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Sound Exploration

NWCOC Events in Review: Sound Exploration

By Lincoln Sarmanian (Vashon Island, WA) with added details by Katherine Enos (Seattle, WA)

It was a busy fall season for the NWCOC, with not just one, but two fall driving events! The first, a trip to Tacoma to explore Point Defiance Park and the new Museum of Glass, was held on Saturday September 28th, 2002. This event allowed members to explore parts of the Puget Sound area of Northwestern Washington State. NWCOC members Katherine Enos, Axel Kaliske, Mark Lally, Lincoln Sarmanian, and Uschi Walter gathered at Coastal Kitchen in Seattle, for breakfast. Henry and Leena Reed, who had a Finnish friend in tow, soon joined us. The driving instructions and maps were distributed; a minor detour mapped out, and off we went! With the exception of Mark anyway, driving his speedy CX, who departed to run errands and would meet up with us later in Point Defiance Park.

After fighting traffic and road construction, we headed south on Hwy. 99, making the first detour - a stop at Axel and Uschi's house. The main reason was to pick up another pair of two-way radios for inter-car communication. We then made another unplanned stop at the home of Kenji and Marion Yoshino, also known as FPS West, in hopes that we could entice them into our caravan. After chatting for a few minutes (and making a few quick parts purchases) we queued up to head out the driveway, except for the Reeds, whose Traction starter motor refused to turn! After a few minutes of troubleshooting, we pulled out the crank-starter (and this was done for the remainder of the day) and we were off again.

When all else fails
When all else fails
Photo by Axel Kaliske & Ursula Walter (NWCOC)

The remainder of the drive followed the coastline of the Sound to the extent possible, with periodic views of Vashon Island and the Olympic Mountains. The scenery then changed to seedy industrial storage areas as we passed by Tacoma docks for an anticipatory glimpse of the Museum of History and the Tacoma Museum of Glass. Then we were back to following the coastline of the Sound through an area that until recently was full of derelict docks and piers but has been cleaned up some and now sports several trendy restaurants and a popular strip park along the shoreline.

Tunnel of Slime
Tunnel of Slime
Photo by Axel Kaliske & Ursula Walter (NWCOC)

Then the scenery returned to dilapidated facilities, the remnants of the old smelter, and the infamous tunnel that, in days past, was covered with phosphorescent green slime. We emerged from the tunnel for a short drive through Ruston, pausing then at the entrance to Point Defiance Park to re-group with Mark. Amazingly, we arrived at the meeting point within 15 minutes of the schedule, amazing given we had made two unplanned stops.

Pt. Definace Park Entrance
Pt. Definace Park Entrance
Photo by Axel Kaliske & Ursula Walter (NWCOC)

Owen's Beach was our first stop in Point Defiance Park, and here Doug Hunter and Carol Jurris joined us. We took an hour to hike along the beach, admiring and walking over driftwood, picking blackberries, and the like. It was a good thing that we turned to move on to our picnic grounds when we did since we were out of beach trail! We traveled the park road through beautiful old growth forest to congregate at the Tacoma Narrows Viewpoint for a picnic lunch. John McMillan and Mary Manning also joined us at this point.

As sometimes happens (the second time in as many events) a random person with a rather nice green DS came across us in the park. We invited him and his young daughter to join us for lunch. It turned out that the car belonged to his brother and this was his second day driving the car; he'd simply taken his daughter to the park and ran into our group. It was clear that he was not looking forward to returning the car to his brother!

Sound Explorers having lunch
Sound Explorers having lunch
Photo by Lincoln Sarmanian (NWCOC)

Following lunch, we drove through the remainder of the park and then backtracked along the Sound shore to the Tacoma Museum of Glass.

Citroens parked for lunch

Citroens parked for lunch
Citroëns parked for lunch
Photos by Lincoln Sarmanian (NWCOC)

The museum is reached by walking across a footbridge that spans I-705 from the History Museum. The bridge is decorated with modern glass, including four 20' blue glass sculptures that look like giant rock candy treats, complete with the stick!

Remaining Citroens parked at the Museum of Glass
Remaining Citroëns parked at the Museum of Glass
Photo by Axel Kaliske & Ursula Walter (NWCOC)

I, for one, was initially disappointed with the Tacoma Museum of Glass. First of all, that is not the real name, but is simply the part of it that that are pushing in their advertising. The proper name is The International Center for Contemporary Art, a place that houses some glass works and a glass-blowing arena. The new building consists of a large, rectangular structure that contains the museum, a coffee shop, a gift shop, meeting rooms, and the exhibit hall. Adjacent and connected to this structure is the giant cone-shaped glass-blowing arena (which, to Katherine's mind, appeared like something akin to a Roman coliseum for modern day gladiators who spun foils tipped with hot glass).

The Museum of Glass
The Museum of Glass
Photo by Lincoln Sarmanian (NWCOC)

Once inside, the lobby consumed what was probably half of the structure. The bathrooms were located down a hallway that for some reason ran almost the complete length of the building (a city block long) for no apparent reason other than to keep them from being accessible. While wandering through the exhibits, we ran into NWCOC member Frank Higgins. The first part of the exhibit contained glass pieces from two Czech artists. The remainder of the exhibit space was filled with painting and other works by John Cage and other modernists. Everyone agreed that the best thing in the museum was the kinetic sculpture whose animation was intensified by the pulse of a strobe light.

A short stay in the glass-blowing arena was required for me. The room was fantastic! The high cone served to give the heat from the furnaces a place to go (up). The pace of activity was very slow and controlled, and I found that I could not keep focused on the work in progress but instead kept examining the structure.

All too soon it was 5:00pm, and time for the Museum to close. Since the Reeds had to depart to pick up friends at the airport, we said our goodbyes. After spending some time looking at the outdoor exhibits (glass walls, glass globes floating in a fountain, huge twisted twig sculptures, etc.) and inspecting Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly's bridge of glass, we headed off for dinner.

We soon arrived at Primo's Grill were we were joined by Jim and Kim Crone, who had brought pictures of Jim's new Traction restoration project. Primo's Grill was proclaimed the best new restaurant in Tacoma last year, and we were not disappointed. The interior was open, richly colored, and sported a large wood burning oven in one corner. Many courses, drinks, desserts, and some three hours later we moved outside and conversations continued in the parking lot as people gradually headed for home.

In all, some 10 cars (2 non-Citroen) and 18 people from 3 countries (Finland, Germany, and the USA) participated for some (or all) of this Saturday event. Models present included 2CVs, a D sedan, a D wagon, and a CX. As usual with any good event, people began talking about potential future trips even before this one had come to an end! If you didn't make it to this event, you missed out!

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