There is no doubt that Seattle is a great place to watch New Years Eve firework shows. I have many found memories of watching fireworks from the Space Need, the Kirkland waterfront, and even at my good friend’s homes. There is just something about fireworks that makes any celebration bigger, better, and more spectacular. I for one will be in Arizona for the 2012-2013 New Year Eve which will make for more memories.
Leavenworth Washington is one of the most unique towns in the whole State. Why? Because of its Bavarian design but the city was not always this way. In Leavenworth’s early years, the area was home to three native tribes: Yakima, Chinook and Wenatchee. But then in the later part of the 19 century it started to grow because of the booming timber industry and construction of the Great American Railroad.
Eastern Washington has many destinations to enjoy and with the lack of traffic it is simple to get from one place to the next. While at our annual Soap Lake camping trip, the group decided to hit a new waterpark (last year we went to Euphrata’s Splash Zone) – Moses Lake’s Surf ‘N Slide.
Yesterday I had one of the most splendid days with my girlfriend and her family. As a special treat, she took me to see the King Tut Exhibit, also know as Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, at the Pacific Science Center. Since childhood, ancient civilizations, the progression of science, and the study of history (natural and man made) has fascinated me and for what reason I do not know. However, I do think these subjects are the bee’s knees and the last chance to see artifacts discovered in Boy King’s tomb KV 62.
Washington State has quite a few waterslides and waterparks. Recently, I spent a day at Birch Bay Waterslides and had a heck of a good time. Birch Bay Waterslides wasn’t the largest park in the state, however, it was perfect sized for us since we had young ones who normally can’t ride at larger parks. The park has 4 primary slides, the little ones were allowed to sit between our legs and ride the slide with their life jackets, that varied in speed: Snake, Cork Screw, Hairpin, and Twister (I felt Twister was the fastest).
Update 5/21/2012: So Sunday I totally missed the eclipse from East Marysville since it was cloudy and rainy with no breaks in the clouds. I was disappointed so I have to live vicariously through others and post links to pictures and blog posts. Here is what I have found Monday morning about Washington’s solar eclipse.
Seattle PI’s Big Blog w/ cute helper and the only picture I’ve found from Washington State.
KOMONews w/ Photos
As a total space geek and all around general nerd, I am super excited to see Sunday’s Ring of Fire solar eclipse. After doing some research it appears that Washington will not see a full Ring of Fire eclipse. However, a partial solar eclipse could be visible. The weather forecast is calling for rain on Sunday – grrr – so we may not get lucky even though it has been sunny since last week. Phooey!
Everyday, I am amazed on how much there is to do in the State that I still have not done. Yesterday marked another adventure 1st with a trip to Tulip Town in Mount Vernon. Right now you’re probably thinking “You have never been to the tulip fields and you live where?” and it was a look I received from many people. Yep, this was the first time ever to the tulip fields.
The western expansion, and the migration of pioneers, upon the Oregon Trail set the ground work, pun intended, for the earliest of American railroads. The first transcontinental rails were completed on May, 10 1869 when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad lines connected, and rail leaders drove the final spike at Promontory Summit – Utah Territory. The joining of the two railroads gave rise to an ever expanding rail system that lead to Washington’s first railway.
In July 1851, Francis A. Chenoweth (1819-1899), who moved west from Wisconsin in 1849 and settled near present day Bonneville Dam on the north side of the Columbia River, begins operating what can be described as the first railroad in the Northwest. Variously estimated at two to four miles long, it is a wood-tracked portage railroad, established to carry freight and passengers around the Cascades rapids in the Columbia River — downstream from present-day Stevenson, Washington, and upstream from Bonneville Dam.
The Columbia River rapids were so swift and treacherous in that area that riverboats could not negotiate them and had to load and unload people and goods at either end of the rapids. Chenoweth’s railroad carried them from one boat to the other to continue the trip.
As a huge Seahawks fan, previous season ticket holder, I get excited when videos pop of the fan, stadium, and the team. Making the rounds yesterday and today on Facebook, even shared by Coach Carroll’s song of the day status, is jimmydiebold‘s video titled Midnight Lights. Midnight Lights takes Halloween and Christmas light displays to a whole other level with the Seahawks’ (Sounders and now Huskies) CenturyLink Field in what can only be described as an AWESOME show.
Finally, I successfully navigated the tricky waters of an invitation, lol … my girlfriend asked me, to go to the Great Wolf Lodge seeing as it would be odd to go alone. What can I say I’m a kid at heart. The Great Wolf Lodge is an indoor water park resort for kids and adult kids alike. Complete with the Howling Tornado and a handful of smaller water slides, variety of restaurants, exceptional lodging, and a interactive game play called Magi Quest. With so much to do you and the kids will not have any shortness of activity.
It is a month of ghastly ghouls and haunted houses. Seattle isn’t really widely known for spooks and specters but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any haunted places. In an downtown Seattle alley sits Kells Irish Pub. It is one of my favorite pubs in all of the Seattle area so I was surprised when my favorite TV shows, Ghost Adventures, came to town to do a lockdown at Kells.
Ghost Adventures Crew at Kells Irish Pub
Other Seattle & Washington Haunts
This last weekend, seems I am traveling more since the tourism office closed, my girlfriend, her little ones and I ventured east of the Cascades to Soap Lake RV Resort. Located on the northern shore of Soap Lake, with the town of Soap Lake on the southern shore, the RV resort was easy to get to and provided all the amenities to make for a great weekend trip.
Each campsite, or RV depending on traveling style, included a fire pit, running water, power outlet, and minimal dirt – an added bonus for multiple days in a tent. We found the Soap Lake RV Resort a great place to stay for us rustic campers as it offered enough parking for the Chev and Zodiac and clean facilities which made the experience all that more enjoyable.
*Tip: If you are renting two spaces make sure your neighbors don’t build a fire to close to your boat especially if they’re renting two to spaces – see picture #2.
After getting settle in cooking some food, we all adventured north to Banks Lake for a boat tour and swimming at the park which is only 20-25 minutes from Soap Lake. Banks Lake was cool (my girlfriend would say “freezing”) and refreshing in Eastern Washington’s 90°+ heat. To this Washingtonian, cold water is just something you get used to and learn to enjoy. The next day brought more adventure and this time is was to Ephrata for eats at Time Out Pizza and then swimming and waterslides at Splashzone – see picture # 6. Another waterpark that is 30 minutes away is Surf ‘n Slide in Moses Lake.
A short drive from Snohomish County, and an even shorter ferry ride from Anacortes, sits Guemes Island. Never heard of Guemes Island? Neither had I until last weekend. Travel east on Highway 20 towards Anacortes, drive through old town down towards the ferry docs, and you’ll see a small car and passenger ferry, Guemes Island Ferry, shuttling people over to the island.
Last weekend I had the chance to visit a Washington destination I’ve never visited before, Rosario Beach. Described as a hidden treasure of the Deception Pass State Park, Rosario Beach offers Washington beach goers a protected cove with smooth rocky beaches and gentle sloping banks. The beach is unique in the sense it’s great for families and children of all ages because of the sloping beach and shallow clean waters. Kids can run and play to their hearts content all in watchful eye of the parents. Personally, I want to go swimming/snorkeling/scuba diving from the beach – Yes, I am a true Washingtonian – because the water is so clear and the beach is easy to traverse.
Yesterday marked another day in my friends and I’s pursuit for speed, g-force corning, eye-popping braking, and seat of the pants fun. For the past 14 years my friend, Brian, has been building his 1993 GT Mustang to handle road course abuse while maintaining streetability. It hasn’t been the easiest roads nor the cheapest yet have to stay it is one of the coolest things I’ve ever has the pleasure of experiencing.
This last weekend, Saturday the 25th, my girlfriend and I went to test ourselves at Adventura Consulting’s challenge course and zipline. Located in Woodinville Washington, and next to the Redhook Brewery (thank goodness), the Challenge Course and Zipline Adventure was about 30 minutes from Marysville down Highway 9. Needless to say, it was super easy to get to and if you have been to the Redhook Brewery then just park in the lot and walk to the backside of the brewery. Bam! You’ve found the Challenge Course.
Regardless of how the weather looks outside, summer is coming to Washington, or so my calendar tells me. Next month, on May 7, 2011, thousands of Washington boaters will take to the water with an array of excitement of Opening Day of Boating Season. Opening Day is an annual celebration of the rich boating culture here in the Pacific Northwest. Power and sail boats take the lakes, rivers, and the Puget Sound in waves in one of Washington’s most treasured pastimes.
Now this doesn’t apply to everyone but if you are a Washington State boat captain, and don’t fall into an exempt categories, then you’re are required by law to take and complete the mandatory boaters education course. This year I have to take the course and doing it online looks like the easiest and fastest solution. Some courses are spread out over 7 weeks; summer will be here then gone by the time of completion so here is the lowdown.
Being old enough, sounds weird to say, I remember growing up with the thoughts and stories of the May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. The eruption caught many people by surprise with its magnitude and residents of Washington State couldn’t believe the reality of what was happening. The side of mountain had slipped [video] and the massive landslide gave-way releasing a huge plume of ash, rock, and other debris into the surrounding landscape and atmosphere.
Mount St. Helens hasn’t been a sleeping giant since that infamous day in 1980 yet a constant reminder that Washington State borders one of the most active volcanic areas on Earth, the Ring of Fire. Mount St. Helens is but one volcano in the Cascades that have vulcanologist and geologist captivated as well as concerned. The trigger to the 1980 eruption can be traced back to increased seismic activity underneath Mount St. Helens and it is possible for a similar event, that’s more catastrophic, too happen in the not so distant future.
In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, another and potential more devastating threat looms, radiation. The Fukushima Dai-ichi’s reactors continue to increase in temperature and attempts to cool the spent fuel is becoming more and more difficult. As the likely hood of a major catastrophic event increases, Japan will luckily avoid the catastrophe of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The reasoning why these two events differ are the designs of the containment units. Chernobyl didn’t have any containment units to prevent the radioactive gases from spreading after the explosion, which was equivalent to a dirty bomb.
Could the Prevailing Westerly Trade Winds Blow Radiation to Washington?
The sport of snowmobiling is growing every year and it easy to see why. Snowmobiling offers a wonderful family and friends experience as opens up opportunities to see Washington’s back country scenery. If you are like me, you can’t get enough of the deep powder, hill climbing, and the great trails to make your adrenaline race.
Last winter, a friend and I took 18 people which have never experienced the sport out for a three day weekend trip. I found it very rewarding for them, along with myself and a repeat trip is already in the making. Snowmobile parks in Washington State are some of the best around. There are more than 100 snow parks in the State of Washington with 80 designated for snowmobiling. Every snow park has its advantages and disadvantages and your skill level will determine which snow park is most suitable for you. Here is a list of snow parks that I enjoy to visit in no particular order.
With the weather getting dreary and dark it is time to start thinking about you are going to do all winter long. It has been my experience, that to live in Washington and to enjoy it all year round without getting depressed, a person must get out of the house and into the great outdoors. But you may be wondering why someone would want to go outside during the winter in Washington. One word: Snow.
Load family, friends, and even grandma in the SUV and head East on Highway 2 through Monroe, Sultan, Startup, Gold Bar and Index until you arrive at Stevens Pass Ski Resort. Stevens Pass is one of Washington’s most diverse destination resorts when it comes to the variety of terrain.
Being located western side of the Cascade Mountain Range, Snohomish County residents, and travelers alike, have easy access to one of the most scenic areas in Washington. Just a few minutes drive from any city and you can find yourself in deep forests and surrounded by rivers, streams, waterfalls and a natural beauty that is Snohomish County.
One of the most popular trails is the Centennial Trail. The Centennial, once a main railroad line, starts in Arlington and has 17 miles of paved walk way that snakes through Marysville and Lake Stevens and into south Snohomish. There are many different places to start on Centennial Trail without having to go to the very beginning. One common area is off Getchell Rd and can be found just a few blocks on the eastside of Highway 9. As one of the closest trails to main urban centers, Centennial Trail sees a lot of use from walkers, joggers, cyclists, and even horse enthusiasts that are looking to enjoy the great outdoors without having to travel too far.
Every year, around this time, Washington State celebrates a past time that is deeply rooted in two major industries; maritime and aviation. The boating communities and flight communities make a great combination and it is culminated every year with Washington’s biggest celebration, Seafair.
Hydroplanes, airplanes and jet fighters all show up to put on a show for the thousands watching from sea and land. The day starts off with boats gathering just on the north side of I-90 to watch the Blue Angels perform and “wow” us with their high speed aerial displays and death deifying acts that would make the ordinary person rigid with fear.
February 20, 2008 marked a special day for Washington residents. It was a cool and clear night with the stars and other celestial objects visible to looked at with wonder and amazement.
After getting off work, I made it the evening plan to pull out the telescope and binocular to gaze at a wild wonder of a Lunar Eclipse that would be visible in the eastern sky. The night did not start off with a lot of hope since the clouds rolled it and nothing could be seen, pretty typical this time of year. But as the night continued, the clouds lifted and it was perfect from the backyard to view the celestial event.
Traveling east on Highway 20, to the north Okanogan, and then north on County Road 9495 (Toroda Creek Rd), you will find the remains of a town called Bodie. Established in the early 1900s, Bodie was a small mill town that processed ore that was taken from the surrounding mountains. Like the many of the ghost towns in Washington Bodie prospered until around the 1930s when Perkins Milling Company closed its doors.
With almost all of the residents working at the mill when it closed its doors it left nothing for the residents. A few town buildings remain along both sides of the road: the old town including a store, cabin and a farm. Bodie is accessible all year but the best time to visit would be spring, summer and early fall as the weather can get pretty cold and the roads can become really slick in the snow during the winter months.
Snoqualmie Falls is one the great natural treasures of Washington and receives 15 million visitors annually that come to witness its beauty. Through the season the falls takes on many different looks depending on recent rainfall. During heavy rain falls it is fun to take the short drive on I-90, east of Seattle, and view the massive amount of water flowing off the 200 foot drop to the pool below.
The falls have a long history dating back to the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, a sub tribe of the Coast Salish. The tribe has called the Snoqualmie region home long before western explorers came to the area. The falls were a place of spirituality as well as a seasonal gathering place.
