Catching the train in Seattle

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ORCA cards it is, they appear to cover all situations. There is a weight of opinion here to go in that direction and we will. Thanks everybody for weighing in, how could we visit the US without you.

Phones are another thing. There are obvious reasons to owning a smart phone if your lifestyle dictates it, if it doesn't then it's a life choice and we are all still free to make our own choices.

We have just travelled through 4 countries, bought 10 train tickets in advance and travelled through all the varied systems. We also booked 2 hotels and carried documentation related to Covid, all without a smart phone. This isn't in the past it was only a couple of weeks ago, and it all worked seamlessly.

It's possible to see that soon phone held data/evidence may be the only way we can travel, but obviously it isn't here yet.

That said. I have to 'fess up, here's the story. We had an extensive journey planned and mainly booked for 2020 where we travelled from London to London via some of Europe, some of Russia, most of the 'stans', China, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan and the US. There were languages amongst these countries where we would have little chance of making ourselves understood, so early in 2020 I bought a smart phone! primarily to use the google translator. Obviously such a trip became impossible in 2020, the phone is still in it's box, just charged from time to time.

Don't want to get into the many reasons for and against smart phone ownership, we are all correct in our choices, nobody is wrong.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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We had an extensive journey planned and mainly booked for 2020 where we travelled from London to London via some of Europe, some of Russia, most of the 'stans', China, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan and the US. There were languages amongst these countries where we would have little chance of making ourselves understood, so early in 2020 I bought a smart phone! primarily to use the google translator. Obviously such a trip became impossible in 2020, the phone is still in it's box, just charged from time to time.
That sounds like a hell of a trip but if you want to use a smartphone proficiently you'll need to start playing with it at home first. Get it activated and updated and confirm you know how to enable international roaming or add a foreign SIM. Be aware that Google translator can really struggle with Asian languages even if you know what you're doing. In some Asian countries it's easier to communicate with simple written English rather than speaking since that's how they learn it.

 
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That sounds like a hell of a trip but if you want to use a smartphone proficiently you'll need to start playing with it at home first. Get it activated and updated and confirm you know how to enable international roaming or add a foreign SIM. Be aware that Google translator can really struggle with Asian languages even if you know what you're doing. In some Asian countries it's easier to communicate with simple written English rather than speaking since that's how they learn it.

That's sound advice, thank you very much.

The truth is I am not technology phobic, I actually enjoy advance technology, but do not enjoy the unseen presence that as mentioned above, tracks your almost every thought and deed.

I quite enjoy being an individual, making my own decisions and not being coerced either overtly or covertly to think this or that, buy this or that.

Said I wasn't going to discuss owning a smart phone, so will stop now.

Yes DA, it was to be the ultimate trip almost entirely by train and ferry, maybe a container ship thrown in. But things happen and nothing you or I could do to have stopped Covid spreading.

Next late summer we should be back on track to ship our camper to the US for a long visit, that's an ultimate trip too.

What about you, what adventures are you planning? Where would you give a year's salary just to go there, or do something special, we all have dreams. See you have travelled in Asia, was it interesting or hard work? What did you think of Munich, could you live there too?

Thanks again, hope you don't mind me provoking you after giving me such good advice.
 

happycamper

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In the last 24 hours, I have been taken to the "woodshed" on another travel forum because I don't have a smartphone. Some much enjoy spending lots of money that rewards the manufacturers of these devices as well as the communication companies that sell their services so that one can use those marvels of technology.
Might be an idea - I got a older smart phone from an older man that couldn't believe I didn't have one. He decided he would change that. LOL He had bought it at T-Mobile so I have a free older smart phone and got a no contract pre-pay plan from T mobile for $15 a month that included 2gb of data. This way if I really need it I can have it and use it when traveling but otherwise I just use talk and text... Might be an idea.... You can take the GPS off the phone. And I take off mobile data as well. You only need the mobile data if you send or receive a text with a picture and then I put it on and then take it off... No worries... Also your battery on your phone lasts for 3 days instead of one.
 

Cal

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e aware that Google translator can really struggle with Asian languages even if you know what you're doing.
As someone who has direct experience with this (Google translate from English to Vietnamese), I definitely agree.
 
