Washington State: A Week of Travel and Variety

A Wide View of Mt. Rainier
A Wide View of Mt. Rainier
The family getting ready to head to Seattle on Day 1 of our visit.  We made the T-shirts ourselves
The family getting ready to head to Seattle on Day 1 of our visit. We made the T-shirts ourselves
Julianne and David on the Beach in Washington
Julianne and David at the Beach in Washington

My wife and I had the opportunity to fly to Seattle at the end of July for a nice week (actually 9 days) of fun with our family out there.  Over the next couple of weeks I will have a few posts about our adventures, but wanted to provide a brief preview of what we experienced: Beaches, Mountains, Sights, Sounds, Eats and Quirky fun!!

The Bremerton Ferry took us form Bremerton to Seattle.
The Bremerton Ferry took us form Bremerton to Seattle.
On the Bremerton Ferry with a Flock of Seagulls
On the Bremerton Ferry with a Flock of Seagulls

Day 1: We  took a ferry from Bremerton, WA and then spent a full day walking around parts of Seattle…then took a Duck ride.

The ferry is followed by hungry seagulls who would swoop down and eat from people’s hands. I got some amazing closeups of the birds.

A closeup shot of a seagull taken on Bremerton Ferry
A closeup shot of a seagull taken on Bremerton Ferry
The Seattle Space Needle
The Seattle Space Needle

Once we arrived in Seattle, our sea legs turned into walking legs as we visited the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Pike Place Market, walked along the boardwalk, rode the Ducks, saw the Space Needle and more.

There were street musicians everywhere, lots of fish in Pike Place Market and a general atmosphere of fun in spectacular beautiful (but a bit hot) weather.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a must see stop for the lovers of the offbeat and quirky
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a must see stop for the lovers of the offbeat and quirky
This guy greets you at the door at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
This guy greets you at the door at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Throwing Fish at Pike Place Market
Throwing Fish at Pike Place Market

Of course, a visit to Seattle is not complete without muscling your way through the massively crowded Pike Place Market (even on weekdays).  Famous for its fish mongers, there are a plethora of other goods there for perusing and partaking.

It was fun watching all of the people, but there is no place to stop for a sit down break and the market goes on forever and forever.  One could really take a full day just visiting each merchant and seeing what they offer.  But, probably better to go when school is in session.

Pike Place Market where the fishermen are as wild as the salmon
Pike Place Market where the fishermen are as wild as the salmon
The Kravetz and Matthews family all decked out in our matching shirts Riding the Duck around Seattle.
The Kravetz and Matthews family all decked out in our matching shirts Riding the Duck around Seattle.

 

One of the more unique tours of the city are the Duck Tours.  We rode the Duck for fun.  The drivers are a riot and the open air drive around the time and in a lake were really fun (not to mention the wonderful respite from all of the walking)

Ride the Duck!
Ride the Duck!

The Duck Tour does provide a fun sample of Seattle.  I will have much more about Seattle in an a future post.  Seattle is a fun place!!

On the Pacific Coast at Neah Bay, the most northwestern point in the contiguous United States
On the Pacific Coast at Neah Bay, the most northwestern point in the contiguous United States
Neah Bay, Washington
Neah Bay, Washington

After a “Recovery Day,” we were back on the road on Day 3 heading north to Neah Bay, which is the northwesternmost point in the contiguous United States. Julianne stayed back in Port Orchard as we traveled the road along the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Highway. Honestly, there may be a Strait, but the road ALONG the Strait is ANYTHING but straight.  A crooked windy road to Neah Bay.

Fat Smitty's, a burger joint near Port Townsend, WA.
Fat Smitty’s, a burger joint near Port Townsend, WA.
Dollar Bills plaster every inch of the walls and ceiling of fat Smitty's
Dollar Bills plaster every inch of the walls and ceiling of fat Smitty’s

As it was a long and winding road, literally, we did stop along the way for lunch at one of those quirky eateries.  Fat Smitty’s in Port Townsend, WA is a real kick!  Indeed, the outside wooden art is a drawing card, but the real fun is when you walk inside and see the thousands of dollar bills plastered everywhere.  They claim to have over $10,000 in there. I’ll have a special post just about this place.

Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Highway is definitely scenic but certainly is NOT straight
Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Highway is definitely scenic but certainly is NOT straight
This seaweed looked more like a snake.  Not sure what it is called...
This seaweed looked more like a snake. Not sure what it is called…

The drive up US Route 101 along Olympic National Park and then along the Strait on WA 112 is very scenic.  Mt. Olympus can be seen along with other rugged northern Cascade peaks.  The Pacific Ocean scenes at Neah Bay are fabulous…and the beach is sandy. And there is all sots of strange looking seaweed up there.

