October 8 and 9

Arriving in Seattle, I met up with Sharon at the airport and we settled into the Coolest Condo Ever. One of the dozens of gaga views out the fabulous picture windows. Here 'picture window' takes on its intended meaning.
Next morning our first outing of the trip was to the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Garden, open less than two years it is a place neither of us had yet visited.

It is a worthy effort. The setting is a knock-out and the pieces are great to look at. They also prepared a wonderful free brochure describing each work, the artist, dates, and some illumination of the artist's ideas.

This is Perre's Ventaglio III, 1967 by Beverly Pepper.
Here's a Richard Serra piece called Wake, 2004, and according to the brochure, meant to look like a tidal wave or a battleship. It sits here right on the bay...
...and does look, and feel, like both a tidal wave and a battleship, so there you go.
The Claes Oldenburg (and Coosje van Bruggen) Typewriter Eraser, 1999. He's the same guy who did the Cherry on a Spoon in Minneapolis. And I remember he did another one of my favorites, the Shuttlecocks in Kansas City!
Wow, Eagle, 1971 by Alexander Calder.
I liked this one just watching that ampersand on a motor going around and around. Then on closer inspection, that wasn't all there was to it.

Note that path in the shape of the letter S. One table is round, like the letter O. The benches have their edges painted as letter Ls. Check out the tree trunks, and the right side, smaller table is shaped like the letter E.

You kinda have to be there because it is clear as can be that the sculpture is spelling out LOVE & LOSS, the title of the work by Roy McMakin, 2005-06. From the brochure "A tree forms the V of Love which will blossom seasonally and lose its leaves, a reminder of nature's cycling that mirrors human experience."
That's home, the tallest building in the upper left. Isn't she a beaut?!

After the Sculpture Garden we ate lunch on the pier, bought some groceries for dinner at Pike's Market, came home to loll around, swim and enjoy the suana, eat our yummy seafood salad, and now I'm doing pictures. Very cool.
October 10

We got a car today and drove out to Tacoma to see a couple of art institutions. My friend Brigitte has been telling me 'go go go to the Tacoma Art Museum' and Sharon's friend Mary has been telling her 'go go go to the Museum of Glass'. Ok ladies, we Did!

This is the street in Tacoma where we spent our visit. The Union Station building has been converted into the courthouse btw.
The Tacoma Art Museum was a great treat very much worth the 45 minute drive from Seattle.

My opinion might be clouded by a young employee, a woman who told us thoughtful and learned stories of the exhibits and who shared her feelings for the art. She was a treasure as much as any item in the museum and then she disappeared for lunch before I could get a picture of her. She's going to be my Museum Maven for a long time I'm sure.
Except for what was outside it was a totally 'no photos' place which does not make me happy but notice that my usual annoyance was almost but not quite entirely erased by our personal guide.

These balls are in a courtyard surrounded by various reflecting surfaces and that's us refelcted at the end. They are an exibit of Tacoma born Dale Chihuly glass, another guy whose stuff is everywhere.

The exhibits are all thematic and the curators have an especially lot to say about the experience. My favorite piece was in the Surrealist show, a collection of Salvador Dali lithographs that were so lyrical and gentle even, and splashed with lines of glitter that seemed just the thing.
Lunch at a brewery. Everyone knows, the Pacifc Northwest is home to a population of beverage seekers - coffee fanatics, and homemade beer and wine.
From the Tacoma Art Museum you cross the Chihuly Bridge of Glass to reach the Museum of Glass.

These are the glass pillars marking the bridge...
...and this is part of the ceiling to the approach. That Chihuly must have quite a shop to be pumping out all this gorgeous glass.
Back home, swimming at the condo in water as warm as your blood. You just walk in and swim without even an instant of discomfort.
And then stretch and relax in the good 'n hot jacuzzi. Then we've been drying off in the sauna and life is sweet.
Sunset out the living room window.
And another shot from a little while later. Sigh.
October 11

We had a little fog coming in this morning but by 10am it was a bright and beautiful day.
Whoo, Jimmy Inano, from long long ago, now living in Seattle. Thanks for lunch Jimmy!
We had a stroll into the Seattle Center park to enjoy the dancing waters. It was so bright and lovely we got full edge to edge rainbows...
...and then we took the monorail into downtown, from where we walked home. What a nice easy going day!
We had dinner inside our jewelbox in the sky. Here's the dining room.
From the lounge...
...and from my bed. Hard to imagine, it is such a delight.
October 12

This morning we're off for our two-night drive through central Washington.

See that viewing station way up there on the upper right...
...it's looking down onto this, the huge 270 foot Snoqualmie Falls (for example Wailua Falls is 193 feet, Niagara is 157 and Victoria Falls is 360). It just doesn't look that high, does it!
Next, moving on to our overnight stay in the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth.

