#1 - Washington
Well, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, Washington is my top dog. This is my favorite Pac-10 roadie, and I get to make it again this November. It’s a great school with a great football tradition, and a nice stadium in a beautiful location. Plus, it’s located in Seattle, which is my second favorite West Coast city, trailing only San Francisco.
Seattle’s got a well-deserved reputation for rain, as does the entire Pacific Northwest. I’ve been pretty lucky, as it’s hardly rained at all when I’ve visited, and when it has rained, it’s been of the lighter, less obnoxious variety. It’s not generally the type of rain that will ruin a vacation, but I’ll admit that if I lived there, it’d get pretty old after a few months. Also, while it will certainly get cold that far north, the ocean water tends to moderate temperatures, so you’ll never see the kind of chill that will make a trip to Washington State really miserable. So when I go this November, I’ll be prepared for adverse weather, but I’m not really expecting anything too terrible.
When I travel to Seattle, I’ll be flying. Sea-Tac airport is a major west coast hub, so you can get flights up the coast for pretty cheap (as long as you book in advance), so the argument for driving really only makes sense if you’ve got a bunch of people and no cash (i.e. college students). It’s a long drive, and while it’s a nice one, you’re basically resigning yourself to two full days of driving, probably about 12 hours each day. Not too bad if you’ve got several friends to split driving duties with, and there’s definitely stuff to see along the way, but it means mostly missing out on touring Seattle, and that’s the part about this road trip that makes it, in my mind, #1.
Lots to do in Seattle. Of course, there’s the world famous Space Needle, a visit that you’ve pretty much gotta do once. Yes, the restaurant at the top overprices mediocre food, but you’re pretty much paying for the view, and with that in mind, it’s totally worth it. Plus, since the restaurant portion of the building rotates, you get to see the entire panoramic view during the course of your meal.
Just try leaving Seattle without something with a picture of the Space Needle on it. Just you try it!
In other sights, catching a fish at the Pike Place Market is definitely worth doing, and while I haven’t been to the Paul Allen-funded Experience Music Project, seeing as I’m a fan of both Jimi Hendrix and Frank Gehry, it’s near the top of the to-see list. Fans of both aerospace and coffee can find things to check out, and if you want to double up your sports weekend, both the Mariners and the Seahawks have fancy new digs. I haven’t visited them yet, but I have been to the old Kingdome, and all I can say is that I"m sorry I missed seeing it get imploded. Oh, and also, there IS still a basketball team in Seattle, but for a limited time only! I expect the Supersonics will be playing in Oklahoma City within a couple years, taking Kevin Durant and the hobbit with them. Not sure if this is a bad thing.
UW’s Husky Stadium is quite picturesque. Situated right on the water, you can literally sail right to the football game. (Well, other people can. You can’t, because you didn’t bring a sailboat with you. Or did you?…hmmm, that could make an interesting road trip. Something to remember when I’m rich.) Also, like the old Stanford Stadium, the football field is situated on the infield of an athletic track, which does push the fan seating back away from the field. Given this, it’s rather incredible just how loud this stadium can get. I guess that’s what decades of football success will do to your fan base.
What a fabulous location for a football stadium. One of my favorites.
However, my favorite tidbit regarding the stadium concerns the giant video screen, the Huskytron. For whatever reason (perhaps it was the angle of my seats, but I doubt it), all the purples in the uniforms came out tinted to navy blue. Not really a problem, but given the school’s colors, I find it delightfully ironic that the Huskytron seems incapable of displaying the color purple. Don’t they have people to check these things?
Reasons to visit the Pacific Northwest:
- College football AND a tour of Seattle in one weekend — what a deal!
- Get to tell all your friends about how cool the Space Needle is.
- After 7 years of being humbled by Stanford, beating Ty Willingham at anything is incredibly satisfying.
Reasons to stay home:
- You hate rain in all its forms.
- You’re broke and you don’t have a car.
- An irrational fear of Starbucks.
- An entirely rational fear of Microsoft.
- Grunge is dead, man. Get over it.
Anyway, this is my favorite Pac-10 road trip. What’s yours? They’re all worth doing at least once, so if you haven’t visited them all, I suggest clearing a few weekends and really seeing some of this great country. Once you’ve mastered the Pac-10 roadie, you can move on to out-of-conference trips, which is where all of my really good stories took place.