Illinois Terminal Railroad Station

The Illinois Terminal Railroad offered interurban passenger rail service until 1956, using electric locomotives.

Most of its track has been abandoned.  There are rumored to be many electric substation buildings around the state, and it would be interesting locating one to explore.

California Sea Lion

This California sea lion likes hanging around the glass to interact with visitors.  Others in the enclosure cruise by upside down, or do barrel rolls to entertain themselves.

She's a sister to the larger Steller sea lions that are more common in and around Seattle.


Although the City of Saint Louis has done much to deface Yamasaki's beautiful airport terminal, there are some improvements as well.  This simple but striking wall undergoes subtly shifting lighting, and provides a welcome distraction for those waiting for baggage to arrive.

Lake Twentytwo Circumnavigation

Another year, another trip up Lake Twentytwo.  This time, a stable snowpack allowed exploring the entire edge of the lake.  The snow was glorious.

The colors may look a bit blue, but that's really what it looked like, especially the steep face in the upper right.  This was right at the boundary of the cloud layer, and reflected sky was showing up through gaps in the clouds.

Tioga Pass

State Route 120 climbs up from Mono Lake (in the upper right) to Tioga Pass, then off to the left to Yosemite National Park.  The pass closed in November for the winter; this picture was taken mid-October.

I learned that the brakes on a new-ish rented ninth generation Chevy Impala were woefully inadequate here on a visit last year.

Safeco Field

The retractable roof of Safeco Field looms over the horizon at sunset as Interstate 90 terminates at the I5 in Seattle.  It is not uncommon to have spectacular sunsets after a completely overcast day, with the sun peeking under the cloud layer until it sets under the Olympic mountain range.

Follow this freeway (the nation's longest) 3100 miles back, and you're in Boston.

Kinder Morgan’s Vancouver Wharves

Elemental sulphur removed from Albertan oil awaits export from Kinder Morgan’s Vancouver Wharves in North Vancouver.  Perhaps 5 million tons are exported annually under the adjacent Lion's Gate Bridge; there's a similar terminal in Port Moody.

It's much easier removing it from oil than mining it directly from places like Kilauea or Ijen.

Intermountain Power Plant

The Intermountain Power Plant is a large 1900MW coal-fired power plant in Delta, Utah, curiously operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  It's a joint venture between a number of utilities in both California and Utah, and as LA is probably the largest consumer, they get to run it.

There's a modern 500kV DC power line connecting this power plant with the Calfornia market.

Although this is perhaps the 20th largest coal power plant in the US, there are 115 bigger than this in China today.

Deception Pass Dash

The Deception Pass Dash is held annually in December, a month not known for fine oceangoing weather in Puget Sound.  Indeed, this year it was windy, cold, and raining.

It's "the brainchild of evil sadistic paddlers Will Robens and Don Kiesling," and is a race at slack tide around Deception Island, before the current makes it impossible to progress through the pass.  There are seventeen classes of watercraft invited to compete.

Admiralty Head Light

The Admiralty Head Light is a stout 1903 lighthouse that overlooks Admiralty Inlet, the main shipping channel between Puget Sound and the open ocean.  It is tiny by the standards of other Pacific lighthouses, with a tower of only 30ft.

It's located in Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, and this is my first visit where the lighthouse was open for inspection.

Festive Lenin

Vlad Lenin is getting into the holiday spirit with a festive scarf, Santa hat, and an impressive headpiece of Christmas lights.

He was brought here to Freemont by a schoolteacher who mortgaged his house to save it from a Slovak scrapyard, and then had him shipped to Seattle.

Chemical Warfare Service

This is the real deal, from 1945 when the Chemical Warfare Service was busy producing both chemical and conventional weaponry for the US Army.  Fortunately, only regular incendiaries were used in combat, and the chemical weapons stayed at home.

Hopefully the vendor at this flea market is using surplus crates, and not selling real flame throwers.

Union Station

Kansas City hosts a train station completely out of proportion to current levels of passenger rail service -- Amtrak runs six trains daily through here.  It was originally served by twelve different rail companies, and in its peak year of 1945, over 600,000 passengers used this hall.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas City

There are hardly any World War I memorial structures in the United States, and many are modest civic monuments as compared to those in other countries.

An exception is Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.  It is prominently sited, beautifully constructed, and of an appropriately grand scale.  It's impressive even from the air.  The region must have been quite prosperous in the 1920s to support philanthropy of this magnitude.

The inscription across the front reads:
"These have dared bear the torches of sacrifice and service. Their bodies return to dust but their work liveth evermore. Let us strive on to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Arthur Bryant's

Arthur Bryant's is the foremost recommendation for barbecue in Kansas City by a number of metrics: Yelp reviews, guidebooks, and Internet lore.

They'll smoke anything you bring them.  I had burnt ends and sliced pork, and they were both delicious.