This is the final post from my April 2018 cross-country road trip from Lexington to Port Orchard, Washington and back. As a reminder, I covered 6000 miles and ventured through 16 states. Along the way I not only stopped to visit attractions and see the sites in towns small and large, but I also tried to capture the grandeur of the landscapes and scenery I passed by along the way. Following are a number of scenic photos from that trip. Enjoy the ride! I have randomized these, so they are not in any particular order. Captions tell the story.
US Route 2 just past Steven’s Pass, WA – notice how high the show walls are on the side
ENJOY THE RIDE! CHOOSE HAPPY!
If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon. My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late June 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.
As I may have noted in my earlier Washington posts, my daughter and her family live in Port Orchard, WA. The city is located 13 miles due west of West Seattle and connected to Seattle and Vashon Island via the Washington State Ferries run to Southworth.
The Port Orchard area was first settled in 1854 by Wiliam Renton and Daniel Howard, who set up a saw mill there. The town that was to become Port Orchard was originally platted in 1886 by Frederick Stevens, who named the new location after his father, Sidney. The town of Sidney was incorporated September 15, 1890, and was the first in Kitsap County to be both platted and incorporated. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Navy sought a suitable location for another installation on the west coast, and found it with the assistance of Sidney’s residents in Orchard Bay (this installation would later become the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard). The shipyard is still there.
The population of the city is about 12,000.
Over the few days we were there I was able to get a glimpse of the uniqueness of the pleasant town. There are walls downtown with large murals and a few quirky places that were fun.
When we first drove through town I spied a large mural depicting an undersea world, including orcas and other things. I captured a couple of shots and detail views of this colorful and large mural.
Unfortunately, I have searched to locate the artist of this work, but have not found it yet.
When you first get off of the ferry in Port Orchard, you can see the library, which has a few colorful murals as well.
Along with murals, I am always on a never-ending quest to find the quirky and fun. My son-in-law came across a place near Port Orchard that was udderly mooooving! Indeed, it fulfills the definition of quirky to the max.
The place is called The Mattress Ranch and is one store of a chain of eleven stores in Washington and Alaska. The brainchild of Ted Sadtler, who has created a serious and profitable business with a quirky and fun twist. The location in Port Orchard has a couple dozen fiberglass cows and many more farm animals sitting in a section outside of the parking lot. Ultimately, its a kitschy twist on getting people to come to their stores, which continue the farm animal motif on the inside as well. For me…a perfect fun spot with the quirky, off-beat character that I like. Here are a few pics of “The Ranch.”
Then, on another trip we drove by a place…obviously a Biker Bar. It was great!! This too is in Port Orchard.
The Bethel Saloon has a skeleton on a motorcycle as the main decor at the top of the building. They claim to be the only Biker Bar in town. The building was apparently one of America’s first official Texaco Gasoline Service Stations in the late 1920’s. It’s also served as a general store, cafe, dry cleaners and pottery shop. It is bedecked with a nice mural on the side and appears to have a great off-beat character to it.
And, finally, a couple of other fun shots from town…
Then, there is Easy Street….
And a couple of shots of the port…a ferry and my friend the Blue Heron….
On Day 4 of our visit to Washington we packed up the kids and a couple of cars and made our way south to Tacoma to visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Though not as huge as some of the zoos we have been to (such as San Diego, Louisville, Cincinnati), it is still a nice zoo with some great opportunities to see some good wildlife. The thing I like about most zoos is that they not only have a lot of animals, but they also have an abundance of flowers and foliage that is always pleasant. So, this trip on this day was about grandkidz, animals and flowers.
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is apparently the only combined facility in the Pacific Northwest. It is a 29 acre park and a major tourist attraction in the Tacoma area.
I was actually pleased with it as it was much smaller, quite clean and seemed like you could get a bit more “intimate” with the animals, though there was less of a variety of them.
Following are a few photos of the animals that I took. They had four or five tigers in a couple of places, an elephant and a few other critters. They had a goodly amount of birds, including penguins and puffins. I always enjoy photographing the animals.
The Budgie exhibit was lots of fun, especially since the grandkidz were there and could actually feed the colorful birds. The real name for a budgie is “Budgerigar” and these cute little guys are native to Australia and New Zealand. This parrot species is very social and it was very apparent, just being in the exhibit with them. They were not afraid of hanging around people.
We brought our lunch and enjoyed it while watching a stage which featured a number of animals from the zoo. I was most enthralled with the bald eagle.
It was as close as I have ever been to these amazing (and quite large birds). I saw a couple of them on our road trips in Washington, but could never capture any on camera until the zoo.
Of course, watching the kids was also fun. They had a variety of facial expressions at the various exhibits. Here are some “grandkidz” shots from the zoo.
Their curiosity is always a joy to experience. Going to the zoo with young children is fascinatingly fun!
Part of the joy at a zoo is the variety of plants and flowers. I enjoyed a few closeup shots of these, including some varieties I have never seen before.
Following are a few of my shots:
And finally, I have to say that the view of Mt. Rainier from the zoo was spectacular. Could not have asked for a more beautiful day and beautiful views!
After the zoo we headed back home, dropped the kids off, changed clothes and all of the adults headed for Seattle to go to the Mormon Temple there. We took a ferry across the Sound.
Ferries are a way of life in the Seattle area. Many live on one side of the Puget Sound and
work on the other side, including my son in law Aaron. The give you a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the city job. I really enjoyed sitting on the deck and taking in the views, smelling the fresh air and have the wind blow through my hair.
This particular ferry ride offered some amazing views of Mt. Rainier as well as some nice views of Seattle on the approach in. They were different views from those of a couple of days earlier.
Once we crossed the Sound, it was back in the car and heading towards the lovely Seattle Temple. We stopped along the way to have some great Thai Food. Tangerine Thai was a classy little place with some amazing cuisine that I hadn’t seen (or tasted) before.
After dinner it was off to the temple. Nice to visit another temple!
After doing some baptisms for the dead, we headed back to Port Orchard with the sunset. It was a wonderful day with family!!