Spring Training 2022 – no, actually a week in Seattle

[ posting this late/out-of-order since I apparently started it and never finished ]

Mid-March would typically find me out in Arizona for my annual spring training trip to see my Cleveland Indians Guardians but the past two years have seen my trips cancelled (first for the pandemic, and now the MLB lockout). This year’s trip was also planned around a side-trip to Seattle to see the Lightning play the Kraken (my sister is a inaugural season ticket holder for the new NHL franchise). With our planned baseball games cancelled, I decided to just spend the entire week in Seattle with my sister.

I flew out of Tampa to Seattle Wednesday night after work and my sister picked me up at Sea-Tac and we drove back to her apartment downtown. We both took Thursday and Friday off from work so had a lot of free time to hang out (the last time I’d been out here was back in 2016 for our Alaskan cruise). Thursday morning we drove east to hike up Little Si, one of the two “Twin Peaks” mountains. This was a much different trail than our usual desert mountain hikes in the Arizona valley (and colder too!) but no less beautiful. We had lunch on the summit and then hiked back down to the car for the drive back to Seattle. We just hung out the rest of the day and then walked up the hill to Buckley’s for Juicy Lucys for dinner (we earned it with that mountain hike, right?).

Friday followed a similar pattern: hiking and beers. This time my sister drove us west of the city to Discovery Park where we spent some time hiking the trails (not as vigorous as yesterday). On the way back to her apartment we grabbed lunch at Homegrown. Later that evening we watched the Dayton Flyers beat UMass in a nail-biter first-round game of the Atlantic 10 tournament, then headed over to the Queen Anne Beerhall for beers and a late dinner.

We took it easy on Saturday, but did walk down to Pike Place Market for lunch and to pick up some groceries. In the afternoon we drove out to the Bellevue area to see some friends. I got to see some baseball after all since we went to watch a little league practice (and I even caught a foul (whiffle) ball!). After dinner, we went to see “The Batman” which was the first time I had been in a movie theater in a long time (and with the movie at almost 3 hours runtime, we were there for a long time). Sunday was another lazy day but my sister did take me out to a nice dinner at How to Cook a Wolf and we watched the hockey game on TV as the Lightning beat Vancouver (originally we had thought about driving up to the game, but the three hour drive (each way) combined with the late game time just didn’t work out).

To save on vacation days, my sister and I both worked on Monday and Tuesday from her apartment. I, however, had to work Eastern time hours, which meant 5am – 2pm so I was eating lunch just as her day was beginning. I love this new world where a lot of us can work from anywhere, but this did give me appreciation for working from the same timezone. Monday night we also drove back out to Bellevue to have dinner with our friends again and I also got to experience my first Amazon Fresh “just walk out” grocery store. Weird.

Wednesday was hockey day, so we both had the day off again (since it was my last day in town). We went back to Pike Place Market for breakfast (drove this time) along with obligatory tourist visits to the first Starbucks, hot mini-donuts, and the gum wall. Then my sister took me into the Amazon Spheres downtown, which are pretty amazing. Finally, that evening was the purpose of the trip (sans baseball), the Tampa Bay Lightning playing the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Instead of the pre-show, there was a ceremony to celebrate captain Mark Giordano‘s 1000th NHL game (99% of which were played in Calgary for the Flames … and a few days later, the Kraken traded Giordano to the Toronto Maple Leafs). Despite that, it was not the Kraken’s night and my Bolts won easily, 4-1.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been out here a week but on Thursday (St. Patrick’s Day!) it was time to head home. My sister drove me to Sea-Tac early to catch my flight back home to Florida. I’ll be back in August to visit her again and (hopefully!) catch the Guardians playing the Mariners … baseball!

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