Boise, Idaho Sunday, Aug 20 2017 

On our drive to Boise we stopped for lunch shortly after crossing the Idaho border at a rest stop with a view of the Snake River. Our campground is in Meridian, not far from the last place my wife’s mother lived. Since we last visited Meridian a new mall, the Village of Meridian, offers upscale restaurants and retail stores. After sharing dinner with three of my wife’s sisters and two of their spouses, we walked around the mall, enjoying the music and water fountain features. One of the sisters hosted a family gathering with six of the seven living children and many of their children and grandchildren. A good time was had by all!

Sacajawea

Sacajawea

The Idaho Botanical Garden, located on land previously occupied by the Idaho State Penitentiary, contains two old guard towers and the Old Penitentiary Cemetery. We walked through the English Garden, Meditation Garden, Rose Garden, Native Plant, and Vegetable Garden. We especially liked the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden that includes examples of plants in four habitats that Meriwether Lewis described during his travels between Great Falls, Montana and The Dalles, Oregon and features a bronze likeness of Sacajawea.

We toured the Idaho History Center special exhibit, “A. Lincoln: His Legacy in Idaho,” where we learned that President Lincoln signed the act creating Idaho Territory on March 4, 1863. The exhibit features many artifacts and informational signs about Lincoln’s life interspersed with historical developments in Idaho. Framed movie posters in the Center’s hallway celebrate Idaho film locations such as “Northwest Passage” (1940) in McCall and “Pale Rider” (1985) in Boulder Creek, Silver Creek, and the Vienna Mine in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Pendleton, Oregon Thursday, Aug 17 2017 

Stella Darby

Stella Darby

Views of St. Helens and Mount Baker became visible as we approached Yakima on our drive to Pendleton. The smoke is finally leaving us. The Pendleton Underground Tour introduced us to a portion of the six miles of tunnels and rooms beneath the streets of Pendleton. Originally, this was a way to bring gold from the train station to a bank. Later, businesses used this method to bring goods to their stores. We visited a reconstructed bar and poker room, a pool room and two bowling lanes, an ice making operation and butcher’s work area, a bathhouse and Chinese laundry, a Chinese jail and opium den, and a speakeasy. We went above ground to visit the Cozy Rooms, the brothel run by Madam Stella Darby from 1928-1967. Before the tour we watched a short video about the leather work of Duff Severe. After dinner at the Hamley Steak House, we walked a short distance on the Pendleton River Walk. It was interesting to learn a little about the history of Pendleton.

Ellensburg, Washington Wednesday, Aug 16 2017 

Draft Horses Barn

Draft Horses Barn

The drive from Kent, Washington to Ellensburg, Washington is not far, but we were slowed down by stop-and-go traffic on portions of the 405 and I-90. We stopped at a rest area a few miles from Ellensburg that gave us views of the Stuart Mountains. Our campsite at the Ellensburg KOA placed us on the fast-moving Yakima River. Our exploration of the city gave us a look at the buildings of Central Washington University. We hoped to hike on the Kittitas County Fairground’s John Wayne Pioneer Trail, but were discouraged by the sun exposure. Instead, we walked around the rodeo and county fairgrounds. We noted that the barns had murals focused on local events and classic quilt designs. The Davidson building, an Italianate built in 1889, is a unique downtown landmark. I was pleased to see that a nearby bike shop had a chess board that looks like it was well used. It was interesting to visit Ellensburg.

Point Defiance Park Tuesday, Aug 15 2017 

Red Wolf

Red Wolf

We started our Tacoma visit at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater used trained animals to emphasize a recycling and reuse philosophy. This message was amplified by a special exhibit of large animal sculptures composed from plastic pollution collected from beaches by the Washed Ashore project. Angela Haseltine Pozzi, founder and artistic director, creatively combined colorful objects. One of the pieces, Sebastian James the Puffin, was especially pleasing given the live horned and tufted puffins. This zoo has worked hard to breed red wolves from near extinction. We especially enjoyed their afternoon feeding. Here are some of the animals that we saw: a Sumatran tiger, a Malayan tapir, Asian elephants, polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, a radiated tortoise, Magellanic penguins, otters, sea lions, and Pacific walruses. We toured the aquarium while construction is ongoing for a new aquarium. Blooming flowers amidst a variety of foliage added to our experience.

After leaving the zoo, we drove the Five Mile Drive through Point Defiance Park with a stop at Owen Beach, the saltwater beach on the shore of Commencement Bay. We stopped our car to avoid a mother racoon and her two young, but didn’t take the time for a picture because there were two cars behind me. Fort Nisqually was closed for the day. Built in 1833, this Hudson’s Bay Company trading point was originally located in DuPont, Washington. One hundred years later two original buildings were moved to Point Defiance. Four deer were grazing outside the Fort’s wall. There are many trails we could explore on a future trip. Tacoma is rightfully proud of this beautiful natural park.

We shared an early dinner with one of my wife’s sisters and her husband at Harbor Lights. We had a table with a great view of the Sound. After dinner, we walked past Fireboat No. 1 to the Les Davis Pier and our first view of Mount Rainier. The smoke is finally beginning to dissipate.

Whidbey Island Sunday, Aug 13 2017 

Deception Pass

Deception Pass

Whidbey Island, the largest island in Puget Sound, features farmland and forest, scenic shoreline vistas and abundant parks. Captain George Vancouver discovered the island in 1792, naming it after Joseph Whidbey, his sailing master. Whidbey proved the island was not a peninsula by navigating Deception Pass. As we left the island, we stopped at the bridge and walked on it to view the strait separating Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island with a view of Strawberry Island. We arrived on the island by taking a ferry from Mukilteo. We walked the main street of picturesque Langley, named in 1891 for Kudge James Weston Langley, president of a land development company. The Dog House Tavern, built in 1908, and taking on its current name in 1937 caught my attention as a classic building. We enjoyed a great meal at Primo Bistro on a deck overlooking the water. We traveled to Fort Ebey State Park where we hiked the Bluff Trail to Battery 248, the primary gun battery of Fort Ebey to protect Puget Sound from the Japanese. Building started in 1942 and was completed in 1943. State park use began in 1965. We returned to the parked car on a trail and encountered a deer tasting the park’s delicacies. We have much more to explore on Whidbey Island.

We camped for two nights in front of my wife’s brother’s home in Everett. He and his wife shared the Boeing tour and drive around Whidbey Island. It was great to meet my wife’s nephew and niece, and to enjoy the cooking of her sister-in-law.

Future of Flight Sunday, Aug 13 2017 

Dreamlifter

Dreamlifter

The Boeing Everett assembly plant, one of the largest buildings (by volume) in the world, employs some 41,000 people. After viewing a five-minute informational video, we boarded a bus for a trip to the factory where we made two stops. First, we took an elevator up three floors and looked at 747s in various stages of assembly. On the second stop, we took an elevator up four floors where we saw 777s being built on one side and 787s on the other. The sleek, jumbo 787s are in high demand with 12 coming off the assembly line each month, but 1,000 on order. Security for this tour is tight with no purses, backpacks, and electronic devices such as cellphones and cameras. After the plant tour, we took a quick pass through the exhibits in the aviation center gallery. I was impressed by the GE90 engine. Another display refers to the materials used to make airplanes lighter: wood, steel, aluminum, titanium, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. From the Strato Deck, we watched a Dreamlifter land! This is a modified 747-400 passenger airline that transports supplies for the 787. It has a wingspan of 200 feet, length of 244 feet, height of 70 feet, cargo capacity of 65,000cubic feet, and maximum take of weight of 803,000 pounds.

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