I appreciate the forming of whatever can be made from any loose and building dirt. The natural process can be mesmerizing, but often slow for those impatient. That’s where the artfulness come in, with an instinct built from childhood, to shape from the imagination into reality. To look at a pile of the most basic of supplies, build with their own hands to shape and create anew, to create create work is what humans are meant to do.
So here, are my initial pics of my most recent trip to southern California for the San Diego Comic Con. This show, I will write much about and finally share, after a very busy two weeks. But for now, enjoy my pics of these temporary sand castles just outside the SDCC, promoting new original audio books from Amazon’s Audible service.
That’s all for now. Look forward to more pics and notes of my recent adventures soon.
Snoqualmie Pass did not disappoint with snow over the recent Christmas weekend.
This popular Washington State mountainous area was a treat to help make up for a very quiet and otherwise dulled outlook to this holiday season peak. A spontaneous adventure was due, traveling with an old friend who worked in the area. With no New Years plans, ruined by the rising Omicron, I needed this. I never been to the Snoqualmie Pass, therefore it interests me, especially with its famed winter snowfall.
Snoqualmie Pass is a mountain passage in the Cascade Range deep in the Snoqualmie Forest, west of the Snoqualmie Valley, with an elevation of 2,726 ft (831 m). The area is named after the local indigenous Native American tribe, part of the Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Snoqualmie Pass was well-known and utilized by indigenous natives long before U.S settlers set foot in the early 19th century. Over time, the area was planned for a large railroad line expansion, then eventually abandoned.
The Interstate 90 is now the main highway in and out of the area, and 54 miles east of Seattle. The famed Pacific Crest Trail also crosses through the area, a long hiking route that stresses far to the south through California, almost to the Mexico border. The Snoqualmie Pass remains small, but very significant in the Pacific Northwest with a very small population, 311 according to the 2010 U.S. census. The main draw for tourists is now the cluster of four ski areas with resorts stationed throughout: Alpental, Summit West, Summit Central, and Summit East.
After a serene and slow morning drive (about an hour and a half from Seattle), I set foot on some deep and plentiful snow. There was little purpose after, other than to escape the stressful city and explore the snowy landscapes a little, work on a writing project while my driver friend does some skiing. I did some observations of skiing sport and local activity, thinking of future plans to return and gain more from the area. Someday, I would like to partake in the sport of skiing and also do some snowshoe hiking.
Here are some pics, with notes!
The lifts at the Summit at Snoqualmie, early in the morning during a light snowpour. Activity greatly rose around the noontime, for where I was inside sipping on local beer and working on a project.
Well, that’s all for now. But, I will definitely return to the Snoqualmie Pass, hopefully with ski gear!
2020 isn’t over yet as we we have one last month, and a stressful for many holiday season to go.
Meanwhile, I have the perfect place to wind down for those in the Seattle area, to decompress outside and away, socially distant and pandemic-mindful. That is the Kubota Garden park in the Rainer Beach area.
The Kubota Garden is one of the few curated Japanese gardens, with much greenery and sights reminiscent of the timeless natural scenic beauty of Japan. It’s free to enter, but with current pandemic restrictions (no big gatherings!).
A moment to admire from a month ago, among friends at the Maury Island Marine Park, part of Maury Island, part of Vashon Island (depending on one’s perspective), part of the greater Seattle area in Washington State.
Before me stands the Point Robinson Lighthouse, a small beacon of light for foggy and dank nighttime conditions since 1885 (automated since 1978). Bit its doors remain closed most of the time. Other times, you might be able to enter, maybe get a tour. More info at vashonparks.org.
I love lighthouses. I intend to visit more of these eventually, and share in experience.
Before that structure, you’ll notice much dead wood mixed in the wild grass, probably washed up on short, or left behind from a past operation. I do not really know. But such is a beautiful sight to see much so scattered, enjoying its long life, relaxed on the beach, with the company of playful feet at times.
The waters are quiet, with few boats. Along the shore, there are plenty of rocks mixed with slippery moss and hints of passing life. Walk further then the rocks, and you are either wet or among the trees and grass of this medium-sized local park. The choice is yours.
This place is peaceful, and I love the moment where I am part. You should come when given the chance, and love your moment too.
Doors are important in most stories. These are transitive devices, that hold the way to one world as small and familiar as one’s own home, or to another world as vast and ready to explore as our universe itself. Either side, is a new story waiting to be told.
