Bay Departure

Flying SFO-IAH, our United pilot requested a "Bay departure" from air traffic control, and they delivered. We were instructed to stay over the water at 4000ft until past the Golden Gate (pictured just under the wing to the right). The Bay Bridge is at the bottom.

It was well worthwhile! I've flown over downtown San Francisco a few times, but never that low.

Apologies for the lack of clarity around the Transamerica building in the picture - the jet exhaust makes it look poorly focused.

The Baltimore Ghetto

Baltimore has a few curious ghettos. In Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago, the truly run-down neighborhoods are mostly bulldozed, so that it seems like there are a few random houses placed in otherwise empty blocks.

Here, unoccupied houses were boarded up and preserved for the future. Optimistic signs listed some addresses for sale and for rent.

There are many blocks like this in the surrounding area. Google Street View dared to take a look down some of these streets.

Redwood City Saltworks

This is the Redwood City Saltworks, owned by Cargill, from a United Boeing 757-222 on approach into SFO. The satellite image of the area is equally beautiful.

I've cycled on similar land further south along the bay, at Guadeloupe Slough off Sunnyvale Baylands Park. It's a really strange surface to cycle on. The salt crust is wonderfully smooth, but there are hidden dimples and potholes in the surface that make riding generally unpleasant.

They say the economy is hurting

I've heard things mentioned about the economy hurting, jobs are going away, and commuting traffic is lighter.

Doesn't seem to have reached the University District. This is Montlake Blvd, heading west to SR520. No accident or event, just afternoon traffic.

West Coast Patio Weather

It was warm enough for happy hour on the patio this afternoon. You'll note that the Seattleites pictured are not complete rubes - though they enjoy the pleasure of afternoon sun, they know that as soon as the sun sets, frigid temperatures await. Observe the jackets, sweatshirts, and other appropriate outdoors gear arranged about the tables.

That's the Ship Canal Bridge in the background, conveying the I5 across Portage Bay.

For Improved Skidoosh

I got a decent deal on a Dayton HSU10 powered sub, and it arrived today. The AVS Forum people liked it enough, and it really fills the room.

The reference scene for subwoofers is The Skidoosh, in Chapter 31 of Kung Fu Panda. This evening, it sounded great!

Spring is Late

This year, spring is late. Googling Cherry Blossoms Seattle, prominent blog posting dates with pictures are:

2009: Apr 3
2008: Mar 10
2007: Mar 31
2006: Mar 18
2005: Mar 3
2004: Mar 20

Must be that global warming.

Etihad Airways Global Bonanza

I really need direct Sabre access.

Booking a simple open-jaw for Toni's sister, I couldn't get any online booking engine to find any through flights on Etihad LHR-AUH-SYD involving EY18. Expedia is typical, showing such insanity as:

Please be aware We were unable to find available flights between London (LON) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Etihad Airways.

(There are three flights a day.)

Watching the travel agent charge $75 for copying my printed itinerary segment-by-segment was unrewarding.


Great Northern's Salmon Bay Bridge

Walking across the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, I got a decent view of the Salmon Bay Bridge in its open position. Great Northern built "Bridge 4" in 1914, in anticipation of the waterway becoming navigable a few years later.

US Admiralty Law requires that rail traffic yield right-of-way to marine traffic. So if Jeremy Clarkson's Toybota was rigged with a sufficiently tall mast, it could delay any Amtrak, BNSF freight, and commuter rail traffic in the vicinity.

Wahkiakum County Ferry

Indeed, Google Maps lie. There is a real bridge connecting Puget Island to Cathlamet WA.

This is a view of the Wahkiakum car ferry, which runs across the Columbia, from Oregon to Puget Island. The modest toll of $3 was well spent!

224 Pounds of Fun

On Monday, my Alera 72" Double Pedestal Steel Desk arrived. It was fortunate that the Staples truck came equipped with two beefy guys to haul it into the house, as the shipped weight was 224 pounds. "Well at least it slides ok" is what the delivery guys said when I said I'd have a hard time maneuvering it to assemble it.

To avoid the erroneous impression that I am Mr. Moneybags, the pricing was:
$47.95 desk
$3.19 file folders
$4.38 WA sales tax
$1.95 purchased coupon
-$5.00 applied coupon
$52.47 total price

That's $0.24 per pound, a bit less than the raw cost of the steel used to construct it.

North Lake Washington Loop

Today I rode 38mi (62km) around the north half of Lake Washington. My actual route was pretty close to this Bikely track. I was surprised by how beautiful and pleasant the ride was near the tiny township of Beaux Arts Village, on the East Side just north of the I-90.

I'll work up to a full loop of Lake Washington, which can be as little as 12mi more if one picks busier roads.

Nice day for a swim

These hardy souls disrobed, giggled, then jumped one by one into Lake Washington. The high temperature today was 62°F (16.7°C). The lake temperature in April is usually around 46°F (8°C), as per King County data.

There were actually six of them; three are already in the water. I'm impressed!

This bridge doesn't make sense

Out riding on Friday, I went under this bridge. It's at the north edge of Leschi Park, and doesn't seem to make any sense. It's a 5% grade, too steep for heavy rail or streetcars, and is presently unused, just a grassy right-of-way running up the hill on Google maps.

Further research shows that it was the grade for of the Yesler Way cable car line, running down to what was a ferry terminal for traffic across Lake Washington. The third picture of this Cable Car Museum article is the best view I could find. The ferry landing is shown in this Pacific Northwest article.

Neahkahnie Mountain

On Saturday, I went hiking with Amanda and Eileen in Oswald West State Park. This is the view looking south along the Oregon coast from the top of Mt Neahkahnie.

Visible to the left is the Nehalem Bay State Airport (FAA: 3S7, no IATA designation). We saw quite a few seals a bit further south down Nehalem Spit, on the bay side.

A Three City Day

On Friday, I took a ride involving Seattle, Mercer Island, and Bellevue. This is the I-90 bridge between Mercer Island and Seattle, looking east.

The bike lane on the bridge is truly excellent, and there is plenty of interesting riding awaiting on Mercer Island for future visits.

A half-mile long ferry

Google maps shows Washington SR409 as a ferry across the north channel of the Columbia, from Puget Island to Cathlamet. This is curious, as the truss bridge shown in the satellite photo was completed in 1939.

Google's routed directions are quite misleading, as they estimate 20 minutes taking the ferry across the half-mile span.

With good timing for the ferry across the south channel, and permission from my tripmates, I aim to explore the area on Sunday.

I guess this is now a garden blog

Hrmmm. Didn't mean to turn into my father, but I guess that's what happens.

The flowering quince looks beautiful outside, though I need to prune it. That will have to wait until I have another 96L of yard waste space, following collection on Monday.

Now there are many

I continue to be impressed with the beauty of the camellias out front.

Sadly, this exhausted the Pyrex bowl supply in the house, so tonight's leftovers had to go into a less fancy Tupperware.