Cape Disappointment Triumphs

73504D63-1634-49CA-9E01-D65A625AE3E7Captain John Meares, Lewis and Clark, “The Graveyard of the Pacific”, North Head Lighthouse, and the heroic Serving Coast Guard service aboard their rescue boats, the Triumphs are the history lessons gained from this Practical Application of the Coastal Edition of the Spring, 2018 Field Notes. I was motivated to do the historical research because of the contrast between “disappointment” and “triumphs”.

The first hybrid disappointment/triumph was when English fur trader and explorer John Meares named Cape Disappointment on July 6, 1788. He was looking for the mouth of the Columbia River. However, because of fog or his inability to cross the dangerous Columbia River Bar, failed to sail up the mouth of the wide river which flows into the Pacific Ocean near present day Ilwaco, Washington. He only saw the tall basaltic cliff that marks Cape Disappointment, and so he named it such.

In November of 1805, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the mouth of the Columbia River after a 2000 mile journey commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. It was a triumph because they found their “Northwest Passage” to the Pacific Ocean. However, as any history buff who has read accounts of their long journey, there were many sadnesses.

What makes the mouth of the Columbia River such a hybrid of disappointment and triumph so dangerous? It is the combination of the influences of shallow water, swift current, and a steady strong wind which reach hurricane force during winter storms. Many boats have run aground and split in two at this “graveyard of the Pacific”.

On May 16, 1898 The North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River.

To this day, the US Coast Guard maintains a rescue station for boats and sailors that founder and need help. Despite many rescue successes with their unsinkable Rescue boats named Triumph, on January 12, 1961 two legendary Coast Guard lifeboats went out to rescue The Mermaid which had lost it’s rudder. Bert and Stanley Bergman and five “coasties” died.

This is the fifth in a series of posts that follow a list of Practical Applications for the Spring, 2018 Special Edition of Field Notes, West Coast Series. You can read the suggested Practical Applications for each edition on the rear inside of the cover. It is a salutary exercise to to actually try each suggested use! I am using them as “writing prompts”.

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Spring 2018 Sailing Schedule for Vashon Tuesday May 1, 2018

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People who choose to live on an island, want to get away from the rest of the people in the world. On Vashon Island, which is very rural, basically want to get away from the rest of the people in Seattle…and they want to make it very difficult and annoying for people in Seattle to get to to them – even though it’s a 20 minute Ferry ride. The ferries Sealth, Cathlamet and Issaquah to operate on the West Seattle-Vashon Island route are among the smaller in the fleet. Sailings frequently include a third destination on the route, Southworth. So, the passenger and vehicle capacity of each vessel has to be divided between the two destinations..

People destined for Vashon and Southworth frequently bicker over who get’s boarded first and second. Capacity is always a problem. Since it takes 45 minutes to get to Southworth, and 20 minute to Vashon the two groups of regular riders compete every three months for the best sailing times.

The ferry terminal in Vashon Island is located right in a residential neighborhood, and there is not a lot of space for waiting lines.

So the entire exercise of drafting the “right” schedule is a process full of frustration and unmet expectations.

Island people basically want to get away from the world, and rejoin it on their momentary whim, and they don’t care how unreasonable they are being.

The Vashon Island Ferry schedule is unhappiness defined perfectly.

This is the fifth in a series of posts that follow a list of Practical Applications for the Spring, 2018 Special Edition of Field Notes, West Coast Series. You can read the suggested Practical Applications for each edition on the rear inside of the cover. It is a salutary exercise to to actually try each suggested use! I am using them as “writing prompts”.

Old Sonics Playoff Rosters

This is the fourth in a series of posts that follow a list of Practical Applications for the Spring, 2018 Special Edition of Field Notes, West Coast Series. You can read the suggested Practical Applications for each edition on the rear inside of the cover. It is a salutary exercise to to actually try each suggested use! I am using them as “writing prompts”.

Oh, this one was a fun practical application to research because it causes me to remember the excitement in Seattle over our only NBA championship. In a finals rematch with the Washington Bullets, who defeated us in the 1978 finals, we overcame the Bullets 4-1.

This was the 1979 NBA Champion Seattle SuperSonics:

Coach Lenny Wilkins
Center Dennis Awtrey
Guard “Downtown” Freddy Brown
Guard Joe Hassett
Guard Dennis Johnson
Forward John LaGarde
Forward Jackie Robinson
Forward Lonnie Shelton
Center Jack Sikma
Center Paul Silas
Guard Dick Snyder
Forward Wally Walker
Guard Gus Williams

It was a very different era in the NBA than now!