We took US 101 home along Olympic National Park and made our way back eventually getting to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at sunset.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge at sunset
Tacoma Narrows Bridge at sunset

PointDefianceZoo

Day 4 had us going down to Tacoma with the family and some of the Matthews family too.  We visited Point Defiance Zoo…a smaller zoo, but with some great animals.

Otter at Play at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma
Otter at Play at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma

I enjoyed watching the otter roll around and it was also a blast watching the kids feed the budgies.

We saw tigers, an elephant, seals, a polar bear, etc.  I’ll have a post about the zoo coming up too.  I love the flowers, the animals and the joy on the kids’ faces.

A Blue Budgie at the Point Defiance Zoo
A Blue Budgie at the Point Defiance Zoo
The LDS Seattle Temple
The LDS Seattle Temple

After a nice trip to the zoo, we returned to Port Orchard and the adults all took another ferry across to Seattle (with the car this time) to visit the Seattle Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Another beautiful building…built in 1978.  It is always nice to attend the temple, where we did baptisms for the dead and spent a nice evening away from the kids.

The ferry ride this time was also amazing as there were some spectacular views of the glacier covered Mt. Rainier.

On the ferry to Seattle with Mt. Rainier in the background
On the ferry to Seattle with Mt. Rainier in the background

Day 5 was another rest day.  We took a visit to a regional park along the coast and Julianne and I sat there and watched the boats while the kids hiked.  It was nice to chillax as the next day would be a big one.

Mt. Rainier after a day in the National Park
Mt. Rainier after a day in the National Park
a Cloud cap forms on Mt. Rainier.
A cloud cap forms on Mt. Rainier.

Our next to last day was a visit to the spectacular Mt. Rainier National Park.  This is certainly one of America’s great mountain peaks.  At 14,400 feet it towers above the landscape and can be seen everywhere on a clear day.  It reminded me of Mt. Fuji in Japan, which I lived at the base of for 5 months in 1978.

Naches Tavern in Greenwater, WA (featuring Bigfoot!)
Naches Tavern in Greenwater, WA (featuring Bigfoot!)

Along the way to Mt. Rainier we stopped at a fun place for lunch in the small scenic town of Greenwater.

The Naches Tavern has a nice menu, walls with dollar bills all over it, lots of old implements and a GIANT Bigfoot wood carving.  More about this on the Mt. Rainier post in a couple of weeks.

The Mattress Ranch "pasture" in Port Orchard
The Mattress Ranch “pasture” in Port Orchard
One of a few large murals to be found in Port Orchard, WA
One of a few large murals to be found in Port Orchard, WA

Of course, I can’t avoid the quirky places on a trip like this and the Mattress Ranch in Port Orchard is udderly mooving with dozens of cows, bulls, chickens, lambs, rams, etc.  Port Orchard also has a bay complete with old US Navy destroyers and the town has some fun wall murals.

Scenic Sunrise Lake near Sunrise Viewpoint in Mt. Rainier National Park
Scenic Sunrise Lake near Sunrise Viewpoint in Mt. Rainier National Park

I am excited to share the details of our long trip to Washington over the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully those that read it will get some fun inspiration for their own trip to Washington!

Enjoying Washington at Mt. Rainier NP
Enjoying Washington at Mt. Rainier NP

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#TBT – Wigwam Village Motel in Cave City, KY

Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY
Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY

A few years ago I was traveling in Kentucky and made my way into Cave City, a sort of retro resort town close to Mammoth Cave National Park with lots of old 1960s style neon signs, mom-and-pop restaurants, unique tourist attractions, etc.  Apparently the actual Wigwam Villages were built in the 1930s and 1940s.

Sleep in a Wigwam neon sign
Sleep in a Wigwam neon sign

On my first trip into Cave City I saw the Wigwam Village and was astounded that there was one on this side of the country. As a bus driver/tour guide in Flagstaff, AZ in the 1980s, I would see the Wigwam Village located near Interstate 40 and old US Highway 66 near Holbrook, AZ quite often. Even back then, I knew there was another near San Bernadino, CA, (See Wigwam Village #7 built in 1949) but I never knew about the one in Kentucky, which, as I have shown above, was one of the first.

Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY
Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY

There were actually seven of them originally, and now only the three remain.  See history here.  (Another nice history HERE) The first two were built in Horse Cave, KY and Cave City, KY. They were the creation of Frank A. Redford.  WWV #1 was completed at Horse Cave in 1935 and Frank patented the design in 1936.

Old Wigwam Village post card advertising #1 and #2
Old Wigwam Village post card advertising #1 and #2

WWV #2 was built in 1937 on U.S. Route 31W  just a few miles south of the original WWV #1.

Wigwam #2
Wigwam #2
Newspapers about the Wigwam Village on the walls
Newspapers about the Wigwam Village on the walls

Wigwam Village #2 consists of 15 wigwams used as guest rooms that are arranged in a semicircle. In the center is a much bigger concrete and steel central structure that originally served as a restaurant, plus a common area with playground, recreation space, and pavilion. Each wigwam has a paved pad to accommodate one car. The restaurant is no longer in operation, but the motel is still open.

Wigwam Office
Wigwam Office

The diameter at the base of each tipi is 14 feet, and they are 32 feet in height. Behind the main room of each unit is a small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower.  Even on our visit in 2009 the rooms appeared to contain the original restored hickory furniture and a window-mounted air conditioner. There are no telephones to maintain the original atmosphere of the motel, but the rooms do have cable TV and internet access.

Sleep in a Wigwam
Sleep in a Wigwam
 Wigwam Village #2 is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It achieved this status on March 16, 1988
Hanging at a Wigwam
Hanging at a Wigwam

So, when my sister and her family visited from Texas a couple of years ago we went to Bowling Green to the Corvette Museum for my brother-in-law who is a Corvette fanatic. On the way back we stopped in Cave City and visited the Wigwam Village.

Wigwams
Wigwams

They have a nice big gift shop similar to those that you would see on the old US Highway 66 routes with lots of trinkets and all sorts of kitschy things. Plastering the walls are photos of newspaper articles about the wigwam village and information about the history of the relic motels.

Wigwam Village Gift Shop
Wigwam Village Gift Shop
Typical Bed in the Wigwam
Typical Bed in the Wigwam
Indian Motif in the rooms
Indian Motif in the rooms
Wooden Furniture in the rooms
Wooden Furniture in the rooms

Now owned by people from India (ironic that those Indians now own it), I asked if they would let me go into one of the rooms and take some photos as I was doing a travel blog. I got the photos, but I never did get around to writing a nice blog post about it. So, here is my blog post about the Wigwam Village, so if it’s history and the history of the three of them from the country.

Wigwam Village motel souvenirs
Wigwam Village motel souvenirs
Brother in law with Indians in Wigwam Village gift shop
Brother in law with Indians in Wigwam Village gift shop
People staying at the Wigwams
People staying at the Wigwams

Ironically, there is a similar looking one that I came across in Texas last year, but the wigwams were called teepees where differently shaped. But the concept was the same.

Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Sumoflam at the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Sumoflam at the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX

These throwbacks to the old US Highways and road trips are a lot of fun and I am sure staying in one of these would also be a nostalgic piece of fun. Maybe one day I will take a trip to Cave City with my wife just to be able to stay in the Wigwam for one night!

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#TBT – Oh the Places I’ve Been: Some Odds and Ends

“You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

Sumoflam at the White House - July 1990
Sumoflam at the White House – July 1990

As a Throwback Thursday menagerie, I thought I would throw in some of my odds and ends from the past…some going way back and some not so long ago.  I have been blessed to travel so many places and many of my travels happened long before I began writing about them.  So, here they are, a potpourri of places diverse.  ENJOY THE RIDE!

Mt. Fuji, Japan as seen from my airplane seat in 1990 as I flew to Tokyo from Oita.
Mt. Fuji, Japan as seen from my airplane seat in 1990 as I flew to Tokyo from Oita.  Indeed, I soared to high heights!!

“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

Visiting Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1979.  I have always enjoyed visiting old Indian ruins.
Visiting Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1979. I have always enjoyed visiting old Indian ruins.

Most of my early life was spent in the western U.S. and, as such, I got to see deserts, mountains, Indian ruins and more.

Visiting Montezuma Castle National Monument in Cottonwood, AZ in 1983.  I was a tour guide at the time
Visiting Montezuma Castle National Monument in Cottonwood, AZ in 1983. I was a tour guide at the time
Enjoying the splendor of Monument Valley in southern Utah and Northern Arizona around 1983
Enjoying the splendor of Monument Valley in southern Utah and Northern Arizona around 1983
The red rocks near Tuba City, AZ look like someone stacked them.  This was taken in 1983
The red rocks near Tuba City, AZ look like someone stacked them. This was taken in 1983 (and no, I was not really pushing)

Growing a love for antiquities and old things, I had many opportunities to visit old places during my many visits to Japan.  I am especially fond of the awesome castles and amazing old shrines, many of which I have had the opportunity to visit.  Here are a couple.

Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan...visited in 1987
Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan…visited in 1987
One of Japan's smallest castles, the Hikone Castle, supposedly has tiles of gold on top.  I visited here in 1990
One of Japan’s smallest castles, the Hikone Castle, supposedly has tiles of gold on top. I visited here in 1990
Perhaps the best "old shrine" in Japan, Nikko has been around for centuries.  This is north of Tokyo.  I visited Nikko in 1990.
Perhaps the best “old shrine” in Japan, Nikko has been around for centuries. This is north of Tokyo. I visited Nikko in 1990.
The colorful pagoda in Nikko
The colorful pagoda in Nikko

While living in Japan, I also visited Kyoto on a couple of occasions.  Kyoto has wonderful old historic shrines and temples, and colorful Geisha…

Hanging with a Geisha in Kyoto, Japan 1987
Hanging with a Geisha in Kyoto, Japan 1987
Visiting the Gold Pavilion "Kinkaku Ji" in Kyoto in 1987
Visiting the Gold Pavilion “Kinkaku Ji” in Kyoto in 1987

Back in the U.S., I have been to both coasts and to the north and south and most points in between.  Here are some of the places I have visited…

In New York City in 1990 before the World Trade Center Twin Towers met their demise
In New York City in 1990 before the World Trade Center Twin Towers met their demise
I was in the US in 1990 for the first cross-country solar car race, called the GM Sunrayce.  During that visit I also made a trip to Washington D.C. and visited the Smithsonian
I was in the US in 1990 for the first cross-country solar car race, called the GM Sunrayce. During that visit I also made a trip to Washington D.C. and visited the Smithsonian
While working on my Masters Degree at Arizona State University, I was afforded the opportunity to represent ASU at West Point and do a paper presentation.  It was a neat experience to visit this amazing institution in 1986
While working on my Masters Degree at Arizona State University, I was afforded the opportunity to represent ASU at West Point and do a paper presentation. It was a neat experience to visit this amazing institution in 1986
Then, there was the visit to Graceland, home of Elvis back a few years ago
Then, there was the visit to Graceland, home of Elvis back a few years ago
And let's not forget Nashville.  I have been there a dozen times since.
And let’s not forget Nashville. I have been there a dozen times since.
I got to visit the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco as part of Antsy McClain's tour team.  Great music hall
I got to visit the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco as part of Antsy McClain’s tour team. Great music hall

I have discovered that the world abounds with natural beauty.  I have been blessed to see this beauty in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, the Philippines and other places.

Coal Mine Canyon in Northern Arizona, 1990
Coal Mine Canyon in Northern Arizona, 1990
Island Hopping in the Philippines in 2006
Island Hopping in the Philippines in 2006
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
On a cruise ship enjoying the splendor of Alaska's beautiful mountains
On a cruise ship enjoying the splendor of Alaska’s beautiful mountains
Sitting on top of the world at Echo Lake near the base of the summit of Mt. Evans near Denver, Colorado
Sitting on top of the world at Echo Lake near the base of the summit of Mt. Evans near Denver, Colorado
Enjoying wintertime at a resort at the base of Mt. Fuji, near Fujinomiya, Japan in 1987
Enjoying wintertime at a resort at the base of Mt. Fuji, near Fujinomiya, Japan in 1987
Down in Japan's version of Mammoth Cave in 1988
Down in Japan’s version of Mammoth Cave in 1988
Enjoying Fall Colors in Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada in 2008
Enjoying Fall Colors in Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada in 2008
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines in 2007
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines in 2007
Visiting the Everglades in Florida in July 1990
Visiting the Everglades in Florida in July 1990

Of course, when taking trips there are always fun things to try.  When in Japan I tried quite a few new adventures.  Perhaps my favorites were taking hot springs baths and going to the Sumo Wrestling events.

