Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pictures from a whole bunch of past bicycle trips

Old bell in Ding Dong Park, Sylvana, WA.

I decided to put a lot more pictures on the net. My favorite from trips I hadn't made web pages for. Flickr is a good way to show them.

For all my landscape photos go to album main page.

History of my bike trips

7th and 8th grade. Some trips that were 30 miles out from my home town of Pullman, WA.

High school, College trips around town. Camping trip to the top of Moscow Mountain near Pullman.

Early 80s Bellingham to Seattle.

1985 Bellingham to Pullman - didn't bring a camera.

1986 - 1989 Around Northwest and down west coast. In this collection on Flickr.

1990 Short trips around Northwest Washington.

1991 Across USA. On it's own web site.

1992 Washington and Oregon. In this collection on Flickr.

1993 Across USA. On it's own web site.

1994 - 1997 Around Pacific Northwest and parts of BC. In this collection on Flickr.

1998 - 2006 Variety of trips with their own web sites.

2007 Around Washington. On Flickr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fire danger, another bad thing about sprawl

Woods are even too dry at Kamiak Butte in Washington State.

Radio is full of news about San Diego wildfires.

Too many people living in semi urban / semi rural environments where there's lots of flammable vegetation. It's better to live in denser urban environments. Then visit the woods without trying to live there.

Concrete doesn't burn.

They don't even allow people into Kamiak Butte County Park, near Pullman, WA. in late summer. Closed due to fire danger. Recently, it seems like it's always been closed in late August. Opens again by October.

They are trying to protect it. They don't want people "loving the woods to death."

Especially smokers.

It's better to embrace the city. Then visit the woods carefully. Let the woods be the woods.

New suburbs should be built like "new urbanism." Greater density and less flammable environments. Also shorter commutes.

Speaking of commutes, global warming is a factor. It seems like the entire western part of USA is having drought years more frequently. The southeast is having drought also, but drought just seems to be getting more persistent in the west as the years go by.

Are dry climates of northwest Mexico creeping north? Behind your tailpipes?

The rural fringe is kind of "fake nature" anyway.

Some say they love seeing Bambie the deer in their yards, but deer are a sign of "stressed environment."

I hear this interesting point from a friend of mine who is an environmental scientist. Deer are not a sign of living in a healthy environment. Bambie flourishes in the "stressed transitional environments" of the urban fringe. Deer are not as common in the real woods since they have natural predators.

When you see lots of deer, you are probably living in suburbia. Somewhat low density suburbia. That's what deer like.

Natural vegetation is often more flammable than things like imported ornamental plantings. If you're going to build your house anyway, might as well select non flammable vegetation. It's not really a pristine environment anyway.

Live in an urban setting and then enjoy the woods in the park, along the trail and on your time off.

Be careful, don't go to the woods if it's too much of a tinderbox; especially if you smoke.

Glad I don't smoke.

Remember smokers, car drivers, house builders, arsonists and all who come along for the ride with encroaching civilization.

Urban environments can be less flammable.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If I was to vote on looks

I'd vote for Ken Mann, Whatcom County Council.

My camera got this image when he was one of a handful of politicians to show up for "Bicycle With Your Politician Day." That's an annual event sponsored by Mount Baker Bicycle Club.

It takes place in May.

Public officials are invited to ride along with the public on a bicycles. It's a tour through Bellingham. A ride to see the transportation system through "bicyclist's eyes."

Like that phrase, "walk a mile in your shoes," only here, it's "bicycle peddles."

Too bad I can't vote in Mann's district. I don't live in County Council District #2.

While one hears that you shouldn't vote on looks, there does seem to be some connection between looks, bicycling, health and a healthy community. If more politicians showed up for events like Ride With Your Politician, we would have a healthier society.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Heating District For Bellingham?

I wonder if anyone is asking these questions? Could hot water, and/or steam from Encogen be used for space heating in the new waterfront development on Bellingham Bay? Is this asset being thought of as a drawing card for locating on the central waterfront?

Update May 4th 2011, Bellingham Herald PSE Power Plant Could Heat WWU.

