Crying Pig Mural

The pepper's a bit too spicy for my porcine amigo. He's part of a mural covering the north wall of El Puerco Lloron, down the hill and towards the water from the Pike Place Market.

The food was excellent and inexpensive. The mural is by Emmett Mclaughlin, who has a confusing range of styles in his body of work.

Stair #195, Laurelhurst

Stair exploration continues, this time in Laurelhurst. This is the top of SDOT Stair #195 looking east over Lake Washington to Kirkland.

The houses in the area aren't modest.

Fishermen's Terminal

The Port of Seattle opened Fishermen's Terminal on Salmon Bay as the Montlake Cut was under construction, and the Lake Washington Ship Canal wasn't yet completed. Pictures of its dedication on Jan 11, 1914 suggest it was raining heavily that day. The surrounding area remained undeveloped mud flats until Salmon Bay was flooded in the following years.

It remains an important home for a large fleet of fishing vessels. However, the relative importance of fishing to the Seattle economy has declined greatly, leading to the unmistakable ambiance of an industrial area in decline.

Works Progress Administration

The Works Progress Administration was the federal stimulus program of the mid-1930s. Infrastructure projects were built all over the country, including this stairway, Seattle Department of Transport's stair #55, joining the two one-way halves of 13th Ave W at Boston St.

Sadly, I can't point to any local infrastructure project that 2009's federal stimulus program funded and completed. Most of the money seems to have been spent on short-term operating costs of state and local governments.

Galer Traverse

Seattle Department of Transportation Stair #118, on Galer St between 4th Ave N and Bigelow. It's a reinforced concrete monolithic stair, with joined pipe railings.

One can cross Queen Anne via Galer St, and cover nine excellent stairways and a distance of just under two miles. Thomas Horton's excellent map provides a guide of the area.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is an unexpectedly high bridge conveying US-64 over the upper reaches of the Rio Grande. The detour to the nearest alternate crossing is a 46mi adventure on unpaved roads.

The top surface of the structure isn't exactly level, and it's certainly not overbuilt. However, it looks fantastic in the fading light of a New Mexico sunset.

Kasha Katuwe

This is the Kasha Katuwe slot canyon, in somewhat harsh midafternoon sun. It's a narrow and deep sandstone gorge, and would be both spectacular and dangerous in flood. The same area hosts hoodoos (tent rocks), including some that are quite phallic.

I look forward to scouring the continent for other slot canyons.

Yucca Baccata

Interesting bokeh covers the defocused background of this leaf detail. It's a banana yucca, with funky spiky swirls.

Rancho de Chimayó

Chili peppers hang on strings outside Rancho de Chimayó, a lovely restaurant run out of a family home on the high road to Taos. Their shadows fall on a wall finished with straw and mud.

Lunch was delicious, and it was the first time I'd had an excellent sopaipilla served as bread with a meal.

Waxing Moon

The waxing moon hangs over the almost cloudless New Mexico sky. After the last hint of sunset had disappeared, the land with its cloak of snow remained bright in the moonlight.

Ojo Caliente

Ojo Caliente is a beautiful and isolated hot springs resort in New Mexico. This is their large pool, adjacent to an arsenic spa. Paper lanterns (luminaria) decorate most walls, and stars and a near-full moon were all that was overhead.

Sunset, US-285

Unadjusted and straight off the camera, US-285 at sunset. A bit of snow from New Year's lingers in the north-facing shadows.

Georgia O'Keefe noted that the colors in New Mexico are completely different than in places east, and I agree.

Northwest Building Materials

At John St & Pontius Ave N, there's a mass of pretty siding and windows, tiled in an interesting arrangement to form an apartment block. It looks fantastic, although I wonder how the exterior lumber will age in the damp Northwest climate. Come back in 20 years to find out!

Google came by before it was fully erected. Next door stands an attractive 3-story walkup apartment - housing an intriguingly named business, Slut Apparel. Surprisingly, one can order shirts from them supporting the Seattle Lake Union Trolley!

Daily Dozen Donut Company

Yummy, delicious, fresh donuts. The Daily Dozen Donut Company is the place where donuts are born! Their automated machine drops in dough, floats them down the frying bath, and conveys them to be powdered or chocolate-sprinkled by hand.

You can't argue with Glady L. from Long Beach, whose Cambodian background and pregnant sister provide unquestionable authority supporting a five-star review.

Post Alley

Post Alley runs from the Pike Place Market down the hill towards Western Ave. It has hosted a big wall of old chewing gum, at least since 1993.

I quite enjoy driving down this public street and parting the waves of tourists. Invariably, they aren't expecting vehicular traffic, and freak out when confronted with oncoming headlights.

Thai Tom

Thai Tom is a tiny sliver of a storefront on University Avenue. Yes, it is actually only three motorcycle parking spots wide.

It has very positive reviews, which accurately reflect the high quality of the inexpensive dishes on offer. Speed of service is limited by the chef (there's only room for one) and this guy was a one-man-band, a dazzling orchestrator of woks, ingredients, and fire.

Plymouth Road Runner

Here is a 1973 Plymouth Road Runner, a true bare-bones muscle car. The 440 cu in (7.2L!) V8 would certainly provide serious propulsion, via a 3-speed TorqueFlight automatic transmission.

The driving experience would be so completely different from a modern sports car. It would be fantastic taking her out for a spin...

Hudson, Georgetown

Competition for Calamity Jane's in Georgetown includes Hudson, a small brick building tucked off Marginal Way with a Plymouth Road Runner regularly parked out front.

The food was decent, and the ambiance was a bit quirky, with the gigantic bar overshadowing everything else inside.

Caffeinated Booze

This "specialty malt liquor" is Anheuser-Busch's version of Four Loko. It is 12% ABV, and has a bunch of caffeine too. These are 24oz single-serve cans (two regular beers), but at twice the alcohol content, are over four standardized drinks.

I'm not sure what they tastes like, but they're exciting enough to be banned in a number of states.

El Camino Conquista

The Chevy El Camino was a marvel of style and functionality. One must go to Australia to find utility coupes built in recent years, though they're called utes there.

This fifth generation Conquista (1978-1987) was spotted southbound on the I5 in Tacoma, in the final days of 2010. Note that it's a license plate sequence that's assigned to trucks!

Winter Wonderland

Last trip up Granite Mountain we stayed along the ridgeline on the horizon, where it was quite windy. Back in November, there wasn't really enough snow to allow safe access to the summit via the ridge scramble.

This time I had a bit more time. Instead of joining five others that were gunning for the summit, I explored the bowl north and west of there. It was untouched, calm, and beautiful. The character of the snow was quite different than on the steep slopes.

More Snow

Six weeks across Christmas brought quite a bit of snow to the western slopes of the Cascade range. I was close to the same location as in November - all that differs is a bit of parallax and perhaps five more feet of snow.

Another difference is that it was a brilliantly sunny day, and a lot colder.

Salish and Sepik

This panel, which faces both ways, was crafted by Coast Salish carver John Marston. He spent some time in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, exchanging techniques and ideas.

He came back with some Sepik rosewood, and carved this striking piece. The faces are an ambiguous cross between west coast native and Papua New Guinea tribal styles.