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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


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Try as I might, I have been unable to find a doctor or organization which will accept me as a patient.  No, I have NOT received any medical care since returning to Bellingham one week ago.  Tomorrow I will visit one more group...a walk-in office, in the hope of obtaining a blood test to see how my hemoglobin is doing.

I feel very good.  No intestinal problem.  No sinus problem.  Two 16 - 18 walks produced NO stress or strain...and today, took three (3)...yes three walks.  This afternoon for nearly 5 hours walking Bellingham city center, a few glimpses of which follow.

I saw this lady and her 1-year old yesterday.  Today, they both strolled only 10 feet from me as they crossed busy Mt. Baker Highway only one block from my apartment.

At 7:00 am, it was in the mid 30s f.  Returned home after 1 hour as I was under-dressed for the cold windy morning.  At 9:30 am, tried it again...and once again returned to my apartment after 1.5 hours.

Many Bellingham homes display beautiful floral displays...sign of pride...and much loving work.  Said it before...Bellingham has not a single neighborhood of what one would call unkempt...a pleasant city to walk...a city with numerous trails leading to and from every corner.

Interstate 5 (I-5) looking South to the distant Chuckanut Ridge Hills.

Please say HELLO to CHARLIE.  Charlie and his partner, SAM own the "Running and Walking" business KLICKS, from whom I have purchased a total of four pair of BROOKS "Addiction Walkers", my preferred walking shoe...fits and feels like bedroom slippers walking mountains, plains, or deserts.  Today, I purchased my 4th pair, which I will carry back to Roanoke next week (explanation later !).

Bellingham has a magnificent theatre program, produced in the above Mount Baker Theatre.

Bellingham Towers, the tallest building in town.  A rather good restaurant sits atop this "sky scraper", affording great views of the surrounding mountains and San Juan Islands.

Sidewalk Cafes adorn a number of Bellingham streets.

Wide avenues lead from city center to the waterfront...being newly developed after Georgia Pacific abandoned their large waterside paper plant a few years back, deeding the entire property to the City and Port of Bellingham.  The new waterfront is slowly taking shape...but not without plenty of headaches from the beating of heads between the City and Port...not exactly acting as a team.

Whatcom County Museum...and 100 + years ago, Bellingham City Hall.

Adjacent to the City of Bellingham, sits the community of the LUMMI INDIANS.  The above mural graphically traces local Indian life before the coming of the Europeans some 250 years ago.

From under a city street flows and falls Whatcom Creek...which flows out of Lake Whatcom  some 4 miles to the East.

Salmon once climbed the above falls, making their way to Lake Whatcom.  Today, a rather modern fish hatchery lies below the waterfall, which raise and release thousands of fingerling.  When the salmon return, public fishing is permitted in the pool below the falls / rearing ponds, creating a popular attraction to try your luck or just sit and watch while enjoying a picnic lunch.

From above the Fish Hatchery, LUMMI ISLAND, the first of the 172 San Juan Islands lies 7 miles from Bellingham Marina. 

In my sailing yacht(s), I could reach Lummi Island in 45 minutes while under sail.

Please say HELLO to PAUL.

It's OK to say HELLO again.

At first glance, Paul looked a bit out of place, sitting on a concrete bench.  Such an interesting fellow, I could not help but strike up a conversation.

Seems Paul is homeless...but homeless of a VERY different breed.  Instead of asking handouts, Paul has dedicated himself to traveling America...all of America...spending much time in Alaska.  In fact, Paul is waiting for the Friday morning sailing of the Alaska Ferry on which he has "walk on" passage to Alaska where he will spend yet another Summer as he has done so many times in the past.  One-way passage cost is $326.00.  Return flight can be found around $200.00.

Paul and I chatted for nearly one hour...looks, in Paul's case are VERY deceiving.  Paul has sparked an idea in my easy for me to enjoy the cruise to Alaska, where SAM & ME could range far and wide next Summer (May - September), blogging all the way. 

The distant hills cradle Western Washington University in the valley between crests.  This view is along the waterfront...downtown Bellingham on the left and Bellingham Bay to the right...the San Juan Islands beyond the Bay.

Bellingham Middle School.  This building was totally gutted by a massive fire.  The brick walls, however, withstood the disaster, around which the school has been completely rebuilt...better than before.

Bellingham is speckled with parks large and small.  This tiny park announces arrival in the "Lettered Streets" neighborhood. 

A sole woman is responsible for creation, development and care for this park...much to the apparent (so says she) consternation of the NEW Park Department import from Alaska.