There is a co-generation plant on Bellingham's waterfront. The Encogen power plant currently operated by Puget Sound Energy.

At times, steam is still visible on Bellingham's central waterfront. It rises from this power plant.

Encogen was built as a co-generation plant; meaning waste heat from generating electric power can be used in nearby facilities.

In this case, the use was Georgia Pacific's pulp and paper mills. GP has closed both pulp mill and paper mills.
* Paper mill section closed as of mid December 2007.

Plans are afoot to redevelop GP's old site for other uses including, possibly condominiums, research facilities, other industries. There is even a branch campus for Western Washington University's Huxley College of Environmental Studies in the dreams.

These things, and more, are all in the discussion stage. No one knows the final outcome, but there has been a lot of community dialog so far.

Now, I wonder if the co-generation plant figures into any of these plans? It seems like a great opportunity. Waste heat from the power plant can be used in these other plans. If nothing else, at least for space heating.

This new waterfront neighborhood will just about have to be rebuilt from scratch. A good opportunity to plan around the distribution of steam and / or hot water from co-generation.

There are some historic buildings on the site. Old structures from the pulp mill that may be preserved. Many of them already have steam lines (I would guess) and also one would figure that a lot of utilities will be installed from scratch. Utility tunnels, pipes, wires, what ever. A good opportunity to plan around waste heat distribution.

Many power plants just send their waste heat up into a cooling tower. It isn't practical to use that heat, due to lack of uses near the plant. Also there is the cost of running pipes around for distributing hot water. It can cost a lot to retrofit an existing neighborhood. That's why a new neighborhood provides an opportunity. Bellingham's waterfront may be rebuilt from scratch and it has an existing co-generation facility.

I remember some people talking about piping waste heat from Alcoa Intalco Aluminum to Bellingham. That "pipe dream" was floating around years ago. Laying all that pipe would be expensive. Pragmatic people must have felt it would still be cheaper for houses and businesses in Bellingham to have their own furnaces, rather than piping the waste heat from Intalco.

That was pipe dreaming in years past. Pipe dreaming about the long pipe from Intalco. I love pipe dreaming, but using the existing co-generation plant for our brand new waterfront seems more practical.

I wonder if this hot water is even being discussed as an asset in our waterfront's attempt to lure new uses to the area?

I've done some looking around on the web, but haven't found much. Been to some waterfront meetings, but didn't think about this idea until more recently.

Where's the meeting when you need it?

I know a few people who have talked about this possibility.

Some people might think there is a conspiracy to turn the working waterfront into a "yuppie tourism wealthy condo / luxury yacht world."

Oh, well. I am not that much of a "conspiracy theory person."

What ever plans fall into place, or are pushed into place (however one looks at this), here is something to consider. Power plants are just about my favorite destinations when I am a tourist. So, it can be both a "people" and industrial waterfront. See my images of Grand Coulee Dam.

Maybe Bellingham's waterfront can become a showcase for co-generation and district heating?

Update ...

Toward bottom of article in February 1 2011 Bellingham Herald is news about studying the use of waste heat from power plant to heat parts of downtown Bellingham, Western Washington University or new development when it is built at old Georgia Pacific site.

Also toward start of that article is thinking about a small hydro power project at at end of industrial water pipe which comes to old Georgia Pacific site from Lake Whatcom.

Put windows in the co-generation plant? Like they have in the steam heating plant at Western Washington University.

Thinking out loud.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bellingham is debating it's party houses

Single family homes that are now being rented by a big group of students. Often noisy. I have thought that denser zoning might be able to improve this situation, ironically. Instead of "single family" zones, allow the big houses to be broken up into several studio apartments. It's harder to have a big party in a studio apartment.

Density is better for the environment, in more ways than one.

Studio apartments for studious students. How's that for a slogan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A new Trader Joe's

I haven't been to the new Trader Joe's in Bellingham yet. Hear that it's been crowded due to being the "new kid on the block."

Not liking "rat race." I'll wait a while. Sometime in the future, I can explore the new store at a more leisurely pace.

