Monday, January 25, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #2 and #3: Auburn and Muckleshoot Libraries


Adventure Checklist: 

  • Get “lost” – check!
  • Change of plans – check!
  • Meet new people – check!
  • Discover great local diner – check!

As yesterday dawned a little dreary, Doris and I headed south to visit two of the libraries farthest from Redmond*: the Auburn and Muckleshoot branches.  I was excited to have Doris along because she’s a lot more outgoing than me and I knew we would meet interesting people with her. In addition to being on the Redmond Library Board, she’s involved in Friends of the Library activities and otherwise has a long history of being active in the community. In short, she’s pretty awesome and has a lot of fun stories to share.

As we exited Highway 18, we had a little confusion from the directions. Do we go east or west on SR 164?  The directions indicated both (really, take a look!) I was pretty sure we needed to head east, so we took the turn and within a few minutes spotted the Auburn library branch.  The original plan was to visit Muckleshoot first, but it was raining and we had been in the car for nearly an hour on I-405, SR 167 AND Highway 18, so we made the last-minute decision to stop at Auburn first.

Wheelie and Friends

The Auburn library was hopping at 10:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning!  I only saw one open computer and there was a continuous stream of patrons entering and exiting.  As I walked in, I reflected that this branch definitely had the KCLS “look and feel”.  The building is wonderfully spacious with high ceilings. Past the entrance lobby one can stand right inside the doors and see the entire length of the library. Additionally, this branch will be renovated beginning this year to add 5,000 square feet.  It didn’t look like they will have any trouble filling their new space with the number of patrons visiting on this Saturday! 

Auburn’s Lead Librarian was kind enough to spend a few minutes with us talking about the library and other interesting places in Auburn. Located next to the White River Valley Museum and a large city park, the library seemed conveniently placed, though you definitely need to know the back way out of the parking lot to make a left turn!

Wheelie and Trains

Speaking of left turns, after snapping a few pictures of Wheelie admiring the artwork that paid respect to Auburn’s train history that was contributed by the Friends of the Auburn Library, Doris and I were off to the Muckleshoot branch. 


First, it’s important to note that the Muckleshoot branch is only 6.6 miles away from the Auburn branch on the same road. Second, by all accounts, the Muckleshoot library is tucked a little away and can be difficult to find. So, when one forgets to check her odometer, she thinks they’ve gone way too far and missed the turn. With not being familiar with the area, we turned around and drove back to the Auburn branch, reset the trip meter, and tried again.  Of course, on the second attempt, we realize that we turned around merely a quarter mile from where we could have seen the sign! (And if you were one of the people behind me while I did at least 10 miles under the speed limit while we were looking for this library, twice, my sincerest apologies!)

It will be hard for another library to top the setting of the Muckleshoot branch, in my opinion.  Though set not too far Muckleshoot Libraryfrom the main road where cars are whizzing by, it seems completely surrounded by trees.  Unfortunately, my photo doesn’t do the setting justice! When we got out of the car, it smelled like we were about to take a hike, not walk into a library! Once inside, all of the windows seem to look out into a forest and the ends of the shelves have a beautiful leaf natural print.

Measuring in at just 6,000 feet, the library is a sleek, simple miniature of a large branch.  Everything you need is there: the children’s and teen sections, holds and meeting rooms. . .just done on a smaller scale.  Again, we were met by a super friendly Librarian that also gave us a peek into their staff room.

Learning Lushootseed The Muckleshoot branch also has the largest Native American collection in the King County Library System.  It’s shelved in open stacks, so I pulled a book on English to Lushootseed language so that Wheelie and I could learn a few words.  After admiring local high school artwork also displayed in the library, Doris and I were off to our last destination of the day. . .lunch!

As part of my visit to the libraries, I also plan to visit at least one other community attraction. Some place that’s considered less of a destination in and of itself (sorry, no SuperMall or Casino on this trip!) I found the Sun Break Cafe referenced online that was just off Auburn’s Main Street.  So delicious!  Huge hearty breakfast portions at reasonable prices - I still have at least two more days of hash browns and potato pancakes to dine on!  I devoured all of my wheat toast on the spot though. . . I stood no chance of being reasonable and taking one of the two thick slices home!

