Thursday, April 23, 2009


Another puppy-hunting trip we made was by car down into Washington State to visit some breeders. This trip we also made in March.

Driving South along Interstate 5 you get good views of Mt Baker, one of several large perfectly shaped volcanoes which are snow-capped year round.

This is an aerial shot of the Puget Sound and Seattle area. You can click the image to make it bigger and see the place names. We initially drove South along Interstate 5, stopping at a couple of outlet malls on the way and stayed the night in Auburn, to the south, centre of this image. This enabled us to easily drive up to Port Orchard (not marked on the map) which is just south of Bremerton on the south side of the inlet in the centre of the map. This looks a long way on the map but was only about 30-40 mins drive from Auburn to Port Orchard. We met a breeder here and then took the ferry from Bremerton back across Puget Sound to downtown Seattle where we could head up to the town of Kenmore on the very Northern end of Lake Washington, about 13 miles outside Seattle. This is where Mojo and his breeder lived.

By the time we had arrived at our hotel in Auburn it was dark, so we hadn't appreciated this terrific view of Mt. Rainier from our room until the following morning.

On Highway 16 we crossed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which comprises two mile long suspension bridges.

They were built to replace the original single bridge that was built in 1940 and collapsed just 4 months after it opened during high winds.
Here is some footage of the demise of the original tacoma Narrows Bridge.

After visiting the breeder in Port Orchard we headed up to Bremerton. Close to the ferry terminal is a US Naval Base, docked here were USS Independance, Constellation and seen here - USS Ranger.

Once on the ferry we get these views looking back at the sleepy town of Bremerton

This is Manette Bridge spanning Port Washington Narrows just outside Bremerton.

These views are through Rich Passage with Mt Rainier just visible on the horizon.

Once we exit Rich Passage and enter Puget Sound we get our first glimpse of downtown Seattle in the distance

Getting closer with views of the full skyline including the Space Needle on the left. I should add that the air temperature standing still was about -2 or -3 on this day. We had to keep taking it in turns to run outside onto the deck of the ferry to take photos because with the wind it was absolutely freezing and unbearable for more than about a minute.

The Space Needle

David with the Seattle skyline

Getting closer to the city. Arriving by ferry is a great way to appreciate the city skyline

One of the sports domes with the retractable roofs

Closer view of the main downtown area

A sightseeing boat passes us as we approach the city. No doubt their fares were a lot more than our 1hr ferry ride at $11.55 for a car and two adults !

Smith Tower

View towards the North end of the city

Washington Mutual Building

Final view of downtown Seattle as we approach the ferry terminal

This is a shot of video giving a panorama of Seattle as we approach it

This snap is of the city as we head North on I5 towards Kenmore

Once we arrived in Kenmore we met Mojo and the rest of his litter.
This is Mojo when we first met him. He was about 4 weeks old here.

Finally, a quick piece of video of the litter having their's actually surprisingly organised and didn't end up in the huge fight you might have imagined.

So that is how we found the Mojo and the couple of road trips we enjoyed in finding him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


In Early March we decided to visit a breeder of Australian Shepherd dogs in Sacramento, as they had recently had a litter and from talking to them and website photos we thought they might well have a puppy that we would want.

As it happened once we visited them we didn't feel that it would be quite the right fit for us so we ended up not taking a puppy from them. However, it did afford us an overnight break away in the Northern Californian city which neither of us had been to before.

Sacramento is the political seat and State Capitol.

This building is the Governors Mansion. Built in 1877 it served as the home for the State Governor from 1803 until 1982. The last State Governor to live in the house was probably also the most famous, being Ronald Regan who vacated when he became President. It was decided after this that the home didn't afford the modern amenities and security features required of a high profile State Governor which is why the state decided to sell the property.

You get the distinct impression that Sacramento is only the State Capitol for historical reasons and that it's perhaps less appropriate nowadays and even a little embarrassing for the State. The city has certainly seen better times with a strong migration away from the downtown core. Of course, the suburbs and the neighbouring towns are affluent and attractive, all that you would expect of Northern California but the city of Sacramento itself was quite a surprise. The photo below shows one of the main streets downtown, this seemed to be as busy as it gets. There was a real lack of people, traffic, life, atmosphere. There were plenty of vagrants though and if you were thinking of starting up a business you had ample boarded up shops and offices to choose from.

The Church of Scientology has a large base here

The Memorial Auditorium

There is a large attractive city park right in the middle of downtown upon the Western end of which sits the Capitol Building. This is a view of Capitol Park.

Just inside the park sits a large, moving memorial to the citizens of California lost in the Vietnam war.

More views around the park

This is a view down the central promenade to the Capitol Building

Views of the city from Capitol Park

We were particularly impressed by the number of orange trees growing around the city. In Capitol Park the central promenade was lined with orange trees all the way down either side.

We then walked around to the front of the Capitol Building, which is architecturally based on the Capitol Building in Washington and was completed in 1874.

After seeing the Capitol Building and legislative buildings we headed towards the 'old town' which is located on the banks of the American River on the edge of the downtown core.
On the way we see 'Tower Bridge' which was built over the river in 1935 in a late art deco style.

One of the sadder planning aspects of Sacramento was the construction of Interstate 5 right through downtown. It divided the historic district from the modern downtown core and now means that access between the two is via unattractive concrete overpasses and dark unwelcoming underpasses - not to mention the constant roar of heavy traffic.

However, once in the old town it is clear it has been preserved and maintained and whilst something of a tourist trap was a pleasant spot to stop for a drink and appreciate the riverside location.

This old steam boat has been converted into a floating hotel

More views around the old town

On our way back up towards our hotel we pass the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Plus an old red brick early high-rise office tower

And finally this old theater on K St which clearly hails from more prosperous times when people actually came into the city to be entertained.

Lastly, a quick video clip taken at Sacramento Airport while we were waiting for our plane home. It's actually the audio that is interesting - the security announcement broadcast every few minutes and the dialogue is typical laidback California style. The announcement starts at about 13 seconds.