personal

Happy eve!

Olympics sunshine view

Another sunny day with glorious views of the Olympics…

Puget sound shipping

…and busy shipping activity on Puget Sound, despite it being…

Toast bubbly

New Year’s Eve! Happy happy!

Full sun

Olympics sunny

What a difference a day makes! Loving the sun all day! First appearance since arriving….

Bird in treetop

Even the birds were celebrating the glorious light….

Sunset seward

Proof the light lasted to sunset….

Vegetative variants

Tamarack needles

There’s plain vegetation, the way it grows.

Cotoneaster

And, there’s vegetation with added decorations.

Success

Snow plastered

We were rolling along in a fine version of open skies/open road…then…airborne white stuff that was instantly clingy. Not good given the high pass ahead of us. Sure enough: to cross the pass, vehicles must have “traction tires”—wha? Not us. What to do?

Behind salt truck

We checked the obvious alternate routes via internet info (especially highway department webpages)—same traction tires problem. So, we checked a less likely choice a bit farther away…and traction tires were recommended, not required, and the temp was a bit higher. Meaning snow, but not a frozen road surface. And, as you can see, a salt truck ahead of us. Safety first!

Bridge rain

Then, we descended further, and rain. Rain! And more rain! Nonstop rain. Followed by a traffic jam, negotiated deftly by the Guru. Followed by safe arrival! In time for cocktails and dinner. Yay!

I lost my sense of scale

Sunrise Iowa

Between sunrise in Iowa…

Sunset wyoming

…and sunset in Wyoming….

Sculpture garden

…we found a sculpture garden in a field, including a massive bull’s head (I assume bull(?)) and carefully propped up horse.

Dignity ChamberlainSD

And, with her back to the Missouri River at Chamberlain SD, we found “Dignity: of Earth & Sky” (by Dale Lamphere), an even more massive presence at some fifty feet in height.

Dignity star

In the late afternoon light, the star quilt pattern was magnificent viewed from behind as the sunlight came through the blue panels. Most visitors never look at the back, and when you notice the armature (is that what it is?) on the facing side, it becomes clear you are meant to also walk around the back of the figure. I think, given that today was the 24th of December, that her alternate name should be Madonna of the Missouri.

Hay in flats

Quite a different kind of sculpture: the giant round hay bales.

And I’m tired. Carry on.

Drive on

Cloud on mountain road

We started out in sunshine, but we could see a cloud bank the way we were headed. This had the makings of a day of “Drive on, and watch the light and weather conditions change!” Yup. Eventually, we climbed into the clouds.

Snowy way

At some point the splat of the raindrops changed to lack homogeneity, indicating frozen elements, which soon transitioned into actual flakes of w____ stuff. But temps well above freezing—whew!

Sunny roadway

Another hour down the road: full sunshine again.

Complicated skyline

Followed by a colorful sunset etched with industrial and artistic elements.

Night bridge

Later, a modern “peaky” bridge…. Not much light for the camera to work with…yet excellent effect, ¿no?

Feast night

Sweet table

Yummy feasts may end with a sweet assortment to tempt the mouths of all full-belly attendees. Good times! Laughs! Great company! Thanks! Yum! Yesssss!

Rubbish weather (damp, cold)

Garden wall

Been hearing more than I want to about a wall, lately. This one I like! …and it cheered me on my walk as I was buffeted by a cold wind (cold for here) as I stepped around un-evaporating puddles.

Leaf-drop days

Blacktop tree

We had a bit of a wander-errand at mid-day, a spotty-rainy very overcast mid-day. Usually errands are a there/back event, without additional loops. Not today. Loops to cheer us with a sense of adventure? At one dead-end, we found this tree, leafless and with a blacktop skirt that is greatly reducing moisture and air to its roots, poor tree.

Oak leaf steps

Leaves have come down by the thousand in our neighborhood, too. This is about two days worth(!!), with most of them arriving by yesterday. Too wet to shuffle them off the sidewalk….

Firehouse decorations

Okay, some cheer! Our neighborhood firehouse has decorations! I wonder if the lights on the fireplug are to help train boy-dogs?

Carstories

Elvis fuzzy dice

Elvis and fuzzy dice—totally retro. Vrooom. [But quiescent now.]

Parking narc

This car was a parking narc. Notice those devices on the corners above the windshield. I think they’re plate readers. Be careful, folks! [Or park a couple blocks farther away where there are no meters.]