Old Sonics Guitar Tabs

This is the third in a series of posts that follow a list of Practical Applications for the Spring, 2018 Special Edition of Field Notes, West Coast Series. You can read the suggested Practical Applications for each edition on the rear inside of the cover. It is a salutary exercise to to actually try each suggested use! I am using them as “writing prompts”.

I was fun to try out this practical application for this edition of Field Notes because I am not a guitarist, and I don’t know what a “guitar tab” is at all, but I do have friends who are guitarists (of a special persuasion).

A guitar tab is an illustration of the six strings of a guitar. The top line is the thinnest string. The bottom line is the thickest string. Some guitarists really don’t know musical notation, so they use illustrations like this to tell where they should place their fingers. So, for example, here is a guitar tab for The Witch by the Sonics.

56E835C4-EA6C-41F6-9AF5-F4D95794700AThe interesting aspect of this Field Notes Practical Application relates to the band, The Sonics. This band was an American garage band that formed in 1960 in Tacoma, WA. Their sound had a big influence on punk, grunge and hard rock. For example, right here in the Pacific Northwest none other than Kurt Cobain cited them as an influence. So this practical application is a clever wink in the West Coast edition of this Field Notes to a West Coast band, from none other than T-Town (Tacoma, WA). The larger lesson is one potential application for your Field Notes is write down guitar tabs or fingerings that you pick up in your travels. No music notation needed.

Sounds Seen

This is the second in a series of posts that follow a list of Practical Applications for the Spring, 2018 Special Edition of Field Notes, West Coast Series. You can read the suggested Practical Applications for each edition on the rear inside of the cover. It is a salutary exercise to to actually try each suggested use! I am using them as “writing prompts”.

1. Coins clinking as they are inserted in the fare box on a bus.
2. The tearing sound of my bus transfer being torn by the bus driver from a pad.
3. The ripping sound of car tires on wet road pavement.
4. The throaty sound of the the bus engine as it approaches my stop to pick me up.
5. The click/snap of a plastic lid being attached to a paper cup just filled with coffee at Starbucks.

Roadside Attractions

00DA1867-89F5-4C40-8F84-137561E61997This is the first in a series of posts that follow a list of Practical Applications for the Spring, 2018 Special Edition of Field Notes, West Coast Series. You can read the suggested Practical Applications for each edition on the rear inside of the cover. It is a salutary exercise to to actually try each suggested use! I am using them as “writing prompts”.

My “road” is the Burke Gilman pedestrian and bicycle trail which extends from Ballard in Seattle to Redmond, WA. When not riding the bus on Sand point Way, I ride it to volunteer on the student Farm, shopping, visit friends along the way, attend classes and meetings at the University of Washington. Up north on Lake Washington near where I live, I walk on a shaded part of the trail often. Today I saw:

1. A stick fence woven from fallen branches, to the other side a patch of pretty bluebells.
2. Mounted on one of the branches that make up the fence was a small garden gnome. Lucky I stopped to appreciate the bluebells, otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed it’s eccentric placement. You just have to stop and wait until these small details separate themselves from the visual clutter all around you.
3. Lower than the walking surface of the trail, clear water was flowing out of a concrete pipe. Because of a field trip I made years ago, I know this is the water of Thornton Creek. The creek flows from a small pond near the I-5 Freeway and on the “other” side of a classic American Shopping Mall. There have been efforts over the years to daylight the creek in as many neighborhoods as possible. Where I am walking today, the creek is re-emerging from beneath a sloping hillside. The water follows a course from here to Matthews Beach and Lake Washington.
4. On the corner where the trail crosses a street one of those “Drop Off and Pick Up Where You Are” rental bikes are poised on it’s kickstand just in case a trail user needs it. They are $1 for 30 minutes of riding. This simple one speed bike actually requires a lot of technology to use. To start riding I download a small software app to my smartphone. To unlock the bike, I point the software app (which uses the camera on your smartphone) at a QR code that identifies the bike. Then I mount the bike and ride. The company owning the bike tracks the bike’s location using GPS satellites. At the end of my ride you I physically move a lever to lock the the rear wheel of the bike again. After that, my bank account is debited! I just put the kickstand down where I am, and leave. There are bikes to be found all over the place!