On Sunday, November 20, 2011, we drove Washington State Route 163 through Tacoma and across the sea.
State route No. 163:
A state highway to be known as state route number 163 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 16 in Tacoma, thence northerly to the Point Defiance ferry terminal; also
From the state ferry terminal at Point Defiance via the state ferry system northerly to the state ferry terminal at Tahlequah.
In the West End of Tacoma, SR 163 begins at an interchange with SR 16. Welcome to Pearl Street. Highway 16 is directly above us when Chunlin took this photo, by the way, but if you hurry, you can still turn left and head for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Gradually downhill, we head due north. After about a mile and a half, we're at the halfway point of our drive.
Down the hill we go, still on Pearl Street. For five blocks (not that you'd notice), Highway 163 is in the town of Ruston instead of Tacoma. With the Pt Defiance Zoo and park on our left and a go-kart track on the right, we pay our ferry fee and park the car. The dock is in sight, as is the MV Rhododendron, across the water.
The Rhododendron ferry docks on our side and disgorges a load of traffic. We then descend the final incline and board the ferry, far to the right on a very narrow aisle. While I'm busy taking photos of Mt Rainier across the Tacoma Yacht Club, we depart. Above is the photo northward. Across Dalco Passage, Vashon Island awaits.
A short ride later, we arrive at Tahlequah, at the southern tip of Vashon Island. SR 163 is at an end. Tahlequah is, of course, named after the principle grain of the Cherokee in Tennessee, or maybe it meant "temple mound" ... no one seems to know. "Tellico"/"Tahlequah" was a common placename for the Cherokee, such that Great Tellico was their major center in Tennessee and Tahlequah, Oklahoma, was the first capital of the Cherokee Nation in the Indian Territory. Why this tiny community on Puget Sound is named as such, I can't quite say.
With Highway 163 completed, we are now free to roam the island as we so desire. Traveling from the urban to the rural takes just a short ferry ride...