Thursday, June 28, 2018

More Dismal Days

First, let me say I’m not actually complaining about the weather, I’m just whining.  We’ve had some more days of dense clouds.  It’s just dismal.  However, we could be somewhere else in the continental US where it’s really hot and really humid.

Given Jim’s recent heart history, we thought maybe it would be good to have a local cardiologist, since we’re here for months at a whack.  We picked one close to the RV park, hoping he’d be good.  He wasn’t.  Rude, arrogant, condescending and WRONG. Yes, I dare contradict a cardiologist.  One of Jim’s drugs has a well known side effect of shortness of breath. This guy professed never to have heard of it, and he didn’t believe it.  I guess he’s not keeping up with the journals.  So, the search continues.  Next time we’re going to look for a woman. 

After wasting time with the doctor we decided to drive into West Seattle and get lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant we’ve enjoyed in the past.  No more.  They’ve changed their banh mi, and they’re not good.  Very disappointing.

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It was just a dismal and dreary day.

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This is a court yard for one of the apartment buildings.  It’s nice.

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This was taken on southbound I5.  That’s Mt. Rainier.  The mountain was sort of out.  On a sunny day, this view of the mountain is just stunning.  It’s like a movie back drop – it doesn’t look real.

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Today it was back to the deep piney woods.  We saw what I think is a moth on the ground.  Moths are underappreciated for their beauty.

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See the holes in the trees?  They’re huge. 

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This is a Pileated Woodpecker.  He did that damage.

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There’s an opinion piece in The Irish Times that is well worth reading.  It’s always interesting to see what other countries are thinking about the current state of the US.  It’s a chilling piece about us and other nations.  These are, indeed, dismal days.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Big Tree Trail

It was back to the deep piney woods today.  It rained overnight, we got up and it was cool and the streets were wet.  We hiked up the Tradition Plateau trail to the Big Tree trail.  It’s an astonishingly beautiful part of the woods.  Once you get to the head of the trail, it’s fairly flat.

Here is one of the big trees.  Look at the moss on the tree truck.

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More moss.

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It is so pretty in there!  Look at the water.  There are mosquitoes in there.

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This is the Big Tree.  It’s a Fir, it’s at least 200 years old.  One wonders how it escaped the loggers.

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More trail.

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We did Big Tree, and then part of the Brink trail, and it was enough.  The Brink trail is right on the edge of a huge drop off – hence the name, Brink.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Motorcycling Doggoes

Today was good!  We had sun and it was warm.  We enjoyed it on our bicycles.  The motorcyclist were out in droves.

Look at the dog on the back of the motorcycle.  He’s wearing goggles.

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Tomorrow the rain returns.  Sigh……

Friday, June 22, 2018

Into the Deep Piney Woods

There has been much hiking this past week.  Except for today – the cloud cover from the marine push is really thick and it’s cold and gloomy.  It’s forecast to hang around all day.  Apparently it is asking too much for a day in the mid-70s with some sun. 

This tree has some amazing roots.   They make a nice set of steps on a steep section of the trail up.

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We saw this for the first time the other day.  It’s an old pulley.  There used to be a lot of logging in the area, and we wonder if it was used to skid the logs down the side of the hill.

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This was not here the last time we were here!  The tree was really sick – there was a lot of internal rot.  There are huge wood peckers here, and they make big holes in the trees.  So maybe that’s letting insects in to the trees, or maybe they’re just really old.

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I like this section – isn’t this pretty?

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A culvert for the creek.  We saw this the day we walked the High School Trail to the Bonneville Power Line Trail, which was really unpleasant.  It’s very rocky and we were not wearing our Tucson boots. 

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There are mosquitoes.  That’s my wrist swelling up from a bite.  One also got me on the head through my hat.  I hate those buggers.  For some reason, I am delicious to them and Jim is not.

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I copied this off Twitter.  After al the sadness about the kids being detained in the camps, it was good to see a happy Mom picture. 

