Archive for May 2011

May 5, 2011 Talkin’ Baseball, Baseball in St. Loooo   Leave a comment

May 5 was Cinco de Mayo for most of the United States.  For a small group in my world it was also “Annual Engineering Baseball Game” sponsored by John M.  Thanks John as usual Great Seats!  Great Food!  Great Friends/Co-workers!  After the game, driving home I noticed this shaft of light that appeared to be lighting up our house.  These light shafts have been a theme this spring.  Every time I’ve seen one of these, I’ve thought, where’s the angel choirs?



Sunshine over Affton


Posted May 31, 2011 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized

April 29, 2011 St. Louis Arch   Leave a comment

I decided in February to make a ‘photo project’ of taking photos of the St. Louis Arch once a month for the next 12 months.  April was ending and I needed an arch photo.  It was a beautiful spring day making for a wonderful evening on the Arch  grounds.  Hope you enjoy April’s results:


Sun Reflection

Arch Lights

Arch April 2011


Arch Grounds at sunset

Posted May 22, 2011 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized

April 21-24, 2011 Easter in Leavenworth KS   Leave a comment

Bill and I visited family and friends over Easter in Leavenworth, KS.  We decided to take a drive to the Aaron family farm on Saturday.  It was enjoyable seeing family and friends we don’t see often enough.  We always run out of time to see everyone.  Below are a few pictures from Easter weekend.

All out MOO!

From home place looking toward East edge of property


From old home place looking toward the ponds


Grain Storage Bins


Kansas Farm Wild Flower


NEXT:  An evening at the Arch

Posted May 15, 2011 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized

Seattle Trip Overview   3 comments

Seattle is a must see city if you haven’t been to this area.  Seattle is a foodie town.  I was watching the news one morning and the newscaster was discussing a multi-stepped omelet sent in by a viewer that the newscaster had tried and would be sharing the recipe and tips later in the show.  Read a few restaurant reviews and you’ll see what I mean –  perfect food, perfect service. are expected When we return I would like to go back to Pike’s Market for things to eat while we spend the remainder of our time continuing to explore the Olympic Peninsula. I know there is more to Washington State that the Olympic  Peninsula and would like to visit other areas someday.  I’m pretty sure I’ll fall in love with those areas too.


I would like to spend more time exploring…OK I started listing the things we missed that are on the Olympic National Park Map – the list is going to be way too long.  I’ll just say that I want to visit everything we saw again and want to visit everything we missed on the hard roads and a few things on unpaved roads!  I would also like to visit Dosewallips near Mt Constance and Constance Pass (just to say I’ve been there). 

Twilight!  We bought the book on CD to listen as we drove to Kansas for Easter.  Yup we’re hooked.  Instead of spending $50 for the next set of CD’s right away, I’ll buy the next book and begin reading it.  The Cd’s are nice when Bill and I take a road trip.  We get to listen together. (Update, I bought the second book and read it today.  What will happen to Bella and Edward? I’ll buy the next book hopefully next weekend.)


Can’t wait to go back and spend time exploring more of the Olympic Peninsula. I hope you have enjoyed these black and white pictures. 

Next:: Easter in Kansas

Posted May 8, 2011 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized

Seattle, Monday, April 11, 2011   Leave a comment

Our last day in Seattle, the day started chilly and gray.   After learning about Hurricane Ridge on Friday, I was hoping the road would be open; the road was closed Sunday due to snow.  Bill wanted to visit Cape Flattery – the most Northwestern mainland United States destination.   After breakfast we headed for Olympic Peninsula via Seattle/Kingston Ferry, the same trip Kathy and I took Friday.  It was going to be nice to  just be look instead of trying to drive and look at the same time.  The sky was intermittently clearing.  (Bill thanks for your willingness to drive when we take these road trips).

Bill sitting in the passenger waiting area of the Ferry.


Mountains view from Ferry

I had tried to explain to Bill the stacks of rocks and rocks on top of tree stumps that I had seen along the side of the road while driving between Kingston and Olympic National Park Visitor Center.  Look NOW seemed to be a theme for part of the trip.  We couldn’t get a picture of a rock topped stumps because there wasn’t a safe place to pull over but I did get a picture of the stacked rocks.  I couldn’t find much about boulders on top of stumps (possibly a way to keep the stump/tree from continuing to grow) and everything I found about stacked rocks are a form of Inuit communication/directions.  Here is information on the stacked rocks – Inukshuk (a stone figures made by the Inuit)  This might explain why the Inuit may have been in Washington creating these directional markers:

Directions to  the Gallery?

