I am relaxing in my friends apartment after four days of camping.  I've dried off my sleeping bag, started some laundry, and taken a 56 hour shower, so now I'll take some time to write about this trip.
My dear friends moved to Tacoma this year, and I am visiting them to fulfil my promise to annoy them wherever the Army life takes them.  They'll be moving (sort of) back east this summer, so I am striking while the Pacific Northwest iron is hot.

I arrived in Tacoma and was immediately introduced to Pacific NW life.  My friend took me to their farmshare where they pick up fresh fruit, veg, and eggs once a week.  There is plenty of kale.  We had a great lunch and I had my first of many craft brews.
In the late afternoon we went to Point Defiance Park, which is an unbelievable municipal park full of beach, ancient trees, well kept gardens, as well as an aquarium and a zoo.  Municipal. Park.  It's lovely. 

The next day, I explored Tacoma by hitting up all of the major museums.  The Washington State History Museum is pretty cool and covers geological, social, and industrial histories of this state.  It doesn't completely gloss over the fact that the lands were all but stolen from the Native Americans, but doesn't make you feel too depressed about it either.
I found great fascination with being at what is generally the end of the 'Oregon Trail' and kept having flashbacks of how many characters I killed with dysentery or from lack of firewood back in elementary school.  I'm not sure what we learned from that game, but it certainly left an impression on my generation.   
In real life, I cannot imaging packing up your entire family and more or less walking over 2500 miles to find new self reliance and a fresh start.  It is admiral and unfathomable to me.

From there I visited the US court house, which sounds odd until I tell you that it has several glass art installations.  Dale Chihuly is from Tacoma and has certainly left his mark on city.  You can't turn around without bumping into some of his art, which is a very good thing.  It's beautiful, provocative, and is simply amazing. 

There is more of his work in the Tacoma Art Museum.  They also have a huge exhibit of Eric Carle, the artist behind the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  His art is bold and colorful and a joy to look at.
In the Museum of Glass, there is more glass.  All made with different techniques and styles.  The best part of this museum is their hotshop where visitors can sit and watch visiting artists and teams of glass experts make brand new pieces of art.  I sat in on a session for an hour and a half, rapt by their work.  It was great, especially as I didn't break anything in the gift shop, and got in for free (every 3rd Thursday of the month).

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