Sunday, August 28, 2016

F1 in Belgium

Kevin Magnussen crashed his car today in Spa during an F1 race.  He walked away.  It's an absolute testimony to the sport's dedication to driver safety that he's not dead.  The car chassis is so strong that the drivers aren't crushed.  He went off the course doing about 150-ish mph, clipped one barrier which spun him enough to hit the wall with the back of the car and then spun again hitting the barrier with the front of the car.  That saved him some hurt.

Here is where he stopped.  Notice how the wheels are still where they belong, they're cabled on so they don't fly back and kill the driver.

Mangled car being removed from the track.

Look at the barrier on the far right.

That accident would have killed an Indy Car driver.  It was a good race.  Our favorite, Lewis Hamilton, started at the back of the grid in 21st place, and finished third.  He is so good.

Other than two hours of F1 followed by the urban walk and then a trip to the grocery store, it's been a boring day.  We're leaving in 10 days.  It'll be good, our ennui knows no bounds.

Friday, August 26, 2016


When leaving physical therapy last week, I saw this paraglider over Issaquah.  I wondered at the time where he was going to land.  He was very far from the launching site at Poo-Poo Point.

Last night we saw another pair heading over towards a flat spot on the other side of the ridge behind the RV park.  They, too, were very far from where they launched.  They were aiming at an open area, that will soon be covered with retail and more apartments.  So, it's good that they're enjoying the open space while it's still there.

We rode the mountain bikes up the trail today, and then off on the spur that goes underneath the power lines.  It's a great trail segment.  I wish it was longer  There's up, there's down, with enough rocks to make you pick a line and ride with intent.  It was HOT.  Tomorrow it's supposed to cool off again, and that would be good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Another Haboob

This was taken two days ago.  Phoenix had a major haboob.  Look at the plane landing just before the leading edge of the dust sweeps over the airport.  Pretty cool!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Racing, Growth and Displacement, Classic Cars

Happy Sunday!  We are much happier today than during the past two days because it was so steenking hot.  Heat advisories abounded in the GPNW.  Today is 20 degrees cooler than yesterday.  Given that it was so hot, more time than was good was spent indoors, leading to excessive web surfing.  Jim found this on the Vic-Maui website.  Vic-Maui is a sailboat race that leaves from Victoria and finishes in Maui.  Jim did it four times before we were married.  We were married 15 years before we spent a Memorial Day weekend together because he was always racing Swiftsure, which is a Canadian race.  See the two guys on the right side of the boat?  Jim has his back to the camera, wearing the red and white rain gear.  That was taken in 1984.  It was kind of cool to see that.

There has been walking and biking.  This was taken out in Carnation Valley.  The heron stood motionless for quite awhile.  There was probably one less frog that day.

We were in Bellevue to see the dermatologist.  It's amazing what a difference spending most of the winter indoors made in Jim's development of actinic keratosis.  Generally he gets zapped with liquid nitrogen in many places, there was only one this time.  Anyway, the building continues at an astounding pace.

This street is turning into a canyon.  Soon no sunlight will reach the ground except at high noon.

Growth continues unabated in Seattle, as well.  This is Yesler Terrace.  It was built in the 1950s as low income housing.  It's been sold to developers, one of which is Vulcan (owned by Paul Allen).  The poor have been relocated, the buildings will be torn down and replaced by a mix of market rate and subsidized housing.  There is controversy regarding whether or not the original inhabitants will have "right of return" and whether the same number of units will be available to the economically challenged.  What is astonishing is the number of apartments that will be added.  My reading suggests it will be somewhere around 3,000, where previously there were 500.  As always, no new roads are being built.

Here is a new tent city.  I think this is not officially sanctioned, but is rather a pop up encampment.  They're on a west facing hill in Seattle, it must have been hotter than the seventh circle of hell during the recent heat wave.

We walked through Issaquah today.  We kept seeing old vehicles on the road, so we knew there was a car show somewhere.  It was at the XXX drive in.  This is a 1957 Chevy Nomad.  Look at that paint.

They were handing out trophies to the best restored cars.  We were being gassed by the cars' exhaust.  People may rail against regulations, but standing there breathing car exhaust suggested some of the "good old days" really weren't, in terms of air quality.

This is a beautifully restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air hardtop.  It was a good show.

On the way home we walked by a mass fruiting.  Issaquah is full of fruit trees.  These are apples that have dropped and are in the process of fermenting.

My back is better.  Apparently I have some looseness in my sacroiliac joints.  It's way better than it was.  I'm not yipping anymore.  There were a couple of days where it was just unbearable.  Now, we're down to a dull roar. 
We're supposed to be out of here on September 7, on our way to Ashland.   One wonders just how hot it will be there.  Alternative plans may have to be put in place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

As Seen on the Twitter

I saw this today on Twitter.  It just struck me as amusing and somewhat typical of media coverage of the Olympics.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Traffic Accidents, Fruit and Birthday Parties

Greetings from the GPNW Earthlings.  Summer has returned - it's hot.  Yesterday we took the mountain bikes up the trail again.  All morning we had been hearing sirens on I90.  That's never a good thing.  Anyway, when we reached the Highland Drive overpass, we saw this. None of these vehicles are moving.

