Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Totem Poles of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe

On one of the last weekends that Donna could travel, it was our decision to go out to Olympic National Park for the day.
On the way to the park we pass the town of Jamestown where years ago I had remembered stopping at an Indian Totem workshop. 

This is the Carving Shed in Jamestown, where Donna and I had toured 10 or 12 years ago. The totem can have many different meanings to each community, tribe or family that commissions its own totem. 

Simply put..."Totems are stories told in wood" Totems can tell a family's story, a tribe's history or just an "idol" commemorating some of natures wonders. Totems are carved and painted to fill the need of a group of clansmen. It might be a "welcome pole", "burial pole", "heraldic pole" or maybe just a "ridicule pole".

This 38 foot totem in front of the Jamestown Family Health Center is across the road from us and is dedicated to, what else...symbols that represent something to do with health issues.

Hopefully Donna is not being disrespectful or irreverent to our native brothers and sisters by putting her foot on the base of the statue. This totem is known as the "Sea Spirit" and of course was carved to show respect to mother nature and her ocean.

The above posting answers some of the common questions like what kind of wood...500 to 900 year old western red cedars, how much do they cost...a lot and do they use power tools...no.

The carving shed was opened for us to walk up and down the isle unescorted and ask questions as we go. As I walked into the shed I immediately thought that the poles were made of clay because of that very "clayish" (is that a word) color at the bottom of the totem. Turned out to be the base paint that also protects the wood.

All totems start out on paper as a collaboration between the buyer and the carver.

I see a family resemblance here... ha ha

The master designer, totem carver and manager is Dale Faulstich who (believe or not) has no Native American blood in him. Dale has run the shop and carved poles for the last 15 years here in Jamestown and is a professional at his job. Mr Faulstich guides native and non natives in the shop to produce some very highly sought out totems. Dale was gracious to give Donna and myself a personal tour of the facility. The notch in the backside of the log is to relieve pressure on the wood and reduce the chance of splitting.

These two photos are of Dale's personal tools, all are hand made and hand sharpened. Dale also had four other drawers of tools in his tool chest. All carvers have their own tools and as you might expect, other than cutting the tree down...all totems are made with "hand only" tools.

Dale showed Donna and I an example of how he makes a "straight adze" from a single branch (sorry, forgot the name of the wood) and because the branch is growing out of the limb it has intertwined grain which makes it especially strong.

 The shop seems to be working on four or five totems at a time. The typical pole, when finished, will cost from $100K to $300K and take up to 6 months to complete. The special paint costs $250 per gallon and takes quite a few for every totem. Laying down or standing up tall, these totems are a beautiful work of art.
Donna and I enjoyed our trip back in time from when we first came here...personally I'd love to spend hours watching the artists go about their work but
 we must head to Hurricane Ridge, inside of the Olympic National Park.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A quick trip to Colville

Well, we moved closer to SCCA, as per the doctor's orders, and while the distance is nearly the same, I can see that the traffic will be much easier to navigate on Hwy 90 as opposed to Hwy 5.

I spent much of the day setting up the motorhome and installing two Comcast DVR's for Donna. While the "park-like setting" of Blue Sky RV Park is beautiful, the trees kill any hope of our getting the satellite to work. Heather (the park manager) said she'd give us the best site in the park and she wasn't kidding. A great corner spot that opens to a small front yard and very near to the dog trail.

Donna took this photo while walking the dogs on their new trail.

Just outside the restrooms and laundry facility is this Koi pond,
with ten or more fish. Reminds me of our pond in Las Vegas...minus the maintenance.

We had two days without any appointments and I asked Donna if she'd be ok with me running to Colville for 24 hours? I wanted to shut off the water in the basement and raise the minimum temperature on the thermostat to 55 degrees. Donna of course, would have been a welcome passenger, but 700 miles in so little  time wouldn't do her any favors.

As I drove up to the house, it looked like a buzzard sitting on my fence, just waiting for me and not a welcoming sight. Turns out it was just one of the hundreds of resident turkeys in our neighborhood. There must be 6 or 7 rafters of birds, each with a population between 15 and 25 members. They tend to scratch the mulch looking for bugs and that makes a big mess on the edge of the lawn...it's hard for me to complain since I regularly feed the little buggers.

