Posted by: bkivey | 6 January 2020

Remember When?

Americans (Texans!) didn’t ask for government permission?

“We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse,” Britt Farmer, senior minister at the church, said. “And I am thankful that our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”

Venezuela was a Progressive darling?

Venezuela’s last democratic institution falls as Maduro attempts de facto takeover of National Assembly”

You didn’t need a passport to fly domestic?

“What you need to know about Oregon making the switch to Real IDs”

We had standards?

California’s Prop 47 leads to rise in shoplifting, thefts, criminal activity across state

Bail reform is setting suspects free after string of anti-Semitic attacks

Adults were in charge?

Hillsboro’s plastic bag ban takes effect June 1

I don’t think this ‘Progressive’ thing is working out.

A Tale of Two Calculators

On the left is the TI-30X I’ve had on my desk for the last five or six years. I’ve never liked this calculator. I’ve had some flavor of TI-30 for 25 years, because they can do pretty nearly everything I need on a daily basis. For more specialized use I have appropriate calculators. I didn’t like this one because the ‘Clear’ and ‘On’ keys were in different locations than previous models, and years of ingrained use were not easily changed. 

It spontaneously started appending ’60’ to the initial entry. It was weird. No matter what you entered, the machine put a ’60’ on the end. The picture shows multiplying 8 x 6. Or, for the TI-30, 8 x 660. Well, that’s no good. I wasn’t sad to see it go. Binned with prejudice. 

The machine on the right is a 25 year-old TI-68. I bought this in the early 90’s, and it made my life easier in the field and classroom. I like this calculator. A bit overkill for everyday use, but back for a bit. The scuffing is from a trip through a fan. I was evaluating an aircraft paint booth and had an access open in a floor exhaust duct. Laid the calculator down and it was sucked into the exhaust. Some clattering later I retrieved it at the exhaust port screen. A lot more worried about the fan than the calculator. On inspection the fan blades showed no damage, so OK. I carried a backup calculator, but happy to see this one survive.  

Posted by: bkivey | 25 December 2019

In Hoc Anno Domini

Written in 1949 by Vernon Royster and published in The Wall Street Journal annually since.

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so. But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression – for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the le­gions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impresser to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a cur­tain so that man would still believe sal­vation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of dark­ness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Posted by: bkivey | 25 December 2019

The Night Before Christmas, Legally Speaking

Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g., stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick AKA/St. Nicholas AKA/Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e., the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e., dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as “I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g., kerchief and cap.)

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.

At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”) being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional coconspirator named “Rudolph” may have been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the US Tax Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Or words to that effect.

Author: Unknown

Posted by: bkivey | 22 December 2019

Rudolph the Red-Taped Reindeer

Rudolph the Red Taped Reindeer


IT’S a good thing Santa Claus lives and works at the North Pole rather than in the U.S. If he had his shop in this country, Santa would have to function under so many laws and regulations that the federal government would likely close him down, leaving millions of boys and girls disappointed on Christmas morning.

Just consider some of the government agencies that could threaten Santa’s work:

The Fish and Wildlife Service. Santa’s sleigh is pulled by reindeer. But while reindeer are not an endangered species, flying reindeer are quite rare, and there is only one red-nosed reindeer known to exist. So under the Endangered Species Act, Dancer and Prancer might be allowed to continue working, but Rudolph would have to be placed in a safe habitat.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is not at all clear that Santa’s workshop would pass federal OSHA standards for workplace safety. Does Santa have too many elves packed into a small room? Are there an adequate number of fire extinguishers and fire escapes?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is clear that Santa hires a large number of vertically challenged people–elves. But all of these elves appear to be white males, which leaves the suspicion that Santa is in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

The Federal Aviation Administration. Santa’s flying sleigh would need to be equipped with seat belts to be used on takeoffs and landings. Since he flies over water, his sleigh would need a life preserver. The sleigh would also need the proper lighting–a real problem since Rudolph’s nose is red, which would normally indicate the rear of the flying object rather than the front.