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anumberone

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Was on Verizon for about 15 years and very pleased with the service (not necessarily the price) And I've been with Comcast/Xfinity (TV, Internet, WiFi) for 40+ years. When Xfinity Mobile started I found out they utilize the Verizon network. So as soon as my contract was up I changed over to Xfinity Mobile and save bookoo money with the same coverage. I needed new phone anyway. Oh they still go by both names Comcast and Xfinity.
Thanks for the tip on Xfinity Mobile. Dakota says he don’t want one and I say if you can get by, don’t get one, because, if you do get one you wont be able to get by with out it. They are like a skateboard, it takes time to learn tricks. They make a great travel guide.
 

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Yes DA, it was to be the ultimate trip almost entirely by train and ferry, maybe a container ship thrown in. But things happen and nothing you or I could do to have stopped Covid spreading.
If you get another crack at that trip it I'd look forward to reading about it.

What about you, what adventures are you planning?
I get around but if we're being honest you're in a whole other strata of travel and my trips are pretty short and simple by comparison. My plans remain pretty vague at the moment due to changing entry rules, wildly fluctuating prices, and the chance of getting stuck somewhere along the way. I would like to ride more trains in Europe and Asia and hopefully get a chance to experience a B748 and A346 before they're gone for good. The Western Hemisphere is rather quiet when it comes to new passenger rail but the Eastern Hemisphere seems to be exploding with new routes and faster service.

See you have travelled in Asia, was it interesting or hard work? What did you think of Munich, could you live there too?
I find Asia interesting but the workload is relative. If you want to see as much as possible in a single trip then yeah it can be a lot of effort to line everything up at a good rate and work around any delays or disruptions. Most of the time I play it loose and just see what happens. I try to live in the moment and tend to enjoy slice of life scenery on a random street more than selfie stick tourist trap stuff. Any trip can become an easy ride if you throw enough money at it but finding a good value in recent years become more difficult and the pandemic has only made it worse. I enjoyed Munich as a tourist and would enjoy seeing more of Bavaria in the future but actually living there seems impractical for people without European passports.
 
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basketmaker

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Thanks for the tip on Xfinity Mobile. Dakota says he don’t want one and I say if you can get by, don’t get one, because, if you do get one you wont be able to get by with out it. They are like a skateboard, it takes time to learn tricks. They make a great travel guide.
I have had a cell since they first came out in the late 70's for business. I used to deliver parts to Southern Bell/AT&T research lab that developed them in Nashville. Now I hate the dern things but partner and I keep them for emergency and health reasons. FYI the ol' Motorola "Brick" was indestructible!
 

Dakota 400

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Dakota says he don’t want one and I say if you can get by, don’t get one, because, if you do get one you wont be able to get by with out it. They are like a skateboard, it takes time to learn tricks. They make a great travel guide.
"....won't be able to get by with out it." Sounds like a definition of an addiction.

As an "old dog", I don't mind "learning new tricks". There are those who never expected to receive an e-mail from me. (One friend responded to my first e-mail to him with these words: "Pigs CAN fly!") If I buy a smartphone, it will because of one or two reasons (maybe both). My 3G cell phone is going to cease to work because of the carriers only supporting 4G and 5G. And/or, I need it for travel purposes (including local visits to restaurants, stores, etc.) if a digital vaccine passport-type requirement is enacted.
 

BCL

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I have had a cell since they first came out in the late 70's for business. I used to deliver parts to Southern Bell/AT&T research lab that developed them in Nashville. Now I hate the dern things but partner and I keep them for emergency and health reasons. FYI the ol' Motorola "Brick" was indestructible!
I take it that it was heavy as heck and built like an old Western Electric phone. Not that one wouldn't scratch, but I saw one opened up by a technician where I could tell that it was so simple and robust that it would have been difficult to get one to stop working.
 

anumberone

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"....won't be able to get by with out it." Sounds like a definition of an addiction.

As an "old dog", I don't mind "learning new tricks". There are those who never expected to receive an e-mail from me. (One friend responded to my first e-mail to him with these words: "Pigs CAN fly!") If I buy a smartphone, it will because of one or two reasons (maybe both). My 3G cell phone is going to cease to work because of the carriers only supporting 4G and 5G. And/or, I need it for travel purposes (including local visits to restaurants, stores, etc.) if a digital vaccine passport-type requirement is enacted.
Au Contraire. It’s not addiction, it’s connection. For instance, it’s the only way I can get into Sofi tomorrow eve to see the lads from the UK F62BAF23-4CB3-4E95-A1D7-CA688C820121.png
 

BCL

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"....won't be able to get by with out it." Sounds like a definition of an addiction.

