I attended a work conference in Texas last spring and since I was already halfway across the country I decided that I’d might as well just keep heading west and spend some time visiting family and traipsing about the Pacific Northwest.
June is my favorite time to go home. By late May the weather in Massachusetts is beginning to get oppressive but Washington is comfortable well into July. During a good year, the rain will have stopped and the sun seems to be out most of the time. Children are still in school and adults aren’t yet in vacation mode so there are fewer people clogging up the roads and airports or wandering into my photographs.
My family lives on the hill above Steilacoom. Most days I like to get up around 6 and walk into town. If it’s a weekday, my first stop is always the little coffee shop underneath the Topside Bar & Grill on Wilkes St. where I get a hot coffee and a muffin (if it’s a weekend I either have to make coffee at home or do without for a few hours because nothing opens before 8am on Saturday and Sunday). The coffee is great. The baked goods are generally of the sort that a bottom-line-conscious restaurant manager would buy in bulk at Costco and keep in the freezer, doling them out over the course of a month for $3 apiece. But I don’t mind.
After that I go wherever seems like a nice place to sit for a few hours. The bandstand at the park that overlooks the bay is a good place to check for southbounds. If I see something moving out by Pioneer (where the tracks run through the Chambers Bay golf course) I’ll book it down to Sunnyside where I can catch most trains from the road above the parking lot. If I don’t see anything moving to the north I often go down to the ferry dock where there’s a little path along the rip-rap that parallels the track to bridge 15.9, a great spot for northbounds.
I usually stick around until traffic dies down or town gets too busy. That’ll get me three to four trains on a good day, though I’ve been skunked on more than one occasion. All in all though, this trip proved to be a fruitful one. I hope I can get back there again soon.