Every so often I come across an eatery that looks so quirky and fun that I must stop there. On my recent trip to Washington, we stopped in one of
these places. Weeks before the trip, my daughter and son in law apprised me of these place near Port Townsend, WA and said that it was “So Sumoflam” that we would go there.
Fat Smitty’s is a funky little burger joint sitting on US Hwy 101 at the junction with WA Route 20 in the Discovery Bay region of Port Townsend. The outside is decorated with a couple dozen chain saw carved statues of food and other oddities. Colorful and fun, it is a must stop!
So, on our trip to Neah Bay in July (see post here) we stopped at Fat Smitty’s for lunch. And, true to their word, this place is a “Sumoflam stop du jour” for sure. Even though I am working on not eating too many burgers, I relaxed my restriction for this one time visit to this one time unique little place.
But if the outside is a drawing card, the inside is an invitation. This place is literally plastered with 1000s of dollar bills (and a few other denominations)! I have never seen anything quite like it. Check out all this money!
Much of the cash has the donor’s names on it or where they are from. Almost every single bill has something written on it. Really unique interior decor!!
Back in 2012, owner Carl “Fat Smitty” Schmidt enlisted Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts to remove all of the money from his walls (see newspaper article) as dozens of inquiries had come in about how much was there. At that time 27 years of cash was removed totaling $10,316, most of which he donated to a kitchen at a Scout camp in Washington.
Apparently, according to Schmidt (in another article), the plastering of money all started back in the 1980s when two sales reps from Caterpillar wanted to pin their business cards to the wall along with a dollar bill. From there it grew and apparently they never touched the walls.
Schmidt, who was in the US Marines in the 1960s, also has a couple of walls dedicated to US Servicemen.
Many still add their business cards to the wall. You’re lucky if you can see one amongst all the cash.
On this particular visit, I was taking photos and noted that I write travel blogs. A table of guests noted, “You must be famous,” to which I replied, “In my own mind!” I sat down with them and asked if I could do a selfie with them. Turns out these guys were from Ukraine and were in the area working. Alex and his friends were great!
Of course, I suppose I should also mention the fact that this place has hamburgers…..I got one of those as well…honestly not in my whole foods plant-based regimen, but, it was a vacation and they didn’t have any vegan offerings (nothing even close!)
And just a couple more shots of the outside woodwork of the place:
On day three of our visit to Washington State, we took our longest road trip, all the way to the most northwestern point in the contiguous United States. We made our way to Neah Bay, a round trip of over 320 miles, along the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway (WA Highway 112 – see route below)
We got off to a late start but were soon on our way northbound on Washington Highway 3 towards Port Gamble. From there we would take the Hood Canal Bridge, which is a floating bridge that connects the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. At 7,869 feet long, (floating portion 6,521 feet) it is the longest floating bridge in the world located in a saltwater tidal basin, and the third longest floating bridge overall.
The drive northwest from Port Gamble is a beautiful drive with the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north and the mountains of Olympic National Park to the south.
Also, from this highway and across the water to the north we were able to get a glimpse of the snow covered Mount Baker, which is the third highest mountain in Washington at 10,781 feet. Like Mt. St. Helens, it is an active glaciated stratovolcano. After Mount Rainier, Mount
Baker is the most heavily glaciated of the Cascade Range volcanoes and the volume of snow and ice on is greater than that of all the other volcanoes in the Cascades (except Rainier) combined. Apparently, it is also one of the snowiest places in the world; according to a Wikipedia article, in 1999, Mount Baker Ski Area, located 8.7 mi to the northeast, set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season—1,140 in. WOW!!!
Of course, this area abounds in massive trees, including some of the tallest in the U.S. Our drive would take us through large stands of Douglas fir, Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pines and humongous hemlocks.
I’ll have more about these further on in this post. But I must say that their grandeur and beauty are something to take in, behold and stand amazed by.
From the highway there are a few trees that stand tall above all of the others. Some of these are 150 to 200 feet tall….the height of a 20 story building!!
Highway 104 soon merged with US Highway 101 (known in California and Oregon as the Pacific Coast Highway), which stretches 1,540 miles from the Los Angeles area all the way to Tumwater, Washington (technically), but continues to go north to Aberdeen and then on to Beaver, WA.
