Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rain and Wind in the GPNW

It rained all last night and most of today.  Now the wind is howling, the weather heads say a cold front is pushing in.  Woe, woe is me.  I had to wear long pants today.  Yes, I am a weather baby.  We’re leaving Wednesday, it will be nice to be elsewhere.  It was good to have this summer of being still to reacquire our equanimity.  However, it’s time to go.

During a break in the weather, we went over to the fish hatchery to see what was coming up stream.  There are some really big salmon returning.

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I couldn’t get a good photo of the fish on the weir, too much shade.  This fish is trying to get up the fish ladder, but the gates are closed.  Last September’s pictures were much better.

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So, other than a couple of fish, I have nothing much to say.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Very cool house with a stupendous view.

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Jefferson County court house.  The interiors are just amazing.

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

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There are many stores with stuff.

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Attractive plant in someone’s yard.

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Here is the Salish.  She ran aground in Coupeville.  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 Anacortes.

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Isn’t that lovely?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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This is a model of the spheres. 

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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.

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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.

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Giant fern.

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No idea.

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Tulip orchids from Ecuador.

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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.

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

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An observation point.

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

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