Here's something from ms wiki: "The city (formed in 1906) struggled (from the 1920s) until 1962, when the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee was formed to transform the city into a mock Bavarian village to revitalize its economy."
In other words, the community decided to turn themselves into a Bavarian Village. Now every weekend there is some major tourist event. Of course every weekend in October is set aside for Octoberfest and the town seems to be thriving.
The town is surrounded by gorgeous rivers, and islands formed inside the rivers are touristified with nature walk signs, and beautiful fishing and picnic spots.
And dogs who Loove the water.
We ate a perfectly German late lunch in the beer garden of a Hofbrau, walked around the river and islands, did some looking around the shops, and bought and ate a huge quantity of ginger cookies.

Then we settled into our lovely accomodation for a lounge around until tomorrow when more adventure awaits.
October 13

The hotel at the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth had a massive breakfast included, so we ate big time and then were off for a day of looking around before heading into North Cascades National Park tomorrow.

First stop, the Rocky Reach Visitor's Center on the Chelan County side of the Rocky Reach Hydro Project on the Columbia River.
The dam is modest by Hoover Dam standards, but the visitor's center is aces.

This is their welcome mural, a little scary I think, about harnessing all the horsepower of the river. Also in the visitor's center are viewing windows into the fish ladder. The fish migration season is just over and only a few stragglers were left, but even that was cool to see.
'Over there' is also part of the visitor's center where you can have a look at some of the workings of the dam and where they have quite a wonderful history museum.
They've got dioramas, stuffed animal scenes, lots of old photos blown up to the size of a wall, artifacts, storyboards - very good, congratulations to Chelan County for this entertaining and educational effort.
Here's another view of the Columbia River from the Visitor's Center.
Then we moseyed into the historic and touristified little town of Chelan where we ate a block of fried mac and cheese in a lake of melted cheese.

Of course we Had to get it. It was a specialty. This is about the best we could do. We asked the waitress who pitched it to us 'who can actually finish this thing?'. 'Oh', she said, 'nobody.'
We're staying in one of these cool cabins right on the river with two bedrooms, full-on kitchen, living and dining room, balcony overlooking the river with a Private Jacuzzi which we just enjoyed.

It was a deal too because of being in the middle of the week between summer vacation season and winter ski season.
And if we thought Chelam was touristified, they can't shake a stick at Winthrop.

It's a boardwalk along three blocks of these buildings with shops, restaurants, pubs, and hotels...
...yee Ha.

This is too funny! Copied from the welcome book in the cottage, the gist is that in 1972 with the arrival of Highway 20, the good poeple of Winthrop decided to western-up their town for the tourists, and they hired Robert Jorgenson of...Leavenworth, WA! A multi-talented fellow, he.
October 14

A morning shot of Winthrop, WA where we first enjoyed a country breakfast and then hit the road for the North Cascades National Park.
And it looks mostly like this...
...and this.

It's so remote they didn't even have an entrance gate so I didn't get to use my National Parks pass. Maybe they collect fees in the summer? The park is a big chunk of mountains, lakes, rivers, and trees, and one road through this wilderness with some side steps into camp grounds.
Too cold and wet to do much tramping around but plenty of chances to stop for a photo op.

We especially were hoping to see this scene of fall colors dispersed among the evergreens.
Mountains, lakes, rivers, and trees.
And clouds that we could have done without since there are ranges of mountains beyond this.

Lovin' the National Park offering all its great opportunities for me to learn something interesting and keep it in my brain for at least a few minutes before it's gone...again.
The Cascades. There's a dam down there as there are many others along the rivers of the Cascades to generate power for the expanding populations of the Pacific Northwest.

It's today's 'power to the people.'
Here's the Ranger Station...
...and more of it.
And then back to home sweet home in time for a joyful sunset reverie.
And the moon rising over the skyline.
October 15-16

Jimmy and Barbara came up today for lunch and a walk. What fun!

The Space Needle, the iconic symbol of the Seattle skyline. A big pot of skyline photos coming tomorrow.
Looking good with the fall colors.
Seattle, coffeeland USA.

Were I in another country I would be in this line just on GP...general principle that is. Here are eager customers in a line, getting food and drink from a window facing the street. I need to be in that line.
Another lyric evening sonata.
October 17

Ah...the morning of our last full day in Seattle. And we can even see the mountains above the fog line.
Following are three pictures of 'home', the tallest building on the left, that jewel box in the sky. The night scenes from those windows are simply gasp-o-rific, which you've seen on prior days and will entirely agree. Gasp-o-rific!

In this one you can see the Space Needle in the deep background.
From our water taxi ride to West Seattle.
A little something on the point of West Seattle.
Fall! Goodbye Pacific Northwest! Goodbye Fall. I think at the moment all the fires are out back home...
HomeUSA the West • Washington • '08 Oct: Seattle & the North Cascades

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