Summer Grass

Perhaps summer has arrived? A grassy field on the rocky shore of Iceberg Point has grown, seeded, and dried completely.

The movement in the wind was beautiful, but the still camera only captured this single moment. It is not difficult to recall the rustling sound of the dried stalks when reviewing this shot.

Glacial Scrapings

Glaciers ground down this rock to an even surface, and left a few tracks where sharper rocks were dragged along. The underlying rock was formed well before the glacier came along, and so its layering and weaknesses are on a different axis from the movement of the glacier.

Inferior Mirage

The flat surface of the beach at Spencer Spit badly distorts the distant image of beachgoers when the temperature rises. It's an inferior mirage, more commonly witnessed against hot road surfaces.

Temperature that day was perhaps 80°F / 26°C, not exactly extreme. However, the geometry of the beach allowed emphasizing the mirage for this picture.

Painting Hay Bales

A warm day and an artistic disposition led to trying to capture hay bales on canvas. There was actually an entire class trying this out, and different students had different angles and perspectives.

Tribal Canoes

Indians of the Lummi Coast Salish tribe arrive in Odlin Park on Lopez Island. They're part of the annual Paddle To Swinomish event, where canoes from various bands in BC and Washington State converge on the Skagit to share traditions (and party).

Beautifully decorated Sooke and Cowichan canoes had already arrived. Some carried a sprig of cedar at the bow.

Ferry lineups

The Saturday morning lineup for the 9:35am Lopez Island ferry from Anacortes.

This sailing grants Lopez traffic the entire 148-vehicle quota of a Super Class ferry. Other sailings might only get 30 vehicles for Lopez or even none at all due to the orientation of the rest of the vehicles as the ship docks on a multiple-stop route.

Crafting a useful schedule must be a challenge.

Oyster Eating

After oyster picking, we had a yummy week of oyster eating. Shucking them raw was delicious, but a lot of effort.

Much easier was broiling them for a few moments to use steam power to pry them open. This left the muscle only slightly cooked, and allowed experimentation with various garnishes like horseradish, green Tabasco, and lemon juice.

Umtanum Creek Canyon

Umtanum Creek Canyon, seen in a different season.

We were surprised by snakes twice on our hike, and only on the second encounter recognized them as rattlesnakes. Our footsteps on the overgrown trail might have been a bit more cautious had we known earlier.

Tubing Preparation, Yakima Canyon

Numerous parties prepare for an afternoon of tubing on the Yakima River. It's an ideal watercourse, as there is a significant current to keep things interesting, without being thrown into rapids or a waterfall.

The warmth surprised us, as we began our day in the dreary coastal coolness on the other side of the Cascades.

Boulder Cave

In the Naches Valley lies Boulder Cave, an unusual cave that's open for public exploration. Most caves are eroded from limestone, but this one was created by regular erosion of a streambed. Its roof is from rockfall over the gorge that the stream created.

The portion that is fully dark isn't that long, but one would not have too much fun without a headlamp.

The cave is alleged habitat for Townsend's big eared bat, but we didn't see any on our visit.

Oyster Picking

This may look like a lump of rock with some barnacles on it, but it's actually two Pacific Oysters attached to one another. We went picking on a private beach close to Tekiu Point. It was straightforward and there were plenty to choose from.

Once pried open, they're delicious!

Chinook Pass

Plenty of snow remains on Chinook Pass through mid-July. The 5430 ft seasonal pass only opened Jun 23rd this year.

The crossbar marking the top of the pass must have been disturbed by snowfall, or by the snow removal process. Hopefully WSDOT will put up a replacement in keeping with the decor of the area.

Keep Houston Ugly

Also in the running for best Texan slogans:
Keep Waco Wacko
Keep Austin Pretentious

Seen at Cafe Vita, Capitol Hill.

Bees Buzz

Honeybees come and go from their backyard hive.

The lifecycle of a hive is ridiculously complex, and learning to beekeep sounds like a significant undertaking.

Nissan Figaro

A row of 1991 Nissan Figaro retro-cars lines a sidestreet in Dunbar, Vancouver. They're right hand drive, as originally sold in Japan. They can't be inexpensive, as they look fantastic and there were only 20,000 made.

