Friday, September 20, 2013

Trip through Washington Wine Country

Palouse Falls

Teapot Dome Filling Station in , Washington
Grain Elevator
On the way back from Yellowstone we followed the Lewis and Clark route to a fair degree along the Clearwater and then the Snake River.  We made a side trip to Palouse Falls in Eastern Washington.  Very impressive and in the middle of nowhere, it was formed by the cataclysmic breakage of ice dams associated with glaciers.

The Teapot Dome Filling Station was built in Zillah, Washington after the Teapot Dome Scandal in Wyoming during Warren Harding's administration.  Zillah is now a part of the wine trail in Southeastern Washington.

Finally, a grain elevator, somewhere along the way in black and white to be a bit more artsy.  There were a lot of photogenic barns and grain elevators.  I was struck by the grain elevators being larger and closer together than they are in Alberta where I was so taken by the old wooden ones.  Apparently they reap larger crops.

One of these days I'll have to write about the wine country itself....

Grand Teton

Teton Range
The Teton Range is another one of those sights that must have had incalculable film and electrons burned while cameras pointed at it.  The day we were there was cloudy but we didn't get rained on.  We walked around one of the lakes strung along in front of the range.  The geology is great - There are "dead" glaciers in this picture, as well as ones that are still with us.  The lakes were formed by glaciers and the morraine that formed the dams when they retreated is clearly visible.


Old Faithful

Norris Geyser Basin
Mammoth Hot Springs

Lower Yellowstone Falls

You guessed it - a bison
We just got back from Yellowstone earlier in the week.  Fantastic scenery.  I was thinking that Old Faithful must be one of the most photographed objects in the world, especially now that everyone carries a camera or cell phone.  In 1958, probably only dad had a camera and he could afford to take only one shot and hope it came out.  I probably took a hundred.  Anyway, the top photo is my contribution to the millions of photographs of Old Faithful out there.  Of course there are bubbling pools, steam vents, and hot springs (roughly half of the worlds visible geothermal features are here).  There are waterfalls but the mountains aren't that spectacular.  We spent a couple of days and saw a lot.  The one thing we didn't see that much of relative to my expectations was wildlife.  Anyway, here is a picture of a bison just to round things out.

Monday, July 15, 2013

West Seattle Summer Festival

Last weekend there was anotherWest Seattle Summer Festival event on California street with booths, music (including Casper Babypants on Saturday), and various activites.  The Hi-Yu float was also there.  The festival starts with the pirates landing on Alki Beach as previously reported.  Hi-Yu was started in 1934 - see here for more information.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Pirates Landing at Alki Beach

It was perfect weather today and these folks were waiting for the Seafair Pirates to land at Alki Beach in West Seattle.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Flaming Tuba

This is one of the better street performers I've seen lately.  He's on the river walk on the south side of the Thames in London.  There is accompaniment coming out of the amp he is sitting on and when he blows a note his horn belches fire.

Egypt in London

The building in the background is Shell Mex House in London - I worked there for 3 years.  In front of it is an obelisk called Cleopatra's Needle, although I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with Cleopatra.  The British hauled it back from Egypt at great trouble many years ago.  The story I heard is that Shell Mex House is supposed to look like the sphinx.  If you cross your eyes and squint you should see it.  The clock is the face.  The extensions on each side are the legs.  I'm not sure if it is true but it makes a good story.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saundersfoot, Wales

The little town of Saundersfoot in Wales as seen from my room in the St. Bride's hotel.  Definitely one of the better views I've had from a hotel room.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Entrance to Saundersfoot Harbor

This is the entrance to Saundersfoot Harbor at low tide.  You can walk across although you will get your feet wet and the bottom is a little muddy.  It looks a bit like a moorish castle to me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Saundersfoot Harbor

Some things I find interesting in a place must just seem normal to the people that live there.  The upper picture is the Saundersfoot harbor at low tide.  The lower is picture is high tide.  Amazing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sailboat on the Sound

Sailboat in Fauntleroy Cove, taken from the ferry, Mt Ranier in the background...

Port Townsend

A Victorian city by the sea

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday, May 03, 2013

Eyjafjallajökull - Before and After

The photo at the top was taken by the farmer who lives in the farmhouse 14 April, 2010.  The volcano, named Eyjafjallaj√∂kull in order to trip up foreign television announcers, disrupted airline traffic and got the attention of the world.  The day we were there, that's my picture on the bottom, everything was clear.

Reykjavik Graffiti

I am pleased to report that Reykjavik has some good street artists.  The best is at the skate park - more of which can be seen here.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Day Green Parade

Today being May Day, it was a day off and there were parades.  There are about 300,000 people in Iceland of which about 200,000 live in Reykjavik.  When we first got down to the main drag where the parades were the motorcycles were going by.  I am pretty sure every motorcycle in Iceland was in the parade.  The rest of the people were watching them.  We went and had lunch after that.  When we got back, thousands of people were marching with green flags including I imagine some of the motorcyclists.  The rest of the people were watching them.  Anyway, the story is that a conservative coalition that was pro-business (afterall, Iceland is still recoverying from the bankrupty in 2008 when the entire country turned themselves into one big hedge fund) got elected into parliament (Iceland has the oldest parliament in the world) and the green flag people are concerned about the potential impact of bringing in what I believe is an aluminum smelter based on cheap power from hydro-electric.  These people would make good citizens in Seattle.

Reykjavik Sun Voyager

There is a large statue in somewhat the shape of a viking long boat on the waterfront in Reykjavik that is prominent and famous.  I took this photo from directly behind so it is a bit more abstract.  The little island (Videy Island) on the right side of the frame is where Yoko Ono put the Imagine Peace Tower.

Hallgrimskirkja Church Organ

We were back in the church today and were fortunate enough to walk in when an organist was playing.  For a good while it was just us and the organist in the church.  Amazingly deep and beautiful sound.  We were quiet and I took my photo during a loud passage when it wouldn't bother him.  Normally that is frowned on (and something I wouldn't do) but I'm sure he didn't hear me nor did he seem to mind a tourist in the church behind him with a camera.  So unlike most concert halls and their fussy ushers even when the orchestra hasn't started playing.  Anyway, I hope he sees this - we really enjoyed his playing.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


There are LOTS of waterfalls in Iceland, this one is Skogafoss on the southern coast.  The waterfalls we saw today were easy to photograph with the sun behind and illuminating everything nicely.  This one was even kind enough to show a double rainbow.  The white spider web like material on the walls is ice

Monday, April 29, 2013


Did you know that geyser is an Icelandic word?  This one is just starting it's eruption and is right next to the original (spelled geysir) that gave the world this word.


The lower part of the Gullfoss (Golden Falls) as seen down the valley cut.  Geologists believe it was cut in one catastrophic event when a glacial lake burst.
The new symphony hall as seen from the harbor.

Minke Whale

Not a very good picture, but still a picture.  As seems to be almost always the case, I didn't have the right lens with me but the conditions weren't great anyway.

Another Reykjavik Church

This is the Catholic Church....  Iceland went through a forced and violent change to Lutheranism during the reformation at the decree of the King of Denmark.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


The largest church in Iceland has has a facade that resembles basalt columns.  It is plain on the inside and lacks stained glass or adornment.  There is a famous organ that is used frequently in services and for concerts.  According to our guide, the Icelandic people are not particularly religous and I didn't see as many churches there as in other parts of Europe.  There are more in the countryside, but again according to our guide, they were built because the builder could levy fees from them.

The statue out front is Leifur Eriksson, first European to land in the Americas.  He beat Columbus by almost 500 years.

Dragon Cafe, Reykjavik

Two cool dudes enjoying a cigarette (cough, cough...)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Tulips are Blooming

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was last weekend.  This is the home of the largest tulip grower in the United States, family owned and descendants of immigrants from Holland.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Spring at Last

Today it is cool and rainy but last week on the UW campus it was all about the Cherry Trees. Note "The Mountain" in the background.
In West Seattle the Cherry, Camelia, and Magnolia are blooming

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Coal Creek Waterfall

It's not that large, but it is pretty and close to Seattle.  A nice pleasant walk on very good trails.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Lake Union Gasworks and Wooden Boats

It was a beautiful day to take a boat ride on Lake Union in Seattle.  Don't tell anyone we have days like this in winter.  Everyone will want to move here.

If you do get to Seattle, it may be worthwhile taking a trip to South Lake Union and visiting the Center for Wooden Boats.  It's educational and there are free boat rides on Sunday.  We took a ride in an old electric powered boat that lasted about 45 minutes.  Their website is at

The photograph is of the old gasworks in Seattle which has been turned into a city park.  Originally barges of coal were brought to a dock just off the picture to the right.  The plant then gasified the coal which was sold for fuel and light.