Monday, July 28, 2014

Tacoma and Seattle Again

July 26 - 29, 2014:

A return to Tacoma to visit the Museum of Glass.  The exhibits were mostly abstract glass art, interesting but really not that attractive to me, like most modern art, I don't get it ?    I loved the "Hot Shop" part of the museum where you can watch them make stuff in real time.  It was amazing to watch them go through all the complex steps to fabricate a bowl.  Also amazing was how they sling these fragile molten pieces of glass around wearing only tee shirts, shorts, sneakers with no protective gear at all except safety glasses.

Very colorful glass balls

Twinkles is illuminating

The Hot Shop team in action

Red Hot glass !

A little more heat required

Across the street is another must see attraction, the US Court House, which was formerly the Union Train Station.  The interior has been restored, but unfortunately virtually nothing is left from it's railroad days, except the sounds outside of the passing diesel freight trains.  It is beautiful however and decorated inside with several large, beautiful art glass pieces.  This area gives you a sensory overload the sights and sounds of downtown Tacoma on one side, the waterfront area on the other, with freight trains going by, the Museum of Glass building, the Court House building, the Bridge of Glass, the Washington Historical Museum and on clear days even a Mt. Rainer view.

Front of the Court House

Chihully glass piece hanging from ceiling

Another glass piece on second floor

View from second floor

A final trip into Seattle to take in the "Underground Tour" in the Pioneer Square area.  This is a guided tour of the original city area that was rebuilt after the great fire.  Eventually this entire area was built up with soil and fill to prevent flooding during high tides.  This covered the lower floors of the buildings making them basement areas.  The man who started the Underground Tours spearheaded a preservation effort in the Pioneer Square area and his tour was instrumental in raising public awareness and ultimately getting the area designated a National Historic Site.  

Underground tour in Pioneer Square

We are underground

Another view, this was once street level

This is a parking garage they call the Sinking Ship.
They demolished an old Hotel for it that set off
the Seattle preservation movement

The Madam and her best working girls, they loaned
money to local business owners to rebuild after
the great fire

Iconic Chief Seattle

Back to the Market

Imposing Mt. Rainer in the distance from the Ferry

Of course there were a couple of trips to nearby Poulsbo for shopping, the amazing bakery and to visit the Poulsbo museum, another small but interesting museum supported by volunteers. The friendly woman on duty gave us a tour of the exhibits and overview of Poulsbo with considerable local flavor. She pointed out to us her grandfather (as a handsome young man) and her mother (as a young girl) in two old photos hanging on the wall.

Welcome to Poulsbo

The usual crowd at the Bakery

So Good !

Viking Tee Shirts for sale

Museum photo with Grand Dad in
the lower right, he eventually became
a ship captain

Poulsbo City Hall sign

There is so much to do in this area, but it's time to move on.
Next stop is Dungeness Spit Recreation Area near Sequim, Washington; 

Twinkles and Slick

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bremerton and Tacoma, Washington travels

July 19-25, 2014:

It starts with a ride to a scrap metal yard (now known as a recycler) in Bremerton to get rid of a spare RV wheel and an old Battery.  The scrap yard was really cool, guys with torches cutting and crushing metal does excite me.  

Then continuing to downtown Bremerton, now known as the arts district, where they are making a valiant effort to revitalize the old downtown.  I found two old theater's, a nice looking museum, a few restaurants and victorian buildings, but it was practically empty of people. 

Mural on downtown Bremerton building

The Roxy Theater in Bremerton

The Admiral Theater in Bremerton

I then walked a few blocks away to the Naval Museum past a nicely done historical park area that was virtually covered with seagull poop.  I see this all over, the town raises funds or gets federal or state grant money to do these good things, but then they don't maintain it and it eventually looks like crap.  Bremerton Shipyard was the largest military shipbuilding and repair facility in the northwest at one time.  It was critical during WWI and WWII and continues to be a very important US Naval base, but there is no shipbuilding at present.  

A statue to the women rivet workers at Bremerton Shipyard during WWII

A group photo of the riveters

A Battleship model

One of the crew survived the mission

Also of interest is the adjacent park with it's high tech water fountains that erupt like the Yellowstone Park Geysers every few minutes, very cool.

