Ask most people what they plan to do in retirement and, if they are lucky, they may say they want to travel more. I retired at the end of last month and a short trip up the Pacific Coast from California's Santa Catalina Island to the Pacific Northwest was my first order of non-business. Please continue into the tall grass for a photo-reprise of that brief but rewarding journey.
Some people are appalled by very idea of a "bucket list". I find that the older I get, the more charming the idea seems. This trip involved destinations that were on my list, and, unexpectedly, one that should have been but wasn't.
The first destination was Santa Catalina Island, always symbolized in my mind's eye by the Avalon Casino, seen here:
As with anywhere they go, the superrich have left giant footprints on this tiny desert island. One of these is the enormous stone tomb built to house the remains of chewing gum magnate, the namesake of a certain cursed baseball field, William Wrigley, whose confection company continues to thrive in Chicago. The tomb is distinguished only by its enormous size. Its graceless and drab appearance suggests that Joseph Stalin could have had a hand in its design. Anyway, the tomb has remained unoccupied since World War II when Mr. Wrigley's widow, in a gesture of breathtaking conceit, moved his remains to Pasadena out of fear the Japanese would think his towering tomb to be a good bombing target.
If a pleasure trip is a meal, Santa Catalina Island, now duly checked off of my list, was merely a starter. The main course was never-before-visited San Francisco.
Shortly after I decided to visit San Francisco for the 1st time in my life, I put up a post on Daily Kos: Help Re: My First Trip to San Francisco. My plans only allowed me a day and a half in the city by the bay, and, as I asked, in my post seeking guidance from fellow Kossacks familiar with the place, I wanted to "spend a day and a half in San Francisco and come away with some genuine sense of the place."
(back) jpmassar, citisven, maggiejean, side pocket & navajo
Navajo has already posted some information about the meet-up including some closeups of attendees. But, though she mentioned the fabulous food at the lunch, she didn't show much it. For those into food porn, these photos remedy that omission:
It could have been peanut butter and jelly, though, and the feeling of Community would have been the same. Expat Okie and I were together, but I'd never met any of these other people. Yet it felt like one of those comfortable, peaceful fulfilling and uplifting holiday family dinners when all of the disagreeable relatives have gone off to be with their in-laws and everyone left is smart, funny, engaging, accomplished and congenial.
As for whether I came away from this visit with a genuine sense of having visited a unique and very special place, I would argue that I did. Others may judge for themselves from some of my photos:
I have been there so often that I didn't think there was anything left in Seattle for my bucket list, but found out how wrong I was when I discovered a treasure that was not on my list but should have been. It is an exhibition of the work of internationally acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly, displayed in an unusual and extraordinarily beautiful indoor-outdoor setting, at the base of Seattle's iconic Space Needle. It is called Chihuly Garden and Glass. As I moved through this exhibition, every time I turned a corner i gasped aloud, stunned by the new beauty before me.
If San Francisco was the entree of this journey as meal, Dale Chihuly's fantastical art in Seattle was definitely the dessert.
But Seattle still had an exquisite after-dinner mint to offer. In an otherwise useless sliver of land lost between train tracks and a freeway, near Seattle's waterfront, the Seattle Art Museum is developing a small sculpture park, and doing it with a certain sense of whimsy. For example, one piece depicts a nude man and nude boy reaching toward one another:
Now on to planning my next trip.