Emerald Downs

I got there early to get a good seat to take photos.

I got there early to get a good seat to take photos.

I absolutely love watching thoroughbred horses run. They are powerful, fast, and very graceful. I love standing next to the horse track and feeling the ground shake as they rush by the railing. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to Emerald Downs and watch the thoroughbreds run.

Emerald Downs has beautiful facilities.

Emerald Downs has beautiful facilities.

And they are off to the races!

And they are off to the races!

Spectacular Mount Rainier is clearly visible from the track.

Spectacular Mount Rainier is clearly visible from the track.

It seems like all the facilities are being upgraded. Everything was clean and shiny and I enjoyed the comfortable, covered seating area. Very few horse tracks have a view as spectacular as Mount Rainier in the background.

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I enjoyed taking photos of the horses running so fast. Simply spectacular!

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Seattle

The most famous market in Seattle.

The most famous market in Seattle.

I successfully navigated the Seattle area public transportation system. I had to drive to Auburn to obtain an express bus into Seattle. The process worked well, but the most difficult aspect was finding parking near the station in Auburn. I had to park about 10 blocks away, but the process worked great.

Impressive salmon for sale

Impressive salmon for sale

The first stop was locating Pike Place Market. It is a famous place in Seattle where you can buy salmon, other fish, fruit, and crafts. There is one famous shop where they throw a fish out to the front for a customer. Years ago when I was here I bought a t-shirt about the flying fish. They develop quite a crowd and everyone cheers after a fish is successfully caught.

The cherries are fantastic!

The cherries are fantastic!

I love raspberries!

I love raspberries!

Beautiful flowers available in Pike Place Market.

Beautiful flowers available in Pike Place Market.

The fruit was amazing. I had sampled a Rainier cherry and I loved looking at the fresh raspberries too. The flowers were gorgeous. I loved all the bright colors. There was an alley near the market where people have filled with chewed gum they put on the bricks. Sort of gross.

People place their chewed gum on the brick wall.

People place their chewed gum on the brick wall.

After walking all through the market area, I went down to the waterfront and walked along the edge. Seattle has a large Ferris wheel and you could see the football and baseball stadiums. I walked down to the football stadium and had fun seeing the 12th man signs and the banners for accomplishments inside. It is a very loud NFL stadium and with the way the roof curves, I think that contributes to the high sound levels.

Seattle waterfront

Seattle waterfront

Plants grow everywhere in Seattle.

Plants grow everywhere in Seattle.

Beautiful flowers

Beautiful flowers

The famous name for the Seahawks fans.

The famous name for the Seahawks fans.

The stadium where the Seattle Seahawks play.

The stadium where the Seattle Seahawks play.

Self-induced wipeout

Impressive sculpture honoring the logging industry outside the Enumclaw library.

Impressive sculpture honoring the logging industry outside the Enumclaw library.

I absolutely love the bike paths here. They are paved, smooth, and mostly very level. As I was riding through Orting, I started into a crosswalk, but suddenly I thought a car was going to turn left in front of me. The car ended up going straight, but I slammed on my brakes as hard and fast as I could. The good news is that my bike stopped. The bad news is that I went over the handlebars. I have had some close calls in the past, but this was the first time I actually wiped out and went over the handlebars. Once my shoulders were lower than my hips, there was no hope of staying on my bike. I am very glad I was wearing a helmet and gloves since that is what hit the pavement first. I hit the pavement hard enough with my head that I cracked my helmet. I will gladly buy a new helmet. I have a bit of road rash on my forehead and shoulder where I skidded after landing on my head. Other than a few scrapes, I am fine. Sorry, but there are no photos. No one was around to take a picture of me sprawled in the crosswalk, entwined in different parts of my bike. After few minutes to catch my breath, I was good to go to finish the ride. This time I remembered the gradual uphill climb back into South Prairie, so I geared down and took my time. I finished the whole 28 mile ride to Puyallup and back feeling pretty good.

Great Day

Ed with Steve and Nancy in their beautiful backyard.

Ed with Steve and Nancy in their beautiful backyard.

