Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gig Harbor - Washington 2014

I arrived at Mel’s home in Gig Harbor, Washington, at 7:30 AM. Bryan, who is in charge of parking, put me in a wonderful spot. Across the water is Fox Island. Former neighbors from Camino Hills, in Carlsbad, California lived there. Nancy’s mother lived two houses down the street from us. Bill died and Nancy sold this big beautiful home. They had their own dock for their boat.
To make it easier to find his home Mel put up WIN signs on every corner on those little private streets in his neighborhood. It certainly helped.

More and more WINs are arriving. It will be a large gathering. Forty WINs have signed up. 

Mel did set up two large covers to give us shade and in case of rain we will stay dry during our meetings.
He even has a refrigerator, coffee machine, and BBQ in the meeting area.

Mel, who is a WIN, has a big home. 

Most of the homes in the neighborhood are large.

On my morning walk I admired this blue bush. I never saw one like this before.

At 10:30 AM we left for the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor.

The museum displays a lot of historical items from this area. The peninsula was settled by people from Scandinavia, Croatia and Germany.

They also refurbishing the Shenandoah.

Mel and the Rotary Club were involved bringing the old schoolhouse to the museum and bringing it back to its original condition.

After the museum visit we took the trolley tour. The cost was only fifty cents. We got off once to eat lunch at a restaurant. Since we were having a potluck dinner in the evening, I shared a Fish and Chips dinner with Donna B.
The potluck dinner started at 5:30 PM. People were getting ready.

Bryan and Tom were cooking hamburgers.

There were plenty of salads and desserts.

Mel had invited some of his neighbors. Since the minimum lot in this neighborhood is ten acres, they are not that close to each other, but he wanted to make sure he did not get any complaints about having forty motorhomes and trailers on his property.After we were eating I noticed one lady covering up the potato salad. She and her husband had come later. This was not bought potato salad and looked like the German kind. I asked her where she came from and found out that she came from Sudetenland, and then lived in Frankfurt. Her husband was stationed there and brought her to the US.  He of course knew the 97th General Hospital where I was stationed.

Bagpipe Bob surprised us with an appearance. He also was leading a parade around the grounds.

This morning we went on a small ferry in Port Orchard.

The ferry brought us to Bremerton.
We had some time there and enjoyed the little water park which is located next to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The fountains look like the towers of submarines. Four of them shot water in the air, at different times, to the delight of children.

In Bremerton we boarded a large ferry which brought us, in fifty minutes, to Seattle. On the way passengers were feeding the seagulls.

Seattle came in sight and the Space Needle and the Ferries Wheel are visible.

We separated at the terminal. Small groups went in different directions. I left for the Pike Place Market.

My first stop was at the fish market where the employees throw large fish to each other. I could not get a good picture when the fish was in the air. They have wonderful displays of all kinds of fish.

There are also flower stalls.

And vegetable dealers.

Outside the market are buildings with first and second story eateries.

Near the water are several Totem Poles.

A George Washington look alike was standing motionless on a street corner and scaring passerby’s by touching them or by moving.

From the market I walked to Pioneer Square and took the Underground Tour. First we received a little history lesson about Seattle. The tour is called: “ Hilarious Historic Tour Beneath Seattle’s Sidewalks”.

On the way to the entrance of the tour we saw three mounted policemen.

We walked under the present sidewalk. Skylights provided some light. The skylights are made with a three by three feet square strong steel frame and about four inch square thick glass inserts.

I met Diana, Sally and Phil at the tour. Diana and Phil are taking pictures of me.

The guide was pretty funny.

We came out several times and walked to a different location and went underground again.

This was a store entrance before the neighborhood was raised.

This was an underground bar or a movie set.

A picture on the wall shows the city before the fire.

Toilets were built on four feet or higher platforms because the sewage backed up sometimes and flooded the bathroom.

We got another lecture in the alley way. It was a little street with pictures on the windows and a lot of flowers.

After going down we came up again.

