Our friends Donn and Deb stopped by in their van about eight Sunday morning. Already loaded were Jan and Mike. Peg and I joined them for an adventure to Vashon Island and breakfast at The Hardware Store. The thing about adventures is that you can never really plan them. They take on a life of their own.
As we drove to the ferry landing lane by Pt. Defiance to buy our tickets and wait for boarding, we had an inkling there was a little more in store for us than stopping for weekend brunch at the oldest commercial building on Vashon. We could see dozens of motorcycles already parked for boarding at the ferry landing and dozens more at the bottom of the hill in front of us. The longer we waited, the more bikes came roaring or putting for a ferry departure.
The bikers (mostly men) and their babes (mostly women) were part of a yearly ride showing off old bikes. This was also 9-11 commemoration day. The American flags flying on the main streets of Vashon gave off a festive atmosphere . . . an old timey atmosphere. The bikes were loaded first in the front of the ferry and then cars and trucks came next. This was to be a pattern for the rest of the morning. Bikes were everywhere.
As we neared our destination we just knew we were probably not going to have breakfast at The Hardware Store. Bikes were lined up on both sides of the streets. It looked like a mini-Sturgis pilgrimage, but we were a long way from South Dakota. We dropped off the ladies in front of the restaurant and the rest of us drove on looking for a parking space.
We parked in a small strip mall across the street from the side door of The Hardware Store Restaurant. As a back up plan for breakfast, I popped into a café to find half the tables vacant. So, it appeared we would not starve.
We soon got a call from our scouts who informed us that we had a booth waiting for us. We would not go hungry this morning after all. I looked in several businesses. One had a sign outside that proclaimed "Starving Artists." I thought to myself, that's redundant. I put all thoughts of starving out of mind.
The Hardware Store Restaurant beside being a fairly large restaurant was also a art gallery with a nice selection of paintings. Peg reported a wonderful painting in the women's bathroom. It was obviously from a local artist. The subject was a bag of Tim's Cascade Potato Chips. One of Peg's casseroles features chicken, cheese, lots of crunchy veggies and Tim's Cascade Potato Chips crumbled on top. I didn't get to see the painting.
Walking to the restaurant we had a chance to view a nice collection of motorcycles from all around the world. There were plenty of Harleys of course, but also BSAs, BMWs, Hondas, and various Italian bikes as well.
As we joined the women we kept an eye on our vacant booth, which still needed to be bussed. Even after we were finally seated, we had to ask for a washcloth to wipe down the table. Mike volunteered to do this since he used to own a diner in Cle Elum. It took a while to get water and then coffee and order, but eventually things settled down.
I was happy with my order of biscuits and gravy. I was surprised when Peg ordered the same thing. The gravy had plenty of chorizo in it. Very nicely flavored for me, but too spicey for Peg. I think she already has planned out her next order when we visit again. I ordered a side of sausage links, which were bland. Their version of breakfast potatoes were okay . . . but certainly made better with the gravy. I ordered my fried eggs medium, but were delivered overcooked. Did I mentioned I loved the gravy? I usually hate restaurant biscuits, but these were nicely done and broke apart quite nicely . . . with the gravy.
Dinner options looked interesting on their menu as well. Perhaps, a late afternoon trip to Vashon would be fun.
I'm the only one of our group who doctors their coffee. On the table, there were packets of raw brown sugar and brown sugar cubes to go along with cream. Although I can drink coffee black (and do at home) if raw brown sugar is available I take advantage of the opportunity.
Our friends were looking forward to visiting Point Robinson Park on Maury Island (eastside of Vashon Island). We had a nice drive working our way to the park. At each stop sign, we carefully waited for a contingent of bikes and scooters to pass before pulling out.
We finally arrived at the park. We parked and our friends set off to visit the lighthouse, while Peg and I stayed in the van reading the Sunday News Tribune.
After reading the sports section I headed down the trail through the woods towards the beach. It was an easy walk downhill. I enjoyed the walk. I loved the way the trees bent and arched over the pathway and each other.
Later Donn asked in bewilderment, "How did you get the pictures?" I'm not a big hiker. Our standard joke is "It's not very far to go . . . but you have to walk back, also."
As I neared the end of the trail I could see tall grass waiting, but before I ventured forward I caught a glimpse of red at the back of a tree.
I got closer and found an empty pack of cigarettes tucked into a wedge of two tree trunks. I loved the composition, the textures, and the colors. I even loved the dew drops caught between the paper pack and the cellophane cover.
Dried alder leaves surrounded the package and passed for the color of tobacco. The moss (on the south side) just screamed Washington. The rough bark begged me to run my hands over the pebbly surface. I think it would make a nice painting.
I moved on down the trail and into the tall grass and then onto the level shoreline where the lighthouse stands. With the whitewashed stucco, dark green trim, and rusty red roof, it could have been an full-size version of the lighthouses my friend Al populates his home with. I think it's a phallic symbol. A well-worn block of wood sits below one window, where countless, curious visitors must have peered into the rooms.
The lighthouse sits only a few feet above the beach and waves from high-tide. A few hundred feet way are two homes that tourists may rent. Prices vary by the season. The three-bedroom unit has a large picture window that faces the passage between Vashon and Northeast Tacoma/Federal Way. Three couples could have a nice little stay there in the off-season . . . (just dreaming).
On the beach between the houses and the lighthouse were several structures of driftwood. I dubbed this one Shelter From The Storm. Last year's Bill Murray film St. Vincent ended with him singing the Bob Dylan tune from 1975.
"Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm"
There's a vast difference between fantasy and reality . . . I can image sitting in this shelter, an afgan covering my legs, feeding a fire and facing rain, wind, and snow, but most likely I would be just down the beach in the three bedroom house looking out the living room window, while wearing my jammies.
Eventually, I walked up the trail and headed towards the van as our friends arrived back.
We left the park and went looking for a scenic view and found it a mile or two away. It looked down on what was once a gravel pit . . . and before that homeland for Native Americans and before that early settlers after the last glaciation thousands of years ago.
Although the day was a little chilly and gray, the view was still wonderful and easily enjoyed. It took a while to drink it all in. Peg was the last to walk towards the van.
Leaving the viewpoint, we headed back to the ferry landing (dodging motorcycles) and then back to Tacoma and Point Ruston. We listened a while on the car radio to the start of the Seahawks game and then visited Dolce Si! for gellato.
We ate and talked and looked across Puget Sound at Vashon and Maury Island. I think parts of us were still there. What a nice Sunday drive we had.