Sunday, May 17, 1987

1987 Seattle (5/14-17/1987)

Thursday, May 14, 1987
Able to leave work early to make sure I got to the airport early enough to find a parking spot, and found one in the first aisle! I covered my radio with a construction paper cover and locked up the car. Kent left on Tuesday to go to Portland, OR on business, and I would meet him in Seattle, WA.
View of Mount Rainier from the plane (KSS)
After checking in, we were told there was a 45-minute delay due to congestion in Chicago because of rain. Of course, here it was sunny and clear. Took off an hour late at 17:55 and the plane was not full. Had a snack. Arrived in Chicago at 19:00, 45 minutes late and it was sunny. The 18:50 flight to Seattle left on time, which meant I had to wait in a long line to be rerouted. I was put on the 21:40 flight, with an expected departure of 22:45 and due in Seattle at 00:30 tomorrow! I called Kirby who already knew about the missed connection, and I gave him the new ETA. Boarded at 22:30 and I was in the last row in the smoking section. Another snack.

Friday, May 15, 1987
Arrived at 1:00 local time, or 4:00 my time! Greeted at the gate by Jan, then Kirby and Kent. We went out to J&K’s Mercedes to drive to their new home in Seattle. You could see rhododendrons in bloom, even at night. A quick house tour and to bed.
Up at 9:00 and since J&K weren’t up, Kent and I went for a walk in the neighborhood. The lawns were nicely landscaped. There was almost an Oriental feel with the low one-story homes and landscaped areas full of rhododendrons and azaleas, and other flowering shrubs and trees, with blooms in a variety of colors. The houses were all different and some had curved ends to the roof peaks. The area was hilly with not a single straight street, and there was a traffic circle with a lot of flowering shrubs in the center. Who maintains them?! We ended up on a bridge over an old railroad bed that went around Lake Washington and is now a bike path. We found a grocery store and Kent went in for coffee, since we couldn’t figure out the operation of J&K’s espresso machine. No cups of coffee, so we went to a bakery where he got a cup of coffee and a sticky bun that I helped to unroll and eat. We returned to the house where I had figured out how to leave the door so it wouldn’t lock, a feature J&K hadn’t discovered yet.
Jan & Kirby’s house had several built-in items, like an ironing board that folded into the wall, a door that opened to expose an exhaust fan, a little door opened over the brass carving over the peek-hole in the front room, bathroom switches were on the outside of the doorway, and vertical as well as horizontal shelves in the kitchen. They also had a dishwasher and a garage door opener, although sluggish.
J&K were up after 11:15 and they had breakfast and gave Kent another cup of coffee, also Starbucks. We piled into the car and drove Jan to work. We continued through the University area, clean and prosperous with a couple futon stores! Found a baseball card shop, a veritable junque shoppe, where Kirby bought several packages. Then Kent drove us onto I-5 heading downtown. Drove down Pike Street, passing the monorail station, which is still in operation to and from the Seattle Center (the old World’s Fair grounds). We parked in an area of peep and girlie shows and walked the couple blocks to the Pike Place Market. It had opened as a farmers’ market in 1907, and was still basically a farmers’ market with many stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables, and now with many stalls of fresh fish and seafood.
Public Market
Florist (Kent looks at books)
The bordering area had boutique-like shops and specialty shops. There was a life-size brass pig at the entrance. We stopped in the Washington State products shop, and outside saw a mime, a clarinetist, and balloon clown. We went out on a balcony to look down the Hillclimb, the stairs and skywalk with elevator going down to the waterfront of the port and docks.
We walked north through the market, and farther along were booths with various craftsmen.
Beyond was an overlook park with a totem pole and a green building that was the Nature Store with many wonderful items: inflatable dinosaurs, birdfeeders, precious gems, books and picture books, sand sculptures (dynamic as well as static), weathervanes, etc., etc. Kirby showed me photos of Seattle and the mountains I would be seeing, apparently similar to Biel’s view of the Alps, although more frequently and more clear.
We used the restrooms in the Cutler Bay House Restaurant, and the toilet seats were sheathed in plastic, and when you pushed a button, the plastic rounded the seat to be sterilized in a machine in the back. Innovative. When I came out, I almost bumped into a very tall elegant black man, and Kent excitedly informed me it was Dave Winfield, who later went on to hit home runs for the NY Yankees against the Seattle Mariners!
We returned to the market to buy coffee at the Starbucks shop, cheese at a specialty shop, and asparagus in the market for only 89 cents a pound. (Later we saw asparagus at Safeway for 59 cents a pound, but it didn’t look nearly as good.) We returned to the car as we had put in two-hours worth of coins, and it was now 14:00. Kirby drove us to the Pioneer Square Historic District and parked. Kirby had bought mozzarella cheese to nibble on as we walked down Yesler Street to the waterfront. Passed Pioneer Square with a totem carved by the Tlingit natives, and a wrought-iron pergola.
Pioneer Square
Nearly under the WA-99 viaduct was the waterfront trolley at its end station. After a couple photos, we walked up Main Street through an area of restored buildings constructed after the Great Fire in 1897. There were lots of galleries and antique shops, as well as cafés and boutiques. We stopped in a bookstore and Kirby asked about the book “Zounds.” We did find a book by Frederick Newman on making sounds, but it was not geared for kids. We continued over to the Kingdome that was not very aesthetic.