Along the way we stopped for lunch in the Discovery Bay area at a unique burger joint
called Fat Smitty’s, a really quirky, yet fun place, with my kind of funky wood carvings and more. (I’ll have a different post all about this place HERE). The whole fun of this place is not the food, which was good, but not extraordinary, but rather the atmosphere. The inside is plastered with dollar bills everywhere (and a few other denominations here and there). See more on my post.
Of course, on road trips I am always on the look out for fun things and just shortly past Fat Smitty’s on US 101 we passed Chicken Coop Road. Chalk up another unique road sign to my collections!!
US 101 then passes through the lovely coastal town of Sequim (pronounced by the locals as Squim). With coastal beaches, near a rainforest and within sight of Olympic National Park, Sequim would be a great place to visit (if we only had the time!!)
From Sequim we next drove through Port Angeles. I had hoped we could head up to the Dungeness Spit, but not enough time. The road from Port Angeles to Neah Bay is windy and slow going (not at all “Strait” like the Juna de Fuca!!). This is actually the real gateway to the Juan De Fuca Scenic Highway.
Once we hit the Clallam Bay/Sekiu area on Hwy 112, the beauty of the coast burst out before us. Lovely beaches and coastal scenes provided a change from the Pine walled highways.
Just off of the highway we could see the lovely seagull covered beach of Clallam Bay and then into the small fishing town of Sekiu (pop 27 in 2010), where we caught a glimpse of the famed wooden fish named Rosie…in her swimming outfit and running shoes. HA!
The drive west from Sekiu is quite scenic. To the north is the Strait and beautiful small islands and to the south was giant trees…true Northwest character. But the road is windy and slow going. Thank goodness for the scenery.
It is a small fishing town nestled in a corner by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the east. Much of the area near the Pacific is high cliffs over looking the ocean. Lots of Makah Culture surrounds the town.
From the town of Neah Bay we proceeded to Cape Flattery Road, which eventually leads to the Cape Flattery overlook, the actual northwesternmost point in the continental United States. Cape Flattery is the oldest permanently named feature in Washington state, being described and named by James Cook on March 22, 1778. Cook wrote: “… there appeared to be a small opening which flattered us with the hopes of finding an harbour … On this account I called the point of land to the north of it Cape Flattery.”
We took this road to the Hobuck Rd. Bridge and went over the river towards the scenic Hobuck Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Upon arrival at the beach we saw a beautiful outcrop of land to the north of the beach. It was also covered in morning fog, similar to that which I had seen at the Golden Gate Bridge a couple of months ago.
Hobuck Beach actually extends along Mukkaw Bay (also known as Makah Bay). This shallow bay is four miles long and is open to the Pacific Ocean five miles south of Cape Flattery. Apparently, the name of this bay is spelled as the Makah Indians pronounce their tribal name and therefore is not a misspelling, according to some items I have read.
The ocean crashes in beautiful waves at this location and there are numerous rock outcroppings dotting the waters.
I really loved the opportunity to sit on the beach and hear the crashing of the waves and it was also so pleasant to watch my daughter’s family play in the ocean and in the tidal pools. I grabbed a few shots of this great place…way more than can be included in this post. But here are a few of my favorites…just to provide a taste.
After about a couple of hours it was time to leave the beach and return to Port Orchard. We returned through Neah Bay and then back along the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic byway, which presented a different view for us as the tides were changing. We followed Hwy 112 back through Sekiu and Clallam Bay and then towards Sappho Junction on the border with Olympic National Park and US Highway 101. From there we headed east on US 101 towards Port Angeles.
US Hwy 101 through the mountains along the coast is really splendid. The mountains are so close and when driving along the northern boundary of Olympic National Park, you never know that you are so close to the ocean and the Strait.
We actually didn’t mean to take this route as it technically took us out of our way. But I am really glad that we “suffered” through this divergence. The highway was lined with tall trees, there were some great mountain views and then passing by the scenic Lake Crescent was wonderful.
Lake Crescent is a deep lake located entirely within Olympic National Park and is approximately 17 miles west of Port Angeles. At an official maximum depth of 624 feet, it is supposedly the second deepest lake in Washington.
I was actually surprised at how brilliantly blue the water appeared from the road. My photos don’t do it justice, but you can see how lovely this lake is. It would be a great place to rent a cabin and take a vacation. Heck with the beach!!
