Saturday, February 16, 2019

Frigid Saturday Lucy Park Walk Suspended Above Clear Wichita River

The temperature this third Saturday of February was a degree above freezing when it seemed to me to be a good idea to join the throngs of other frigid air aficionados for an ultra brisk walk in the Wichita Falls scenic zone known as Lucy Park.

The first photo you see here was taken after I successfully crossed the swinging suspension bridge suspended over the waterway known as the Wichita River.

As you can see, no leaves remain in trees, but a little green colors up the base of the leaf less tree you see here.

The above view is from the north side of the river, this is the location of an RV Park, visitors park parking, and a mountain bike trail. I am parked on the opposite side of the river, by the Lucy Park log cabin and swimming pool. That white sign above the entry to the bridge indicates the bridge can only accommodate 20 people at a time. 

I really can not imagine 20 people swinging on this suspension bridge at the same time. It would seem multiple calamities might ensue.

Now that you are making me think about it, following 20 people across this bridge might be fun, greatly adding to the element of possible danger.

Above we are in the middle of the bridge. See that twisted cable looping around the cable which suspends the deck of the bridge? Note that this loop has rusted halfway through. Adding some additional danger to that danger element which makes crossing this bridge such an adventure.

Til today I had not seen the Wichita River looking like it is above. Not muddy, not a reddish/brown color which always reminds me of Utah redrock.

Today the Wichita River water was clear!

This had me trying to see fish having themselves a pleasant clear water swim. But, I saw none.

Due to the recent lack of precipitation rendering the off pavement Lucy Park trails dry, rather than the more usual muddy status one finds this time of year, today I hiked far off the paved trail, deep into the leaf less woods.

At one point I found myself walking by the State of Texas Visitors Center on the opposite side of the river. Seeing that indicated to me I had walked a long ways.

Soon thereafter I came to that which you see above.

Remains of another suspension bridge? I don't know. It appeared to be the ruins of some sort of mechanism for moving something across the river.

When today's walk came to its termination point I heard myself remarking that this was the best outdoor excursion I have had in a long time.

But, I am ready for freezing temperatures to go away now, not to return til next winter...

Friday, February 15, 2019

Camelback Prep Via Climbing Mount Wichita

In Texas in one week I experience what used to be an entire year's worth of Washington weather.

As in a few days ago my North Texas location was cold, cloudy, wet, foggy, icy.

In other words, a typical Western Washington winter day.

Then yesterday the sky turned blue and the temperature neared 80.

In other words, a typical Western Washington summer day.

And now, one day later, the outer world is being fall or spring like, if one were in Western Washington, with the temperature closer to freezing than 80.

Next month I am scheduled to hike with Spencer Jack and his dad to the summit of Camelback Mountain. I do not know if Camelback Mountain is in Phoenix or Scottsdale. Or if both towns share a piece of the mountain.

The hike to the summit of Camelback is not an easy hike. Many fail to make it to the top. Helicopter rescues frequently occur.

Such as what happened when some of Spencer Jack's aunts and his grandpa attempted to conquer Camelback.

So, in order to stack fate in my favor, today I decided I probably should amp up my mountain climbing readiness. And so I rolled my mechanized wheels to the base of my closest mountain and hiked, twice, to the summit of Mount Wichita.

The halfway to the Mount Wichita summit view is what you see above.

I was joined by a couple other mountain climbers. None of us came even remotely close to needing a helicopter rescue...

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Olympia Snow Report Not From Elsie Hotpepper

Early this Thursday afternoon, as I was enjoying my lunch time Valentine's Day concoction of baked deconstructed turkey pot pie, using whole wheat spaghetti noodles rather than pie crust, with all the usual pot pie stuff mixed in, my phone made its semi-regular incoming text message noise.

I figured it was Elsie Hotpepper replying to my most recent pithy text message about Elsie's potential Trump boy relationship, which I had sent seconds before, between bites of that aforementioned deconstructed turkey pot pie.

But, it was not Elsie Hotpepper.

The fresh incoming text message, with two attached photos, was from one of David, Theo and Ruby's maternal parental units, sent from Olympia.

Well, I am assuming such, since the photos were of Olympia, with the only text in the message being "Snolympia" in the first message with "So Much Snow" being the text in the second message.

