State ferries enters busy summer season with marked improvement

As the crewing situation improves at Washington State Ferries, the sailing cancellation rate has been cut in half over the past year, according to a news release. That’s good news for the hundreds of thousands of people that will take to the Salish Sea for the unofficial start of the busy summer travel season. State…

Travel notes: South Korea surprises

Arriving at Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul, I was surprised to see some Korean women wearing their traditional outfits – and a few men, too. They helped transport my imagination in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which dates to the 15th century. While ruined and rebuilt several times, Changdeokgung is considered the most architecturally beautiful of…

Postponed: Northbound I-5 in Everett reducing to one lane all weekend

This work has been postponed to the weekend of May 10 due to predicted rain. Northbound Interstate 5 in downtown Everett will be reduced to one lane for the full weekend beginning Friday night, May 3, if the weather cooperates. The lane reductions, from 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. to Monday, May 6, will…

Community Transit proposes elimination of commuter bus fare

Community Transit is proposing to eliminate its commuter bus fare when those routes go away later this year, according to a news release. The Snohomish County transit agency currently charges a higher fare for commuter routes that travel to Northgate and downtown Seattle. After light rail begins operating in Snohomish County later this year, Community…

Travel: A day trip to Tacoma via train

My wife and I just combined the gift of our recent leap day with the need to save my Amtrak points before an upcoming deadline. Rail travel options are generally sparser in the Western U.S., but Seattle (and Edmonds) have a relatively rich supply of choices. (See a previous piece – “Three Bridges South, Three…

Travel notes: Winter getaway? Head on down to San Antonio

It would take the entire content space of this publication if we enumerated all the blessings we’ve felt living in Edmonds these past six years. Some are based on its favorable location, but many more on its surprising array of amenities. However, overall it is the widespread spirit of civic actualization that is done for…

Highway 99 tunnel to close in both directions Feb. 2 in Seattle

Both directions of the State Route 99 tunnel in Seattle will close for scheduled maintenance 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 until 6 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3. The tunnel closure will allow the Washington State Department of Transportation to conduct several important tasks, including: • Tolling crews will clean the cameras. • Tunnel crews will do…

Northbound I-5 in Seattle to close overnight starting Dec. 4

Nighttime travelers making their way north through downtown Seattle on Interstate 5 should plan for multiple overnight closures and lane reductions starting Monday, Dec. 4, while crews replace an electronic sign mounted above the highway, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) says. Contractor crews for WSDOT will close the mainline and collector/distributor lanes from…

WSDOT publishes first Safety Rest Area Strategic Plan in nearly 15 years

After months of public outreach and research, the Washington State Department of Transportation has finalized the 2023 Safety Rest Area Strategic Plan – the first of its kind in about a decade and a half. This plan addresses the evolving needs and challenges for sustaining 47 state-owned safety rest areas that currently support 24 million…

Amtrak Cascades adds two more daily roundtrips starting Dec. 11

Just in time for the holidays, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Oregon Department of Transportation are starting two additional Amtrak Cascades daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland. Beginning Monday, Dec. 11, more trains will run in both directions – for a total of 12 trains every day between the two most popular…

Travel notes: Discovering the less-visited Baltic countries

Visiting the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was an eye-opener. Under Soviet occupation from 1945 to 1991, they achieved independence from the USSR via the Singing Revolution and the Baltic Chain – accomplishing a virtually bloodless break-away. The Singing Revolution was a series of events and protests in the late 1980s centered…

Travel: The ‘other’ Washington

Many locals are familiar with the phrase  “the ‘other’ Vancouver,” where people arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, pick up their rental cars, feed in their destination and proceed to drive away in the wrong direction.  At the national level, the title of  this photo essay refers to the distinction between our own Evergreen State and our…

Travel notes: A glimpse of Poland in Kraków

Kraków is one of those cities that captures your imagination immediately. Fairy-tale turrets and winding medieval streets in its Old Town…a Renaissance Royal Castle…Gothic churches with exquisite interiors…lively restaurants and historic haunts — Kraków offers both history and culture little-visited by American tourists. The city is located in Poland’s south near the Czech Republic border…

SR 99 tunnel to close in both directions Friday night, Oct. 6, in Seattle

Both directions of the State Route 99 tunnel in Seattle will close for scheduled maintenance beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, until 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, according to a news release. The tunnel closure will allow the Washington State Department of Transportation an opportunity for several important tasks, including: The Bridge Preservation Office…

Travel: Taking Time to Look — uncovering the hidden gems in Ireland’s Cork City

A recent trip to visit my son’s family in Cork City, Ireland resulted in my musing about the unwelcome status of being a “second city.” During the early part of our own last century,  Chicago grudgingly accepted this moniker. However, that type of diminishment becomes more heightened when you apply it to a smaller nation like…

Travel notes: Québec City – a Canadian taste of France

Visiting Québec City feels like traveling to France without leaving this continent. Its original footprint includes the only preserved walled city in North America – founded by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1608 as France’s first permanent settlement rather than trading post. However, the Québecois language has evolved from French considerably over the centuries……

Travel notes: Revisiting New York City

New York City is astounding in its cultural activities, ethnic neighborhoods and historic sites… its constant hustle-bustle and pulsing energy… its flashy Times Square contrasting with Central Park’s green oasis. I’d always been to “The Big Apple” on business trips in the past. So while I became familiar with one aspect of this metropolis, I’d…

Scene in Edmonds: Famous faces

If you happened to be in downtown Edmonds Monday, you may have seen some familiar faces. Father-son actors Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez were in Edmonds visiting European travel expert Rick Steves. The two were filming bonus content for their movie The Way, which is being re-released in theaters in May. Steves will be featured…

Another perspective on traveling in Egypt: Part 3

Part three of the Egyptian travel adventures of Eric Soll and his wife Kathy. You can read part one here and part two here. The process of obtaining a cruise in Egypt was very different than the numerous ones we have taken elsewhere. When we asked if we could view the vessel — no problem….

Another perspective on traveling in Egypt: Part 2

Part two of three parts of the Egyptian travel adventures of Eric Soll and his wife Kathy. You can read part one here. Some thoughts about hotel tours, taxi drivers, camel and carriage drivers, tour guides, gift shop employees and other individuals in countries such as Egypt. They do not engage in what many westerners…

Another perspective on traveling in Egypt: Part 1

Part one of three parts. Recently this publication featured an informative article regarding experiences on an organized tour to Egypt. Some of the readers commented that they too were either taking or planning to tour Egypt in the future. Some years ago, my wife and I explored Egypt for almost a month. We toured most…

‘Tis the season for bird migration — an Edmonds day trip

At this time of year, I routinely head north to the Skagit flats on through January and into early February. Many eagles who have dined in the upper river on returning salmon rest between feasts in trees down on the flats. One tree that I encountered decades ago had 22 eagles resting on it! But…