Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tacoma – September 30, 2014

Tuesday in Tacoma

Forget It

Day 20 and it’s time for a Travel Rant


Thinking of going to Tacoma and it’s a Tuesday, save yourself frustration and forget about it. Tacoma closes on Tuesday. Major attractions lock the doors and disappear. One has to wonder who is the mastermind that decided everyone should close on the same day. How does that benefit anyone?


The Museum of Glass – Closed on Tuesday

However, the Store is open to part you with your money

Washington State History Museum – Closed on Tuesday


Tacoma Art Museum – Closed on Tuesday

Don’t consider going north to the Seattle Art Museum – Closed Mon. & Tuesday


 Fort Nisqually Living History Museum – Closed on Tuesday


Tacoma History Museum – Closed on Tuesday


On previous trips to Tacoma we’ve visited four of the five museums and would love to revisit each of them. These sites offer quality experiences – just, NOT on Tuesday. It’s not like this is a single staff or even one association running the five facilities; it’s beyond my comprehension why anyone wants to see all these attractions closed on the same day.


The only power the traveler has is to take their tourism dollar and leave town. Exactly what we did.

Chihuly Garden and Glass – Seattle, Washington

Charmed by Chihuly

September 28, 2014


Sealife Tower


Today was the day to fulfill a primary purpose of the entire trip – to experience the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition in Seattle. We were not disappointed, even better than anticipated.  Many elements of the site deserve more time and space than I have energy for tonight. Therefore just a few photos to provide an overview. Hopefully there will be a time when I share more from an outstanding day.


Bob's Starfish


My new favorite Chihuly installation is the Sealife Tower. Golden glass sea forms float in the massive blue tower. Stunning. The longer I circled and observed the more enchanted I became.


Bob's Snail


Eight indoor galleries present the wide variety of Chihuly’s creations. Glass Forest, Norhtwest Room, Sealife Room, Persian Ceilng, Mille Fiori, Ikebana and Float Boat, Chandeliers, Macchia Forest – none should be missed.


Glass House with Northwest Sun


A number of glass conservatories around the world have hosted temporary Chihuly exhibitions. For Seattle’s Garden and Glass he designed his own glasshouse. A 100-foot long suspended glass sculpture stretches across the top of the 40-foot tall room.


Glass House Installation


 The 605-foot Space Needle looks down on the outdoor garden installations. At the right time of day reflections of the Needle appear in many of the glass orbs in fascinating juxtapositions.


Space Needle Reflection


After viewing just a few amateur photographs I hope you agree that the Chihuly Garden and Class is well worth a trip to Seattle.

Travel Log – Vancouver to Lynnwood, Washington

Back to the USA

Saturday – September 27, 2014

Welcome Sign


Depending on your view, the good news – or bad news –  is that they let us back into the country. After an 80 minute wait at the Peace Arch Crossing at White Rock, BC/Blaine, WA we were once again on our way.


There was plenty of time for a little ironic political thinking of the roadblocks for citizens to be admitted when our borders are open sieves for illegal entries and terrorists because we wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Yet the tax paying, legal, upright citizen is given the third degree. Why doesn’t someone call that profiling?


We spent the afternoon and evening visiting with Bob’s cousin Walt and his wife Ann, a delight to see them again after many years. We enjoyed lunch in their home and an outstanding dinner at Oyster Bar Restaurant south of Bellingham. The drive south on the old road right along the water was marvelous – narrow and winding but very scenic.


Dinner is worthy of an entire story. For now, let’s just say the best meal with the best view and company we’ve had on the entire trip.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – September 25, 2014

Day in Vancouver


Vancouver Skyline

Although the day started with clouds and rain, we’re in Vancouver, get out and participate. This is a city of walkers and outdoor activities, a little rain is barely noticed. After a drive through Stanley Park and along English Bay we spent several hours at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropogy – a treasure trove of art and artifacts of First Nation peoples.


UBSMA - Mask

Bob is especially interested in the carvings of totems, house boards, masks, boxes, canoes. Timing was just right for me to join one of the free tour groups while Bob took detailed photos. Although we’ve been interested in Northwest Coast art and culture for decades I learned a great deal from the knowledgable, energetic guide.


UBCMA - Carvings


We needed a respite after museum time and headed back to Stanley Park for a mid-afternoon lunch at The Fish House restaurant. The calm ambience and seafood was greatly appreciated. We noted that in addition to lunch and dinner the restaurant serves afternoon tea as well.


Fish House Interior


The rest of the afternoon was spent at sites in the park – totem poles, lighthouse, dense forests and walks along the sea wall.


Stanley Park Lighthouse Walk in Stanley Park


Throughout the day we were encouraged by sun breaks and patches of blue skies. We even found the clouds photographic.


