One of the best things about Spokane is Seattle. If Spokane were somewhere in the middle of Montana I could never live there. I love Spokane but living here requires the occassional escape to more beautiful and cultural and entertaining and diverse and tastier surroundings. At just 4.5 hours away, Seattle has been that place for me and my family since the days when me and my family meant us kids and the folks.
My very earliest memory in life is the 1962 Worlds Fair when I was only four years old. The rest of my youth was seasoned with occassional Seattle sojourns that led to an adult life requiring more of the same. In the early years before the arrival of my own kids it was always a trip filled with romance for Elaine and myself. Later, during the child-rearing years it was a trip of adventure for the whole family.
Finding good and affordable accommodations was easier for my dad back in the 60’s and 70’s. When I was a kid we always stayed at a hotel called the Cosmopolitan. It was right downtown and clean and inexpensive. The last time I stayed there was in 2001 on a trip I took with my two young boys, Jesse and Eli, and their cousin Trevor to see a ballgame which turned out to be a part of one of the most historical nights in all of baseball.
The game was a make-up for a game between the Mariners and Rangers that had been scheduled for Sept. 15th. Because of 9/11 our tickets were made good on Oct.5, the day that the Mariners would win their 116th game of the year, tying the 1906 Cubs for the most wins in a season. The game was perfect with Jamie Moyer on the mound and John Ohlerud and Brett Boone hitting homers. The record and the homers would have been enough but the night was made even more magical because the Giants-Angels game was broadcast on all the big screens each time Barry Bonds came to bat because he had recently tied Mark McGuire”s record of 70 home runs in a season.
Every pitch he took was a chance to see history and sure enough he hit his 71st that night and then upped the record by hitting his 72nd later in the game. As we left the stadium, the game was still going on in San Fran. After we finally made our way through the throngs and rode the bus downtown and then walked to the Cosmopolitan, I turned on the T.V. and the game was still on. It never went into extra innings but at 4 hours and 23 minutes it set the National League record for the longest 9-inning game. That made 4 records tied or broken in one night.
It was a historical night on a personal level because that was the last time I ever slept at the Cosmopolitan. It had gone to seed and was no longer fit for a family.I had pretty well given up on it a few years before when I took Elaine and she gave it her permanent seal of disapproval. But I gave it one more try for old time sake because it was just us guys. After that I was done with the old Cosmo after a lifetime of memories.
Through the years we have stayed at many great hotels throughout Seattle including the Roosevelt, the Mayflower, Silver Cloud, Red Lion, Embassy Suites, the Sorrento and others I can’t recall. The Westin, however, is one that no one could forget. The kids were little and so we were able to fit all six of us into one room which was 41 glorious stories up. It had a view and a location that only lots of money could buy, but back then it was worth it to give the kids something they will always remember.
Those flush days are long gone but the desire to create a few more memories before Crystal , our third child, goes off to college is as strong as ever. When she asked if she and Jacque, our youngest, and their cousin Natalie, Trevor’s little sister, could go on a road trip to Seattle by themselves I said no way. Then it dawned on me that they deserved a trip to Seattle with dear old dad. After all, The Mariners and all of Seattle had just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the year the team won 116 games, why shouldn’t I by going on a trip with the younger sisters of the three boys who shared history with me?
So they hit the internet and searched Expedia and Travelocity and Hotwire, trying to find a room we could afford in these tough times. They could find nothing under $180 and that was really hard to swallow and so I nosed around a bit. I had to check up on the Cosmo, now called Kings Inn, in the faint hope that it might have been updated. No such luck. One patron’s review said he had to clean the soles of his shoes after staying there because the carpet was so dirty. And that was the most favorable of the reviews. I knew that would not do for the girls.
Then I remembered a hotel that I had never stayed in but had always seen right there a block away from the old Cosmo and just to the east of the Westin. Given the gift of Google, I quickly discovered that it was called the 6th Avenue Inn. The worst customer review on it was that it had slow internet and was a bit old. But most gushed about the great location and great price which turned out to be just $131 with a AAA discount.
There it was waiting for me to find after all these years. It was just the ticket for me and the girls on this last trip. Our room didn’t have the view of the Westin but at $250 cheaper it was a steal considering it had just as good of a location. I’ll be back next year and that is where we will stay, be it a quick romantic getaway or an adventure with what is left of the family. I now know that I have to go because all of this reminiscing has reminded me that Seattle and I have another benchmark year to celebrate together in 2012. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair and the first of a lifetime of memorable getaways to the Emerald city for me.

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