Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

We left Vancouver and headed back to the US for our next destination, Seattle, Washington. Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the fastest-growing major city in the United States. This city is full of character with it’s vibrant city-center and is home to Pike’s Place Market, the Space Needle, fresh, locally-sourced raw oysters, and a Ferris wheel at Pier 57.

Pike’s Place Market is an open market with everything from seafood to fresh fruit to dried flowers. The market opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continually operating public farmer’s markets in the country. Thousands of tourists swarm the market daily to purchase fresh food and goods, steps away from one of the country’s most iconic coffee shop.

The iglide® car in front of the famous wall of gum in down town Seattle

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

Before leaving Seattle and heading off the Portland, the car was brought to the celebrated Space Needle. The Space Needle is a landmark of the Pacific Northwest and a staple of the Seattle skyline.

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There is an observation deck from which to view the whole city of Seattle. Just like the Eiffel Tower, it was built for a world’s fair in 1962. When it first opened, nearly 20,000 people a day were taking elevators to get to the top to see the entire Seattle metropolis.

We were able to visit a fitness machinery design company that integrated our bearings in their top of the line equipment. We were able to tour their test room and see the bearings used first hand. iglide® bearings can significantly reduce noise and maintenance in fitness equipment. Their low-friction, self-lubricating operation keeps operation quiet, and eliminates the mess of oil leaking onto the machines.  Smooth operation of the iglide plastics makes machines move smoothly, making customer workouts their best.  Because they do not require external lubrication, maintenance is also unnecessary.

Our bearings inside this piece of fitness equipment 

iglide L280® bearings are a great solution for exercise equipment, possessing a low coefficient of friction, and high wear resistance. It’s also ideal for use with rough shafts or in abrasive environments, so manufacturers can use less expensive shafts in their equipment as well.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.4 Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.5 Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.6The car set up in the parking lot for a visit

After leaving Seattle it was time to head to Portland. Portland is a very unique city, famous for their food carts which celebrate food from almost every ethnicity you could imagine. The carts line over two blocks of the city and made picking what to eat for lunch very difficult. Some of us chose coffee from one cart, a salad from another, and desert from a third just to sample the incredible and unparalleled variety of food.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.7Food trucks lining the streets in Portland

Next we visited Powell’s Books, a bookstore chain located in Portland. We headed to the headquarters, dubbed Powell’s City of Books, which claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Besides boasting multiple buildings, inside the store each section has a color to indicate what genre the room is, because otherwise finding a book would be close to impossible.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.8The car going over the Hawthorne Bridge, the most well known of the multiple bridges in Portland

Our next stop is San Francisco where the car will get to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.

We will keep you posted,

Sascha and Kayla

Vancouver to Seattle

As we were approaching Vancouver we drove through Fraser Canyon which is an 52 mile landform of the Fraser River that descends rapidly through narrow rock gorges in the Coast Mountains en route from the Interior Plateau of British Columbia to the Fraser Valley.

Vancouver to Seattle

This is the only region in Canada that is home to poisonous snakes. We were also lucky enough to see rams jumping into the cliffs! As we drove through the canyon the landscape quickly changed from forests to mountainous desert.

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One of the main attractions in Fraser Canyon is Hell’s Gate.

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Hells Gate is an abrupt narrowing of British Columbia’s Faser River, located immediately downstream of Boston Bar in the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River plunge toward each other forcing the waters through a passage only 115 ft wide.

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The name Hells Gate was derived from the journal of explorer Simon Fraser, who in 1808 described this narrow passage as “a place where no human should venture, for surely these are the gates of Hell.” Long before the arrival of Simon Fraser, and as early as the end of the last ice age, Hells Gate was a First Nation’s congregation ground for settlement and salmon fishing.

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Once we arrived in Vancouver it was time for some site seeing. We took a bike tour along the sea wall and saw the Olympic Torch from the 2010 winter Olympics. When the flame is lit it stretches about 30 feet into the sky. It is only lit for special occasions because it uses so much fuel. There are four separate torches that surround one larger one in the middle.

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Our last stop was to an award winning Gelato shop, Bella Gelateria, owned by one guy who frequently is in the shop giving out his recipe for people to try at home. The city itself is extremely clean, not overly crowded and feels very calm compared to other cities such as New York, Los Angeles or even Boston.

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On our second day in the beautiful city of Vancouver it was time for customer visits. Jeff, the iglide® sales representative for the Vancouver region led the visits. The first stop was a local gelato shop offering over 253 flavors of Gelato including various exotic flavors such as curry, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic.

Vancouver to Seattle.8 Vancouver to Seattle.9

This gelato shop uses igus® bearings in various parts of their waffle cone makers.

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They were looking for an alternative to regular bearings because lubrication was messy and expensive for the food industry. This solution helped them perfect the waffle by not burning or under cooking it. It also saved them money by not wasting ingredients. Their waffles became so popular that they created their own business that primarily sells waffle makers because they make the perfect waffles. The owner Raffaele spoke about igus® bearings saying, “it was really the saving grace for our machines.”

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Our second visit was with a bicycle manufacturer. They use our bushings in three different locations. To the bike industry, lightweight is very important, iglide® bearings are about seven times lighter than metal bearings. igus® bearings are also stiffer making the bike more durable when being used in high intensity circumstances such as down hill mountain biking which is very popular in the north west.

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Joanne, the Research Technology Program Manager said she loves working with igus® because when they are working on a new bike and have new ideas igus® send them test products within the month and works closely with them on what bearing is best.

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Check out this video from iglide® on tour in Taiwan, to get to know how you can improve your bike by using igus® bearings:

https://youtu.be/FKtf8SzC5DA

After the two customer visits it was time to head off to Seattle.

Look for us on the road,

yours,

Kayla and Sascha