Transportation

Just another roadside attraction in Oregon

(Click on the picture to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

I have seen my share of roadside attractions and airports in my life. But every time I drive Oregon State Highway 18 to the coast, to surf, I marvel at the audacity of the  Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, created by Evergreen Aviation Airlines, an air cargo operation out of McMinnville Oregon. It has two 747s, including one mounted on the top of an air hangar (see it in the distance to the left of the photo).

The company was ubiquitous in Alaska during the six years I lived there, 2004 to 2010, so I feel a connection to Evergreen in my own personal way. Anchorage is one of the busiest air cargo hubs in the world, and I would see Evergreen air cargo planes parked with all of the other air cargo aircraft at Ted Stevens International Airport.

The museum is literally next to the highway, just before you turn off for McMinnville. I have never had time to visit, and I do not plan to stop. I usually come by here in off hours. Also, I have seen my share of aviation museums, including one of the best, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, next to Boeing’s south Seattle facilities.

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It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters

I will be taking a road trip in a week. The destination is probably where most people in my country last would want to be traveling. But I always seems to find unexpected treasures when I pick a new place, and have a purpose, and find wonderful, beautiful things in places overlooked or shunned. Hoping your journey leads to new discoveries for you.

The big toys come out during summertime

Everywhere I walk and go it seems, some water or road project is going on, digging up streets, laying new sewer lines, and creating some inconvenience for all of us. Hey folks, that is called the price of living in a modern world. Be thankful you have these things. According to Food and Water Watch, 2.5 billion people, 1 billion of them kids, live without basic sanitation like a sewer system. And if you think your roads are bad, try them overseas, where they create literally lethal situations daily. So,  you may just try and chill out if you have to wait. You can even smile at those flaggers. They are your price for a modern, comfortable life. It is worth our investment.

St. John’s Bridge, Portland

The St. John’s Bridge, in North Portland, is bike friendly and outstanding for views of Portland and the Willamette River. There are a lot of fabulous rides that can include a trip over the bridge. The views are always worth it.

Ross Island Bridge, Portland

 

I cross over the Ross Island Bridge every day going to work. Here is an angle from below, taken from the Springwater Corridor. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Working Portland, seen from Overlook Park

Portland’s riverfront, north of the Fremont Bridge (that big one seen in these photos), is utterly about work. Trains. Factories. Shipping and receiving facilities. Grain depots. Cement kilns. Factories. Fuel depots. The best perch to soak all that up is from Overlook Park. I took the photos from here, and also from another spot a block away at Overlook House. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Portland’s most scenic drive, Northwest Cornell Road

Northwest Cornell Road climbs up the city’s West Hills more than a thousand feet, with trails intersecting the two-lane thoroughfare. It is one of the city’s most popular bike rides, and hikers and trail runners access world-class Forest Park from here too. Two tunnels were carved out here during the Great Depression, as a Works Project Administration project. They have both that sturdy quality of craftsmanship and utliitarian functionality that typify the great building projects of this era of American history. They are, in fact, timeless in their beauty, and I like them. Here are a few shots of one, and the side path bikers taken to avoid tunnel traffic. I think I will be seeing these tunnel a lot in the months to come. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Impressions of southern California

I love traveling to places I know nothing about, in my own country or overseas. What you see is all new, particularly if you have no firm pre-set notions or biases. I spent a few days in San Diego and Riverside counties, specifically in Temecula (home to Native Americans for about 10,000 years), about 60 miles northeast of San Diego and the same distance southeast of greater Los Angeles. It is now a bedroom community, in the middle of the coastal ranges that once were dry and mostly arid spaces and are now home to freeways, Indian gaming casinos, agriculture businesses, shopping centers, miles of car-oriented subdivisions, strip malls, and also beautiful mountains and natural spaces. I was struck by how utterly and completely dependent the entire local economy and the built environment are to cheaply priced energy, notably petroleum.

The beaches of north San Diego County dazzled me. Numerous historic and scientific landmarks also impressed me, particularly the San Luis Rey Mission and the Palomar Observatory. I also was able to get in some hikes in Palomar State Park and the Santa Rosa Plateau. All provided excellent opportunities to enjoy the high desert mountain ecosystems. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Seattle’s South Park neighborhood

South Park is located in south Seattle, surrounded by industrial activities, the Duwamish River, and some major arterials. It is, by Seattle standards, lower income, given the physical and built environment. Still, it is home to many families and others who live here, in single family homes, subsidized housing, and apartments. More Latinos call it home than any other racial or ethnic group. A number of Latino-owned businesses can be found in the main intersection at Cloverdale and South Fourteenth Avenue. The South Park Bridge, which has been under repair for four years, cutting off a lot of potential business for the area, finally reopened this summer. The bridge now includes a lot of steel artwork, which I like. I also spied some developments along the industrial Duwamish, on land claimed by the Port of Seattle. I have no idea what is happening there. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

The foreign-flagged city on the seas heads to Alaska

 

Alaska cruise ships operate in U.S. and Canadian waters, yet are exempt from U.S. labor laws and most corporate taxes by virtue of being incorporated and flagged in third countries and because of the Jones Act. This obscure maritime law allows cruise line firms to use foreign-built ships and foreign labor, not U.S. ships and U.S. workers, in U.S. waterways because they make a port of call in another country (Canada). These enormous ships’ crews hail from many countries, like Italy and the United Kingdom, and have lower-paid workers below the deck who come from developing nations such as the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. These employees are not paid equivalent U.S. wages.

However, it is unlikely most of the passengers on these massive ships know who is even running the ship that passes through some of the world’s most beautiful waterways, in British Columba, Washington state, and Alaska. Most of those passengers are having a great time, eating buffets and gambling, shopping, and stopping at small towns like Ketchikan, Skagway, and Sitka. If you want read about how odd these floating feeding frenzies can be, read the late David Foster Wallace’s short story called Shipping Out. Wallace notes, “All of the Megalines offer the same basic product–not a service or a set of services but more like a feeling: a bland relaxation and stimulation, stressless indulgence and frantic tourism, that special mix of servility and condescension that’s market under configurations of the verb ‘to pamper.'”

They also make money for the towns where the dock and the cities that host the ships, like Seattle, so they have many supporters. The corporations that own these ships also fund very sophisticated  business advocacy teams that ensure regulations that control their discharges (see EPA fact sheet) do not impact the profitability of their operations in either Canada or the United States. Fights over their discharges, including waster water and air emissions, have been ongoing for years.

I photographed  the Norwegian Jewel as it was pulling out of the Port of Seattle, en route to Southeast Alaska, on July 12. Run by Norwegian Cruise Lines of Florida, it was built in Germany, is flagged in the Bahamas, and can hold more than 3,500 passengers and crew members. Information on the country of origin of the crew members is not readily accessible. My guess is most of the people on the deck of this ship could care very little about any of the larger regulatory issues discussed in this summary, and they will have a fun trip while being pampered. (Click on the photography to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)