Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington

Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington
Mount Rainier Under Clouds

I’ve been to or through Tacoma and Pierce County, many times, but on October 3rd, 2016, Mike and I drove through on a photo excursion. If you want to read my Pierce County post from the Evergreen book, just click this link. But if you just want to sit back and watch the scenery go by, keep reading as we drive around Tacoma and Pierce County, Washington.

The night of October 2nd, we stayed in Olympia. I wrote about our drive around Olympia and Thurston County last Monday. As that post ended, we were driving north on Washington Highway 507 past Tenino and Yelm. A few miles beyond Yelm, we crossed the Nisqually River and entered Pierce County. On December 22nd, 1852, the Oregon Territorial Legislature created four new counties around Puget Sound, one of which they named for the newly-elected President Franklin Pierce. Pierce hadn’t taken office yet when he was honored with the new county. But you can get all that history stuff on my Evergreen site. Today we drive. Buckle your seat belt.

There sure is a lot of country here

Washington Highway 507
Crossing Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Washington 507

Tacoma and the suburbs surrounding the city give Pierce County an urban setting. 93% of the County’s population lives in cities. But driving north on 507, you forget that you are so close to so many people. Highway 507 cuts across Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of the largest military bases in the Northwest, and a principal land owner in Pierce County. The highway runs in a straight line toward the northeast, bordered on both sides by heavy timber, as seen above.

Eventually, the road turns due north and enters Spanaway (2010 population 27,227) where we’ll stop for lunch. Among the things we didn’t see in Spanaway are Spanaway Lake and the County Park there. What we did see was the featured Car of the Day back on February 26th, 2020, this beautiful 1958 Rambler Custom which was parked right across from our restaurant.

Tacoma Dome and the LeMay Auto Museum

Continuing on toward Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, we reached Interstate 5 just in time to exit again so we could visit the LeMay Auto Museum. More properly called America’s Car Museum, the LeMay houses the largest auto collection in the U.S. Tacoma based garbage collector Harold LeMay set out to collect one of each car make ever manufactured in the U.S. By the time he died in 2002, he had amassed an amazing collection, only a few of which are on display at any given time. Note than when I say “a few,” I don’t mean that the museum skimps on displays. Its 4 stories cover 165,000 square feet. It’s just that LeMay left a collection of over 3,500 vehicles. No museum could show that many at one time.

Right next door to the LeMay is the Tacoma Dome. As the Dome’s website states, it is “one of the largest wood domed structures in the world.” Built in the early 1980s, the Dome rises above Interstate 5, and driving south on the highway, it feels as if you can drive right into the building. The Dome’s website is a compendium of facts and figures, including the fact that so much concrete went into the building, you could have laid 70 miles of sidewalk with it. Similarly, the amount of rebar used, if laid end to end, would stretch from Tacoma to Spokane, 236 miles east (as the crow flies).

The Tacoma Dome from Interstate 5 Southbound

Into Downtown Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington

As we left the Museum and Dome, we took sidestreets down and around Commencement Bay looking for the Pierce County Courthouse. Along the way, we saw this nondescript building with an arresting sign. Who doesn’t like Almond Roca?

Downtown Tacoma, seat of Pierce County, Washington, makes driving a large pickup pulling an even larger trailer fun. Hills, some almost as steep as San Francisco’s, make up much of downtown. Narrow cross-streets make tight turning radii almost a necessity. That said, we found the court house, now a combined City-County governmental sky scraper.

We also found the old Union Station, built in 1911 when the railroads still served downtown areas. Today Union Station has been completely renovated and serves as a courthouse of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Similarly the old Tacoma City Hall looks forward to its own renovation. A gorgeous five-story building, it would make a great heart for a renovated downtown. All in all, what we saw while driving around Tacoma, and Pierce County, Washington make me want to return. I want to spend a lot of time just wandering around downtown, enjoying the cafés, coffee shops, restaurants and other amenities that Marguerite and Anne visit in today’s video of the day.

Guest Site of the Day

I’ve now written three posts devoted entirely to the dogs in my life. My blog school classmate Keeley lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, on a creek apparently, and writes about being a dog mom. She apparently knows what she’s talking about as she has thirteen dogs at home with her and her husband. She says ” I am going to share, educate, show, and inspire you to create your best dog mom life. Not only do YOU deserve it, but so does your dog.

Her blog, Creek Dog Tails, has great information, photos and even a section “written” by her Golden Lab Biscuit. OK, you and I both know that’s not true. Biscuit isn’t really sitting down at the keyboard, but he makes terrific recommendations for toys, ideas about Bark Box, and more. If you love dogs, the way Kevin and I love dogs, you owe it to yourself to check out Creek Dog Tails.

Recipe of the Day

Yesterday, my cousin Angie posted a recipe for Easiest No-bake Cheesecake. Looking at it, my response was “I have all those ingredients. I’m gonna make it!” And so, with Kevin’s help, last night we made the Easiest No-Bake Cheesecake. OK, OK. Kevin made it and I helped. I got the ingredients out of the pantry and told Kevin what to do. Doesn’t that count? Is this the “easiest” cheesecake? I couldn’t say, but it was most definitely “No-Bake.” AND, I didn’t have to use a springform pan. Or a water bath. Or pretty much anything else.

Use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, the lemon juice and vanilla. Spoon the mixture into a prepared graham cracker crust, and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Pretty easy, yes? And before serving it, I spooned some cherry pie filling over our pieces and served. Kevin’s comment? “You didn’t cut the pieces large enough.” Solution? He had seconds. I’m saving this recipe and will definitely make it again. BTW, the recipe says to use only Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk. The author feels that other house brands (generics) do not have the right consistency. I can’t speak to that. One can of Eagle brand sat in my pantry, so I used it. The generics can go in my home-made coffee creamer mix.

Video of the Day, A video tour of Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington

Today’s video is a “tour” of Tacoma led by a couple of women who take us to their favorite bars, restaurants and cinema. They obviously know and love Tacoma. My only quibbles are that I wish they focused more on the sights and less on the interior of their car. Also, while they drove through the “Gayborhood,” I wish they had spent a bit more time describing it. That said, they do feature several venues in this ten minute segment, and they do aim the camera out the car window from time to time. Beautiful scenery, great places to visit, and fun conversation. I enjoyed tagging along with Marguerite and Anne as they toured Tacoma, and I hope you do as well.

Tomorrow is another day…

I hope you have enjoyed our drive today, and maybe even learned something about Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington.  Let me know any concerns you may have in the comments below.  Or, for that matter, feel free to comment on anything below–just no spam ads for pharmaceuticals, please.  I delete all those.  

Tomorrow’s blog talks about slow cookers, Crock Pots, as it were, and I’m look forward to sharing my tips and recipes.  And next Monday, the 20th, we’ll drive into Seattle and King County, Washington.  Don’t touch that dial!