Saturday, August 8, 2015

2015-21 Olympia Peninsula (Continued)


Olympia Peninsula (Continued)

Doug and Tom, the hobos

Finding an ideal place to spend some quality time during the heat of the summer months is a goal of many Rv-ers.  Northern Michigan (the U.P.) where I grew up is one of those places.  It’s a quieter almost hidden gem where the temperatures often are in the 70’s and occasionally the mid 80’s for a couple of weeks during the summer months.  Having lived there and returned to the U.P. many times, it was time to explore other parts of the country in search of that illusive perfect weather/summer destination.

A combination of a dryer summer season for the Olympia Peninsula and having many fellow Rv-ers in the area makes this an ideal location for a summer stay.  Current day/night temps are 72/53, 78/52, 82/58 and 69/57.

The first excursion of the week was to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge... a wetland recovered.

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

boardwalks through the wetlands

do you see one or two barns?

This week will be a short report with only two big adventures to report on along with exploring the small town of Shelby Washington.  The old town is anchored by a bay with a large lumber mill that is currently being closed down for two years under new ownership and will be rebuilt with all the modern equipment needed to remain competitive in today’s market.  It’s a nice mix of businesses, shops and restaurants.  Up on the hill and closer to the main highway is the New part of the town anchored by Walmart a Fred Myers and some chain restaurants and other businesses.

The two big excursions this week are a trip to Mt Rainier and a visit to Tacoma to explore some of the sites there as well as quick stop to the Dermatologists office to get my stitches removed from my recent skin cancer surgery.

The Hobo Inn

a few local hobos (Tom and Christine)

the tiny little Lutheran Church in Elbe

each car is a hotel room
The first excursion took me to Mt Rainier with Tom and Christine providing my transportation and guides.  As much as I enjoy traveling on my own it’s a super pleasure to enjoy a visit with friends.  Our first stop was to the small whistle stop town of Elbe.  Many years ago I was out here on a business trip and vacation and I stayed at the “Hobo Inn”,  made up of train cars.  It’s still there and I was able to see the Caboose that was my room for the night many years ago.  Remembering the evening, sitting in the cupola looking up at Mt Rainier in the distance as the sun slowly sank in the west.  Back then I also took the train ride and had dinner in the dining car.  It was great to see the place is still there giving all the train enthusiasts a ride of a lifetime.

talk about a ride through a forest, wow

entering the park, the trees loom high overhead

glacial snow fed rivers

Then is was onto Mt Rainier and a spoiler alert, the mountain was not in view as it was covered in clouds and mist while we were there, only coming out as we started our trip back to Shelton.  But not to worry, the thick forests leading up to one of the many entrances into the park and a visit to “Paradise”…. the Inn that is.  What an appropriate name for an inn with all that surrounding alpine scenery.  I will say that the scenery and many hiking opportunities are enough to get the more sedentary person out and walking.  The views are grand and with each step a new vista opens up.  The wildflowers were past their peak but still awesome as they tumbled down the alpine meadows and hillsides.

Mt Rainier forests 

even at the end of the wildflower season they still look pretty good

winters can be harsh on the trees

Visitor Center

Historic Paradise Lodge

Paradise Lodge on Mt Rainier 

We had lunch at the 100 year old historic Paradise Inn with it’s large wood beamed ceilings ,rows of tables and efficient waiters.  Unfortunately my Buffalo burger was so over cooked that I almost needed a hacksaw to cut into it.  A minor blip in a perfect day of adventure.

wonderful hiking opportunities

a small waterfall

Kudos to Me:  As you probably know, I love taking pictures and hopefully continue to improve over time.  Along with a bit of luck, lots of practice and being at the right place at the right time I occasionally hit it out of the park as they say.  Well, today I received an e-mail from The Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton Canada requesting permission to use one of my photos.   It’s a shot I’d taken a while back while visiting this wonderful country.  They are building a new museum and would like to use my photo as a part of one of their exhibits.  How cool is that?

Tacoma.  A gorgeous day, the sun is shining the temperatures are perfect for a short road trip to Tacoma.  Tom and Chris are once again my source of transportation and guides as we first head to my Dermatologist to have the stitches removed.  Taking only a few minutes, we were off to explore a bit of Tacoma.  A very large Central Depot Station which was shuttered for over 20 years and was finally renovated and is now part Court house and History museum.  The main hall of the original depot is a stunning large volume of space filled with Chihuly Glass.  He is from the Seattle area where his team of glass blowers create monumental displays of glass.  Then it was onto the Glass Bridge, where more of his works are on display.  Great views of the city as well.  The University of Washington Tacoma is right downtown and we met a crowd of young entertainers wanting to perform for us…. Spontaneous, joyful and unexpected.  These students are having fun and glad they included us for a few minutes.

The Glass Museum

University of Washington students having fun

Union Station and statue

 Chihuly Glass

 Chihuly Glass

Of course there is a lot more in the city to explore but our group was onto Camping World, the store that has everything to make our Rv’s sparkle and of course lunch after that.  I might add we were dodging heavy traffic all the way.  Thank goodness for Google maps and instant road condition updates as they helped us avoid much of those traffic jams.  One more reason I enjoy getting out into the country and away from large crowds.

 Chihuly Glass on the Glass Bridge

 Chihuly Glass on the Glass Bridge

highways going through Tacoma Washington

 Chihuly Glass on the Glass Bridge

 Chihuly Glass on the Glass Bridge

A final note, my computer has been going through the major update for Windows 10.  Took over two and a half hours to complete but it appears to have been successful.  Plus another 20+ minutes to re-boot.... yuck.

So that’s it for this week, a short report from a great location on the Olympia Peninsula.

more photos on PICASA

"waiting" my attempt at still life

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