Trip to Seattle

Display at Chihuly Glass Garden
Chihuly glass sculpture

This is a 2 night trip midweek trip where we drove to Seattle, WA in June 2017. We used Hyatt credit card rewards to cover two nights at the Olive Hyatt 8. Seattle has great eateries, art and coffee.

Using the Hyatt credit card to stay at the Hyatt at Olive 8
Seattle Hyatt Olive 8
View from the Olive Hyatt 8. Nice quiet room

We had a ‘free’ one night stay that comes with the annual $75 renewal fee. For the other night which cost 15,000 Hyatt points we had some points from a previous stay, and supplemented that by transferring in 9,000 Chase UR points. If I was paying cash we would not be staying at a Category 4 Hyatt, but the cost of 2 nights booked in November 2017 for June 2018 would be $367/night or $734. The Hyatt card is a great deal if you stay at least one night a year in a Hyatt. The Olive at 8 ends up being very quiet and the location is perfect for us. We can walk down to Pike place market and up to restaurants on Capitol Hill.

Getting to Seattle

For the DW and I we don’t mind the drive. Having lived in Seattle and dealt with the traffic we know to arrive mid-day (no later than 2:30 pm) and to leave after the morning rush (around 9:30 am). Leaving the Palouse and driving over to the “West side” is a pretty low stress drive. We could also have flown in and taken the “Link light rail” form the airport to our hotel and we may do that in the future, especially if we go in the winter to avoid any chance of snow in the Pass.

View of Rainier form Eastern WA
View of Mt. Rainier on the drive west. Not much traffic till you get near Seattle
The Pine Box and Fogon Cocina Mexicana
Pine box tavern
Entrance to The Pine Box tavern

I met up with a friend at the Pine Box pub where they had a nice selection of beers on tap. Its a pub set inside what was previously a mortuary. It has high ceilings and nice wooden benches. Perfect setting for an IPA. Then we walked up Pine street to the Mexican restaurant Fogon Cocina Mexicana. The food was great and the service and margaritas were also great.

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Display at Chihuly Glass Garden
If you like color, this is the place to be

The next morning DW and I take the monorail to Chihuly Garden and Glass. The entrance fee is $24 a person but we both felt it was worth it. The glass is lit up and it’s a major spectacle. Outside in the garden there are glass sculptures with interesting plants.

Lunch at Din Tai Fung

We take the monorail back to Westlake Center and walk two blocks to Pacific Place. Even midweek for lunch we had to wait, but if you get your name on the list there are some stores to browse. The food is awesome. I don’t think you can go wrong but we enjoyed the shrimp and pork dumplings.

Tiki night at Rumba

If you like Rum then Rumba has a nice happy hour 5-6pm every day and also has Tiki night on Wednesdays. They have some pretty inventive drinks and the happy hour tacos are good.

Tiki night at Rumba
High quality libations on the Tiki menu
Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room
Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room

On the walk back to the hotel we stop at Starbucks Roastery. It’s a bit of a surreal experience. No expense was spared in creating this coffee shop/roastery and it makes me think of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. From their website: “The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. You’ll find it at 1124 Pike Street, in Seattle, Washington. It is a place where you can experience coffee from the unroasted bean to your cup of coffee. You can watch it being roasted. You’ll see the burlap sacks it comes in. You can watch it being loaded into the green coffee loading pit. You can buy it scooped at the coffee scoop bar. You can experience your coffee as a pour over, Siphon brewed, Clover-brewed, a shot of espresso, espresso beverages, and more.” We have dessert and coffee and then head back to the hotel.

Starbucks Roastery
Willy Wonka would be proud
Breakfast at Pike Place market

Thursday morning we walk down to Lowell’s restaurant. It has great views of Elliot Bay and yes it is touristy. We waited for a table on the second floor and then we saw that they were seating two couples at one table, we instead ordered ourselves from the counter for open seating on the third floor. No problem midweek.

Seattle breakfast
View from third floor at Lowell’s. Breakfast as the ferry comes in.
Back to the Palouse
Palouse barn
Seattle is fun, but it’s good to be back home in the Palouse

With some relief at navigating the traffic, we get across the I-90 bridge and head out of Seattle. As we get over Snoqualmie Pass the traffic reduces. Finally we are back in the Palouse and a more relaxed pace.


It’s fun to spend a day or two in Seattle and visit old friends and go to nice eateries. Next time I’ll try and also book a show. The Hyatt credit card is great for this type of city outing.

Refurbish your sneakers to save $3,991

Choosing sneakers

Ever wondered why so many sneakers are white? It’s a strange choice for something that will be in close contact with dirt. Unless you are selling them. I stopped buying white shoes a long time ago, and now buy only ‘earth’ colors. Recently I have been buying Merrell ‘stretch’ shoes that allow you to just step into them. No laces and no need to bend over or sit down when putting them on. Of course I get them at the lowest price I can before and after the purchase.

Time to clean them
Dirty sneakers. Merrell stretch shoes. Clean your sneakers
Not too dirty, but not OK to wear in public

So either you’ve had them awhile, or you ‘stepped in something’ on the homestead. I am pretty good about wearing dedicated shoes for dirty jobs or hiking. But inevitable they do get dirty. I have seen people use washing machines, but that’s more wear and tear on them than I like. Instead I have a pretty simple way to clean them. Continue reading “Refurbish your sneakers to save $3,991”

2017 garden review

sunrise, gardening, Palouse
Sunrise on the Palouse
Lessons from 2016

Garlic, zucchini squash, potatoes, and basil were big winners in 2016. The big losers were tomatoes and cucumbers. The tomatoes just dropped dead in front of my eyes due to mice/pocket gophers eating the roots. I did not plant enough cucumber seeds to account for losses. Green beans and snap peas were OK but I lost too many to birds or rodents. Asparagus were OK but I am waiting for my patch to expand. Strawberries were Ok but with too many losses due to mice. Vermin are the biggest problem for the inthewheat garden. I definitely need to pay more attention to controlling them. Based on the tomato roots getting eaten, I decided to plant tomatoes in a garbage can for 2017. Continue reading “2017 garden review”

Save $57,000 on the path to financial independence

Where many people go wrong
Costs matter when saving for your golden years

When signing up for a retirement plan at work and faced with a 1% expense ratio (ER) versus a 0.1% ER, many people think who cares? A difference of 0.9%, big deal. For every $1, I only give up 0.9% or 0.9 pennies. No reason to sweat the difference. But if your retirement plan has 1% expense you won’t just lose 1% of the total amount of your portfolio to expenses, you’ll lose 1% per year. That’s the key, your losses COMPOUND, and humans aren’t good at comprehending the effects of compounding.

Great, show me how I save $57,000

Continue reading “Save $57,000 on the path to financial independence”

Two ways to save money on Amazon

Save money at Amazon. Frugal living. In the wheat
Camelcamelcamel tracks the price of Amazon items
Method 1. CamelCamelCamel

The camelcamelcamel website tracks the price of an item on Amazon and when it goes down the website will email you. Then you buy it quickly before the price goes back up. I use this approach for larger ticket items and several non-perishable repeat purchase items on our homestead like vehicle oil and air filters. Steps: Continue reading “Two ways to save money on Amazon”