When my wife asked if I’d go sweater shopping with her, I immediately agreed. Knowing how much time she invests in trying to make sure I’m happy, it seemed as if my wish that she finally do something rewarding for herself had finally arrived. Having become used to accompanying her to a mall or outlet, I was a bit puzzled when she got off the highway and began navigating her way down a winding, dirt road. Was this a well crafted surprise or perhaps a pit stop where jugs of apple cider and sugar coated donuts await. Judging from the barking dogs and strange looking beasts that flanked us on both sides, probably not. It was then when my wife pointed to a small hut and said “That’s where I’m going to look for a sweater.” Being that I already own four sweaters and try to limit my shopping to bacon and records. I took a moment to enjoy the farm and meet its inhabitants. Enclosed within a wide open field were twenty or more Alpaca spread out over what looked like a pretty big field. Like many of the farm animals I’ve come across while traveling, Alpacas are pretty chill and seem more curious than bothered by visitors. Within a few moments, a number of them gravitated towards me, perhaps to say hello, or more likely to see if I had brought presents. Then, just as I began to move closer to the fence, the one pictured below came around the corner like a boss. I don’t know how she got out, but the man who ran the farm told me she was quite the escape artist.
I love Tacoma and while a long commute will probably doom any plans to settle there, I look forward to our many weekend trips there. With two years living in the great northwest tucked in our back pocket and more trips to Tacoma to count. It’s easy to appreciate the area’s laid back vibe and somewhat close proximity to our home. The problem, if you can call it one, with visiting any particular area is that you often find yourself visiting the same spots and doing the same things. And while repetition can often bring one temporary comfort, it can also produce torturous results. (Ever see the movie Groundhog Day? And while we did manage to include a couple of regular stops including High Voltage Records and Bluebeard Coffee, it was our breakfast at Marcia’s Silver Spoon Cafe and its industrial surroundings that really had us foaming at the mouth.
It goes without saying, that, as much as visiting those old comfortable might have it’s perks, the practice itself gets old rather quickly. So, instead of visiting the same places over and over again, try turning your chosen navigation app. off and let you natural sense of curiosity take over. Getting lost is often the best wsy to find yourself an adventure to remember. It can also net you a few more favorite places to go to.
Whenever leaving home with my wife. she always conducts a thorough search of what travels through the front door. “Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Cell Phone? Check.” Anything beyond that, though, gets serious scrutiny. With my computer, hard drive and oversized headphones already packed and prepared for our end of the day stop for coffee and several hours of power writing and internet obsessive searching, the mere mention or sight of my camera bag usually brings on a scowl and interrogation as to what the hell do you need that for? (Now, granted, over the years I’ve added extra lenses, flashes and other tricks of the trade to my arsenal. Thus adding noticeable weight and the need for a bigger camera bag.)
However, despite a growing bag of tricks and a hard drive that’s busting at the seems, I still live and see through a photographers eye. After decades of shooting, I still feel the draw of documenting the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. Still, that look I get from my wife coupled with the desire to travel light, I’m learning to enjoy things with documenting them. And while I often regret leaving my camera behind, having my cell phone handy allows me a little creative relief. I snapped these shots just off 6th Ave. in Tacoma while returning to our car. It reminded me of my younger days going to hardcore shows throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
With each day that passes, the neurological disorder I was diagnosed with reminds me that it is here to stay and make certain aspects of my life quite difficult. Adjusting and learning to approach things differently have been keys to moving forward. As much as the physical aspects of Fahrs progress. I can’t help but feel grateful that my upper body and even more importantly, my mind remain strong. Unfortunately though, the mind and body are not quite in sync. Which, at times can get me into a bit of trouble. Case in point, last weekends road trip. Just a week after getting a new, much needed walker, my wife and I planned a road trip that would figuratively and literally knock me on my ass.
After an amazing breakfast at Anacortes, Washington’s Dad’s Diner. We hit the road and continued on to Deception Bridge / Pass / Stae Park in Oak Harbor, making a number of stops along the way. Now,the fact that I rarely leave the apartment without a walker hasn’t had any effect on my wanting to hike, climb fences or wade waist deep in a river. Which, for better or worse, can get me in a bit of trouble. Add to it the insistence on carrying a photo bag loaded with lenses and other gear. (Perfect for someone battling with balance and stabilty issues.)
While there, I faced down my fears of heights and walking across bridges while nearly giving myself and my wife heart attacks. The goal, though entirely my wife, was to completely exhaust myself, which I did. During the long drive home, we stopped at farms and vegetable stands where we rebooted with coffee, ice cream and apples.
By the time we made it to the ferry, I started to feel the days actvities catching up with me. I was tired, dog tired. By the time we reached home, was flat out exhausted. Still, the long time need to put everyhing away in it’s proper place before even thinking of rest, overcame me and as I was putting something irrelevant away, I fell back on an old suitcase prop I haven’t used in years. The suitcase broke my fall before sending my head crashing into the wall. There were a lot of four letter ords shouted before being rescued by my wife and breaking out in mutual laughter over how I never accept me limits or learn my lesson about knowing when to leave things be. Until the next time.
– The PhotoGeek
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.
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.