Things only got more dicey when I go out to the back patio. Seems one of the three bears (according to my neighbor) in the subdivision had visited our bird houses, that were full of sunflower seeds when we left here three weeks ago. He must of laid on top of the fence, there were two openings that had been folded in half.

The male (or female) also tore this suet feeding station apart to get at the seed suet. My neighbor Bill saw one bear last night and he said the beast hadn't missed too many meals. He/she was huge and had rolls of fat moving and jiggling as she walked the street.

Since setting the temperature and shutting off the water took all of 5 minutes it was time to think about a few other projects to fill my day, the garden was a good choice.

My next door neighbor Sue was the recipient of our garden products when we left with instructions to open the gate when she was through, and let the critters have at it. 

There was a lot of vegetation that needs to be pulled and carted off to the burn pile. If I had more time I could of turned it all back into the soil as compost, but I'll end up burning it this coming spring instead.

After pulling all the tomatoes, potatoes and squash plants the mound look rather bare. I sprayed the mounds with a weed killer in the hopes that this will make my weeding job easier in April.

My next "honey do job" was to change out my street tires with some winter ones. Here in Issaquah they get 61 inches of precipitation a year, some of which is snow. As a comparison, Colville get about 18 inches of total.

This summer at a garage sale I picked up the 2 1/2 ton floor jack which really makes removing the wheels much easier.

Newer vehicles laws today require cars to be equipped with tire monitoring systems. The tire shops in Eastern Washington will not touch a tire that does not have an active working system, they won't even add air, let alone change a flat. You can pay $65 per tire to upgrade the winter wheels, but Costco believes they are not required on "temporary" tires, whereas all other shops are too afraid of lawsuits. 

Later in the afternoon Bill, who lives across the street, offered to take me up and change the game camera and feeding tube. Bill sees bears on a regular basis, but also deer, moose and cougars on his camera... all within 100 yards of our houses.

Bill wanted to hang this feeder low enough so the camera captures the creature on all fours...most of his photos are with the bears standing on rear legs. He fills this with some concoction of sunflower and other seeds. It doesn't take the bears long to figure out by banging on the pipe, food comes out.

Below are a few of Bill's photos from the 1st week of September. The two black bears look similar but one is much taller than the younger one a few days later.

Obviously this was a short trip and I enjoy my time at our house...I missed the company of my wife...and dogs, but don't make me choose! ☺

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Boeing Aircraft Company

The Boeing Aircraft Company began in 1916 by William Boeing. His first plane was a B & W Seaplane and eventually sold it to New Zealand. The first 40 years were dedicated to building military or government plans such as the Model 40 Mail-plane, PW-9C fighter, B-17, B-29 and more military aircraft. After the war the company decided to go into the passenger travel and started to develop the 707.

The Boeing Company's first foray in the passenger plane travel was the 367-80 to be named the Dash 80. After some discussion about the name, it was proposed to be called the 700. This held until a salesman suggested that 707 rolled off the tongue much better than just... 700, and so it begins.

The 707 was a steep gamble on Boeing's part, they had spent all the company money to develop this single plane. At a hydroplane show in Seattle on Lake Washington in 1954 the pilot of the 707 did the unthinkable..."two barrel rolls" over the crowd! Two months later the Pan American World Airways orders 20 of the 707's and the rest is "history".

If you are lucky, you get to see an unmarked silver test plane taking off now and again from Paine Field. I say test not because it is a developing plane, but more like when they drive a car off the assembly line, it is first tested to make sure it starts and runs ok.

Although Boeing allows tours throughout its facilities by bus and some walking... cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices are strictly forbidden, and they check. The tour guide says it is for the safety of the workers and planes on the assembly line because we are about 50 feet above them, but other sources say it's so Boeing keeps complete control of all media. The large building across the runway is the assembly building, it's the largest building by volume in the world with a floor space of 4.3 million square feet. In this they build the 747, 767, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner... they are considered "wide-bodies". (I just noticed in researching that the second largest building in the world is also in Washington, not far from here in Lacey...the Target warehouse building)

These buildings are across a freeway (and runway) that separates the assembly building (linked by the only private bridge over a state highway in Washington) and paint buildings. There were 4 painting buildings that I counted and a 747 takes 3 days to paint.