I knew the snow has been busy melting the last 24 hours, or so. Apparently the melting has progressed enough that my little sister was able to make it to Olympia to do her investigating of complaints of judicial and prosecutorial abuse complaints.

Why does Texas not have such an office investigating these type complaints? I have eye witnessed two Tarrant County judges who definitely should not be judging anything or anyone. One a Tea Party ignoramus, the other seemingly senile.

I digress.

I do not know if Olympia was covered with the most snow of any of the Puget Sound towns during the recent bout of too much snow.

Olympia is at the far south end of Puget Sound, close to mountains of the Rainier sort, and others.

While the Puget Sound zone melts, at my location in North Texas, we are no where near melting, as in currently the temperature is more than 40 degrees above freezing, possibly hitting 80 or more today.

With this return to the outdoors being semi-balmy, I was able to actually enjoy riding my bike for the first time in days without the need for multiple layers of outer wear, including two layers of gloves.

I gave my mom a pre-Valentine's Day call last night.

During that call I learned Spencer Jack's cousin, Henry, has flown to Montana, while Henry's dad,  Spencer Jack's uncle Joey, has floated somewhere on a boat so as to catch some salmon.

The weirdest thing I learned from talking to mom was that Spencer Jack's grandpa's sister's new RV is falling apart. My sources previously told me that now falling apart RV cost about a quarter million $ when bought a couple years ago. Mom says the residents are living in the RV, at the repair shop, whilst attempts are made to stop it from continuing to fall apart.

I told Spencer Jack's dad about the new RV which is falling apart, requiring hospitalization, which had Spencer Jack's dad speculating that perhaps grandma misunderstood, and that it was the RV residents who were falling apart and needing special care.

Spencer Jack's dad's supposition almost makes more sense. How does a new RV fall apart? I know nothing about such things...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tacoma Thaw Keeps David, Theo & Ruby School Free Another Day

Today's Wednesday morning look at the Tacoma backyard of David, Theo and Ruby documents the fact that the Big Thaw has greatly reduced the level of whiteness at their location.

In addition to the photo there was the following text message...

"Aaaaaaaggggghhhh School is closed again today!!!!"

School closed would seem to indicate another play day for David, Theo and Ruby, and their playmates also known as parental units.

Wet snow is not quite as fun to play with as fresh frozen snow.

In others news from Pacific Northwesterners whose news I track, yesterday I learned Linda Lou is escaping the current Pacific Northwest record breaking snow events by flying to New Orleans where she will be staying a couple days in the French Quarter before boarding a ship which will sail her to the Grand Caymans, where the temperature is currently 84 degrees, and some Mexico location I am not currently remembering, which will likely be equally warm.

Warm and free of any possible chance of snow. Unless some freak occurrence happens, such as the blizzard that snowed Maui yesterday...

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Happy Birthday Little Sister Jackie; Princess Update

On the morning of this day, over half a century ago, my two oldest siblings and I sat on the curb of the south side of Fairhaven Avenue in Burlington, Washington.

The street we lived on was one block to the south, on Washington Avenue.

On the side opposite of Fairhaven Avenue, from the curb on which we sat, was what was at that point in time, before later being turned into an apartment building, our town's hospital.

And in that hospital, somewhere on an upper floor we looked for our dad to appear at a window. We did not know which window, on which floor, just that the window would be on an upper floor.

It is not easy to try and put into words, all these years later, how excited we were sitting there, waiting.

I do not remember if it was me or my brother who spotted dad first. But, I do remember how happy we were to see dad holding our new baby sister at that window so we could see her for the first time.

All these years later I have not til now wondered why us kids were not just allowed in the hospital to see our new sister.

Our new baby sister was named after a politician's wife who was an extremely popular First Lady of the United States at the time. I never thought if it til now, but Jackie's baby sister also has the same first name as an extremely popular First Lady of the United States, however, Michele was born years before that particular First Lady became one. If Michele had been named after who was First Lady when she was born she would be Thelma, with a nickname of Pat.

I almost forgot to mention, in that photo at the top Jackie is holding her kitty baby she named Pebbles. Pebbles was our first cat.

What follows is several photos of my little Jackie sister with her older siblings, years before Thelma Michele joined the family...