From our western approach, we not only saw the lake, but there is huge mountain that sits behind it protecting it. The mountain is called Mount Storm King and stands at an elevation of 4,537 feet. Many climb its scenic trail.
It was getting late and we were all hungry, so we made our way into Port Angeles where we had hoped to find a place to eat.
This town of about 20,000 people is nestled between the Strait on the north
and the Olympic Mountains to the south. Extremely scenic but also, as its name indicates, it is a port town. There were big ships visible from the road as we drove into town.
This is another of those places that could have used more time. On our next visit to Washington to see the family, I hope that we can spend a day in and around the Port Angeles area. But, we did have enough time to track down a place to eat, and “The Bushwhacker” restaurant was our choice. Actually wasn’t a bad place. A very friendly family restaurant that serves seafood, steaks and other things.
Finally, evening approached, a full moon was in view and we drove off into the sunset to get home after a long fulfilling day.
After a long day of travel to Washington via Delta Airlines, first to Salt Lake City and then into Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and then a good nights rest, we had the opportunity to spend a day in Seattle with the family.
Since my daughter Amaree and her family live in Port Orchard, we had to take ferries across the Puget Sound to get to Seattle. We started with the Port Orchard Foot Ferry Service that took us from Port Orchard into Bremerton. Then we got on the Bremerton Ferry which is a much larger ferry that also carries automobile traffic and enjoyed the one hour boat ride to Seattle. We rode on the M/V Hyak, which can carry up to 2000 passengers and as many as 144 cars.
It was a beautiful day, probably in the 80s and sunny as can be. Prior to our trip Julianne and I had created T-shirts for all of the family so that we would be color coordinated and easy to find. These “safety green” T-shirts were very easy to see and it was fun throughout the day to get the comments from people.
I enjoyed sitting on the outside deck as we travel to cross the sound and loved watching the waves, the birds and other things. We got to a point where a couple of people and brought food to feed to the seagulls, who would swoop down and grab the food right out of these people’s hands. It was fun to see all of the seagulls up so close. I was able to grab some amazing photographs, some of which are posted below.
From the ferry deck we could not only see Seattle, but off in the distance we could see the beautiful cone shape of Mt. Rainier. Even in the heat of July it was covered with snow and glaciers.
As we approached Seattle, I could see the full expanse of the city and over to the south I could see the Space Needle clearly. The Seattle city scape is certainly a beautiful one.
Finally, we all arrived safely at the port and disembarked from the ferry into the crowded waterfront area of Seattle. This section of Seattle is certainly built to accommodate tourism. There is a giant Ferris wheel, called the “Seattle Great Wheel“, a couple of fun shops/museums, plenty of fun eateries, lemonade stands and much much more.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Our first stop once we hit the sidewalk was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Julianne and I had the opportunity to visit this place a few years ago when we were in Seattle prior to taking a cruise to Alaska. But, honestly, it was much more fun with all the grandkids being able to see all of the odd things in this museum/store.
Always the sucker for oddities, the store for that craving with some of the strange creatures that they have on display along with many of the unique items that were for sale in the store.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop got its start when Joseph Edward Standley set up his curio and souvenir shop on the waterfront in 1899. Back then Seattle was a rough ‘n’ tumble town. Even at that time, Standley’s shop presented a jumbled mix of curiosities and significant art objects. He collected and sold what came his way, but also had local Native American artists make objects to his specifications. He sold genuine Tlingit totem poles, but also replicas by carvers descended from the Vancouver Island-based Nuu-chah-nulth tribe, who were living in Seattle, and even inexpensive souvenir totem poles made in Japan. A flair for the bizarre and grotesque led him to include items such as shrunken heads from the Amazon (some of them definitely genuine, others probably not). It is certainly a must visit location if you are in this part of Seattle!
We then continued to walk towards the area where the Pike Place Market is located. Along the way we passed eateries, shops and the Great Wheel. We skipped by most of these places but did take stops for a quick break. All down the path there are cornhole games and other things that are set up for people to just stop and play and we did so.
Another place of interest that we did not stop at but probably would’ve enjoyed was the Seattle aquarium. That will have to be on our agenda for the next trip. We had planned to visit the aquarium in Tacoma later in the week, so we skipped this particular venue.
The “Parking Squid”
At that point you can cross the street towards Pike Place Market, and visit the rather unique parking squid. This squid sculpture was made specifically for parking in attaching your bikes which makes it a rather unique item. As always, I am always looking for unique sculptures and so we stopped for a photo opportunity with the kids and I got another photo of this.