A small but immaculate home in Belligham.

Click click...there are people in that crooky tree.

Another rather modest...but attractive home meticulously manicured and presented to enhance the neighborhood.

Washington State Flower:  RHODODENDRON.

This plant grows wild in well as being carefully tended in many Bellingham home gardens.

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Seeing as no one seems to be ready to allow me to re-enter Bellingham's medical environ...and seeing as I feel truly back under control...I will give it one more week.  If I continue to improve, I plan to fly back to Roanoke, Virginia; fetch SAM from Chuck and Donna; and head into the West Virginia Mountains.

I am so angry at the "system", I am challenged to give them my tush...and take on the waiting mountains...SAM and all !

Yes, Karen...I am a bit impetuous....

Sunday, April 28, 2013


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Rained last night...Sun heating up the 38 F. morning humid (85%) air until 10:00 am, when the entire sky clouded over threatening rain...which never came. 

Decided to drag myself out of my apartment and take on my 18-mile Y-Road Loop feeling very good.  Intestinal problem has apparently fixed itself.  Doctor Al's (Bedford, Virginia ER) prescriptions have shut down my sinus more flooded lungs and cough has stopped. 

If I were in Roanoke, Virginia, I would take SAM out of Chuck's storage and challenge the West Virginia Mountains.

Today's walk is to test my endurance and stamina.  I know 18 miles after 1.5 week layoff is kinda stupid, but as Karen E. told me, I am a bit impetuous and tend to make snap - and stupid - decisions.

Today's route is East on Mount Baker (our local volcano) Highway...South on the Y-Road (sometimes parallel Squalicum Road)...West on North Shore Road (following the north shoreline of Whatcom Lake)... North on Britton Road...and West on Mount Baker Highway, returning to I-5 (and my apartment).

Within the past few days, Spring has arrived...April is busting out all over.

My apartment Living Room.  Mount Baker Highway is beyond the far wall and three stories below my windows - often a bit noisy, but I have the ability to tune out unwanted offense I have sometimes been accused of during some conversations.

Elegant Ranch Home on Mt. Baker Highway.  The near hills are foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.  The distant hills are actual Cascade Mountains...however, lying well across the international border; i.e., lying in Canada.

Walking on Squalicum Road, this view is to the East...Cascade foothills in the foreground...Cascade Mountains in the background.  Mount Baker Volcano lies a bit left (North) of the center of this image, about 70 miles distant.

A cozy ranch snuggled between Squalicum Road and the Cascade foothills.

Lake Squalicum...looking West from Squalicum fishing gas motors (electric only).

Another ranch home looking East from Squalicum Road.

...and yet, another.

Much of the Squalicum Lake Valley (to the South of Squalicum Lake) is "wetlands".  Where clear water actually flows, SKUNK CABBAGE is often present...yes, it has an aroma much like an actual skunk.

From Squalicum Road, Agate Road leads down a rather steep hill to the shores of Lake Whatcom ... and North Shore Road, which hugs the north bank of Lake Whatcom all the way into the City Limits of Bellingham.

A 8 % + hill falls down to the distant (about 1/2 mile) shore of Lake Whatcom.  The distant mountain is CHUCKANUT MOUNTAIN, which falls precipitiously to the West into Puget Sound.  From this point, Chuckanut Mountain is about 10 miles distant.

...another view of Agate Road falling down to Lake Whatcom

...and yet one Agate Road meets the shoreline and North Shore Road

Three runs of high tension power lines reach from the Cascade Mountain power plants to the shoreline of Puget Sound...primarily to feed the three large oil refineries which process the oil delivered from the Arctic North Slope by huge ocean-going ships (Remember the EXXON used to tramp between Alaska the the oil refineries some 20 miles north of Bellingham).

Serene pastureland under the overhead power lines...horses grazing in the distance.

At the bottom of the hill, Agate Road reaches the shoreline of Lake Whatcom.

From North Shore Drive, looking back up the hill at Agate Road.  That hill is actually over 8% steep grade.

A bit (1/4 mile) from the Agate Road - North Shore Drive, sits the only commercial activity in over 8 miles in any upscale dining experience...quality and ambiance to equal some of the best in the country.  Today, I stopped in for a late breakfast...dining slowly, enjoying the antics of a number of young (some months to 2 year-olds) "babies" enjoying flirting with other the kid's mother's delight.

Agate Bay next to North Shore Drive.