Above Jackie looks to be just a few months old. Maybe older than a few months, due to the fact it appears to be summer. We are standing in our front yard, and that would be me holding Jackie.

That would be Spencer Jack's grandpa Jake to the left of Jackie, which makes me the guy on the right. This may have been a first day of school photo.

I do not remember wearing a jacket and tie at this young age. Were we heading to Sunday School? I do not know. Doesn't Jackie look cute in her little dress?

Again we look to be dressed up to go somewhere special. I have no idea where that might be. I do now it was a rare occasion for my sisters to be in a dress, particularly the older sister.

Again, in the front yard, the camera aimed west, and us kids dressed up nicely. Maybe we were heading north to Lynden to visit the grandma's.

This is the earliest known photo documentation of Jackie in sports attire. I don't believe she was in her own little league uniform. I suspect we had dressed Jackie in brother Jake's little league attire.

The last photo is from several years after all those previous photos. In this one that is dad on the left, with me in the middle, and Jackie sitting next to me. We are at the San Juan Capistrano Mission looking for swallows. We toured this mission between visits to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Hollywood, whilst camping at San Clemente State Park, next to the Nixon's California home.

Happy Birthday, Jackie. See you in a few weeks!


An hour or so after publishing the above an UPDATE came to my phone from Arizona. with the text in the message saying, "Princess Jackie's Happy Birthday Breakfast at Denny's."

At first I thought this message came from the birthday girl. thinking the attached photo was one of those selfie deals. However, upon closer perusal I realized the photo and text message were from Jackie's little brother, Spencer Jack's grandpa, Jake. I did not understand the "Princess" part of the message until I got the photo off my phone and saw that which you see below...

Look At Latest Round Of Washington Winter Weather Mayhem While Ruby Sleds

That which you see here is screencap capped from this Tuesday morning's Seattle Times online  front page top of the fold headline.

Throughout the day, yesterday, I was receiving incoming photos, text messages and phone calls from the Pacific Northwest with first hand descriptions of the ongoing Snow Apocalypse currently vexing several million Washingtonians who are not used to dealing with this level of winter weather mayhem.

In the photo you are looking at a cross country skier skiing on the beach in West Seattle, sking by a pair of snow sculptures which look to me to be a sea lion on the right, and an orca on the left, with the Seattle skyline faded by snowflakes in the background.

What follows is three photos from Tacoma, followed by video of my favorite Ruby niece sledding down a hill in Wright Park.

Above is the first snow photo received yesterday from Tacoma. The view is looking northwest across M Street from a second floor window of David, Theo and Ruby's abode. Snow fell all day long yesterday in the south Puget Sound zone. The snow let up a bit in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley, thus allowing Linda Lou to make an emergency trek across the Skagit River, from Mount Vernon to Burlington, to stock up on survival items at Costco.

And here we see Ruby holding her sliding device whilst attired in what looks like a colorful terrorist's uniform. You can see those aforementioned flakes falling.

I do not know if that is David or Theo sitting on the snow beside Ruby and a frozen Wright Park pond.

Tacoma's Queen V reported this morning that last night when the snow falling temporarily turned to rain she put on her best waterproof footwear and ventured out to check her neighborhood street drains to make sure water was able to flow down them, unblocked by ice. Blocked drains can make for bad street flooding.

And now that promised video of Ruby sledding down a Wright Park hill whilst being pummeled by incoming big snowflakes...

Monday, February 11, 2019

David, Theo & Ruby Escaping Washington Snow Going To Arizona With Their Favorite Uncle

Fresh incoming snow photo documentation arrived this morning from Tacoma and Mount Vernon.

The Tacoma photo is a Monday morning look at David, Theo and Ruby's backyard, with the text message saying...

"This morning, with more expected..."

I wish I was currently in Tacoma. I suspect I would be having myself a mighty fine time playing in the snow with a pair of twins and their big brother.

Two days ago Spencer Jack's dad who goes by the name of Jason called.

During the course of that call Jason seemed fairly certain that information was credible which he had been told by his dad, who is also known as Spencer Jack's grandpa and my brother, Jake, with that information being that David, Theo, Ruby and their parental units were going to be arriving in Arizona the same time I am.

I did not know for sure if this was one of Jason's elaborate instances of tricking his favorite uncle into believing something erroneous, or not.

And then, yesterday, I called Jason's grandma. I was not going to bring up what Jason had told me, figuring if it were true that even with mom's somewhat dicey memory, she would remember to make mention of this.

And she did.

So, when I am in Arizona I am hoping I get to have myself a mighty fine time with David, Theo and Ruby. There is a park at the north end of Dobson Road, at the location of the Chicago Cubs replica of Wrigley Field, with the most elaborate kid's playground I have ever seen.

Each time I've eye witnessed this park I have said it sure would be fun to play there with David, Theo and Ruby. I mentioned this to mom and she remembered us wheeling her around this park when I was there in October, and agreed it would be fun to take the kids there.

Mom also agreed it would be fun to drive the kids to the summit of South Mountain. Their parental units would need to stay home for that adventure, as there is not sufficient seating for them.

Jason is not yet sure if he and Spencer Jack will be joining all of us in Arizona next month. Last night mom was the most upbeat I have heard her in a long time, looking forward to the prospect of all her children being at the same location for the first time in years.

To make that complete it would require that Spencer Jack's uncle Joey fly down with Henry and aunt Monique, neither of whom most of us have yet met. Jason told me in that recent call that Henry is a super happy baby, laughing and smiling all the time. Henry's dad was like that when he was Henry's size, maintaining that pleasant disposition to the present day.

I don't know if I want to be the one to tell mom, but all her children may not be in Arizona next month. This morning Jason sent me that which you see below to my phone.

With the text in the message saying "It looks like Aunt Clancy and Fancy might be back in the Pacific Northwest, and not in Arizona..."

I do not know how Jason manages to keep up on so much and do such a good job of it or who his information sources are, but this time Jason may be wrong...

No Snow Angels Sledding Tacoma's Wright Park With David, Theo & Ruby

The Snowpocalypse Snowmageddon has yet to let up in my old home zone of the Puget Sound Western Washington part of the world.

This may already be record breaking in number of days in a row of the ground being covered with frozen white water.

I do not believe the depth of the accumulation has yet set a record. I was not living in Washington at the time, but I believe back at some point in time during the Roaring 20s, or maybe it was during the decade previous to the Roaring 20s, a snow accumulation well over a foot brought most everything to a halt in the lowlands of Western Washington.

A couple days ago after I mentioned the deepest snow I ever experienced in the Washington lowlands was back in the 1990s, my favorite Jason nephew then precisely informed me that that deep snow happened in December of 1995. And that at that point in time it was also the deepest he had seen until December of 2008 when Western Washington was buried in over a foot of snow. Jason suggested since this happened after my exile to Texas I was not aware of it.

I almost forgot to mention, in the above photo my favorite David, Theo and Ruby nephews and niece are standing with their snow sliding devices in Tacoma's Wright Park.

I miss parks with natural sled worthy hills.

And then on Facebook this morning I saw the below sign with useful information.

I do not remember if Allen is an actual town in Skagit County. I do remember the area known as Allen is located northwest of Burlington, south of Edison.

I also remember my favorite mom got a job being a secretary at the soon to open Allen Elementary.

And then a couple days later mom had me drive her somewhere, and on the way mom informed me I was going to be having a new baby brother or sister, and what with this incoming blessing the secretary at Allen Elementary thing was not gonna happen.

A few days later Spencer Jack's grandpa was the next sibling to be told a new baby was on the way. Weeks later, maybe a month, the last sibling got the news. She did not take the news well, in fact she insisted this was not going to happen, losing her spot as baby of the family.

A few months later we poured cement for a patio in the backyard. We had been to California and Hollywood the previous summer, where we had been impressed with the names and handprints in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater. And so each of us replicated the same with our names and handprints in the fresh cement.

By then we had already agreed on the name for our new baby sibling. If the incoming was a boy he would be known as Joey. If the incoming was a girl she would be Michele. And so, using a doll's hand, a handprint was pressed into the cement, and I scratched in "Joey or Michele".

Michele is David, Theo and Ruby's mom. We had to wait until Jason had a brother to have a Joey in the family.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Tacoma Snow With Spencer Jack 747 Flight To Highway 99 Tunnel & Pike Place Snowman

Incoming new Snowmageddon photo documentation from my old Washington home zone, specifically Tacoma and Seattle

Three photos from Tacoma in incoming email this morning.

Text in that email...

Went sledding with some friends then played in the snow at the kid's school. I took the pic of the water beyond the swings because if you zoom in, you can whitecaps. The sun is out now but the wind is still biting. Other pic is just how the roads look. Main roads are pretty slushy but our streets are still white. When it freezes tonight, it’s gonna get slick!

I could see the aforementioned whitecaps in the above photo when I viewed the photo full sized, but not so much in the cropped shrunken version. That body of water is a southern section of Puget Sound known as Commencement Bay.

When I first saw the above photo all I saw was Ruby sledding down a hill. Then I opened the photo  full sized and realized that was Ruby's brother, David, on the left, and twin, Theo, on the right, trudging back up the hill for another sledding run. I may have the brothers reversed, with it actually being Theo on the left, with David on the right. Or that may be a pair of the sledding friends referenced in the email.

And above we are looking at M Street, in front of David, Theo and Ruby's Tacoma abode.

And next we are standing on David, Theo and Ruby's front porch, looking out at their snow covered front yard and an equally snow covered M Street.

The current forecast for Western Washington, sent to me last night by David, Theo and Ruby's cousin, Jason, indicates the snow is not leaving anytime soon, with more expected to arrive, along with what melts during the day, re-freezing at night, rendering driving continually hazardous.

And speaking of Jason, now let's go to Seattle, with Spencer Jack.

Last week, between snowstorms, on Tuesday, Spencer Jack took his dad to Seattle, to Boeing Field, to the Museum of Flight, hoping to explore the first 747, which is now on display, marking it being a half century since that plane took its first flight over Puget Sound. Spencer Jack and Jason arrived at 10 in the morning, with their 747 tickets having a noon boarding time. However, incoming snow grounded that boarding, resulting in Spencer Jack and Jason being given raincheck tickets for a future snow-free boarding.

Leaving Boeing Field and the Flight Museum, Spencer Jack suggested, since they were in the neighborhood, that the drive back north be via the Highway 99 Tunnel, which had opened the day before.

So, I now have my first first hand account of driving through the new tunnel. Jason's take on it is that the tunnel is brightly lit, with LEDs, that he was surprised at how the tunnel seemed to slope noticeably downhill after entering, then made a not toodetectable curve before re-emerging at ground level near the Space Needle.

All in all, by Jason's account, compared to going the same distance via the now closed Alaskan Way Viaduct, the new tunnel is a boring way to cross downtown Seattle, with nothing to see but the tunnel. Whilst driving the Alaskan Way Viaduct gave one an elevated view of Elliott Bay, ferry boats, cruise ships, the downtown skyline and more. But, it was acknowledged that despite its many attributes the Alaskan Way Viaduct was a noisy, dangerous eyesore that needed to go.

After exiting the new tunnel Spencer Jack thought it a good idea to head back south to the heart of downtown Seattle, to Pike Place Market.

Above we see Spencer Jack standing by a rare downtown Seattle Pike Place Market sight. With that rare sight being a snowman standing at the location famous for flying fish, well, flying salmon tossed by fish vendors.

If I have my bearings right, and my memory is working somewhat accurately, Spencer Jack is looking at the location of the original Starbucks, a short distance to the east.

No snow at my current location way north of being deep in the heart of Texas. Just drizzle and cold air. I grow tired of cold air...

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Tacoma Snow Does Not Close Any Texas Pot Store

I saw this on Facebook via Tacoma's Queen V and thought to myself, self, this is an interesting variation of the theme of things I see about something on the west coast which one would not see in the imaginary free-spirited freedom loving state of Texas, where buying and selling marijuana is a crime, where in some areas it is illegal to sell beverages which contain alcohol, where casinos are not allowed, except for a couple small locations where the Indians were not chased out of Texas.

The Puget Sound's Snow Apocalypse has caused all sorts of problems affecting all sorts of businesses, including, as Queen V verbalizes it, "The pot store down the street..."

Queen V's pot store has a snow related sign which says...

No business like snow business
Friday 8am - 8pm
Saturday 10am - (TBD)

I do not think Queen V's neighborhood pot store closing due to snow will be a problem for her, what with Queen V being extremely creative and as such she likely grows her own supply of this popular herb, rather than rely on a nearby pot purveyor...