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He used to brag about his Time magazine covers.  Do you think he liked this one?

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Monday, June 18, 2018

A Single Photograph Speaks

I think by now, everybody in the country has seen this picture.  It's just heart breaking - she's two.


The Washington Post published an article about how this photograph was taken.  I think if Border Patrol had anticipated the outrage that would be sparked by this image they would not have allowed the photographer to ride along.  Until I read this article, I did not understand why parents would come to the US if they knew their children would be seized.  The fact is, they did not know.  This policy changed while they were in route from South America.  The "he" in the first paragraph is John Moore, the photographer.
He knew that when loners crossed the river by day, they tended to run or hide from Border Patrol. But the large groups that crossed at night often surrendered themselves to the first U.S. agents they found.
The night-crossers were often families, exhausted and terrified from their journeys, seeking asylum from whatever terror had driven them from home.
While they had been evacuating their homes and traveling — some for weeks — the United States had changed the rules. Pleas for asylum that had been accepted for years might now be rejected. Mothers and fathers, who would have been released to await court hearings, would now be jailed. Their children would be seized and held from them by a foreign government.
The American public had only just learned this. Moore and the Border Patrol agents who hid with him on the banks of the Rio Grande knew it. But the people on the rafts . . . “These people had no way to know that,” Moore said.
Yesterday Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied that children were being taken from their parents.  Today she said DHS would not apologize for doing their jobs.  Which is it?  Not taking the kids or we're not apologizing for taking the kids?   Those are two mutually exclusive positions.  This administration is just beyond venal, as is every Republican member of Congress.  Jeff Flake or Bob Corker (neither of whom are running for re-election) could walk across the aisle and vote with the Democrats to end this.  But nooooooo, it's too difficult to grow a pair.

I could go on, but I will spare you my despair over what is happening in this country.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Very Green Carnation Valley

We rode out in Carnation Valley today.  I think that's one of the greenest places on earth.  Those are espaliered apples on the fence.



There are bull frogs in this water.  It's amazing how much noise they can make.


It was a very pleasant ride.  We're still not doing too many miles, but it's a start.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Seattle and Runaway Growth

Today was good. It wasn’t all that warm, but it quit raining and the skies were blue. We decided to go into downtown Seattle and walk around.  Walking was somewhat difficult because the streets were full of people from a cruise ship.  It was docked up at Pier 91, which is pretty far north, so we couldn’t see it.  Given the number of people on the streets, it must have been big.  There were also tour buses eveywhere.  It’s so weird when the place you used to live becomes a tourist destination.

This is one of the mysteries of the universe.  There is always a line for Piroshky Piroshky. Why?  There are so many places to eat in Seattle, why do the cruise ship people stand in really long lines for this?  They also queue for the original Starbucks which is also inexplicable.


We walked down closer to the water and looked back at the city.  It’s just amazing how much it has grown.


This was taken at the Bell Street Pier.  Lower right is transient moorage.  Those are all classic boats, they’re going to be open to the public this weekend.


This is one of the piers where the cruise ships dock. 


On the way out of Seattle, we saw a new giant hole in the ground.  Neither one of us can remember what used to be here.


Here we are back in Issaquah traveling on I90.  That used to be open land, 30 acres.  The developers have bought it and are building apartments.  Two separate developments are going in on the land.  One is the Issaquah Senior Gateway project.  There will be 146 units of restort style living for active old people.  The buildings in the photo are the Issaquah Gateway project.  That project consists of 398 (653 bedrooms) apartments. Approximately 425,600 sf in 19 separate buildings on a 30 acre site.  Getting out of there in the morning is going to be difficult.  Locally there has been some pushback about dumping that many cars on a two lane road with blind corners.  The developer has assured the citizens that the increase in traffic will decrease speeds so all will be well.  I’m not sure that was the most persuasive argument for increased traffic volumes.  The article is here.