Split-Rail Fence...These rails are CEDAR, hand split from 14-foot long sections of cedar logs.  I have split hundreds of such rails from old cedar telephone poles - salvaged by Seattle City Light -...some as large as the diameter of 50-gallon steel drums (which often are buried at the bottom of telephone poles...Before splitting the big cedar poles, I had to hand cut off the steel drums, using a small sledge hammer and a hand-held hardened & sharpened chisel...lots of work, but oh, what fun when the finished rail fences are in place.

I did this in the early 1960's on my 10 acre farm in the Maple Valley, some 40 miles South East of Seattle, nestled against the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  My farm had a creek running through it, which, during the fall season, 50-pound Chinook (King) Salmon arrived, spawning in my pasture...which always flooded.  By law, the carcass of the fish - which die after spawning - must be thrown back into the creek, providing food for the fingerling which hang around for one year before returning to the Pacific Ocean.  Washington salmon often spend the next 3 - 5 years off the shore of Russia's eastern seaboard (Siberia) before returning to the exact same spot where they were hatched...i.e., my creek.

Waterfront homes fronting Agate Bay, Lake Whatcom.  Lake Whatcom is the source of water for the city (now 75,000 plus population) of Bellingham.

Typical waterfront home along North Shore Drive.

Looking East from above Agate Bay.  Cascade Mountains and the rather new North Cascade Highway cross into Eastern Washington State over the distant mountains.

North Shore Drive

...and another section of North Shore Drive...about 3.5 hour walk from my apartment

Giant ferns grow along the side hills of North Shore Drive.  These ferns are found all the way into Central California as one proceeds along US Highway 101 along the Pacific Ocean...which SAM & ME walked two years ago.

Much of the local topography is SANDSTONE...a soft sand rock.  Wind and rain over the millennium carve many such caves.

A home - which is for sale - stands on the hillside adjacent to the cliff where the sandstone caves lie.

This is the entrance from North Shore Drive into the community of EAGLE RIDGE.   My home is (was) to the left about one block from the entrance.

A bit further on (on North Shore Drive) is Christiane's Driveway.  I have so named it because:  in 1993, I was in Washington D.C. where my Company had a booth at the Fancy Food Show (I attended up to 15 such shows yearly for over 25 years).  During the show I received a telephone call on my cell phone from Cri (Christiane, my wife), who was fighting Breast Cancer for a number of years.  Crying, Cri said she just hit a beautiful German Shepard dog which ran in front of her car as she passed the above driveway.

The dog was still alive as Cri sat in the back of the home owner's pickup truck...the German Shepard cradled in her lap...crying all the way to the Veterinarian Hospital...where the dog was pronounced dead. 

That day was the beginning of Cri's decline of her confidence to fight her battle...and often beat herself up for having killed that dog.

I have passed Cri's Driveway hundreds of times since that day...and always say a prayer for both Cri and the dog...just as I did this afternoon.

Cri died January 12, 2001.

Lake Whatcom across the street (North Shore Drive) from Cri's Driveway.

The Bay I call BRITTON BAY...because of the northbound arterial road (Britton Road) which runs from Lake Whatcom...up a rather steep hill...and back down the other side, which terminates back on Mount Baker Highway.

Cherry trees on Britton Road are in full bloom today.

Looking back South on Britton Road toward Lake Whatcom

An exceptional Cedar Tree bordering Britton Road.

The final steep hill - about 5 blocks long - dropping down to Mount Baker Highway.  In the far distance (smoky looking mountain tops) are the mountains up the spine of Canada's VANCOUVER ISLAND.

Even Washington State Residents paint their mail boxes...

I completed today's walk with NO pain or shortness of breath...all quite normal, with no sign of the problems of two weeks ago walking near ROANOKE, Virginia.

Tomorrow at 1:30 pm (after lunch), I have been invited to visit my long-time friends...teenagers - both boys and girls - held in Juvenile Detention in Bellingham.  These young folks have followed the blog of SAM & ME for over four years...this will be my third visit...during which, we have enjoyed some spirited chats.  One of these young boys named my previous motor home, SPIA...(Seniors Performing Incredible Acts).  There is a wall sized USA map, with pins and ribbons of all our four walks across America...including our current effort.

I am eager to see my friends once is for such moments that carries SAM & ME the thousands of lonely miles of our quest...that and the hundreds of fantastic friends we meet every day out on the road.

It is now 9:10 pm.  It has taken me since 4:00 pm; i.e., 5 + hours to create this blog update...a task of pride and allow the now over 500 followers to experience what I have experienced only a few hours ago.

I truly wish all a good day and hope you find our blog as pleasant as it has been for me walk the walk and create this show and tell experience for you.