Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nephew Joey Catches The Biggest King Salmon Of The Year In The Queen Charlotte Islands

That is a 66.2 pound King Salmon my nephew Joey's fishing partner, Nate, is holding. It took a 30 minute battle before Joey was able to get a net around the monster fish. (scroll down for picture of Joey holding the King Salmon soon after it was caught)

Joey sent me news of his big catch via email this morning with the subject line "Joey Jones is in another blog."

The other blog is the Queen Charlotte Lodge blog, which might lead you to correctly guess that Joey's big fish was caught in the Queen Charlotte Islands zone of British Columbia.

The blog is called The Kingfisher Report, with the blog post about Joey's big fish titled Catch of the Day - June 25.

The Catch of the Day post in its entirety is below....

Fishing an anchovy/flasher combination down 40 feet just off the kelp forest at Yatze Bay, Nate and Joe hooked up with the fish of a lifetime! “For the first few minutes I thought I had a halibut!” said Nate Schwartz, telling his story of the big one that didn’t get away! (That could be because QCL guests have been catching a lot of nice halibut in close to the kelp this month as they feed on abundant needlefish in the area.) “But when it started to move and come closer to the surface we could see the silver flash and then I knew we had a big salmon on the line!” Nate managed to hold the powerful fish out and away from the safety of the kelp as it sounded. After a 30 minute tug of war Joe faced the daunting task of getting this giant into the net. But the two buds, fishing on their own without a guide, had their system down and successfully slipped the net around the 34 inch girth of the massive salmon. They called Fishmaster Matt Burr over to do some measurements and quickly estimated the size to be close to 70 pounds! Upon arrival back at the QCL dock to much fanfare and many curious onlookers, the big beauty was finally recorded at 66.2 pounds to become the largest salmon so far in the 2013 season which is shaping up to be a classic! That’s a great fish lads – Congratulations!

UPDATE: Joey's big brother emailed me the below photo of Joey holding the giant King Salmon, soon after it was caught....

Friday, June 21, 2013

Railfan Spencer Jack Takes His Dad And Favorite Girlfriend To The Cascade Tunnel

In the picture, on the left, you are looking at my great nephew, Spencer Jack, sitting on his dad. On the right you are looking at the west terminus of the new Cascade Tunnel.

Cascade Tunnel tunnels through the Cascade Mountains near Stevens Pass, with the west end of the tunnel being about 65 miles east of Everett, Washington.

The Cascade Tunnel is 7.79 miles long, making it the longest railroad tunnel in the United States.

Construction of the new Cascade Tunnel began in December of 1925, completed in 1928, going into operation on January 12, 1929.

The new Cascade Tunnel replaced the original Cascade Tunnel, which began construction on August 20, 1897, operational on December 20, 1900. The original Cascade Tunnel was much higher, and shorter, at 2.63 miles, than the new Cascade Tunnel, as you can see via the diagram below.

The original Cascade Tunnel did not solve the problem with snow slides, due to the railway still being at a high elevation.

On March 1, 1910, an avalanche came crashing down at a place called Wellington. 96 people were killed in what became known as The Wellington Disaster, it being the deadliest avalanche in American history.

It was The Wellington Disaster which prompted the construction of the new Cascade Tunnel, and nearly a century later prompted renowned Skagit Valley author, Martin Burwash, to write the best selling historical novel about The Wellington Disaster, titled Vis Major.

Above that is Spencer Jack's favorite girl friend, Brittney, on top of the entry to the Cascade Tunnel.

I am a little surprised that it is so easy to get to, and above, the Cascade Tunnel entry, what with this age of overdone security we are currently plagued with.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spencer Jack Sliding at Slidewaters Waterpark in Chelan Washington

I am not totally certain where my great nephew, Spencer Jack is doing some water sliding in the picture. I do know it is either in Leavenworth or at the Slidewaters Waterpark in Chelan, Washington.

I do know for certain the video below of Spencer Jack sliding down a water slide is at the Slidewaters Waterpark in Chelan.

Spencer Jack is currently taking his favorite girl friend, Brittney, and his dad on a road trip to various locations in Eastern Washington, or as those who live in Western Washington refer to it, East of the Mountains.

Looking at the Slidewaters Waterpark website it appears this waterpark has greatly grown since I was last in Chelan.

Slidewaters Waterpark now has a Lazy River. Lazy Rivers are just about my favorite thing in a waterpark, that along with a good tube ride. Slidewaters has what sounds like a fun tube ride called Thunder Rapids.

