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Sat Jul 14 to Fri. Jul 20- Vancouver, Tacoma, Concrete WA

Saturday- Last night we turned on the fan, the air conditioner, and the room fan on high, so that the ‘white noise’ drowned out the traffic noise from I-205. It worked very well and we did not have any trouble sleeping.

We left around 8:45 and drove south on I-205. We turned west on I-84 and drove straight to the Portland Farmers Market on the campus of Portland State University. We easily found a parking space on the street, right up from where we parked last week. We paid for 1 hour, and wandered around the Market. We sampled foods at the various vendors, but we only purchased  3 lbs. of Rainer Cherries $2.99 a lb .

We stopped at the Pine Street Biscuit  food truck and bought a biscuit to split. Kathy and Brian had thought we were crazy not liking the biscuit, so we were giving them a second chance. Actually, the biscuit was very good!

We left and went to Costco for gas, again, $3.08. We stopped to have crepes for lunch at a little bakery. They were very good with just the right amount of vanilla in the crepe. We think that the baked goods might have been good too, but we ran from them!

Total Beverage was next door and Bob stopped in to see if he could purchase some of the Tough Love beer that he likes so well. They will not have it until the fall.

We returned to the MH and watched people enter the Elks. We watched some of the Harry Potter movies we had recorded. We have seen them before.

We had seen in the Elks Lodge newsletter that they had burgers for dinner this evening. So we walked down to the Lodge. They looked at us like we were crazy. No burgers! Hmmm, so the bar tender went looking for their newsletter. It turned out, we had the Bellingham Elks Lodge newsletter, not the Vancouver newsletter. So no dinner and no breakfast in the morning. Oh well.

We walked back up to the MH and had leftovers from last night for dinner. We continued to watch the movies we had recorded from the Harry Potter USA channel weekend.

Sunday- We went to the Vancouver Farmers Market again. We wandered through and purchased from the same vendor as last week, a Blackberry/Ginger Balsamic Vinegar and a Lemon Zinger Balsamic Vinegar. We stopped at Chucks Farm Produce grocery store. We had seen another one of these and both of them had full parking lots.

We wandered through and now know why they were so busy. The place is like Trader Joes and Sprouts combined.

We went to lunch at Gustave’s Restaurant. We had been to the one in Salem with Tom and Diane. That one was ultra modern. This one looked like a German restaurant. The food was very good and we both took home leftovers, which we had for dinner.

After dinner, there was a knock on the door. Dave Olsen, from Roadrunners , had moved in with his Alfa. We invited him in and we chatted for awhile. He left and about 20 minutes later, his wife, Barbara arrived. We chatted with her for awhile. We will see them again in January, at Quartzsite, as they are the co-wagon masters with friends John and Karen Ratcliff.

Monday- Moving day-  We left at 8:30 and traveled north on I-5. Traffic was heavy the entire trip. Our destination was JBLM- Joint Base Lewis McCord. Bob had put the RV park in the GPS. We arrived and met up with the camp host. She said she did not have a reservation. Bob checked his phone and showed her the phone number. She said that that was not their number. We must be at the RV park at Ft. Lewis. So she gave us directions there. We went to the park at Ft. Lewis. Bob went inside the office and returned with directions to the McCord RV Park. Turns out that was where we were supposed to be…

So we followed the directions, entering McCord Base. We drove through the base to Holiday RV Park. This must happen enough that they have written directions to get to the other RV park. Bob had made the reservation through their main number for the three parks.

So we arrive at the correct park, and the office is closed on Monday’s. Huh? No directions on what to do. Just a phone number to call, the same number Bob has, and no one answered. So Bob walked over to the camp host’s rig. He was not home, but there was a different phone number there.

EVERY park we have ever been to, when the office is closed, has an envelope with your name and directions to your site, with a note to catch up with the camp host in the morning!

Anyway, Bob called this second number. The guy told Bob he was off today and the office was closed. Yeah, we know! He said he had the book in his car and would call Bob back. He did and we went to site 32. There were only 2 sites open. The camp host came by later to give us a map of the park, of course, after we had been parked and set up!

Meanwhile, Bob’s phone rang and I answered it. It was the doctors office calling about his medications. Our doctor had left the practice. Before she left, the office staff were supposed to forward Bob’s prescriptions to CVS/Caremark. The office did not do that. They did forward mine.

