To celebrate me getting another year old, my wife and I headed out from Seattle to Bremerton Washington. The purpose of this trip is really twofold. First, to celebrate me getting another year older and the second is to scope out the real estate market of Bremerton.
Covid has had quite an impact at this point. It’s October, and the furthest I have gotten from Seattle so far this year is Idaho. Sure, we have some future travel to San Francisco planned, but until the borders are more open again, or at least more open to the vaccinated, so we don’t have to get a COVID test before being allowed to reenter my own country, we’re staying put in the United States. World travel will have to wait.
Covid has also had an impact on how we view our housing situation. It seems now that I am not going to need to go back into the office on a daily basis ever. My wife now has a job working for a team out of Atlanta, and is never expected to actually show up in an office building. However, this does mean that our house is also our office, which is something we had not actually planed for when we originally bought our current house. We simply need at least three bedrooms, when we currently only have two.
Sure, we could get a three bedroom house in Seattle, however, since we don’t necessarily need to be near work anymore, except a once or twice a week commute for me, why do we need to pay the real estate prices that go with being in Seattle, when we can get a lot more house over here in Bremerton, a half hour ferry ride from Seattle.
We started off the weekend by heading to the airport, not that we were flying anywhere, but rather to pickup a rental car. Looking back, it might make more sense for me to rent from a place in my neighborhood, but the airport usually has a much better selection of cars, with the neighborhood locations, you’re typically stuck with what they have in stock, regardless of what your reservation is for.
So we took the train to the airport, then waited in line for the rental shuttles. The whole experience of going back to the airport seems a bit surreal at this point. There is after all a pandemic still going on, everyone’s masked, but people are getting out and traveling long distances again. Once we got the shuttle to the rental place, we needed to stand in line again at the rental counter. Finally after that we were able to go down to the garage and claim our car, a Dodge Challenger. I wasn’t really looking for a muscle car, but decided, its birthday weekend, and they were offering it for no additional charge, so why not. Sure, it’s completely impractical as a family car, but for just the two of us, it worked fine.
Finally, about 12:30 on Saturday, we get out of the airport and make our way over to Bremerton. As I mentioned, its about a half our trip on the passenger ferry, but its a full hour if we need to take the car ferry. In addition, the car ferries are having staffing issues with their runs being cut right now. In the end, it made more sense for us to drive down to Tacoma, and take take a bridge up to Bremerton, about an hour and a half drive altogether.
Our first stop then was for lunch in Silverdale, a Bremerton suburb, if there is such a thing. Silverdale strikes me as a typical suburban cookie cutter. This might work for us, but it is further from the ferry in downtown Bremerton than I first thought, taking a good 15 to 20 minutes to get from there to Bremerton. If we end up over here, Silverdale might make sense in terms of trips to Costco, and whatever else the people in smaller towns with cars so we probably would travel there frequently, but I’m not sure its what I am looking for in terms of community.
After driving around bunch of cul-de-sac’s looking at a bunch of homes clearly built in the 1990’s, we headed to our hotel, the Hampton Inn in Downtown Bremerton. By the time we get checked in, it’s about 4pm, so we decide to go to a ‘speakeasy‘ a couple blocks from our hotel, and had a drink featuring peanut butter whisky. I had no idea that was even a thing, anyhow, will now need see where I can get some of that.
Eventually, after a couple of drinks, we head to Axe and Arrow, our dinner destination. They were big on Octoberfest, so I ended up celebrating my half German heritage with beer and schnitzel. Finally, after way too much drinking for a day, we ended up walking back to our hotel, where I went to the downstairs bodega for more beer, which I enjoyed while watching Seinfeld reruns before going to bed.
Happy Birthday to me. Started off the day by heading to the Starbucks attached to the hotel for my free birthday coffee. After that we lounged around the hotel room a bit, before heading out to explore East and West Bremerton.
The homes in these areas are much more spread out than we are used to being from Seattle, you actually get some trees and nature and whatnot. The bad news, if we were to make this move, our car free lifestyle would likely come to an end. Anyhow, we can get roughly a 3 to 4 bedroom house, with 2000 square feet for roughly the same price or a little less than our current 2 bedroom 1200 square foot condo. Also, most of these places do have yards, so if we were to get a pet, it could frolic around in that business.
After doing that for a couple of hours, we went back to the hotel. I got a text from my mom wishing me a happy birthday, so I decided to FaceTime her. Afterwards I decided to go to a Bremerton sports bar that I had frequented before for lunch. My wife was still feeling a bit hungover from the night before, so she stayed behind.
Arriving at South Pacific Sports Bar, the bar has a tiki vibe to it. Apparently they have two locations, the one in Bremerton, and one in Guam, hence the tiki theme. That being said, I got the Philly cheesesteak Poutine, not very tiki at all. This being a Sunday during the NFL season, the place was packed with NFL fans. Decided after a beer and poutine that I had seen enough for the day, and headed back to the hotel.
That evening, we headed out for birthday dinner at Anthony’s, a northwest regional seafood chain, where I was feeling very British, so I got the fish and chips and a couple of Moscow Mules, which I suppose, that isn’t British at all.
When all was done then, we headed back to our hotel room again. As I start adding more content to the travel section of this blog, one thing you will notice is that we spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. We then watched home renovation tv, much like we would have done via the streaming platforms back home before checking out for the night.
I generally sleep like shit when I drink. Sunday night/Monday morning I probably ended up with about 3 hours of sleep for the night. This should probably be seen as a sign that I should drink less, and perhaps that is one lesson I will take away from this trip, and start making my next year a healthier year.
Despite the lack of sleep I was up and out of bed by 8 am to head back to the downstairs Starbucks for breakfast, before checking out and taking the drive back to Seattle.
On the way back, right outside of Bremerton is Port Orchard, where we decided we had nothing better to do, so we would explore that town by car a bit, a lot of houses in the woods and whatnot. We ended up getting lost, and finally found ourselves on a different route. Where our intended route would have us get on interstate 5 in Tacoma, the route we somehow found ourselves on would instead put us on I-5 in Olympia, so sure, why not have lunch in Olympia.
After lunch in Olympia, we got to discussing, ‘why would Olympia be out of the question’. The town is still significantly cheeper than Seattle. Although getting from Olympia to Seattle to work would be about an hour and a half to two hours by car, instead of the half hour ferry ride from Bremerton. That might be tolerable if my eventual back to work situation becomes being in the office once a week, but much more than that and it would become unbearable.
Finally, after after about another hour and a half driving, including the usual traffic in Tacoma, we made it back to the airport to return the car, stand in line for busses again, and ultimately get the train back to home.