|Another sunny day, so we decided to take advantage of the weather and head out to see a new town. We got in the truck and drove off.
We only had to drive about 7 miles before coming to the town of McCleary.
A little history…..the population in 2010 was less than 2,000.
"Henry McCleary came to the land in 1897, building two sawmills and a door manufacturing company. He sold the land and the companies to Simpson Logging Company. On January 9, 1943 the land became an incorporated city named after its founder. Henry McCleary's house is still standing today in Olympia, Washington.
In 1959, McCleary started its famous Bear Festival. It was an idea that bears that were in surplus came and ate the bark from the evergreen trees and killing the trees after hibernation. People from all over have come to taste its bear stew. Although the bear stew is the big attraction to the festival, there is also a kiddies parade, grand parade, royal court ceremony, bands, dances, slow-pitch baseball, and many other events in all three days." I don't think I would want to try bear meat...just saying.
We stopped at an Antique Store and met a wonderful couple, called Steve and Helen. It is an antique store, where they also do real estate and tax preparation. They are about our age, married one year. Pretty cool. They told us that right up front. So proud they looked. He is a former FBI agent, which was surprising. I guess when I go to little stores like that my impression is that they lived here all their lives. You find out a lot about people when you ask. People love to talk about themselves, and it is such fun learning someone’s story. He wants to move to Montana, but says it probably won’t happen as Helen is related to ¾ of the town.
After leaving the antique store, we headed down the main highway. There was a building that had a beautiful mural around it. It looked like it might have been a bar or theatre at one time, but now it is abandoned. Across the street, sitting in front of a motorcycle repair shop, were 2 Willy Wagon’s for sale. We just had to stop and take a gander. John has had 3 and I think his heart was broken all 3 times when he had to sell them. We walked across the street to the city park which had a steam engine and a horse drawn fire engine on display (behind a fence). Never seen one so well protected before in all the places that we have seen engines on display. Kind of sad, as it was really hard to see them very well, and of course, the photos aren’t the best.
After McCleary, we headed another 15 miles to the town of Shelton. A little Shelton history….population in 2010 census, 9,800.
"Shelton was officially incorporated in 1890. Formerly called Sheltonville, the city was named after David Shelton, a delegate to the territorial legislature. Shelton was once served by a small fleet of steamboats which was part of the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet. These boats included the Old Settler, Irene, Willie, City of Shelton, Marian, Clara Brown, and S.G. Simpson. The economy was built around logging, farming, dairying and ranching as well as oyster cultivation. The Simpson Timber Company mill on Puget Sound's Oakland Bay continues to dominate the landscape of the downtown area. Shelton also identifies itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital".
We stopped at one of the antique stores, and walked a bit downtown. They have a great train displayed right on main street in front of the Post Office. The engine is called Tolli 1 and it is a Simpson Timber Company train. The caboose is the city’s visitor’s center. Cute idea.
We were driving up to the Little Creek Casino planning to spend only $10 on slot machines. Walked out the door with $45.20. Breakfast, lunch or dinner tomorrow!! I must admit it was hard not to continue playing, but reason came upon us and we quit and cashed in.
Drove home feeling pretty smug, I could feel the money sending me messages on what I could buy with it. But, nope, a good meal tomorrow…one that I don’t have to cook. Now, the hard part….breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Something you should know: There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos!