Bainbridge Bus Shelters

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This is my favorite School Bus Shelter, right on the corner of Koura Road and SR 305. Now, I’ve never actually seen any schoolkids under a shelter while they wait for the school bus, but maybe that’s an uncool thing to do.

Here are some more shelters from around the Island. some fancy, some plain, but none with quite the charm of the one on Koura:

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Terminal Conditions

Bainbridge

The Washington State Department of Transportation has come up with a really cool tool with the unfortunate name of Terminal Conditions. Now you can go online and find out how many spaces are available for the next sailing! It updates every 15 seconds, so it’s virtually real time.

Here’s the link for the Winslow terminal:

Winslow Terminal Conditions

And here’s the one for Coleman Dock on the Seattle side:

Coleman Dock Terminal Conditions

I’ve got them both bookmarked on my iPhone home screen.

We Brake for Whales

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On October 31, the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry was carrying artifacts on the way to the new tribal museum in Suquamish where Chief Sealth is buried when a pod of Killer Whales started circling the boat. The artifacts had been at the Burke Museum in Seattle for the last 60 years.

Now, I’ve been riding that ferry for 28 years, at least once a week and in all that time only twice have I been on a boat that slowed for Orcas. The photo above was the same pod photographed two days earlier. They’re in the neighborhood for the chum salmon run, but I guess they wanted to pay their respects.

Pacific Madrona

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The madrona, or Arbutus menziesii, is the only deciduous evergreen in the Pacific Northwest. Its smooth supple limbs are evocative of the human body, and its paper-like reddish-brown bark peels away every year. It also grows in Ireland, where it is called arbutus. The legend has it that an Irish king wanted his daughter, Arbutus, to marry the King of Spain, but she refused, saying she loved another. He ordered her to strip off her “berry brown” robe so that he and his chiefs could examine her to determine her virginity. She let the gown fall, but when it hit the ground, she died of shame, and she turned into the arbutus tree, and continues to shed her bark annually.

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The red berries of the madrona are edible, though bland, and bears and birds love them, especially when they ripen and ferment on the tree. They are also said to have a narcotic effect. In Portugal, the berries are distilled into a potent brandy called Medronho. In my front yard here on Bainbridge I have a huge madrona and every year in late fall the birds hit it like it was Mardi Gras. They do fly a little funny when they leave.

Here’s my madrona:

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