Some people made their underground property into garages or stores. This store has a large window facing the underground sidewalk.

This picture shows the Nordstrom shoe store. In those days a lot of sales personnel were helping customers. Nordstrom started in Seattle.

There is also a picture of a high priced madam and her girls.

Pioneer Square is the city’s birthplace and is a beautiful area.

I took the 5:20 PM ferry back to Bremerton.

In Bremerton we had to wait only a few minutes for the ferry to Port Orchard. When we arrived there we all had a $ 20.00 ticket on our windshield wipers. We had parked in a four hour parking lot, and had stayed longer. We knew we would stay longer but our leader had told us that this would not be a problem. It was not for him. He guided us to Seattle and then went back right away to Gig Harbor.
I was lucky and had three passengers who shared the cost of the ticked with me. The group who went earlier parked at an all day parking lot and paid $ 5.00 per car. We should have done the same.

I walked this morning with Donna Lee’s little group. Walking at 6:00 AM was no problem, running up the hills was. I was slower than the rest of the group. Gene was a little bit ahead of me. The women went like gang busters.
Most members of the group went today to the Tacoma Art Museum, Union Station, and even a bar to see Dale Chihuly’s glass art. After I saw the pictures they took I wish I had gone too.
I went to the library and did grocery shopping.
Mel is working on his bus when he has a few minutes. With us here, he has very few chances. After he lost the drive shaft on the bus he had to replace a cooling unit. He has it installed but now he has to mount the wheels again, which is no small task. He cannot lift the wheels so he has to slide them on the lug bolts. He puts a nylon mat under the tire to facilitate the sliding. The tire has to be at the correct height.

In the evening we went to a friend of Mel to take a look at his father’s car and tractor collection. The parents were on vacation. On the Meyer Family Farm were two large barns filled with the collection.
The cars are mostly Fords and Volkswagens. There were some Model A Fords.

The tractors were all from John Deere.

Since the son is a fire fighter, they also have a fire engine.

In the office was a collection of John Deere toy tractors.

Outside was a lot of rusty farm equipment.

When we came back to our motorhomes I took some pictures of our little gypsy community. We are now 43 rigs. Mel and Donna Lee are spoiling us. They set the bar very high. After staying at Phil’s nursery and Mel’s property it will be difficult for anybody to do better. Mel and his helpers cook pancakes and bacon every morning. It is not my kind of breakfast, but he makes many WINs happy.   
One group had planned to go kayaking today, but the weather looked like it would be really bad today. They changed their plans. I got fooled too. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon with sunshine.

On my morning walk I noticed this bush with the white flowers.

The fish mail box is unusual.

I can’t get over all those giant homes. Some of them have garages for big motorhomes.

In the morning we went to Keyport, to the Naval Undersea Museum. At this museum the Navy displays and shows the history of weapons, and the equipment used to rescue submarine personnel.

The Sub-Human Submarine is a human powered small submarine.

The current standard American Mark 48 torpedo was developed from the German World War II G7e torpedo. 

All kind of torpedoes are in the museum.

There are also several different diving suits on display.

At the outside of the museum is the Trieste, a deep submergence vehicle.

We ate our lunch at the Waterfront Park in the picturesque town of Poulsbo, a place with a Scandinavian character.

This large building is home to the Norwegian Club.

In the harbor are garages for boats.

This mural of Vikings is on a wall of a store.

On the main street the stores have beautiful fronts. The town reminds me of Door County, Wisconsin.

On my walk through town  I met those WIN ladies who had just come out of a restaurant, and who were discussing their next move. I told them about the three hour parking limit. They had spent already two hours eating. I rather eat my own lunch and have more time seeing the sights of places we go to.

At the bakery I bought a bear claw.

Some of the men were enjoying a cool drink, at the Pub, while the ladies went shopping.

In the evening a group went to the Gig Harbor Eagles Lodge for dancing. We were five men and about twice as many women. I danced every dance.

The band was very good.

