Point Defiance

I’ve probably mentioned that we live on the hill above Point Defiance Park.

The road in front of our apartment is the south border of the park between Pearl and Vessault. We took a drive around the park on the 5-mile drive last Sunday. Here are the pictures.

As you enter the park there is a large lawn and lake.

The visitor’s center

Some of the area is formal gardens, and some is wild. This is the rose garden.

They’re working on a Japanese pagoda and Zen garden.

There are lots of picnic tables and picnic areas, as well as trails all through the park.

This is the rustic picnic area.

There’s a sandy beach where folks can swim in the sound (this day it was overcast and 62 deg. and even the Tacomans didn’t want to swim.)

5-mile drive winds through old-growth forest.

There are plenty of lay-bys and viewpoints to see the Sound and the other shore. This is Vashon Island.

We can see across the narrows to Gig Harbor on the Olympic Peninsula.

Little boats on the Sound in the Narrows.

Interesting trees at the Tacoma Narrows Viewpoint

The Bridges that replaced Galloping Gertie across the Narrows.

There’s lots of wildlife in the park, including this fellow who posed for his portrait. There’s also a Zoo and an Aquarium.

There’s a living history museum, Ft Nisqually.

There are docents in historical garb in most of the buildings.

Very interesting.

The Tacoma Garden Club has an area devoted to native plants. Our fence is just behind this stand of trees.

And we’re back at the big lawn at the entrance/exit of the park.


It’s been a while since I wrote about how we’re settling in. There’s still not too awfully much room, but we are coping.

My dresser, sans mirror, does very well in the entrance hall with lots of family pictures on it.

My little corner of the bedroom,

Al’s corner of the bedroom,

and the cedar chest take up three walls, with the closet on the fourth one.

Al’s chest of drawers fit in the space between the door and the closet (barely) and the two bedside tables are stacked at the foot of Al’s bed.

In the living room, our chairs are on the wall across from the fireplace,

the TV is in front of the fireplace (not able to use it, so I’m glad it’s been warm).

I’m using the printer stand that has a pull-out drawer for a keyboard for my desk.

We bought a little 24″ desk for Al.

We’ve got the two little bookcases back to back with books facing the living room and the other shelves for additional storage in the kitchen.

The kitchen table with one of its leaves folded down barely fits.

I guess the nice thing is I can stand in one spot and reach the refrigerator, stove, table and sink, with only a small step in any direction.

We’ve been attending a little Presbyterian Church, not far from where we live.

Bethany Presbyterian Church’s building was built 100 years ago. It’s a small congregation, with mostlly people who have grown up there. It is an “open, and affirming” congregation, and there are a fair number of LGBT members, and many more who have gays and/or lesbians as children or siblings. The usual Sunday worship is about 70 folks, and I understand the membership is around 100. I knew the pastor from Twitter and Facebook before we came here. Since we’ve been attending they have welcomed 7 new members, so it seems to be revitalized and growing. There’s a lot of energy there. We’re still visiting churches, but these folks seem to be very welcoming.

One of the really strange things about this area is the shift in attitudes about temperatures. The public pools are full whenver the sun is out, even if it is in the mid-60s. I can remember that I wouldn’t like my kids go swimming until the temperature got up to 80 deg.

We’re enjoying exploring the area and trying out many of the restaurants. I love to go down by the water to eat. One of my favorites is Harbor Lights.

Whenever we leave we have a great view of the sound.

This is our patio (my desk looks out the window at this).

And as we come home this is the view from the front of the property.

All in all, we are content!

Mt. Rainier

I know it’s been FOREVER since I put up a new post, and I know you’re DYING to see how we’ve managed to fit everything in to the one-bedroom apartment, but that’s going to have to wait for another day, because I want to show you the pictures from our trip to Mt. Rainier, yesterday.

Franke Tobey Jones has a  great little 21-passenger bus, and Gary, the driver, picked us up right outside our building at 9 o’clock sharp for the ride up the mountain. We had no idea what the weather would be like up there, so we dressed in layers, and took sun hats, and off we went.

We rode for about an hour and a half – first through cities and towns and on interstate – then through villages – and finally through towering forests with lovely wildflowers growing at the base of the trees.

Eventually we came to the entrance to the National Park. Of the 17 people on board, including the driver, we had 6 Golden Eagle/Golden Access passes, so we all got in free (each pass allows the owner and three other people to accompany them).

There are several park “villages” or inns on the mountain, and we passed one large one on our way to Paradise – which is as high as the bus could go.

Many little mountain streams were carrying snowmelt down the mountain through stands of old-growth forest.

This is the beginning of the Nisqually River that flows through Tacoma and empties into Puget Sound.

(Sorry for the blur on some of these pictures, but I was taking them through the bus window and I sometimes got a reflection.)