Deception Pass is located in Island County and are the two channels separating main land Washington and Whidbey Island. It is a water way that has gained a reputation as being “Washington’s most active water way because of the volume of water that travels through the channels during the Puget Sound’s tidal changes.
Mount Rainier is the tallest of all the peaks in Washington standing at 14,411 feet and is one of many active volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range. As one of the most photographed mountains, Mount Rainier is as much of a Washington State icon as it is a recreational destination. The picture to the right was taken from the top of Crystal Mountain Ski Resort on a sunny winter day. Mount Rainer treats onlookers to many different views; whether that is a silhouette in the rising sun, in a orange to purple hue in the setting sun, or a bright and brilliant snow white mountain. In the summer time, pack the family up and travel down Highway 410 to enjoy the views of Mount Rainer and the surrounding mountain peaks.
The most famous of all Washington peaks is Mount St. Helens. On May 18, 1980, triggered by a 5.1 earthquake, Mount St. Helens erupted with a force never seen in the United States. Destroying over 200 miles of vegetation, Mount St. Helens is a mountain that has changed Washington’s landscape forever. But since that faithful day in 1980, the vegetation has grown along with the mountain, mountain cam, and has since rebuilt a large portion of itself. Visiting the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, and the Johnston Ridge Observatory you will be treated to a world class view inside the crater. The observatory is “named after the vulcanologist David Johnston, who was camped out on this ridge observing the volcano when it blew. His final words were “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it,” http://www.mountsthelens.com/.
The Cascades Mountains within Snohomish County
Among the many peaks that comprise the Cascade Mountain Range there are a few prominent mountains that lie within Snohomish County. Entering Snohomish County, either from North or South I-5, Mount Pilchuck, Three Fingers, Glacier Peak and White Horse can be seen with a clarity only dreamed of in other parts of the United States.
The tallest mountain, within the county, is Glacier Peak at 10,541 feet and is just one of Washington’s “hidden volcanoes”. Winter time lends itself to snow riding, sledding and snow shoeing hikes through the many trails. In the summer there are no shortages of activities with camping, sight seeing and driving through the scenic areas with breath taking views that will awe anyone.
Residents of Snohomish County find one of the most fun winter day trips on the Mountain Loop Highway, Mount Pilchuck. Utilizing its close proximity to town, residents find it a perfect family destination. From sledding, snowman making and scenic drives, Mount Pilchuck has so much to offer which can bring a family closer together. In the summer it has many camping areas that are right on the Pilchuck River and are perfect for fishing and relaxing.
The Mountain Loop Highway has more than one mountain to enjoy. In the summer, day hikes are some of the most common activities. Two of the best hikes are the Big Four Ice Caves and Mount Pilchuck lookout. The image to the right is of White Horse, near Darrington, during early December.
North Cascade Mountain Range
In the North Cascasde Mountains, rising to an elevation 10,778 feet (Washington third largest peak), sits glorious Mt. Baker. Back in 1998-99 winter season Mt. Baker set the United States record of the most snow fall in a single season at 1,140 inches. The Mt. Baker resort is located near by and boasts some of Washington’s best snow riding. Also in the North Casecades, and at the base of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan, sits Baker Lake full of recreation and good old fashioned camping.
These are just some of the adventures that await you in the Cascade Mountain Range so if you have some time this year, make some plans to go to the mountains and spend some just don’t forget the camera.
The Puget Sound is Washington’s largest salt water inlet and is connected to the Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet with its official borders being the northern point of Whidbey Island all the way to down to Olympia. Historically, the Puget Sound region was, and still is home too, the Tulalips, Pilchucks, Snohomish, and Snoqualmie (Snuqualmi) Indian Tribes and now many other cultures call the region home.
The Puget Sound is a major waterway for the transportation of goods coming into from other countries into the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest as whole. It is common to see large tankers traveling on the westside of Whidbey Island, past Mukilteo, and onto Seattle for delivery or pickup. In additional to commerce transportation, the United States Navy (ships and submarines) uses the many water ways to keep our country safe from coastal threats, learn more.
Nestled in the North Cascade Mountains, just north of Concrete Washington, sits two of Washington’s most photographed wonders, Mt. Baker (10,775 ft) and Mount Shuksan (9,127 ft). Rising skyward, nearly side-by-side, these two mountains show off their natural brilliance with flowing glaciers and rocky faces as awe inspiring wonders.
Days like to today, and yesterday, make Washington State the most beautiful place in the World in my opinion. With the sky being brilliant blue and the temperature around 95 degrees a little after 5pm the water is calling my name.
One of my favorite places to be in out on the Puget Sound floating around in the tidal currents for hours just enjoying the sun, water and exceptional views of the Cascade Mountain Range and the Olympic Mountains. [Read more...]