As an "old dog", I don't mind "learning new tricks". There are those who never expected to receive an e-mail from me. (One friend responded to my first e-mail to him with these words: "Pigs CAN fly!") If I buy a smartphone, it will because of one or two reasons (maybe both). My 3G cell phone is going to cease to work because of the carriers only supporting 4G and 5G. And/or, I need it for travel purposes (including local visits to restaurants, stores, etc.) if a digital vaccine passport-type requirement is enacted.
One can always take different approaches. The Amish and Mennonite communities have different approaches to technology. It's assumed that they shun all technology unless someone else does it for them, but for them it's a philosophical question of whether or not they will overuse such tech. But then I've heard of Amish using computers at work or even power tools. And they'll find people to do things for them that involve technology such that they don't specially have to handle the technology themselves. Always seemed like a cop out, but then it serves as a buffer from overuse.

I do understand this, but at this point in time there so much today that requires access to mobile technology. I've been to restaurants where there was only a limited printed menu available. The full menu was available on the internet, but only through a QR code that has to be scanned via a camera. Even if I had a laptop computer with me, it would have taken a lot of work to access the menu with only a front facing camera. I still can't figure out how to do that with the computer I'm typing on right now. This place did have free Wi-Fi though. And it would also work with a Wi-Fi only tablet device that wouldn't necessarily have an issue with being connected everywhere.

I've also used my mobile device to track a late train and determine when to get to the station. I guess I could have tried calling it in to Amtrak, but the last time I did that I was on hold for about 15 minutes and gave up.
 

Willbridge

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But it could be fun if you order a cup of coffee and are brought a live pig?
This will happen eventually anyway.

On my first trip to Paris, tired and parched, I ordered a small lemonade and received half a lemon. I thought "if I leave it they'll think I'm a stupid and rich Americain. If I squeeze it on my Croque Hawaiian they'll think I'm eccentric British." I went for the latter choice and the waiter -- who was watching discretely -- shrugged and went about his business.

More recently I met a Russian tourist on the Santa Monica line and she was trying desperately to rely on Google. We ended up spending a day at the beach. With my remnants of Russian, the little English she had picked up, AND Google we did well. However, the Google high point was discussing motion pictures and I used the term "pan shot". If you type in both words a correct translation comes up. One word at a time gives an absurd result. I ended up acting it out with my camera and then she got it.

Be ready to pantomime if you want to avoid getting a live pig.
 

Willbridge

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ORCA cards it is, they appear to cover all situations. There is a weight of opinion here to go in that direction and we will. Thanks everybody for weighing in, how could we visit the US without you.

Phones are another thing. There are obvious reasons to owning a smart phone if your lifestyle dictates it, if it doesn't then it's a life choice and we are all still free to make our own choices.

We have just travelled through 4 countries, bought 10 train tickets in advance and travelled through all the varied systems. We also booked 2 hotels and carried documentation related to Covid, all without a smart phone. This isn't in the past it was only a couple of weeks ago, and it all worked seamlessly.

It's possible to see that soon phone held data/evidence may be the only way we can travel, but obviously it isn't here yet.

That said. I have to 'fess up, here's the story. We had an extensive journey planned and mainly booked for 2020 where we travelled from London to London via some of Europe, some of Russia, most of the 'stans', China, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan and the US. There were languages amongst these countries where we would have little chance of making ourselves understood, so early in 2020 I bought a smart phone! primarily to use the google translator. Obviously such a trip became impossible in 2020, the phone is still in it's box, just charged from time to time.

Don't want to get into the many reasons for and against smart phone ownership, we are all correct in our choices, nobody is wrong.
One important note for Seattle visits:
Ferry service is being reduced due to staff shortages. Check on-line timetables and recheck them in Seattle as things are fluctuating.
 
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F900ElCapitan

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Here is one suggestion for Seattle if you get lucky and they are running it when you are there. The Argosy Locks Cruise is spectacular. My wife and I were in Seattle Feb 2020 and were able to do this, it was a highlight of a great trip. During the low season they typically only run on the weekends, but the schedule for February isn’t out yet.

Oh, if you are at least close to on time you should arrive Seattle prior to noon.

Have a great time!

 
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ORCA cards it is, they appear to cover all situations. There is a weight of opinion here to go in that direction and we will. Thanks everybody for weighing in, how could we visit the US without you.

