Our penultimate stop in Tacoma, www.traveltacoma.com which is just south of Seattle, brings us to our 23rd state, Washington. We definitely have a much better idea of the location of half of the “contiguous 48 states” than we had before we began our travels. Though some of those yet to be explored remain ”in the middle somewhere” This was another convenient stop – and I’d read about a glass museum that sounded interesting. We arrived having driven up the I-5 through Portland, yes I loved that bit…not! Several lanes of fast moving traffic (afterwards I learnt we didn’t drop below 60 miles an hour all the way through) several acres of overpasses, underpasses, exits to the left, exits to the right, bridges, 18 wheeler trucks etc. just about everything I’ve come to know …and hate! However, unscathed and without going wrong, we emerged the other side and continued to Tacoma. Here we were pleasantly surprised. Obviously a very busy port with an industrial heritage forged mainly through lumber and fishing, much is being done to rejuvenate the city centre. You may recall the location even if you don’t remember the name. The bridge across the Tacoma narrows, a mile stretch across the Puget Sound is that one in the famous b/w clip which swayed and twisted as traffic crossed it in high winds and it was here in 1980 that Mt. St. Helen erupted covering miles around in volcanic ash. The trees that were flattened were used to build the Tacoma dome, an exhibition/sports venue, which is the largest timber built dome in the world. Add to these some more interesting facts…There’s a free tram that runs along the centre, Bing Crosby was born here; as was Gary Larson (of Far Side fame) it has the tallest totem pole (from 1 tree) in N. America, Dale Chihuly of glass sculpture fame was born here and has several pieces of work displayed around town. Back in 1911 Frank Mars and his wife began making and selling candy from their Tacoma home! We were also treated to the annual Daffodil Parade – admittedly we gave up watching after the first one +half hours but where else would we have seen floats decorated with daffs, along with a multitude of marching bands and cheer leaders, the mounted Sheriff and his posse together with various council dignitaries in a random collection of vintage cars and even the odd golf trolley??…oh and the Beatles…check out the pictures! We also took in the nearby Gig Harbour, (the other side of that wobbly bridge, thankfully it wasn’t windy). A delightful fishing community with roots set down by eastern European settlers in the late 1800’s some of their descendents still live and work there.