A couple of times the women did their own thing. Gene tried to participate.

In the morning we had a light rain. Three more WINs arrived. Margaret, who has a big truck and a long fifth wheel trailer, was able to maneuver around the corners on the narrow private streets, without making contact with the rock pile, hidden under bushes.
The day most of us arrived Mel received a call from a neighbor that two old ladies were coming down the street with large motorhomes and a car in tow. His wife had seen the two old ladies while driving in her car. She called her husband and he called Mel. She was afraid that the two old ladies would not be able to make the corners. Doc and Lu were past the corner when Mel arrived at the area in question. The couple came to the BBQ and met the old ladies.
Only one male WIN has hit the rock pile. He lost the running board on the pick- up truck he tows.
This was a free day. Some people went to the Art Show in Gig Harbor. I went on a three mile walk in the neighborhood, and ate a lot of blackberries. They are getting ripe now.

It was cloudy most of the day. This was perfect for hiking. We went to the Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. The park encompasses 600 acres with many old growth trees and hiking trails. Also the zoo and aquarium are located there.
One of the trails follows the shore of the peninsula. A lot of ferries transport vehicles and people around communities in Puget Sound.

We found one of the old growth trees and hugged it. It is about 800 years old and a lady who walked her dog saw us, stopped and told us that her parents hit money in the crevices of the bark and told her and her siblings that this was a money tree. We stuck some pennies in the bark.

Seattle is in that direction. It was too far away to see any buildings.

When we came to the other side of the peninsula we saw Gig Harbor, which is not that far from Tacoma.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was also visible from one of the overlooks.

We hiked about four miles while the rest of the group visited the zoo and aquarium or the fort. After we ate our lunch at the picnic area we drove to the pier and talked to the crabbers. One of the people had a raw chicken leg on his basket. He was lucky and had already caught three good sized crabs.

A lady crabber showed us her large female grab which she has to return to the water. Only male crabs, meeting the size requirements, can be kept. 

She also showed us a female grab with eggs attached to her body.

There were a lot of jellyfish floating around in the water.

Next to the pier we saw an old whaling ship.

Today we went to Mt. Rainier National Park. I can see the mountain through the windshield of my motorhome almost every day, but the snow covered giant does not show up very good on my pictures.
Mt. Rainier blends in with the clouds.
Diana, Donna B. and I were passengers in Phil’s car. 
We started our adventure at the Paradise Visitor Center. We hiked on one of the trails until we came to the snow line. Actually we went over some of the snow covered areas.

The mountain was free of cloud cover and visible. It was a pleasure to walk without heavy clothing. The temperature was perfect.

The mountains behind us were very beautiful too.

We saw several deer crossing the trail. They showed no fear.

Next to the trail were blue flowers and the Indian paint brushes.

We checked out the rustic lodge.

When we came back to the Visitor Center we watched some videos, looked at the displays and when the film about Mt. Rainier started we went to the movie theater.
On the way home we stopped at Reflection Lake. There were ripples on the lake and the reflection was not that great.

Our next stop was Nacada Falls.

Then we went to Christine Falls.

In Elbe we visited a sculpture garden. Dan Klennert, an artist, designs and fabricates sculptures of animals and non living things.

At the moment he is working on a large fish. The artist uses all kind of materials, from car parts to sewing machine parts.

In the garden are a herd of horses and musicians.

In Elbe is also “The Little White Church”.
It was built in 1893 by German Immigrants from the Elbe River area near Hamburg. The dimensions are 18 feet by 24 feet and the steeple is 46 feet high. The church seats 46 people.
A railroad locomotive bell is in the bell tower.

Worship services are the 3rd Sunday of each month, March though November. The church is also used for weddings.  
This was another wonderful day. While we were walking and admiring the scenery in the National Park, Donna B. told me she feels blessed to be able to travel and enjoy all this. I feel the same. I have been in all the parks before but now I am retired and have more time and do not have to rush my stays.