The Slidewaters Waterpark website describes Thunder Rapids thusly..."A tube slide classic, the river run is one of the most popular slides in the park because it provides a unique experience every time. Start on your tube with a group of up to four people and enjoy multiple chutes, slides and shallow pools as you work your way down over 100 feet of vertical drop before the final crash into the catch pool at the bottom."

You can go here and read descriptions of all the Slidewaters Waterpark's rides with names like Corkscrew, Blue Blaster, Run Amuck, Whitewater, Squirt Gun, Purple Haze, Tube Blaster, Downhill Racer, Aqua Zoo and Bonzai Pipeline.

There is also a giant Hot Tub heated to 100 degrees in which up to 60 people can get hot. A giant Hot Tub filled with 60 people does not sound too appealing to me.

Below is the aforementioned video of Spencer Jack sliding down a Slidewaters Waterpark waterslide....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nephew Joey Bravely Crossing The Re-Opened I-5 Skagit River Bridge

My Nephew Joey crossing the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge for the first time in weeks, on Wednesday, June 19, the day the temporary fix had traffic flowing easier, north and south, in the Skagit Valley.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Finding Out When The I-5 Skagit River Bridge Was Actually Built Continues To Be A Mystery

In the picture above you are looking at an aerial view of Interstate 5, under construction, looking north, in the Skagit Valley of Washington. This picture of Interstate 5, under construction, is dated September 6, 1960. A  little less than 4 months before the first day of 1961.

Ever since the Interstate 5 bridge across the Skagit River collapsed, multiple sources, multiple times, have had that bridge built in either 1955 or 1956, which contradicts the living memory of many who lived in the Skagit Valley at the time Interstate 5 was constructed.

Below is an example, a blurb taking from an online article, the URL of which was sent by a Skagit Valley librarian, first the article's title, then the blurb...

Skagit River Bridge north of Mount Vernon (later redesignated I-5 Skagit River Bridge) is completed on August 26, 1956.

On August 26, 1956, construction of the Primary State Highway 1 Skagit River Bridge just north of Mount Vernon in Skagit County is completed. It is a steel-truss bridge in four sections that enables the opening of a "limited access highway," a road that will, according to the Department of Highways newsletter, "remove the last major bottleneck between Seattle and Bellingham, making travel to Canada a real joy" Later this bridge will become part of Interstate 5. 

This bridge which is alleged to have removed the last major bottleneck between Seattle and Bellingham was built in 1956?

Let us just leave that questionable date alone, for now.

When the I-5 Skagit River Bridge actually opened, in the 1960s, it did not make for a no bottleneck trek north to the Canadian border. The section of I-5, north of Burlington, over Bow Hill, to north Lake Samish, opened sometime in the later 1960s, with the portion from north Lake Samish, to Bellingham, finished even later in the 1960s.

You can clearly see, in the picture above, Interstate 5, at the road bed construction phase of the project, at the location of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge, with the photo documenting the fact that the construction ended, in September of 1960, at about the point where Chuckanut Drive and Highway 99 intersected, west of Burlington Hill.

Like I said, the claim that the I-5 Skagit River Bridge was built in 1955 or 1956 contradicts the living memory of many who lived in the Skagit Valley at that point in time. For example, the email message below...

I was born in Boise, Idaho on July 12, 1952. We moved to Mount Vernon, Washington in 1956. I was less than 4 years old. I don't remember making the move. I was too young to remember such a thing. But, I do remember watching the new bridge across the Skagit River get built. In the 1960s. Not 1955. I was not even living in Washington in 1955. How could I remember that bridge getting built if I was not living in Washington when it was built? I also remember when that section of the freeway opened and dad driving us across that new bridge for the first time. 

The Interstate Freeway System was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. What eventually became Interstate 5 started being constructed in Washington in the early 1960s.

But, the when was the I-5 Skagit River Bridge built confusion continues to be murky.

Below is a document acquired from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). This is a blueprint of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge. The information at the lower right corner of the document is surprising.

Looking at the lower right corner of the document one reads "APPROVED: July 29, 1954"....

The message from WSDOT said, in part....

The Skagit River Bridge on I-5 was built by Peter Kiewit Sons, under contract 4794, which was awarded in September of 1954. I have attached a pdf of the Layout sheet from that contract. At that time, the route was designated Primary State Highway No. 1.

Does no library in Skagit County have back issues of the local newspapers on file? Surely the Skagit Valley Herald, the Burlington Journal or the Skagit Argus had articles about the construction and completion of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge.

In ancient times one was able to go to a library and look up old newspapers via a thing called Microfiche. Is there no modern day equivalent of Microfiche?