I have been enjoying my stay in Enumclaw and Saturday was especially great. Steve sent me a text in the morning and invited me to join him on a hike up Pinnacle Peak. It was beautiful and cool, so it was especially nice to be outside walking. Afterwards, Steve dropped me off at our motorhome and I caught up on emails and had lunch. In the afternoon, Nancy and Steve graciously allowed me to use their washer and dryer (without a sewer hookup in our RV park, I cannot use our washer). However, the highlight of the day was the wonderful meal we enjoyed together for dinner! Nancy prepared a great marinade using a recipe provided by a friend in Alaska and Steve cooked salmon on their barbeque grill in the backyard. It was absolutely fantastic! I could not stop eating the salmon. I took notes, but I do not think I will be able to match their salmon cooking expertise.

A Visit to Mount Rainier

Ed enjoying the view of Mount Rainier.

Ed enjoying the view of Mount Rainier.

Although we have enjoyed Mount Rainier from a distance, today I went for a drive to clear my head and see some beautiful scenery. I was not disappointed. The mountain is just as beautiful up close as it is from a distance. It was interesting the watch the wind whip the clouds and snow near the top.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

I was surprised that there were bicyclists riding all the way up to the Sunrise Day Lodge. I was also surprised how cool it was on the mountain. Everyone needed to wear a sweat shirt or wind breaker because of the wind. It was especially nice to enjoy a sunny afternoon. It was quite cloudy in the morning, but the sun shone brightly in the afternoon.

The White River flowing from Mount Rainier.

The White River flowing from Mount Rainier.

A lake can be seen near the top of the mountain.

A lake can be seen near the top of the mountain.

The Seattle area has been unusually warm, but I have not used the air conditioning the past two days. I have simply enjoyed the cool breezes.

Celebrate with a beautiful view of the mountain!

Celebrate with a beautiful view of the mountain!

A panorama by merging 6 different photos to capture the view.

A panorama by merging 6 different photos to capture the view.

Bike ride to Puyallup!

A nice town that is difficult to pronounce.

A nice town that is difficult to pronounce.

A beautiful home along the bike path.

A beautiful home along the bike path.

Ed went to a bike shop in Enumclaw and learned all about the wonderful bike paths in the area. The woman in the bike shop recommended starting in South Prairie and going to Puyallup. A person received a gold star from the mayor if they can correctly pronounce the Puyallup town name. No surprise, but Ed did not qualify to receive the gold star. The entire route of the bike path was paved and wound its way through several small communities. It was a total of about 28 miles round trip and Ed survived – barely. Sore legs and sore rear were noted by the end of the mild climb back to South Prairie.

Ed loved seeing all the Christmas trees.

Ed loved seeing all the Christmas trees.

A Christmas tree farm!

A Christmas tree farm!

A Christmas tree farm was a notable feature on the ride. It was quite large and had a series of trees in different sections of different ages. It was fun to see it. A helpful lady jogging with a baby in a carrier agreed to take a photo of Ed.

A local farm next to the bike path.

A local farm next to the bike path.

Rainier cherries are a favorite!

Rainier cherries are a favorite!

Another special treat was seeing a local farm. It was exciting because the Rainier cherries are now available! The also had apriums – a cross between an apricot and a plum. This was a brand new type of fruit to someone who has been living in a desert for more than 30 years.

Apriums were a new fruit to discover.

Apriums were a new fruit to discover.

Family and friendship bonds

Tom and Ed loved their time together!

Tom and Ed loved their time together!

It is wonderful to have the opportunity to meet with extended family, especially people that we have not had the opportunity to be with for many years. Nancy and Steve hosted us at a restaurant in Enumclaw when we first arrived and we absolutely loved the time to be with them! We were then able to share a meal with Tom and Adriana before Charlene went to Amarillo to visit Amy and Neil.

Ed went to Duvall and stayed with Tom and Adriana for 3 days. We talked and talked non-stop the whole time. Bonds built years ago while hiking in Zion or skiing in Utah are very strong. We had breakfast at a fun independent restaurant in Sultan and went on a drive all around the area. The growth of Microsoft has brought quite a few people to a series of neighboring towns. The visit was capped off by going to a pancake breakfast held at the Duvall Fire Department. Pancakes are a special treat and these were especially good.

Ed next headed up to Monroe and had dinner with Miles and Kathy and their family. Ed and Miles have been friends since elementary school and it was great to finally see their home. Miles gave a tour around the farm and showed Ed their RV bus they used for a tour around the US. Miles showed Ed the correct way to measure the temperature when cooking chicken and hamburgers. It was sad to leave to head back to our RV. Maybe we will meet again next summer in Massachusetts?