That said, is my highlight of a favorite little spot on Vashon Island to the west of Seattle), celebrating the awesomeness of doors in pop culture, with a fence made of many to the side of a house bordering a small alley. For a visitor to find, is to either stumble upon it or be learn of it. This spectacle is not easily noticeable otherwise.
Each colorful, styled door is in reference to some iconic pop-culture staple. Here is a closer look. Try and figure them out.
From left to right, I believe (might have a couple mixed up) we have Sherlock Holmes, Muppet Show, Harry Potter, Twilight Zone, Friends, Shrek, Hobbit, Doctor Who, Winnie the Pooh, Lord of the Rings, Monsters Inc, Napoleon Dynamite, Mystery Date, Christmas Carol, and Chronicles of Narnia (out of frame).
Upon my visit with a couple friends, we had a chance to chat with the artist, and builder of these doors, John “Oz” Osborne. He is a local resident, also very friendly and welcoming toward admirers of his work. He shared a little history, which began as a plan to keep his yard less visible to the local business activity across the alley. His wife, Jenny developed the idea further, as both worked together to expand each part of the fence, one door at a time. The work is still continual, with more space left for more doors.
John explained the most curious of doors, in the picture of the above on the right (him to the right taking a break from painting his own house). This door is in reference to an old board game intended for young girls, Mystery Date. The idea of the game was to gain a desirable date, but avoid the “dud.”
For those visiting Vashon Island, the Fence of Doors is worth personally checking out. Also, see what’s been added with the passage of time. It’s open for all to see, from a small side street. Location is 100th pl SW and 174th street, behind Luna Bella’s consignment boutique.
For those who may never get a chance to visit the little obscure area of the Pacific Northwest, here’s my little video posted on Instagram…
I love a peaceful, quaint, distant getaway that doesn’t feel too isolated. Vashon Island is awesome, for its lovely greenery and sense of community that I feel such be model for this pandemic time.
Vashon Island a little island of two parts (Vashon and Maury) located west of Seattle, deep within Puget Sound. The 36.9 square miles (95.6 km) landmass has a population of over 10,000, and only accessible from the outside by boat. There are two state-run ferries on the north and south end, where vehicle boarding is possible.
This visit to Vashon Island is my second since the Spring of 2015. I thought of coming back here on remembering that it’s still an island, therefore not likely overwhelmed by summer visitors during this pandemic. And unlike the Seattle city, there has been little growth since.
Coming back, I notice not much has changed in its mostly rural parts. Still, very peaceful, lush, and green. But I saw much awareness and respect for the current times. Many signs of Black Lives Matters on yards and fences, with painted portraits of George Lloyd and Breonna Taylor upon various walls, all express solidarity. There are also constant reminders to keep the virus masks on and be mindful of those around you with social distancing. Sadly, such things have become very polarized and would perhaps bother a more Trump-loyal conservative person, who would otherwise enjoy this lovely island. For myself being a person of color, I find the solidarity welcome. For not wanting to suffer horribly from someone else’s carelessness, I find the pandemic safety awareness also welcome.
I find these positives amplified and mixed in with, the Vashon central town center area, where SW Bank Road and SW 99th cross. Close and quaint, are huddled little shops, markets, restaurants for locals and tourists to enjoy and sink into that Pacific Northwest charm. Not much has changed, except for some good signs of support in these challenging times.
Here, are some pics I took with notes while with other friends, as we walked around…
One of many small local businesses in central Vashon. Some are open, some are closed. Most are well-preserved structures with some little extra character added. This gives Vashon Island a timeless appeal in these changing times.
The Vashon Theater. A little spot I hope to see open upon a future visit. But for now, they do offer drive-In movies for the summer!
The front of the Vashon Print and Design Shop, showing many ways for one to express support, awareness, and solidarity through glorious poster art.
Lots of gift ideas at the Vashon Pharmacy. Yes, it’s a pharmacy within the place that I barely noticed while looking at all the fun, various housewares.
A large sign in front of Granny’s Attic Thrift Store, an awesome thrift store I highly recommend for treasure hunters. But also, well-aware and meeting of the challenges on running business during the pandemic area. There was a line of people on Saturday, but the measures taken were well worth it, and we picked up some cool, vintage things.
A little art gallery behind the Hardware Store Restaurant, this time with a little pet theme.
A little random art piece alone outside, because no small town is complete without one.
