The Wrap by Ron Judd

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Sometimes the best vacation opportunities are right under your nose — or perhaps running right through your backyard.

We begin 2012 all aflutter over an exciting new travel package pointed out by faithful reader Cliff, who discovered it on a website for “Seattle Southside,” which promotes tourism in the greater Tukwila / SeaTac / Kent / Des Moines metroplex.

For $144.50 per head (gratuities not included), you can take a mass-transit holiday via the “Light Rail Package.” Included: a room at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, a buffet breakfast — and a Seattle Link Rail pass to get downtown.

Possible add-on: The Fresh-Air Upgrade, a thrill-seeker ride over high bridges with rail-car doors stuck in the open position.

Just so you know, the same group offers an “Escape Romance Package” at the Seattle Airport Marriott, which, come to think of it, probably is as good a place to escape romance as any other.

Other excursions:

Just For the Record: We KID the Southside, which is one of the more interesting — and real — parts of the metro area. What other ‘burb can claim as its crown jewel a city (Tukwila) whose name means “land of the hazelnuts”?

Happy Landings, Y’all: The Smithsonian Channel has proudly announced that its documentary “Air Disasters, Season 1” is now available on iTunes. Excellent entertainment fare for your next long flight.

Supreme Surprise: In a decision that stunned legal observers, the State Supreme Court has ruled the “Paramount Duty” of the state of Washington is not, as previously believed, to educate its children, but to A) finance large sports stadiums for eclectic billionaires and B) erect gigantic concrete freeway sound walls adorned with etched artwork depicting twigs, leaves, fish and banana slugs.

Occupy Martin Stadium, Part I: In an online chat on, incoming WSU football coach Mike Leach said about his defensive strategy: “Worst thing that can happen is to be not lined up. You have to be lined up.” Imagine how differently things might have turned out if former U-Dub mastermind Nick Holt had had that epiphany.

Feeling Their Pain: A little tip here, from people who can speak from experience, for politicians from Kansas — or anywhere else — who get the silly notion that support for a major Boeing defense contract will translate into long-term jobs in their districts: Get it in writing.

Speaking of Trains: The sign for the Amtrak Cascades in King Street Station lists its northbound destinations thusly: “Vancouver B.C., Bellingham and intermediate cities.” Anyone in Edmonds or Everett feel like they resemble that remark?

Don’t Feed the Tolls: Drivers fled in droves as tolls for Highway 520 — the soon to be renamed Dale Chihuly Memorial Semi-Floating Bridge — went into effect. It’s not yet clear if everyone drove around, or just figured it really wasn’t worth $3.50 to visit Seattle or Bellevue in the first place.

And Finally: The Times’ ongoing newsroom move to a nearby building might affect some Wrap readers. You can still call and express disgust over the column, but please be advised that some editors might not relocate their phones until mid-October.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at

or 206-464-8280.