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55 degrees and Xmas

December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas, yo

Orin O’Neill photos

The weather outside was not at all frightful. And I don’t have a fireplace. So I decided to practice what I preach, and take the GTS for a ride.

The lead pic was taken in the parking lot of an abandoned restaurant behind my apartment building. The beige wall stayed beige until someone decided to turn off the restaurant’s exterior lights at night.

Samish Way IHOP

This IHOP is about to be abandoned, Boxing Day (December 26) being its last day in business. Lots of restaurants have closed lately, not least due to the slack economy.

House on Donovan Ave

This house on Donovan Avenue stands out because of its size, its newness (lots of houses in this particular part of town look a bit frayed around the edges) and its design. And its size—it’s quite a bit larger than the houses surrounding it.

12th Street and Harris Avenue

Not much going on in Fairhaven today. The bricks and concrete strips cover streetcar tracks, which were briefly exposed in the process of repaving 12th Street and the adjoining sections of Harris Avenue. While Bellingham once teemed with streetcars, nobody is seriously talking about reviving them. Not yet, anyway.

Condos for sale or rent

The street running above Boulevard Park changes names about six times between Fairhaven and downtown. There are lots of view condos and apartments going begging, in spite of lowered prices and what must be killer views.

Live-aboards

The lack of leaves on the trees makes these boats easier to see (and photograph). I assume they are live-aboards; the park’s restroom facilities are close by, and easily accessible by dinghy. So is a coffee place.

Bellingham wall

You may recognize the wall from a previous masthead picture. Over the summer, it got a fresh coat of paint. As far as I know, this wall has never been tagged. Probably because there’s so much traffic going by.

Railroad Avenue

Having already shown you Holly Street, here’s Railroad Avenue, their intersection marking the center of downtown Bellingham. As I may have mentioned, it’s called Railroad Avenue because there used to be train tracks running down the middle. Most Saturdays you’d have some difficulty finding a place to park, but Christmas Day is an exception.

Mallard Ice Cream

North of Holly, you’ll find places like Mallard Ice Cream, which happens to appear in the Bellingham State of Mind video. They make their ice cream on the premises. Haven’t tried it yet, but I will, soon.

Washington Grocery Building

Kitty-corner across from the Depot Market is the Washington Grocery Building. Back when the train station was at this corner, this was undoubtedly the place where fresh produce came and went. Now it’s apartments. And a coffee shop. This is Western Washington, after all.

The old Georgia-Pacific mill

Back in the day, Bellingham was a mill town, and the former Georgia-Pacific paper mill on the waterfront looms large, even today. There has been much talk about redevelopment, but like everywhere else the tanked economy has precluded any movement on those ideas.

Bellingham's marina

While Seattle and Portland are busy container ports, the Port of Bellingham’s action seems to be at the marina, where private vessels share space with fishing boats. There’s a mall that caters to boat owners, and a couple of sea-themed restaurants. They were all closed today.

If you celebrate a holiday at this time, I hope it was a happy one. The malls will be hell tomorrow. Luckily, I don’t have to go anywhere near one. Favicon

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5 Comments
  1. jon permalink
    December 25, 2010 5:17 pm

    Well, Orin. I live down yonder in Puyallup, Wa, and I decided to take our SYM HD200 for a nice ride this morning. (notice how I said “our” SYM-it’s really my wife’s but I am having a blast riding it, and I left my Sportster at home—ha ha). But, unlike you, I didn’t take my camera. I rode from Puyallup, through downtown Tacoma, and over to Ruston. The downtown Tacoma area was really dead being Christmas. I did’t see ant businesses open. I did see some people. But I noticed that, tragically, most of the people I saw were homeless. I saw a black lady sitting in the entryway to a closed business. She had blankets on her, and a black plastic garbage bag over her legs to keep warm and dry. It was a reminder of a harsh reality.

    I rode the HD200 down through Ruston and saw a Starbucks that was open. I turned around and went back. Went into the Starbucks and ordered a grande soy latte and two 8 grain rolls (one to be taken home for my wife). I went to pay and the nice folks said not today—everything was free.

    It was a good ride. I topped off the SYM to the tune of 74 mpg.

    Jon

  2. December 25, 2010 9:41 pm

    Way to score, Jon! My local Starbucks was open, but they were charging full price for everything. :-\

    I like riding through downtown Tacoma and along Ruston Way. Sounds like the weather gods smiled on you…

  3. mark morris permalink
    December 26, 2010 1:49 am

    Alas, too snowy here in central Illlinois to ride.

    Thanks for the photographs. It is always interesting to see other places around the country.

    I always find the similarities more amazing than the differences. I guess I expect places to be more different than they are. It does amaze me however that even the smaller cities have pretty big buildings from when their economies were more local. The downtown’s all have that hint of big city to them in some of these buildings.

    I was remarking to relatives today how an area around where I grew up is essentially the same as it was when I was a little kid 40 years ago. The town I presently live in, Champaign, has almost no real old stuff left. New stuff gets built here all the time.

    I am glad you got to ride. I am missing it myself.

    Merry Christmas, you jolly old blogger!! : )

  4. December 26, 2010 3:28 pm

    Good job Orin. I’m not enjoying our 58 degree weather but I’m still riding… I really don’t miss the leafless trees and gray skies of Up North winter.

  5. December 29, 2010 8:20 am

    I notice that your rattle can art skills are improving! I bet you’re glad the restaurant starting turning off the lights. 🙂

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