Afternoon Skies Over Vancouver

Northwest Road Trip – 2014

Two Weeks Down – Two To Go

Pentax Tetons 2

Can’t believe we’re two weeks into our driving trip to the Pacific Northwest, the first days seem so long ago – so much spectacular country between here and home. Taking a moment to reflect on the 14 days reminds us of all we’ve seen and experienced.

  • 3,050 miles traveled

  • 5 States – Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana,


  • 3 Canadian National Parks – Waterton, Banff, Yoho

  • 2 Canadian Providences – Alberta, British Columbia

  • 2 US National Parks – Grand Teton and Glacier

  • 1 Cousin Visit – Thanks Kay

 Lake Louise 2


We won’t soon forget seeing two American Bald Eagles while on the Waterton Lake Cruise, a grizzly ambling through a grassy field in Glacier Nt. Park, and a mother brown bear and two cubs chowing down in the same field two days in a row. Never before had we seen a rainbow and its reflection like the one at Emerald Lake.


Blue Heron InnAlternating between hotels, Nt. Park lodges, bed and breakfasts and the hospitality of family we’ve been fortunate to have no horror stories of places you would never catch us in again. It had been years since we’d stayed in a Ramada Inn and the memories aren’t great. When we needed lodging in Pincher Creek, Alberta a Ramada looked like the best choice; and I’m sure it was. The room was large, very clean, bed and linens of good quality, front desk staff friendly and efficient. Left this hotel with a new attitude towards the brand.


Definitely would return to the three B&Bs we’ve visited – Blue Heron Inn in Rigby, Idaho, Bad Rock B&B in Columbia Falls, Montana and Cromier B&B in Penticton, British Columbia. Each were unique with gracious hosts and gave a more personal experience to their area.


Vancouver Highrises


No big cities until we arrived in Vancouver today. Listed as the worst travel congestion and most traffic delays in all of Canada we’re quickly reminded of the realities of city life.


Arms Reach BistroWe’ve eaten in a variety of restaurants from neighborhood bistros to formal dining rooms (the worst service). I even have to admit to one stop at a McDonalds.We like to focus on local food whenever possible – huckleberries in Montana, saskatoon berries in Alberta, fresh from the orchard plums, pears, apples, artisan cheese and boutique wines in BC’s Okanagan Valley and fresh seafood in Vancouver.


Aspen in Yoho


Dinosaur digs, jagged mountain peaks, aqua blue glacier-fed rivers, acres of trees heavy with ripening apples, black angus grazing in seemingly endless grasslands, dense forest of towering western red cedar, new mown hay awaiting baling, golden aspen in their fall glory, hillsides covered in rows of vineyards, and rushing rivers, foggy mornings, clouds lying low in mountain valleys, vivid sunrises, a day without a single cloud in the sky, sheets of driving rain – visions captured in photographs and the mind. Memories.


Canmore Sunrise

What will the next two weeks reveal?

Parsons Farm Market – Keremeos, British Columbia, Canada

Everything’s Coming Up Pumpkins

Parsons - Tractor & Pumpkins

While traveling the Crowsnest Highway between the Okanagan Valley and Vancouver today I had to make a u-turn and backtrack to Parsons Farm Market in Keremeos, British Columbia. The area is known as the farm stand capital of BC and we had passed numerous stands but Parsons demanded a closer look. Established in 1908 and one of the first family operations to open a farm market Parsons is now overseen by the fourth generation.


Parsons - Apples


A collection of antique tractors stand adorned with a fall harvest of pumpkins, squashes and gourds. Large bins hold a rich harvest of tomatoes and apples. A mobile juicing unit is at Parsons today quickly turning shovelfuls of apples into juice. While the decorations are eye-catching the produce is very appealing, if we weren’t on the road for a couple of more weeks I’d be loading up on all sorts of fruits and veggies.



Parsons - Apple Juicing

I share a slideshow of some of my favorite pictures from our brief stop in Keremeos. Please take a couple of minutes and enjoy scenes of autumn that will surely put a smile on your face.


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Okanagan Valley, Canada – September 23, 2014

A Day of Orchards and Vineyards

Purple Grapes

With Penticton, British Columbia as home base we explored a small portion of the Okanagan Valley today. Acres upon acres of fruit trees and tidy rows of grape vines stretch across the landscape. Large red and golden apples await pickers and wine grapes swell with juice. Such a great location for a relaxed day of wandering back roads, tastings and photos – even if there were clouds and afternoon showers.


The Bench

Our day started at The Bench, a charming little artisan cafe and market a short walking distance from our lodging. A steady stream of locals stopped for morning coffee and conversation. We ordered “Eggers” (much like an egg McMuffin – only better) with a Dijon Mayo spread. Bob selected one with smoked salmon and capers, I chose bacon. We shared  a raspberry-nectarine scone made with fresh fruit. Yum, good start to the day.


