January 2010February 2010 March 2010

The train to the plane

02/28 - More on Seattle

We finally tried out the new train from Seatac to downtown. It was a pretty smooth ride, but no faster than the old 194 bus. Still, it gets you right to and from the airport.

Keywords: seattle

02/27 - We really have to ...

... write a review of Spinasse. We went back again, and once again the pasta was fantastic. They had ravioli stuffed with swiss chard and walnuts, and even more amazing, they had little packets of ricotta wrapped in meltingly tender pasta in brown butter with sage. The rabbit was as tender and delicious as ever, and they did a wonderful job with their braised pork belly. The skin was crisp and the center succulent.

They're on Capital Hill on 14th Avenue between Pike and Pine. Check out their website and look at the menus.

The bar at Spinasse

Keywords: restaurants, seattle

02/24 - Lake Crescent in Mist and Cloud

The Spruce Railroad Trail is a different trail on cloudy days. We love to watch the clouds hugging the mountains.

Mountains, lake and clouds

If you look carefully, you'll see the OPI boat full of youngsters

One of our amphibian friends

Keywords: spruce railroad, lake crescent

02/22 - Second Beach

Have we mentioned that we're having great beach weather? This is Second Beach, our favorite west end beach.

The driftwood maze

Tidepools and seastacks

The reflected sky

Keywords: second beach

02/21 - Sparkling Light at Lake Crescent

It has been sunny and calm lately, so we noticed an amazing light out on Lake Crescent. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail, and the light reflected from the gentle ripples on the lake reflected onto the trees, sparklling and twinkling. Our camera only captured this so well.

Move your mouse over the image to see the subtle change, or click to watch the movie.

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, art, science

02/20 - From the Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

I'm not sure how much of this is science and how much of this is stunt, but it was written up in the journal Science. Some guy named Felix Baumgartner is planning to jump from a helium balloon from about 20 miles up. Apparently, it's pretty tricky since it's minus 100 degrees up there and the air pressure is so low that water boils even when it is that cold. Still, it sounds like it could be real science.

The accompanying picture, though, was the clincher. If you look carefully, or click for a bigger version, you can see the SR-71 spy plane at cruising altitude, and way above that is Joe Kittinger, the current high altitude balloon jumping record holder. That's probably Felix's balloon up there at the top along with an action shot of Felix on his way down.

There's Joe!

Keywords: science

02/18 - What's the next town after Joyce?

We were looking at an old map of Washington State in an early 1930s edition of The Volume Library and couldn't help noticing that there seemed to be a lot more towns west of Port Angeles back then. For example, there was the town of Ramapo, right there on the statewide map. What was Ramapo? Where is it today? There were even towns west of Joyce; the next town was Hilda, and even further west, there was the town of Majestic. How could we not have heard of a town named Majestic? We had driven out west on route 112, but we had never noticed any signs for Majestic.

Naturally, we decided to investigate. So, follow the link for the mystery of the missing towns, or who's Hilda.

The map that started it all

Keywords: science, port angeles, maps, washington state

02/13 - Lake Crescent: Salamander Alert

We know this has been a mild winter, but we didn't expect to see salamanders out and about in February. There they were, right in the middle of the Spruce Railroad Trail. They can be tricky to see, so it is a wonder we didn't step on one. We spotted two or three of them. (We may have spotted the same salamander twice.) We also noticed that the big logs that had been blocking the trail had been removed, clearly by the hand, and most likely chainsaw, of man. The trail is in great shape, and rain or shine, it is a beautiful trail.

Salamander #1


Salamander #2

More scenery

Salamander #3, or possibly Salamander #1 spotted again on our way back along the trail

Keywords: salamander, spruce railroad, winter

02/12 - Hellebores

Our hellebores are in bloom. Enough said.

Hellebore blossoms

Keywords: flowers

02/11 - Sunrise, Sunset

This isn't a software site, but Kaleberg Laboratories does maintain a few little pieces of software. There's our equation solver, Equato, a computer teaching tool, Cardiac, a program for making volvelles, and a number of tide forecasting and tide finding tools. One surprisingly popular program is Sunrise Sunset which simply produces an iCal calendar giving the times of sunrise and sunset. It is just an old basic program rewritten. You type in your latitude and longitude, your time zone and a few other particulars and out scoots an iCal calendar ready to use. Apparently, a fair number of people have some concern with when the sun rises and sets. Now and then we get feedback about the program, usually noting that it is broken. The latest note was from an Australian who reminded us that they do daylight savings time a bit differently in the southern hemisphere, so we've added a Down Under option to account for winter and summer being reversed. It still doesn't support British double war time, but the updated version is now more useful for people on the other half of the planet.

If you have a Mac, you can download the program here.

Keywords: software, science, kale, australia

02/10 - Hike Out of Whiskey Bend

The road to Whiskey Bend is open, so we had a nice walk above the Elwha River. The weather was mild, but the trail gives a few glimpses of the high mountain peaks. We always try for the overlook on the trail to Lilian Camp, though we don't always make it that far. Still, when we do, it is worth it.

Mountains across the river

Snowy peaks

The classic view

Keywords: elwha

02/06 - Storm King

The Storm King Trail, which starts near Barnes Creek, is probably the hardest trail we have ever managed. It is a relentlessly steep trail, and the challenge is in keeping going. We usually make it to about 1,450 feet above the parking lot, where there is a rocky outcrop with a spectacular view of Lake Crescent, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island beyond.

We didn't fare quite so well on our latest atttempt, but we did manage to get to about 1,200 feet up. The day was misty and overcast, and the trail was its usual, arduous self. Despite our failure to get to our favorite overlook, we were able to console ourself. After all, with all those clouds, the view was probably obscured anyway.

Across the Barnes Valley

Haunted country

The misty forest

One of the many spectacular madronas

A glimpse of the lake

A forest friend

Salal on the trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king

02/04 - Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit is not always an easy hike. The tides vary by eight feet in a typical day, and during high tide the beach is not only small, but rocky. In the winter it is worse. Not only are there fewer good tides, but the winter tides often wash out the sand, so even at low tide, it can be rough going.

This year, however, is a good year for hiking the Dungeness Spit. The beach is broad and sandy, so it is easy to avoid all the rocky patches. The strait is full of seabirds, loons, scoters, cormorants and many others beyond our limited identification skills. Oh yes, there are eagles, lots of eagles. There's no point in waiting for spring to hike the Dungeness Spit. It's good walking even now, and, as a bonus, the Indian plum is already in bloom.

An eagle

Dungeness Spit

Indian plum in bloom

Keywords: birds, dungeness, dungeness spit, spring, tides, winter, eagle

02/03 - Flying to Seattle

We recently flew to Seattle on Kenmore Air, and the views from the plane were spectacular. It wasn't a clear day. There was plenty of cloud cover, but the mountains and the skies were spectacular.

Fairchild Airport


More mountains

The clouds washed up to the mountains like the sea washes up to the shore.

A tantalyzing mountain closeup

Mountains under our wing

Water below

Minas Morgul, aka Mount Rainier

The sound

Keywords: seattle, flying, kenmore, mount rainier

January 2010February 2010 March 2010