Phones are another thing. There are obvious reasons to owning a smart phone if your lifestyle dictates it, if it doesn't then it's a life choice and we are all still free to make our own choices.

We have just travelled through 4 countries, bought 10 train tickets in advance and travelled through all the varied systems. We also booked 2 hotels and carried documentation related to Covid, all without a smart phone. This isn't in the past it was only a couple of weeks ago, and it all worked seamlessly.

It's possible to see that soon phone held data/evidence may be the only way we can travel, but obviously it isn't here yet.

That said. I have to 'fess up, here's the story. We had an extensive journey planned and mainly booked for 2020 where we travelled from London to London via some of Europe, some of Russia, most of the 'stans', China, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan and the US. There were languages amongst these countries where we would have little chance of making ourselves understood, so early in 2020 I bought a smart phone! primarily to use the google translator. Obviously such a trip became impossible in 2020, the phone is still in it's box, just charged from time to time.

Don't want to get into the many reasons for and against smart phone ownership, we are all correct in our choices, nobody is wrong.
I have lived in Seattle since 1976 and distilling the best things to do and places to see for a less-than 24 hour visit is tough. But here goes!

First, you will be here in winter. It will get light around 7:30 AM and darkness sets in around 4:00 PM (Sunrise and sunset times in Seattle, February 2021). The average temperature 35 degrees Fahrenheit and there is a slight chance of snow (Does It Snow in Seattle? (When and How Often) - Sunlight Living) And of course, it rains. Seattleites don’t let the weather keep them from enjoying their city, and you shouldn’t either. BTW long-time Seattle people don’t use umbrellas; they wear hats.

Secondly, downtown Seattle north of Union Street is generally safe during the day with the exception of Third Avenue between Pike and Pine streets. I also wouldn’t be concerned about my safety walking around the South Lake Union neighborhood at night. That being said, Seattle is like any other large American city and it is always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings when out and about.

Now about sightseeing - If you want to check out the areas around King Street Station, you might delay claiming your luggage, and walk out to the two nearby neighborhoods. Go up the stairs and turn right to go to the Chinatown International District (CID) which is east of the station. The CID (Seattle's Chinatown-International District | Seattle Chinatown-International District (seattlechinatownid.com)) seems to be making steady progress reopening from the pandemic and the summer 2020 riots. In addition to its many eating establishments and shops, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (HOME - Wing Luke Museum) is the main attraction in the CID (full disclosure, I was a museum trustee until recently).

Pioneer Square is west of the station (Pioneer Square. Seattle, WA | Pioneer Square) is also slowly reopening but is challenged by homelessness and crime. The Seattle Underground Tour (UNDERGROUND TOUR) is the reason most people go there during the day along with the architecture although there are still several art galleries in the neighborhood.

After reclaiming your luggage and checking in at your hotel, I concur with the recommendation that you take the Argosy Harbor cruise (Harbor Cruise of Seattle Waterfront - Elliott Bay - Skyline | Argosy Cruises). It’s a fast way to see Seattle in the context of our mountain ranges (Olympic and Cascade) and bodies of water (Elliott Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington). The cruise ends at the Seattle waterfront. From there, walk north along the waterfront to the stairs leading to the Pike Place Public Market. The Pike Place Public Market is a complex of buildings that stretches from Alaskan Way to First Avenue and from Union Street to about Lenora Street, about six blocks in length. The Market is Seattle’s top tourist attraction, but you will be there in the off-season, so it won’t be as crowded as in summer. If you are hungry, I recommend the Athenian Café or the Sound View Café. Both places are casual, reasonably priced, and have terrific views.

Walk north about a half mile to the Olympic Sculpture Park at Broad Street and Western Avenue; there is no admission fee (Olympic Sculpture Park (seattleartmuseum.org). In addition to the sculptures, the park has spectacular water views and a bridge spanning the north/sound railroad mainline. Walk east from the park on Broad Street about four blocks and you will find the Space Needle and Seattle Center. Seattle Center is a municipal park. The Space Needle and the nearby Museum of Pop Culture are privately owned and charge fees (Seattle Center, Space Needle, MoPOP | Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle Washington).

At this point, you can walk south to Denny and catch the #8 bus back to Westlake and return to your hotel. If you still have the energy and time you could either walk north on Westlake to the South Lake Union park and take in the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI — Museum of History and Industry, Seattle WA). Or you could continue on the #8 and transfer to the #10 at E John and 15th Ave E. The #10 will take you to Volunteer Park where the Seattle Asian Art Museum is located.