The Commerce Department. Santa is involved in the transport of consumable goods, which means he would be subject to certain weight restrictions and proper placarding of his sleigh if any hazardous materials were on board. Furthermore, regulations limit the number of hours a person can operate a vehicle transporting goods. After 10 hours behind the reins, Santa would probably have to take an eight-hour break, impeding his ability to finish his world-wide job on Christmas Eve.

The National Labor Relations Board. Is Santa using cheap elf labor, or is he paying his elves at least minimum wage? Is he giving them a lunch break? Paying overtime? Providing elf health insurance? A retirement plan?

All of these issues are important, yet Santa is avoiding them by doing business at the North Pole. Which raises another vital concern: By “dumping” toys in the U.S. at below-market prices (to wit, free), Santa is subjecting U.S. toy manufacturers and dealers to unfair competition and putting countless Americans out of work.

There’s only one solution: Washington should impose stiff tariffs on goods imported from the North Pole, lifting them only when Santa ends his unfair trade practices and brings his operation up to American health and safety standards.

Posted by: bkivey | 21 December 2019

A Merry Rapping Christmas

Like most people I enjoy the holiday season running from Thanksgiving through New Years Day. And also like most people I dread the barrage of Christmas music emanating from speakers at the stroke of midnight Thanksgiving. If one works in a retail or service establishment the temptation to puncture one’s eardrums can be overwhelming. The problem is not so much the music per se but the fact that there’s only about a score of ‘traditional’ songs. In recent years there have been other Christmas songs in the rotation by contemporary artists, but there’s only so much that can be done with the material.

It has long been desire of mine to set traditional Christmas songs to a rap beat and use updated, but still PG-rated, lyrics. Take, for instance, Deck The HallsIn it’s traditional form it sounds like it should be sung on crack. But if you strip out the fa la la’s and set it to a heavy East Coast beat, you might get something like this:

Deckin’ the halls with boughs of holly
Trippin’ the season to be jolly
Steppin’ out with stone fly threads
Season’s tunes rollin’ through our heads
Check the blazing Yule before us
Sling an ax and join the chorus
Kickin’ it hard with an open 40
Tryin’ to make time talkin’ up a shorty
Check it yo the old year passes
Celebrate the new and raise your glasses
Homies singin’ all together
We ain’t studyin’ the wind and weather

Now, suppose Santa lived in a more urban environment instead of the North Pole, we might get a grittier type of Christmas song (based on It’s A Heat-Up by King Sun 1989):

It’s a Cheer-Up

Santa Claus

St. Nick is here now you can relax
If you need gifts; I’ve got stacks
Old and new jacks are tryin’ to prove that
They can be good, but I’ll remove
Your name from my list if your behavior is heinous
I see it all my omniscience is famous
Your only security is the purity
Of your heart ‘cause your words are heard
Throughout the atmosphere
When it’s time to review it I do it there
Where the names are trapped until the moment they’re tapped
From the master list for presents in my sack

I roam the globe traveling far and near
No major competition, my mission is to spread cheer
Anyone who can’t explain my speed
Don’t worry ‘bout it; ‘splainin’s not what you need
I’m a master of space and time
Drivin’ the reindeer or bustin’ a rhyme
Makin’ use of the theory of strings
To bring everyone presents and shiny things

Boys and girls all have the same thought
Am I real? Look at the presents I brought
I live forever: dyin’ would be never
Just accept the fact and don’t try to be clever
Gift giving is under my control
And any bad actor gets a lump of coal
Unplug your ears so you can hear
My name is Kris Kringle and I speak the truth
You can cry and send a false alarm
Or accept the Spirit and just get warm

It’s a Cheer-Up

Now go to sleep it’s time to get started
Pull out the big red sleigh with the presents
Hook up the reindeer make sure they’re ready
Kiss Mrs. Claus then it’s time to roll
Presents to good girls and boys my only goal
Ready set time to rock the clock
Flyin’ city to city workin’ block to block
The whole world in twenty four hours
Not missing a house: you can check it
It’s correct, but what do you expect
My gifting capabilities are too high-tech
And now to break out another old sound
While I’m doin my work all through the night
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Throw a few Christmas songs like this into the mix and you might even lower the rate of SAD and bah humbug moments.