After painting, (color and design is dictated by the buyer) the plane is filled with fuel to the top, then all but 6 hours worth of fuel is drained from the wings for testing. 
One interesting tidbit the tour guide gave us was that "Boeing is not an aircraft "manufacture"... it is an aircraft assembler". While it does design components, those pieces are then manufactured all over the globe to be fitted at Boeing.

Here the 747's body comes out of an assembly line, sheathed in a green vinyl to protect the aluminum from UV rays until it is painted. One other bit of info I got from the tour is that the 747 costs between $315 to $340 million dollars, depending on its configuration. That price is WITHOUT engines. The customer picks either GE or Pratt & Whitney and on the 787 you can add Rolls Royce jet engines. Single engines run from $7 million to $35 million...each.

Here is Boeing's new military KC-46A wide body tanker. It is based on a commercial 767 aircraft and there is lots of work left to do to transform this plane into a tanker.

This is the finish line where aircraft, after painting and testing, are ready for the customers to come and pick up... Boeing does not deliver.
One trick my brother taught me is to google the planes number...and in this case the JetBlues number was  #N536 JB and google says it's an Airbus 320? I looked online but could not find out why an Airbus would be sitting on Boeings pick-up line.

The people in the waiting area (yours truly included) were lucky to see this Dreamlifter open up. We then had to get on the bus without cameras, but were informed that the Dreamlifter is just a 747 that has a huge expansive fuselage to carry the composite center fuselage of the 787 that comes from Japan. While the Dreamlifter can carry more in volume than a regular 747, it can't match the 747's carrying capacity... weight wise. There are 4 Dreamlifters in the world, all owned by Boeing, to collect bits and pieces of the 787.

I borrowed this from Reuters just to show you where all the bits and pieces of the 787 are produced, this is the very first commercial aircraft designed completely by computer. (More about that next)

This is a hanger about a mile from Boeing, but owned by the company where they are trying to correct some of the many 787 problems. Some of the issues are from the plane parts being fabricated in 30 different countries, where quality control might be a little hard to maintain. Some of the problems developed with the carbon fiber flexing more than anticipated... mostly the passenger isles that flexed up and down like in an earthquake...they needed more reinforcement.

Behind the tail of the green vinyl plane is a composite piece of the 787 fuselage that came from Japan in the Dreamlifter. Like said, they only put the parts together at the Everett plant.

Here a 787 is undergoing some major refitting. Of the first 6 Dreamliners, 3 are unworthy of flight and 3 cannot be sold to commercial airlines... but if you have the money, as a private citizen, you could buy one of the 3 at a discount... ☺

If anyone knows the name of this airline, please pass it on to me.

The two Boeing tours are of its factory and The Future of Flight. I was going to do separate blogs, but the Future of Flight really does not have the meat for me to do it by itself. This is an actual  piece of the composite fuselage from Japan.

Until you stand next to one of these immense  jet engines it is hard to imagine just how powerful they are. One info card on the wall said that if the Rolls Royce was backed up to a window and started...it would take 4 seconds to drain this huge two story building of any air...wow!
Until next time.....

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Flying Heritage Collection

If you are tired of airplanes in general, go no further. I have this Paul Allen Flying Heritage Collection to blog along with two Boeing Tours (that's right, two of them) and there is a third museum I am looking at for next week.

Donna was under doctor's orders to stay in bed so off I go. Hey, I wasn't under any medical instructions and I did make sure she was comfortable before I left...

It would take too much of my time detailing Paul Allen's ventures in space, music, sports, artificial intelligence or philanthropy so you can just go here to find out more about his life. He does seem to have an interest in military history so the Flying Heritage Collection was my tour of the day. At the fare of $12 to get in here at Paine Field, I still thought it was a bargain all the same.

This Hawker Hurricane MK XIIA, with a V-12 Packard/Merlin engine, was born in 1942 and sent to the Royal Canadian Air Force but never saw duty. It crashed landed in the 1950's and was recovered years later to be restored. There's always been competition between the Spitfire and the Hurricane about which was Great Britains most ferocious fighter. While the Spitfire was more famous, the Hurricane downed more German aircraft. It along with all the planes in the collection are in flying condition and do go out once in a while...but some are a "one of a kind" or "last one" and will never be flown again.

