Since I was a young boy, I’ve always been intrigued by old cars and trucks. Unlike some, many of my earliest memories don’t involve trips to Disney Land or rides on the merry-go-round with a parent looking on proudly documenting the moment on super 8 film. Not me, my most cherished memories involve my dad taking me to the junkyards just beyond Shea Stadium by Willets Point to find a part for his latest clunker or to exact a debt from someone who couldn’t cover the split on the recent prize fight or that week’s Football game. Those early trips to the unpaved roads and auto part graveyard, along with our treks to the train yards in Woodside, Queens would help shape my love of art, antiques, crate digging for records, antiques and finding the beauty in things others often leave behind. Here’s to seeking out, searching and finding those hidden treasures.
In support of Independent Bookstore Day, a celebration of books and the independent spirit that comes with owning, operating, working or choosing to shop in one. We headed to Tacoma to join in all the fun. Everything from the old school printing presses set up in the adjacent parking lot to the record, book and comic shop was so much fun. Though we missed the opportunity to take home the tacoccentric Tacoma shirt. We stayed in a line long enough to make one our own take home prints on one of the Wayzgoose! Letterpress machines. After that, it was off to Wooden City Bar for Pizza , Foss Waterway Seaport and a long look at the Tacoma Bridge before heading home. And though the rain the weather girl promised did come. It was hardly enough to put a damper on our plans.
While it’s seldom discussed outside the photographers circle. I am pretty sure there is something equivalent to a photographers boner. Though not thoroughly researched. I can assure you that there are a number of subjects that bring tingles to my lower parts. One of them is industrial photography and the kind that just might include a little trespassing. As someone who, at the age of seven considered construction sites part of his urban playground. I have a long history of being both physically and creatively drawn to industrial types of art, architecture and style.
Deciding to turn down a different street, take a different route and cross that bridge yesterday in Tacoma paid endless dividends. While we had already been having a stellar day of beautiful weather, good food, record shopping and coffee. The tail end of our visit, was by far the most rewarding. My eyes lit up as I spotted a collection of out of commission train cars just outside one of the industrial parks businesses. loudly urged “Stop.” “Stop.” “Stop the car.” As I jumped out of my seat toretrieve my camera from the trunk. Though I can’t wait to go back and further explore that particular area. I feel lucky to have a few worthwhile images to go home with.
We started out on our three hour journey to Leavenworth with the idea of revisiting the town and stopping for some bratwurst before exploring the surrounding areas. After a stop for breakfast at Snoqualmie’s Commonwealth restaurant for some tasty beef brisket. We made our way to our destination in Leavenworth. If you’d ever had a chance to visit the area, You would have immediately noticed the Disney like themed Bavarian setting. The town itself is a vacuum for tourists. Everything from the architectural facades to the shops and restaurants are focused on attracting tourists and their readily disposable income. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but it is definitely not something I look for when traveling. After indulging in some bratwurst at a packed outdoor spot. We hightailed it out of there and began our picturesque drive home.
On the way, we drove through some nearby towns that featured the character and warmth we always look for when traveling. Cle Elum was just one of the towns we travlled through and stopped in. I manged to take a few pictures before the sun disappeared into the night. The Chai Tea I enjoyed at Pioneer Roasting Company was enough to guarantee a return to the area. While I won’t go as far as to put a negative spin on tourism, tourists or tourist attractions. From my own experience, I always suggest exploring the areas outside of the designated areas of your trip. If you wish to learn about the area, it’s people and their unique personalities. Doing so will almost always reward you. As for Leavenworth. I’ll be cooking my own bratwurst from now on.
Truth be told, if it weren’t for the constant call of family back east. I might just stay in Washington state a bit longer. Having lived in New York and New Jersey my entire life. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to move to and live out west. And while it’s long ago been decided that we’ll soon return to either New York or New Jersey. I can’t help but wonder, what if?
Though my wife has reiterated that we, indeed, will return to that area. She, perhaps unknowingly, sends me mixed singles when I catch her looking online at lofts and condos in Portland. OR. It’s something I’ve become used to and I fully realize that she is either playfully curious or just doing it to break my balls. Maybe that’s why I’ve learned to take it all in stride and play along. Maybe that’s why I didn’t even blink an eye when leaving Olympia today and I was asked the question, “If we decided to stay in Washington and the choice
came down to living in Tacoma or Olympia. Which would you choose?” Before responding, I took a few seconds to think, choose and properly explain my choice. As a husband, you get used to being asked questions all day. So being able to quickly answer one and have enough facts and data to back it up might make you seem a lot smarter. Though delaying your answer can help give you breathing room and slightly delay the next life shattering inquiry. Which in my case usually has something to do with my hatred of Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi or Aerosmith.
As we pushed through Tacoma and entered the last leg of our trip to Olympia. We suddenly became besieged by a thick fog the wrapped around the interstate and its surrounding areas shrinking drivers visibility from miles to a matter of feet. As we grew closer to our exit, we wondered aloud. Had we been betrayed by a weather report to boasted about sunny skies and warm temperatures. Had the recent wildfires regrouped and were gathering strength just up the road? Undaunted and with empty stomachs we soldiered on to our intended destination. When we arrived at 4th Avenue’s New Moon Cafe. We were well aware of how cold it was and even debated on how long we were willing to wait for a table to open. Being that we had both spent much of the previous night reviewing the menu and trying to predict what the other would order. I assured her that we were both in fore the long haul. Luckily, our decision to wait it out paid off as the food, service and sense of communal warmth that New Moon provides. Rewarded us with full stomachs, empty plates and ear to ear smiles. From there, we did our best to walk it off. Stopping in at Olyphant, Rainy Day Records and Ember Goods before heading to some of the area farms and our eventual trip home. This was maybe our forth or fifth trip to Olympia since moving out West. We’ve yet to tire of the food, people or atmosphere thw area provides. What makes returning to any area you’ve become familiar with is finding something new to appreciate and look forward to returning for.
As I arrived at my Tuesday morning physical rehabilitation session. . I felt the warmth and rejuvenated spirits of my therapist and the staff I have become so used to seeing since my first visits back in July. It was rejuvenation one can only get from a much needed vacation, or in this case a three day weekend. While waiting for my session to begin, I asked some of the staffers about their extended weekend and what adventures they might have gotten into. Imagine my surprise when the responses each focused on staying home, relaxing and avoiding traffic. While I was expecting detailed stories of running marathons, camping and climbing the peaks of Kilimanjaro I could easily relate to the idea of staying local and just chilling out. For, not a week goes by when I’m not asked the world’s most important question “What do want to do this weekend?” Though intended or not, and I’m sure it’s not. That question challenges me to come up with the greatest idea ever known to man. A thinly veiled eight hour trip to Baltimore for crabs. An endless drive south to Portland or north to Vancouver. Or in this weekends version an endless drive to the mountains for a runny eggs and oily bacon breakfast. Followed by a tiring ride home and a stop to find out just how bad the food at Chick-fil-A can be. Maybe, one day soon, when the question “What do you want to do this weekend?” comes up. I’ll be able to say, “Absolutely nothing.” Until then, here’s to three hour drives to the country and the mountains. Follow your wanderlust. Wherever it may take you.