The mileage run to Seattle had a great start: smooth and on-time flights, great visit to the Museum of Flight, great food for dinner, and great conversation with my mileage run friend. After dinner he and I parted company: he stayed downtown, while I went to Safeco Field to see the Mariners play Detroit.

I was pretty excited about this, I had not been to a major league baseball game in more than ten years. I’d been to a lot of minor league games in that time, the AAA Round Rock Express (Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Houston Astros) stadium is less than three miles from my house, but no major league games.

Very heavy rain was falling as I left the restaurant, I was thankful that the stadium was covered when we flew over it that morning.

Seattle has a new light-rail system: I took it from the downtown station to the”Stadium” stop.

Seattle light rail

Light rail train at the Stadium station.

This stop serves both Safeco Field and Qwest Stadium, home of the Seattle Seahawks, located near Safeco. The area is also home to an event center and concert hall (WaMu Theater).

Qwest Field and the Event Center are a short walk from the light rail station.

Thankfully the rain had stopped as I walked from the light rail station to the field.

Safeco Field opened in 1999, and can seat 47,000 people for a baseball game.

I had bought my ticket online several weeks earlier and had a seat in the upper deck near home plate, The Mariners were playing the Detroit Tigers that night, but it was also a special event, Salute to the Military night. As a veteran, I looked forward to that.

Pre-game festivities featured both teams lining up on the baselines, a giant American flag in the outfield, a military honor guard presenting the colors, and a member of the Air Force singing the national anthem

I thought Safeco Field had a dome, but I was wrong. Instead, it has a roof. The difference is that a domed stadium closes completely and must be air-conditioned. At Safeco a roof simply rolls over the top of the stadium, offering protection from the rain, but not closing it completely, allowing fresh air to circulate.

Left field at Safeco Field

These are the left field seats at Safeco Field; the roof is visible at top. Just above the Safeco sign you can see Qwest Field. If you look closely to the left of the sign, you can see the wheels that the roof rolls out on

The game was fun. Seattle took a 2-0 lead, Detroit tied the score at 2-2, then Seattle scored twice to win the game 4-2. One future Hall of Fame player (Ken Griffey Jr.) played in the game, but did not get a hit. It was a different story for a probable Hall of Fame player, Ichiro Suzuki. The Seattle fans cheered Griffey, but roared for Ichiro. He did not let them down. In his first three at-bats he had a single, double, and triple. Maybe he could hit for the cycle!

He came to the plate in the 8th inning, the fans were all on their feet cheering “I-chi-ro! I-chi-ro!” We were all hoping he would get the home run. Instead, the Tigers walked him on five pitches. Let’s just say the crowd was not happy with that; the booing went on for quite a while.

At the end of the game I took light rail to the airport where I met my friend. Our flight to Chicago was scheduled to leave at midnight. By this time, both of us were beat, and I realized the mistake I had made with our itinerary. I had a 6 a.m. flight that morning from Austin, and had to get up at 3:30 to be at the airport on time. My flight from Seattle would leave at midnight local time, 2 a.m. Austin time. So, by the time I got on the plane, I had been up for 22 hours, and it had been a busy 22 hours. If I had to do it over again, I would have tried to get an earlier flight home, but now there was nothing more I could do about it.

We boarded the plane; I was surprised that a midnight flight to Chicago was completely sold out! I don’t remember much of the flight, I fell asleep as soon as we took off.

We got to Chicago at 5:30 Sunday morning. I was very hungry, the only place open at O’Hare that early is McDonald’s. So, I had an Egg McMuffin with coffee,that hit the spot. After McDonald’s we went to the Admiral’s Club where we each took a shower; that helped to refresh us after the long day.

We left Chicago at 8:30, arriving in Austin at 11:15.

It had been a very long mileage run, a tiring trip, but also fun. I finally got to the Museum of Flight, I ate great food, saw a baseball game, and enjoyed the company of my friend from FlyerTalk. I earned almost 10,000 AAdvantage miles, almost 5,000 EQMs. My first mileage run of the year was a success.