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Our Escape Adventure Part 11: We Were Sleepless In Seattle!

Our Escape Adventure Part 11: We Were Sleepless In Seattle!

Greetings from Ontonagon MI! Sorry this update has taken so long to get posted, but we just finished up a marathon tour of twelve states over the past sixteen days. We stayed at least one night and played at least one escape room (sometimes several) in each state we passed through.

We left Washington and traveled through Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and just arrived in Michigan today. If you are keeping track, that is twenty-five states we have played escape rooms in on this trip so far! We were able to play an escape room in every state west of the Mississippi River, except North Dakota and South Dakota. Due to having to be in southern Michigan by Labor Day weekend, we weren’t able to fit in those two states, which has left a hole in our escape room map. We will definitely be making a separate trip to fill in the hole in the future though!

We will be talking about our travel marathon and all of those escape rooms in our next update, but in this update, we have to fill you in on the adventures we had and all the great escape rooms we played during our stay in the state of Washington. If you remember, our last update was from Concrete, Washington and covered our travels and escape rooms in Oregon.  

Now, to catch you up on what happened during our almost three weeks in Washington…

Trip Statistics

States Visited This Leg: Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan

Total Miles Traveled: 19,795 (All driven by Curt! He is awesome!)

Total Escape Rooms Played: 178

RV Life

While in Washington we stayed in four different locations: Elma (the west side of the state, near Olympic National Park), downtown Seattle, Concrete (near Cascades National Park), and Spokane (the eastern side of the state, close to Idaho). 

While in Elma, we drove into Olympic National Park and spent a day exploring the tidal pools near Kalaloch and the Quinault Rainforest.  We saw some really cool sea life in the tidal pools, beautiful Merriman Falls, and drove for miles along the Quinault River.  Olympic National Park is definitely a hiker’s paradise. We could have spent days exploring the area, but we didn’t have days, because, you know, escape rooms!

We made day trips into nearby Tacoma and Gig Harbor to play a few escape rooms.  On our way into Tacoma, we stopped at Tumwater Falls, which Curt had read about in the Roadtrippers app. What a cool find! It is in a park in the city of Tumwater, and there are upper, middle and lower falls and a fairly easy scenic loop that goes around the entire thing. It was an unexpected highlight of this part of the trip!

We left the RV safely parked in Elma for two nights and ventured into downtown Seattle to stay in a hotel for two nights and celebrate Tina’s birthday. We were surprised to find out that our visit coincided with Major League Baseball All Star Week, which resulted in it being a bit more crowded (and noisier) than we anticipated, but we still did lots of tourist stuff including the Chihuly Glass Museum, Pike Place Market, the Fremont Troll, and, of course, escape rooms! 

The world famous Locurio is in downtown Seattle and we talk about The Storykeeper and The Vanishing Act below. If you go, the Fremont Troll statue is within walking distance of Locurio, on N. 36th St. underneath the George Washington Memorial bridge. It’s definitely worth the bit of an uphill walk to get pictures.

While in Seattle, we also met up with Tina’s cousin Leanne and had dinner at Von’s 1000 Spirits. Here, Tina discovered the best mac and cheese she has ever had. Von’s makes their own pasta and it was AMAZING! It was so good that we decided to get it for dinner our second night in the city, too. We met up with Leanne one last time to play an escape room, only her second one ever. The room itself wasn’t great, but we enjoyed playing with Leanne. 

After we left Seattle, we headed back to Elma and then moved the RV to Concrete, on the northeast side of Seattle. While here we explored the Cascades National Park, did a whale watching excursion on the Salish Sea, and ventured across the border into Vancouver, Canada, to do our first international escape rooms of this trip! 

The whale watching tour was amazing! We chose Blue Kingdom tours, which has smaller and faster Zodiac-style boats and saw minke whales, humpback whales, a sea otter just hanging out in the middle of the water, seals, and more. The views of the San Juan Islands were beautiful. The weather was great and Anacortes, where the tour started, is a neat little city. We wish we could have spent more time there.

We were so close to Vancouver, Canada that we had to go. We found an escape room venue we wanted to visit…it was not as expected, but we talk about that in the Escape room section.

The highlight of our day in Vancouver was the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. They have a long suspension bridge (we saw a few people freaking out in fear while crossing it), a cantilevered walkway called Cliffwalk, a treetop walk that has short suspension bridges from one tree to the next, relaxing walking paths all over the park, and The Birds of Raptors Ridge with handlers talking about and showing off raptors. 