Next door was the King Street train station with a prominent clock tower.
King Street train station
Amtrak double-deck train
We went to the tracks to see the double-deck Amtrak trains, and on one siding was a Burlington Northern car. Peeking in, we saw a sumptuous sitting room; no caboose, this! Likely a private car. We walked over to Occidental Park, also with a wrought-iron pergola, and full of bums. Nearby was a walled-in Waterfall Park, with water cascading down one corner and a surrounding patio. A little peaceful spot in the middle of the city.
And dark! Waterfall Park
We walked along a traffic-free street, and then headed back to the parked car to one of Kirby’s favorite stores full of contemporary furniture and accessories. He pointed out some very avant garde lamps that he wanted. It seemed rather like a museum of contemporary art.
Back in the car, we drove to the University area to grab a bite to eat at Truffles, a deli, yuppie sandwich shop, and specialty foods store. We ordered sandwiches and took our number to a table. We each had half sandwiches; I had tuna and Colby cheese on rye, Kent had roast beef, and Kirby had turkey and chutney. This was the only time we were able to treat, and it was only $11. We returned to the house and called Jan to confirm picking her up at 17:15.
We did some grocery shopping, stopping at a mall with nice shops for bread and pasta. Bought some fennel, and at a Safeway we got white salmon, an apparent delicacy. Plus other essentials.
Jan & Kirby's house front
Jan & Kirby's house rear
After picking up Jan from work, we went to the University of Washington Arboretum. When driving along to the entrance, you could already see the profusion of rhododendrons, mostly in bloom, although many were past their prime, and very few with buds. We arrived at the Japanese Tea Garden with a $1.50 each admission fee.
Japanese Tea Garden ticket

Japanese Tea Garden guide
Just outside the Japanese garden, Jan & Kirby pointed out a certain variety of rhododendron with a stronger scent, usually with yellow flowers.
Dried rhododendron flower
In the garden were even more rhododendrons and azaleas, many of which were hybrids with two different colored blooms on one bush or some flowers with a mixture of the two colors. There were also iris, a bubbling brook, a lily pond (with a few large carp, a large floating frog, and a turtle on a rock), a wisteria arbor on the Empress Gate, spider webs with what looked like poly-fill on them, fuzzy seeds floating through the air, and a teahouse with a next door “machiai/waiting room.” Higher on a hill was the azumaya/four-eaved shelter, and over by the lake was a “dock,” which was their moon-viewing platform.
Iris, rhododendrons, azaleas, and a stone lantern
Pine tree
Hybrid azalea
Rhododendron in the woods
Laceleaf maple tree
More rhododendrons
There were several burgundy lace-leaf maple trees, and a variety of other trees including a birch and a pear tree, which were gifts from the Prince and Princess of Japan. The tea garden was designed by Japanese landscapers, and the Arboretum was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the successor to Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr’s firm.
We wandered out of the Japanese garden and drove to the greenhouse area of the arboretum. More rhododendrons and azaleas! They were preparing for a reception there. So we scooted across the patio past the grill and table laden with hors d’oeuvres and drinks. We walked down Azalea Way, between veritable walls of azaleas with some rhododendrons mixed in. Wandered up through some trees to more burgundy lace-leaf maples. Back in the car we drove around Arboretum Drive for a better look at the hillsides of rhododendrons. Amazing, and still so full of color.
We returned to J&K’s house to prepare dinner. I was given the job of making garlic bread, and sliced half a loaf of country French bread in half lengthwise. I tried softening butter on the stove, but only succeeded in melting part of it. Kirby gave me a handful of chopped garlic and wanted to know if it was enough. I imagined so, never having used fresh garlic before! I dabbed on the garlic-butter mixture, and used scissors to chop fresh parsley to sprinkle on the bread, and a grater to sprinkle on fresh parmesan cheese. The garlic bread was toasted and was our first course as we cooked. Boy, was it strong with garlic, but everyone proclaimed to love it! We sat down to eat, with the guys having beer and the girls Perrier. We started with the half-moon pasta alla carbonara, with boiled ham strips and cream in the cheese sauce. I’m not familiar with the cheese Kirby used in the sauce, which also had garlic in it. Next we had marinated asparagus, and salad with the fennel in it. We were too stuffed to think of preparing the salmon. Jan had made a Zuppa with cheese and eggs, biscotti with chocolate liqueur, and chocolate shavings on top. We tasted that after cleaning up, and it was great, except for the liqueured biscotti for me. Jan and Kirby put on some music CDs very loud during dinner, but turned it down as we sat in the living room to talk before retiring to bed.

