Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Visit to the Hydroplane and Race boat Museum

For many of you, this museum would not mean much. But if you have lived around Seattle most of your life, you will know a little about hydroplanes, and some old timers can spend hours talking about their favorite boats and drivers.

We met a couple of those guys when we visited the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum for the first time, a place that is less than fifteen minutes from our house.

I wanted to take the kids, and Jill said "I want to go!", so we did it on a day that she could join us. I also wanted to make a donation. 
 I found this little wooden hydroplane several years ago at the Fremont Street Market. It is a classic example of the homemade wooden hydros that kids made and pulled behind their bikes. It also happens to be a model of one of the most famous boats, the Miss Budweiser, or The Bud, as it was lovingly, or disgustedly, called. I thought is was something that should be preserved. 
 The name of its first owner in inscribed on the back. If anyone knows who this might be, I want him to know that his toy is now in the hydro museum. The roughed up paint tells the story of being dragged and flipped behind your bike, Thomas. 
We went in to the museum and I talked to one of the boat guys. He was very pleased to accept my little boat, we talked a little about it's history, and he pointed out that the real one was right out there in the lot!
 Yep, that's it!
 Then we toured the museum with our expert guide.
 This Bud won the championships in 1970 and 71, driven by Dean Chenowith.  You can see that the cockpit is open and sits behind the big piston engine. 

 Chenoweth was killed in 1982, when his boat flipped and crushed him. The boat owner, Bernie Little, the wealthiest of the boat owners, then began to develop the enclosed cockpit, that has saved many drivers lives. 

 But we were never fans of The Bud. Our boat was the Blue Blaster, the Atlas Van Lines, driven by the fearless Bill Muncey. 

 Unfortunately Bill also died in his boat, flipping in San Diego in 1981. I remember when the kids and I heard of his death in October of that year, after cheering him on in that year's Seafair race. Jill was eight and Jake was six. We all cried. 

 Bill said that if anything ever happened to him he wanted Chip Hanauer to take over for him. Chip did, in this new boat.
 Chip continued the winning ways, surviving several flips thanks to the enclosed cockpits that became standard, and retired just one win short of his idol, Bill Muncey. 
 There are little speedy boats as well as the big guys. 

 This is a model of the hydro that changed boat racing. Developed in 1950 by a Seattle man, Stan Sayres, the Slo-Mo-Shun IV was the first boat to fly over the water instead of through the water. Hydroplaning was born and he brought the sport to Seattle.

 This is a working museum where they actually bring historic boats back to life. 
 This is the old Pay'n Pac.

 In the lobby Jill and the kids tried out a race boat simulator game while Chip Hanauer looks on. 
It was a fun field trip!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday in Late August

I just got back a short time ago from an evening walk. It was 80 degrees by late afternoon, so the evening was lovely, warm and calm. The sun sets a lot sooner now, about 7:45, but the twilight still lingers for quite a while. 

We live in such an international neighborhood. This evening a group of Pacific Islanders were meeting and singing in a makeshift chapel in a garage. Then just up the street members of the Ethiopian mosque/community center were arriving for one of their frequent gatherings.

Across the street from the mosque, Sikhs were walking on the track at the elementary school, the ladies dressed in their saris. Closer to home a Latino family was spilling out into their yard, having come together for some occasion. We all nod and greet each other in passing. 

I was walking in the evening because we were busy today. We spent most of the day with the grand kids while Jill was at teacher meetings. Isaac and Irene had just returned Sunday night from a week in South Carolina, visiting their dad and his family. They had a great time, even had the opportunity to help baby loggerhead turtles make it safely to the sea. Now they were happy to be home and were taking it slow. 

We did manage to get them unpacked and the laundry mostly done and put away. Irene painted - she is quite the artist- and Isaac played slug. He was grumpy because the reality of returning to school on Thursday had set in. Irene said she wasn't happy about it either, but was just trying not to think about it. 

After lunch we took the kids to do their shopping for school supplies. Jill had already gone over the lengthy lists and they had collected the stuff they already had on hand and highlighted what we needed to buy. Off we went to Staples to hunt and search and compare prices and collect the items on the list. Some were easy, some not so, like six poly pocket folders, one each of six different colors. We made a rainbow. 

That done, we went to Dairy Queen for ice cream. Isaac's grumpiness was gone. Back at their house, we got all the items sorted and stored in their backpacks, ready for school. Now they can enjoy their last two days of freedom. 

Yes, summer is coming to an end. It has been an easygoing summer for Tom and me, and our summer will continue, as it can for retired folks. For the kids it has been an amazing summer, full of adventure, from Colorado and Wyoming to Whidbey Island to Crater Lake and the California redwoods, to the Oregon coast to South Carolina. Wow!  I wonder if they know how fortunate they are. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Joyful Gardeners Having Fun Together

On the fourth Saturday of each month January through October, our "neighborhood" garden group, affiliated with the Northwest Perennial Alliance, gets together for an activity or a field trip. I say "neighborhood", because that is the NPA description of our kind of group but we are scattered across a wide area south of Seattle. With many in the group still working regular jobs, weekends are precious, so we are fortunate to have most members attending on any given Saturday meeting day.

Today Vicky was in charge of the planning and selected a trip to the Highline Botanical Garden, and since our home is less than ten minutes away, we volunteered to also put on a little workshop on making glass flowers.

 Late August is not the best time for this garden, but there was still beauty to be found. 

 I had to look up this tall water plant with the purple plume flowers now fading to gray. It is Blue Pickerel, or Pontedera cordata.

 Rosa glauca rose hips and glodenrod. 
 We found a tag on this tree that looked like it was producing hops. It is a Japanese Hornbeam, Carpinus japonica. It was new to even our garden experts. 

 Grasses provide late summer/fall interest when other plants get tired looking. 
 Both the bones of the perennial garden and this Japanese garden were moved from their original locations when their spaces were cleared to build the third runway at Sea-Tac airport. This garden was painstakingly recreated here in North SeaTac park. 

 The original ornate lanterns have been stolen or vandalized, unfortunately, so new lanterns are being created using heavy rocks, not so easy to carry off. I really like the rustic look. 
 Lots of visiting goes on during these outings. 
 Tom shares information about pines with Sondra. He says the mature needles on Japanese Black Pines are very pokey. Others are not. So Sondra was then petting all the pines. 
 Still talking. 

 Back at the entry gate, acanthus flower stalks. 

 Part of the beautiful cut steel entry gate.

 Back at our house, we toured our garden, paying attention to the way we have used glass in the garden. I gave a brief demonstration on creating glass flowers, and then everyone got busy designing their own. We had lots of glass supply on hand, so we just charged the sticker price of the thrift store glass. 
 It was fun for me to watch people play with their designs, trying this and that. 
 Cheryl was very into the project and made two. 
 Judy made up her mind pretty quickly, but Guy deliberated for a long time. 
 Sherril worked with David to improve his creation.
 Vicky added embellishment to her design. 
Everyone left with the makings for a glass flower, including the re bar to mount them. They will do the gluing at home where they will have time to let everything set up properly.

And then we all went out to lunch at a little neighborhood restaurant nearby.