We continued up up the trail.  Jim went down the steep hill and was able to ride back up without putting a foot down.  I waited at the top of the hill because I have once again buggered up my back, and that much strain is too painful.  It's always something.  Monday I go to the physical therapist and hopefully he will improve it.  The back issues just come out of the blue.  One minute I'm fine, and then I'm not. 

We saw this coming back down the hill on the trail.  Those cars are not moving.

It was due to this.  At exit 22 a semi t-boned a car.  The first responders had to cut the 18 year old driver out of the vehicle.  The news reported her as being in critical condition.  One witness recalled someone moving in to her lane which caused her to lose control of her car.  One hopes that youth will help her survive.

Jim spent one day last week moisturizing the slide seals.  This is an unpleasant job which must be done twice a year.  It involves going up and down the ladder at least a zillion times.

While he did that, I took pictures of the site.  We have cute little yellow flowers in the weeds.  Any green on the site is mostly weeds.

The pear tree next door is dropping fruit on the ground.  The rabbits are enjoying the bounty.

Today we went up to Monroe for a birthday celebration.  It's really cool how much is still rural out there.  We keep expecting it to all be paved, but there are miles of green still left.  The fact that much of it is wetlands is also helpful.  We used to spend a fair amount of time out there on our bikes, back when we were young and strong and fast.

This is Elizabeth.  She and Jim worked together for decades.  I met her later.  She's a hoot.  A meeting with Elizabeth in attendance was always a better meeting.  She's also the proud owner of a new to her Georgetown RV with very low miles on it.

This is her Mom, Geri.  She's 90 and is in remarkably fine fettle.  It was a good party, it was wonderful to see them both.

Other than bike and hike there's not too much going on in the area.  We're here for less than a month from now, so soon there will be new vistas to photograph and write about.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trees, Animals and the Rich

Long time no write!  We have done not too much interesting.  Bike, hike, watch the rabbits.  That sort of thing.  The rabbits remain as cute as always.  Apparently none of the hawks or eagles that live up the hill eat them, because they're often out in the open and are fairly relaxed.

There has been hiking.  We did one trail the other day (the Highschool Trail) which was not pleasant.  Too much gravel on the trail makes it uncomfortable.  We've been back on the Tradition Plateau trail system which is better.  There are mosquitoes.  I've started wearing anti-mosquito bracelets, it's like hiking carrying citronella candles.

Today we rode the mountain bikes up the East Lake Sammamish trail to see if any progress had been made on paving the last two trail segments.  We saw some wild life.  Look bottom right in the corner, there is a stag in the under brush.  He started out in full sun, but it took too long to get the camera out.

We also saw this bird, he/she is a Blue Heron.

This is one of the recently paved sections of the trail.  Notice the attractive retaining wall, and the width of the pavement.  It's 12 feet wide.

Here is a brief history of the trail which I found here.
In April 1997, the Land Conservancy purchased the active railroad corridor from the Burlington-Northern/Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) and then sold it to King County a year later. In March 2006, after nearly a decade of litigation, the 11-mile trail officially opened as an interim gravel trail, all with the hopes of paving it sometime in the future.
During that decade of litigation, the landowners along the lake encroached into the easement. They blocked passage along the trail with fences and large pieces of concrete.  They decided that they "owned" the corridor that separated their lakeside property from the land close to the road.  Had they taken the time to inspect their deeds and title insurance documents, they would have noticed the rail easement and the fact that no, they did not own it.

They have been fighting tooth and nail every step of the way against trail maintenance and upgrades.  One of the things they continued to do was the building of fences, gates and planting of landscaping on land they did not own.  It looks like they may have finally run out of options for suing King County.

East Lake Sammamish Trail – Federal Court Ruling in King County’s Favor
On April 20, 2016 Federal District Court Judge Marsha J.Pechman ruled in King County’s favor on property ownership and use issues within the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) corridor. The ruling recognizes that King County possesses all property rights in the ELST corridor that were previously owned by BNSF.  Along substantial portions of the ELST, King County owns the corridor in fee.  Where the railroad acquired corridor property by “adverse possession” over 100 years ago, King County currently owns a “railroad easement” that is 100’ wide (subject to prior legal settlements or BNSF property sales).  Even where King County’s ownership is limited to a railroad easement, this robust form of ownership allows for “the exclusive use and possession of the area on, above, and below the surface of the corridor.”  The federal court’s recognition of King County’s property rights in the ELST corridor is important because it allows the County to move forward with completing the last section of the ELST, known as South Sammamish B.” Once constructed, this “golden-spike” segment will complete the 44-mile regional trail corridor from Ballard to Issaquah for public use and enjoyment.

If you read the full article, you get a sense of the entitlement these people feel with regards to the trail.  They were told not to encroach, they did it anyway, and the county removed their structures.  There are fairly strict codes on trail widths and layouts and King County wants to adhere to them.

This one of the most expensive homes along Lake Sammamish.  Zillow shows it valued at $11.7 million, yearly property taxes are $88,973.  The person owns the end of the point.  We were driving by this afternoon on the way home and saw a helicopter landing on the front yard.  This Google Earth from 2013 captured a helicopter on the helipad.  How cool would that be?  I do wonder how the neighbors feel about the noise.

Other than this puny offering, I have nothing else to report.