As we stepped onto the Glacier Spirit in Port Townsend on Monday morning, the 36 kids from National Tour Choir were hopeful the whales would make an appearance in the Puget Sound.
Unfortunately, the whales never showed, but we still had a lot of fun along the way. The boat ride to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands was about two hours out. We stopped in Friday Harbor for a couple of hours to eat lunch, shop and make a quick stop at the Whale Museum there. We rode back home through some rough waters that caused more than a few of us to get queasy stomachs, but we made it back to Port Townsend safe and sound.
Here is a slideshow from our whale watching adventure, followed by Tour Letter #3 from Mrs. DeSantis! Enjoy!
ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR #3 (April 24)
Dear families and friends,
We slept like the proverbial log last night in Spokane – kids with no host siblings to play with and the staff with no train schedule to monitor. Dinner at the Golden Corral was all that we expected and more. And more, and more. Between the homemade rolls, the cooked-to-order steak sizzling off the grill, and the pizza hot out of the oven, it was hard to know where to start…and when to stop! We decided to pass on dessert since we were headed straight to bed after dinner, but we made up for that today at lunch. (See the upcoming paragraph on our second Golden Corral stop.)
After much research, tour manager Smithers determined that the not-to-be-missed attraction in Spokane was “Carr’s One of a Kind in the World Museum.” And as usual, she was right. Please enjoy just a few of the following direct quotes from their PR materials:
One of the world’s unique selective private museums.
Check out the lobby when you first treat yourself to an unforgettable afternoon of enchantment. A gorgeous Chinese blue rug harmonizes gold with blue walls.
Inside the showroom a magnificent pair of royal, antique imperial vases 7’ tall from Beijing, China will enrich your stress free visit.
And two Japanese vases over 8’ tall (hand painted) breath taking etched with gold.
One of only two, bronze incredible chess sets… Simply a masterpiece of savoir faire.
In the anteroom, a life size animated mannequin awaits you.
Inside the show room a 6’ tall stunning knight stands for your esteem.
Elvis Presley’s 1973 Lincoln Mark IV
Jackie Gleason’s 1968 Limo (powder blue)
The world’s most beautiful 1946 Chrysler. Color – Midnight Wine, warmed within by burgundy leather…a very classy dream car.
A dazzling sarcophagus replica of the Boy King Tutankhamun.
Experience the Room of Dazzle…watched over by special guards.
Majestic head mounts of Asian deer, Alaskan elk, caribou, mountain sheep and goat. African kudo (largest of the antelope family)…warthog and wilderbeast. Past trophy record moose…AND…
a remarkable “16’ GIRAFFE”…lofty example of the tallest living quadrupeds.
And MY favorite:
Marvin N. Carr
Curator of man’s efferent flux in stirring metal
Even after our visit, trying to make this fit with what we saw, and looking up “efferent” in the dictionary, I can’t figure out what that means! Now, I know I make more than my share of typos, grammatical errors, and especially tense inconsistencies in these letters, and I apologize for that. But I very carefully copied and proofread the above so that you could picture what this little treasure of a museum might look like, and it more than lived up to its description.
We make a point on Chorale tours (thanks, DW!) to seek out the quirky, unique and memorable people and places that make our world go ‘round, sometimes just because it makes us smile and because it keeps our 36 active, curious, creative little minds engaged and lets them play in a way that they can’t in a “serious” museum. And we keep track of these little gems for future visits – King’s Western Museum in Sheridan; the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota; the Wonder Tower in Genoa, Colorado; the fairy caves in Glenwood Springs; the biggest Kachina doll in Florida; you get the idea. It’s often all about the bizarre and weird, but hey…we’re talking about 12-13 year olds here! Don’t worry, we hit the serious as well – the Pioneer Museum in Casper; Sacajawea’s gravesite outside of Riverton, Wyoming; and art and history museums around the world. Questions asked are always thoughtful and they listen and learn with intensity no matter where we are, beautifully chronicling our adventures in journal entries, sketches and various projects.
The absolutely delightful curator Carr met us at the door eager to share his treasures. One room, roughly the size of an elementary school gym, crammed full of all of the above and tons more. The kids wandered at will, sitting in the car with Elvis, engaging in sword fights with a centuries old knight, screeching in fear and delight as mannequins suddenly came to life, frog band played, and the disco ball sprayed light all around. Mr. Carr answered questions and shared his philosophy of life: do what you love and love doing it. It makes him happy to collect all of these things and share them with anyone who is interested. He no longer travels, but watches the trade magazines and attends local auctions looking for just the right addition to his “family.” It is carefully and lovingly displayed and cared for. And he is open a grand total of six hours a week for anyone interested. We walked away smiling and peaceful, as advertised.
Okay, moving on! Alum and super-Grad Katherine was with us last night for dinner, and joined us this morning for our visit to Carr’s, so we dropped her off back at Gonzaga University where she is a freshman this year, and then continued our journey west. The Moses Lake Golden Corral was a little disappointing after the glories of the big-city version in Spokane, but we managed to eat more than our share…again… Lunch included dessert, with the age-old question, “How many gummy bears can YOU fit in the bottom of your cone, and how high can you pile the ice cream on top of them??”
We spent some time with our journals, then on to school work. Just when Mr. Koriath lamented that no one seemed to need him for help with math, Sophia, Adrian and Hannah came to his rescue. Michelle has become the go-to-girl for proof-reading and editing in the rear of the bus. I believe there may be Lang Arts teaching in her future! Molly listened to her cello audition piece. Jennifer faithfully tackles her Latin book every day. Tulley writes wonderful detailed and descriptive journal entries. Kent expresses himself beautifully in sketch after sketch. The reward for several hours of study? Today’s most-requested movie: “The Music Man.” Again, only on a CCC tour bus!
We’re crossing huge, beautiful bridges as we make our way around the lower reaches of Puget Sound, then back north to Bremerton. For all of our little Colorado landlubbers, this is quite exciting. Well, almost all of them. Makenzie hides her eyes in Molly’s shoulder every time we even look at a bridge, much less drive across it. Dinner tonight is at the Family Pancake House, with our choice of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches or taco salad. Then to the Bremerton Comfort Inn and…drum roll #3 here…an indoor pool. The perfect set-up for all tired, happy campers to get a good night’s rest.
Tomorrow we’ll WOW them in Port Ludlow. Wish you were here…really!!