Fledgling Hawk

This fledgling hawk has been roaming around the neighborhood for the past couple of weeks. It doesn't stray too far from the Douglas Fir where it lives, and we can hear it call frequently as it moves from tree to tree.

Cupcake Royale

Cupcake Royale produces delightful premium cupcakes, including the Royale With Cheese, pictured at left.

They're quite expensive, but very, very good. I found the icing to be truly excellent, and the cake nice and moist.

Secret Nuclear Blueprints

I was supposed to get a tour of the Hanford B Reactor this past weekend, but wildfires had closed the area and the tour was rescheduled for October.

We still got a peek at blueprints of the plant, and volunteers were on hand to answer questions. Note the date of these plans: November 1943. They specify the reactor core vaguely as the "process area" with suspiciously thick concrete walls.

Alcoholic Snow Cones

Off in Ballard, we had a slice of pizza at Snoose Junction. Also on offer were snow cones.

"Would you like a shot with that?" In my experience, the answer to that is rarely No, so we had an orange coconut snow cone with dark rum, and a (virgin) blue raspberry snow cone.

Our waitress had to saw a new block of ice, and mount it into a frightening machine that shaved the ice. They were delicious, and complemented the pizza nicely.

Beverly Railroad Bridge

The Beverly Railroad Bridge, built in 1915, spans the Columbia in eastern Washington. It carried the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad westward towards Tacoma. This segment was electrified.

It was abandoned in 1980, but is being preserved by the state. The river is perhaps 0.6mi (1km) wide at this point, and the bridge is a substantial structure. It is still in decent shape.

Delicious Blackberries

Although a troublesome weed to many backyards, blackberries are best appreciated when planted on someone else's property.

The berry season is coming to an end this year, but there are plenty of berries stashed in the freezer for the months to come.

I90 Eastbound Sunrise

I90 at sunrise, at Elk Heights Road in Cle Elum, Washington. Some unavoidable camera shake is visible towards the end of the exposure, caused by the draft of the truck.

Pavement Is Forever

Oh wait - no it isn't.

There are endless bumper stickers, T-shirts, and websites promoting the idea that "concrete is forever". This is very easy to refute, from a trade magazine for parking lot engineering to, well, the picture to the left.

The RV park at Priest Rapids was abandoned at some point since the dam was completed in 1959. It didn't take long to become overrun with sumac, and will soon be unrecognizable from other idle land in the area.

New Season Washington Apples

The 2009 apple season is on! The orchards of Grant County are alive with immigrant workers, filling crates with delicious apples. Here, a half-loaded flatbed heads north of SR243.

The apples themselves are just beginning to find their way to the markets. It is a great improvement over year-old (or New Zealand) apples that are the only ones available during the summer.

Pike Street Market

It's late, but the lighting is beautiful. Parking is easy to find. No fish are being thrown, and there are few tourists about.

The doorperson for the Can Can Cabaret sits out on Pike Street having a smoke, and the market waits for tomorrow.

Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon are starting to come up the Chittenden Locks fish ladder. The locks are the boundary between salt and freshwater, and the fish take their time in the ladder adjusting to the change.

The chinook are faring better than the sockeye that for some reason have all gone missing - only 10% of the expected run has shown up this year.

Delicious Salad

I'm able to get ridiculously narrow depth of field with the new lens. This is at f/1.8, and there's only a pencil-wide strip of the table that's fully focused.

Chilly Hilly, Bainbridge Island

Chilly Hilly is an annual ride around Bainbridge Island in February, intended to kick off the new cycling season.

I rode it today, and although it wasn't chilly (23°C/74°F) it was certainly quite hilly. In all, there was 750m of up and down, some of it truly gratuitous.

Peach Season

These beautiful and delicious peaches were collected from a friend's backyard, here in Seattle. The poor tree was groaning under the weight of a bumper crop.

Also collected were a fair number of overripe yellow plums. T preserved them yesterday into a plum-ginger-lemon conserve, which she says were amazing on this morning's waffles.

Old Cascade Tunnel

Today I explored an abandoned rail tunnel under Stevens Pass. The Old Cascade Tunnel was completed in 1900 to replace switchbacks that originally scaled the full 4000-ft elevation of the pass.

The western portal of the tunnel was the site of a horrific avalanche that killed 96 people in 1910. Over the winter of 2007/08, another avalanche in the same location caused a cave-in not far from the western portal. I approached from the east (walking 3km each way!) and was stopped by water dammed by the cave-in.

It has become a lesson for future rail engineers, as it was built on a steep grade that caused locomotives to pollute the tunnel. It's since been replaced by a much longer tunnel that's still in use by the BNSF railway.

There's also a geocache there.

Interurban Trail

There are several art installations along the Interurban Trail that runs parallel to the seedy part of Aurora Avenue, in the upper reaches of northern Seattle.

This one makes me wonder if Mount Rainier will wake up and surprise us some day. Kaboom!

Another 11th Street Bridge in Tacoma

There are three bridges along 11th Street in Tacoma. The Murray Morgan Bridge was at one point managed by WSDOT, and so made it into their bridge list.

This bridge, further east, is not in the WSDOT list, and so I'm not even certain of its name. It's been left raised since Google took a look, and work was actively underway on its western half when I visited.

Growing Stacks of Oil Drums

More change is afoot here on the west bank of the Duwamish. When the Street View vehicle came by, the oil drums were stacked just five high. Today, they extend above the fence, perhaps now 12 or 13 high in total.

Union Pacific Truck Terminal

The slowdown in global trade has idled a number of facilities, including this Union Pacific truck terminal in Seattle's Georgetown district.

In busier times, the terminal was fully utilized. Grass hasn't quite taken hold in cracks in the asphalt, but it won't be long.

USS Momsen and USS Shoup

The USS Momsen and USS Shoup are US Navy destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class. They recently visited Seattle during Seafair for public tours.

Individually, these destroyers are impressively fortified and armed. But consider that there are 55 of them commissioned, and they are only a small component of the larger Navy.

It would be challenging to outspend the US on a better equipped military.

Tacoma's 11th Street Bridge

I explored two closed bridges today in Tacoma. This is the Murray Morgan Bridge, which spans the waterway running between the downtown area and the Port of Tacoma. It's a lift bridge that was built in 1912, but it's been closed since 2007.

The bridge is judged to be unsafe, and requires $80M in repairs before it can resume bearing vehicular traffic. Current plans are for WSDOT to permanently lock the bridge in the raised position to allow marine traffic to pass.

Mount Ellinor

Mount Ellinor is a 5944ft / 1812m summit at the south end of the Olympic range of mountains.

Morning fog was hanging to around 2000ft. Above that, we were greeted with spectacular views of Lake Cushman, Mt. Ranier, and eventually the Olympics themselves to the north. The fog cleared at around 2pm.

Matson Kauai

The Matson Kauai is a 26,000 ton container ship built in 1980. It used to run regularly between Honolulu and Seattle, but due to a decline in shipping demand, it has been idle in Seattle since October 2008. Here it sits at Terminal 25.

Two years ago, the Kauai ran into a large swell off Cape Flattery and was disabled. It was rescued by the Gladiator, an Invader-class tug that is now stationed year-round in Neah Bay for such incidents.