Category Archives: Washington

The State of Washington.

Houseboats on Seattle’s Lake Union


Enjoyed a beautiful day in Seattle. First stop was along the east shore of Lake Union to catch this shot looking west at houseboats, the lake and Queen Anne Hill in the background just as the float plane was taking off. Had found a small open space between ample shrubbery to get a good view. The spot is near the water’s edge on Fairview Avenue East between E. Newton Street and East Boston Street. GPS coodinates: N 47, 38.2427; W 122, 19.7696.

Sunset Approaching Seattle


Having crossed Snoqualmie Pass and still heading westbound on I-90, I have high hopes of catching one of Seattle’s spectacular sunsets from perhaps Alki Beach or Golden Gardens Park.

Seen here is but a glimps of what I’m hoping for. But I do kind of like this one and particularly the reflection off my Jeep’s hood.

The shot was taken at a sign on the left denoting the South Fork Snoqualmie River approximately half way between the Snoqualmie Pass Summit and the town of North Bend. GPS coordinates: N 47, 26.2541; W 121, 38.8913.

I-90 Construction at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Construction Backup at Snoqualmie Pass

Construction delays when I-90 temporarily closed for blasting.

Travelers crossing Washington State’s Snoqualmie Pass during weekdays may find a section of the highway on the east side of the pass closed due to blasting in a construction zone.

Twice I found the section closed between the hours of 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM on a Tuesday and a Thursday. Had I been 15 minutes earlier when this photo of westbound traffic was taken, I would have avoided the backup and arrived in Seattle 45 minutes earlier.

But it was a pleasant day and the backup provided a chance to stretch the legs, relax and enjoy the respite from driving. This westbound scene is about one half mile from the south end of Keechelus Lake and about four miles east of Snoqualmie Pass summit. GPS coordinates: N 47, 19.4264; W 121, 19.5852.

Travelers unfamiliar with Snoqualmie Pass might like to know that it is a popular year-round destination offering skiing, cross-country skiing and tubing in the winter, and hiking, backpacking and climbing during the summer. For more about the Pass and its many recreational opportunities, check out our web site at Snowqualmie Pass.


I-90 to Seattle

Driving westbound on I-90 toward Seattle and wondering if the darkening sky portends rain. About to cross the Cle Elum River and just ahead is the exit to Roslyn, a small town on the east side of the Cascade Mountains that served as the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska in the long-running TV series “Northern Exposure” that ran for a total of 110 episodes from 1990 to 1995 on CBS.DSC_4758

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Fall has arrived at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Spokane County in northeast Washington. Established in 1937, Turnbull has been successful in providing productive breeding and nesting grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is located within an area known as the “Channeled Scablands” formed by ancient volcanic activity and glacial floods that produced a number of sloughs, potholes and wetlands yielding suitable habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl.
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Jasmer’s Mount Rainier Cabins

Ashford, Washington

I’m visiting Ashford, Washington for the weekend to attend the town’s “On the Road to Paradise” First Annual Spring Wine Tasting event on Saturday. First stop was to check in with Jasmer’s Cabins at Mount Rainier to pick up a key and directions to my cabin for the weekend. Met my hosts and owners of Jasmer’s Cabins, Luke and Tanna. They greeted me with a warm welcome and cheerfully provided answers to my questions about the area.

Luke and Tanna had chosen a newly remodeled cabin for me located in a quiet location yet not far from the town of Ashford, nearby restaurants and the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Cabin was fully equipped with TV, hot tub, and barbeque. Very comfortable and restful place to stay, yet close to the mountain and various services.

Ashford, Washington

There’s more than meets the eye at Ashford, Washington. First impression is that of a sleepy little community that’s not much more than a speed bump along State Route 706 for slowing down the traveler in a hurry to reach Mount Rainier National Park and experience the grandeur of the 14,410-foot mountain that is the centerpiece of the park.

On one side of the highway, you’ll find the US Post Office and Suver’s General Store. On the other side, you’ll see several buildings including a restaurant and a small complex of buildings known as Rainier Basecamp that house a number of local merchants and businesses including Whittaker’s Bunkhouse; Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.; Summit Haus and the Mt. Rainier Visitor Association’s visitor center.

What’s unseen are dozens and dozens of cabins offering rest and respite in beautiful natural settings including creeks and forest canopies scattered in and among the woods on either side, up and down and off the highway leading to Mount Rainier. The cabins also make excellent base camps for lingering in the area to truly get to know the mountain and enjoy it’s many attractions including wildlife, old-growth forests, creeks and rivers, wild flowers, hiking trails and incredible scenery.

