Nana and I went to the Center House to have lunch and then up to Kerry Park for some Space Needle ogling.

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The Fremont Troll Love’s Chocolate

The Fremont Troll loves’ chocolate. Apparently if you give him a Theo chocolate bar (dark chocolate one) he will let you pass over the bridge and not crush your Volkswagen Beetle.

I met the troll at last on a hot sunny day in Fremont. But before I adventure up the hill to see him I went for a tour of Theo’s Chocolate Factory for some much needed chocolate (and a bar for the troll).

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Theo Chocolates was the first stop in my adventure in Fremont. The tour is around an hour long explaining how cocoa beans are grown to the making of the chocolate bar. Since Theo is a fair trade company in the chocolate industry, part of the tour is talking about how the chocolate industry is run. The eye opening part was how in some places where cocoa beans are grown the industry mirrors the blood diamonds of the diamond mines in Africa. Sad truth, but at least there are companies out there giving a fair wage to the farmers of cocoa plants.

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Our tour guide was very passionate about chocolate and even worked on a cocoa tree farm in South America. While listening to the talk, I sampled an array of chocolate samples (Dark 85% chocolates, 70% dark with sea salt, Milk chocolate, and 70% dark raspberry) and found I do not like 85% dark chocolate. Still taste very bitter to me no matter how long I let the piece sit on my tongue.

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View of the factory and how the process of refining the cocoa beans to liquid gold (chocolate) started in an air-conditioned viewing room of the production floor. From here you can see how the raw cocoa beans are roasted like coffee beans and then processed into liquid chocolate. We did get to go on to the processing floor in sweltering heat registering little over 100° F. Dear goodness it was hard to breath at first, and then you realize how amazing the body can adapt to breathing in hot chocolate flavored air. Next was a tour in the kitchen where the chocolate ganache and other delicacy like chocolate marshmallows are made. If I worked at Theo this would be my job. We could not see where they wrap the chocolates because the heat from the production floor coming in the room would cause problems for the bars. Bummer since I wanted to see how this was done. In the store I picked up a few chocolates: dark chocolate coconut, dark chocolate ginger, moon-pie and you guessed it milk chocolate.

After all those chocolate samples, Nana and I decided to take a walk through Fremont to burn off the chocolate (and the calories). We walked over the Fremont Bridge and admired the view of Lake Union and the canal. Have you noticed the towers on the bridge look like London Police Boxes from Dr. Who?  I didn’t until Nana pointed it out to me. While walking back to the car we witness the bridge open for a sail boat. Amazing how graceful this bridge opens and closes at an average of twenty times a day!

Fremont Troll love’s chocolate, and that is what he likes when you visit. I finally after living in Seattle all these years have finally visited the troll. This 18 foot tall troll sculpture which has roots in the Norwegian folktale Three Billy Goats Gruff is crushing in one hand a California Volkswagen beetle. Apparently the troll dislikes Californian cars. Getting to the troll was a test of my Seattle driving skills in may ways. I admit I ran over a low level traffic circle (who puts a traffic circle in a middle of a narrow street/intersection?) and parked illegally on the street since the space was big enough to park my “normal” size car (I have no shame really!). At one point I tried and failed to park between two cars because who ever just vacated it was a Smart car instead of a normal size car. But at last I finally met the troll and he let me pass over the Aurora Bridge.

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Fremont, the center of the universe, and the only place where you can buy a $500,000 Stalin statue to display is really a fun neighborhood to explore. If possible, check out Theo Chocolate factory tour while in the neighborhood (I recommend this to anyone who is a huge chocolate fan). This is one quirky neighborhood to explore on a warm sunny day and a place you will never forget.

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Seattle Rock n’Roll Half Marathon

I did it! I finished my first half marathon (13.1 miles)!

As another fellow blogger at the same event said“It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun, but yes, I finished.” I will not lie, it was not pretty! My finished time was forty minutes behind my expected time, but I finished and I’m proud of it.

The weather was….yucks. An overcast day with light rain showers through the whole race course. I was happy for once for the Battery St and I-90 express tunnels. A disappointment after hearing past Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathons had been clear sunny warm days.

The last two miles were the worst because at this point there was a stabbing pain in my left leg, and I thought at this point I had a large blister forming on my right bottom foot. Took a whole lot of praying for strength to get me over the finish line. The last 1/2 mile into the finish I had mixed emotion of pain, joy, and tears running down my face as I went over the line. I made it!

The bands were great along the course, and liked the Asian drum line band when heading down Rainer Ave. I have never been down in this part of Seattle before, and seeing it for the first time it looked like another city.

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Half Marathon Course

In the end the half marathon was an experience I will not forget, and I am glad to have finished it. I would have loved to done this in better weather, and maybe I will.

I imagine this is how I will feel after I complete mine :p:
So true now!!

 

English Scones and Peonies Birthday Weekend

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with those near and dear to me. Even the hot temperatures did not deter me from going outside and enjoy the sunny weather. Here is a few of the celebrations this past weekend.

All started with a wonderful dessert get together on the shores of Lake Washington. A wonderful friend of mine has a place by Lake Washington and for an evening she hosted a fun dessert party to celebrate another and I’s birthdays. Whole group enjoyed eating yummy desserts made with a wonderful view of Lake Washington and the sound of the waves splashing on the shore. All evening we played the game Taboo until all of us were stuffed with chocolate and ready to head home to digest it all.

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Following morning I headed to Edmonds to the farmer’s market to see what the vendors had. I ended up with bunch of peonies, raspberries and strawberries to take home. There were so many flower vendors with a whole bunch of peonies that really made it hard to pick which I wanted. I ended up with a pretty bunch in light pink with purple bell flowers to round out the bouquet. The market was hopping  along with the nearby restaurants full of brunch-er relaxing outside at sunny tables on the sidewalk.

Being a hot day and close to water, I decided to walk down to the waterfront to “cool off” by the gentle wind. As I walked along the boardwalk to Marina Park, I stopped for an ice cream cone at the Waterfront Cafe for a chocolate waffle cone. This place had been my favorite stop for ice cream since I was a kid at the beach here. Its real smooth creamy ice cream! As I was strolling along I cough sight of this strange but awesome boat docked in the harbor. Someone really went all out for the tropical theme for their boat.

Sunday after church Mom, Nana and I went out for a celebration of out birthdays. Being one of the hottest days so far in Seattle, we decided to do English style afternoon tea. You would think to only drink something cold when it is hot outside, but something warm or hot really does cool you down. There is a place we have gone in the past at Bothell Country Village called Village Eatery & Tea Co.  All three of us had the Cozy Tea for One which consisted of small garden salad, four tea sandwiches (mine was the tomato and pesto cream cheese) as a starter ( we gave each one sample sandwich to try), dessert plate with a large lemon grazed scone (with Norfolk Cream and strawberry jam), and assorted chocolate tea bites. All this with a mug of Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos tea. This tea is the best Rooibos tea I have had and I picked up four ounces of loose leaf tea of it before leaving to enjoy at home. After we headed home to cool off from the hot temperatures Seattle was feeling.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to celebrate this weekend. I am so happy to had such beautiful weather. I hope all my readers had a wonderful weekend as well.

Half Marathon Training-My Thoughts Exactly

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Pretty much what I have been doing for the past three months while training for the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in June. Seems like I have not much of a social life since taking on this challenge but the pay off will be a accomplishment of running 13.1 miles and a toned body for summer (maybe even a thigh gap..gasp!). And who wants to be nice and fit this summer? Me! Oh and a shiny medal because I need some bling in my life.

Eating Healthy

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Eating healthy has been a hard part since I haven’t been faithful in keeping up with being Paleo, and doing the Whole30 at the same time as training had me craving a greasy hamburger from Mc. Donald’s (along with those addictive fries!) after long runs. I had to keep reminding myself every time I put something in my body it was going to be used for fuel, and by fuel, to power me through and not hold me back (addictive fries hold me back. Its shameful!). I realized I still have a bad relationship with food and even after one successful Whole 30 last year,  I still haven’t broken this habit entirely as of this time. Some days are great, while others are no so much when you are stuffing yo face with a whole pizza pie.But I still am striving to succeed in this and who knows, I will conquer it by the end of the year.

Learning to fuel properly for running has been a journey in itself. For a while I was eating a lot of carbs thinking I needed them all, but this is not how you fuel up for long runs. After reading countless pins off of Pinterest, reading Runner’s World Magazine fuel/food tips, and reading other runner’s blogs, I finally figured out how to eat properly to log the miles needed in training. I have lost weight, and have had better performance in running after making the necessary changes along with feeling better.

Drinking Water Like A Boss

Crazy water habits have made me into…. a water bottle toting, where can I fill this thing up again, need to pee every thirty minutes or right now, and I must stop before I unintentionally drown myself… type of person. Water the source of keeping alive and detoxed! I never realized how much water I needed to drink to stay hydrated (even after being on the track and field team in high school) just to survive the day. I wondered how I managed being a sprinter in high school on the track team! I wish I could just drink deionized  water instead of the plain old tap or general purified water, but DI water is expensive as heck to even drink! I have noticed since drinking a lot of H2O is seeing my skin looking better, hair stronger, and not feeling sluggish anymore.

Cheers to drinking more water then is humanly possible!

Sleeping Well….Almost Like A Baby

With all this water drinking, college doing, running miles and eating healthy, I have been plum tired out by the end of the day. I sleep better now days then when I was training for my 5k last year. With me needing to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep a night, I no longer subscribe to the college studying into the wee hours of the night. Just never has been me, and I am not starting now.

cats wake up owners | There is no “snooze button” included!:

In this first weeks of training poor Maddie kitty would want to snuggle with me so bad in bed in the mornings. Then all of sudden she was the one getting me up in the morning to go for an early morning run. The alarm clock cat is a real thing, and does not necessary means she needs to be fed. As soon as the alarm went off she would find every annoying possible way to keep me from hitting snooze button. Now I just need her to learn to be a running buddy.

Working Out Like I’m Training For A Half Marathon:

funny movie quotes

Sometimes it is all you can do-horizontal running- because you feel as if your feet did touch the ground it would hurt again. The whole quote comes to mind “It’s not swagger, I’m just sore” and boy am I sore from all this running. I can really see why other runners take one to two months off from running after a 1/2 marathon or marathon just to recover from the torture you inflicted on the body. So far I have had a few sore muscles here and there, but nothing too bad-so far. I have started a relationship with my foam roller and yes it is complicated already. If it was human I would probably date it because its the only intimacy I am getting at the moment.

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That’s my point exactly! After training for a few months I still am aware of how I must look to other people when I am out running. When out running I see other runners who look as if they haven’t even broken a sweat. Do these people have no sweat glands? Or are they just showing off? When I am done with my run I look like I am about to die and look like an ugly beast ready to devour something because I am hungry as hell all the time! There is no way I am looking all cute after five to six miles! I guess I’m in the attitude of runner’s hair, don’t care, and please Lord give me a burger now!

When you feel incredible guilt over taking a rest day::
The struggle is real!

There are many time I want to skip a run until I think Jesus saw yesterday I didn’t run and now he wants me to run today! The struggle is real people, very real. After a run I do feel better then when I started, so the runner’s high is the motivation on days where I don’t feel I want to pound the pavement or the treadmill, but still drag my butt to do it.

In a few weeks I will be running through the streets of Seattle. I just hope all goes well for my first half marathon