Along highway 101 near Sequim we saw the sign for “Purple Haze Lavender Farms”.  Friday I thought if given the opportunity I wanted to stop.  After driving quite a distance, we decided that we had missed Purple Haze and decided we would try the next farm.  The next sign was for  LOST MOUNTAIN LAVENDER FARM.   What grand luck we had!  This is off-season for this area.  The store was ‘closed’.  When they heard our car coming down the driveway we were warmly greeted and shown the store.  Heartfelt apologies extended for the cold conditions of the on-site store, if they had known we were coming they would have built fire in the wood burning stove.  While I shopped, Bill chatted with Mr. Hanna.  Oh the prices, oh the smells, oh my, wonderful customer service and beautiful pottery work Barbra has created!  If you get a chance to visit this area don’t miss Lost Mountain Lavender Farm! 

While gathering several things, (bulk flowers, Lavender Wands, candles, and Lavender Culinary Salt – YUMMO!)  I overheard Gary explain to Bill the weather situation in this area of Olympic Peninsula.  According to Gary this area is basically a desert and requires irrigation, without irrigation nothing will grow.  I thought – Humph! This is Seattle, the land of green, the land of moss growing on roofs, the land of rain in the forecast EVERYDAY.  I was beginning to think urban legend.  Google verification would be necessary.

 Between the view of the mountains and the Lavender farms I quickly decided this would go on a list of must visit again.  Here is a visitors pamphlet I found online while looking for the Olympic Peninsula Desert:

Irrigation vs Urban Legend:  Irrigation IS required because Sequim sits in the “Rain Shadow” of the Olympic Mountains:  The Rain Shadow phenomenon has just blown my mind!  (Bill keeps reminding me that my Dork light glows when I talk about the Rain Shadow.)  We live on and AMAZING Planet!

Our next stop was a quick subway sandwich and off to Olympic Park Visitor Center.  Even though we left the hotel by 9:30 it was already lunch time. The visitor center is on the way to Hurricane Ridge and only a slight detour on the way to Cape Flattery.   I wanted to get my National Parks Passport Book stamped and pick up a few postcards on the way to Hurricane Ridge.  Bill looked at the maps and talked to the park ranger and quickly decided that it might be best to skip the ridge.

Since it was already past noon seeing snow at Hurricane Ridge quickly became unimportant to me also.   We have snow in St. Louis, we’ll see snow again.  Bill had never seen any part of the rocky west coast and hey who can deny wanting to see the furthest Northwestern point of the United States Mainland (didn’t see from maps and research that the furthest point would be an island off Cape Flattery).  Bill mapped out our ‘tour’ of the Olympic Peninsula.  Our points of interest would be; Cape Flattery, La Push for possible whale sightings then on to Forks to get back on highway 101. Depending on time would determine if we returned the way we came or if we would get back on 101 and head towards Interstate 5 back to Lynnwood.  A very do able trip for the amount of daylight left or so you would think?

Sights along the way to Cape Flattery:

Bus Stop? There’s a little room carved out of this tree trunk.

Turn out along Hwy 112


This was not in Hoh Rain Forest but as far as I’m concerned – It’s a rain forest!


Cormornats: Phalacrocorax auritus Double-crested Cormorant


Vancouver Island between water and clouds



 These signs appeared along the way on to Cape Flattery on Highway 112 with various number of miles to be Cautions.

I really liked this turn out area with the trees slightly blocking full view of the strait.  It feels that these type of pictures have become a signature shot – we’ll see.

So Beautiful!

Sea Stack with Vancouver Island in the background.  How many years did it take to wash away the rest of the island?


Our first destination was Cape Flattery so we took Highway 101 and for Twilight fans we caught Highway 112 out of Port Angeles.  We were in and out of rain the entire way to Cape Flattery. It would ran for a bit, then the sun would come out, it would rain for a bit and then more sun.  The roads are good but a bit twisty.  There are many turn outs on the way to Neah Bay.   We laughed a bit repeating “I know international affairs because I can see Canada from my car window.”  (Hey, we were very close to Alaska and the rest is political and SNL history.)  Vancouver Island is within seeing distance across the Strait of Juan De Fuca. This is an amazingly beautiful shoreline with many islands beautiful beaches and Sea Stacks.  It was a quiet ride for us because we were so absorbed in the beauty of the area.  Every time I look at a map or look up something on the internet, I find yet another place we need to see that we missed on the Olympic Peninsula. 