There she blows

Sunday was a cool, cloudy rainy day that was a good day for rest and dealing with a nagging RV issue.  The shower floor has an area in the corner that flexes up and down when you stand on it, makes me nervous.  I removed a small plumbing access cover to look inside and saw nothing broken, that's good, but also see no support under that corner area of the floor at all ?  All I see is a triangular piece of plywood, not extending to the subject corner, with 3 or 4 short 2 X 4 wood studs underneath for support.  So freak'n poorly engineered !  So, I fabricated another wooden stud support to add to the corner, although it's not secured well as it is an impossible area to work in.  The alternative is to rip out the entire shower enclosure to fix properly.  That's not happening !  Not sure I really fixed anything, but I feel better about it ?

Another issue that now does seem resolved is the refrigerator.  It was getting too cold, icing up and freezing things.  A few minutes of research on the internet and I found that on Norcold refrigerators this is usually caused by one of two components, the thermister or the control board.  The test is to unplug the temperature thermistor which is super easy to do and if the refrigerator warms up the thermistor is bad.  Otherwise it is the expensive control board, luckily the thermistor did test bad.  The Thermister is also easy to replace and inexpensive.  The hard part is getting the part, Camping World didn't have it and couldn't get it for close to two weeks.  Amazon on the other hand, has it in stock (at another RV parts distributor) and can deliver it to the campground in two days with free shipping.

While I was stationed at Ft. Lewis, the closest town was Tacoma, but don't remember ever going there.  So I took off for the hour ride to Tacoma as I had heard good things.  On the way I stopped at "Gig Harbor" to see what all the fuss is about.  It has a really quaint postcard harbor view, but otherwise I wasn't that impressed.  The multi-million dollar homes on the bluff overlooking the Sound have impressive views for sure but I wouldn't want to live there.  I do have to say the locals seem friendly, a number of women passing me on the street gave me big smiles, of course I do have sort of have a "Dude" look going on presently ?

They had  their chairs and spots claimed by noon for
the evening concert in the Gig Harbor park

A Gig Harbor view

Another harbor view in a light rain shower 

As I drove into the Tacoma area I saw a sign for Point Defiance and Fort Nisqually and decided I better check that out.  I then came upon a building ahead with a great mural and had to stop for a photo.  In case you haven't noticed, I hardly ever let one pass by.  The building was very cool too, it was "The Antique Sandwich Shop".  It appears to have been an old bar and/or Hotel.  It has been a restaurant for a long time by the age of the photos on the walls, with a "fair trade" look and feel to it, very organic and great food.  I had a turkey sandwich to die for, can't say I've ever had a better one.  The place definitely goes on my favorites list.

Antique Sandwich Shop mural

Front of the Shop

At Point Defiance Park, I found many hiking trails, picnic areas, historic Fort Nisqually, a Zoo and a great flower garden. I stopped at the Dahlia Trail Garden as it was visible from the road, in full bloom and spectacular ! 

The reconstructed Fort Nisqually, the first settlement in
the Pugent Sound area in 1855

Great symmetry and bee's love it

A whiter shade of pale

A close up, so perfectly shaped

A wet Fushia bloom

I had never explored Tacoma before as it's sort of overshadowed by Seattle.  I kind of expected solid ghetto, but was very surprised and impressed by the redevelopment of the dock area, the theater district and the University areas.  Lots of parking there and really good stuff in Tacoma's downtown.  Tacoma has become renowned for art glass as it is the home of the master art glass guru, Dale Chihully, and has the Museum of Glass and the adjacent Bridge of Glass along with art glass displays in the U.S. Court House. Unfortunately, no time for the museum and the Court House is closed, I'll have to return another day. So, I mainly wandered around the streets looking for interesting buildings, murals, signs and sights.

The Pantages Theater in Tacoma

The Tacoma Rialto Theater

The Rialto Theater ticket booth

Old ghost signs on the side of the Pythiasn Temple

A flowery sidewalk view in Tacoma

On the side of a open lot, Is it the "Mad Hatter" ?

Pythian Temple sign

The Tacoma waterfront with the historic 1913 built
Murry Morgan Lift Bridge

A Tanker along the Tacoma waterfront
The Chihully Bridge of Glass
One portion of the Chihully Bridge of Glass, there are 2,000
art glass pieces used on the bridge

The Museum of Glass

Modern Cable stayed bridge to downtown Tacoma

Stay tuned for our final week in the Poulbo area.
Twinkles and Slick