Summerville Farmers MarketWe headed north along the west side of Okanagan Lake making a stop at the local farmers market in Summerland to purchase fresh pears and plums for an afternoon snack with cheese and crackers.


A helpful lady at the local visitor center steered us to Summerland Sweets and Sleeping Giant Winery a few miles outside of town. All over Western Canada gift shops and stores sell the jams, syrups and jellies (candies) made here at Summerland Sweets. A first for us was the syrup tasting station. With more than 20 syrups to choose from being able to taste before selection is a real bonus. I liked the Maplapple, Bob’s favorite was the Black Currant, we both agreed the pear was outstanding. Since this is a road trip we’re taking home quite a selection.


Summerland Sweets Syrups


Sleeping Giant WinesThe adjacent Sleeping Giant winery produces fruit wines, everything but grapes. From the long list we select five to try. Many are sweeter than normal table wines but some like the pear are dry and crisp. Peach is one of their top sellers and certainly gives off the distinctive peachy aroma. I note that a number of customers come in to purchase, knowing exactly what they’re after, obviously very familiar with the selection. To cap our tasting we try the seasonal pumpkin wine with the spicy flavors of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. Our Thanksgiving guests will be greeted with mulled pumpkin wine this year.


Dirty Laundry EntranceThere are so many wineries in the region it’s hard to know which ones to select. On our first visit to the valley I chose by the more interesting names – Blasted Church, Black Widow, Laughing Stock, Therapy, Forbidden Fruit. How can one not wonder about a winery named Dirty Laundry? I remember taking home their Gewürztraminer. They’ve added a new tasting room and patio since our last visit. After tasting three different Gewuztraminers I select two for purchase. One of the wines won a North American award this year but at this point in the tastings I don’t remember the details. Tasters also hear the local legion of the Dirty Laundry name.


We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting a farm stand and driving up the east side of the lake to the village of Naramata. I don’t think one can go a mile without a sign directing you to a winery, artist studio or an artisan cheese maker. I need a week to explore this section of the Okanagan.


Black Widow Winery Okanagan Gourds


Apples 3 Rows of Vines

Sign of the Day – September 23, 2014

Think About It

It was raining so I didn’t stop to take a picture of this thought written in chalk on a blackboard in front of a restaurant in Naramata, British Columbia, Canada.

Don’t Steal

The Government 

Doesn’t Like Competition

Doesn’t matter if one is a citizen of the United States or Canada sometimes we all feel drained by government taxes.

Coeur d’Alene Sunday – September 21, 2014

Slowing Down

A Day for Cousins and Football

Coeur d'Alene Resort


The morning sun glistened on Lake Coeur d’Alene Resort when I opened the drapes this morning, after a good night’s sleep. My cousin and her husband welcomed us for a couple of days of rest. A treat to be with family, laze around their condo and do the laundry.


Kay with T-shirtAn avid sports fan, Kay has been a Seahawk fan for years. Our timing brought us together the weekend the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks faced off for a rematch. Would family unity be at risk?


The husbands aren’t nearly as interested as we girls. Both of us contain our enthusiasm for a genial game viewing. I was thrilled when the Broncos tied the score at the end of the game but let down when Seattle marched down the field in overtime for the win. At least Denver showed up for this game, unlike the painful Super Bowl in February. Kay gets credit for being a gracious winner.


Kay & Nancy

We greatly appreciated the comfortable guest room, relaxed atmosphere, home cooked dinner and evening conversation – a lovely break from restaurants and hotels. Thanks Kay and Steve for the hospitality!

Golden, British Columbia, Canada to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Clouds, Water & Forest

Travel Log – September 20, 2014

After a chilly, rainy night Saturday morning dawns damp and dim. As we head south from Golden, British Columbia the clouds are low and dense. For the first hour we drive at a much lower speed than normal to insure safe vision in the ever-changing foggy conditions. What we miss most are views of the rugged Canadian Rockies and the Purcell Range. By mid-morning the sun has done it’s job leaving only scant clouds in low lying areas.


Clouds souht of Golden


Our route takes us through the East Kootenays along lakes, the headwaters of the Columbia River and the Kootenay River. Lots of water and forest along the way. Radium Hot Springs buzzes with tourists and shoppers. We learn it’s the weekend of the annual Columbia Valley Classics Car Show & Shine with over 1,000 cars and trucks displayed at The Springs Golf Course. We bypass the show but from the stream of traffic headed into town see that the popular event draws a large following from Western Canada and the States.


Meandering Columbia River in BC

We cross the border back into the United States at Eastport, Idaho continuing south through Bonner Springs and Sandpoint to our destination – Coeur ‘Alene. The rest of the day is spent visiting with family and dinner at Moon Time where the roasted corn pasta salad is always at hit.