photo by Ballard Avenue

Back to Ballard with a picture of barrels. We think the idea was to keep dogs away from the trees. No one was home so we couldn't ask how they work. Or not.

Colorado Interlude: Stormy Monday

photo by Ballard Avenue

At last we come to the end of our Colorado Interlude. It was a rather drawn-out end: We spent six hours at the Denver airport watching departure signs change from "On Time" to "Delayed" to "Cancelled." It was the first snowstorm of the season and everything was a mess.

But Coloradoans are used to this sort of thing. They bore down and, despite it all, did their work. The fellow in the little guard shack at the rental car check-in was miserable in the 30mph winds. How would you like to be a $10 an hour baggage handler out in that slop? Almost heroic were the people running the aircraft de-icing equipment all night long. A tip of Ballard Avenue's cap to you all.

Thankfully our flight was only delayed, not cancelled, and we got out later that evening. Thanks, Colorado. Nice job!

Colorado Interlude: Tornado Shelter

photo by Ballard Avenue

Don't worry, there's one for women across the airport concourse.

Friday Cat: Looks Like Prince Tom

photo by Ballard Avenue

We turn away from Colorado for today's Friday Cat, a friendly Ballard feline who looks a lot like my grandmother's cat, Prince Tom. The original Prince Tom was a stray who wandered into her gravitational field in Payson, Arizona, in 1986. No cat (or person) caught up in her orbit ever escaped. From that moment on your life would be a great dinner party with all the good food and social intrigue you could ever want.

Colorado Interlude: Denver's La Boheme

photo by Ballard Avenue

Please tell me that Rodolfo and Marcello do not live upstairs in the Bradshaw Hotel.

Colorado Interlude: It Rains

photo by Ballard Avenue

Denver likes to talk about its 300 sunny days a year. We were there on one of the other 65.

Colorado Interlude: Black Diamonds

photo by Ballard Avenue

Large swaths of eastern Wyoming are being dug up for the coal underneath. The coal is loaded into mile-long trains and sent to powerplants in the East and South to feed the air conditioners. It's steady business for the railroad.

Colorado Interlude: 35P80

photo by Ballard Avenue

The sign tells us this is a crop of 35P80, a variety of corn developed by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a division of DuPont Chemical. 35P80 is a "Roundup Ready Hybrid", meaning you can douse the field in Roundup herbicide and it won't kill the corn. To do this, 35P80 contains genetic traits that have not been approved for planting in or export to the European Union.

Colorado Interlude: Haxtun

photo by Ballard Avenue

Family business took us to Haxtun, a tiny town on the high plains of northeastern Colorado. Haxtun is a grain elevator, a school, a hospital, and 750 of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

Colorado Interlude: Flyover Country

photo by Ballard Avenue

Looks like a lot of people were flying over Sterling, Colorado, earlier this month. Too bad they couldn't stop to enjoy this lovely day along the South Platte River.

Friday Cats: Shy

photo by Ballard Avenue

It's hard to believe they're brothers. Choo Choo is out front and in your face while Shy is quiet and watchful. Happily, both seem to have found a home at Laupahoehoe. Some cats have all the luck.


photo by Ballard Avenue

The clouds were high and the sun was low.

Ballard Pool

photo by Ballard Avenue

We return to our occasional series of Businesses With Ballard In Their Names. This is the Capt. Wm. R. Ballard Pool. I believe it is the only Ballard landmark that actually refers to Captain Ballard himself by name. I know it is the only Ballard landmark that thoroughly reeks of chlorine.

Jeanne's Sunflowers

photo by Ballard Avenue

Jeanne's sunflowers, aided by all that fabulous compost, grew so high they darn near got in the way of the seaplanes flying in and out of Lake Union.

Jeanne's Compost Redux

photo by Ballard Avenue

Hawaiian Interlude over, we're back in Ballard. Here we see Jeanne's compost pile. Faithful readers will remember that it used to be much bigger. Less-than-faithful readers can see what it looked like here. Jeanne did marvelous things with the compost and we'll show you a couple pictures later this week. Then we're going to have another Interlude...

