Day 8 – after our big city excitement yesterday, today was a little bit of a slow start, but we still managed to get some good fun in before we made our way to Whidbey Island. By mid morning, we were packed up and ready to start heading north. Our first stop was the small city of Edmonds which is one of many suburbs of Seattle. Unbeknownst to us, it was actually market Saturday. Every Saturday during the spring and summer, the city of Edmonds hosts the Edmonds Museum Summer market. They have about 90 vendors, all of which must be family owned businesses. So either farmers who grow/raise their own products, or artisans who make their own art. it was wonderful to wander through the stalls and listen to the music. Rick Steves’ Europe store was only a couple of blocks away, so we stopped in there to browse as well. Not many people realize that Rick Steves was actually born and brought up in Edmonds.
We had 1:30 PM tickets for the Boeing backstage pass at their Everett factory in Mukilteo WA, so as much as we were enjoying the Edmonds market, we had to go. And we’re so glad we did! The Boeing Future of Flight facility at Paine Field was a perfect mix of education and entertainment, and Merge, in particular, had the most fun ever! We started with an interactive film experience (including live Q&A) that outlined the past, present, and the future of Boeing’s airplane manufacturing. Merge’s dad was one of the first pilots in the world to fly the Boeing 747, also known as the jumbo jet. The first prototype of the 747 was flown in 1968. For many years it was the gold standard for passenger aircraft. Later on, as new and more efficient aircraft were developed, it continued to be manufactured solely for freight movement because it was so large . It was very interesting, and a little bit sad, to find out that the 747s are in their sunset phase. By the end of this year they will no longer be manufactured, and the only 747s still around will be those that are currently in service. 😢 $20 pp, booking in advance recommended.
After the film, the next stop was the gallery where you have the opportunity to experience some of the cool new things that are being explored in the future of flight. Both of us got to play with some mini robots, and also to fly some drones. Below are some video shorts to show you how much fun we had!!
The Boeing facility also has a rooftop sky deck from where you can get a 360° view of much of the Everett facility. We saw several planes that have been manufactured and are just waiting for their livery. In case you don’t know, livery is how the plane is painted to brand it and to show what airline it belongs to. In the photos, the teal green/blue that you see on some of the planes is actually a vinyl coating that is placed on the surface to protect the plane during the manufacturing process. It will be removed before the livery is painted on.
Merge was having so much fun at the Boeing facility that she didn’t want to leave, but Al persuaded her that it was time to get going so as to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island. Fortunately by the time we got in the ferry line up, it was only a one-ferry wait, so within the hour we were able to get on board, and on our way to Clinton which is at the south end of Whidbey Island.
It’s only a 20 minute ferry ride, and once we rolled off, it was only about another 45 minutes to our destination for tonight which is Oak Harbor,. We had reservations for the next three nights at the Auld Holland Inn, and when we pulled into the parking lot we were charmed by the sight of the quaint windmill, which is also the front office.
We will be exploring Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island to the north for the next two days, and then on the following day we will begin our return trip to Victoria