Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Olympia, Washington (June 21-28, 2012)

OK,we relaxed, somewhat, at our last stop, but now we are in need of maintenance and stockpiling. We are here at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord where we need to perform some PM (Preventive Maintenance) on the truck and RV, get some medical assistance from the base veterinarian office, fill up our pantry and, in between all of that, see some of the sights in this beautiful part of the country. I think the five full days we are here are already filled.

Our first priority is for the boys.  They both need a refill on their monthly preventive medications and Rosco, bless his heart, needs his hiney squeezed (anal gland expressed), for you see, he cannot do it naturally like most dogs do.  Because he has this inability, we take him once a month to have it expressed manually. If we didn't, he would become extremely irritable and, eventually, his gland would become abscessed. So....off we go to the base vet.

Now that Rosco is his frisky self again, I leave the pack and head back on base to the auto craft shop where I can change the trucks oil, lube its joints and inspect the working parts of our work horse that is pulling us through this country. That done I return to home base and enjoy the beautiful sunset and our very close-knit traveling family.

Remember, if you click on a picture it will bring up all the pictures in a full screen format.

On day 2 we awoke to heavy overcast and a light rain. We left the boys and headed back on base to the commissary.  It had been a while since we made a concerted effort to stock up on vittles and this would be our last chance to do so at a commissary for quite a while.

On our way back we made a stop at a Lowes to pick up some items to repair some minor things in the RV and we were back at the park in no time at all. We spent the rest of the afternoon putting things away and doing the repair work. The weather cleared out nicely and the remainder of the day was play time with the boys and just relaxing around the lake. So quiet and idyllic.

One of the many Bald Eagles inhabiting the area.

A Bald Eagle looking for a late dinner.

By the next morning it was raining again so we decided to stay put and read and watch old movies. This turned out to be a great idea for even the boys were obviously tired and the down time was well received. Tried to catch up on this blog during the afternoon as well as sort pictures and make more plans for the next 3-4 weeks.

Monday morning we found that it had stopped raining, cleared up a bit and cooled down a lot.  We decided to take a day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park. After getting everyone packed and settled we took off north on I-5, picked up WA SR 512 through Puyallup, WA and then WA SR 410 to the park.

The drive there was great and once we passed the small town of Enumclaw, WA we began climbing into the foothills. Our route took us, almost, completely around the base of the majestic Mt. Rainier.  What an awesome and beautiful drive. We had ample opportunities to stop, walk, take pictures and just soak up the exquisiteness of this wilderness.

Veering off of SR 410 we drove south on WA SR 123 through the deep valleys surrounding the mountain and, eventually, picked up US Rt. 12 returning us back to I-5. There were parts of WA SR 123 that still had snow piled along the side of the roads.  This was great for the boys for they love the snow.  They had a fantastic time playing on it.

All-in-all our trip took us around 225 miles through some of the most awesome wilderness we have seen.  But we say that every time we see vast expanses of untouched nature. Oh, well, it is all beautiful and it is what makes up this beautiful country of ours.

Mt. Rainier is behind this smaller mountain. Never saw Rainier due to cloud cover.

That trip resulted in sensory overload for all of us. We returned that evening to eat light and crash heavy. Tomorrow is another day.

We awoke, again, to the rain and fog. Our goal today was to visit the Pike Place Public Market in downtown Seattle. We chose this one sight-to-see because of our love for food and cooking and we wanted to see the fish mongers throwing the fish.

The market was about 50 miles from the RV park and with the rain and traffic it took us about and hour and a half to get there. We arrived shortly after 10 AM and made or way into one end of the long market building. Wow!  We had been in many markets around this country and around the world and this one is in the top ten. 

The market is multi-level and we wanted to see the entire thing so we made our plan and began our exploration of this 105 year old institution. It was a rainy, cold Tuesday morning and the place was already packed and we could see why.  We wanted some of everything, but we knew we would have ot pick and choose wisely due to limited space in our home on wheels.

Toward the end of our exploration we found ourselves in the fish market section.  Fresh seafood of all kinds packed each stall and we were tempted to get a lot of it, but no, we suppressed our desires and continued on to the Pike Place Fish Market famous for its "flying fish."

"The Pike Place Fish Market is best known for their habit of hurling customers' orders across the shopping area. A typical routine will involve a customer ordering a fish, with their fishmongers in orange rubber overalls and boots calling out the order, which is loudly shouted back by all the other staff, at which point the original fishmonger will throw the customer's fish behind the counter for wrapping. Initially, the shouted repeating of the ordered fish began as a prank on one employee, but was enjoyed by customers, so it became a tradition. While working, the staff continually yell to each other and chant in unison while they throw ordered fish. At times, the fish market staff will throw a foam fish into the crowd to scare bystanders, or select a customer from the crowds to participate in the fish toss. Above the areas in which they throw fish, the market hangs a sign that reads, "Caution: Low Flying Fish"."-Wikipedia.  Ahhh...the highlight of our visit.

Still raining we ventured out of the market building into the surrounding streets where small shops were filled with eclectic wares as well as more food stuff. One of these shops housed the original Starbuck's. Joyce just had to have one and waited in line for almost 20 minutes just to say she sipped on a Starbuck's from the original shop. No tee shirt, but I did snap a picture of the landmark event.

We continued to explore the immediate area of the market and when we felt we had seen as much as we wanted to we trudged back to the truck and headed home to our boys.  We did find some trinkets and some small amounts of food stuff as well as some fresh made organic treats for our fur-kids. We very much enjoyed this outing and would like to return someday, although, it is unlikely.  We have pictures and our memories though.

Can you see the flying fish?
Here it is.

Starbuck's first store.

A cheese maker making fresh mozzarella.

By the time we arrived back at the RV park the rain had stopped, the skies cleared and the winds diminished. It became a beautiful afternoon.

Again, we ate, sat by the lake and marveled at the many eagles in this place.

Tomorrow is our last full day here and we will be prepping for our long haul up the Snoqualmie Pass. We want to make sure everything is in tip-top shape for this will be a long climb up and even a long descent down. We have enjoyed the Seattle area a lot and now we are eager to see the rest of the Great Northwest.

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