Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blue Angels and Walking in Bellevue

Greetings Earthlings!  Here's hoping your summer is progressing well.  We had excitement at the beginning of the week when Valley Medical called and said my recent mammogram looked "different."  Of course we all went to defcon 1 in our heads, but it was nothing. Apparently some tissue was pleated, and they could not see it well.  The negative findings were reported on Tuesday, which was Jim's 69th birthday.   It was not the most fun birthday he has had, but we are happy to have it behind us.

Today was the first day of the Blue Angels' practice flights.  We elected not to ride out and stand on the bridge deck to watch them fly as we did last year.  It's too hot, it's back up into the 90s and I am suffering with it.

Closing the bridge does bad things to area traffic.  Black means traffic is not moving.  Red means it's not moving very fast.  The green on I90 across the island is misleading, there is no traffic there.

I swiped these pictures of the practice off the web.  The mountain was out, as well.

We walked around Bellevue for a bit early this afternoon.  It's also covered in construction cranes.

This is an un-restored 1957 Chevy 150 four door sedan.  It's kind of a sad looking car.  There's a lot of rust.

This is what really amused us.  Look at the date on the license plate tab.  We've been stressing because ours are expiring tomorrow and we don't have the new ones yet.  I guess expired tabs are not a problem in Washington.

Other than this, maties, I have nothing really interesting or scenic to report.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Sun Shines on Seattle

The Issaquah micro-climate was again not encouraging us to ride today.  Clouds tend to stack up against the foothills, and it takes longer for the marine push to burn off.  If one checks the traffic cameras, one often sees that the weather in Seattle is way better.  We did a long walk from the downtown retail core up by the Olympic Sculpture Garden to the Port of Seattle grain terminal.
This was taken from the roof deck of the Bell Street cruise ship terminal.  It offers a nice view of the city.

I have previously photographed in the sculpture garden here and hereWe skirted the garden and stayed on the path close to the water.  This is the grain terminal.  If you look to the left of it, you can see a cruise ship docked at Pier 91.  The Seattle core was full of people from the boat.  Notice the construction crane on the loading facility.

We couldn't find anything on the web to tell us what maintenance they're doing.  In 2009 there was a major refurb of the things that spray the grain into the ships.  It's good to see that this remains a working pier.

There is a rose garden along the walk.  They don't use any chemicals on the plants, and some of them are really chewed up.  It's hard to grow roses in this area.  There are thrips, there is rust, there is mildew.  When we were in West Seattle, Jim was always having to spray them with something.

The Burlington Northern main north south line goes through Seattle.  It's a double track main, with a lot of traffic.  It runs at the base of many condominiums in the city; which is just like a lot of RV parks we've stayed in.

Walking back to the truck required multiple zip zags across the street.  The multiple construction projects close the side walks.  This is a new high rise.

This is another.

It was a delightful day.  The sun was out and we walked for about three hours.  Both of us feel like we're getting our feet back in shape for the longer walking.

The Issaquah Trolley

Rain was (erroneously) predicted for early afternoon yesterday.  We hate getting rained on with the bikes.  It puts dirt everywhere as well us getting us wet.  So we walked.  On the way through Issaquah we saw this.

Trolley Car #519 is a vintage electric trolley car originally manufactured by the J.G. Brill Company of Philadelphia, PA in 1925. It was shipped as a kit to Lisbon, Portugal where it was assembled and put into service.  At some point,  the trolley system went out of service in Lisbon.  The city of Aspen, CO bought several trolleys for a tourist-centric system.  However, they could not get a bond passed to pay for it.  After that, Issaquah bought the #519.  It spent two years in the barn being refurbished and painted.  It was also converted so that it could run in both directions.  The trolley trailers an electric generator set that produces the 600v required to drive the dual electric motors that power the trolley up and down the 1/2 mile section of track between the Historic Issaquah Depot and the East Fork Issaquah Creek crossing behind the Darigold Plant.
The seats are original, they look really good.

This thing is just cuter than a bug.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Occupying Space and Time in the GPNW

This is a 1957 Chevy Bel Air.  We saw it out in front of the ear surgeon's office the other day.  It's almost completely stock.  Some of the chrome looks like it's been redone, and possibly the exhaust system.  Other than that, it's as it came from the factory.  Jim is old enough to know this....
Is it not lovely?

We did get some riding in this past week.  This was taken from the Tolt Bridge in Carnation Valley.  It is just lovely out there.  It's also quiet because it's a low traffic route.  We've frequently been riding the route around Lake Sammamish, which is very urban.  It's not a relaxing ride because it is so noisy and there is so much traffic.  There are bike lanes, but the noise is just overwhelming.  I think it's worth driving out to the valley just to get some peace.

This is a hydrangea in someone's yard - it is just lovely.

I got my surgery date, which is August 31.  Dr. Duong wants me in town for two months since this is a revision of a very unsuccessful surgery.  I'm not sure what my presence here will accomplish if the graft doesn't take, but we'll stay because he asked us to.  The lady who runs the office was kind enough to rearrange several reservations in September and October so we can stay on the same site.  I am very happy about this, because we like the site.  We get some buffer from the freeway noise, and we have an enormous laurel on one side of us. We got her an orchid as a thank you.  Double click on the photo, it looks like a cat's face in the center.

