Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chocolate milk stop on my bicycle trip

After a beverage break at one convenience store in lower Yakima Valley, I come out to find my bike surrounded with 3 Yakima County sheriff cars. That store must have had good doughnuts also. Police cars taking a break. They pulled in after me for their rest stop.

By the way, Yakima Valley has great bike paths.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bicycle and wind power, the Tri-Cities?

Now, in the Tri-Cities of Richland, Kennewick, Pasco. Lots of bike paths through these cities. In the parks, along the rivers, along the freeway.

What is thought of, by many, as the "atomic cities," have many sides. This is home of Hanford Nuclear Reservation, but rolling into Pasco, the horizon is filled with windmills. Wind power dominates the ridge tops.

Maybe not as much energy comes from those wind farms as pours out from The Columbia Nuclear Generating Station, formerly known as WPPS 2 (the only WPPS plant that got off the ground) and the only nuclear power plant in Washington and Oregon that is now operational as far as I know.

WPPS stood for Washington Public Power System which mostly went bankrupt in the 1980s. WPPS 2, now renamed Columbia Generating Station, is the one part of WPPS that's working and, so I read (on History Link dot 0rg), generating around 12% of the electricity supplied by BPA here in the Pacific Northwest. Figures for the year 2000. That is a fairly big chunk of our power.

Why did most of WPPS go belly up?

Many reasons, but I would suggest that natural gas is where the Northwest has turned to beef up it's power supplies as we outgrow our hydroelectric resouce. Natural gas has been fairly cheap and less worry than nuclear; so far at least.

Maybe now, with worry about fossil fuel and global warming, nuclear might look better as long as population and economic growth keep demanding more energy.

Still, wind farms are quite evident on the ridge tops as I biked into the Tri-Cities area.

Wind farms and bike paths seen today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Government option

In Washtucna, I discovered the motel was gone, but the city park was still there. I took the "government option" of camping in the municipal park. The "private" motel was not an option even though I haven't had a shower in days. The park had camping and was free. Nice willow tree pictured above.

Coming into town, someone directed me to the park. When I said, "I guess the motel is gone" he said, "ya, we burned it down."

Turns out the former owner hadn't kept it up very well and it was full of bugs, spiders, whatever. Then they tried to remodel, add a restaurant or something, but ended up with the building collapsing as they must have removed the wrong supports. Eventually, the debris pile was burned.

Now, the land has a new owner and I hear plans are to (maybe) build a new motel. Who knows when.

So, it was nice to find government option, the town park.

Much of that day, my radio was filled with health care debate as I biked along. I'm in favor of a government option there also.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The burden of shopping

I am not tempted to shop while on my bike trips. Where I'm I to put it all? Pass a lot of promotions on the road. This one by Pullman, WA. Evergreen area.

Now headed west into the country of the great Spokane Flood during ice ages. As the ice melted, a dam burst draining much of western Montana to a torrent over what is now part of Washington. Carved out the Channeled Scab Lands. Now it's a barren landscape of rock outcrops and sagebrush. Last night, I camped at Washtuckna, WA. which used to have The Wagon Wheel Cafe. It's now abandoned. Next major stop, the Tri Cities, home of a supermarket chain called Atomic Foods.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lentil Festival in Pullman, WA.

Now in Pullman visiting my sisters where I grew up. Got here in time for the Lentil Parade down Main street. Not by plan, but co-incidence, I am here in time for the parade. They grow a lot of lentils in this area along with wheat, peas and so forth.

Lentils; just one more thing to have a parade about. Gilroy, CA. has the garlic festival. Well, in Pullman it's lentils.

Never heard of lentils? I've had them in salads and soups. Had a lentil salad in Palouse, just before getting to Pullman.

First time I heard of the festival was on the radio coming down from Spokane. Then someone at our table watching the parade remarked that she didn't know bicycles came with a radio; like some cars come with factory installed radio. It wasn't there when I bought the bicycle, but I add a lot of things with bungy cords as I tour.

More pictures, Lentil Festival and Pullman.

Aprox. 1 minute.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lush trees and grass at a park in Palouse

That was a few days ago as I biked through Palouse, WA.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Art under the bridge in Spokane, WA.

I should turn off my computer and head to bed so I can ride in the cool part of today. Bike trip continues to bring me new perspectives on everyday things.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gardner Cave

Gardner Cave up in northeast Washington was quite a tour. My family took a trip there in 1966, or so. Still impressive today as I biked there in 2009.

Few people even know of its splendor.

I also visited Boundary Dam, not far from the cave. Could "knock them both off" within just a few miles.

Next day, the ride to Spokane. 96 miles. I didn't expect to have that long a day, but road construction took me to a different route so I missed the motels in north Spokane. Ended up downtown in good time anyway. Might as well stay downtown. Feel good and enjoy walking around this city. Lots of historic buildings.

My motel is built around a gay bar (Dempsey's Brass Rail). I could go, but I look road worn.

One more night in Spokane and then head for the Palouse area.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Radio telescope near Penticton, BC

More images on my Flickr.

Another sight on my bicycle trip. Being into astronomy, I am surprised I didn't know this observatory existed until now. Big radio telescopes in the Okanogan country, not far from Penticton, BC.

Some friends of mine, from Bellingham, were camping near Penticton as I passed through the area. Before they left Bellingham, they told me which campsite to find them at. I found their site and we connected. They took me, by car, to these radio telescopes. Here I am pictured by the large dish. There were several types of antennas at this observatory. Mapping various things in the universe.

CBC Radio talking about Kepler planet hunting mission while I bicycle contemplatively along Kettle Valley Trail in Okanogan Country of BC.

Aprox 3 minutes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Long hill up west side into Manning Provincial Park

But beautiful. Now I am at a WIFI spot in Princeton, BC. My 2009 bicycle tour continues.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Time for summer bicycle travel again

Takes a long time to climb all the way to Artist's Point at end of Mount Baker Highway on a bicycle, but what a good excuse to spend more time in that great scenery. I had to drink in this beauty for over 5 hours since it took that long just to get to the top from Glacier, WA.

Then the best fish tacos I've ever had at Graham's in Glacier. This two day trip was a great precursor to more cycling planned before autumn. Stay tuned.