"ROAD TRIP!" is the title of this blog post, because that is the name of the "map" you are given when you enter this most unusual-looking building, sitting high on a hill in Tacoma, Washington.
You can visit the museum's lobby and adjoining gift shop, even if you do not have time to enjoy all the sights you will see, with a paid admission.
Their vision is to be a place where all sorts of people can gather to learn, have fun and celebrate---first hand---America's love affair with the automobile.
The goal is to help visitors enjoy the memories and stories the museum's various cars will evoke. For example, seeing this car, instantly took me back to my days as a junior in high school, because my boyfriend drove a car like this. There were no air bags or seat belts to protect us back in those days, just lots and lots of chrome!
Both ends of the new location for this museum have glass walls. This vintage red convertible provides a striking foreground, to the skyline of Tacoma and Commencement Bay, that the visitor sees from the end of the building opposite the entrance.
The doors in above photo lead out to an elevated outdoor patio, where one can sit and relax on the colorful, movable benches, while taking in the beautiful view. This would also be a great location for your party to get a group photo, as you could frame it with either the Tacoma skyline in the background, or the Museum glass wall in the background. The movable benches would enable some of your group to stand, and some to sit. (Can you tell I think like a photographer??!!)
When I saw these shiny pipes on the exterior of one of the automobiles on display, it made me have a better appreciation of what the architect had in mind, with the shiny, pipe-like design of the museum's new building exterior.
I read that the company that made the arch supports of this building's roof line, also worked on the custom-made roof of the Tacoma Dome.
In a collaborative effort with Tacoma's popular Museum of Glass ( www.museumofglass.org ), hot shop artists made the custom-designed pieces in this exhibit, to give a "nod" to abstract aspects of automobile design.
There are various sections to the car museum, and one section is all about the story of race cars in America, with this vintage Indianapolis 500 car being the "title shot" for that display.
For an additional fee, a visitor can try their hand behind the steering wheel at one of the CXC Racing Simulators. If that is too much of a thrill for your nervous system to tolerate, you could try your luck against your buddies on the pro-class slot car track.
I liked this section of old trucks that was on one of the lower stories. Again, since the purpose of the museum is to evoke memories in its guests, I have to mention that seeing these lovingly restored old trucks, reminded me of a time when I was a passenger in the vintage truck of a high school classmate. When we pulled into her driveway to park the truck to get out, the old truck's brakes failed, and we went right through their lovely garage door! I will never forget the calmness with which her father assessed the damage, when he heard the crash from his location inside the house. His first reaction was to express gratitude that Cathy or I had not been injured in the crash, and to say he was actually glad the accident happened where it did---demolishing their lovely garage door---rather than on "Harrison Hill", which we had just descended from! I had great respect for him after that incident, and it taught me that one's first concern in an auto accident are the human beings, NOT the physical damage to the car, or objects it hits!
Again with the memories, I had to take a photo of the iconic 1957 blue chevy. That is because my family had a 1957 blue chevy. However, since my father was the "King of Parsimony", our '57 chevy did not have a speck of chrome on it. Dad ordered our new family car as "stripped down" and inexpensive as was humanly possible! It didn't even have a radio, and air conditioning was out of the question! (And I wonder why I am so frugal??)
Since NAPA company is one of the corporations that make this museum possible, it is understandable that they would having a working repair shop, that museum members can utilize, to get their vintage automobiles serviced.
In years gone by, automobile companies put a lot more chrome and size into their hood ornaments. Most of us recognize the well-known, circular symbol of Mercedes, and vintage auto aficionados will know the figure with the bow and arrow is from the now-defunct, Pierce Arrow automobile. These symbols got me to thinking about what is the symbol for me as a Christian? Although the cross is probably the first thing that comes to mind, Jesus' very own words in John 13:35 say "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Those words convict me that I need to be very careful that my "love walk" is my symbol of being a Christ-follower, and not just a cross on a necklace that I wear!
The LeMay Car Museum has a WONDERFUL gift shop that just about anyone, at any age, would enjoy perusing. Since Route 66 is has the nicknames of "Mother Road", and "America's Main Street", it is not surprising that there is a huge selection of Route 66 items. The store also carries auto-themed clothing, model cars for youth to assemble, and an extensive line of books, related to automobiles, motorcycles, and road trips. Many of these items are also available for purchase on the museum's website, which is www.lemaymuseum.org .
During my recent visit to Tacoma, I used the light rail, FREE (daddy would be proud) public transportation that Tacoma offers, called THE LINK. I took this photo from my fifth-floor room at the downtown Marriott Courtyard Hotel ( www.courtyardtacoma.com ). It illustrates why that hotel property is such a good choice for your lodging needs while in the Tacoma area.
Once you step onto The Link outside the Marriott, you just sit back and enjoy the "free ride" to the Tacoma Dome station, which is the terminus of the downtown Link. The LeMay: America's Car Museum is just across the street from the Tacoma Dome. There are SO MANY wonderful attractions/activities to do in Tacoma, that I hope you will go to the website of the Greater Tacoma Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.traveltacoma.com ), or visit their page on Facebook, to start making your plans to explore this amazing area of America's Pacific Northwest. If you are like me, doing so will give you MILES OF SMILES! Tricia