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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.


Warren said...

Thank you, Bruce. I think of you often. Went to a local community theater yesterday to experience Tammy's daughter play Anne in 'Anne of Green Gables.' It was a nice show. Went to supper with the older daughter, her friend, a son and Tammy's husband. Tammy took Virginia home as she was not feeling well. Thanks for sharing a leg of your journey with us. Thanks for sharing with us about Cri.

Christy Larsh said...

I love this! The "typical waterfront home" is my childhood home :) I was searching the internet for pictures of Agate Bay and came across your blog and was pleasantly surprised. My dad lived there from the 60s up until he passed in 2007. I haven't been up to that area for some time, so your pictures were a great trip down memory lane. Thank you :)