Hawaiian Interlude: Scandinavian Shaved Ice

photo by Ballard Avenue

"Hey, where's the Ballard content? Or are you going to re-name this 'Hawaiian Avenue'?"

Point taken. Here's the last of our Hawaiian Interlude. Shaved ice is a big deal in Hawaii. It's just that—iced shaved into a cup with sweet fruit flavored syrup drizzled on top. The shop was closed so I can't be sure, but you'd have to think they offer lingonberry and cloudberry flavors.

Hawaiian Interlude: Bad Boyz

photo by Ballard Avenue

"Bad boyz, bad boyz,
whacha gonna do?
Whacha gonna do when dey come for you?"

You really don't want to be messing up on Alii Drive in Kona. Too many tourists, too many cops. I think this bad boy got busted for general stupidity as much as anything else.

Friday Cats: Choo Choo Two

photo by Ballard Avenue

Having said his piece, Choo Choo steps off into space.

Hawaiian Interlude: Venus over Mauna Kea

photo by Ballard Avenue

There are about a dozen major astronomical observatories on top of the dormant volcano Mauna Kea. At 13,000 feet, the air is clear and the stars bright like nowhere else. The observatories have a visitor center at the 9,000 foot level. Volunteers operate telescopes you could never afford and show you all sorts of cool star stuff: Globular clusters. Binary pairs. Nebulae. Other galaxies. It's all amazing stuff.

Just after sunset that evening I snapped this picture of Venus.

Hawaiian Interlude: Long Walks on the Beach

photo of Hapuna Beach State Park by Ballard Avenue

"SWM sks SF for LTR. I have it all, early retiree w/teeth, hair, 10 fingers, toes & memory. Happy, fit, youthful 50s w/inactive herpes. Smiles often, playfully sensual & love the outdoors. We'll enjoy long walks on the beach but you have to keep your mouth shut so I can hear my metal detector."

Hawaiian Interlude: Hamakua Coast

photo by Ballard Avenue

Here's a postcard shot for those who have been clamouring for one.

Thursday Cats: Choo Choo

photo by Ballard Avenue

Meet Choo Choo, one of the newest staff at the Laupahoehoe Train Museum. He and his brother Shy, whom you'll soon meet, were left at the museum a few weeks ago. Choo Choo loves visitors and always has something to say.

Hawaiian Interlude: After the Hula

photo by Ballard Avenue

Not only did they dance like angels, they can also walk on water.

Hawaiian Interlude: Hula in Hilo

photo by Ballard Avenue

Hilo's ramshackle charm and minimal tourist scene make it the best town on the islands. Making it even better this day was that they were having a music festival honoring Queen Liliuokalani, the last Hawaiian queen. It started with hundreds of hula dancers scattered around the park. There was no way to get them all into a picture, so just imagine these few multiplied a hundred times. That's a whole lotta hula!

Hawaiian Interlude: Feet Dry

photo by Ballard Avenue

It's a long way to Hawaii and all of it over water. Now you never want your plane to land short of your destination but you really don't want it to do that over the ocean. "Upon Reaching the Bottom of the Slide You Are Going Swimming." Yeah, me and Mark Spitz. Great.

As you might imagine, it was with great pleasure that I saw the coast of Maui under the wing. Pilots call this happy state of affairs "Feet Dry."

Ballard in All Its Glory

photo by Ballard Avenue

After contemplating frantic prayer and angry cursing, we safely took off and flew to the west, affording us this fine view of the True Center of the Universe. Yes, the real Ballard Avenue lies down there. The metaphorical Ballard Avenue wiped away a tear and proceeded onward.

Upon Reaching the Bottom of the Slide

photo by Ballard Avenue

We've been away...out of touch...beyond the reach of the Internet. Here's where it started, the cabin of a Northwest Airlines 757, and here we see what we are to do in case of an emergency landing, aside from frantic praying or angry cursing. Whatever works for you, I always say.