A Trip to Remember

More than a decade ago when the Chargers were in San Diego, the Scripps Ranch Old Pros (SROP) would organize a trip to a selected away game city. It is safe to say that some members are fans of Charger players, not the team ownership. By doing an away game, the Chargers ownership doesn’t profit from ticket sales.

The Old Pros is a community organization founded by Scripps Ranch residents in 1982. There are now more than 300 members and they coordinate many community events, most notably, the 4th of July Run and Ride. The nonprofit group also organizes sports leagues, hosts holiday concerts, and grants scholarships to graduating Scripps Ranch seniors.

In the past SROP members have gone to places like Dallas, Buffalo, Green Bay, Kansas City, and Jacksonville to watch football games. Each trip is unique and a lot of fun. This year was special in that San Diego State University alum Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks’ number one draft choice, was to play against the former San Diego Chargers. So it was decided: 25 members would head to Seattle for the game.

I have to say that organizing a trip for 25 guys from San Diego is no easy feat. To start off, to get 25 guys to the same place at the same time is difficult enough. Arranging a hotel and transportation is another hurdle. To top it off, figuring out interesting things to do for three days is a challenge. Rick Smurlo did a fabulous job…again!

We jumped on a flight Friday afternoon and landed in Seattle by 5 pm. We grabbed a train to the hotel, then headed to The Pike Pub and Brewery for some drinks and dinner. The bar was definitely the place to be on a Friday night! They serve local craft beer like the Naughty Nellie. After enjoying the bar and talking with a few people from Seattle, we had dinner. The waiter was not over-matched by serving 25 of us.

After dinner we walked over to a lively western-themed bar that had a mechanical bull. Needless to say, only the youngest one in the group rode it. We hung out and it was a good time just to get away from the trappings of routine life.

The next morning we found our way to the Space Needle, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world and a treasured Seattle icon. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, whose theme was “The Age of Space,” the tower’s futuristic design was inspired by the idea that the fair needed a structure to symbolize humanity’s Space Age aspirations. Since its grand opening on April 21, 1962, the landmark continues to symbolize the innovative and forward-thinking spirit of Seattle. Located at Seattle Center, the Space Needle is 605 feet tall and is one of the most photographed structures in the world. The tower’s 520-foot saucer-shaped “top house” offers Seattle’s only 360-degree indoor and outdoor panoramic views of downtown, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges.

Some guys headed off to the Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP as it is called. The museum is dedicated to contemporary popular culture and was opened by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000 as the Experience Music Project.

Since that time MoPOP has organized dozens of exhibits, 17 of which have toured the U.S. and internationally. It houses the largest collections in the world of artifacts, hand-written lyrics, personal instruments, and original photographs celebrating the music and history of Seattle musicians Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.

One of the cool places, cool in both temperature and interesting places to visit, is Pike Place Market. It is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle. The market opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers markets in the U.S. It is a place of business for many small farmers, craftspeople, and merchants, and it attracts more than 10 million visitors annually. The upper street level contains fishmongers, fresh produce stands, and craft stalls operating in the covered arcades. This is the place where, when you buy a fish, they throw it over the counter to be wrapped. We didn’t know that Pike Place Market is home to nearly 500 low-income residents who live in eight different buildings throughout the market.

Our next part of the Seattle journey was the Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, which we took after meeting up at Doc Maynard’s Public House. The underground tour is likely Seattle’s most unusual attraction. It is a humorous stroll through intriguing subterranean storefronts and sidewalks entombed when the city rebuilt on top of itself after the Great Fire of 1889. A candle pot burned down the town!

To rebuild they built retaining walls above ground, making the original second floor the new ground floor. The city used fire hoses on the closest hill to bring soil in to fill up the spaces between the new retaining walls. It’s a good thing, too, because the old sewer system would cause toilets to explode when there was a high tide! Seattle was a gold mining town and some of the wild stories of illicit murder and prostitution are fascinating.

After going underground, we moved on to Central Saloon, where Seattle’s best new bands play at the city’s oldest saloon dating back more than 125 years. At this bar they introduced Soundgarden and Nirvana. The current owner has been there since the 1970s.

Finally, game day! We started off with breakfast and drinks—of course!—at Elysian Fields. Rick Smurlo got us one of the largest tables and without a reservation! Elysian Fields opened in 2006 in the historical neighborhood of Pioneer Square. The pub is located across the street from Century Link Field and just north of Safeco Field and, with seating in excess of 400 people, is built to handle crowds. It was filled with Charger and Seahawk fans.

We walked to the stadium and watched a great game. Rick scored 50-yard line tickets, although they were really high up in the stadium. We watched Rashaad Penny play as a running back and kick-off returner, and the Chargers beat the Seahawks 25-17. The Seahawk fans were nice, unlike the Buffalo fans. After the game we went to Flat Stick Pub, had a few more drinks, and played indoor golf. That was quite entertaining.

Well that is pretty much it. We came home on Monday to beautiful Scripps Ranch.

Bob Ilko, SR Old Pros Member

[Editor’s note: Scripps Ranch residents are known for taking amazing adventures. From group trips to volunteer projects, they bring home wonderful memories. If you have an “Amazing Adventure” you would like to share with the community, please email the SRCA Newsletter at [email protected]]