It was time for me to take my final mileage run of the year, another trip to Seattle. Why so many trips to SEA? Simple, SEA is the longest non-stop flight that American Airlines offers from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. If I want to go any farther than SEA I need to go beyond the lower 48 states.

I got to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport before 5 a.m, and quickly cleared security. I went to the Admirals Club and prepared for my 6 a.m. flight to DFW. But then, to my embarrassment discovered one problem; my flight was not until 7:05! I’ve always flown out at 6 a.m. and just took it for granted that I’d do it again this day and failed to look closely at my itinerary. I was surprised when the AAngel behind the counter told me “We haven’t had a Saturday 6 a.m. to DFW for more than two months.” Oops! So I had an extra hour to sit in the club.

I eventually got my flight to DFW, and was then pleased to find out that I had received an upgrade to First Class for my flight to Seattle. This meant a more comfortable seat and a meal; at least I would not be hungry once I arrived at SEA.

We departed DFW on time and soon after that it was time for breakfast. I ordered the cheese omelet, which came with potatoes, a roll, and fruit.

Breakfast in First Class on the Dallas-Seattle flight; cheese omelet, potatoes, fruit, and a roll.

After the meal I slept for a an hour or so, then prepared for our arrival in Seattle. I’ve made several trips to Seattle and had great weather on some, poor weather on others. This was going to be a poor weather trip.

I could barely see Boeing Field through the low clouds as we made our approach to Sea-Tac.

We landed at Sea-Tac International Airport in rain, wind, and overcast skies.

It was raining, windy, and cold when we landed at Sea-Tac.

I left the terminal and took light rail to Pioneer Square, home of the Underground Seattle tour.

The SoundTransit light rail system provides a quick and easy way to get from Sea-Tac International airport to downtown Seattle.

I took the train downtown and walked a few blocks to Pioneer Square, home of the Underground Seattle tour.  I had a great time on this tour and highly recommend it. Basically, it tells the story of the founding of Seattle, the construction of buildings downtown that were flooded on a regular basis when the tide came in, and the eventual construction of retaining walls to keep the mud out, but the walls left the first floor of most buildings below ground level. You’ll get a more detailed explanation by visiting their website.

This was once the entrance to a building in Seattle; now it is one story below street level.

One of the more unique items we saw was one of the first toilets in Seattle.

On the right is an original "crapper" made by John Crapper himself!

The tour took 90 minutes and was a lot of fun. Seattle has a colorful history and the tour guides (many of whom seem to have some experience doing stand-up comedy) brought that history to life with their humor and enthusiasm. Be sure to visit Underground Seattle on your next trip to the Emerald City.

Once the tour was over I set out towards my next destination, the Flagship Store of REI. I had seen a story about this unique store on a travel show and decided it was worth visiting. I pulled out my trusty Seattle street map to get directions and quickly realized this is 2010 and it made more sense to use the GPS on my cell phone. :-)

It took almost 30 minutes for me to walk there, not the most fun I have ever had considering the rain and the cold, but what the heck, I always try to do something  unusual during a mileage run, so this was part of that.

If you are a person who loves the outdoors, a visit to this store will be like a trip to heaven. Although the store is located in town it does not feel that way; REI did a beautiful job of landscaping the property by planting trees, putting in a creek and waterfall,

Out in the country? No, you're at the REI flagship store in Seattle, just two blocks from Interstate 5.

The store is amazing! It’s much larger than any other REI store and obviously has a wider selection of products. They’ve installed a mountain-bike trail outside the store where you can test our your new bike, there’s a 65-foot (19.8 meter) climbing wall, and many ways for an outdoors person to get ready for their next adventure.

For a moment or two I thought about challenging the climbing wall at the REI store, but then I decided to let someone else look foolish. :-)

My next stop was Pike Place Market; I’ve stopped there on every Seattle trip I have done!  After a 20-minute walk I arrived; I was cold, wet, and hungry and looked forward to sitting down, warming up, and eating. I walked past the Pike Place Fish Company: they may have fresh fish, they may have friendly staff, but they are most famous for tossing fish.

I arrived at the fish market just in time to see one of the more "interesting" wedding photos I have ever seen!

I found a French restaurant and ate crepes for dinner, then visited a brew pub and sampled some of Seattle’s freshest beers. By then I was relaxed, warm, and ready to call it a day.

I walked back to the light rail station and took the train to Sea-Tac. My flight to DFW was on one of American Airlines’ new 737s. These are  really nice planes and still have that “new-plane-smell” and feel. The flight was like every other flight I have been on lately, filled to capacity.

I slept most of the way to DFW. After landing I ate breakfast at McDonalds, the only food place open at DFW at 5 a.m. When the Admirals Club opened I stopped there, took a quick shower, and relaxed, with a coffee and muffin.

My flight back to Austin was uneventful, other than the fact that we arrived 15 minutes early and the gate was not yet ready for us.  After a short wait we were able to put up to the terminal and deplane. I was home by 9 a.m.

It had been another long weekend, but a fun one. I earned over 8,600 AAdvantage miles and got home safely on time. That’s all I can ask for!