The old bike in a tree, a sub-famed attraction of the island. Sadly, much of the attraction has rotted away as the growing tree swallowed it more. According to this site, the bike was abandoned in 1954, by a local who received it was a gift, and just didn’t want it, and left it in the trees.
And my new favorite part of the Vashon town center is this artistic fence of doors done by a local, located in an alleyway. It’s quite amazing and deserves its own post. I will share more on the doors, the history, and the artist behind the work , in my next post.
That, for the writing and telling of the better parts of my life, lately long overshadowed by the constant darker shades of pandemic restrictions, the mental weardown of my social circles, and the frustration off the latest news reports. Much of that darkness has been coiled with the confines of the pandemic and partial shutdowns. I spent much time not by traveling or seeing what’s new in my neighborhood, but through the video chats, gaming, long text sessions with distant friends. My work life is mixed, with short assignments, freelance,and straight hustling.
But eventually, I must take time out. I must breathe out in the open, ruminate, refresh, energize in a setting that fits as an escape. So with some very good friends, I took that time and made the best of that plan, by travel to somewhere distant, but not too far.
I returned to Vashon Island, a solid livable mass of 80.8 square miles (209.3 km) to near West Seattle within the beautiful waterways of Puget Sound. The population is a little over 10,000 locals. Less than an hour from home, and then an hour at most through the Vashon Island Ferry from the Fauntleroy Terminal.
I have much to say about Vashon Island, its current state with locals and adaptation to the global pandemic. I also made some new discoveries, and had a lot of fun with companions. Spoiler…I recommend it for anyone that’s Covid 19 conscience, and wants to visit a place that is also that.
I will share more on that experience very soon. In the meantime, just enjoy these capture moments of just getting there…
The days are packed for me, yet the sidewalks still seem empty during this weird pandemic time.
I recently took to the streets of Ballard, a northern district Seattle with a quiet small town feel, lined with boats and docks to the west. It’s an area often missed by visitors with little tourist draw, yet plenty for those loving the deep Pacific Northwest charm of old shops, restaurants, decades old buildings, hints of history throughout, and some cheerful little oddities.
Recently, I finished some extra work in Ballard, which took about a week of back and forth commutes, filled with sorting and paperwork. After the last hours of that assignment, I looked to the sky with plenty of daylight left, inhaled the cool summer evening breeze. With comfy shoes and a half charge phone with no messages to respond to, I went for a long pointless walk around Ballard.
Much remained closed and limited from the ongoing pandemic. Few persons were seen scattering about, probably with purposes of commuting back home, not the aimless adventuring I love. The weekday evening might as well been a Sunday morning, as most remain in their homes.
I would not go home just yet, as I held free time and a thirst for adventure has no schedule. I dive in with comfy shoes, a half-charged phone.
Here are some street sights taken then, with notes….
Here is a cool vintage car, 50’s I think. I’m not sure on further details, but it’s a nice combination of beautiful metal shapes and shines.
I love some good wheels, as none should ever go to waste. Let them inspire other working wheels along the way!
I see not a pipe, but an elephant bellhop standing before me! This was to the side of the Mox Boarding House, a highly recommended hub for tabletop gamers (next to Card Kingdom).
Not a pandemic sign. I learned this was to promote…something…by some years ago by local writer Isaac Marion. If you call the number, there’s a very cryptic and bizarre message. More on that here.
Twice Sold Tales Books store in Ballard (different than the one in Capitol Hill). It was closed, but I love the sign!!! There’s not enough signs with dinosaurs on them.
Haematopus bachmani, aka the Black Oystercatcher doesn’t really catch oysters. It’s catches mussels, limpets, barnacles, and various shellfish, all do well for their natural diet.
The Black Oystercatcher loves rocky shorelines, and often seen along the North American Pacific Coast. They don’t like human development or high industrialization where pollution and disturbances to their nesting areas disrupt their delicate existence.
I took the above picture a few months ago from the Seattle Aquarium, which this little bit of info from its seattleaquarium.org site:
“Oystercatchers nest and spend winters in the same basic area. They’remonogamous—the same two birds will return to the nest they create together, season after season. They make nests near rocky tidal areas wherefood abounds. By flipping their bills sideways and backwards, the birds toss rock flakes, pebbles and shell fragments to create a nest that resembles a bowl. Each pair will raise a clutch of eggs (one to three eggs) at a time. If anything happens to a clutch, pairs will raise two or more clutches until they have a successful brood.”
