Circumnavigating Mt. Rainier

Monday night the upper low off the Washington coast will move into the region and track northeast. The atmosphere will become quite unstable by Monday evening and through the night. This instability with much available moisture will lead to thunderstorms that may become strong with gusty winds and small hail, after 4 PM.

This will be a 39 degree drop from an expected high of 93 to a low of 54. If the T-storms happen the passage will be even more interesting.

House-work continues. About 99% of the new floor is down.

Unlike many floors, the boards are random lengths and have many variations of natural colors and striping.
The boards are ¾ inch thick natural Hickory – we hunted Gray Squirrels in forests having many such trees. The American Chestnut trees had been killed by a fungus (blight) introduced about 1904, but many were still standing when I was young. Cavities in the Chestnuts made nesting sites for the many Gray and a few black squirrels. The squirrels helped us harvest nuts, so we never went home empty-handed.

I suppose this history is why I have a liking for Hickory. It also makes good tool handles.

I went to western Washington to friend’s house warming party. The west-bound trip from my Rock & Ponderosa (right side in the image) was via I-90. At Exit 25 (25 miles east of Seattle) I headed southwest on Hwy #18. An images search with “WA hwy #18 traffic” is instructive. After this mess, at Auburn I went south on #167 to Sumer, then Puyallup and #512. Next came #161 and Meridian Street. This shows as the thin white line south of the white dot at Puyallup. A closer map view will reveal it as South Hell Hill.
Meridian Street is block after block of stop lights, vehicles, and business buildings and signs – some questionable. After 10 miles of go and stop, traffic thinned. Four miles later the landscape turned rural. I had only 2 miles more to go.

To be honest, the Meridian Street drivers did well. Crowding at intersections (all stop lighted) were sufferable and the drivers well-behaved. My truck has an auto-shutoff when the brake is held on while stopped. But with the air conditioning on, the motor turns back on in a few seconds. This is supposed to save fuel. It is an irritant.
For the home bound trip I took a southern route and completed a circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier. I used a lesser road (not visible on the image) that is closer to the Mountain and ends at Hwy #12 at Packwood, almost directly south of the Peak. #12 leads up to White Pass [4,475 ft] and then down hill 53 miles to Yakima. I got home at dark – 3 ¼ hours driving time. It would have been 3 hrs except for slow drivers on the 40 miles of roads through the forest west and south of the Mountain. The 27 miles [NF #52) from near the entrance of the Park (near Ashford) had a driver that should have pulled over. Three of us followed – slowly – for over 20 miles.

Keeping Track