The gal said that the new Doc would not sign off on the prescriptions as he has not seen Bob. Bob is to come in for an appointment. I explained to her that we are in Washington State and he can’t go in for an appointment. She told me to have him see his doctor in Washington! AGAIN, I explained to her that we only have one primary Doc and he is in AZ. Not our fault that the staff did not do their job or that the old Doc left the practice. (Probably because of the incompetence of the staff!) She would put me on hold and ask the Doc again. Then she disconnected. She never called back and I was unable to get through to the office. I would be first in the que and they would disconnect.  Jerks!

So I went into Case Manager mode! I called our insurance Health Line. I spoke with the Nurse, explaining the situation. The insurance company has an MD Live program, free to us. So we signed Bob up for it. Then I gave the phone to Bob and he finished up with his history and medication list.

Then Bob went to walk the dogs. Of course, as soon as he left, his email alert went off. His phone was charging and he had taken mine. So I checked and went through the process of setting up the account. Then to ‘schedule an appt’. I chose schedule, not the right now option, and it went straight to right now. It would not let me change it.  So I texted Bob to return ASAP. He was just walking in the door when the Doc called! Interesting program!!

We left at around 3:30 taking the dogs with us to Judy and Fred Dillon’s home. They are Alfa owners we know from Paradise RV Park in AZ. The dogs were very happy to go and to meet up with their canine friend, Millie, the Dillon’s dog.

We had a great time catching up, and they served us a wonderful dinner. We arrived back home around 10.

Tuesday- We had to catch up on laundry, so Bob ran the towels and sheets over to the laundry room. The military bases are cheap, at $1 a load. Meanwhile, I washed some clothes.

At around 10, we left and went to the Glass Museum. We easily found parking in downtown Tacoma, 2 hr. minimum, $4. Our first stop was at Union Station. The former train station is now a Federal Courthouse. We entered and had to show the guard our drivers licenses. Then we were allowed to enter the first part of the building. It you actually want to go into the Courthouse portion of the building, you have to go through another security screening where they run you though metal detectors. Outside was this statue. There was no explanation of what the statue meant. Evidently a train traveler.


The area that we had entered had four Chihuly art works. There is an app that you can download which has a Chihuly walk, with info about the art works. We did not bother with the app.  In the center of the building was this piece hanging from the ceiling.

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Next to the stairs that we climbed to the balcony, was this plaque about the station.

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Up stairs, facing the bay, were these Chihuly sculptures. They were called The Monarchs. They looked more like lily pads to us than butterflies.

20180717_105846We continued to walk around the balcony. The next area was the “basket wall”. I had to take the picture from the other side of the room. These were actual drawings, not glass.

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The next stop was at the front of the building. These were called The Reeds.

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We continued walking towards the south wall to the back of this sculpture. It is called Lakawanna Ikebana. I have no idea why…

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All of this art has been donated to the government by Dale Chihuly and his wife.

We walked back down the stairs and left. We walked south and turned to cross the famous Chihuly Glass Bridge. First of all, so there is no misunderstanding, the bridge is not made of glass. It crosses over I-705 from the Federal Courthouse to the Glass Museum.

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The bridge is sort of a tunnel of glass in the ceiling. This is similar to the ceiling we saw in the Chihuly Museum in St. Petersburg FL.


This is looking back at the Federal Courthouse.

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Above are two other pieces of Chihuly.

We continued on to the Venetian Wall. The wall is facing south, still over the interstate,  and each piece has its own shelf.


There were a lot of these and each one was different. You could sit there and look at them for a long time!


We continued walking and descended the many steps to the street level of the Glass Museum. We paid the senior rate, $14 each to enter.


In the hallway on the way to the restrooms, there were numerous glass sculptures. The Museum has a program where they have children draw a design on paper, and they make the piece in their “hot” room. They make two and the kids get one and the museum keeps one. Here are a few…

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These were all designed by 9-11 year old kids! Above are Popsicle Man and Burger Man. Below is Flat Whale. What a nice program!

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We spent a short time in the movie, which was about the featured glass sculptor. Then we looked at the history of the museum. It was interesting!

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Albert Paley was the spotlight sculptor.

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I was drawn to the one above.

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Here is the artist creating the piece above.

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They were interesting, but not something we would go out of our way to see again. There was also some Chihuly.

