A Drive Around Thurston County, Washington

A Drive Around Thurston County, Washington
Washington Capitol Dome through the trees

Back in 2016, a fellow Kaiser-Frazer owner told me where I could pick up a parts car for my 1948 Frazer. The car in question lived under a carport on the western side of Puget Sound. I got in touch with the current owner of the vehicle, and he was happy to let me have it. His wife had told him to clean up the junk. My friend Mike and I took Kevin’s pickup and our car-carrier trailer out to Port Orchard and loaded up the car. Once secured, we turned south toward Olympia and took a drive around Thurston County, Washington.

Yes, we drove an F350 super cab pickup pulling a trailer measuring over 30 feet around the capitol complex. We drove it down city streets and along rural highways barely wide enough for two cars. OK, full disclosure. I did no driving. Mike, like Kevin, has a CDL and is well used to handling rigs much larger than ours. Personally, I think the truck by itself is too large for my comfort. But I can happily ride along.

Getting to Thurston County

Port Orchard serves as seat of Kitsap County and lies directly west of Seattle across Puget Sound. I cannot imagine how much the Washington State Ferries would change us to cross the Sound, so we chose to drive around it. Heading south on Washington Highway 3, we passed through Mason County, and turned onto U.S. Highway 101 once we reached the Mason County Seat of Shelton, Washington. Shelton lies thirty-eight miles northwest of Olympia, and this being October, we drove into the city at dusk. Our immediate goals were dinner and lodging, not necessarily in that order.

The state capitol at night, definitely worth a drive around Thurston County
The Washington State Capitol at Night

Mike had a restaurant in mind, and we found it easily enough. What we couldn’t find was parking large enough to accommodate our truck and trailer. OK, find a motel with ample parking. Easily done. And with the help of Yelp, we found an Asian restaurant nearby. I don’t remember what Mike ordered, but I took a picture of my take-out Sashimi. (Of course I did.) We also drove through the Capitol Complex where I grabbed the shot above, standing on the stairs of the Temple of Justice.

Take Out Sashimi–Everyone’s Favorite Food

Day Two in Thurston County

The next morning we struck out to see what we could find in Thurston County before we drove home. Because I wanted photographs for my coffee table book Evergreen: A Photographic Portrait of Washington’s Thirty-Nine Counties, we needed to find the Thurston County Courthouse. I won’t say that we drove in circles looking for it, but we really did. Eventually we found the county complex, a set of at least three buildings with a very tight and crowded parking lot. While Mike drove around, I tried to find a suitable way to photograph this group of buildings. It makes me sad to find out that Thurston County had a beautiful courthouse, no longer used by the county, that I didn’t know about. On the other hand, I have since learned that the complex I did find no longer serves the needs of Thurston County, and plans exist to replace it. I’ll be back (spoken in my best Schwartzenegger voice).

Next we sought out a back road on the western edge of the county and drove south through Delphi and Rochester where we turned east and crossed Interstate 5. Passing the Little Rock United Methodist Church, we turned north toward Tenino on Washington Highway 507. Staying on 507, we drove through Rainier and crossed the Fort Lewis Military Reservation entering Pierce County.

Among the things we missed

While we saw (and photographed) the Crosby House (yes, that Crosby, or at least Bing’s family), we missed the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater. We missed Millersylvania State Park as well as Alder Lake in the corner where Thurston, Lewis and Pierce Counties all come together. We did not walk the Deschutes Parkway and did not visit the Interpretive Center there. All things for the next time we drive around Thurston County.

If you are interested in learning more about Thurston County history, and would like to see more of my photographs, just go to the Evergreen tab at the top of the page, and then click on Thurston County. Or, I’ll make it simpler, just click on this link to see my Evergreen post on Thurston County.

Classic Car of the Day

This 1947 Dodge Sierra Station Wagon has absolutely nothing to do with today’s post. But judging by those tires and the luggage rack, it would be a fine vehicle to take on a drive around Thurston County. I found this baby in a parking lot in Eureka, California back in January, 2007. It was for sale then. Have no idea where or what condition it is in now, but we can hope for the best.

Likewise the calla lily I chose for today’s Flower of the Day was growing in Momma’s flower bed also back in 2007. I would hope the new owners of Momma’s house have kept up the flower beds. They seem like nice people, and it is their house now, so all I can say is “It’s all good.”

Photo of the Day

Today’s photo is, of course, apropos the day’s theme. While on a drive around Thurston County, we came upon this view of the State Capitol dome rising above the trees. As the Capitol Complex sits on a hill between Interstate 5 and Puget Sound’s Budd Inlet, it makes for a handy landmark as you travel by. The photograph featured at the head of this page is today’s photo of the day.

Guest Site of the Day

The Deschutes Parkway, roughly 1 2/3 miles in length, runs along Capitol Lake connecting Olympia and Tumwater. The dredging of the lake created an adjacent wetland area, and in 1979 the Interpretive Center came into being. Today’s guest site is a look at some of the birds that can be seen near the Interpretive Center, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers,” by naturalist Nancy Partlow. A beautifully written piece in memory of her father, both text and photos come from Ms. Partlow.

Recipe of the Day

Like the car and the flower, there is no logical connection between today’s recipe and the blog’s theme. Although, I’m sure if you drive around Thurston County, you’ll be able to find some Chow-Chow available in a restaurant or even canned in a grocery store. It shows up today because my office is adjacent to Kevin’s office and he keeps his ham radio going all the time. Yesterday, I could not help overhearing two gentlemen discuss Chow-Chow, saying that they did not know what it was, but they both remembered it fondly. I remembered it too, and I know how to do a google search. While they went on and on wondering what was in the dish, I looked it up. So, without further ado, here is Mr. Food’s recipe for Amish Chow-Chow Relish.

And that’s it for today

Here’s hoping you have enjoyed our drive around Thurston County, Washington. I found it a beautiful part of Washington State, with a good mix of both urban and rural life. When we are, once again, free to travel, I look forward to returning and perhaps you’d like to join me. I may not have a 1957 Dodge Sierra, but my Explorer has seating for 6 or 7, if we’re really friendly.

The Editorial Calendar tells me that tomorrow’s topic is cooking, and I’m leaning toward a look at the Keto craze. My cousins love it, and I need to do something to get my blood glucose levels down.



4 Comments on “A Drive Around Thurston County, Washington

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