Tacoma, I Love You

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North America » United States » Washington » Tacoma
June 8th 2007
Published: June 8th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 5&6

The drive from Vancouver to Seattle was superb. We drove along Highway 5, a curvy and sometimes 90 degree square around the corners of farmer's fields. It was picturesque with red roofed barns and weathered tumble down sheds. It was soothing; displaying various sheds of green from fresh yellow green dandelion to spring green deciduous leaves to turquoise new spruce growth and to dark almost black green of aged pines.

Every turn in the road presented a new collage of farm field fence and far off horizon. Will had a workout today what with all the 90 degree turns 60% grades and long tight stretches of road.

The state of Washington makes me wax poetic. I love it.

Arriving at the city outskirts of Seattle brought an abrupt end to the languid countryside. From the highway the buildings showed themselves to be an eclectic mix of modern, turn of the century and cowboy architecture. Don’t ask what cowboy architecture is …. Just made that up to represent those buildings that were slapped into a space and called an edifice.

After driving thru lovely residential area the Saltwater State Park was not accepting tents. Retracing our route we continued to drive out and past Seattle and SeaTac and Tacoma until we drove thru a very posh area and arrived at Dash Point S.P.

The space was just big enough for the truck. We spread out and avoided pitching the tents beside people we wanted to avoid cooked a dinner of curried pork with rice and after cleaning up went to our tents.

Time for a shower in the morning… after rag wash and a little read by headlamp, sleep overcame me and didn’t hear a thing until had to piss in the wind!

Morning meant preparing breakfast for those who wanted to eat. Not too many it turned out. All that was on offer was cereal and milk with some toast…. Blah blah blah! … and again the clean up and putting away of the plastic boxes that contain the crockery, food, and utensils.

I have so much ’stuff’ on and under my seat that a major clean up is necessary. The extras had to be put into the big pack.Some things had to be sent home. The rest was placed in a convenient bag that can easily be carried to the tent and contains my toiletries and reading material. The laptop now sits in an unupolstered backpack… the protective carrying case is clumsy and cumbersome to carry.

Once organized, showered and I made ready for the promised ride to Tocoma and the train to Seattle.

When I saw Tacoma and since it was almost 12:00 I decided to stay in this absolutely beautiful small city. So much reconstruction, revision and redirection has happened here, it looks like a new old town.

Clark, the campround volunteer host had offered to give me a lift to Tocoma and the train. Since I was not going to Seattle I invited Clarke for a coffee. We spent a pleasant half hour in Tully’s drinking much better coffee than what is offered at that other place.
After going to the Post office, doing a small wander into one end of town the free shuttle train brought me back to the centre where the old train station stood in its newly discovered glory.

The old train station in Tacoma has been converted into The Washington State Museum, The County Court, and a coffee shop. In the main hall of the old station the arches and main window have been decorated by Dale Chihuye, a famous glassblower. The Glass Bridge leads to the glass museum. Had a wall filled with his creations of fantasy in glass after the Venetian Style. The ceiling of part of he bridge was divided into squares and each square was filled with glass pipes, orbs, platters, and odd shapes. All together they formed a glass collage to be viewed from below.

In the Glass Museum a presentation of the contrast between glass is on display. Included in the exhibit is one piece by Lalique and one window by Frank Lloyd Wright. The other pieces were dramatic, controversial, defying patience and utterly beautiful. It serves as a perfect primer for someone who has interest in but very little knowledge about glass.

The other excitement at the Glass Museum is the Hot Shop. From outside the Museum can be seen a huge silver dome standing somewhat but not very askew. Once inside the museum the need for height is revealed. The Hot Shop with its six glass furnaces is located at the bottom of the cone. The gasses from the glass work and the furnaces is dissipated into the height of the cone.

Local artists of merit are invited for a five day stay at the museum Hot Shop and they work as visitors to the museum watch and ask questions about glass art. While I was there the piece being worked on cracked so alternative plans were made on the spot for that part of the project that was still in tact,
The face of Botticelli’s Venus had been printed on glass with glass. That part of the projected sculpture was saved and consequently turned into an idea that resembled a Faberge Egg.
As before, the place closed at five so with reluctance I made my way out to the street.

In Tacoma a light transit rail moves along a street that seems dedicated to transport. The light transit is a free ride from one end of the downtown district to the other. That is to say from the Entertainment District to the Transit Centre. I took this little train a few times.

Ending up at the transit centre, I investigated the Farmer’s Market. It was not to prolific, it being only the beginning of June. Asparagus were on offer as well as spring flowers and cherries from California.

After ordering a noodle meal and a drink in the train station I found WiFi access and sat there until well past 7:30 putting my emails in order. I enquired about the bus I wanted to take next morning when I planned to paint Seattle red and see all of their papier mache pigs.

Time to get back to the campsite. Had no idea about taking the bus back. Was tired so got into a cab. Informing the cabbie of the address he headed off. At $21.51 I protested that the ride should only cost $15. He shut off the meter. He was totally lost.
More than three phone calls and two gas station visits and more than an hour later he deposited me in front of the truck at the campsite. I paid him $20.

I enjoyed Tacoma. I would visit it again. There is a beautiful University campus here. The people seemed friendly ands there was enough interest in the locals to make a beautiful thing out of their city.

The help Clark gave to me and all the people in my group was a true act of generosity. He has more than surpassed his role as a Campground Host. Thank you Clark. I wish all campers a friendly helpful volunteer like yourself and Glen and Susi and of course we cannot forget your amusing dogs.

In my overexhuberance and because I have been trying to upload the pictures for this piece more than three times the pictures after Pike's Market are from Seattle.... blog to follow ... of course there are also more Seattle pics.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Nineteenth CenturyTravellerNineteenth CenturyTraveller
Nineteenth CenturyTraveller

The bronzeman with his carpetbag is ready to take a voyage ... perhaps to the Klondike.
Arch with Glass SculptureArch with Glass Sculpture
Arch with Glass Sculpture

The refurbished Union Station has four arches each containing an amazing glass sculpture by Chihuly.
Glass Poppies Glass Poppies
Glass Poppies

The glass sculptures are inside Union Stastion and the view outside shows the Glass Museum.
Real PoppiesReal Poppies
Real Poppies

The flowers were presented in grandioius profusion; the poppies being the most dramatic after the peonies.

One of the main attractions in Seattle, the market offers fish, flowers,bread, sweets, crafts,and anything else tourists will buy.
The Original StarbucksThe Original Starbucks
The Original Starbucks

Big disappointment here! Looked really tacky and unkept.
Hot Pepper MobilesHot Pepper Mobiles
Hot Pepper Mobiles

For $20 these mobiles can grace your kitchen. This home industry provides instant attention to the other products in this market stall.
Flying FishFlying Fish
Flying Fish

A not to be missed occurance at the Market.... crowds gather to see the 'flying fish'.
Shit HappensShit Happens
Shit Happens

...even in Tacoma and really in Seattle

19th June 2007

Love your photos
Barbara, A picture is worth a thousand words, and you hit the spot with your photos of the glass sculptures. I hope to go to Tachoma some day. By the way, I've heard of the Flying Fish because my husband was given a book written by one somebody who went to the fishmarket and (to cut a long story short) found a metaphor for daily living and thriving in her business. And she ended up marrying one of the fishmongers! I always look forward to your blogs, and when it's miserable packing up a tent in the rain, I feel happy to be warm and dry! But I would like to be travelling (with just a little more luxury! A cheap hotel would do!) Happy travelling! Helen

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