Our final outing from Concrete was a drive to the North Cascade mountains to view Diablo Lake. Holy Moly, it is so blue! Why? According to the National Park Service, “In summer, the distinctive turquoise color of the lake is the result of suspended fine rock particles refracting sunlight. These rock particles, called glacial flour, enter the lake when rock from the surrounding mountains is eroded by ice and flows into the water through glacial streams.”

From Concrete we traveled across the Cascade Mountains into Spokane. The main purpose of stopping in Spokane was to do escape rooms, but we also visited Spokane Falls and ate at Frank’s Diner, which is in a historic train car. Spokane was our last stop in Washington and from there we started our escape room blitz across twelve states. We’ll cover that in our next update, but now it’s time to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to escape rooms in Washington.

Escape Rooms

Washington was full of good escape rooms, but there’s always going to be a stinker or two!

Cityscape Games (Tacoma, WA)

The owner, Daniel, has an interesting story. He was a game master in Arizona where he met the people who own some commercial property in Tacoma, WA. They got to talking and then they offered him the chance to have his own escape room business in one of their properties. They would also help finance the whole thing. So, Daniel moved up to Tacoma and Rockstar is his first game. (He is building more games). How cool is that?

Rockstar - This was one of our favorite games in Washington. It’s a true hidden gem. The game was very well done. The puzzles were fresh, and the set design was excellent. Daniel’s passion and love for escape rooms shine through in this game and in our conversation with him. It makes such a huge difference when escape rooms are designed and run by enthusiasts.

Escape Hour (Gig Harbor, WA)

Legend of Theradonia - This room was interesting. The set and decor were elaborate but felt very homemade. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just don’t go in thinking it’s going to be a polished set. There were puzzles and tech that seemed very out of place for the theme and surroundings. For example, there was a digital readout in this magic/fantasy room. So, the immersion aspect was a mixed bag. Our original GM left midway, and we got a new one. That was a bit weird, but their over-the-speaker hints were in character and that was fun. Overall, the game itself was okay.

Midnight Manor - At the time of this writing, this is their newest game. And it shows compared to Theradonia. The set design was much more polished. However, this game also had puzzles and tech that seemed very out of place for the theme and storyline. Our GM was fantastic and many of the puzzles were very good, though signposting could be improved a bit. But, overall we enjoyed this game.

Escape Artist (Seattle, WA)

We didn’t get much of a welcome here. The GM that was checking us in seemed distracted. He was also our GM for the Atlantis room, and he was the same then…  he seemed uninterested in us and distracted. Our first GM for Spell Struck was much more friendly.

Spell Struck - Perhaps the more rooms we play, the higher our expectations become. Having played some truly great rooms, average rooms seem to be below average now. What we would have enjoyed when we were new to escape rooms, may not even get a thumbs up from us now. I think this is where this room lands for us. This game was average. Nothing special, but not bad. There were a few hiccups with tech and signposting, but overall it was okay.

Dive to Atlantis - This room didn't really connect with us. We paid for three but played with two and needed a few extra minutes in the end. The first part of the game physically requires three people, so the GM had to help us with that. The moving submarine was neat, but we didn't love the puzzles. The ending task was really what ruined it for us since you must do it over and over again and was a bit physically demanding with just the two of us. Others have had a very different experience than us, so I say try it if you have three or more people.

Locurio (Seattle, WA)

This is the place we have heard so much about, and the reason we had to go to Seattle during this trip. Our expectations were high. That’s not always the best mindset to go into an escape room with. We have been disappointed in the past with highly praised rooms.

One of the issues we had with the venue was that there is no real lobby. You wait outside the gate and call. Then a staff person must come and escort you. It's not their fault. It's the location. It’s in an office building where most of the offices are for psychological therapists and they need to have it quiet. Escape room players running around the halls making noise is not ideal. Overall, it just doesn't feel welcoming, though. 

The Storykeeper - The staff here are fantastic! The set design, story, and staff interaction in this room were top-notch. As others have said, the hint system is so fun. We’re suckers for a unique and fun hint system. Most of the puzzles were good, as well. Unfortunately, there were things we didn’t like, and these are personal gripes that may not affect other groups. This game has a dial-style safe lock with a complicated turning pattern that has to be exact. We hate those kinds of safe locks because we can't seem to open them most of the time. We are idiots when it comes to safe locks. In this game, we read the instructions and we tried, and tried, and tried, and tried (you get the gist) to open the lock. We never got it. We don’t know if we turned it too many times, or not enough times. Dial-style safe locks are our kryptonite. Also, parts of the game are dark, and you really need a light. You are told you can use your phone light, but it would be nice to be given flashlights. Despite those things, Curt still loved so much about this game. Tina was a little less enthused because, not knowing how dark it was going to be further into the game, she had left her phone in her purse, which made parts of the game very frustrating for her. We understand ambiance, but nothing ruins a game more for us than not being able to see the puzzles and the locks.

