I’ve started writing to you as I sit in Los Angeles. When I was a teenager, I was just convinced that I was going to move to LA attend UCLA, get an amazing apartment in the city and work as an interior designer. Then I actually went to LA and decided that it just wasn’t the place for me, for a variety of reasons. I still feel that way today when I get stuck in awful traffic or when the smog is so bad you can see the air.
Being in LA always brings up memories of my first time in the city. We had just graduated high school and my two best friends and I hit the road west. None of us had very much traveling experience at that point. We got rear ended in Tucson and didn’t know enough to insist that the police be called, even though the driver at fault insisted otherwise. We ate our first whole lobsters in San Diego, somehow navigating the green tomalley. We drove in big city California traffic. (Driving in LA traffic led Chelle to come up with some very creative obscenities – one of which we still joyfully use today). And we got lost in East LA.
For as much as I dislike the traffic and the smog, LA makes me smile. I’m week two into a stretch of work meetings on the West Coast. And while, I won’t have time to get out and about in LA while I’m here (I’m actually in Norwalk), I did get a few free minutes last week to sightsee at one of my favorite West Coast locations, Seattle.
With a presentation in Federal Way, WA, I had a few morning hours to kill before I had to get to work. I’m a lover of flowers and if you Google things to do in Federal Way, this pops up: Rhododendron Species Garden. This lovely little non-profit garden exists specifically to conserve the Rhododendron species of flowers. The garden is fairly large in size – large enough that early on a Tuesday morning, I didn’t run into another soul. It’s a quiet piece of real estate in a bustling and busy metropolitan area. As I wandered the path, I found myself pondering the tall trees that you find in this area of the country. The sheer size of them makes me feel small, but it also makes me feel closed in. If you stop and think too long about the heavily wooded forests and what might dwell within them…well, I can creep myself out – Bigfoot anyone?. I suppose I’ve just grown accustomed to living in an environment where I can see miles ahead in every direction.
If you’re seeking a quiet spot or if you are a Rhododendron enthusiast, make a stop at this garden. It really is gorgeous. Just keep an eye on the trees.
By now, you also know that anytime I can theoretically get myself to the ocean, I will do it. Close to my hotel in Federal Way lies the spectacular beach of Dash Point. State Park access to the beach is available (be prepared to pay a nominal fee) but I crossed over the water into the Puyallup Indian Reservation, parking instead at a town park located right on the water. It was a typical Washington day (read: cloudy and rainy).
A few people were fishing off the pier and one grandmother and her granddaughter in her wellies were braving the wind and rain to splash in the water, my kind of people. After admiring the water for a bit, I took a quick walk up the beach, my eyes on the sand for my favorite treasure – sea glass. I found four pieces of glass and one very weathered nickel. Not bad for a quick trip. I have plans to return to search for more.
If you’re in the Seattle area for longer than a minute, there are several amazing sights to see and don’t shy away from the touristy stuff! Pike’s Market, the Space Needle and the Seattle Underground Tour are some of my favorites. But don’t limit yourself to just the touristy stuff either.
The last leg of this trip is to one of my favorite cities ever: Portland, OR. Sadly, I didn’t have much time here this week either, so look for a Portland post in the future.