Black Oystercatchers are often very noisy, for reasons I could not uncover. Those noises are a little silly and cute, different from other avians. I love them for that…
That’s why I am sharing this joy of nature now. Maybe this will cheer you and others in this long, difficult pandemic time, for at least a moment. Then, feel free to make a little silly noise of your own.
Or, is it Doughnuts? I say donuts, much easier to spell and text out.
Within the older downtown Portland (Oregon) area, there is Voodoo Doughnuts, an awesome and very well-known freshly-made donuts shop (and growing chain) in the west U.S. The lines are often long, but worth it.
It’s important that I stop here for every visit to the central Portland area. It’s central location is open 24 hours, and I will wait anytime.
Special note to locals and frequent visitors: I hear much about the Blue Star Donuts shops in the area. I will get around to that eventually, then report back. I swear!!!
For every visit, I go with a favorite and something new. On the left (see picture above) is the Mango Tango, a raised yeast shell filled with mango jelly and topped with vanilla and Tang frosting. On the right is a special only available until the end of March, The Hi Tea. That has some earl grey flavored frosting with hibiscus drizzle. Partial proceeds for the Hi Tea are donated to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Every bite leads to some finger-lickin thumbs up from me. There’s other great and tasty choices too. Here’s a sampling from the central location…
That’s all for now. If you have a favorite donut place, or just a favorite flavor… I would love to know in the comments below.
Within the wet winters of the Pacific Northwest, can be the best fresh air and beautiful blue skies. Gazing high, I see freshness and the gentle passing of new time, bringing light and hope to a world that can feel pretty dark sometimes.
Below, I enjoy the often quiet breaks after the bursts of wet, gloomy, rough weather. That goes double for me when out of my big city, and into a neighboring city. Because then, I find more of what I miss.
Recently, I was Portland (Oregon), enjoying some beautiful hours from the weekend. In the morning after a heavy night of heavy showers, I enjoy its calm feel under the bare trees, vintage architecture, setting upon its often quirky gluten-free option heavy atmosphere.
The streets seemed almost empty last Saturday morning, with fewer humans walking about. I stopped by one of the many food truck blocks, seeing them all mostly closed until after the noontime hits.
And you can walk around easy, aimlessly enjoy the open streets, hum a little song, because “Keep Portland Weird” is a community push. I had my usual destinations before my business to do here. I don’t come often, but I never forget my sense of direction through the the central downtown. I know all the main spots I love, especially the Courthouse Square, Cameron’s Books, Ground Kontrol Arcade, Voodoo Donuts, Multnomah County Central Library, a bunch of favorite quirky stores and restaurants through all over the city, and some great parks to let that fresh outside air sink through to the heart.
And, I can never forget Powell’s Books, a place I end up often spending an excessive amount of time indoors. It’s also here, where I easily forget how pleasant the outside is.
I will have to talk more about Powell’s Books, in a feature to its own someday. But for now, here is a picture that best represents me in the Portland moment.
I love them California beaches, from south of San Diego to the north of Crescent City. I’ve explored a good many, appreciating for each stretch of sand locale feels a little different and unique in some special way.
Being away from those beaches for too long, I miss that exploration, and rediscovery. I miss the freedom, and escape that California beaches often provide, and knowing what’s special about each.
Thus, I feel the love again in my periodic return to southern California. For my last trip, though I did something different in escaping the old, yet still familiar areas of San Diego, and Los Angeles/Orange County regions that sometime feel stuck with for too short the time.
So, I shared an nice adventure with an old, very dear friend who drove me to the in-between town area of Encinitas (northest San Diego County). We first enjoying some great Mexican food (huge shout out to the La Especial Norte restaurant, with my highest recommendation for hungry people there). Then, checked out a beach area, less familiar with and not been.
After a short drive, and a walk down to an opening between the nearby cliffs, and I found a pleasant little beach land, known as Swami’s Beach…
This first appears as a little beach, with very limited access through its north end via small open area. But then, walk down the sands a little further, around some crooked cliffs, and there you will see, much more coast with exploring by foot to be done.
But first, who is the Swami, you might ask… That would be Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, and you should check out his Wikipedia page. He stayed in Encintas for some time, at his Self-Realization Fellowship ashram nearby upon a cliff, built in 1937. The beach was eventually named after him unofficially by the surfer community, as his presence became well known, and respected. Much of that known beach, still public, was considered part of the long stretch, further down to San Elijo State Beach (another beach on my list to check out someday).