The Vanishing Act - First, our GM was wonderful. All the staff are great. We really liked the story. The set design was pretty good (nothing like Storykeeper, though). While we really like many of the puzzles in this game, for a two-person team a few of the puzzles take too much time. We understood and solved the puzzles, but it takes time to work through it all. It is suggested to have 6+ players, but I think the room is a bit small for that. We feel the ideal number of players would be four. We needed a few extra minutes and the help of a third person (our GM) to finish. We suggest you play this with two people only if you absolutely cannot find more to join your team. We are very thankful, however, that the owners of Locurio allow two players to play their games. That is fantastic.

Hourglass Escapes (Seattle, WA)

This was not originally on our list to play, but we’re glad we added this location,

The Ghostly Galleon - We’re glad we played this one first before we played their other rooms. This one doesn't compare to the others. It is a one-room game that is just okay. We will say that there is one puzzle that we absolutely loved, though it was simple in nature, it was a head-scratcher and a fun wow moment when we got it. We had trouble with one puzzle/lock and also the final logic puzzle and needed a few extra minutes because of that.

Evil Dead 2 - We saw all the good reviews about this game and so we decided to book it. We figured we would first watch the movie since it said on their website that each person would be assigned a character (they no longer do that unless you request it). The movie was ridiculous! After watching it we were really worried about the game and if we'd enjoy it. We are happy to say that we loved it! We are glad we watched the movie so that the easter eggs in the room were recognizable, however, we would have enjoyed the game even if we hadn't seen the movie. The puzzles, the tech, and the set design were all fantastic. The puzzle flow was very good, and the subtle in-game hints were a lot of fun.

Mystery at Innsmouth - After playing Evil Dead 2, we decided we wanted to try this game. It was just the two of us, and this game has a minimum of four players, but the owner was really nice and made an exception for us. We paid for the four spots and gave it a shot. We were not disappointed. We have not played the Arkham Horror board game this is based on, so we didn't get the Easter eggs in this game. That's okay. The set design was awesome. The puzzles were challenging and fun. We needed two hints and one of the puzzles didn't quite work the way it should have. In the end, we needed a couple of extra minutes to finish. The lights are a bit dim for ambiance, but the great thing about Hourglass is that they always provide flashlights in the rooms. In fact, in each room we played, there were 8+ flashlights. If one has low batteries, you just pick up another. I wish all places did this. Also, they always give you something to write on. Again, all places should do this. In the end, this was our favorite room of the three we played at Hourglass.

Find and Seek (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

We traveled across the Canadian border to play a couple of games. These had the highest ratings on the Morty app. We were excited as this was the first time either of us had been to Vancouver. Our excitement quickly vanished when we got to this location. 

Find and Seek is in a mall in Chinatown. The mall has a lot of empty stores and a number of homeless people inside and out. The restrooms are pretty disgusting. Several of the stalls were out of order, there were no paper towel dispensers and all of the hand dryers were turned off (to discourage the homeless from bathing in there, there are signs on the walls that say no bathing or doing laundry in the sinks). It felt like the mall was dying. Find and Seek was on the second floor and you had to be let in when it was your game time. After all that, we weren’t sure what to expect. Before the review, it’s important to note that the time for these rooms is 45 minutes. They should be 60 minutes long based on the number of puzzles in each. 

The Mystery At The Majestic Theatre - We did not finish this game. There are a lot of puzzles (and some take a long time) for the short 45 minutes that you have. We learned in this game that the rooms at Find and Seek need to be done in a deliberate way. First, your team needs to divide and conquer when possible. Second, there is no time to stop and enjoy the game or puzzles, you MUST move with speed and purpose. Both this game and The Curse Of Madame Zita’s Curiosities have the EXACT same storyline, just different settings and puzzles. That was a bit strange. As for the game itself, the storyline was okay, but we would have liked to see different storylines in each room. The set design and decor were okay. We liked the puzzles and the flow was really good. It checked many of our other boxes as well...there is good lighting, something to take notes on, no crawling, in-room clocks, and no excessive searching.

The Curse Of Madame Zita’s Curiosities - Like the other room here, this one checks off a lot of our boxes (good lighting, no crawling, etc.). Despite the exact same storyline as their other game, we liked the puzzles in this one much more. The flow was very good, and the GM gave timely nudges. We learned from the first game that we needed to hurry and divide and conquer (not our usual playing style). We ended up needing 4 extra minutes to finish this game, and we were hustling. We never got hung up on any of the puzzles and we divided when we could. 45 minutes is not enough time even for two experienced players.