At one point the road crossed the river on a bridge that was high enough above the riverbed that Big Al declined to look out the window.

They’ve had a very late spring, so the real rushing torrent of snowmelt is only a trickle, still, in the middle of July.

The clouds were still hanging low in the trees and we began to despair of getting a good view of the top of the mountain.

There was still snow on the ground in patches and under the trees as we climbed higher and higher, even down below the treeline.

And then, just as we reached Paradise, the sun broke out! That will definitely preach!

We walked through the parking lot to the lodge where we had lunch with a wonderful view.

Sorry, I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful blue sky, the alpine meadows, and the great snow-covered mountain.

This is the view back across the valley where the clouds were still hanging.

You can see there’s still an awful lot of snow on the ground, although we got downright hot in the sun, and were glad to have our hats.

The fields of lupine with paint brush reminded me of nothing so much as blue bonnets and paint brush in Texas in March.

About 2 o’clock we reboarded the bus for the ride down the mountain.

The ride down the mountain was like a movie running in reverse.

Back across the bridge, but this time looking up the mountain the way we had come.

I was intranced with the ferns growing in that alpine forest. I think of ferns in damp, southern marshlands.

I was able to snap a picture of one of the many waterfalls rushing down the cliffs at the edge of the road.

There was a little more sun as we went down, than when we were going up.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and we arrived back at Franke Tobey Jones close to 5 p.m.  A really great day!

Juth of Fourly

As you can see, I’ve changed the title of the blog to better reflect who I am (after being retired for several years, and finally achieving my wishes and moving to Tacoma.
We got down in the storage room and moved some stuff around in preparation for getting the heavy stuff set up on Thursday.
About 10 o’clock we heard the sounds of a jet flying and it kept up, and kept up. Big Al went charging outside thinking someone was doing an air show, and it took us a little while to locate him, but there seemed to be an F-15 doing loops, barrel rolls, Immelmanns, low level passes and generally “slipping the surly bonds of earth” and “dancing the skies on laughter-silvered wings.” We hadn’t seen anything about an air show on the TV, or in the paper (when we read it), but he must have been performing for somebody out on the Sound. At any rate, we benefitted from being on top of the hill and getting a ring-side seat to the turns and high acrobatics. As Big Al said, “That’s the reason I wore blue for 20 years.”
After the impromptu air show, we went out for brunch. Following brunch we got in line for the ferry to Vashon Island.

We didn’t have to wait very long before we were driving onto the boat.

The Tacoma Yacht Club is right next to the ferry slip, and we could see all the “toffs” sitting on the terrace, having cocktails on this glorious, sunny day. (Temperature when we left Point Defiance – 66 deg.)

There were lots of little boats out on the sound, bouncing around on the swell.

When we got over to the island we visited the little town of Burton, the settlement that’s the farthest south.

Then, we rode around the bay to Docktown. Vashon is shaped like an elongated right-handed gauntlet pointing south, with Burton on the hand (to the west) and Docktown on the thumb (to the east).

The tide was far out, as you can see. There was a nice little park with play equipment for the kids.

After driving almost to the tip of the thumb, we turned around and went out to the lighthouse that is on the base of the thumb across the bay from Federal Way and Sea-Tac Airport.

The lighthouse is still working, and was open for tours today.

There are several coast guard relay stations and antennae there along with the lighthouse.

The juxtaposition of the old lighthouse with the very modern radar equipment is interesting.

They were having a little local picnic and festival out by the light, but Big Al’s back wouldn’t let him walk that far.

But we really had a good time people watching and sitting on a bench looking at the sound.
We rode all the way (15 miles) to the northern end of the island where you can get a ferry to Fauntleroy (West Seattle) or Southport, and then we returned to Tahlequah (the landing at the south end) to catch the ferry back to Point Defiance.

We got to the landing just in time to see the ferry departing. 😦
But it runs every hour, and I can think of worse ways to waste an hour than sitting in the sun watching the boats on the water, and listening to kids firing off firecrackers on the shore.

Particularly when Mt Rainier is presiding over the whole scene with its feet in the clouds and its head in the brilliant blue, sunlit sky.



The tide was running pretty strongly and the captain really had to crab the boat to get it into the slip (but he’s handled much worse conditions – fog, wind, rain, etc. – before, and I feel sure a little thing like the tide coming in didn’t bother him).

Big Al seemed to like sitting in the car, while I jumped out and took pictures and felt the breeze in my face. (Temperature 72 deg)

The 15-minute crossing was uneventful, and we got back to Franke Tobey Jones in time for me to fix hot dogs for supper before we go up to see if we can see the fireworks over the sound from the second floor sunroom. They won’t happen until 10 pm because it’s light so late, so most of you, gentle readers, will already be in bed.
Happy Fourth of July to all of you!