Saturday, May 16, 1987
We were up late at 8:30, and this morning Jan & Kirby were up soon after that. Kirby went to get breakfast while I ate a pear. He brought back cranberry juice boxes and pastries. I had most of a cheese croissant, and Kent and Kirby shared a cheese croissant, a sticky roll, and a Danish. They had coffee from the espresso machine, with a choice of regular or decaffeinated.
At about 9:30 we walked a couple houses down the street to an estate sale. Most of the house was opened up with the contents exposed, all with price tags. We looked through records, books, magazines from France, kitchen cupboards, and closets. Looked out the windows at the views of emerging mountains through a haze. The views were better from J&K’s house. Found a full length beaver fur coat in a closet with a matching hairband for only $60, which Jan tried on. She ended up getting a sweater for a dollar. I was feeling a little bit like I was violating someone by rummaging through his/her personal belongings, even if he/she were dead. An old lady told us the deceased was an elegant French woman. Kent felt the same way, but Jan & Kirby seemed experienced at this kind of thing. Later we noticed a sign for another estate sale in the neighborhood, and we did notice most of the people in this area were senior citizens.
We got in the car, and Jan & Kirby wanted to show us the west side of Seattle. We first headed to Carkeek Park on the Puget Sound. Wound through the park until we sighted water and parked. Walked across a bridge over the railroad tracks to the “beach” of stones.
Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains
The tide was low and right away Kent spotted a seal head bobbing in the water. He also spotted black specks farther out, and even with the use of binoculars, it wasn’t clear what they were. Kent insisted it was something alive, and I admit they seemed to be moving. To me, it was definitely something along the lines of a Loch Ness monster.
The Loch Ness monster is out there!
We saw the seal again closer in to shore. All around us was a panorama of mountains. The Olympics across the Sound and the Cascades behind us. We heard a buzzing sound that I thought was sawing of wood. But Kent observantly had noted the model plane airport at the entrance to the park. We could see the model planes going around in circles, inland over the railroad tracks.
Back in the car, Jan drove and I navigated, so that the guys could sit in the back immersed in very loud Philip Glass music. We followed Blue Ridge Drive along the water’s edge with its very nice homes. Seattle definitely looks like a great place to live as well as visit. We drove through the Scandinavian part of town to the Hiram M Chittenden Locks on the Lake Washington Ship Canal, which connects the saltwater Puget Sound to the freshwater harbor, Salmon Bay, and Lakes Union and Washington.
We walked directly to the locks past tour buses, cub scouts, and snackmobiles. Also through the red-flowered chestnut trees lining the road. We watched the activity in the larger lock, seeing a fuel barge move upstream, using the whole of the lock, rather than half as indicated by gates midway along the walls.
Chittenden Lock upper gate
Fuel barge entering the lock
Fuel barge rising in the lock
The change in water level is remarkably fast. We then watched the smaller lock get packed with pleasure boats.