This is the first rabbit we’ve seen since we got back.  They used to be plentiful, but the the predators got them.  There’s a lot less rabbit poop on the site.



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Creeping Angst

Yack.  It has been a day.

A judge approved the Time Warner and AT&T merger.  The quote is from the NYT article on the subject.  AT&T owns the satellite company, DIRECTV.  I strongly suspect they’ll be raising the rates for DISH to access Time Warner content.  We, of course, have DISH.
The deal would put AT&T in charge of Time Warner’s vast portfolio, which includes HBO and CNN, rights to major sports leagues, and valuable film franchises such as Harry Potter. John Stankey, an AT&T executive, would oversee the integration of these units into AT&T and eventually lead the Time Warner business.
“We want people engaged with their mobile devices all day watching movies and video,” Mr. Stephenson testified at the trial.
The second paragraph is interesting – they want people on their phones ALL DAY watching movies?  This will be doable because AT&T will be exempting their content from data caps.  We can expect to see higher prices, more mergers and less choice.  I was really hoping this would go the other way.

In other news, the DOJ is bringing suit against the ACA to do away with protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  That would be just about everybody.  If those protections are removed, it’s going to make it virtually impossible for sick people to buy insurance at all.  I don’t understand why this administration is so eager to hurt the populace.  NYT wrote about the ramifications of this lawsuit.

And then, there is the summit meeting between the two dictators (phrase courtesy of Fox news.)  Can you imagine how South Korea is feeling about the announcement that joint military exercises would be cancelled?  They were blindsided by that announcement.  If that wasn’t enough, the president went on to say that he thought US troops could be removed from South Korea.  What an ally the US turns out to be.  There is no language about timetables, inspections or verification. Just warm feelings on the part of our president.  The members of the G7, particularly Canada, were castigated at their summit.  However, the president can’t say enough nice things about a dictator who consolidated power by murdering his half brother and others, who maintains gulags to this day and who had a hand in the death of Otto Warmbler.  He praises this human rights violator and calls Justin Trudeau names.  Great, really great.

I have not been this despondent since the election.  I knew it would be bad, I just didn’t think it would be this bad.

The bright spot of my time on the internet can be found here.  It’s a tweet thread from Britain about a fox sunbathing on a roof.  Is he cute or what?

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Good Days and Rainy Days

Before Friday, we had some good days.  There was a steep little hike up and down the Tradition Plateau, there was biking and walking the three mile loop.  Things were good.

This is a deer we saw on a hike.  She’s not running away, she’s ambling.  The deer around here show no fear of people.  When we rented the house in Bellevue in 2006/2007, they would stand in the side yard and look in the kitchen window.

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The view from the trail before it goes back into the woods.  That’s I90 at the bottom, Issaquah and Bellevue are in the picture.  Lake Sammamish is off to the right.

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We saw this deer on a bike ride in Carnation Valley.  She had just jumped over a fence from a standing start, and was making her way to a gap in the blackberry bush hedge to get down to the river.  She stood there and looked at us for quite awhile before ambling off.

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Friday, Saturday and Sunday it rained.  Saturday we were in North Bend at the outlet mall and a cell dumped hail on us. It was quite the storm.  Saturday and Sunday we were able to get the three mile route done in between storm systems moving through.  I am happy to report that the new forward slide wipe seals are repelling water.  The driver’s side storage bay has also not leaked, we may have smeared enough caulk all over the inside of the bay door.  Fingers crossed on that.

Today dawned really cold.  After spending the morning trying to accomplish a task on the laptops we drove into Bellevue.  We had planned to go over to Bellevue Square, but ended up at a different mall for lunch.  Bellevue is, as always, a construction zone.  A new fly over ramp is being built, I think off of I405 but I’m not sure.  Anyway, this is one of the supports, it’s in the back parking lot of Whole Foods.  The other big construction project is light rail.  They’re putting it along Bellevue way, then along 116th.  I feel so bad for the home owners who are along side of the rail.  One home’s side yard is covered in black plastic because they’ve cut into it so much to make room for the fence between them and the rail.  They will never be able to sell that house. 