Other options for accommodations in and near Ashford include bed and breakfasts, vacation rental properties and inns and lodges.

Tanna Osterhaus, who, with her husband Luke, owns Jasmer’s Cabins at Mt. Rainier, says, “People who visit Rainier for just a day or night often don’t come back. But people who stay two days wish they could stay longer and often do come back.” The latter are the ones who discover there is much to enjoy and appreciate the time to slow down, disengage from worldly affairs, and relax in one of the most beautiful and remarkable places in the world.

Haus Dog Kaffee & Tea

9:15 AM Wow! What a Weekend in Leavenworth, Washington. Last night attended the town’s ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the long-awaited opening of Amtrak’s new Icicle Station and the return of passenger service to Leavenworth. And today, its day two of the annual Autumn Leaf Festival.

First stop, however, is my morning latte! Discovered a new coffee house here earlier in the month when I came over for a general membership meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and discovered Haus Dog Kaffee & Tea.

The family-owned coffee and tea house is conveniently located on the west end of Front Street and is within easy walking distance of the several area hotels and the center of town main attractions.

The owners, Regina and Klaus Ulmke, have created a delightful European-style coffee and tea house featuring Italy’s LaVazza Espresso coffees and Harrisons & Crosfield English Teas plus an assortment of baked goods, fruits, jams and condiments all served in a setting of attractive wooden tables and chairs, colorful blue umbrellas, decorative place settings and an abundance of flowers in front of the backdrop of Icicle Ridge and the Cascade Mountains.

Amtrak’s New Icicle Station at Leavenworth, Washington

7:00 PM Let the Celebration Begin!

Music, dancing and food greet dozens of guests arriving for the festivities and ribbon-cutting ceremony¬† to celebrate the opening of Icicle Station in Leavenworth, Washington and to welcome the first inaugural run of new passenger train service along Amtrak’s Empire Builders route between Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington.

8:08 PM. Supporters of the new Icicle Station in Leavenworth line the long length of the railroad platform as Amtrak’s Empire Builder slows to a crawl and them stops to allow more than 70 passengers who had boarded in Seattle to disembark and participate in the ceremony commemorating the opening of the new station and passenger service.

The ceremony concludes with comments, congratulations and thanks from Mayor Rob Eaton and a variety of other dignitaries representing the city of Leavenworth, Washington State, Amtrak and BNSF.

Folks interested in visiting Leavenworth by train can call Amtrak at 800-872-7245 for reservations, or, book online through Amtrak’s web site.

Leavenworth, a city nestled on the eastern side of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, recreated itself decades ago as a Bavarian Village and is one of the most popular destinations in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. The city is an all-season destination featuring numerous indoor and outdoor activities and attractions. Accommodations abound whether your preference is camping, cabins, hotels, bed and breakfast accommodations, or vacation rental houses.

Amtrak’s New Icicle Station at Leavenworth, Washington.

Icicle Station, Leavenworth, Washington

Icicle Station, Leavenworth, Washington

3:43 PM. At first glance, the railroad tracks and train station platform seen in the above photo could be almost anywhere in the United States. What’s unique, however is that Icicle Station at Leavenworth, Washington is the first Amtrak new station to be built in the last several years and restores passenger rail service to one of the most popular destination sites in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, September 25th, 2009 marked the celebration and dedication of Icicle Station and the restoration of rail service to Leavenworth. In the scene above, construction crews ready the platform for the evening event which will commence in just a couple of hours.

In preparation for the event, crews clean the area of construction debris, check lighting, put finishing touches on signage and make sure train schedules are coordinated to allow Amtrak’s Empire Builder to stop at the new station and allow some 70 dignitaries to disembark who boarded in Seattle to participate in the inaugural ride. Current construction is stage one of several stages to be completed in the near future. Additional covered seating areas and shelters are to be added along with permanent fencing to replace the temporary orange safety barrier.

Chuck Taylor

Chuck Taylor, a BNSF Railway flagger, explained that the main line running through here is heavily traveled by freight trains throughout the day. The freight trains typically pass through at speeds in excess of 50 mph, and Amtrak usually is flying by at 70 mph or more. To accommodate tonight’s special event, freight trains have been routed to the outer track, or siding, while Amtrak makes it’s first scheduled stop at approximately 8:15 PM. Between now and until after this evening’s ceremony the freights will slow to about 25 mph as they pass Icicle Station. Seen below is one of the several freight trains that came along during the late afternoon and early evening.