So, walking down, I noticed right away those wonderful waves of the San Diego shore, which were calming down after the high tide earlier. But still mighty for the surfers here to appreciate during our visit. It’s everything I still love about best about these slightly out of town shore spots. Plenty of room for free-minded people to bond with the waves, dig deep into the sand, led the oceanic breeze brush your face.
But what makes Swami’s Beach memorable and special? There’s much to admire here. At first, its the coziness and peaceful seclusion below the high cliffs (when the high tide is gone). Then, you would notice the many small rocks upon the shore.
These beautiful pebbles, are many and embedded against the waves, scatter, leaving a natural decoration upon the sand for some parts…
Then going forth, there are more rocks…
And then more,
And then, you just have to stop and admire, see what your shoes are stumbling over as you look down. I love these colors together.
These rocks are plenty enough feature to take in for now. I have much more to share, and they deserve another post. For that, I will be back with more on Swami’s Beach.
One of favorite places to visit in the central Los Angeles is within its historic district of Little Tokyo.
Little Tokyo is the cultural hub and concentration of Japanese culture, accelerated by the settling of Japanese immigrants in the late 19th century. Much of this was due to increased labor needed, resulting from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barring Chinese laborers. Little Tokyo grew from the opening of the Kame Restaurant on East First Street in 1885, which attracted many immigrants to the area, and eventually settled.
Through tough times, the area thrived until World War II, with Japan then at war with the US. This led to the signing of Executive Order 9066, where a mass relocation and confiscation of property of Japanese immigrants across the U.S West Coast would devastate the local community. The area was nearly lost to the Japanese business owners. Eventually, the war ended, and the Japanese community would slowly regain their lost area, growing Little Tokyo through the decades once again to the wonderful cultural spot it is now.
I gained a heartfelt love for Japanese culture, growing up near San Francisco’s Japantown in my teenage years. I enjoyed its history, food, and unique architecture. And with that and foremost, its stylized art then known to me as Japanimation (and later anime, and manga in printed form) applied to visual media in all forms.
Eventually living in South California, I would visit Little Tokyo often with friend of my college anime club, spending many hours going through shops, eating its specialized food, visiting art museums, and feeling further ingrained to its unique and awesome culture. This area, I would greatly miss as I left my old life in Southern California over 10 years ago.
Coming back, I was happy to see it all still very vibrant with all the crazy silly things that I grew to love about Japanese culture since my youth. Here are some recent pictures more reminiscent of that childhood part…
It’s thriving now, far more than I recall in my many visits over a decade ago. There are definitively more more businesses of Japanese influence here. The central area seems cleaner as well, with fresher paint and better details than I recall before. Pretty much all my favorite stores were still there, and packed. The anime/manga influence is also vibrant, with the Jungle Hoppy Shop store being my favorite and doubled in size now.
I also noticed a plentiful choice of Japanese restaurants, with a variety of specialties and appeal. Some showed their pride in preparation of eats, to public eyes, which I would enjoyed a moment in watch…
I would remain in Little Tokyo for only a couple hours with an old college friend, reminiscing of our time spent in this wonderful district. For lunch, we picked upon Daikokuya, a popular rice and ramen-noodle restaurant in the area. There was a 45-minute wait to this small, yet very cozy place. Eventually, the wait was worth it, and I enjoyed their prized Daikaku Ramen bowl and some takoyaki (octopus balls)…YUM!
An overall, I will surely return to Little Tokyo, again and again. You should too.
Yes, it’s the 2nd day but still shiny new, barely a scratch. 2018 is gone, out and past away. But, there had to be a better transition to end the year on a better note than it began. Something, to begin the new grand cycle around the sun with a motivational high note. Focus more on what makes me happy, and sharing it with others. That’s how I will enter this new year while seeking something a little extra along the way.
And that I did, by leaving the US and going to Canada for four days. I spent last weekend and more in Vancouver, Canada. There, staying at a hostel and planning as I go. I have done this twice before, but I still treat it all like something new. Because, there is still a vast amount of unexplored areas, things to do, experiences that I have yet to check out. Being that’s it’s close to my otherwise hectic and jumbled life by a few hours, such the escape is still a completely different dream, of which I welcome when I have time.
