Imagine CJ's delight upon seeing this when we arrived to the monorail platform.
How nice of the Monorail to give the public Top Pot doughnuts for its birthday. I felt bad that we didn't bring the elevated train a cake or something.
In addition to free Top Pot donuts and KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn, we also had our choice of free monorail swag! CJ picked up a sweet hat. I chose a pick monorail t-shirt for Annabelle.
The tour met up at Monorail Man, crafted from surplus parts.
After the World's Fair in 1962, there was talk of expanding the monorail system dramatically. Or dismantling it. Ironically, neither happened. Fifty five years later, it runs pretty much as was/now is.
Turns out the monorail actually runs on tires. Steel belted radials, just like your car. But these tires are sideways, running along the track.This little-ish electric motor makes the train go. They replace the motors about twice a year, per the head tech guy, who was present for our tour.
We were told not to touch the rails. We didn't.
The red line was at rest on the day we visited.
I just had to take a photo of the Needle from the 'basement' of the monorail tech bay.The private company operating the public transportation system does a great job keeping the 55-year-old cars in pristine condition.
The onboard technology has definitely been upgraded since 1962.
CJ can tell you a bit more about our our monorail experience.
Way back on 24 March 1962, the Seattle Center Monorail (often known to Seattleites as just "the monorail") opened, connecting Seattle Center and Downtown Seattle, two popular locations in the city. Less than a month later, the Seattle World's Fair was held, and the monorail was heavily used by fairgoers as a mean for transportation.
On 24 March 2017 (the 55th anniversary of the monorail's opening), I went to the Seattle Monorail 55th Birthday Tour, an informative tour about the monorail, as well as its history. Here are some of the facts that I remember (unfortunately, the tour isn't fresh in my mind):
To access the bottom section of the North Sector of the monorail, you must enter a gate intended for authorized personnel only (we were able to go in that section on the tour). Going to this part of the station was really cool, because you get to see the engine of the monorail, and what the docking process looks like from below.
The engine of the monorail is repaired biannually (twice a year), give or take. When the monorail was originally built back in the early 60s, there were two visions of the monorail's future:
- The monorail would be expanded from 2 to 5 stations across the city after the World's Fair
Instead, as one of the tour guides put it, the people who ran/run the monorail just kept using the same 2 sectors for 55 years.
- The monorail would be destroyed after the World's Fair
Apparently, when the monorail was opened, it was able to go at 65MPH. Today, it is only able to go at 30MPH. On most days, one monorail train will be running, while the other is being repaired or touched up. However, on especially busy days, both monorails can be run at the same time.
It's worth noting that we got about eight minutes of sun on Friday. It's not much, not enough, but we'll take it!
MEANWHILE, AT MERIDIAN: While CJ and I were doing our thing on Friday, Annabelle was serving as 'artist in residence' at a makers event at her brother Kennedy's school.Annabelle was stationed in a classroom where kids were designing their own board games. She helped them with designing their characters.
Below are four different dragon types (electricity, earth, fire and water) for one student's game.
Another student wanted several pairs of mama and baby dragons.
Below are more of the parent/child dragons.
I'll let Annabelle tell you a bit more about the day. ...
Friday, I went to my older brother Ken’s classroom to assist with art while his students made board games. I brought nearly all of my art supplies in a huge IKEA blue bag, but only used part of it. I set up on the middle table and was immediately met with a request to design some monsters for a game where you play as heroes battling your way back to your kingdom. After drawing those monsters, I was approached by a young boy who wanted me to help him draw numbers on cards. I thought to myself “I wonder why he can’t do this?” so I made him a little cheat sheet of numbers 1-10 and plus and minus signs. I also took some time to draw a cat, a dog, and a horse, for a game appropriately titled “Cat and Dog and Horse”.
The first session seemed to go by in a flash, and after lunch the second group came in. The kids immediately flocked to me and I started drawing dragons left and right. I drew fire, water, forest, electricity, and space dragons. It was fun, but it took a while. Once the board game making was done, I helped some of the “Kind Koalas” play some of the board games Ken brought and helped control the kids in line for his virtual reality headset.
It was super fun to help and I love working with the Koalas!