Enjoying an outdoor bath in Amagase, Japan.  This was actually part of TV series I was hosting in 1988
Enjoying an outdoor bath in Amagase, Japan. This was actually part of TV series I was hosting in 1988

Beppu is probably the most famous of the hot springs resort towns in Japan.  Located in Oita Prefecture, I had the opportunity to visit often and for different kinds of “baths”

A hot spring shower in Beppu...and yes, the towel was necessary.  1990
A hot spring shower in Beppu…and yes, the towel was necessary. 1990
Relaxing on one of the cozy hot pools in Beppu in 1987.  You are required to be totally disrobed...this is the least revealing photo.
Relaxing on one of the cozy hot pools in Beppu in 1987. You are required to be totally disrobed…this is the least revealing photo.
Then there are the Sand Baths, the Sawdust Baths and more.  I was buried in hot sand and it felt great.  Beppu in 1989
Then there are the Sand Baths, the Sawdust Baths and more. I was buried in hot sand and it felt great. Beppu in 1989

Then there are the Sumos…I got to go to two of their tournaments and see the giant Konishiki wrestle.  I will always be a fan of Sumo wrestling.

Visiting the Fukuoka Sumo Basho in 1991 with my wife.
Visiting the Fukuoka Sumo Basho in 1991 with my wife.
I took this shot of Konishiki from my seat in Fukuoka in 1991.  He made me look small!!
I took this shot of Konishiki from my seat in Fukuoka in 1991. He made me look small!!

Of course, as a history major, I have always had an interest in things historical.  One of my classes at Northern Arizona University was on Japanese literature and we studied Kunikida Doppo, who was considered one of Meiji Japan’s most well traveled writers.   While living in Oita, I was able to visit his studio in Saiki.  Ironically, my professor at NAU, Dr. Atkins, was a Kunikida Doppo expert, so it was a special trip for me.

Visiting the Kunikida Doppo monument in Saiki, Japan
Visiting the Kunikida Doppo monument in Saiki, Japan in 1988
Some of Japan's oldest stone carved Buddhas can be seen at Kumano Magaibutsu park in Oita
Some of Japan’s oldest stone carved Buddhas can be seen at Kumano Magaibutsu park in Oita
The village of Usuki, also in Oita, is home of a famous Buddha statue.  It is also the original landing place of the Dutch when they first arrived in Japan in the 1600s.
The village of Usuki, also in Oita, is home of a famous Buddha statue. It is also the original landing place of the Dutch when they first arrived in Japan in the 1600s. (That is my oldest daughter Amaree popping behind me in the photo)

One cannot study Japanese history without learning about the atrocities of World War II.  The Americans dropped two atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  I have been able to visit both places.  Ironically, in 1979 I also visited the Los Alamos museum where the bombs were initially built.  So, I have seen both sides of the story.

Nagasaki Peace Park in Sept 1988
Nagasaki Peace Park in Sept 1988
Remains from A-Bomb in Nagasaki in 1988
Remains from A-Bomb in Nagasaki in 1988

And now, for a few other odds and ends, just for fun…

Old Christian Church in Nagasaki 1988
Old Christian Church in Nagasaki 1988
Visiting JFK The Twine Ball man in Lake Nebagamon, WI in 2007
Visiting JFK The Twine Ball man in Lake Nebagamon, WI in 2007
Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, NY 1990
Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, NY 1990
Visiting the shopping area in Carbon, Cebu, Philippines
Visiting the shopping area in Carbon, Cebu, Philippines
Beale Street in Memphis, TN late 1990s
Beale Street in Memphis, TN late 1990s with my high school pal Russ Graves
Photo bear in Gatlinburg, TN
Photo bear in Gatlinburg, TN
Enjoying a visit to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico
Enjoying a visit to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico
At Lake Erie on the Ontario, Canada side with sign pointing to Cleveland, OH, my birthplace
At Lake Erie on the Ontario, Canada side with sign pointing to Cleveland, OH, my birthplace
The famed "Spindle" sculpture as seen in the movie Wayne's World.  Apparently, it wasn't worthy.  This was taken in 2007 and in 2008 it was torn down...meh
The famed “Spindle” sculpture as seen in the movie Wayne’s World. Apparently, it wasn’t worthy. This was taken in 2007 and in 2008 it was torn down…meh
Fort San Pedro on Cebu Island in the Philippines
Fort San Pedro on Cebu Island in the Philippines
Giant fish attacking me in Japan in 1976, in Kanazawa
Giant fish attacking me in Japan in 1976, in Kanazawa
Sumoflam and Big Fish in Bena, MN
Sumoflam and Big Fish in Bena, MN
On Glacier Bay in Alaska
On Glacier Bay in Alaska
At the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta 2007
At the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta 2007 – with my Canadian pal Crafty Jack
Enjoying the view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan Peninsula
Enjoying the view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan Peninsula

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