Category Archives: Pacific Northwest

The Widest Load I Have Seen

Railroads can be used to move unusual loads.  In my work I have often had discussions about clearances along tracks to allow the Department of Defense to move outsized loads by rail – presumably tanks!  However, most things I have seen have been within the normal clearance diagrams.  As I was driving down to the waterfront park at Mukilteo, I passed a train sitting in a siding that was the widest thing I have ever seen on a train.  It was two containers side by side.  Both of them were hanging over the edge of the car.  I assume that it was a single container for moving outsized loads and, given where it was staged, it might have been something to do with Boeing.

As I drove past it, I figured I would walk back and get a photo.  However, some locomotives showed up and they started switching everything around.  I didn’t get a chance to get a shot from close up.  I did take some pictures from a distance and they then staged the vehicles out on the pier where Mukilteo becomes Everett.  If anyone knows anything about this load, do let me know.  I assume it needs special clearance to move since it must impinge on the adjacent tracks which would make passing other trains an issue!

Delivery of a KC-46?

Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise.  However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual.  I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit.  Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country.  The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east.  Was it a delivery?  Who knows?

Anderson Island Ferry

My lockdown interest in different ferry operations continues unabated.  Since I was down at Nisqually checking out the wildlife refuge, I figured I was close to Steilacoom which is the home of a ferry service provided by Pierce County.  This one operates across to Anderson Island – a location where some friends of ours have a place.  It occasionally stops at a smaller island too but that is not a frequent service.

There were two ferries tied up at the dock when I got there.  One was the Christine Anderson and it was the one in use.  The other was called Steilacoom II and I wonder whether that is an older ferry that is kept in reserve.  Not long after I arrived, the ferry departed.  I hadn’t positioned well to catch it but it turned immediately and headed south so was soon visible away from the other dock vessels.  I got myself some lunch while I waited for it to return.  The sun was out and the conditions were lovely as it made its way back to Steilacoom.  However, a big cloud bank rolled in at just the wrong time and, as it got close to its destination, it was suddenly in shade that did not make for good photos.  The Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the background was still bathed in good light though.  One more ferry to add to the tally!

P-8 On a Sunny Day

I stopped for lunch and to take some calls at Boeing Field.  While I was eating my sandwich, a US Navy P-8 rolled out of the Boeing military ramp to head off on test.  With Seattle on a southerly flow, the P-8 needed to taxi the length of the field for departure.  It came past me so the sandwich had to take a pause while I got a couple of shots.

Prior to take off, they carried out a rejected takeoff and backtracked for the real departure.  One a sunny day like this, the heat haze looking that far up the field is pretty bad so not real chance to get a good shot.  The departure itself was a lot better.  By the time it rotated, it was close enough to mean the haze, while still present, was a lot less troublesome.  As soon as it climbed out, the problem went away.  Its interesting that the low light angles of the winter are already being replaced with a transition to the harsher high sun but it is still worth being out.

New Footbridge Across SR520

One of my regular bike routes takes me over the hills between Redmond and Bellevue on the SR520 bike trail.  This parallels the highway and provides a good route to get to the lake (although the climbs can be a bit tiring on the legs).  As you get up to the highest point on the crossing, you pass a new footbridge.  The light rail system is being extended to Redmond and there is going to be a station up here by the Microsoft campus.  Part of the construction is a new footbridge across the highway to allow passengers to also access the campus on the other side of the road.

The bridge is being finished up at the moment so isn’t open for use – the light rail will open to this location in 2023.  It is well advanced though.  They have some interesting artwork decorating the interior of the bridge.  I stopped to get some shots of it while out on a ride.  You might suggest I needed a rest after making the climb but there is not evidence to support that hypothesis!

How To Blow It When You Want to Do One Thing!

In the run up to Christmas, I got to photograph the Asia Pacific Airlines Boeing 757 freighter while it was being used to supplement capacity for UPS.  Prior to that, I had noticed it was operating a circular route from Seattle to LAX to Honolulu and back to Seattle.  This seems to have started again.  With a nice forecast for a Saturday morning and it due in early in the morning, I figured I would head out and get some shots in the nice morning light.

The jet was projected to be in to SeaTac at around 7:25 so I left a little before 7 to try and be there.  The forecasts on the sites are often a bit optimistic but I still took my breakfast with me rather than risk missing out.  I got to my intended location just coming up on 7:25 and, as I pulled in to the lot, I saw a Korean Air Cargo 747-8F on final approach to the inner runway.  I grabbed the camera and, while it would be backlit, figured I would get a bonus.  I took the shots and then looked on the iPad to see where my jet was.

An ad ran on the app for about 30 seconds which was annoying but I finally managed to search on the jet.  Apparently, it was right there.  It was almost directly behind me.  I had intended to walk up the hill to get past the tree line.  Instead, I just turned and shot as it passed through the one gap in the trees I had.  Crap!  If I hadn’t looked at the 747, I would have been fine.  I went all that way and only got a side on shot. The light was really nice too!  What a dope.  Maybe there will be another opportunity – we shall see.

Low Rainbow for Winter

The weather may have been highly variable for my visit to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, this did have a side benefit.  Lots of rain followed by sudden sun means a good chance of a rainbow.  That is exactly what we got.  The rainbow was very wide and flat which I assume is a function of the sun angle at this time of year.  It looked pretty unusual and very cool so I figured I would share it here!

Three Black Hawks Bring In Some Passengers

The evening departure of the C-32 was covered in this previous post.  I hinted then about the arrival of some of the passengers.  I’m not sure where they had been visiting but they returned Ina. Three ship of Black Hawks.  Some of those who had been around earlier in the day had seen the departure and apparently it followed the same process.

The three ship of Black Hawks flew downwind on the west side of the field having approached from the south.  They then turned to final in a stream, descending to a lower level and flying the length of the runway prior to setting down near the fire station and close to the awaiting C-32.  Since it was late in the day, the light on them was really nice once they were over the field (conversely, they were seriously backlit while downwind).

After dropping off their passengers, they pulled up and departed back to the south, presumably heading towards JBLM.  I haven’t seen any UH-60s for a while so this was a nice change from the norm.  It was also fun looking at the crew on board with the helmet and face masks as they looked back at us.  Hopefully they didn’t mind being photographed too much!

Ferry Videos in Blustery Conditions

I have posted a couple of times with ferries at Guemes Island and Lummi Island.  While I mainly was shooting stills at these locations, I did get some video too.  When the boats are being tossed about, I figured that video was a better way of conveying what the conditions were like.  Below are a couple of videos I edited of the two ferries.

Snowy Weekend in Woodinville

It seems like we get one big snow storm a year where we live.  It might not last long (although it has once) but it can give us a decent dump of snow.  This year was the same thing.  We got about a foot of snow.  The weather warmed up soon afterwards but for a couple of days, we had lots of snow.  I took a walk around to see what it was like.  Quite a slow walk given how deep the snow was in places.  Here are some shots from that weekend.  I also took some video while I was out so the video clip is below too.  The best bit was the guy with the ATV pulling a bunch of people around on sleds!  They looked like they were having a blast.