O, Canada. I missed thee. There, gained many new experiences and revisited simple joys. Through things learned and smiles exchanged, it’s been a wonderful breath of cold air throughout. Some of it was also very wet, and my only loss was my green wool cap. That was a good one, keeping my head warm in tough times. Now, perhaps forever lost, and left behind in the streets of Vancouver. Or better yet, someone else will find and wear it, with a fresh smile.
Meanwhile, I will share more details on memorable moments and findings in the days ahead soon. Look forward, and again…Happy New Year!
The shot above is unfocused on the New Year’s fireworks in Downtown Vancouver, at its Convention Center. This moment was accidental, not knowing the lady in my cam sight holding the camera. But, I like the shot as something different from an interesting perspective that holds a different story, maybe. I think I will aim for more different perspectives, in 2019.
I recently posted about my hike to Annette Lake, a serene lake high in the mountainous region of the Mt.Baker-Snoqualmie forest.
The lake being serene and amazing, was enough to behold for its own posting. Now, I would like to share a bit more on its trail to and back. It’s a path as awesome as its destination.
The 7.5-mile round trip Annette Lake trail has wonderous sights, rich in the best of the Pacific Northwest nature land preservations, and another reason I love the Washington State. Here, dedicated hikers will step across towering huddled trees, fallen trees with new life taking upon, rocks of all ages, countless waterfalls, old wooden bridges, and patches of snow along the top in this late spring.
The sunlight through the blue sky intensified the green, illuminated darker pathways partially covered full-grown branches, and gave sparkles to the streams of water running down. You can also enjoy the sounds of the trail varied from noisy waterfalls, chirping birds up high, and peaceful void of preserved stillness.
Here are some choice pics along the path…
Overall, the Lake Annette Trail is a good hike I highly recommend for those physically able to withstand a moderate uphill exercise binge, with a worthwhile destination of the lake itself to rest for a bit.
My tips for the trail: go early, so you’ll have time to rest and enjoy some views. Bring a water bottle or two, with snacks of nuts and dried fruit. Go in a group, and maybe bring your dog (allowed on the trail). Wear good hiking shoes fit for stepping over small rocky pathways and snow patches. Don’t rush, as parts of the path are narrow, and other hikers will be frequently passing on the good days. Much of the path is upon step hillsides, with an easy fall into deadly grounds. Rest easy at the lake for a good time before heading back.
I recently visited the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Northern Washington State on a gray day this April. Some of that was detailed in my previous post, Colorful Views…). As amazing as the tulip fields were, I was also impressed by the Roozengaarde display garden area. Here, there are “90+ varieties of tulips and over 150 flower bulb varieties in total. Included are tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, muscari and other specialty flowers.”
The colors this time of year stand out, and a worthwhile attraction for tourists and locals in the Pacific Northwest. According to its website at tulips.com, the display garden is open all year round. Seeing these with the fields during the festival, is just an added bonus.
I now share some pics of the wonderful display garden below (click on each for the bigger picture):
The admiration and picture-taking was a joy, but personally seeing this for yourself is the best experience, especially with friends or family. For more info, click here and check out the Roozengaarde official site at Tulips.com for more info about tulips and purchase options
A few days ago, me and local friends ventured out north in the Washington state to the rural area of Skagit Valley by Mount Vernon, to check out its annual Tulip Festival. This wonderful time throughout April is when the tulip farms are at their colorful peak, growing miles of freshly blooms tulips and daffodils. Designated areas for up close viewing are open to the public, with a small admission charge
For the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival of 2018, there are multiple areas to visit and check out, as I entered the Roozengaarde Display Garden and Fields. Stunning place it is, even with the gray weather and muddy grounds (rained hard the day before). I admired and learned much of the tulip life and care that goes into them. I also took some pictures, of which the fields are shared below (click on each to fully appreciate):
The festival time goes on until the end of the month. The tourism on the weekend can be a bit heavy, especially if the rain is gone and the sun is shining. So, be ready for a slow drive when close and lines at the entrance and foot court. It’s all well worth it with friends and family.
Time for a rewind, till almost a month ago in San Diego, California. The place, Ocean Beach
The place is Ocean Beach, a wonderful beachside town in Southern California. The time is of two weekday nights, with a few hours to spare before some business downtown. The temperature was fairly warm, with the nearby breeze of the mighty Pacific Ocean nearby. The time was well spent, with light drinks, ruminating, and small talk with local strangers. Such is the wonderful atmosphere of Ocean Beach, where the time is just before midnight.