Ok... Most aviation enthusiasts have vivid memories of the Supermarine Spitfire MK VC  from all the WWII war movies that always seem to show the Spitfires in couragous dogfights over the London skies. This plane had an awesome wide arrange of deadly armaments. 

Not exactly a "flying machine", this German Kattenkrofrad was still an interesting design, 1/2 motorcycle/1/2 tank and it would be an awesome sight at next Sturgis Rally in 2015. Of all the war movies I've watched in the 1950's, I never remember seeing the Kattenkrofrad.

This only counts as "flying" because of the round it fires up into the air. Another first for me is this close up of a German Flak 37 Anti-aircraft gun. The word flak comes from the German word..."flugabwenhrkanone", whew, now I see why they shortened it to FLAK. This beast could shoot 15 rounds per minute of 20 pound shells to over 30,000 feet in altitude. It was designed in the early thirties in Sweden to avoid treaty restrictions. 

The Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat downed more than 5000 Japanese aircraft during the war. Wide short wings that could be folded after landing on aircraft carriers, it was a formidable fighter plane. The Hellcat was known to be able to take severe punishment, and still fly home.

This is the only surviving Focke-Wulf  Fw 190 D-13 Long Nose and although fully restored, it will never be flown again. This plane had the nickname of "Butcher Bird"...not a plane I'd want to tangle with.

This is one truly bad motherhumper of a flying machine. The V-2 rocket was an indiscriminate killer because of such a poor guidance system was sort of like "lighting a fuse and hoping for the best". Nearly 3000 were fired from Germany into England and Netherlands. This one was uncovered in the 1990's (imagine, still there in the 90's) at an underground location in Nordhausen, Germany.

We tend to think that our generation has changed technology to its extreme in the 1990's and 2000's but if you consider the aircraft and engine technology accomplishments between 1939 and 1945 it is like night and day. One example is the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-79 called the "double wasp", it was a powerful radial 18 cylinder engine producing between 2,100 or 2,800 horsepower and used on long range bombers and fighter planes. Over 125,000 engines were built during the war...ONE HUNDERED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND...most were built by Ford.

After the war this Mitsubishi Zero was found in a Georgia junk yard and is still in its unrestored condition.

The collection volunteer who I was talking to suspected that after the war, the plane in a junk yard, was attacked by southern patriots wielding axes.

One of my favorite planes is still the Lockheed P-38 Lightning just because of its twin engine and twin boom...it just looks bad!
I asked the volunteer why Paul Allen doesn't have a P-38 in his collection and all the poor guy could do was to bob his head up and down while repeating, "we can only comment on planes we have here on the property". Ok, ok I get the hint... Paul has one, but just not prepared to display it yet...cool.

The Republic P24D Thunderbolt was one of the heaviest, single engine fighters made.

Who hasn't seen or loved the North American P51's flying over 400 mph at the air races at Reno? I've always thought of the P51 as an "all American" plane, but it was actually the British, who in 1940, asked the North American Aviation Company to develop and then build the Mustangs to their specifications. The Mustang was a fast fighter and also a long range bomber.

The Fieseler FI 103 and 103R were a destructive invention from a desperate country. The 103 was officially named as a V-1 rocket, but the more familiar name in for it in England was...the buzz bomb.

The 103R (guess R was for the rider :-o) was a pilot manned 
V-1 that would improve on its accuracy most likely at the expense of the pilot. 
Again, these two rockets (and more) were found in the 1990's near Nordhaisen, Germany. The Soviet Army discovered the underground missile factory after the war and destroyed the entrances only to be re-discovered nearly a half century later... it makes me wonder what the hell else is still hiding in Europe these days?

This pterodactyl looking thing hanging from the ceiling is a 318 White Knight carrier aircraft that took the SpaceShipOne to an altitude of nearly 9 miles before launching. This White Knight is the actual plane that was used.

This is an exact replica of the original SpaceShipOne that is hanging in Washington DC at the Smithsonian. 

This short clip was from the Collections parking lot. I had noticed what looked like a new shiny Southwest plane. I had asked the same volunteer while talking about the P38 if the Southwest plane was new. No, that building is where they do a thorough maintenance or repair that the normal airline company is unable to do or has the technology to perform.

That's all for this week... or a couple days anyhow.