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Then we turned a corner and saw this! It literally takes your breath away! The picture does not do it justice!

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These are some of the hanging objects.


Each of the blood draw tubes hold a different item. It was ingenious!


There were measuring tapes, tooth picks, tooth brushes, paper clips, pretty much any little item that you can think of…. below is a clothes pin with what appears to be a guitar pic…


Anyway, we were both fascinated by this!  So fascinated, I forgot to get the info on the artists!

We wandered through the “ Hot Shop”. They were hard at work….


This mural was outside the gift shop. It is made up of glass squares.

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The artist is Cappy Thompson, and she is in the center of the mural with her dog.

We entered the gift shop. This is of a glass knitting item. Look at the price! 


Here is a Chihuly for sale… just a measly $6500!


There was an expensive restaurant in the museum. We decided to try to find another place, and finally decided to go to IHOP for lunch! It was $0.60 for pancakes today. We each had the small stack of pancakes and turkey sausage. They even gave us the senior discount, so we paid about $6.50, total for the both of us! We gave them a good tip though!

We returned home. walked the dogs, did some laundry and prepared to leave. We drove back north on I-5 to I-705 to Dukes Seafood and Chowder House to meet up with my former business partner, Laurie Lamoureux. We had a great time visiting and an awesome dinner. The food was delicious!

We left at around 8:30 and returned home to happy dogs. It is always interesting getting on and off the base. Tonight there was a long line and they also asked for Bob’s drivers license, in addition to his Retired DOD Common Access Card.

Wednesday- I called and made an appt. for dog grooming for next week in Twisp. Bob was not able to do all the towels yesterday, so he did the rest this morning and I did another load of laundry. We left around 11 AM and went to Costco. Gas there is $3.03. We purchased Bob another pair of shoes. He had purchased some at the last Costco and he likes them so much, he bought a spare pair!

We went to Panera for salads for lunch, then went to Point Defiance Park. Judy had suggested that we visit this park.

20180718_131024We stopped at Owen Beach. Notice that there is no one in the water…the water temp is too cold! The air temp was in the high 60’s.


This was another view of Puget Sound from the overlook.



Now we were over at Gig Harbor on the other side of the peninsula.


We spotted sea lions playing in the water right below us.

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We drove the whole of the 5 mile drive, then went to the boat dock. On the left was Anthony’s Restaurant.

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Here is one of the Ferry’s. It was just loading.

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We left and went to the Gardens.



Then there were the aromatic roses!



We returned home and did some laundry. We stayed in this evening.

Thursday- Yesterday and today there was a marine layer over the area. Yesterday the weather cleared around noon. The forecast is the same for today. Temps should be in in the 75-78 range.

We decided to go south to Olympia. We went straight to the Capitol building. We easily found parking in the visitor lot. $4 for 2 hours. We walked over to the building, about a block away. We could see this fountain on the lawn in the distance. It was quite a fountain!


Since we had some time before the 10 AM tour, we walked to the back of the building to take a picture. The building looks like it needs to be cleaned.


Note the dome. It is the 4th largest in the world and the largest in North America.


We walked inside of the building, following Capitol Tour signs to the front entrance. There we met up with the Docent, Mark. We talked to him until 10. There was only one other gal in the tour with us!

Here is one of the front doors to the building. There is no security in this building. They only have cameras. They had security right after 9-11, but took all the stations down about 9 months after 9-11.

There were three of these doors, each with different bronze sculptures. There are 42 steps to walk up to these doors, representing that Washington was the 42 state to enter the Union.


All of the light fixtures and much of the bronze works are made by Tiffany.


We were taken into the Governors office. We were allowed to take all the pictures we wanted to, but no pictures of the employees. Below is the Governors conference table.

His chair is ornamental.

20180719_101530 Here is the inside of the rotunda.


Looking towards the front of the building from the rotunda.


Below is the Tiffany Chandelier.

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This piece is very interesting. On the bottom, which you cannot see in the picture are faces. They are the actual size of a person’s face. The light bulbs are the size of grapefruits, so this piece is very deceiving in size. The piece weighs 10 tons. The cord hanging it, weights over 1 ton.