Posted by: bkivey | 4 December 2019

7000 RPM

I recently saw Ford v Ferrari, because it’s a great story populated with legendary automotive personages, there are fast cars, and Matt Damon. I wanted to see it in the theater with Big Screen and Big Sound for the previous reasons, and contemporary movies have a short shelf life, especially around the holidays.

The Mazda was the ride of choice. I thought about the Mercury, because it is a Ford-ish car, but if you have the option, you gotta represent with a sports car. The friend I met isn’t a car guy, and I’m not a movie guy, so I knew the players, and he knew the actors. At 152 minutes, there would be ample time to judge the effort.

Four out of five stars.

The movie is based on easily researched events, and it was only 50 years ago, so there are people still alive who were present. The challenge is to craft a screenplay engaging to the casual viewer while maintaining some historical fidelity. Which the writers have done. The writing proper is above-average, and while lacking in quotable lines, does make the actors sound natural.

The screenplay moves along, and only about a third of the movie has racing, while the remainder is mostly characters interacting in a limited number of settings. Director James Mangold moves people around while exerting and relaxing tension as the story ebbs and flows.

The primary events in the movie take place over 3 years, and at 2 1/2 hours the movie isn’t pressed for time, but events have to be represented and sequenced. The screenplay is crafted to the point I noticed the craftsmanship. It’s very well done, but I got the slight impression the writers were just able to contain the story into a movie.

The relationship between driver Ken Miles and his family gets considerable screen time, and likely empahisized to balance the exclusively male boardrooms and garages. Caitriona Balfe and Noah Jupe are excellent as Miles’ wife and son.

As is everyone else in their role. Not a weak performance in the bunch, and Casting Director Ronna Kress did an outstanding job. Mention should be made of Josh Lucas as Ford Racing Director Leo Beebe. His job in the movie is to represent the villianous Suits, and he exudes a level of Ivy-League smarminess that causes instant dislike. There are times in the film where you hope he might be fired, but he never is.

Also doing an excellent job were Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael and the film editing crew of Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker, and Dirk Westervelt. The film editing was one of the first things I noticed, and certainly worthy of Oscar consideration. It is supurb.

The racing looks very realistic, and was shot using practical effects with redressed roads and cars. Even the crashes are practical effects, although I suspect some where cars are flipping through the air are CGI. There is a relative minimum of CGI, and what there is is seamless.

The movie isn’t perfect, and there are repetitive shots of gear shifts and pedals and guages. After the first half-dozen iterations we get it: when the engine sound changes, the driver is doing this. Probably could have saved a couple minutes on that alone. But the film loses a half-star because it Doesn’t Know When to End.

I noticed this in Rogue One, and then in Joker. A story will reach a natural conclusion, and the movie keeps going. Rogue One continued for another half-hour, while Joker and Ford v Ferrari run 10 minutes after the audience has lost interest. When victory has been achieved, plant the flag and roll the credits.

The film is rated PG-13, and that’s English PG-13, as the language is cleaner than I’m sure it actually was. The Brits get away with some language because it’s in British. Some foreign language scenes are not subtitled, which in this case works, but they could be saying anything.

This is a fun movie. If you know the story, it’s fun to watch it play out, and if you just want to spend 2 1/2 very entertaining hours, that works, too. The budget was a hair short of $100 million, and as they say, it’s all on the screen. I liked it, and enjoyed driving the Mazda home just that little bit more.

Movie Irony

There is a boardroom scene where Carroll Shelby takes a swipe at Ford’s top-heavy management style as an impediment to the project. I see in IMDB that no fewer than nine people have Producer credit for the film.

Posted by: bkivey | 28 November 2019

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Posted by: bkivey | 24 November 2019

Random November

The last several days have been unusually nice for late November; sunny and mid 50’s. People (not me) were walking around in t-shirts and shorts. It’s been a relatively warm, dry autumn; in contrast to our cool, wet summer this year.

It looked like Thursday the 21st was going to be about the last nice day for a while, and as I didn’t have to be in town that afternoon, I drove to Bay City for lunch. I know a couple of people who run a restaurant there, and I hadn’t had a chance to visit since they moved to the coast.

