Guest Post: A Wisconsin Boy Visits the Northwest


Hi Everyone! This is the first guest post here at My Red Travel Shoe. I hope you will enjoy Jon’s story about his interesting trip getting home from Seattle. You can also find his recommendations of 4 sights to see when in Seattle. I really enjoyed reading his story, made me laugh, and also made me realize that we all have some crazy travel stories that are worth sharing  I went to grad school with Jon and he is one of the nicest, kindest, and most generous people I have ever met. I am very happy to share his travel story with you all, I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did.


When my girlfriend moved back home to Seattle for the summer, I immediately started planning a 2,000-mile trip to visit her. We met during college in Wisconsin, where I’ve lived my whole life.

I’d been on a plane just four times previously, and three of those were work-related. In an effort to avoid the July 4 travel madness, I planned my vacation for June 21-29.

I will fast-forward to the final day of my trip – because that’s when things got really interesting. I arrived at SeaTac Airport more than two hours before my flight. It was a little disappointing to see a lengthy TSA line, which snaked back-and-forth at least five times. Right after I stepped in line, I overheard an employee say that there was a much shorter security line down the airport at checkpoint #3. So I grabbed my bags and headed that direction.

The switch paid off, as I moved through this security line in about 35 minutes. I then proceeded to my gate at the other end of the airport. As I was casually walking along, I heard a panicked muttering and heavy breathing behind me. There was a middle-aged woman with frizzy hair and big glasses running along (even though she was going about the same speed as my walk).

“Help me! Help me! They changed my gate!” she said to no one in particular.

I made an effort to act as if nothing was going on. Meanwhile, numerous other people stopped and looked at the distressed woman. I later glanced over and saw her reach a gate – but there were no passengers or workers in the area. She then began pounding on the closed door. “They changed my gate, they changed my gate … I’m on this flight!”

I had the feeling that some security personnel would arrive soon, so I just kept on walking.


This wasn’t the voice I heard moments ago. It was much louder and deeper. Then I realized that she had gone to the United Airlines podium and began yelling into the microphone normally reserved for employees.

More travelers looked on as the woman continued to insist she belonged on that flight – although the vacant waiting area suggested that it had left long before. I wish I could’ve seen the conclusion of this scene, but after all, I had my own plane to catch.

The reason I was headed to a United gate is because my uncle is a long-time pilot for the airline, and he could purchase my round-trip from Chicago to Seattle for $117. The only downside of this perk is that I’m placed on the standby list.

I sat at my gate for 80 minutes and slowly watched the seats fill up. It was a 200-seat plane, so I figured the combination of no-shows and flight changes would leave me in fine shape. However, about 10 minutes before the gate was due to close, I looked at the plane map and sighed. There were four remaining seats on the plane. I was currently #5 on the standby list.

About four minutes before the deadline, a family of three rushed through and scanned their tickets. Then a woman ran up to the gate, said she was on this flight, and stepped on. “My husband is coming,” she said. “He got caught up in the TSA line.”

The United worker acknowledged the statement, but said the gate would be closing in 90 seconds. I was told to wait right by the door just in case. I cautiously looked down the terminal for the next minute, really hoping not to see a man running in our direction.

Finally the worker said, “There’s one seat left on the plane, and it’s yours.” I rushed down the bridge and found my spot just as the door closed and the engines revved up. Wouldn’t you know it – I was sitting next to the woman whose husband didn’t make the flight. She was surprisingly in a friendly mood, explaining that her husband was wasting time at home and that’s why they didn’t arrive early enough.

Less than four hours later, I landed safely at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Overall, my eight days in Seattle were fantastic. I had a wonderful time meeting Brennan’s family, sight-seeing and enjoying the Northwest’s beautiful nature. Here’s a few memories and images from my journey.

4 Sights to See When in Seattle

Snoqualmie Falls – This is a must visit if you’re in the area. We viewed the 268-foot waterfall on a sunny afternoon and also hiked down a wooded trail to the river.

Falls 3

Space Needle – Probably Seattle’s most recognizable landmark. Located downtown and built in the early 1960s, this unique building is still in great shape. We went up the elevator to a circular observation deck, which is 520 feet off the ground.

Space Needle 3
EMP Museum – This is a very different type of museum, focusing on music, movies and pop culture. We toured big exhibits about horror films, fantasy novels, guitars and more. The highlights to me were props from Star Wars, Back to the Future and The Wizard of Oz.

Guitar Tower

Seastar Restaurant – I’ve noticed that the creator of this blog is a food fan, so I will happily oblige. ( MyRedTravelShoe: HAHAHA…also: that looks delicious) We ate dinner at this upscale restaurant – and although the bill reached unseen figures for this recent college graduate – it was fantastic and well worth the experience. Pictured is my ancho chili smoked steelhead, with southwest potatoes and shrimp.

Seastar Meal

Thank you Jon! 🙂


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