Statistically the last weekend in July is the driest in Seattle. It's rained only about 9-12 times in the past 122 years on those dates -- or about once every 10 years.  The Bellevue Arts and Crafts Festival, Renton River Days and hundreds of outdoor weddings are scheduled for this weekend.  We awoke to rain.  Not mist, but actual rain.  The laurel was dripping.

We decided to drive down to Renton and walk by the river.  On the way, we drove by our our old house.  This is what lawns look like in the Seattle area in the summer.  Brown!  Awful!  Except, look at the green patch, that's where the septic drain field is.

The weather reverted to being threatening so we went over to Ikea.  When Jim was in a wheel chair after his bike accident, and I was in a chair after the second foot surgery, Ikea was a favorite outing.  It's flat, there is much handicapped parking and it was very soothing.  Today's key learning is NEVER go to Ikea on a weekend.  It was a seething mass of humanity.  This is the line for Swedish food.

People in the check out lines.  We walked through and fled.

Would someone like to explain to me why men feel it necessary to chase the TdF riders wearing nothing but a Speedo?  What is up with that?  There are just some things I should not have to see.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Walking and Riding and the Ear

This is part of The Highlands, a massive development going up on Grand Ridge.  The land was made available to the developers in a series of land swaps between the county and the developers.  These are apartments that are right up near a busy road.  Houses and condos are farther back up the hill.  That retaining wall is a monstrous thing.


There is a hospital right behind this row of apartments, complete with an ER and realistic ambulance noises.

It's been hot with a lot of thermals again.  There have been a lot of paragliders leaping off of Tiger Mountain from Poo-Poo point.  We used to do the hike up there a lot, but it's gotten so that there is nowhere to park.  Also, the local trail people have built rock steps into the bulk of the trail, and it's too hard on the knees.

This guy and his friend are skate boarding down a really big hill.  They were fun to watch.

Rose hips on the walking route.

Saturday we were out and rode in Carnation Valley.  We got too late of a start, I felt like my head was being microwaved, because it was HOT.  We started way earlier on Sunday, and it was much better for us.

I saw the ear surgeon today.  He reports that 60-70% of my ear drum is gone.  The hole has been getting steadily worse since 2009.  The recurring ear infections seem to have eroded the graft that was installed in the first surgery.  This time he will use a mix of fascia and cartilage.  Using cartilage will cost me 10db of hearing, but makes it more durable than fascia only.  I have not yet spoken to the surgery scheduler yet.  Hopefully they can do this in August because we have to stay here for two months afterwards.  So there will be no Fiery Furnace and no mountain biking in Moab this September for us.  To say that I am bummed out about this would be an understatement.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Road Hazards

The bike path we use is lined with fruit trees.  The cherry trees have been very prolific this year.

There is fruit on the trail.  Cherries aren't so bad, but when the apples start dropping, one must avoid them.  They're big and slippery.

Yesterday's stage of the Tour de France went up the Col du Tourmalet and then down the other side.  It's a gruesome climb and a challenging descent.  We rode it in 2003 with a TdF bike tour.  Actually Jim rode all of it, and I did some of it in the van.  Yesterday's descent in the race was complicated by cows.

The cows in France are huge.

Jim has gone to Bainbridge Island for a funeral.  His best friend from high school died.  It's very weird when one's contemporaries begin dying of health related issues.  I keep wondering how did we get so damn old.  I believe I will go for a brisk up hill walk now, to possibly stave off some decay.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Still Walking in Seattle

We wimped out again!  It was cold and gloomy again this morning, so the bikes stayed in the truck.  They don't like this weather, either.  Instead we decided to go to the Dragon Festival in the International District.  We parked near Nordstrom again, so it gave us some walking to get down there.  This is the gate into the district.

There was a lot of food, there were people selling stuff, and many people offering spine analyses.  These young women were always smiling.  The sun had come out by this point, they must have been cooking in those dresses.

We have no idea.  He had a boom box, played rap, and sort of moved to the music.  He should keep his day job.

There were dragons.

I think that is Godzilla-Dog.

This young woman is doing a fan dance.  We were pretty far away from the stage so it's not a great photo.

After eating lunch, we wandered over to the King Street station.  It's an Amtrak station, and they were doing a brisk business.  I guess train travel is making a comeback.

The station has been refurbished and looks really good.  It's all white, but is fairly ornate.

We returned to the vehicle via Pioneer Square.  This is one of the businesses.  I love this, Shotgun Ceremonies.  They had a sign on the door saying they were down the street, but if you needed them just call.

The Smith Tower.  It was Seattle's first sky scraper, built in 1914.

We walked through Westlake again, the kids were out in a hamster ball.  This is a great toy.

Then we drove over to West Seattle, where we used to live.  This is Harbor Island.  It's man made, from some of the fill that the regrades produced.

This is where America President Lines used to be.  They have been moved to a different terminal, so that this one can be upgraded.  It's an effort to win back business from Vancouver and California. The larger cranes will be able to reach across newer ships so wide that 24 containers can be loaded side-by-side. Without the cranes, the ships can’t be unloaded, and the cargo will go elsewhere.

So, perhaps tomorrow we will get the bikes out.  I'm feeling adequately exercised, Seattle is hilly!