Entangled (Lynnwood, WA)

Tina’s cousin lives in Lynnwood, so we decided to find a local game to play with her. (We should have opted to drive somewhere instead.) 

Escape The Cube-This game was a mess. It starts off with a video that doesn’t explain the storyline at all. Why are we here? What is going on? The description on their website makes it sound like it has a game show element or feel. It does not. The room is so dark that the two of us couldn’t even see the numbers on the first lock. Even Leanne with her young eyes was barely able to make it out. We finally had to ask them to turn on the lights until we got the first flashlight. When you finally get a flashlight, you have to share it. Along the way, you do end up getting more flashlights, though. The puzzles are okay, but there are several red herrings (nobody likes red herrings in an escape room). The set and decor are low-budget. This may be why the lighting is so dim. The ending did have a fun element that we enjoyed, but the kicker was that at the end when our game master said “We accept tips using Venmo, credit card or cash. Tell me which one you prefer.” After we were all silent, he quietly added, “It’s optional.” Wow! Tina felt obligated to tip, but it left a very bad taste in all our mouths.

Escape (Spokane Valley, WA)

This venue has a highly-rated room that has a minimum of three players. They would NOT let us play it with two people even though we offered to pay for three. In the past, we have come across venues with minimum player numbers of 3-4 and most allowed us to play with just the two of us. If there was a puzzle that required additional players, the GM would come in to help. Not here. Plus, they had no other bookings the evening we were there. We were so surprised that they would not make the exception and take our money. Oh well. So, we decided to play one of their other rooms.

Saloon Shakedown - For a western room, this one is not bad. The set decor is decent and the flow is good. Unfortunately, there are three puzzles where we feel players are not given enough information to complete them without lots of trial and error or making leaps in logic. With a little more info for the players, these could be fun puzzles. As is, they are frustrating. Also, there is a very tight crawl space that one person will need to go through. It’s unnecessary to have this as part of the game. It’s crawling for the sake of crawling. Good thing Tina doesn’t mind doing these things.

Think Tank Escape Rooms (Spokane, WA)

We loved the owners and the game masters here. Not only were their rooms good, but just the whole experience was fantastic.

Mayan Doomsday - The set design is very good. While this is a favorite room for a few who we spoke with prior to visiting Think Tank, it was our least favorite of the three here. That’s not to say it was bad. It wasn’t. It just didn’t connect with us as much as the other two. The tech was cool. The puzzles were fine. The room is darker than we’d like. Also, hints come over a tablet but when there is a hint or nudge there is no sound, so you often don’t know that your GM is trying to help you. That’s a small gripe, though. Again, others have really connected with this game, so what do we know.

Booby Trap - This is a one room game that was well lit. While the set design isn’t as elaborate as the other two games, we really like what they did with this game. The puzzles were good and in theme. The story moved along thanks to the videos of the antagonist. We enjoyed this game a lot.

Space Mission: Guardian - Wow! What a unique escape room experience. Our GM, Shay, was one of the best we’ve had in our over 250-room experience. He was friendly, he showed us behind the scenes and gave us background on the build of this high-tech game. It was all very interesting. As we said, this game is very high-tech, but it’s also very overwhelming. There are a lot of buttons, gadgets, and doohickeys to interact with…too many. There were times when we had no idea what to do next, but if you’re observant, the answers are there. It’s a challenging room that, despite being overwhelmed at times, we very much enjoyed. It was our favorite room here. We found out after the game that there are some fun effects that can be triggered, but it would take a lot of button pressing to find them and we didn’t feel like we had any time to waste during the game. I wish we had known about some of these before we played, so for the rest of you . . . SPOILER ALERT! There is a disco lights effect.  If you go, see if they will tell you how to trigger it ahead of time, so you can enjoy it during your game. 

Now that we have made it into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we are taking a short three-night break to recover from the travel blitz and do some sightseeing. Of course, if there was an escape room closer to us, we would totally do it, but there is not one within 100 miles.  Once we get into the Lower Peninsula we will definitely be making up for lost time though.  

Stay tuned for our next update, where we will tell you all about what it was like playing thirty-four escape rooms across twelve states in just sixteen days!

Until Next Time,
Tina and Curt

Tina Deater & Curt Jackson

Tina Deater & Curt Jackson

Enthusiasts, travelers, bloggers

Tina is a former city and transportation planner turned escape room owner and Curt is a podcaster/blogger/content creator for the summer camp industry. Their worlds collided when they were handcuffed next to each other in a pirate themed escape room while attending an escape room enthusiast meet up event.

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