Rain Forest | Pacific Coast

Two special places in WA state.

Our View From Iowa

by Jim and Melanie

On our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, we ranged from Tacoma, WA at the north end to Portland, OR at the south. We shared a little about the C-17 cargo planes at McChord Air Force Base and about Portland Art Museum’s exhibit on burly antique cars. Between those two, we also enjoyed lower-tech experiences.

The Temperate Rain Forest

From Tacoma WA, we drove along I-5 to Olympia, where we headed west on highways 8 and 12 toward the Pacific coast. Route 101 then took us north. Before we turned west, a sign pointed to the Quinault Rain Forest trailhead nearby. The coastal plain geography meets the Olympic Mountains at that location. The gain in elevation of the moisture-laden air causes large amounts of rainfall in the region, between 10 and 15 feet a year, resulting in a temperate rain forest.

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The Shape of Speed

Car design at its best.

Our View From Iowa

We visited the Portland Oregon Art Museum on 22 July 2018. Their featured exhibit until mid-September is called The Shape of Speed. The exhibit featured rare streamlined automobiles and motorcycles from 1930–1942 that looked like they were moving fast even while at rest. Some of the vehicles are highlighted below starting with a BMW, R7 Concept Motorcycle from 1934. It was in a German show in 1934, crated up, then lost until 2005. BMW craftsmen restored it. Click any image in this post for larger more detailed views.

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Prairie Burn | 12 April 2018

Our friends had a fire.

Our View From Iowa

Seventeen years ago, friends of ours moved from their in-town home to a 5 acre property several miles out of town. They built a beautiful prairie-style house and converted 4 acres of their alfalfa field front yard into a mixed prairie like it was 200 years ago. Native grasses, wildflowers, and trees were planted and a small pond was formed. The plantings grew well in the rich Iowa soil. Wildlife returned. Bird species grew in number. Kestrels nested in the box above the open space. Waterfowl visited the pond. They kept paths mowed to allow easy access to parts of the prairie visible in this satellite view.

Recent year Google Maps view. Pond lower left. House upper right.

Only one thing was missing from their prairie. They needed a fire. Much dry vegetation was on the ground built up from years of growth. Certain desirable native species were crowded out…

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Black Point Wildlife Drive

Our view of a very low-tech place near the space coast.

Our View From Iowa

by Melanie and Jim

On our last full day in Florida, we headed to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge north of Kennedy Space Center. The wildlife site is accessible from the town of Titusville. After crossing the causeway from Titusville, we turned onto the Black Point Wildlife Drive. This is a seven-mile, one-way drive through marshlands.

As the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says, it “provides an excellent place to see waterfowl (in season), wading birds, shorebirds and raptors. Alligators, river otters, bobcats, various species of snakes, and other wildlife may be visible as well.” We saw no bobcats or snakes, and the velociraptors were hiding. But there were plenty of birds and alligators to enjoy. Zoom/drag or turn your phone in this interactive for a typical view of the area.

This Great Blue Heron stalked some lunch while we passed. It gave us some great views.

There…

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