Is it Boeing or Bowing? Highlights from the ECC…

The week began with my playing shuttle bus, hotel rest stop and tour guide – and loving it… Friends from around the globe were landing in Seattle and so I was off to the airport (Monday) to greet them and get them over to the hotel. I live in Redmond and I own an SUV – a perfect combination for becoming Kimberly tour bus. I picked up Clemens Vasters, Hans Verbeeck and Andreas Eide and since the weather forecast said it was going to be a crummy week I insisted we head to Maggies Bluff for lunch. Maggies Bluff is the lowkey downstairs bar/restaurant which shares a kitchen with Palisades. Outdoor seating, plentiful parking, spectacular views of the city and a killer openface crab sandwich made it a must start to their stay in Seattle. And – to make it even more important, the weather was unexpectedly perfect… The forecast was for 60 and rain (of course) and it was 80 and sunny (go figure). But – this is about right for Seattle weather prediction. After lunch I dropped the guys off at the hotel and worked for a bit before I was off to the airport again – to pick up Goksin Bakir and Christian Weyer. Arriving just about dinner time we headed back to the hotel (without Christian’s luggage as his luggage didn’t make the connection ;) to hook up with a few folks for dinner. Off to the Bellevue Tap House for dinner and a relatively early night because tour guide Kimberly was soon to arrive.

However, tour guide Kimberly was foiled by the weather. Unfortunately, they were correct for the rest of the week and that messed up my plans for Tuesday… Originally, my plans were these:

Pick-up at the Hyatt at 8am sharp!

Quick breakfast stop at Gilbert’s Bagels and grab bagels for the road…

Make the Edmonds/Kingston ferry at 9:20am

Drive out to Hurricane Ridge – should be there by 11:30-12. It’s a beautiful stop with amazing views!

Go back through Sequim to the Three Crabs restaurant for lunch.

Head to Port Townsend to make the 2:15 the 3:00 or 3:45pm ferry to Keystone (on Whidbey Island) (this is where we can also decide to just head back via Edmonds – if we’re running late?), stop at a Whidbey Winery if time permits and head up to Deception Pass

Drive back down I-5 from there to make the evening reception by 6:30ish

NOTE: If anyone ends up following this itinerary it will probably be a later return than 6:30 – I think this would be a great itinerary if you had a really full day and a full tank of gas… certainly let me know if the timings work! If you can extend the day a bit then you can probably stop at a winery after the ferry to Whidbey Island and then have dinner up in Anacortes, etc. It’s a long day but a really great one (I would think) if the weather is good and you’re not super rushed to be back early.

Anyway, with the Olypmics (the mountains!) socked in by clouds and the driving to be dulled by rain we decided to go a different route… We went for a pick up at 9, Gilbert’s for a more relaxed breakfast and then we were off to the Museum of Flight (as suggested by Clemens, good idea CV). In my car for breakfast was Christian Weyer, Benjamin Mitchell, Clemens Vasters, Andreas Eide, Richard Campbell (aka Toy Boy) and the still blogless Goksin Bakir. We lost Benjamin and Andreas to Microsoft for the day but the rest of us were off to see Airforce One, Concorde, the Red Barn, and the new WWII exhibit. Here are a few interesting links for Concorde info:

Concorde on loan to Seattle Museum of Flight
Concorde Trivia from the BBC
British Airways Concorde Page

It was raining a bit so as we waited to get on Concorde, we stood underneath it. The photographer gets no glory but here’s the a nice shot of the motley crew MotleyCrewUnderConcorde.jpg (261.05 KB). And here, well I’m glad Christian has a day job as he could never be a flight attendant ChristianFlightAttendant.jpg (101.28 KB)!

As we walked from Concorde back to the Museum of Flight I thought of the Boeing Plant tour in Everett Washington. I’ve always wanted to do this… so I called information to get the number for Boeing in Everett. After a few minutes of searching, the operator tells me there’s nothing listed for BoWing in Everett. After spelling BoEing TWICE – we got the correct number…. hmmmmmm (that’s all I’m going to say). Anyway, it was a go! This is the home to the 747, 767, and the 777. We drove up to Everett to make the 3pm tour (FYI – you cannot make reservations for same day tours so you might want to pre-order your tickets as they often sell out). I think we were all amazed at how large (and sadly, how empty) the facilities are. You can hear the statistics and sense that it’s HUGE but it was another thing to be there. The doors were the size of 6 football fields…. I have many hopes that Boeing’s 7E7 brings them back to filling every assembly spot!

After the tour we stopped for quick snack at the Keg and then headed back for registration and the first opening evening party at the Rock Bottom Brewery in Bellevue. With the intense three days that followed it was a nice relaxing way to start the event.

Thursday evening after the event ended a few of us ended up in the Hyatt’s Hotel Bar. This photo (ThursNightCheers.jpg (93.35 KB)) is thanks to Richard Turner – who has challenged me to a game of chicken (this is from an email and well, I’m not going to explain). And, I’m looking forward to it. ;)

Since I’m leaving the technology stuff for later I’m going to skip to the closing event… Friday night boating on Lake Washington/Lake Union with DJ host Eric Schmidt EricSchmidtDJ.jpg (151.26 KB), formerly of SQL and now a Microsoft Technical Evangelist who hosted the Connected System’s Track. Dancing got a bit out of control (mostly with Forte, Sanjay, and Goksin – Forte blogged about it here) but at least the boat didn’t sink. Earlier, rumors spread that we were stopping at Bill’s house for dinner (which is on Lake Washington) but, oh darn, we just passed by.

So, the event ended and it was an intense week of technology and socializing… Oh, and if you’re wondering what the ECC stands for… it was the tla that was given to the event – as it was a bit intense (to say the least). Just to give you an idea of the hours – Wednesday ran from 8:30am until 9:30pm, Thursday ran from 8:00am until 9:00pm and Friday ran from 8:00 until 4:45 with bus pickups at 5:15 for the evening entertainment. We had 1 hr for lunch and 1hr for dinner and only a couple of breaks throughout the day. People who traveled to the event stayed in the hotel, ate in the hotel, and barely even saw the outside for 3 days….. hence the tla. You can probably figure it out here!

Thanks for a great week everyone!

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