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Carson's Alaska Newsletter #27
Location: Tacoma, Washington Date: Sept. 16-19,2003
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On the Road with Fred and Barb - Newsletter #27

Sept. 16-18 Tacoma, WA

We are definitely back in civilization. Driving on freeways with trucks whizzing by. Think I can understand why some people choose to live in the Yukon!

We are camping at the Elk's Club in Tacoma. It is the largest Elk's Club in the US and is an amazing facility. Has an Olympic size swimming pool, a bowling alley, tennis courts, a huge dining room and beautiful, large wood dance floor. They have a band every Tues. and Thurs. night so we even got in some dancing. The parking lot has space for 25 RV's with 30 amp electric and room for more with no hookups. At $10/night it's a good deal.

Mille Fiori by ChihulyTacoma is home to the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. Those of you who have been to the Bellagio in Las Vegas will remember his colorful glass flowers that decorate the lobby ceiling. There are several exhibits of his work throughout the city. The best is a temporary exhibit (till Jan.) called Mille Fiori which means 1000 flowers, at the brand new art gallery. There are over 3000 glass pieces that have been made into a magical flower garden. Every piece is extraordinary but the overall effect is breathtaking.


Glass BlowerThe other place we visited was the new Museum of Glass.Chihuly Bridge of Glass It doesn't have any of Chihuly pieces inside but there is pedestrian bridge built over the freeway to get to the museum called the Chihuly Bridge of Glass that displays a lot of his pieces all along the way. The museum contains examples of glass art from around the world and was quite interesting.Glass Museum Hot ShopBut the best part of the museum is the Hot Shop. Inside they have bleachers set up where you can watch glass blowing demonstrations by resident and visiting artists.A guide with a microphone explains what they are doing. Really interesting. Gave us a much better appreciation for the difficulty in creating the pieces we saw.

We drove into Seattle one afternoon in order to visit friends Karen and Larry Nelson who live on their 52 foot sailboot in a Seattle marina. Before meeting them for dinner we visited the Seattle Aquarium, one of our favorite memories from previous Sea otter feeding on clamsvisits. This time we were lucky enough to be there when they were feeding the resident sea otters, Barb's favorite sea creature. They looked so cute floating on their backs eating the clams provided by the staff. The aquarium has also recently acquired a baby sea otter that was found on shore in Alaska, abandoned by its mother. They are still bottle feeding it and trying to teach it to be a normal sea otter. Very cute like all baby animals.Leafy DragonfishThe aquarium also had a great sea horse exhibit. I didn't realize there were so many different species of sea horses, some very large. The most unusual was this leafy dragonfish.

We stopped by Pike Street Market where this time of year there are hundreds of beautiful flower bouquets for sale, lots of fresh berries and other produce and of course fresh caught salmon. I noticed that the whole king salmon was going for $4.99/pound which I thought was a much better deal than fishing for it. But then I realized that at about 25 pounds/fish, it was cheaper, and more fun, to catch it yourself!

We are now heading down to Oregon but first we'll be stopping for a couple nights in Vancouver,WA. Our friends Dan and Jeannine who we met a couple times on the road in Alaska finally caught up with us and are staying in Vancouver. So we'll stop to visit with them and see how the rest of their time in Alaska was spent.

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