On the outskirts of Bothell, there is a small park with a red brick road. It is right next to the Burke Gilman Trail so I had ridden past it many times on my bike and frequently thought to myself I should check it out. I either forget to go there or am in a hurry on the bike and so, until recently, I had never visited it. A quiet weekend afternoon meant I had the opportunity and, more importantly, remembered to do so.
The route around the north of Lake Washington had been a dirt trail until the red brick road was built. When it opened, it increased the speed of travel from Bothell to Seattle dramatically and opened up the area. The road is now SR522 and is heavily traveled. It has long ago been re-paved but one small section of the original brick road has been preserved in this park. Along with the brick itself, there are some signs telling about the history of the road and the impact on the region as well as a couple of sculptures. I doubt people will be traveling from far afield to visit but I am glad I finally got around to checking it out.
If you want to get from street level to the Salesforce Park, there is a more unusual method. A gondola runs from the ground up to the park level. We first came across it as we walked through the park and passed the top station. For some reason they only want you to use it in one direction so we watched the car come up and then moved on.
After we had come back downstairs, we checked out the base station. It was not a busy day so there wasn’t any form of line but there were customers taking the ride to the top. It was a simple device and slightly odd. The car was a box with no effort made to style it in an interesting way. However, it did provide a point of interest.
During our visit to San Francisco, some friends told us to check out Salesforce Park. This is a park that has been built on top of the transit center in the heart of the city. The transit center is, by demand, a large area so the space on top of it makes for a decent area. The park was fun to wander around. It is surrounded by some interesting buildings which will warrant their own posts in due course.
There are seating areas, children’s play areas, an amphitheater, a dome over an atrium for the transit center itself and plenty of plants. The plant beds are broken down into categories covering different types and plants and different origins for the plants. There are sculptures around the park including one that is a series of water jets. These are triggered by sensors in the transit center such that, as a bus drives beneath them, they squirt up. A bus driving the length of the lane beneath has a sequence of jets that will ripple along the sculpture. We were there when one bus passed beneath and, having been hoping for some action (aside from the occasional random jet of water), we were almost caught out when the wave of jets came by.
If we hadn’t been told about the park, I would never have known. Even when we got to the entrance area, it was a little inconspicuous. It is worth a visit if you are passing by. There is also a more interesting entrance than the elevators but that will have to wait for another post.
Seeing logs on the shore is not unusual. Plenty of logs get washed ashore. However, when taking a walk along the beach at Shoreline over the holidays, there was a tree trunk that had become lodged on the water’s edge. It had become wedged in amongst some piles in the water with the roots of the log still out in the water. Usually the logs appear to have been cut but this was a tree that had got washed out into the sound. Everyone was taking a look at it or climbing out on to it. It was pretty big and finding a way to convey the size was something I pondered at length.
Newhalem’s role in generating power was reflected in the local park. It had a center section that had been designed to emphasize the position that electricity has in the town with the pillars supporting the roof frame and the frame itself having an electrical theme. The big insulators were most obvious but it wasn’t hard to spot other elements too. A rather individual bit of styling and one that appealed to me.
I was with a couple of colleagues in downtown Seattle between meetings. We were walking along the street just killing some time when we came upon Waterfall Park. Tucked on the corner of a block in amongst the buildings, it is a little area with a waterfall (what a shock I hear you cry) running down an artificial rock face into a pool. It seems set up to provide a restful spot for workers to enjoy in the middle of the day. Indeed, it closes by mid-afternoon. There was a security guy on duty so maybe someone has tried to mess with it in the past which is rather disappointing. I only had my phone with me but hopefully you can get a feel for the spot.
It doesn’t matter whether a sunny day is a hot day or not. Get a bunch of kids somewhere near a fountain and they will be running through it in a heartbeat. When the air temperature is not that high, I guess the water temperature is probably not going to be much different. That doesn’t matter though. I think when you are a kid, you don’t care about stuff like that so much. Instead, you run through the water and have fun!
An overnight stop on our drive from California to Washington was Medford in Oregon. There were a few aviation areas of interest in Medford and they will appear in the blog in due course. (That may have influenced my thoughts on overnighting there but, to be honest, it was the best place for us to stop.). We went into the town to get some dinner and, as we walked back to the car, we passed a small park. This park used to be a bus station for Greyhound services. A small plaque showed some shots of how it once looked. An archway into the building had been preserved and now was free standing courtesy of a reinforcement frame. The color and style of the arch were clearly of their time but it looked rather cool in the evening light.
A weekend day had us over in San Francisco having a mooch around some places we haven’t visited before. I had been reading something online about Sutro Heights and wanted to check the place out. This is an overlook up on the cliffs that had been the home of a guy called (unsurprisingly) Sutro. He had built a large house on this land and added gardens around it that included statues and artworks that were available for people to visit.
The house is long demolished but the gardens have become a city park. We stopped off to look around, enjoy the view and use the place as somewhere to have our lunch. The view down to the beach below, while rather hazy when we were there, was still rather nice. You could see plenty of people having fun down on the sands. The gardens themselves were rather relaxing. You could climb up onto the area where the house had once stood and try to imagine what it had been like. A few signs included images of how things had been laid out. Given how close we were to the Cliff House, the baths and the trails, it was a little surprising how few people were there. However, it isn’t heavily signed so maybe it is easily missed. If I hadn’t read about it, we would probably never have known either.
The scheduling of flights from Australia and New Zealand to the west coast of the US is not ideal for getting maximum utilization from your aircraft. There is a long time between the arrivals and the most desirable time for departing on the return journey. Consequently, there are a lot of jets that spend a good portion of the day sitting at LAX. Rather than waste valuable gate space, these jets are disembarked and then towed to remote stands to await the time when the evening flights will be readied.
There is a large parking area to the west end of LAX where these jets are kept. You will see Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand aircraft all parked up here in the middle of the day. We were able to make a short detour from our normal operating area to the west end of the airport when ATC was able which meant we could get a good view of the jets parked up here. One of the Qantas jets was carrying special markings for the Wallabies rugby team. Later in the day they will have started the return trek across the Pacific.