Pleasure boats in a lock
Over on the south side we peered into the empty fish ladders. This was part of the two weeks per year when it is drained and repaired.
Empty fish ladder
Fish Ladder brochure
We returned to watching lock activity and Jan & Kirby had many questions that we “knowingly” answered. We climbed the hill to the lockmaster’s house, and wandered a bit in part of the 7-acre Carl S English, Jr Ornamental Gardens. He was head gardener for the Corps of Engineers here for 34 years. We then went to the Visitors Center, with very friendly squirrels outside. Inside were very helpful “interpreters” who answered all of Jan’s questions after we viewed a 15-minute multi-media presentation. Upstairs were exhibits on the locks and Corps of Engineers.
Next we went in search of a place to eat. Decided on a fast food seafood restaurant called Skipper’s. We ordered and took our number to sit at a booth. Our meal was then served to us at the table. I had a cup of good, but different, white clam chowder, and the clam platter with fries and coleslaw, with iced tea. The others finished my fries for me! Kent had a fish and oyster platter, and J&K each got a fish platter.
After lunch it was suddenly decided to go see the Olympic Mountains! We drove downtown and joined the line of cars being funneled into the toll gates for the ferry. Apparently a Nordic Festival was being held in Poulsbo across the Sound, thus there was a tremendous amount of traffic. We could wait a half hour for the 14:30 ferry, to arrive in Bremerton at 15:30, or wait an hour for the 15:00 ferry to arrive in Winslow at 15:30. We decided we wouldn’t have enough time to get to Olympic National Park and not to take either ferry. A lady told us how to circle around to get out of line for the ferry, but there was a line of cars in the way. Since we were waiting anyway, we decided to go head and take the ferry and enjoy the ride. So Kent and Jan ran back to the ticket booth to pay our fare of $5.40 for the car and $3.20 for each passenger for a total of $15. As it turned out, once past the ticket booth, they don’t check for tickets, and we could have just boarded along with the other cars. We boarded the ferry for Bremerton, leaving on time with a blast of the boat’s horn. We locked the car and went up on the outside deck. At the start, there were several tugboats loitering in front of the ferry and there were rumors that is was a Greenpeace-type of demonstration. But they moved out of the way as we left the dock. The ferry moved pretty fast.
On the ferry leaving the dock
Great view of Seattle skyline with the prominent Space Needle.
Seattle Space Needle
Another ferry
Seattle skyline
The green hillsides surrounding the Sound was reminiscent of Norwegian fjords.
The fjord look
Saw some dark semi-sandy beaches. I started getting a splitting headache; perhaps from the wind. Suddenly we heard a car alarm, and Jan & Kirby ran to investigate. It was their car; apparently the alarm was triggered when the boat veered into a turn. Just as they came back, it went off again. So we decided to go down to the car deck and keep the car unlocked as we stood out front. Down near the water you really got the feeling of moving fast. I stayed out of the wind and felt much better. Kirby had gotten advice from the driver of a Peugeot when asking about the line we were waiting in. This guy was sitting in his car, so Jan went to get details, and received a very specific itinerary. We landed on time in Bremerton, a Naval base city.
Bremerton, WA
We took off and followed our noses to find WA-3. We stopped to ask a bearded guy for directions, and although he had a Washington accent, it could have passed for Ohio, according to Kent. We were headed in the right direction, and soon found the highway lined with a shrub with deep yellow blooms, identified as Scotch Broom. We noted the wild rhododendrons in the woods along the whole way. I also noted the vintage-looking school buses, like from the 1950s, except they were in mint condition and in operation. We headed north towards Poulsbo, but avoided the town itself because crowds are not popular with most of “us.” Continued to Port Gamble as recommended by the Peugeot driver.
Port Gamble, lumber town
Port Gamble street
It was indeed a quaint town, and Kent said it reminded him of Maine. So we were pleasantly surprised to learn the founders of the town modeled it after their home town in Maine!
We stopped at the General Store and looked out over the dock area full of lumber. Port Gamble was the first logging town in the state of Washington, founded in 1853. It was the company town of the Pope and Talbot Company with Victorian-style homes, a church, and town buildings. Only to look at since everything was still used and lived in! One of the oldest sawmills in the country still operates here. The street lamps were of gas. In the General Store, Kent got a vanilla crème soda and I bought postcards. Many of the houses had signs telling who originally lived there, all lumber company men. There were a lot of neat knickknacks in the store. Jan & Kirby found a satellite photo of the Seattle area, which kept us fascinated for a while. Kent pointed out the city hall-type building across the street, where I could use a restroom. Wooden chair rails in a musty hall put me back a century.
We walked around behind the store to the entrance of the museum to see an old steam locomotive, an anchor, and the back of one particular Victorian house. Next we drove up near the cemetery, now with Kent at the wheel. We crossed the new Hood Canal Floating Bridge, although there was no sensation of floating. We followed WA-104 towards the mountains. Although we didn’t have time to get really into the Olympics, we were in the foothills and close enough. The unplanned day was turning out to be wonderful, with lots of unexpected sun! We took the first available left down US-101 to Quilcene, known for oysters. Several trucks parked along the road were selling shrimp and oysters. Bought some gas in Quilcene and the friendly proprietor, who said, “Howdy, young feller!” to Kirby, informed us that shrimp season opened today. Once we neared the water, we could see many fishing boats, probably shrimpers.
But first we detoured up Mount Walker, on a gravel and dirt road with a quarter-mile paved section, which wound around the mountain several times. Always a sheer drop to the left! Lots of wild rhododendrons.
Wild rhododendron on Mount Walker
It was a fantastic trip, although the one-lane road was not conducive to passing cars headed in the other direction. A white-knuckle drive for Kent who probably wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to drive. We made it to the top at 2,804 feet in altitude, parked and followed a path to the right to get a view down on the islands in the Sound, and across a great distance to the hazy city of Seattle.
View towards Seattle
Saw snow-covered mountains behind us. We went to the extreme left of the mountain top for a grand view of the Olympics backlighted by the sun.
Olympic Mountains
Jan watched bees pollinating the rhododendrons and we took photos.
Tamiko & Kent silhouettes (photo by Kirby)
Jan & Kirby were very tempted to gather rhododendron seedlings, but we were in the Olympic National Forest and respected that.
Back down at the bottom of Mount Walker, we followed US-101 along the west side of the Hood Canal, and saw all the shrimp boats. Passed small towns with names like Duckabush and Lilliwaup. Along the way we saw oyster farms with walls of oyster shells. Continued past the port of Hoodsport, and Shelton, home of Christmas trees. We were stuck behind a school bus most of the way, but passed him at Shelton. The road became a freeway as we came to Olympia, and glimpsed the State Capitol. As we headed up I-5 towards Tacoma, we could see Mount Rainier, like a ghost to our right. It really stands out and is a sleeping volcano. Beyond Tacoma we stopped at a Dairy Queen where the boys got ice cream and the girls used the restroom. Jan then drove us to their house, arriving at 21:00. I then made garlic bread with half as much fresh garlic, and the others worked at broiling the white salmon and steaming broccoli. We sat down to a late dinner and finished with a bit of Zuppa. The boys went to bed as I helped Jan clean up.

