Saturday, December 27, 2014

One more time with Washington!

I’m not sure how I feel right now.  Last blog.  One more state.  Wow – did we really do this?  One whole year, all fifty states, countless hours of research, projects, mail, food, crazy facts…  I can’t decide if I’m sad that it’s over or so tickled pink that I DID IT.  (Plus Miss Direction is going to keep me on my toes for yet another year, shh, kids still don’t know yet!) Perhaps one last state will help me decide.  So one last time we’re going to head all the way across the country to our beautiful Pacific Coast to a state that has a rain shadow (who knew!),  the most McDreamy hospital on the planet, (if I lived in this state I would require surgery on a regular basis.  Neurosurgery specifically) a vampire and werewolf problem (I promise, one and only Twilight reference this week) and apparently a bit of an invasive snail issue (ew!).  Alright, I know, probably not “famous for wall” worthy, but what if I said Space Needle, Starbucks and Mt. St. Helen’s.  I bet there’d be no doubt in anyone’s mind that our last stop is the Evergreen State of Washington!  So off on one last adventure with the Dynamic Duo where our first stop is…

The great city of Seattle!  Home to Washington’s professional sports teams, the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks and the now in possession of my Austin Jackson Seattle Mariners, the largest city in the state is also home to the  605 foot high, 138 foot wide, 9,550 ton weighing, 25 lightning rod boasting Space Needle.  Built for the 1962 World Fair, the structure was designed by Edward E. Carlson and John Graham, Jr to represent a flying saucer.  The tower can sustain 200 mile per hour winds and earthquakes with a up to a 9.1 magnitude and has an Observation Deck that sits at 520 feet above the ground (which takes 43 seconds to reach via elevator) and the SkyCity Restaurant at 500 feet above ground.  I found more Space Needle Fun Facts than you can ever imagine to share with my twosome this week, but I have a feeling this peek out the Space Needle’s webcam off and on over the next few days will leave the most lasting impression. 

(Kristi’s side note:  When it came to really neat things to share this week, I was overwhelmed with Washington!  So I’ve narrowed it down, but in Seattle alone, also worth mentioning are the Experience Music Project, the Pike Place Market, Gas Works Park, the ferry system and all the cool things to see and do on the Waterfront.)

And no trip to Seattle for this family would be complete without a stop at the very first Starbucks!  The original Starbucks opened in the above mentioned Pike Place Market in 1971 and since then has grown to be the largest coffeehouse in the world with 21,160 stores in 63 countries and territories, including 12,067 in the United States alone.  Since 1987, Starbucks has opened an average of two new locations every day!  (If your mind needs to be further blown by the unexplainable phenomenon that is Starbucks, you’ve got to check out these 15 facts!)  Interestingly, the original store sold just coffee beans and coffee making equipment – no drinks (of which they now have with over 87,000 possible combinations).  2013 saw $41.8 billion in net income for the company, nearly $4 billion of which was revenue, so I think it’s safe to say that Starbucks isn’t going anywhere anytime soon…

Another Washington landmark I am fairly confident is not going anywhere anytime soon (because it’s already been there about 37,600 years) is Mt. St. Helens.  Located in the Cascade Range the active stratovolcano is about 50 miles northeast of Portland and is most well-known for its violent eruption on May 18, 1980 which is the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States.  As a result of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed and the summit of the mountain fell from 9,677 feet to 8,365 feet. There has been no significant activity on the mountain since 2008 and today hikers, bikers, climbers and even zipliners explore Mt. St. Helens.  Another significant peak in the Cascade Range worth noting is Mount RainierIt is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.  Mt. Rainier stands at 14,410 feet above sea level and is topped by 26 major glaciers and 36 square miles of permanent snowfields and glaciers.  Climbing Rainier is not for the beginner, with even the most experienced climber requiring two to three days to reach the summit.

