Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Memorial Day Road Trip: Destination TACOMA!

What to do on Memorial Day?

Honor the memory of the first female graduate of the Air Force Academy killed in Iraq / Afghanistan?

Honor the holiday's origin after the Civil War?

Ummm, well, how about another RantWomen Road trip, this time to ....Tacoma!

The pretext: the RantWomen are still trying to plan a family reunion involving RantMom's siblings, and spouses, a couple widowed sister-in-law (same uncle, different marriages, but RantWoman is fond of both and HOPES they might both come) We think and MAYBE some adult cousins and their kids. Yesterday's journey confirmed that Tacoma offers a wonderful combination of easy transit connections and options, downtown walkability, and excursion options in town or out of town.

We also especially bless Little Sister for help finding a good lodging option right near transit options! RantWoman thinks it would be possible to do a couple days just in Tacoma, no driving on the Tacoma Link. RantWoman may be overestimating the level of transit ruggedness, but not the multiple days, at least at the aunts and uncles' tourism pace of things to see.

Transportation question: will people rent cars or use short-term car share? Stay tuned.

Lodging bonus: the lodging accepts pets, has some kind of still unspecified hearing accommodations. Rates seem reasonable.  There seem like enough options to meet the family's requirements to balance togetherness with the reality that certain combinations of family members, based on LONG experience with such gatherings, should not spend too much time in each other's company.

RantWoman guesses this means there will be room for everyone's teeth too. In fact rantWoman insists on writing of this not only because she finds the row of dentures in the bathroom overnight at such gatherings ghoulishly entertaining but also because the dentures make her feel less guilty about the state of her own teeth. Just blame the DNA.

But RantWoman gets ahead of herself. Here are some postcards:

Getting there: The ORCA transaction. RantWoman WILL pay multiple people's additional disabled fare on top of regular pass levels. RantWoman WILL pay this out of her ORCA wallet. Both going and coming, the drivers seemed able to give directions. RantWoman WILL check her ORCA transaction list but so far things look good.

Going and Coming: the Sound Transit 594. Face it. RantWoman has a beef with Sound Transit. Sound Transit buses that go to Snohomish County in RantWoman's experience do well about accessibility. Sound Transit Coaches that go to N and E King County do nicely about accessibility: low entry. Easy options for wheelchair entry and maneuvering Ability to lower the bus. Space in the courtesy area.

Buses going to Pierce  Countyare another story, a big fat sour accessibility frownie face.  RantWoman has in the distant past gone to Tacoma and back with a wheelchair user but the present Greyhound-like buses seem a big barrier. RantWoman is told that if a wheelchair user shows up, he or she can be accommodated but RantWoman wonders how.. The bus entry involves several steps. The aisles are narrow so no one larger than a twig can move around easily and never mind if someone has a mobility device or RantMom's bleeping backpack.

Both RantWomen did manage to board the bus both ways: Getting off, RantWoman went first and caught RantMom's backpack so RantMom only had to deal with the stairs. But both RantMom and RantWoman give the experience a GIANT frownie face. This MIGHT mean the RantWomen would just consider options involving the Sounder but the Sounder was not available. Frown!

The Tacoma Light Rail: both RantWomen found the Tacoma Light Rail great fun! Good thing after the bus ride.

The tour, or wayfinding minus advance planning.
Off the 594 at 10th and Commerce. Wrong turn. Should have gone up the hill. RantWoman formed a positive impression of possibilities on days  other than holidays,. RantMom just got tired without going up the hill to more specific Theater district attractions. But never mind: the Link showed up. The RantWomen rode back to the Tacoma dome and then back to Union Station. This restored RantMom's energy.

At Union Station, the RantWoman found the winding ramp up through the UW Tacoma campus. We found it pleasant but partway up the hill, bus bladder and rumbling stomachs kicked in. Time for restroom break and lunch.

Digression about geriatric tastebuds:
RantWoman has read that what people can taste changes as they age. RantWoman is not sure she wants to know what is going on with RantMom's taste buds. This time the issue: what on earth makes combining black olives, dill pickles, and guacamole on a sandwich sound like a good idea?

Memo to self: two 6" subs sounds like a MUCH better idea than trying to ado a footlong together. That way RantMom can have her pickles, olives, and guacamole and RantWoman can have pepper jack, jalapenos, and spicy mustard.

But onward to the next legs of our walking tour.
After lunch the RantWomen decided to go all the way up the UW Tacoma path. We were enjoying the greenery. We were not particularly headed for any specific destination. Good thing. Every time we got to an intersection, a place to turn, first RantWoman would ask RantMom whether she saw anything interesting. No, so up the path another block. Then RantWoman suggested just turning right. RantWoman did not really expect we would make it all the way to the Theater district. We did find a path back down to Pacific Street. There RantMom spied a path near the historical society.

The path RantMom found led to a long walkway, the kind of long smooth walkway that tempts RantWoman to stretch her legs and to strike out ahead of RantMom and the need to dodge both zigzags and RantMom's backpack. Both RantWomen understand this will happen and don't even yell about it. Good thing. Has RantWoman mentioned RantMom's hearing loss?

RantWoman was enchanted by the possibility of a view of water. RantWoman was also glad to stretch legs and move at a faster pace. But there was a voice in RantWoman's head.

RantWoman, it's an overpass. It's a LONG overpass. A noisy overpass. And RantMom is probably not having a super good time at this pace. SLOW DOWN.

The Bridge of Glass

RantWoman had been admiring two installations that looked like evergreens rendered in blown glass. RantWoman also suddenly came upon something she never would have expected to see on an overpass, a wall of niches with various blown glass works!

After several fascinating minutes of looking ath the Bridge of Glass, the RantWomen decided we had gone far enough and the walk back to the bus stop in the breeze and sunshine would be enough walking for the day.

For more information:   The Museum of Glass with wonderful descriptive text on its website

No comments:

Post a Comment