Sunday, May 17, 1987
We left after breakfast to head to the airport. Kent and I went to check in for our 11:01 flight to Chicago. Jan went to pick up her ticket for a later trip to North Carolina for an NDT instructors meeting, and Kirby parked the car. We all met at the gate for goodbyes and thank-yous. On this flight we were served lunch, and today our flights were basically on time. Arrived in Chicago at 16:40 local time. We didn’t have far to go to the connecting gate, but then we had to go downstairs to ground level and take a bus to the freight terminal, where many planes had to load because of new construction t the regular terminal. When boarding, an Indian woman sitting next to me exclaimed, because there was chewing gum on her seat belt, and it got on her hands and her sari. Kent jumped up to get wet paper towels form the bathroom, and to flag down a stewardess. The first stewardess appeared clueless and got a towel soaked in club soda (this is chewing gum, ladies!). Another stewardess came to announce they would get her a new seatbelt and give her a voucher to pay for the damage. Kent suggested they get a blanket to cover the seat. We had to stand in the aisle as they replaced the seat belt. This woman had a face with smooth skin, but her hands were gnarled with arthritis. She was reading a very technical chemistry book. Arrived in Providence at 20:30, and released the car for $18.

Saturday, May 9, 1987

1987 Stepping Stone Falls, Escoheag, RI (5/9/1987)

Saturday, May 9, 1987
Before lunch the boys played basketball and they brought me lilies and iris for “Step-Mother’s Day,” and a rose from Kent. After lunch we drove down I-95 to RI-3, then turned west on RI-165, which was pockmarked due to construction. Turned right on Escoheag Hill Road for about two miles as estimated on a map. We found a dirt road with yellow blazes on the trees, so knew we were in the right place. We drove down the dirt road to the stream and parked. Just down the stream to the right were the Stepping Stone Falls. Found at last!
Erich, Kent, and Kyle
Stepping Stone Falls
Interesting rock formation. Explored a bit; the gnats were really pests. We retraced our steps to the road, and went upstream on the other side.
Stepping Stone Falls
Stepping Stone Falls
Erich saw a frog jumping into a puddle. Found a bridge over the stream.
Erich, Kent, and Kyle on the bridge
Erich,Kent, and Kyle
Next to the bridge was a tree with a network of roots over the rocky surface of the ground. Kyle asked if we knew where “Route/Root” 95 was!!
We crossed the bridge to walk on the opposite bank back to the car. We returned to Escoheag Hill Road and turned right to follow it until it became a dirt road, passing a fire tower and a couple cemeteries. We turned back to RI-165 and followed that past I-95 and RI-3 until it became a dirt road. Turned north on the New London Turnpike, which was a dirt road! Once it reached RI-102, we got back on a paved road to head east to RI-2, to I-95 and home.