Bay City is about 90 minutes south-west of the house on OR 6 over the Coast Range. There are some fun stretches, so I took the Mazda. The road isn’t especially well-maintained, and this time of year much of the road never sees direct sunlight. On the day the road was wet in places, and while the temp was probably above freezing, there were slick places. I reflected on the usefulness of an OAT sensor. Coming back the road was dry, but after two passing lanes and getting around traffic, I rounded a curve (driving excitement!) and discovered the back of a truck (not!). 40 mph all the way down.

The restaurant/bar is a local dive, and the tuna melt was good, because Marsan can cook. Somewhat bizarrely, I knew the other two people at the bar. Not quite as random as it might seem, as the Oregon coast is sparsely populated and there are only so many places to go, but still remarkable.

Pacific Oyster is a fish market on a jetty in Tillamook Bay. They process a lot of oysters.

As evidenced by the pile of oyster shells in the middle of this panorama of Bay City. Tillamook Bay looking South on the right. They apparently sell bags of shells, for what purpose I do not know. Perhaps you can find Tillamook oyster shells on Etsy.

Of all the times I’ve been to Tillamook, I’ve never been to the creamery, which is the town’s claim to fame. I’ve certainly eaten enough of their ice cream. The dairy production workers (cows) are in the fields that take up most of the land between the town and the mountains. The creamery is set up for tourists, and people are encouraged to stop by. Such is the fame of the Tillamook name that I’ve had one person tell me they saw Tillamook products in a restaurant in Ghana. If so, the marketing people are on the ball. I’ll have to stop in next time.

Hmmmm. . .

Saw this truck during the summer in downtown Hillsboro. I’m not quite sold. It looks a bit like the owner started customizing, and finalized half-way through.


I was recently buying shoes, and noticed this. Of all the ways to attach a disposable item, is a metal chain really the most efficient? I have to assume Chinese managers are as cost-conscious as anyone else, but it seems a bit much.

Fish Gotta Swim, Dewars Gotta Vent

There is an Airgas distributor behind a bar I visit, and they keep their Dewars behind the store.

“Comin’ Down Fast From Miles Above You . . . “

A Rossiya Airlines 747 on final. The Russian’s have a certain flair for some things, and I would pay a premium if my airplane looked like this.

Gellin’ Like A Felon

The Russian’s have thrown their hat in the stealth-fighter ring with the SU-57. It certainly looks the business. NATO assigns codenames to opposing equipment, and word is the Russians pay attention to those names. ‘Frogfoot’ for the very capable SU-25 attack aircraft was probably not well received.

The featured SU-57, however, has been given the codename ‘Felon’. I’m about ready to call ‘foul’ here because the designation feeds the fighter pilot ego: “Yeah, I fly the Felon.” You don’t want the opposition to gain strength from your effort. It is kind of cool, though. And a sight better than the ‘Fire Fang’ designator for the similar Chinese J-20.

Happy Birthday, Paul!

24 November 2019 is my brother’s 55th birthday.


Posted by: bkivey | 12 October 2019

Central Washington Road Trip III

25 September

I agitated for a bit in the morning about what to do for the day. There are some things in Wenatchee of interest, and there is some scenery on the way. But the route is indirect, and a commitment the next afternoon put a bound on how far I could stray. I elected to work generally South and West toward Mt. Ranier.

WA 821 follows the Yakima river through it’s canyon between Ellensburg and Yakima. The Northern Pacific railroad originally graded a route through the canyon on the way to Tacoma, and the road follows the river generally on the opposite bank. The railroad grade is in good repair, and appears to be in use.

The I-82/US 97 route I’d driven the day before passes several miles east of the canyon, and while a more direct, higher speed routing, comes at the expense of long, steep grades over the ridges. It’s a bit of a slog in a car; I have sympathy for the truckers.

The grade is relentless. I didn’t see any cyclists, but to those who ride this road, chapeau.

WA 812 eschews grades for curves. There is some elevation change along the canyon, but much less than the Interstate, and there were trucks taking advantage of this.

Looking North from the highest point on the road about 10 miles north of Yakima.

Looking South downgrade.

There is a restricted-access structure here. It looks like a dam or river-control structure. A 2017 USGS topo map for the area shows the structure without annotation. Earlier maps show a restricted-access boat ramp. Area 52.

I picked up US 12 on the northern edge of Yakima and headed West toward Mt. Ranier National Park. The road follows the Naches River generally North and West, and the Oak Creek Wildlife Area marks the Eastern entrance to the Cascades.

And about here US 12 becomes a Scenic Byway.

As is usual in the Cascade rain shadow, the transition from semi-arid to temperate climate is relatively abrupt. 2 – 3 miles is all it takes.

Along the road there are some views.

This area was across from a viewpoint, and completely unremarkable, save that it was a cold air sink. The temperature in the basin was much cooler than the road a mere 18 inches away. It wasn’t until I’d left that I remembered I had a thermometer in the car. Would have been interesting to observe the delta T.

The best and worst of mountain roads.

You have to turn North on WA 123 off US 12 to get to the Park, and there is a sign.

And on the other side:

Admission to the Park is $30 per car. Maybe not so bad if there are four people, or even two, but for one person, it’s $30. Criminy. I’m about supporting things I enjoy, but that’s a bite.

As does the price of admission.

Martha Falls along the road to Paradise. The road is on the opposite side.

I’ve noticed in my forays around the West that nothing is as you see. In geological terms much of the West is young. It’s a dynamic environment, just not on a human scale.

Another falls, this one looks like it falls over basalt. Erosion will take a while.

Mt. Ranier over Reflection Lakes. There didn’t appear to be much of a reflection this time.

I’ve been to Paradise, and the parking lot is full. This is the middle of the week. The Visitor’s Center is on the left. When the Park was established in 1899, hiking was in vogue, and that’s how the park is set up. There are a number of trails from Paradise, and ascents of the peak start from here. Most of the folks looked ready for serious hiking.

The Mountain Entrance. This was all the walking up the mountain I was going to do.

Further West is the Longmire Lodge.

Mt. Ranier National Park isn’t set up for auto touring. There are two roads, WA 123 running north-south along the Eastern edge of the park with a road to Sunrise, and WA 706, the road I was on, going east – west along the Southern side of the mountain. Mostly if you want to see the Park, you have to walk. The Mountain, of course, is visible everywhere.

WA 706 joins WA 7 at Elbe, and a place to have lunch at the Elbe Tavern. Wikipedia notes that the town was named after the German river valley.

Elbe is home to the Mt. Ranier Scenic Railroad, which runs excursions to Mineral Lake 3 miles away.

Probably not with that locomotive. The building contains the railroad offices and a museum, but they were minutes from closing when I arrived. The Hobo Inn continues the theme, with the opportunity to spend the night in a caboose. Alder Lake behind.

The population of Elbe is given at 29 people, and there is a $3 million Visitor Center in town. Three. Million. Dollars. I would wager you could buy the town entire for that sum. An elected representative who knows how to bring home the bacon.

After Elbe, South on WA 7 and West on US 26 to I-5S, then a 40 mile run to Ranier, OR. I’ve been through here several times, but took a moment this time.

There is a parking lot downtown, and this sign on the public facilities.

Looking West down the Columbia with Longview, WA, on the right. The bridges over the Columbia were built with an economy of material, and are varying degrees of narrow and high. Hood River is probably the most egregious, but the Longview – Ranier bridge also demands attention while driving. Ranier and Longview move a lot of wood products and grain.

I watched the towboat Willamette tie up after a day of, um, towboating. A curiosity of maritime nomenclature that towboats push their charges.

There was time and money for another night away, and I considered staying in Clatskanie, because I would like to investigate the town more, but from here it was only an hour home. So US 30 through St. Helens and Scappoose with a turn off on to Logie Trial Road over the Tualatin Mountains forming the Oregon border with the Columbia river here. I’d discovered the road earlier this year, and it runs unapologetically up the side of the hill. Challenging regardless of speed or vehicle, it is fun.

I got to bomb around some cool scenery and do some cool things in a red sports car. Not such a bad three days. 615 miles and about $400.


Posted by: bkivey | 11 October 2019

Central Washington Road Trip II

I’d gone to a bar in Zillah about four miles distant to watch football Monday night, and had seen some things on the way to revisit. One of them was a hop field on WA 22 north of town.

The crop has been harvested, but the bines (not a typo) grow up the stringers and sprout hops. The Dutch were prominent in the early hop industry, and some terms come from that language.

Toppenish has the usual small town assortment of eateries, and I gave Dad’s a go for breakfast.

There’s a carhop area to the right.

Like Dad used to make? Perhaps not his best effort.

I have been in several diners with in-booth juke boxes, but this is only the second I’ve been in with in-booth phones.

You can call the kitchen with your order. Or flirt with the waitress (or cook), if my high-school experience holds true.

The only real objective on the trip was to visit the Northern Pacific Railway Museum ($5 admission). The museum consists of the Northern Pacific (NP) Toppenish depot, an engine house, and a freight yard full of railroad equipment. The Northern Pacific laid the tracks in 1883, and the original grade still runs through town, now operated by the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad.

I’d mentioned the trip was hobby-motivated, and I wanted to take documentary photos of railroad equipment. I was concerned that crowds would interfere, but with only seven visitors on the day, it wasn’t a problem.

The staff is volunteer, and the folks I met were all retired. Which makes sense, because few working folks in a farm community have much energy for restoring trains. The museum hosts occasional ‘work parties’ where interested people spend a couple of days working on the equipment. If you’re not careful, they will draft you. They tried.

I spent most of the day at the museum, and well worth the drive. I won’t bore people to tears, so here’s the link on my hobby website.

After the railroad museum I had in mind to visit the American Hop Museum directly across the street.

Which was closed, and a sign informed that tours were available by appointment. This was a bit disappointing, but I suspect I’ll be in Toppenish again, and will try to get a tour.

There were some things in Zillah to revisit.

Readers above a certain age may vaguely remember reading about the Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding Administration. A gas station was built in the shape of a teapot to remind people of the scandal. The town has turned the station into a rest area/war memorial.

People who have served.

And the ones who didn’t come back. Zillah is a town of 3000 souls, and even given the population of the surrounding area, they’ve contributed their share.

Here I was at a bit of a loss. I had a meeting Thursday afternoon in Portland, so ostensibly had 1 1/2 days. Of the things I might want to do, Ellensburg some 60 miles north seemed the place to spend the night.

The geography in this part of Washington is characterized by long basalt ridges running generally East – West. I speculate that they were formed by the Cascade volcanoes to the West, as well as volcanic fissures as are found all over the West. I-82W/US 97 mounts the Umtanum and Manastash ridges over long and steep climbs while skirting the Western edge of the US Army Yakima Training Center.

Not far north of Yakima is the Selah Creek canyon, which is more impressive than it sounds. There’s a rest area. With a sign.

An example of the persistent lenticular clouds on the day, although a bit ragged this late.

Looking West toward Mt Adams with Yakima behind the ridge on the left.

Mt Adams was visible, but not Mt Ranier.

And on to Ellensburg. I checked in to the Red Lion.

Who knew Toppenish was the hotel class of the Yakima Valley? The TV worked. A quiet evening at home, so to speak.

Bavarian Motor Works

I have heard BMW commercials on the radio touting their driver assistance features, but the tagline is ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. Maybe BMW is angling toward an Ultimate Driving Machine that can drive better than you.

The Joker

I would not normally see this movie, but was invited on Opening Night. Very glad I went. Joaquin Phoenix should be in the Oscar conversation. It is not a superhero movie, but a character study in a man and society breaking down and losing their collective minds. The pacing is deliberate; if you’ve seen Bladerunner 2017 you’ll have an idea. The directoral effort is gripping, and the cinematography is notable for unusual perspectives. It is a bit reminiscent of French film noir. There’s a plot twist, and the film hints at, if not entirely sets up, the 1989 Batman movie. Some of the secondary characters tend to caricature, but worth the time.

On the side: I painted a Heath Ledger Joker mouth on my face for the movie, because it was, you know, the Joker. My friends liked it, but no one else was costumed in any way. A little concerned someone might call security. Anyway, it was fun.

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