Here are some pics I took between destinations on the main Newport Ave. Look…
A cool two-dimensional display, guarding a parking lot
A very colorful hostel, of which I would like to stay at someday.
A colorful place to express one’s image.
The upper interior of The Electric Chair, seen through the front window.
The front of the famous Burger spot, Hodads…right before closing.
A peek inside Hodads before closing. No space is wasted…
Another peek into Hodads before closing…
An awesome window display of one of many shops on the main street…
Another store display of Ocean Beach, but on the outside.
A cool neon sign…
An alleyway by a bar I visited. Johnny Cash and Jimmy Hendrix welcome you.
And past the stores of and streets of Ocean Beach, is an amazing pier that doesn’t close. More on that, I will share in another posting…
Pictures shared today are recent and far, though I wish they could be now and near. I read much of the heavy snow in Portland to the south and the mountain snowfall activity far to the east and west. Currently, in Seattle there is just the cold air and whelming noise throughout. Snow here remains improbable in the near future, for now.
But on the recent New Year weekend in Vancouver (Canada), there was some decent snow around. And through a walk in Stanley Park (from the last posting), I cut through a little area around Beaver Lake, a quiet body of water frozen. All was still, except for a small little water area open for the local ducks. The surroundings felt calm on all the senses, canceling out the noise of the nearby central metropolis.
So in light of the recent stresses of the world and current news on modern civilization, I share the recent pics of the frozen area below; especially for those others not quite in presence of the peaceful falling snows.
– Orion T
Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.
The above pic happened last week, on the New Year’s Day of 2017.
The waters are of the Vancouver Harbour, with the Lions Gate Bridge ahead, and the mountainous (and snowy at the time) regions of West Vancouver beyond, all in the wonderful British Columbia region of the Canada country.
But of the day and of fascination, is the lone woman taking a dip in the icy cold waters. I overheard nearby, she was practicing for some attempt at the world record for enduring the freezing water. I think it was 22 seconds, or around that. I didn’t get her name either.
But what I did learn later, was of the annual (97th) Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on the south side of Central Vancouver, at English Bay. Over 1,500 persons dived into the frigidness for a similar and shorter feat, where the waters temped at 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 Fahrenheit). I was a bit late for the main show, yet in time for leftover festivities. Here are some giving it a go.
Overall, an exciting and notable day for many in 2017, a surely interesting year to come.
– Orion T
Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.
Above is on a ferry north in West Vancouver, leaving the Horsehoe Bay to Nanaimo Bay, in British Columbia, Canada.
And there, was on a two hour trip later than planned, and not feeling well. So much so, that I cancelled my plans and heading back on the same ferry boat shortly after. The totally hours spent riding the ferry was about four hours. None quite wasted, as I felt rested and away from the troubles of life in that time. I tried writing, but not much done. Sickness is bad, bah.
But what I do have are some fun pics and notations the days before in the Vancouver area , including the New Years weekend. I will try sharing that soon. But in the meantime, enjoy whatever tranquility around, even when inconvenient.
Almost fell asleep..then the corner of my eye caught the striking majesty of Mt. Rainer from above. Oh, such a sight to behold! Took the pic and went back to sleep. The ride felt peaceful as I eventually woke up to the Full Moon above San Diego.
How fantastic, I thought. To think, a new adventure ahead and such sights are just the beginning..
– Orion T
And here’s another pic after my descent. What a Moon!
What matters is what one does with the time involved. For me, contacting loved moms I know, wishing them the most of this wonderful day. Also, getting much motherly advice in return for my sickness recovery (yes, yes I’ll get vitamins and soup, but it’s too warm to bundle up).
So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there from here in Seattle. I dedicate the above today pic (and bonus below) to all of yous…
Arrival at the new Univerity District Link Light Rail Station..
The location is new, just opened on Saturday, March 19th. The ride takes anyone from the Univeristy of Washington to the Sea-Tac Airport in one ride; which previously took at least two bus rides, traffic through downtown and the freeway, and 2-3 times the wait. To me, it’s now a pleasant 7-8 minute rush to and from the other new station in Capitol Hill.
The South Lake Union got some silly cute deco over it’s cover now..