This fleet exists to promote sushi restaurant The Eatery on Broadway. Reviews are positive.

Opulence of 1913

This is the light fixture above the booth at the end of the bar at the Olympic Club. It might have been repaired a bit over the years, but otherwise represents the original appearance when it was installed a century ago. Most of the bar and furniture dates to a remodel in 1913.

It is unfortunate that it is uneconomic to build with similar quality and style in the present day.

McMenamins Olympic Club

Likely very familiar to some STP riders, McMenamins Olympic Club pub and hotel is a fantastic multi-purpose establishment in Centralia.

It's part of the sprawling McMenamins empire, which brews excellent beer and uses the profits to acquire and refurbish great places to sleep and drink.

Bridge of the Gods

The first bridge across the Columbia upstream of Portland is this one, the Bridge of the Gods. It is named for a natural bridge that might have allowed passage across the river here a thousand years ago.

As with other bridges of that era, it was originally built privately. This one is now operated by the Port of Cascade Locks, and they haven't gotten around to removing the toll now that the construction and bonds are long paid off.

Pacific Lamprey

These bloodsucking parasites are Pacific lamprey. They congregate where salmon and trout do, here at the fish ladder of the Bonneville Dam. These lamprey have a life cycle similar to the salmon they follow, migrating from fresh to saltwater and back.

Bonneville Dam Powerhouse

Bonneville Dam is the last spillway the Columbia sees before emptying into the Pacific. The river is under tidal influence until around Camas, though the salt water doesn't intrude nearly that far.

This is the first powerhouse, finished in 1937. A second, which replaced a weir across to the Washington State bank, was completed in 1981. The turbines have only 50ft of hydraulic head to work with, which required a number of design compromises.

In total, the 18 turbines of the dam can produce 1092MW. To compare, the Trojan nuclear plant that was sited downstream was rated for similar power from a single reactor.

High Bridge

Here's the view 120ft above Eagle Creek, from the High Bridge. There were numerous sections like this that looked like great fun in an inner tube. But they were connected by sections that would lead a paddler into a squished broken-bones mess: Punchbowl Falls and Metlako Falls are both downstream from here. So is the Bonneville Dam, but we'll get to that in the next post.

Tunnel Falls

Tunnel Falls is the reward at the turnaround point of a 6 mile hike off the I84 in Oregon. The trail passes behind the waterfall here.

Eagle Creek trail was carefully planned and built as an attraction for the (now historic) Columbia River Highway, completed in 1922. The trail was hewn into the basalt rock face with the aid of Italian engineers and dynamite. It's not likely you could get away with blasting a new trail through untouched national forest these days.

Spin Art

Spin art is created by applying pigments to a rotating surface. Here, a specialized turntable is mounted against a bicycle wheel, and a child applies thick paint as it spins. The resulting patterns were very pleasing.

This was one of the many attractions at the Cal Anderson Park 9th Annual Independence Day Picnic. The revelry was mellow, with the exception of the crazy drunk guy who, when asked to calm down, struck the park rangers and was booked overnight into King County Jail.

Issaquah High School

Issaquah High School, as seen from Poo Poo Point. The abandoned bit is just beyond and to the right of the massive buildings comprising the new campus. An endless row of school buses lurk across the road.

Abandoned Teachers Office

This cheerful artwork adorns the wall of an abandoned bit of Issaquah High School, home of the Eagles. It appears to be a teacher's office, not a regular classroom; it would be surprising if the high school students produced primary school artwork.

It looks like the old campus will be demolished over the summer.

Lake Twentytwo, in Summer

Allegedly, we have reached summer in the Pacific Northwest. The snowpack doesn't concur, and has stubbornly stayed at levels more typical of May than July.

Lake Twentytwo sits under a cloud layer, and like the last visit, we didn't dare circle the lake. Snow and rock avalanches were actively falling down the far slope.

Dreamliner #6

Boeing ZA006 (registered as N787ZA) is the sixth Dreamliner off the production line. It's taking off to the north from Boeing Field for ongoing flight testing of the plane mated to its GEnx-1B engines.

As of today, this airframe has undergone 84 flights totaling 266h 30m of flight time. Most of the testing has been with the competing Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that are fitted to five of the seven Dreamliners in the test fleet.