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Issaquah’s projects continue as well.  This used to be the bike path we could ride directly from the RV park.  It was closed last year, and will be closed again this summer.  See the arch in the background?  That’s one of the bridges that are being built.  Someday, the trail will go under the bridge, eliminating a car bicycle interface. They will drive over us, and we will ride under. Someday.

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Here is a link to the project website.  They’re building a new access to Costco’s world headquarters.  Costco is paying $23M of the $44M cost to do the work.  The new road will cross two creeks and the wetlands.  One of the creeks had to be rerouted in order to fit all of the road structure.  The youtube video the article links to is pretty interesting.  Anyway, our alternate trail route is also closed, but allegedly will reopen for July 4.  Someday.  It would be nice to be able to ride from the park, instead of driving out to the Carnation Valley.  Without the trails, it’s too dangerous to ride on the road around here.  Issaquah drivers are crazy, even the cross walks are hazardous.

The bald spot on the mountain is Poo-Poo point – look over to the right of the photo.  See the orange speck and the two white specks over towards the left?  Those are paragliders.  There were quite a few out today, winds were favorable for jumping.

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Wednesday the rains return.  Sigh…………  Summer does not start until July 5.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain Passes On

Today has just been dreary.  We’ve had the exact climate that drove us out of the GPNW when we retired.  It has drizzled ALL DAY.  It will do it again tomorrow.  And the day after that.  So that was the weather, which sort of matches our mood.

I can not believe Anthony Bourdain is gone.  We watched him for years, seeing his show morph from food porn to social commentary.  HIs episodes with Eric Ripert were so good, you could see how deep their friendship was.  But he’s gone now, and the world is a poorer place without him in it.

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Look at that face.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Riding, Walking and Freezing

We’ve been here a week.  There were a few days where we had to keep reminding ourselves that summer does not start until July 5.  Despite having the warmest/driest May on record, June has reverted to her normal gloomy self.

However, yesterday was a glorious day.  We took the bikes out to the Carnation Valley and did a short ride.  It was also the day of Flying Wheels.  That is a ride run by the Cascade Bicycle Club.  They have three distances people can do.  We used to ride the hundred mile route that was just gruesome with 4,500 feet of climbing.  I think we’re done with that. There was a food stop in the school parking lot where we normally park.  So we parked somewhere else.  It was a really nice day to be outside and on the bikes.

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The Tolt River Bridge was determined to be structurally unsound a couple of years ago.  It was closed for awhile, then they re-opened it to cars and bikes.  I would appear that work on the retrofit has begun.

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We wonder what has happened here.  The people who used to live in that travel trailer kept the enormous yard mowed and it looked really good.  Now it looks abandoned.

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Today we walked the three mile route.  We saw urban wildlife.  Are not baby ducks the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?  I really want to rub their tiny heads.

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In the same yard along the creek were chickens.  This is the only one that was out walking around, and he would not turn and face me.  So here is a picture of a chicken butt.

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The peonies were just spectacular this year. They’re gone now, but they were so pretty.

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People are so interesting.  When we’re in the RV park in Tucson, people acknowledge you.  Driving through the park, people wave, nod or lift a finger off the steering wheel if they’re driving towards you.  Out in the sticks in Arkansas, everybody lifts a finger off the steering wheel in acknowledgement of your existence.  In Seattle people look right through you.  It’s just amazing how they will not see you.  Jim and I, being somewhat cantankerous, enjoy making people see us on walks.  We say good morning and make them respond.  Sometimes people act like they’re not sure what the correct response is.  The Seattle Freeze is a thing.  It’s been a thing for decades.  What we wonder about is the number of transplants in to the area.  It’s hard to find a native of Seattle.  How did the newcomers become so adept at not seeing other people?  Perhaps they are inoculated when they get their driver’s licenses.