Highway 112 takes you through the town of Neah Bay which is the Makah Indian reservation.  While driving through town I noticed several Bald Eagles flying around and sitting on a boardwalk (?).  Yes I was that passenger, “STOP!” At one point I counted 7 Bald Eagles, flying and walking about.  AMAZINGLY Close!  Amazingly close to people.  As soon as I stepped out of the car I could smell it – the smell of burning cedar.  I imagine there are several smoke houses in the area. I have one picture of a Bald Eagle flying with what appears to be salmon fillet waste. 

Eagle and Sea Gull

Eagle with fish scraps

Landing in the wind


Mighty windy

In Flght with fish

We drove as close as possible to Cape Flattery and then walked the ¾ mile trail the Makah Tribe’s have created to the tip of Cape Flattery.   I’m so happy that we skipped the snow for this beautiful world, words cannot describe it!  Below are a few links about this area:

Cape Flattery:

Cape Flattery Cave

Bill and I:  Another couple asked us to take their picture and offered to take ours.  Happy Anniversary Bill!

Another tree framed shore – Love it!

beautify clifs of Cape Flattery

It took a bit of internet sleuthing to figure out the purpose of the structure on the northern end of the island (looked in Flickr and Google Images but most ‘cut’ the structure from their pictures).  With aid from the camera lens I thought it might be a ship mast from a long ago ship wreck or some sort of ship sculpture.  I didn’t think – who’s going to see art out there or how they would have gotten it on the island.  After many dead ends but very interesting information on Totoosh Island history, I discovered that structure was a hoist used for island access.  The island top is 75 to 100 feet almost straight above very rough surf.   The basket hoist was used to raise and lower people to a waiting boat below.  Everything that was brought to the island was brought up using this hoist – groceries, furniture, children of the light keeper (first light keeper family arrived at the island with 7 children), building materials, EVERYTHING.  Post Pearl Harbor this island was used as a ‘listening’ post by the Navy.  A school and several additional buildings where added during the days Navy personnel where stationed on the island.  After making the lighthouse fully automatic with solar powered warning beacon and horn, The United States has remediated the damage done to the island (lead, leaking oil tanks, abandoned buildings etc.).  It was assumed that the United States ‘owned’ the island but after litigation it was determined that the island was originally part of the Indian’s fishing grounds which was not included in the original 1855 treaty. The island has been returned to the Makah. 

Totoosh Island

Totoosh Island Light House

Totoosh Island Hoist


Below are several links that better explain the recent history of this area and links other’s beautiful photography.

“Find” Tatoosh Island, Washington

Great picture of the crane

Great pictures of this area and a few of the island and crane too.

page 8 Great source of information on lighthouse and the ‘problems’ with the Indians.  There is also a picture of the crane basket being used.

This site includes Island History and background with details about the Makah’s use of this island.  It also details remediation plans/accomplishments.

On the way out of Neah Bay we stopped at Raven’ Corner Makah Art, Craft and Gift Shop,  I bought the prettiest cedar bark “Ozette Spiral” basket   Wow just discovered another place that is normally closed on Monday.  Glad Melissa decided to be ‘Open’ for us, Thanks Melissa!

On to LaPush:  The sun was starting to set by the time we arrived in LePush.  We drove through town to the beach, WOW! The trees along the beach, the colors (not sure how much was natural to this area and how much it was the ‘color’ of things due to the orange light of the setting sun.  Everything had an orange/brown hue.   Again we could smell cedar smoke in the air. 

La Push Gull


Green rocks line this  part of the shore in La Push

We noticed the Tsunami evacuation signs and after a comment that was made in Forks, I’ve researched and discovered the Quileute Tribe has NO protection from a Tsunami    Please watch the video in the attached link to learn more about legislation (H.R.1162 and S. 636 Please contact your representative and remind them to support S.626 and/or H.R. 1162.  The Quileute Tribe living in LePush at the edge of Olympic National Park has 8 minutes to evacuate Tribe’s administrative buildings, school, elder center, and housing once a Tsunami warning is issued: 

…to provide the Quileute Indian Tribe with approximately 275 acres of land currently located within the Park and approximately 510 acres of land along the Quillayute River, also within the Park…

Next to last camera shot of the trip.  Taken from the shore of La Push.


We saw the Twilight Welcome sign.  We had heard about Twilight but unlike the Harry Potter series, never got ‘into’ it.  We stopped at a little store to pick up post cards when a bus full of Twilighters arrived.  The lady that checked them gave directions to First Beach a must see for Twilight fans.  There was quite a bit of Twilight ‘stuff’ in the store.  To be honest, I thought oh that’s cute when the lady gave us a very brief description of the series.  It was time to head to Forks.

