An adventure with the Big Duck

So the World’s Largest Rubber Duck floated into Tacoma this weekend and of course I had to go see it. So I grabbed dear daughter and her friend and off we went. I was expecting a difficult time getting to the duck which is part of the Festival of Sails, but it was a breeze. We found a marvelous parking spot in the free parking garages near Freighthouse Square and the Link came along right away. We hopped off at the Union Station stop and walked down to the waterfront. There was a short line to gain entry to the metal walkway to the docks, but I had advanced tickets, so that went well too. We had a grand time exploring most of the historic ships and taking photos of the huge duck “Mama Duck” which is six stories high. Doing some research I learned that the duck was created by artist Florentijn Hofman from The Netherlands. In addition to US stops it has also appeared in Australia, Taiwan, China, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and elsewhere.

Really it was a great deal of fun. When we went to leave we found a long line to go up the metal walkway, but the line wasn’t moving. The word quickly spread that there was an electrical concern (maybe fire) and the ramp, which was the only way on or off the docks, was closed. The ships on display were without power, making me concerned for the big duck which was set up with a electric propeller fan. So while most folks waited patiently in line, the three of us went back to explore some more and hang out in comfort. In the end the city’s fire boat pulled up at the other end of the dock providing a pathway (evacuation route) to the shore, though that jump at the end was a pretty big one! Happily there were some nice guys to offer a helping hand.


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Natives at the Pacific Bonsai Museum

Dear daughter and I went to revisit the Himalayan Blue Poppies at the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron Gardens in Federal Way before they completely faded away for the season. In the United States, these poppies only grow in parts of New England, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, so we are lucky.

While we were they we checked out the adjoining Pacific Bonsai Museum, which we had been through a half dozen times. This time though there was a really great exhibit titled Natives. Per the brochure “each display in Natives is a composition of four artists — the bonsai artists, the kusamono artist (Young Choe), the ceramicist (Victoria Chamberlain) and the visual artist (Iuna Tinta)”. In case you don’t know (I didn’t) a kusamono artist creates potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays. So each display has a bonsai, a companion kusamono (accent), the ceramic art (often using minerals from the depicted region) and a visual piece of art, all of which are centered around a particular place. It is a marvelous exhibit and worth some real time. The exhibit runs from April 8- October 8, 2017 and more information can be found here.

And, of course, there are some photos of the blue poppies and other foliage from the gardens.

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The town of Moncton is Under Rattlesnake Lake

 

My friends and I had a meeting at the Cedar River Watershed Center in North Bend, King County recently and I was delighted to discover a teal colored Rattlesnake Lake. Random facts:

  • When the Masonry Dam was put into place 1915, it flooded Rainy Season Lake which became Rattlesnake Lake.
  • The small  town of Moncton was flooded by Rattlesnake Lake which was a surprise to the builders of the dam and to the residence of Moncton. There is a terrific slideshow of the town slowly flooding here.
  • There are no rattlesnakes near Rattlesnake Lake, in fact there are no rattlesnakes on this side of the Cascade Mountains.
  • Rattlesnake Lake and Rattlesnake Bluff got their names from the tall plants that had been plentiful in the area. When these plants dried, they had a rattle sound when in a breeze.
  • The color of the lake is because of the glaciers.
  • There is a top notch education center at the Cedar River Watershed and the meeting room was great too!
  • The green roof at the visitor’s center was so interesting.
  • It was raining, again. We have set all records for rain this year! (so, so tired of rain!)

 

 

 

May Peace Prevail on Earth, Puyallup United Methodist Church

This Easter I was driving past the Puyallup Methodist Church at 1919 West Pioneer Avenue, Puyallup WA 98371 when In noticed their delightfully flowered cross. It had a combination of live flowers and artificial flowers and was really decked out. While there I was drawn to the three peace poles with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in many languages.  I also appreciated the Blessings Box, which was similar to a little free library, but larger and full of food. What a nice idea.

The church’s website is here.

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A smooch on Grays River Covered Bridge

Sometimes it is good to have a small, doable goal. My goal of the day was to take a photo of every working covered bridge in Washington State. The Grays River Covered Bridge in western Wahkiakum County, Washington is Washington State’s only such bridge, though there are several others that are not operational or not public. This bridge was constructed in 1905 to facilitate the horse and wagon traffic of nearby farms. The cover was added in 1908 to protect the wood trusses. It was placed on the national registry of historic places in 1971 and the historic nomination form can be found here. Over the years, the bridge fell into disrepair and was renovated and reconstructed in 1988 and rededicated in 1989. The bridge span is 155.5 feet and the height of the bridge is 22.5 feet. The bridge is part of the Ahlberg Park which is the site of an annual covered bridge festival. A much better photo and more information can be found in the Wikipedia article. It was raining so hard and for so long that I just couldn’t bring myself to go out in the wet field for the photographic shot! Though I did include a bonus photo of a nearby barn!

Dear husband remembered the tradition of covered bridges being kissing bridges and claimed a kiss mid-span. It use to be, back in the day of wagons, that young folks would take advantage of the privacy of the covered bridges for a kiss or two.

It has been about 10 years since I’ve been on a covered bridge, with the last one being Emily’s Bridge in Vermont. Vermont wins the contest for the state with the most covered bridges. I actually have a photo of that Vermont bridge from ten years ago.

Emily’s Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lewis and Clark, End of the Trail in Seaside Oregon

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled 4,000 miles over 18 months to reach this place on the Pacific Ocean. This statue by Stanley Wanlass commemorates Lewis and Clark as well as Seaman, the Newfoundland dog that traveled with the expedition. At first I thought it odd that the statue faced away from most of the traffic, but of course it makes sense, Lewis and Clark are looking west!


It was our first time in Seaside Oregon and dear husband proclaimed it much like Atlantic City, NJ. Well, perhaps the Atlantic City years ago prior to gambling being legal there! The downtown area was full of stores, restaurants and hotels. Even the beach had a good number of folks on it, though they were sensibly wearing coats and rain gear. Mostly I just walked since I had our dog, Lilly, with me and she isn’t welcome in the establishments for the most part.

 

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale, Fort Stevens State Park


On October 25, 1906 the four-masted steel sailing vessel, the Peter Iredale, sank near the mouth of the Columbia River. No lives were lost. Dear husband and I had seen the ship before when we stayed at Fort Stevens State Park near Hammond, Oregon about 25 years ago. At that time we had our red chow, Yum, with us and we enjoyed the adventure of camping. And here I was years later with Lilly, our cairn terrier. I had dropped dear husband off at Astoria so that he could peruse the antique stores. There was less of the ship now, but still in all I was impressed that so much of it remained.

Graveyards of the Pacific lists some of the other ships that have gone down in this dangerous part of the Pacific.

While at Fort Stevens, Lilly and I also enjoyed two wildlife view areas, one with a boardwalk/concrete viewing area that overlooked an estuary and another with a viewing platform that overlooked the crashing waves of the Pacific. There is also the fort part of Fort Stevens State Park, which operated from the time of the Civil War through World War II. All of the photos are mine with the exception of the historical view of the ship.

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Long Beach, WA, the world longest driving beach

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Long Beach, Washington is our ‘to go’ to places for a short get away. This trip was small scale with just three of us: me, dear husband, and Lilly (our cairn terrier). We had the smallest cottage at Anchorage Cottages, #1 with about 400 square feet and it had everything we needed. As soon as we got here dear husband and dog took a nap (exhausted from being the passengers) and I went off in the rain to snap a photo. I have to confess that it was raining so hard that I rolled down the car window to take the shot! With the sign photos, one is looking toward the town and the other photo is looking toward the Pacific Ocean.

The sign proclaims that Long Beach is the “World’s Longest Beach”, so of course I had to research that. The world’s longest beach is Praia do Cassino Beach in Brazil with a length of 150 miles. The longest beach in the United State is Padre Island National Seashore in Texas with 70 miles. Long Beach at 28 miles is the 8th longest beach. (Source), but it is the longest drivable beach. I’m sure that’s what the sign means.

I’ve also included a photo of the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach on a sunny day in the past.

 

Stink

I was beginning to feel like I was the only person in Tacoma that hadn’t been to Stink at 628 St Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402. But dear husband and I were back at the new art supply store, Artist and Craftsman (yes, that is going to be a problem), and Stink was open and we were hungry, so off we went. I had the Five Mushroom Soup and he had the Italian Mac and Cheese and both were yummy. The service was fast and friendly and the décor is quirky since they use box springs as wine holders. For more information, check out their website.

But first, breakfast at the Biscuit House in Lakewood

Biscuit House at 9702 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA 98499 has been on my ‘to try” list since I first read about it a while back. Dear husband and I stopped in today and I had the full breakfast (Eggs, bacon/sausage, biscuit and gravy) and dear husband has a scone that was fresh out of the oven. The meals were served very quickly and were delicious. The interior of the space is thoughtfully comfortable and the staff (the three women that own the restaurant) were very welcoming. I love that it is possible to purchase a 1/2 omelet for about half the price of a full one. They have a website and a Facebook Page.

And there is a bonus photograph of a cherry blossom because I am that excited about Spring being here!

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