My dinner recommendations within walking distance from your hotel include Wild Ginger McKenzie (Seattle–McKenzie — Wild Ginger) and Cinque Terre (Cinque Terre Ristorante (cinqueterreseattle.com)). A little farther out is Duke’s Chowder House (Enjoy Waterfront Seattle Seafood Dining in Our South Lake Union Restaurant | Duke's Seafood (dukesseafood.com)). Duke’s is about a mile from your hotel, so you may want to take the South Lake Union Streetcar or the #70 bus.

Lastly, regarding Seattle traffic and transit, downtown traffic is much lighter now that most office workers are working from home. Metro transit buses were mostly on time even before the pandemic, so timeliness isn’t a problem. You will still want to arrive at King Street Station by at least 0915 because AMTRAK usually begins boarding 20 minutes before departure.

I hope you enjoy your visit to our city, and that the rest of your travels go smoothly.
 

Seaboard92

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I want to see you trip report and I eagerly look forward to that. I also want to see your plan because I might just have to pop in for dinner with you somewhere and pop right back out the next day. I'm lucky I have that ability now.

As far as Seattle goes I love love love love Smith Tower and they have a lovely restaurant at the top by the observation deck too.
 

happycamper

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"....won't be able to get by with out it." Sounds like a definition of an addiction.

As an "old dog", I don't mind "learning new tricks". There are those who never expected to receive an e-mail from me. (One friend responded to my first e-mail to him with these words: "Pigs CAN fly!") If I buy a smartphone, it will because of one or two reasons (maybe both). My 3G cell phone is going to cease to work because of the carriers only supporting 4G and 5G. And/or, I need it for travel purposes (including local visits to restaurants, stores, etc.) if a digital vaccine passport-type requirement is enacted.
The news did verify that as of January carriers will phase out 3G and the cell phones that use 3G will not work. Also security cameras and other devices that use 3G will also become obsolete.... Might be worth having a plan in place for when your carrier will stop using 3G. You do not have to buy a new phone if you have a friend with an older phone they threw in a drawer after they replaced it with a newer one. It will just need to be compatible with the carrier you want to use. So if you have a friend with a T-Mobile old phone you can take that in to a T-mobile store and they can get you set up on a monthly no contract pre-pay plan and change your sims card. Then you just have them show you how to take off the GPS - just a few buttons to click and how to take off the mobile data so they are not transmitting to or from your phone. :) You will need to know how to add it back on when you want to send or receive a picture on text...
 
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Dakota 400

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The news did verify that as of January carriers will phase out 3G and the cell phones that use 3G will not work.
That January date seems fluid from what I have learned. An Apple rep thought it would be much later in 2022 than January or February. What is clear to me is that I need to get shopping now.
 

BCL

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Be ready to pantomime if you want to avoid getting a live pig.
With a mobile device and access to the internet, why not just pull up a photo? Maybe even have photos stored on a device of common things that one might want? For a cup of coffee I think this might work because the beans show that it isn't some other brown colored hot beverage.

 

v v

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Au Contraire. It’s not addiction, it’s connection. For instance, it’s the only way I can get into Sofi tomorrow eve to see the lads from the UK View attachment 24924
I think we all expected to hear how you got on, did you even get in using your phone? Read a review in a UK paper asking what are they on as they appear to be almost as energetic as 50 years ago and didn't stop for 2 1/2 hours.

Mostly, did you enjoy it?
 

anumberone

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I think we all expected to hear how you got on, did you even get in using your phone? Read a review in a UK paper asking what are they on as they appear to be almost as energetic as 50 years ago and didn't stop for 2 1/2 hours.

Mostly, did you enjoy it?
Ticketmaster send the digital ticket to my email and I downloaded into my Wallet App.
The energy is amazing. Mick still uses a huge stage and plays it like a Stratovarius he never stops moving. They sound better than 50 yrs ago.
 

Maglev

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Au Contraire. It’s not addiction, it’s connection. For instance, it’s the only way I can get into Sofi tomorrow eve to see the lads from the UK View attachment 24924
Exactly how did this work, if I may ask? We paid an enormous amount for two tickets to the grand opening of the new hockey arena in Seattle, and half the instructions we get say you need to put the tickets in a digital wallet. I don't have an iPhone, so I can't get Apple Wallet, but there's a Google one that I have now downloaded. But I see no way to put tickets there...
 
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