This unique utilitarian sculpture by Seattle artist Susan Robb, was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Transportation in 2009 and installed in 2012. It was originally installed on the north side of the EMP building in Seattle Center, but was eventually moved just outside of the Pike Place Market parking garage (the Pike Street Hill Climb) across the street from the Seattle Aquarium. The structure is made from galvanized steel and is a fun addition to a walking tour.
World Spice Market
On our way up to Pike Place Market (we took the elevator instead of the Pike Street Hill Climb), we just happened upon the World Spice Market. What a fabulous little shop! If you like spices this is the place to go because they have everything.
The shop is set up more like an apothecary with jars of spices along the walls and in bottles and jars throughout the store. You can open each one and take a whiff of the spice and then you request what spices you want and in some cases they actually grind them up for you fresh.
Pike Place Market
We finally made our way to the entrance of Pike Place market and took a quick stop with Rachel the Golden Pig, which is one of the famous pieces of artwork associated with this world renowned farmers market.
Naturally, since it was the end of July and everyone is on vacation and touring Seattle, the Pike Place market was packed to the gills! To go anywhere it was bump and grind all the way.
Despite the crowds, we were able to still enjoy some of the fun things of the market including the well-known fishmongers to throw the fish across the way yell out the customers name etc.
My grandkids, especially little Charlie, being smaller, were able to weasel their way up to the front and I soon saw Charlie playing with the crawfish, which were still alive. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze in and get close enough to grab a couple of good photos!
Here are a few more random photos I got at Pike Place Market. Such a unique and fun place (other than the crowds).
The Pike Place Market seems to go on forever and there is not a place to sit down anywhere along the way and so it got to be very tiring. We finally did get out of the market and walked down to a large park it did have plenty of seating.
After a brief rest, we decided that we would venture to the point where we can catch the large duck boats and Ride the Duck. even this was about a mile away and a good part of it was uphill, towards the terminus of the monorail station.
Along the way we walked by numerous shops including the origina Starbucks. Starbucks is now all over the place, but this was the first one and I have a picture showing I’ve been there! Here are a few more random scenes from our walk.
After the rather grueling walk up to the monorail station area, it was really nice to have a seat and relax for nearly an hour before our ride was to take place.
Throughout my travels, I have seen the “Ride the Ducks” boats in a few places over the years. I specifically recall seeing one Ketchikan, Alaska, but I’ve also seen them in San Francisco, Stone Mountain (Georgia) and Branson (Missouri). I had never ridden one, so I didn’t know what to expect.
After the wait, we finally were able to board our “Duck” adventure. We were in for a load of fun!!
First off, a little history about the “Ducks.” The DUKW (D-built in 1942, U-amphibious 2-ton truck, K-front wheel drive, W-rear wheel drive) was an amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II. It was designed to deliver cargo from ships at sea directly to the shore. DUKWS are street legal to drive on the roads and are also legal to drive on water as recreational boats. (See more history here)
Our ride on the Duck was fun. We had a great driver – Captain Mandy Lifeboats. She was full of energy and pulled a few tricks out of her hat…or was it she pulled a few hats out of her tricks? She was both wacky (and even quacky!!)
Our Duck Tour took us from the Seattle Center, where the Monorail begins. We drove up along Lake Union and had some nice views from the Aurora Bridge. We then made our way INTO the lake and cruised around the lake. We saw the floating home from Sleepless in Seattle, and a few other ritzy lakeside homes, not to mention multi-million dollar yachts. We also had a great view of the skyline.
From the lake we drove back towards downtown past the Space Needle, the EMP Museum and then towards the downtown shopping area and along the waterfront. Overall the ride lasted about 90 minutes and we had a frolicking good time. There were times we all “quacked” at passersby, sang songs, had fun Disco Music and more.
What I enjoyed about this ride was the opportunity to see Seattle without all of the walking! And it gave a flavor of some of the places we can see on our next trip out there to see the family.
After the Duck Ride was over, we walked the mile or so back to the Ferry Dock to catch the ferry back to Port Orchard. We were all quite exhausted, but made it in time and enjoyed the ride back. And we were blessed with a wonderful sunset leaving its mark on Mt. Rainier. It was a splendid, though tiring, day.