USS Abraham Lincoln

Here's the USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that is stationed in Everett. It's around half the tonnage of the biggest ships around, but much more powerful, as she runs on two nuclear reactors instead of burning fuel oil.

President Bush staged his Mission Accomplished speech from the deck of this ship in 2003.

You can see her better from above.

Abandoned Barge

This barge is slowly becoming part of the embankment of the Duwamish. It sits next to one of two private bridges Boeing owns across the waterway.

The overhead view shows that it's been here it's been here quite some time. This part of the Duwamish is sufficiently polluted to be rewarded with federal Superfund cleanup money.

Pistol Butt - Now in Non-Bonsai Form

In case Pistol Butt was something cooked up by creative bonsai masters, I kept an eye open for it on a hike in the Cascades on the weekend. It didn't take long to see numerous examples of both cedar and hemlock with crooked trunks. They were always perfectly aligned downhill, matching the theory of ongoing abuse by heavy snow.

Boeing 747-8F

Boeing's test registration N5017Q is a Boeing 747-8F, an upgraded freighter that will replace the current 747-400 freighters that dominate long haul cargo routes. She's approaching Boeing Field from the north, on a typically overcast Seattle morning.

There are two reasons why there will be significant demand for this aircraft:
1) Boeing stopped making 747-400s
2) the stretched -8F carries 29 tonnes more cargo

Survey Marker - NGS Disc

This is a survey marker placed by the National Geodetic Survey, marking a point on the Sand Point Calibration Baseline. It replaces mark AI3598, which was 3m south of here but lost when the sports fields were redeveloped.

The position of the dot in the center is allegedly accurate to well under a millimeter, as measured from the other end of the baseline, 1061m away.

Dewy Rhodo

Here's a rather moist Rhododendron Obiculare, with foliage quite different from the rhodos that thrive throughout the northwest.

This one is from NE Guangxi, or possibly SW Sichuan, in China. Naturally, they would be found at perhaps 1500-2000m elevations.

Chrysler 300F

This is the tail fin of a 1960 Chrysler 300F, spotted in Burien.

Each year for a decade, Chrysler marketed a new letter in their 300 series. They were powerful, luxurious, and sold in limited numbers. In 1960, just 964 of these were produced.

Nissan Leaf

This is the first time I've spotted a Nissan Leaf in the wild. It's an all-electric car with a range of around 100 miles.

Owners would typically install a 30-amp circuit at home to charge it in 8 hours. If you're fancy, you can get a 125-amp fast charger, designed by TEPCO (of Japanese nuclear meltdown fame) which takes that time down to 30 minutes.

Pistol Butt Hemlock Bonsai

This bonsai was collected from Mt St Helens in 1987. It exhibits Pistol Butt, or a crook in the trunk from downward-sloping snowfall. Mountain Hemlock is pliant enough to bend with the snow for a few seasons until it can stand against the weight of it. This flexibility comes at the price of a crooked trunk.

I'm not sure how one gets permission from the National Parks Service to pinch a living tree out of lands they manage.

Solstice Cyclists

On a wet and not entirely warm Saturday closest to the summer solstice, Freemont holds its annual parade. Naked cyclists have crashed the parade annually for years, such that it is become an organized part of the festival.

There was a wide array of body-painted cyclists, many with amusing themes. These cheetahs (or leopards?) are quite naked, if you excuse their bow ties. And belts, necessary to secure their tails!

Milwaukee Road - Snoqualmie River

There is another rail bridge crossing the Snoqualmie River a bit east (upstream) of yesterday's, and also serving the Weyerhaeuser mill. It was built by the Milwaukee Road until being converted to to a pedestrian trail maintained by King County.

Northern Pacific - Bridge Out

This was Northern Pacific's bridge 5.46, on the Weyerhaeuser Snoqualmie Mill Spur. The steel trusswork was originally installed in Wisconsin, then relocated here as that line was upgraded to support heavier trains. Finally, the span was demolished in 2005 by the Army Corps of Engineers over concerns during flooding.

Snoqualmie Falls School

These are the steps that led up to the schoolhouse of Snoqualmie Falls, a company town founded in 1917 and razed in the 1950s. One can imagine that the company town of a forestry company would be heavy on timber and light on bricks. Indeed, there is hardly any evidence of habitation beyond the foundation here.