Several people have wondered if Trader Joe's will take business away from the Bellingham Food Co-op?"

Well, the Co-op is expanding also. Plans call for a new branch of the Co-op to be built in Bellingham's north side.

Last Community Co-op dinner I went to was full of news about the new store. They were bullish on it's prognosis after a successful year at the Co-op's downtown location.

Two branches of the Co-op? We have two Fred Myers and a bunch of other things.

It seems like the retailing is always even a step ahead of population growth in this city.

When I first moved to Bellingham, I was amazed how many stores and restaurants there were. Of course, I came from Pullman, WA.; a town who's retailing lagged way behind the population. People went over to Moscow, Idaho to do their shopping.

In Bellingham, service sector seems to lead the city's growth. That's because everyone's got a dream, or at least almost everyone. A dream to open up their own shop, restaurant, practice.

I have said that, "every other person in Bellingham is a massage therapist."

That's an exaggeration, but it sure seems like that. Maybe every other person is either a massage therapist, psychologist or artist.

Can the market support everyone?

Maybe folks can forget about money and just get into a giant bartering "group massage."

A group massage. That's a better version of "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine." Politicians are often accused joining the latter circle.

It seems like more Canadian dollars are rolling into Bellingham and Whatcom County these days. The Canadian dollar is stronger again.

I remember 1976 when someone said close to 60% of local retail dollars were from Canada bargain hunters.

Armies of bargain hunters with blue and white license plates.

Maybe that can't happen again as Canadian retailers are offering more bargains north of the border. They're getting smarter up there when it comes to marketing, if one calls that smart.

Just about everyone does have a dream and so many dreams are entrepreneurial in nature.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Less drive through

As the city of Bellingham plans to take out 4 parking places in front of Mount Baker Apartments to create a wider, nicer sidewalk, some folks are grumbling. Remove parking? The almighty automobile. And they say downtown may shrivel, but I notice "private enterprise" is removing "drive space" also.

At the corner of Holly and State, it was once Washington State's largest drive-in bank. Now being torn down. Bellingham National Bank had 8 drive-in lanes when it was built in the late 70, early 80s era.

Now, a new Key Bank is being built in it's place. Less lanes and most likely a bigger walk-in lobby.

The last years of the drive-in bank were sad. Only a few of the lanes working and the walk-in lobby closed. Windows blocked with cubicle dividers so folks would "get the hint." "Lobby closed."

Another Key Bank, down the street, served walk-ins at it's proud lobby in the vintage 1913 Bellingham National Bank Building. From what I hear, Key Bank plans to consolidate both branches to the old drive-in site. Hopefully, it's former home, the vintage 1913 tower will remain an office building.

Meanwhile the larger sidewalk, in front of Mount Baker Apartments will be welcome "elbow room" in that crowded block. 85 studio apartments, all in that block, plus businesses along the street. The narrow sidewalk got a bit claustrophobic.

"Move over," automobiles. Downtown Bellingham is getting a bit more pedestrian oriented.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Larry Craig and airport security

It looks like the conservative Republican from Idaho who had that police encounter in the men's room at Minneapolis Airport may have been a victim of tighter airport security.

Yes, there are lots more police around airports these days.

For the most part, for good reason; terrorist threat. At the same time, this society tends to be uptight about sexuality. Tighter airport security, which is needed to spur out terrorists can also be used to police potential sexual activity. Combination of tight security and sexual up tightness can create an Orwellian world.

2007 round Washington State trip on-line

By bicycle, of course.

It's posted a bit differently than my other trips. Photos on Flickr and this is my first trip with Youtube videos. Maybe the videos aren't that "Hollywood," but they are authentic. Haven't figured out editing software yet.

Flikr presents images nicely. Flickr Pro is just $24.95 per year. One can get thumbs, if in a hurry, moderate size with descriptions or click on the magnifying glass for large higher resolution. One can even try "slide show."

I'm still experimenting myself. Enjoy.

Individual trip menu no longer exists, but pictures are blended into all my pictures as cataloged by region, subject and so forth. Note added 2010.