So they built this building standing on a hill over looking the end of Puget Sound. But there are 5 buildings in the complex, and the one directly in front of the building is the Supreme Court, blocking the spectacular view. Another error that they made was that this is an earthquake area. Not long after the building was completed, they had a 6.5 earthquake. It rocked the building terribly, with all of the light fixtures swaying significantly, except for the piece above. This piece never moved! After the earthquake the building was closed to 2 years, for repairs, and they installed rebar behind the marble. It cost much more to install the rebar than to actually build the building.

They only clean and replace the light bulbs in the Tiffany Chandelier every 10 years. They tried to have people lowered from the ceiling to clean it and that did not work. They tried other ways…Finally, they just close the building and put up platforms to clean it and to change the light bulbs.

The rotunda area is rented out for various functions, including weddings. The cost is $300, which is cheap for a venue. They also have a state room where they have the balls etc. Below is the part of the State Room.


The piano is antique and since it need to be used to stay in tune, they have to persuade people to come in and to use it.

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The carpet is original. The marble in this room is French, In the building is French, Alaskan, and Italian marble. The outside of the building is sandstone from the Washington gorge. The table below is beautifully carved.


From here we went to the House side of the building.



The ceilings on both sides were the same, but the carpeting was different, although similar.


This second one is the Senate.


The House has electronic voting. The Senate does not. The Senate is overseen by the Lt. Governor. They elected a blind Lt. Governor, so they installed Braille. When someone is to speak, the Braille pops up for the Lt. Governor to “read” the name so that he can call on the Senator. I thought that was pretty cool!

Below is the Senate.


This is the Seal of the State of Washington. When they went to design the seal, they came up with all sorts of ideas. Finally, the bronze worker said no to their ideas. So they pulled out a coin and went with George Washington.


So there is a picture of George behind the Lt. Governors chair.

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This building was completed in 1928. Right before the Great Depression, so it is the last Capitol Building built in the Neoclassical style.

Mark took us to a hall with pictures of them constructing the building. He left us at the Gift Shop ( shades of Disney where you always leave thru a gift shop!). He suggested that we go around to the back of the court building to view the end of Puget Sound. On many days, you can see the water and the Olympic Mountain range. Not today. First though, we stopped to take a picture of the front of the building.


Here was the view.


We walked back to the car and drove about a mile to the Farmers Market. It is open Thursday to Sunday. There were about 50 vendors.


We wandered through and Bob sampled and purchased some Eastern European OlyKraut raw sauerkraut. We wandered through and decided to go to a seafood restaurant for lunch. We walked over to Bud’s Cafe. It was 3 stars on Yelp. The food was outstanding! I had the pan seared scallops with fresh green beans and rice pilaf. Bob had the coconut shrimp and french fries. There were fresh, hot sough dough rolls.  I was ready to lick the plate is was soo good! I gave them a 5 on Yelp!

On the way back to the car, we walked along the marina to this overlook.

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We climbed the 32 steps up. The picture below is facing back towards the Capitol.



On the way home we stopped at Walmart and Costco for gas, $3.09. We had dinner at home.

Friday- Moving day- We left around 9:20. I drove the MH and Bob drove the car behind.me. We had found that at the back gate to the base, there were not the usual plastic barriers to dodge while driving through. Even though it was a little but longer, there was also a place to hook up the car. So we went out the back gate.

This way out had a circle, then a zig-zag, but it was much easier. Then we turned right, drove about 3/4 mile, and pulled over to hook up the car. We drove onto I-5 north.

The Tacoma/Seattle are traffic is notorious for being awful. It was! Fred had suggested that we not take I-405, as he said that was worse. He suggested we take I-5 north and stay in lane 2, the second from the right. The right lane and left lanes go away at various times on this drive. So that is what we did.

I drove, as I get to nervous in cities. We had a couple of slow downs, and we traveled at a slow speed, with the traffic, but we made it through. This was our first (and last) time driving this way. Last time we were here, we traveled the Olympic Peninsula, and took the ferry across. That is what we will do in the future when in this area. This trip we wanted to see Tacoma and Olympia.

We turned east onto Hwy. 20, the Scenic North Cascade Hwy. and traveled east about 27 miles to the Thousand Trails Grandy Creek. This is a combo KOA/TT. We are in the TT section, with 30 amp and water. We are not impressed with this TT.

We settled into our site, sat outside enjoying the nice weather, BBQ’s a steak and watched the next Harry Potter movie.

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