There was no sun in the morning. It looked like it would rain any minute. We were lucky with the weather yesterday. Diana claims she ordered the wonderful weather for our Mt. Rainier trip.
On my morning walk I saw several deer jumping garden fences and eating apples from the low branches of trees.

On today’s schedule was a visit to the Museum of Flight in Seattle. I would have liked to go, but at the 8:00 AM Hugs and Mugs meeting I noticed very little interest. I do not know whether it was the weather.
Four people went, in two cars, which made no sense. If we ever come back here I will go.
I went to the library and went to Safeway, where they had one loaf of my bread, and to Fred Meyer, where they had two. The loafs are not very big, but I had to do some readjusting in the refrigerator and freezer.
We had an early Circle Meeting because of Mel’s and Ron’s birthday, and going to the Eagles Lodge for Taco Night and dancing. 

I ate only one taco because I behaved badly today. While I was at Fred Meyer I bought a small box of chocolate covered European biscuits. They were supposed to last a few days. Unfortunately they did not last a few hours.
Twenty five of the group went dancing.

Sometimes women like to do their own thing.

The DJ also did a couple of line dances which are popular with the women. 

Some of the singers were very good.

While we were dancing, back at the camping area several groups were playing cards. This group was in the garage.

When I got up this morning it was raining. This did not deter us from going clamming at Barbara’s private beach. Her house is rented out but her renters did not mind us filling up the yard with trucks and cars.

Barbara and Bob had all the tools and buckets to dig up those shellfish.

I looked out of place with my raincoat.

We collected several bags full of clams.

After we were done we drove to Barbara’s family property where several of her cousins have houses. Her grandfather donated land, next to the property, for a county park. When we arrived a couple came out of a trailer and did not look happy when they saw us. They asked us what we were doing on their property. When they saw Barbara they calmed down. The lady was one of her cousins.

We ate our lunch there.

Bob cleaned the clams we had dug up at the other beach, and Barbara gave us a tour of the beach house. Even with the bad weather we had a good time and I learned about clamming and I saw my first live oyster.

At 5:00 PM we had a potluck dinner with clams, oysters, Salmon and trout. Lyn had gotten the fish from our neighbor in Toutle. I made a German Potato Salad. The recipe came from a travel magazine and people liked it. This was a big gathering. We were almost fifty people. Mel has 48 rigs on his property and has room for a few more.
He and Donna Lee did a fantastic job hosting this outing.
Barbara and Bob made our last day in Gig Harbor a success by taking us clamming.

I decided to stay one more day in Gig Harbor and then head south. I have to go to Eureka, California to renew my driver’s license. To do this I have to take a written test. The group left today for Port Townsend.
I drove to Seattle and went to the Museum of Flight. Going on my own was better. I could spend as much time as I wanted.

A  B-47 and a B-17 bomber are located near the entrance of the museum.

The Red Barn is the original building where William E. Boeing started building airplanes. I was a whole hour in there.

Tribute is given to all the major American aircraft builders.

Since the planes were made from wood, woodworking machinery is on display.

There are displays with information about the development of the airplane.

I toured Airforce 1, which is a Boeing 707 and was replaced by a Boeing 747. 

The conference area seats several people. The plane has a big communication station.

The museum has the Space Shuttle Cargo Bay Mock-Up. It was used by NASA for training purposes.

The space toilet is an interesting piece of equipment.

On the outside of the museum is, besides other airplanes, a Concorde. 

During WW II the Boeing plant was camouflaged with chicken wire and it looked like a suburban community. Convair, in San Diego, had the same cover over their plant.

In the WW I area were planes from different nations. The Albatross from Germany is a very beautiful airplane but it was not liked by the German fighter pilots.

The French had beautiful designs and they were also good aircraft.

In the Outer Space section was a space vehicle and a space capsule.

The museum has a SR-71 on display.

In the big hall are all kind of aircraft.

In one area were many children.

On the way home I went to the library and then to the harbor.

On my evening walk I took one more picture of this beautiful bay.