Weyerhaeuser Snoqualmie Mill

This is the superheater of the powerplant of our old friend Weyerhaeuser's Snoqualmie Mill. Its purpose was to heat wet steam into superheated (500 °C) dry steam, with little liquid water content. Unlike other power stations I've toured, this one was fired by wood waste instead of coal.

Nowadays, the only tenant of the 315-acre mill site is DirtFish Rally School.

Calibration Baseline

The National Geodetic Survey is a part of NOAA, chartered with defining and maintaining the coordinate system used by charts and maps in the US. They collaborated with the Canadian federal and provincial geodetic agencies to define NAD 83, which remains the current reference.

The Sand Point Calibration Baseline is a set of surveyed points along a 1058m line, with line of sight visibility allowing precise calibration of distance measuring devices. It was established by the National Geodetic Survey, and is maintained by Seattle Public Utilities (who is a frequent user of the amenity).

The erect stones are public art, not calibration points. Straight Shot by Perri Lynch succeeded at making the survey visible to me, and now to you.

Beech Bear Markings

This beech was scratched up by a black bear marking his territory. Trees all along this trail were scratched up, some to the point where it is endangering the trees health. I don't have a good sense for how recently the marks were placed, so I was quite cautious continuing down the path.

Wallace River

This is the Wallace River, downstream of the different stages comprising Wallace Falls. It was a lovely walk to see the falls, and the middle falls were especially dramatic.

The land was originally granted to Northern Pacific in order to build the transcontinental railroad. James J. Hill gained control of the railway, and then sold 900,000 acres of Washington timberland to his friend (and neighbor in Minneapolis), Friedrich Weyerhäuser. The price was $6 an acre, plus discounted eastbound shipping, which came in handy once the trees started falling. Weyerhaeuser, now a forestry multinational, divested the land surrounding Wallace Falls so that it could become a state park in 1971. It must have been logged immediately prior, as there are many stands of trees in the park that can't be much more than 40 years old.

Colman School

The 1909 Colman School sits next to the entrance of the Mount Baker Tunnel. Like the Beacon Hill School, it was abandoned by the city and occupied by minority activists. The squatters gained the support of Seattle mayor Norm Rice, and were headed for a legal settlement, but it took years of confrontations to sort it out.

It now houses the modest Northwest African American Museum, though the space is under-utilized. My visit last year left the impression that the building is somewhat of a private clubhouse for the staff and their friends.

Center Pivot Irrigation

Benton County is reliant on irrigation to sustain any sort of crop, as it is naturally dry and unproductive shrub-steppe. A goofy patchwork of center pivot irrigation is overlaid on the elevation contours and property boundaries to yield a reasonably efficient coverage of usable land.

The pattern changes each year as individual circles are cycled through different crops or left fallow. The satellite view matches up if you ignore colors and instead look at the pattern along the valley; this view is south-southwest.

Giant Rhubarb

This isn't rhubarb at all, but Gunnera manicata, a hostile spiky plant from a different order.

Spotted in the surprisingly excellent Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

Welcome to America

Poorly organized, poorly staffed, and not particularly competently staffed either. Clearing US immigration on arrival at moderately busy airports is an experience directly comparable to other nations that are true models of bureaucratic efficiency.

Like Papua New Guinea, and Venezuela.

M/V Hyak

The M/V Hyak is one of four Super class ferries of the Washington State Ferry system. Like the Elwha, she was built in 1967.

Here she heads east under Mt Rainier, as the 4:15pm Bremerton-Seattle sailing.

Light Rail Construction

This is the site of construction to support the University station of the University Link line, a project extending Link Light Rail from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington.

Two weeks ago, a pair of tunnel boring machines were installed here, and will be tunneling southwards across the Lake Union ship canal.

Common Basilisk

This is a Common Basilisk, or what the Hondurans call a Monkey La La. It's also called a Jesus Lizard, as it has the ability to walk (or rather, run) on water.

Fire Dancing

Paul and Joana perform their fire dancing routine regularly throughout Roatán. He's very skilled and completely fearless, whereas she is more rhythmic and seductive. They make a fantastic pair!