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Published: April 26th 2012
Seattle from Manchester Beach
Downtown Seattle from across Puget Sound at Manchester Beach. The Space Needle is on the far left.
Today was another day mostly for chores and driving.
At least the scenery was nice.
The first notable sight is Manchester Beach.
This beach is located in downtown Manchester, one of those small towns where everyone seems to own a boat.
It is also located almost directly across the water from Seattle.
The beach gives a fantastic view.
On the southern end was something that rarely appears, snow covered Mount Rainer again looking like a white mirage.
The next notable thing is Bristol Bay.
The highway runs along the side of the bay, directly opposite a Navy base.
Two aircraft carriers were sitting directly in front of it.
Needless to say, stopping on the road to take a picture would be a rather bad idea.
Incidentally, the Navy is incredibly open
about this base compared to another one in the area.
That base is home to the Pacific ICBM missile submarine fleet, so any civilian going anywhere near it will likely be treated as a spy or terrorist.
The final notable item is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
These days it is a graceful
Mount Rainer From Manchester Beach
Mount Rainer from Manchester Beach. This view appears less than ten days a year!
suspension bridge with a perfect view of Mount Rainer (that again!) when the weather is right.
The bridge gives no hint that it is the replacement for one of the most spectacular engineering failures in the United States, the so called “Galloping Gertie
The failure is studied in freshman physics classes to this day.
All suspension bridges sway slightly in the wind.
They have to, otherwise the steel beams would bend and break.
If the bridge is designed right, the vibrations from the wind die out.
If the engineers get it wrong, the vibrations will reinforce each other, causing the deck to roll like an ocean wave.
Soon after the original Tacoma Narrows bridge opened, people realized the engineers had gotten it really wrong.
In the right type of wind, this bridge deck bucked like a rodeo horse.
Authorities closed the bridge and prepared for the inevitable.
It came during a fall storm, and a TV crew was there to capture it.
The bridge just rolls and rolls in huge waves until the entire thing collapses in a cloud of dust.
Here it is!
Soon afterward, I got one of the nasty surprises that are inevitable on any long road trip.
This one was bitterly ironic.
On this trip I have had to deal with steep interstates filled with trucks (see Winding Roads and Falling Water
) twisty mountain roads with no guardrails (see Sacred Peaks
), dirt roads filled with potholes (see The Biggest Port that Never Was
), and rural highways that locals drive like drag strips (see Big Architecture in a Small City
I got through all of them without a scratch.
Today I had my first accident, in a parking lot!
Someone backed up without looking, directly into my car.
The silver lining is that they only shattered my back bumper, so my car is still drivable, but it’s still another thing I have to deal with.
I had dinner tonight at a restraint chain called Shari’s
Found only in the Pacific Northwest, they are famous for their incredible pies
They make all of them from local farm produce.
The variety is huge.
The pies were as good as advertised, ranking with northeastern diners for quality.
Sadly, the rest of the food was average, and service was as slow as a Cascades glacier.
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