To get from Seattle to Fremont, you have to cross the water. Highway 99 runs across a high bridge to get from one side to the other. Being underneath the bridge you have a very different perspective on things. It is an old bridge structure with concrete piers supporting the roadway. From underneath, the symmetry of the structure is quite appealing. What is apparent when you are there but is not so clear in a picture is the steepness of the hill as it drops away down to the water. The gradient is pretty dramatic. The bridge does climb a bit but the ground falls away far faster.
Bascule bridges were a popular thing for me when we lived in Chicago. The Chicago River was crossed by many of them and I liked watching them being opened when the sailboats were entering or leaving the lake. Fremont also has a bascule bridge and it is really nicely looked after. It is well painted and seems to have a few decorative elements. We also got lucky with it opening as we were walking along the trail that runs underneath it. I wonder how good it looks at night. I guess I will have to come back and find out!
How many childhood stories included a troll? I never even got to think what a troll really was. They just seemed to live under bridges and take pleasure in making life miserable for anyone coming across the bridge. When you think about how mean spirited they were, it isn’t difficult to see how the name has been co-opted for modern usage. Fremont on the north side of Seattle has its own troll. It probably has many of the modern version but this one is old school.
Situated under a bridge that takes the road down to the city center, the troll is rather large. He has been sculpted out of the earth under the bridge and, I assume, some other building material. He is a pretty grim looking fellow. This doesn’t stop attracting a lot of people that come to check him out. If you want to get some sense of the scale of him, he has a VW Bug under one hand. That appears to be a genuine Beetle so you can see he is a pretty big chap. I didn’t notice anyone having any trouble getting across the bridge so he either isn’t good at his job or else the propaganda about trolls was fake news!
Knowing the mix of people I know, all sorts of comments could result from this post! Let’s see who has self-restraint. We were spending a weekend checking out different parts of Seattle and a lunchtime stroll took us to the Fremont area of town. As we walked up to an interchange, a large statue was looking down on the road. Vladimir Ilyich Ulynaov Lenin was there. Of course, I know he is dead and embalmed in a tomb in Moscow but his likeness in bronze was sitting by a plaza.
I don’t know why he is there. Whether it is a tribute, an ironic insult or just a weird outcome to some other plan, I have no idea and I don’t really care. This blog is not about political statements. It is a record of things I have come across at various times. If your sensibilities are unable to handle a picture of a statue of Lenin without you exploding with rage, tough luck. His brand of crazy is not what this is about and neither is your adopted brand of crazy come to that. Instead, I just came across a strange statue and I am writing about it.
Having watched a guy walking across a narrow railroad bridge over the Alameda Creek in Fremont as you can read about here, a train was now coming across the bridge. The train was a Capital Corridor service heading to San Jose. I am currently working on a project to acquire new locomotives for Caltrans that will see service on the Capital Corridor and will replace borrowed Amtrak locomotives. This train was being hauled by one of these Amtrak locomotives. All being well, this will soon no longer be a regular sight.
This post is a question for whoever might be able to help me out. I was walking along Alameda Creek and I saw various sets of these devices along the levee banks at different locations. I was curious as to what they could be. They looked like they would float so I wondered whether they are designed to start at the bottom of the track and then float up as the water levels rises. Perhaps this then reports back to some control location so everyone knows the level of the creek? However, that is just a guess. Does anyone know the real story?
The trail along the Alameda Creek takes you under a couple of bridges. One is a road bridge and the other is a rail bridge. I walked under the rail bridge and, as I came out of the other side, a guy walked past me and up to the bridge deck. He was carrying a couple of containers as if he had just done some shopping. He then turned and walked on to the tracks. I stepped over the rail and headed along the track on the ties (sleepers for those of you in the U.K.)
I was rather surprised by this. The bridge was only a single track width and it did not appear to have any spare space at the edges. He also didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry. I had to watch what was going to happen. I had no idea how busy the line was but this did not look like a good plan. He strolled across the river. As he was getting towards the other side, I thought I could hear a train horn. Sure enough, an Amtrak train appeared ahead. The engineer obviously saw him and was sounding the horn. The guy kept strolling but was clearly going to get across in time. He eventually stepped over the rail and down the slope on the opposite bank as the train came closer. I don’t know whether he knew the schedule but, if he had been in the middle rather than where he was, this could have ended very badly.
I took a walk along Alameda Creek down in Fremont. There is a trail that runs along the top of the levee and, with a sunny Saturday and not much to do plus having been in Newark for something, I thought a stroll would be nice. I haven’t walked along the creek before so I don’t know what normal water levels are but, with the large amount of rain that we have been having, I assume that the levels are well above normal.
The things that really tell how the weather has been are the color of the hills and the color of the water. The hills above Fremont are very green. It doesn’t take long when the rain comes for the ground to get transformed from dry brown to lush green. Given how much rain there has been, the green is pretty strong. The brown has been transferred to the river. The water was rushing through and it was obviously carrying a lot of sediment down from the hills. The water was very muddy. What would have been good to do would be to go flying over the bay and to get shots of where the rivers are flowing out into the bay. I imagine the run off would be very conspicuous right now.
Heading home from a work trip meant an evening flight back into Oakland. Our run in brought us across Tracy and Livermore and I could get a good view of the towns before we crossed the hills near Fremont. The lack of lights is a good indication of where the hills are sometimes. There was a lot of cloud lurking over parts of the area and this was lit from beneath by the city lights. The effect was rather cool as I looked out so I tried to get shots that expressed that too.
I grabbed a few shots out of the window. Something interesting was happening with the camera as the first shot of the burst was what I was expecting but subsequent ones seemed to go for a far longer exposure with the associated increase in blurry failures. I shall try and work this out but if you know why this might happen, please let me know in the comments.
If you head across the Dumbarton Bridge at Fremont, you will pass Ardenwood Historic Farm. On the right side of the highway as you head towards the bay, this farm has been a feature of the area for over 100 years although it is now a fraction of its former size. However, it is now under the control of the East Bay Parks District and open for the public to visit. It is a combination of little bits of what a farm would be. You could say it perpetuates some of the myths you have as kids about what farms are like since we grow up thinking that all farms have a bit of everything rather than just being a cattle farm, growing a single crop or raising chickens en masse.
However, it does provide an opportunity to see some aspects of an old style farm much as they once were. The farmhouse itself is quite impressive. The family that owned it became quite influential in the area and had the house to match. The grounds are nicely laid out and it was a pleasant spot to spend some time as the chickens that were scrabbling around in the dirt near us also seemed to think.
There are goats, sheep, pigs, horses and cows in the grounds. They get a lot of attention from the visitors and we were no exception. The goats were the most active seeming to be more interested in the leaves on a tree above a bench in their enclosure than the food that they had been provided. A couple of the kids were desperately reaching under a fence. I guess the grass really is greener…