Named in honor of ginormous peak, Rainier Cherries are just one variety of the sweet cherries that Washington is the nation’s leading producer of.  Cherries fall into two main categories tart (of which Michigan is the leading producer) and sweet, of which Washington accounts for 40% of the total US production.  Cherries aren’t Washington’s only bumper crop; the Evergreen State also leads the nation in the production of apples, red raspberries and pears. Over 1750,000 acres of orchards produce Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonagold, Fuji, Gala and many other apple varieties in Washington.   Ten to twelve billion apples are handpicked in Washington State each year as there are no harvest machines to pick apples.  With seventy million pounds grown on 9,600 acres annually, Washington accounts for over 70% of the U.S. production of frozen red raspberries.  In 2010, red raspberries raised in Washington totaled sixty-one million pounds valued at $50 million!  10 varieties of pears are commercially grown in the state by approximately 1,200 growers, weighing in at a whopping 457,000 tons.  That’s a whole lotta fruit for one place!

Speaking of a whole lotta things in one place, who out there likes to shop online?  Me!  Well, I never really got into it before, but this Christmas it has been a life-saver.  Thanks in part mainly, to one website where I can find pretty much anything and everything and have it shipped directly to my door – which just so happens to have been founded and is headquartered in Seattle.  Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos the largest Internet-based company in the United States began as an online bookstore.  The company took off and soon began selling everything from DVDs to apparel to furniture to food!  The perspective of the company is quite simple – “We seek to offer the Earth's Biggest Selection and to be the Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they may want to buy online.”  With $74.45 BILLION in revenue in 2013, I’d say they’re nailing it.

Then again, Medina resident, William Henry Gates III (known as Bill to his friends) may beg to differ, as his current net worth is a staggering $80.3 BILLION.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re the co-founder of the World’s Largest PC Company, which just so happens to be headquartered in Redmond.  I’m of course talking about Microsoft, which Gates and Paul Allen founded on April 4, 1975. The company is best known for its software products including Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office office suite, and Internet Explorer.  My tech savvy husband says I can’t even begin to cover the importance of Microsoft and probably shouldn’t try, (after 50 states I think he may be on to something…) but I can’t help but thinking some of these fifteen facts may at last make a good dent in it!  Besides, once I tell Thing 1 and Thing 2 that this is who they have to thank for Skype being as easily accessible as it is, I’ll have lost them anyway!  And I’m sure some day not too far into the future Noah will be eternally thankful for Xbox.

The last conglomerate based in Washington that I can’t forget this week is Boeing, which was founded in Seattle in 1916 by William E. Boeing.  Currently the second largest defense contractor in the world, Boeing is known for designing, manufacturing and selling airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets and satellites.  With nearly $87 Billion in sales in 2013 (ha, take that Bill Gates!), Boeing is 30th on Forbes Fortune 500 List and is comprised of five distinct divisions; Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Engineering, Operations & Technology, Boeing Capital, and Boeing Shared Services Group.  The company was headquartered in Seattle until 2001, when it moved to Chicago.  The product list the different divisions produce is staggering, including the commercial lines of 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 families of airplanes and the Boeing Business Jet.  According to their website: More than 12,000 Boeing-built commercial jetliners are in service worldwide, which is roughly 75 percent of the world fleet.  I guess this means if you’ve ever flown commercially you have reason to thank (or curse depending) Washington for giving us Boeing!

And there my friends, you have it – the last fact-filled “famous for” state blog.  Gotta say, 
Washington made this one easy.  There were so many things to choose from – I didn’t even get a 
Coulee Dam.  Maybe next time, right?  I have no doubt that I have more than enough to keep the 
Dynamic Duo on board for one last state.  Like with Wyoming, since this is a short weird week I 
don’t have a set Washington based meal plan, but you may see a Washington inspired recipe or two 
pop up. (Maybe involving fruit, there’s plenty of choices there!)  So onward one last time, I promise 
to keep it entertaining!
  More tomorrow, so until then…

Washington Fun Fact of the Day:  Seattle has the country's highest percentage rate of residents with a
 college degree.

The Washington Wall is up!

Working on the "We've Been There" State

Nope, no Gatchel's

But cute kids!

TA -DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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