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Tacoma, Washington Day Trip Idea: Three Free Museums Every Third Thursday

The trip I’m outlining here would be entirely free, except for whatever gas you use getting to Tacoma and whatever you elect to spend on food. Every third Thursday of the month, three Tacoma museums offer free entry. Even better, all three of these museums are within 10 minutes or less walking distance of each other, and all within the University of Washington, Tacoma cultural hub, which happens to be one of the most enjoyable areas of the city. You…

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Olympia, Washington—An Endless Procession of the Species

Come as You Are: Olympia Has One of the Most Eclectic Populations You’ll Ever Find Being the capital of Washington state, Olympia’s downtown sports a lot of political and business types. Mixed into them, however, is an even larger group of oddballs, outcasts, and freaks—basically, my kind of people. When I first moved to Olympia years ago, my first thought was that it was a sort of elephant graveyard for hippies, but that isn’t really accurate. Not fully, anyway. You’ve got…

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Hospitality and Relaxation at the Quinault River Inn in Amanda Park, Washington, Just a Stone’s Throw Away from Lake Quinault

  The Uncommonly Welcoming Quinault River Inn I arrived fifteen minutes after closing time to find the hosts at the Quinault River Inn still awake and waiting for my arrival. I’d called a couple hours earlier for an impromptu weekend getaway but hadn’t actually paid for the room yet. Despite this lack of financial or legal obligation, the hosts—Georgia’s own Jim and Angela Sowards—stayed late to make sure I got into my room. The wind and rain had been heavy…

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Strange Conversation at Irely Lake, Olympic National Park

So it was I found myself on the shore of Irely Lake, talking out loud to a tree…and I’ll be damned if the tree didn’t talk back. It was one of those days of common desperation. Common for me, anyway, the man who never outgrows his existential angst. No matter how old I get, the nagging doubt remains. What am I supposed to be doing here? Why do the answers fade as fast as they arrive? Is there a reason…

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Tacoma, Washington’s Point Defiance Park Is a Great Budget Destination

Point Defiance Park is One of Tacoma, Washington’s Best Budget Trips Whether you’re in the mood for swimming, hiking, tossing a football around, taking a scenic drive, or just chilling in the sun, you’ll find plenty of room and opportunity at Point Defiance Park. There’s also the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, boat rentals, and eats, of course, but in this blog post I’ll be focusing on Point Defiance recreation activities that cost little to no money. Point Defiance makes for a…

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Introvert’s Hideaway at Packwood, Washington and the Las Wis Wis Campground

A Perfect Escape into Quietude If you’re a Washington state introvert looking for a quick weekend escape into relative solitude (as much as you can get without actually going into the back country), then I’ve got a place for you. Near the southern entrance into Mount Rainier National Park, there’s a little town named Packwood. A few miles beyond that, a National Forest Service campground named Las Wis Wis.   Packwood, as you can see above, isn’t Las Vegas. It’s a mellow…

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Tacoma, Washington: Glitz, Glamour, and Just the Right Amount of Grit

In Tacoma, History and Innovation Blend Seamlessly Come to Tacoma for beautiful historic landmarks standing right beside newly constructed museums and restaurants. Feel free to wear your best dress or your favorite pair of blue jeans. This city doesn’t ask anyone to put on any airs. As anybody who has lived in the Puget Sound Basin will attest, Tacoma has a bit of a reputation around these parts. Many see it as the Gotham City of the Pacific Northwest. In…

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First Time Elephant Ears

The crew of Portlanders sitting next to me in the bleachers titters at the hokeyness of their first small-town rodeo. Then the bull rages out of the gate in a cyclone of horns and hooves, throws its rider on the second buck and kicks the grounded man square in the chest. The crew grows quiet. Down in the arena a rodeo clown distracts the beast as attendants rush the shaken competitor to safety. “Damn,” one of the Portlanders finally whispers,…

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