personal reflections

Road Tripping I-5

I have been working and driving for 20 hours straight.  As a reader, don’t expect this to be a focused post. 

The essence of travel is the experience of little alterations to your normal existence. 

Vancouver Moosecot

Vancouver Moosecot

Images and experiences of the past week are all rushing through my mind.  The journey has truly been a trip.

Why do they park this way in Seattle?

Seattle Parking Preference

Seattle drivers back in for diagonal parking

Last Saturday I was in a Seattle Fremont neighborhood pub talking with my sister.  I told her this Northwest driving trip was a practice run to see if I can work effectively while traveling around.  The waitress overheard me and said, “Oh, you’re multi-tasking.”

Lenin Statue, Fremont District, Seattle

Lenin Statue in Fremont District, Seattle

Three days of driving in torrential rainstorms, two days visiting my sister in Seattle for the first time since she moved there in 2000, three days of hotel hopping around Vancouver with my wife who flew up to Canada from California for the long weekend, and three freelance assignments that came in my email box over the past week kept pushing the Loyalty Traveler blog to the back-burner.

Torrential Rain Somewhere in Washington State

It’s a grey day and the pine trees are dripping…

In a grey world my reality is slipping

   ‘Grey Day’, Jesse Colin Young

Portland, Oregon was déjà vu yesterday with the drive from Seattle to Portland as rainy as the drive last week across Oregon to Portland.  The Pacific Northwest matched its average rainfall for the entire month of November in the past week and I drove through a good portion of the heaviest downpours.  The weather report today says the next week will be dry and tomorrow it will be in the 80s here in the Big Valley of California.  At least my luck was good for Vancouver with beautiful weather for the duration of my wife’s visit.

View from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia

View from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia

I arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Yreka, California a couple of hours ago and wondered why I was searching for a parking spot at 5:00pm on a Thursday.  In the lobby I discovered I arrived for the hotel’s Grand Opening Open House.  The hotel opened about ten weeks ago and the public was invited to view several rooms on display.

What luck!  I was able to tour the hotel and see a suite, a bedroom with a whirlpool bath, and take advantage of a reception with live music, complimentary Heineken and Sierra Nevada beers, wine, and appetizers in the lobby. 

Yreka Holiday Inn Express

Yreka, California Holiday Inn Express

My second stay at a Holiday Inn Express and I am pleased with my two experiences.  I have said this before and I really think 2009 is going to be the year when this Loyalty Traveler gets to know Priority Club and the InterContinental Ambassador programs on a more personal level.


I anticipated hotel prices to drop in November 2008 for San Francisco just as they do every year, but low  San Francisco hotel rates are blowing my mind the past couple of days.  Le Meridien San Francisco, a Category 5 SPG hotel is going for $119 per night – the lowest rate I’ve ever seen for this hotel.  The Palace, a Category 5 Luxury Collection hotel is $136 – the best rate in about two years.  Westin Market Street is $119 (and I actually see a $109 Best Rate Guarantee claim for tomorrow night, but Ms. Loyalty Traveler is going to change the locks if I don’t go home).  Looks like double stays for SPG Platinum renewal is going to be completed with some good deals.

San Francisco Le Meridien Hotel

Le Meridien Hotel San Francisco at $119 is luxury at a bargain price

Vancouver on my mind

“Take my hand and come with me

                Into this Crystal Village”

                                –Pete Yorn

Vancouver Apartment Building Glass Towers

Vancouver’s crystal tower village view from Granville Island

Vancouver is a beautiful city of crystal towers on the waterfront.  I have been to Vancouver a couple of times before, but I don’t remember the city being so compact.  I think this was my first visit when the weather wasn’t freezing cold and walking around for hours each day was a delight.  I’ll have hotel reports over the next week from the host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics.




Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 inuksuk symbol

Inuksuk in Hyatt Hotel Vancouver – 2010 Winter Olympics Symbol


  • Dave November 14, 2008

    Lots of good reasons for back-in diagonal parking.

    It allows towns to offer more spaces than parallel parking.

    It’s easier than parallel parking (it’s half of the routine, and the easy half, at that, the half that doesn’t scrape your tire or wheel cover along the curb and make everyone look at you).

    It’s easier to load your purchases into the trunk, since you have a huge sidewalk to work from.

    It takes up a little less space than front-in diagonal parking, since the amount of vehicle behind the rear wheels is usually greater than the amount in front of the front wheels.

    It’s a ton safer for bicyclists than parallel or front-in angled parking (no doors opening in their path as with parallel and riders are easier to see when you pull out, as opposed to front-in angled parking)

    It’s safer and easier to exit than with front in.

  • Ric Garrido November 15, 2008

    Thanks for the great guide to reasons for Seattle parking. Lots of rationale.

    I don’t recall any other place in the USA where drivers routinely park that way.

    The part about scraping the front end of the car on the curb seems like a big advantage to backing in. And loading, unloading from the trunk to sidewalk sounds much safer.

  • Dave November 22, 2008

    I’ve seen it done in New York… the Bronx, I think it was. We tried implementing it in our little New England town as a way to boost downtown parking.

    We had the drivers ed teacher take student drivers to a test site we had set up, and they handled it swimmingly.

    A public test/study we did provided overwhelmingly positive response. In the end, though, tradition won out. Same old same old parallel parking.

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