With Hello Kitty pimped all over, the short ride from downtown Seattle to South Lake Union (and Amazon HQ), wants to inform you of the EMP (Experience Music Project) museum’s latest exhibit. I assume it has something to do with the decades long Sanrio company franchise. It’s amusing to suddenly notice after a hard days work. Maybe we all need a little Hello Kitty in our difficult lives.
Just pictures of ducks today, to bring about the calmness that comes forth before and after the busy work week (plus one Saturday of leftover plans and needed shopping). Sunday is the day we are supposed to stress a little less and be like the lazy ducks here.
And for today I did some sitting of my own, and watched the Seahawks vs. Vikings NFL game. That crazy and very cold (- 6 degrees Fahrenheit) game that had us off our tailfeathers, from the kickoff to the ridiculously close end deciding the advancement of the playoffs through one failed field kick. Go Hawks!
Pictures here, are from last week’s adventure in Vancouver, Canada on the beach edge of English Bay by the Central Downtown area. I like these shots, as I think they deserve a posting of their own, expressing my current state of mind.
A good walk on Sunday, is to go about an unfamiliar way..
That I did for my last day in Vancouver BC, before heading out. The central downtown is vast, with far more than the few days over my short visits. This time, I walked around the Gastown area, passed many closed stores and dingy markets along the way. I eventually spent much time at a local flea market; where locals hawked jewelry, DVDs, used tools and old electronics. That was mildly amusing. Not much else happened afterwards, other than me looking through various windows of tourist souvenir stores. Nothing quite caught my interest, as I seemed more for a place to settle down and watch the Seahawks game against the Cardinals (win 30-6!).
But something eventually did catch my eye on the particular corner of Water and Cambie..a smoking clock. Why was the clock smoking? It was powered by steam, of course. The Gastown Steam Clock is awesome and worthwhile of study..
The following shot explains a bit more…
If I had not turned down that path, I may have never known the existence of a steam-powered clock. And, I learned a bit more about the area of Gastown. Perhaps, another day for those tidbits, when I have more time..
The other side of yesterday, beyond West Vancouver and looking back…
This time, standing upon the observation deck of the summit at Grouse Mountian. The moment, a beautiful one looking southward at the land I love exploring and will continue to do so” for later in 2016. Over the mountains in the distance I believe are the United States.
I have more to say and show, but the day is late and I am hungry. There will be features and sets soon, promise. But for now, here is a bonus pic with a different lens…
Today, I looked to a whole new world for this New Year..
Not so much West Vancouver BC, the city pictured above beneath what I think is Cypress Mountian. The perspective is afar using a 300mm zoom lens giving a sort of optical trick. The vision, is from Stanley Park in Vancouver BC, Canada; while passing through on a long five hour walk around and through the large wooded area.
Pictures will be later, of which there are many.
But today, this picture is a good representation of why I am here. This place being part of a spontaneous trip outside of Seattle; the city I live and now working excessively in. While I have a lot less time for far-out adventures, it’s important to remember the crazy new worlds that are still within a day’s drive or bus ride on the road.
I know absolutely nothing about this huge city outside of the samewhat familiar perimeters of Central Vancouver. Is it the same or different? How are the people? Are there cool, unique small shops I can browse through and find fantastic treasure? Are there exclusive cultures or secret societies, to which I can break into? How about the food? New friends maybe?
Not that the place is of any particular fascination, right now. It bears about the same as North Vancouver, a similar land to the east if there. There’s also the rest of Canada. Someday, I wish as I am very curious and life is short. I just want to start this new year right with the reminder and push of what I should strive for; tending to my thrill of discovery and adventuring.
Behold, the great Seattle Gum Wall to its fullest potential.
For over 20 years, this small south Post Alley area within the Pike Place Public Market welcomed people to place chewed sugary bubble gum remains upon a large wall. Tourists and locals constantly added to it, enhancing its disgustingness into an old wall (now walls, as it spread to the neighboring surfaces and pipes).
Soon, all the sticky chewings shall be removed, and the walls will go through a massive cleansing, to remove chemical buildup and potential harm upon the aged building. The Seattle Times reports that an industrial steam machine till be used. “The machine will melt the gum with 280-degree steam; it will fall to the ground, and a two- to three-man crew will collect the gum in five-gallon buckets.”
I recently dropped by after work long after sunset. I admire how the street lights adds mystique to the germy area. I may return again before the final removal of sticky contents. But for now, here are some pics from I: