Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Anacortes, Port Townsend and La Conner

Happily the weather made a miraculous turnaround after our wet departure.  Monday we took the ferry to Port Townsend from Coupeville.  We ended up walking on because there is only one ferry running.  Reservations were an absolute must if one were to take a vehicle.  In the summer they’re always required even with two boats running.


Port Townsend is a Victorian seaport.  Much of the town was built on spec anticipating that the Northern Pacific would bring a rail line in to town, since there was a deep water port. When the depression hit, the rail terminated on the east side of Puget Sound.  Many people left the area.  There used to be quite the timber and fishing industries.  Those days are gone due to resource depletion.  We saw a piece on PBS about how they are a center of excellence for the production of bows.  There is also the building of wooden boats, and an annual festival.   Like so many small towns, they’ve reinvented them selves as a tourist destination.


Jim used to ferry boats to Victoria for the Swiftsure sail boat race.  They would stop in Port Townsend.  His two favorite bars from that era have been turned into foo-foo home decorating stores.  It just doesn’t seem right.


Very cool house with a stupendous view.


Jefferson County court house.  The interiors are just amazing.


Yesterday we drove down to La Conner.  They continue to have a viable fishing and crabbing industry.  That’s a stack of crab pots.


There are many stores with stuff.


Attractive plant in someone’s yard.


Here is the Salish.  She ran aground at the Coupeville dock.  The rudder was damaged.  It’s not known if the grounding caused the damage, or if that’s why she hit the beach.  After they sent divers down to look, several crab pots were found wrapped around the propeller shaft.  This is painful for people who have to commute on the ferries.  Currently she’s in drydock at La Conner.


Isn’t that lovely?


This is a railroad swing bridge.  It pivots on a ring gear to let boats out.  The light was too bad to get a picture of the middle of the bridge.  It’s open here, you can see the gap between the end of the bridge and the rail line.  A lot of work is being done on both ends of the bridge.


Today we went for a walk on the beach.  It’s really nice looking at the water.


Tomorrow we’re heading back to Issaquah.  Friday’s weather is supposed to be terrible so we’re going back on the drier day so we don’t spend hours in a rain soaked traffic jam.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Timing is Everything

This morning it was raining.  Then it was a torrential downpour, the kind of rain you have to yell over.  Eventually it stopped and the sun came out, so we brought the RV up to ride height, and then lowered the nose so the rain would run off the slide toppers.  No sooner had we gotten half way through detaching the utilities it started raining again.  We decided to press on with departure.  By the time we were out on the street attaching the truck to the RV the torrential rain returned.  I have not been that wet wearing clothing ever.

On the trip up to Anacortes, some poor soul towing a travel trailer was in a terrible accident.  The trailer was demolished, the tow vehicle rolled as well.  On scene were giant wreckers, fire trucks, ambulances and police.  ALL lanes of I5 south were closed.  The stopped traffic went on for miles.  I feel so badly for all of them, the people in the accident and the people trying to get home on a Sunday.  It’s a terrible picture, sorry about that.


We’re staying at the Swinomish Casino RV park.  It’s not a terrible park except for the mud.  It has rained a lot here, the grass is overwhelmed.  When we arrived, it rained on us some more, but it wasn’t bad.  It’s cold!  OK, it’s in the upper 50’s but it’s so damp it feels cold.


There’s a rail road track right out in front of our site.  At first we were concerned about the noise, but now we’re not.  The tracks are not shiny, indicating that they have not been used recently frequently.  Plus there’s this taking place on the tracks just up the way.


Later the sun came out a little.  We look at the water out of the wind shield which is nice.


So, we’re here.  Hopefully there will be attractive photos of somewhere that is not Issaquah.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Amazon Spheres

As I previously mentioned, we had reservations to go in the Amazon Spheres today.  Due to the iffy weather, two freeway closures, and my current gastric distress we were debating on whether we really wanted to go, but go we did.  It’s totally worth doing if you’re in the area.  It’s an amazing structure, here it is shining in the sun last time we saw it.


This is a model of the spheres. 


Those metal segments were welded together.  Here is a youtube of building the structure.  Pay attention to how often the building is in shadow because of the surrounding high rises.  Stick it out to the end (four minutes) and you can see how the giant tree was installed in the building.  To keep the plants alive there are very bright grow lights everywhere.  The lights make photography difficult because there’s always one washing out your picture.


Two eco-systems are in the spheres.  The first floor is South American rain forest.  The second floor is Asian rain forest.  These were chosen because the year round temperatures don’t vary much.  Plants who live in a four season environment expect cold and hot temperatures.  People would not enjoy working in those conditions.  These plants are adapted for a constant 75 degrees with very high humidity.  We asked why the windows don’t fog up when it’s cold, it’s because of the amount of air movement.  The floors don’t reach the walls, so there is good air flow next to the glass.

Note the grow light on the left as well as the mister.


Giant fern.


No idea.


Tulip orchids from Ecuador.


Pitcher plants.  These are so cool.  They’re carnivorous.  The soil where they grow is so poor they supplement their diets by trapping bugs.  They don’t have to feed them bugs in the spheres because their conditions are good.  The botanists did say that when he finds slugs he feeds them to the pitcher plants.


This is a pitcher plant tree.  You can’t see it but there is a horizontal branch with these things dangling from it.


An observation point.


That’s Rubi the tree.  She’s from Somis, CA and was shipped here on a flat bed truck.


We really enjoyed it.  If you are going to Seattle, sign up for the tour.  It’s free and self guided.

Friday, September 7, 2018

More Life in the GPNW

Not much has been happening in our corner of the GPNW.  There has been walking in the woods.


There has been going in to Bellevue for new tires for the truck.  We walked out of Costco the other day and Jim glanced down at the tires and noticed that little chunks of rubber were coming off.  It was fairly disconcerting.  We went home and figured out how many miles we’d towed, plus driven and realized it was time.

This is a drill in use in the light rail project.  It’s a huge thing.


While waiting for tires we walked up the street, expecting to find a Pacific Fabrics store.  Nope, they’re gone.  Joann Fabrics is just the evil empire.  They’re put almost all of the local fabric stores out of business.  The fabric store has been replaced by an upscale pet supply store.

How often do we see kangaroo and venison dog food?  For me, this is a first.  At the top of the package, in very large letters, it’s labelled “grain free.”  The FDA has recently determined that grain free dog food is linked to cardiomyopathy in dogs.  You can read more at the NYT.


This is a 15 pound bag of turkey and sweet potato dog food, which is also grain free.  It’s $37.99.  Does that seem like a lot of money to you?  It does to me.


And for the urban chicken we have freeze dried grub snacks.  This tickles me some what.


Later we walked over the Issaquah creek.  Lower right corner is a very happy dog with a big stick.


A new stick has been thrown into the creek.


Stick retrieved, the dog returns to his owner – soaking wet.


This came off the internet.  It’s the last photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft before crashing into Saturn.  It’s a lovely image.

cassini's last photo

Confirmation Hearings

On the first day of Kavanaugh’s hearings for the Supreme Court, Fred Guttenburg wanted a word to discuss guns in America.  Mr. Guttenburg’s daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting.  Kavanaugh listened briefly, turned on his heel and walked away, refusing the hand shake.  Would it have killed him to shake the hand and say sorry for your loss before retreating?

kavanaugh snubs guttenburg

To quote Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

As Seen in Seattle

It was a lovely day today.  I'm tired of doing the three mile walk through Issaquah, so we decided to drive into downtown Seattle and see what we would see.  Being unhooked from our culture, we completely forgot that it's Labor Day weekend and that Bumbershoot would be in process.  Bumbershoot is an annual festival with multiple music stages, foods, and crowds.  What we did not know was that PAX 2018 was in town.  PAX is a huge gaming conference.

When we turned right off the freeway, we saw her.  We wondered what the heck?

Then we saw this person.  Realization dawned that something was going on other than Bumbershoot.

Parking was very painful.  The garage we always go to was full!  Totally full!  That never happens.  After getting out of the garage, we valet parked and walked over to Westlake Center.  This was happening there.  People stood in line to get on the bus and I guess play video games.

Then there were more costumes.  At this point we were all in the queue for hotdogs.  Look closely at her left hand.  She's wearing black gloves with long blue tips.  She did not take these off to eat the hotdog.  Also notice her shoes.  I don't know how she walked in those things.  It's unfortunate that I did not get her face, the make up was really well done.

Here we have a shoulder mounted shark laser fired projectile weapon of some sort.  Look at the front of the weapon, it's an open shark's mouth.

Love that hat.

This is a great costume.  There's skull on the head.  The platform shoes are really tall.  There were two kids who were really taken by the look.  They spent a fair amount of time discussing the clothes.

He's carrying a helmet in his left hand.

She's looking at him, trying not to stare.  Where do you buy these things?  I'm certain there is a cottage industry for character costumes.  Jim and I do not play video games, so we don't know who any of these costumes are supposed to represent.  I'm amazed that people will dress up this much.

 In 2011 70,000 people attended PAX.  It's been going since 2004.  I couldn't find more recent attendance numbers.  This line went around the block.  They're also in the Convention Center.  There were A LOT of people on the streets. PAX runs from 10 am to midnight, Friday through Monday.  There are also after parties into the wee hours.

After leaving the downtown core, we headed over to South Lake Union.  This is ground zero for all the new high rises that have been built to house the tech workers.  Amazon alone employs 40,000 people. 

These are Amazon's The Spheres. Seattle is one of NYT's 52 places to go in 2018, and there was a write up about the Spheres.
The most arresting glass structure in the city, though, may well be the Amazon Spheres (technically titled Amazon’s The Spheres), three conjoined, bulbous conservatories filled with more than 40,000 plants from nearly 700 different species, that opened this January as part of the online behemoth’s downtown Seattle headquarters. Made up of 2,643 triangles and rhomboids, the Spheres’ reflective surface, which reflects off the surfaces of adjacent Amazon skyscrapers, has become an instantly recognizable part of Seattle’s architectural landscape. It’s also just a monumental feat of vision and money and will. 

We signed up to tour the spheres September 15.  Amazon opens them to the public two Saturdays a month.  You must sign up on their website to get in.

This has been here forever.  One wonders how long until it's bull dozed and turned into another high rise.

Walking back to the truck we saw this at the Bell Street Cruise terminal.  It's NCL Norwegian Bliss.  She's a new boat, specifically built for cruising to Alaska and back.  It's one of those structures that's too large to be photographed from the ground. At 1,049 feet, she's almost as long as a Nimitz class carrier.

I got this off the internet.  Bliss was delivered in May.  If you look at the Space Needle you can see the scaffolding in place during its renovation. 

Transient moorage by the cruise terminal.

It was a good day.  My feet cooperated with extended walking.  There were hot dogs and really excellent people watching.