As Doris and I turned back to the highway to head home after lunch, I thought about my upcoming visits – I can’t wait to discover more of my extended local community!



* The total roundtrip was ~85 miles.  I’ve roughly calculated that I’ll drive an additional 1,800 miles this year with my fuel-efficient car.  I plan on offsetting my increased carbon footprint and through have estimated that it will cost me ~$6 to do so.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Experience Washington: Your Staycation Travel Guide

It’s no surprise that many people are choosing to stay close to home for vacations this year. You can get some great ideas for travel planning by checking out the state’s new Experience Washington Web site. Here are some recent trips around Washington state I've taken over the past year:

Chihuly Bridge of Glass
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long pedestrian bridge linking downtown Tacoma to the city's waterfront. Conceived by Dale Chihuly, artist and native of Tacoma, it is a display of color and form soaring seventy feet into the air.

Chihuly Bridge of Glass: ceiling panel

Kubota Garden
Kubota Garden is a 20 acre Japanese garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle. A public park since 1987, it was begun in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, who had arrived from Shikoku, Japan. The park is popular with photographers, especially during the peak of the fall foliage.

Kubota Garden: entrance gate

Cle Elum
Exploring rural Washington can be a fun experience. On the side of an older building in Cle Elum, I found this remarkable advertisement:

Cle Elum: Bull Durham advertisement

Washington State Ferry
The Washington State Ferry is known as the “poor man’s yacht”. What a great way to explore Puget Sound, especially with kids. And such a dramatic way to return to Seattle after a long day trip!

Washington State Ferry: heading towards Seattle

Enjoy your travels around the state!

Redmond Library Board

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jaime’s Jaunt Through KCLS

I hope that the first few weeks of 2010 are bringing you good fortune!  This year, I’ve pledged to visit all of the branches of the King Count Library System and blog about my adventures.  It’ll work out to be about 4 branches a month.

My “a-ha!” moment came one day as I was perusing the KCLS branch map. I was startled to realize how few communities I’ve stepped foot into in King County!  As an avid traveler (4 continents and counting. . .), I thought it was a shame that I hadn’t yet journeyed much through my own backyard.

While I hope that I’ll have another board member or two as a companion on some of my trips, I’ll never be alone.  I’d like to introduce to you Wheelie Wel-Red!Wheelie Wel-Red!Above, you can see him braving the weekend weather as we head into the Redmond Library. . .checking off the home branch as the first in our list.  Like me, he’s an intrepid explorer and ready to learn all about the wonderful communities that KCLS serves! While we are visiting each library, we also plan to visit another local establishment or two along the way so that we can continue to connect to each community.

I hope that you’ll keep checking back to join me in my adventures. . .or better yet, visit a few KCLS branches yourself!


p.s. Stay tuned for my next blog post – Muckleshoot and Auburn Libraries, here I come! 


Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Art of Rock

If you’ve ever been to Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle and walked along Elliott Bay, you might have seen these interesting formations near the water’s edge — rock stacks.

Rock stacks on Elliott BayThe rock stacks were created by persons practicing the art of rock balancing. Essentially, it involves placing combinations of rocks in an arrangement whose creation appears to be physically impossible by natural forces. As you might expect, patience is a requirement in order to create some of the more improbable rock stacks that seem to defy gravity.

Some of the more famous rock balancing artists, such as Andy Goldsworthy, have created large free-standing rock structures, such as The Cone:

Rock art: Andy Goldsworthy's ConeThe Rock People of Bainbridge Island
On Bainbridge Island, along the Winslow shoreline, you can find half-a-dozen rock people. While these rock sculptures are held together by mortar, they show an amazing lifelike human form using a minimal number of rocks.

Rock person balancing

You can even find a rock person walking his dog!

Rock person walking dog

Redmond Library Board