I am rich…very rich. Not in money, but rather rich in experiences and rich in grandchildren. As the Proverb says “Children are like arrows. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”
At age 60 I have been blessed to have 10 grandchildren (so far). These are my joy and I am so grateful. And, besides loving them to death, I have also passed on the fascination of wanderlust. Most of my grandchildren are already well traveled thanks to my daughters and sons that have continued the tradition of getting on the road and seeing the world.
I have had numerous opportunities to join my grandchildren on roadtrips. It is absolutely amazing to see their reactions to the world around them, to watch them scamper on a beach, to play with butterflies or to hold a baby gator.
Following are a few photos of my travels with the “grandkidz” as I refer to them. They represent travel all over the country from the past few years.
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!!
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!