Upon arrival in Forks, one of the first things we noticed was a sign that said “Edward Collin did not sleep here”.  There were several “Welcome Twilighters” around town too.  OK so Forks has embraced Twilight too.  Because it was after dark, we didn’t know where we were so we stopped at the first open restaurant which happened to be  Forks Coffee Shop. We had a good dinner and the waitress helped us understand La Push and Forks (rain fall estimates for Forks and the Tsunami issues in LaPush).  The signs below were near the register.  I made a mental note that it was time to become familiar with Twilight.  My research list was getting longer and longer, I had a lot of research to do when we got home. 

Twlight Tipping Point

Even though it was dark we continued on 101 until we could get to Interstate 5 to Lynnwood.  We arrived at the hotel at 2AM (day started at 9:30 and ended 2AM – 17 ½ hours sightseeing in the Olympic Peninsula and we just scratched the surface of things to do and things to see in this area).  Since I had slept in the car on the way back, Bill napped while I packed because we had an early flight and we needed to leave the hotel around 4 AM to make it to the airport in time to return the car and get through security.  It was a long day and a memorable trip.

Lynnwood to Kingston = 0:41 = 10.1 miles
Kingston to Cape Flattery  = 3:23 = 137.0 miles
Neah Bay to Cape Flattery  = 1:59 = 67.1 miles
La Push to Forks = 0:37 = 15.5 miles
Forks to Olympia (Interstate 5) = 2:56 = 157 miles
Olympia to Lynnwood = 1:24 = 77.4 miles
Total drive time without stops = 11.00 hours
Stopping/hiking/eating = 5:30 hours
Miles = 464.10
Start time = 9:30 AM
Return time = 2:00 AM

Next a few Black and White images and my thoughts on our trip.

Posted May 7, 2011 by cjaaron1 in Seattle, Uncategorized

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Seattle Sunday, April 10, 2011   Leave a comment

 Sunday morning we checked the weather report as we were packing to change hotels.  We had reservations in Lynnwood, WA for Sunday and Monday nights at Holiday Inn Express (if you are looking for a mid-priced hotel in Seattle and have transportation, this would be at the top of my list, very clean and friendly, helpful staff).  Of course there was rain once again in the forecast and yes we woke to grey skies.  Nothing new in the forecast except they sounded a bit more insistent on the chance of rain.  We had plans to go on a whale watching tour with “Island Adventures”  

Since we weren’t sure how much time it would take to drive to our port of departure, we decided to leave early and grab a bite on the way or get a snack on the boat.  We had plenty of time and found the Vintage Café open in Everett.  We had relaxed breakfast with good food and good service.  We headed to the boat dock, before anything we received instructions from the captain and introduction to the crew (a naturalist and a deck hand). 

When looking at the whale report notice that April 10 is missing – there were NO whales and there was very little wild life around the sound that day.  It spit rain off and of during our whale watching trip, it was windy and cold.  I was very happy that I had brought my winter coat on this trip.  It wasn’t a great day for whale watching but it WAS a great day for spending time together, learning about the area and enjoying a bit of time on the water.  I bought tickets for a cruise that ‘guarantees’ whale sightings, we can go again someday (Love the area and I really want to spend more time in the Olympic Peninsula were we spent the day on April 11). 

These guys hung out by our hotel at Elliott Bay.  I’m not sure what they are but enjoyed watching them paddle the sound near the Edge Water Hotel.

Bill looking for whales.

Sea Gull

Olympic Mountains glaciers, seasonal snow and clouds. 

Boats as far a you can see

Somewhere along Whidbey Island.  A little left of center if a very light rainbow.  We were amazed at the distance of shore that would be exposed during low tide.

Wild Flower

Maintenance building in Deception Pass State Park.  Almost everything is covered in a thick layer of moss. 

Beyond the trees is the Strait of Juan De Fuca

Deception Pass scattered along the shores everywhere are huge logs from the surrounding forests.

On th left hand side of this photo, that cloud bank is not Marine Layer (as I  guessed), it was a squad.  The couple that we talked to explained that we’d be getting lots of rain.  I was expecting a Deadliest Catch sized storm and was surprised that it lacked lightning and was no worse than a normal St. Louis rain storm.  I had forgotten that Seattle averages 37.07 inches of rain a year while St. Louis averages 38.84 inches of rain.  Seattle has an average of 58 clear days while St. Louis has on average 101 clear days. We have more  rain but we also have about twice as many clear days probably making our storms a bit more intense.

Last day of our Seattle trip next.

Posted May 1, 2011 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized