Our family loves baseball. My husband played through college, and both my kids play baseball/softball. If we are visiting a city with a Major League team, we make sure our visit matches up with some games. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that on this trip. We took advantage of a last minute VGT, and we couldn't really turn down the offer because the Mariners happened to be on the road at that time. But, that didn't keep us away from Safeco Field! Most Major League stadiums do tours, so we reserved tickets for a late-morning tour on Sunday. Like Saturday, we ate breakfast at the hotel and took the shuttle to the light rail station. Again, the rail system was on a delay for maintenance, so it took about an hour to make it into town. Even though the forecasts for both Saturday and Sunday were for sunny skies and around 80 degrees, the mornings were cool and cloudy. We never need jackets during the summer in Tennessee, so we had to pull something out of the "Alaska" suitcase to help us keep warm until mid-day (I had packed a smaller suitcase for the things we would need in Seattle so we wouldn't have to get into all the bags). We look like we are freezing, but it was really in the sixties. 041 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr We walked over to Safeco and had to walk around a bit before we found the gift shop, the starting point for the tour. (These two are out in left field.) 1497587 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr From the gift shop, we were taken to many areas of the stadium and field. My DS was on cloud nine because we got a tour guide who clearly loved baseball. He threw out stats and trivia for the entire 1 1/2 tour. He would ask obscure questions, and my DS was thrilled to be able to answer them all (and the guide loved having a kid on the tour who knew his baseball)! My DD found parts of the tour interesting, but she glazed over with all the history and facts. She wanted to move from location to location without so much discussion! Here are a few of the highlights: Safeco's roof is on a track and can be opened or closed. Last summer we visited Chase Field in Phoenix which can also be opened. Of course, in Phoenix, they air-condition the stadium when the roof is closed (which is wonderful when it's 108 degrees). In Seattle, they built in openings around the edges for circulation. No air-conditioning needed! Seattle also has a new, very large scoreboard. It's the third largest screen in the US, behind Daytona Speedway and Cowboys Stadium. It was massive! 044 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr I didn't realize that someone hand-paints the foul line in the outfield. I would not be very good at this job. 046 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr This is half of the owner's suite and the view of the field from there. It would be nice to watch the game like this! 047 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr 049 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr We visited the press box and the press room. My DD has been learning how to score games, so she sat in the head-scorers seat in the press box. 053 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr These two are ready for the media's questions... 057 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr Probably the coolest part for my DS was going in the dugout and on the field. We weren't allowed on the grass (they are very protective of it and even have two backup fields nearby to replace the grass, if necessary). 062 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr 058 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr The dugout/field was the final part of the tour, so we headed back to the rail station and went all the way into downtown to grab some lunch. It was about 12:30, so we wanted to grab something quick before heading back to the airport area to pick up our bags and a rental car. With all the wonderful choices in Seattle, where did we head? The food court at Westlake Center. There was something for everyone, and we were able to eat quickly and get back on the train. We had much better luck with the train ride back on Sunday. We didn't have to wait nearly as long for a train. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for our hotel shuttle. When we got to the rail station, we called for the shuttle. On Saturday, the driver arrived to pick us up within minutes. On Sunday, it took three calls and an hour before someone came. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was past the time we were hoping to be out of Seattle, and we hadn't even gotten the rental car yet. A new shuttle driver came on duty around this time, and he was nice enough to take all of us and our bags to the rental car facility (he was really only supposed to take people to the airport, where we would have needed another shuttle to get to the rental facility, but we were his only passengers). This helped us make up for some lost time, and made the process much easier. Before I finish talking about Seattle, I would like to interrupt this trip report and take a minute to say what we would have done differently if we hadn't had our kids with us. Please know that our kids had a wonderful time, and we are glad we did this trip as a family, but we would like to repeat it at some point by ourselves. There were some aspects of the trip made more fun by having the kids with us, but there were also things we didn't do because of their interests and tastes. If we return to Seattle, I would love to do one of the many food tours. My kids just wanted basic, familiar food, and they wouldn't have enjoyed sampling what Seattle has to offer. My DH and I would have liked this, and I hope we can do it at some point. Also, we really enjoyed our free walking tour, and felt it gave a great overall view of the city, but if we had more time, I would have added the Underground Tour as well. Maybe we'll make it back at some point! Now back to the regularly scheduled program...We got our rental car and headed for Vancouver. The drive from Seattle to Vancouver took much less time than we expected. Total time to the Vancouver Hilton (airport area) was less than 3 1/2 hours, and this included a 45 minute dinner stop and a 30 minute wait at the border. My husband has been to Canada before, but it was pre-9/11. We didn't really know what to expect. We had our passports, cruise documents, and rental car agreement ready to show the agent. He asked for our passports, and then asked my DH to roll down the back window. I guess he wanted to be sure that the passengers in the back matched the passport photos. At this time, he looked into the back window and asked, "Are you carrying any weapons?" My DD, thinking he was talking to her said, "Ummm. I'm not sure." Of course, DH and I both gave a resounding no. It was so funny to us because we don't own any weapons. We don't hunt or anything like that, so we don't know why she would have been confused on this. On the way back in, we were sure to remind her that we didn't have weapons before crossing the border! 1497599 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr We arrived at the hotel around 7:30 and got a pleasant surprise. The room category we booked was not available. Would we mind being upgraded to a two-bedroom suite on the top floor with a balcony? Ummm, PLEASE! It was such a blessing to have a night to spread out. We had two bedrooms, a living area, a bathroom, and a balcony. There were many moments on the trip when the kids were driving each other crazy, so it was wonderful to separate them for a while. Our views weren't bad either! 1497600 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr 1497603 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr 1497604 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr I took DD for a rooftop swim while DS and DH watched Canadian ESPN. 1497601 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr After a long day, we called it a night and went to bed with great anticipation. After one more sleep, we would be boarding the Wonder for Alaska! Coming Up...Embarkation!!!