Day 20: Tacoma and Thereabouts

Much of the day was spent in Tacoma where I got lots of good stuff. I kept thinking that I didn’t have enough blog material so I kept shooting oddball stuff. Turns out that I have more than I probably should post in the interests of sanity and getting some rest.

Some rain here and there but luckily most of it held off til just after dark. The dogs got to play in a variety of places: dirt, sand, and grass lots. I need to find a big, well-fenced dog park somewhere (i.e., make the time to research ones in upcoming Oregon) because Grem is not getting enough exercise. Nik is spoiled rotten with swimming every day. Fixie wishes we were home already. Grip has been very cranky (not enough sleep).

I’m hoping to wrap up Washington tomorrow. I was ahead of schedule until Seattle but now pretty much where I should be. Nearly the halfway mark at over 8,000 miles so far. I don’t know how many thousands of photos. Gas has been a little cheaper in the past couple days ($3.84 vs. $4-something). So I’m not sure if there has been a nationwide drop or if western Washington is just cheaper than the eastern half.

This was probably a former motel in Tacoma, now apartments. I love the rockwork. I saw some other similarly used rock so it must be a regional thing.


This castle-like building is from Tacoma. I’d love to know what it was originally used for. Was it just a house, or a hotel or for another commercial use? There was a bay-like building to the right but the castle seems too big to have been an office.


It’s nice to see these Travelodge signs reused — especially when they keep the plastic ballies. This is in Tacoma:


Time for some junk food. I hit the Brown & Haley outlet store which is in a cute little round mid-century building next to their factory. They are the famous producers of Almond Roca but the Mountain Bar was their first creation.

Cherry is not really my flavor so I can only give this a B-. They were out of the peanut butter which would have been my first pick,.


The Almond Roca now comes in four other flavors. This should come in handy during the later long haul interstate stretches of the trip when I can use all the excitement I can get.


Ranko’s Corner Drug Store in Tacoma has a spectacularly original exterior — as well as these neat interiors features as well. A nice wooden phone booth (sign said the phone was out of order though) and a fully-functioning post office. And a great sign over the drug counter. There were some old photos and it seems this place might have had a soda fountain/lunch counter at one time. But I think there was a previous location so I’m not sure. The exterior photos of the store are at my agilitynut Flickr stream here:


I refuse to start a new section at my website as I’m already overwhelmed with what I’m working on now. But perhaps I’ll start a Flickr group for Civic Fountains. Here are a couple that caught my eye. A nice brutal concrete one in Tacoma (note the Woolworth in the background on the right):


and another in Bremerton. This one was a tribute to a guy associated with the Lion’s Club:


Washington has had a lot of old-school traffic signals. I’m particulary fond of their metal “Crosswalk” signs. They look like giant cowbells and are often very dented up from trucks passing underneath. The signs look pretty old to me (flaking paint). I’ll keep an eye out for a later photo. Here’s a nice example of some of the hanging lights:


I’ve been seeing a lot of these topiary pine trees in Washington. They are so classically 1950s to my eye. This two were at a cleaners. Does anyone know what they are called?


This Shriners’ sign is from Tacoma. I don’t think I’ve seen a plastic fez sign before:


Bremerton had several of these trompe l’oeil murals downtown. One was a desert scene, this one a pine forest:


In downtown Olympia, on the lawn right next to the Capitol Building, is a great double-sided totem pole from 1940. Here are a couple details:


The Golden Gavel Motel in Olympia now has a more mundane name. However, they kept much of the old plastic sign and this wonderful little sculpture:


One more photo before I hit the road. Suddenly, the rain has stopped and the sun is out. This is one of those nice old street clocks — but I’ve never seen one as elegant as this with lamps. There is also glass on all four sides so you can see the inner workings:

2 thoughts on “Day 20: Tacoma and Thereabouts

  1. That Mountain Pie looks a little nasty, but I guess if it is just a great big peanut butter cup with other contents, it might be all right.

    I dig the pine forest mural!

    Travel safe.

  2. Hey — good to hear from you. The cherry thing was a little sickening but I had to get one just to say I tried it. They were out of the other flavors which sounded preferable.

    I don’t think you can tell from the shrunk down photos but there’s a homeless guy sleeping against the wall on the lower left. I don’t know if the illusion was working for him.

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