Saturday, April 08, 2006

one thing nice...

...about having to travel throughout the state is the scenery.

When I leave Olympia I usually take the major interstate freeway, I-5 to my "jump-off" point for all points east, west, north or south of home.

That means I leave bi-polar brother in law, his truck, his van (all shown in the picture... left) and his troubles behind for a bit. "The Wife" and I talk on our cell phones regularly while I'm gone so, in essence I'm not abandoning her with all of the challenges associated with him.

Besides, he's still in the county jail awaiting "trial" and he's being taken care of so we have a bit of a break from him and his "illnesses". He goes to trial on the 19th of this month but I'll be damned surprised if he's actually tried.

Anyway, as I travel over the Cascade Mountains towards eastern Washington the scenery changes dramatically.

The huge blocks of conifer forests consisting of Douglas Fir, Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, Spruce, Pine and mixed deciduous trees coupled with the canopied brushes give way to Larch, Ponderosa Pine, Ash, Aspen and Cottonwoods growing on grass and sage covered hillsides.

The United State's Pacific Northwest region... particularly Washington and Oregon are a bit unique in their contrasting "sides". Draw a line north/south down the crest of the Cascade Mountain range... anything to the left of this line is the west half... anything to the right of this line is the east half. Hence Western and Eastern Washington. The Cascade Mountains provide a "rain shadow" effect for the western half... causing the storms blowing onshore from the Pacific Ocean to dump much of their moisture onto the western forests before passing over to the more arid east side.

In short, the western half of Washington State is known as the wet side of the state. The weather is wetter but the temperatures are far more moderate.

Eastern Washington gets the hot, arid summers and the cold, bitter, dry and snowy winters much like Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Montana. In essence, from one extreme to the other...

So, why am I telling you this? Well, because Eastern Washington has colder, drier winters and longer, hotter, drier summers.

The wildland fires that get started over there tend to get much larger, much faster and are very, very dangerous. Eastern Washington accounts for the bulk of the huge, destructive wildland fires in this state each year.

...and that's why I travel so much in this job.

Although these "bigger" fires occur primarily in the late spring through early fall there's still a lot of work that needs to be done on many of them well into and through the following winter.

Information needs to be gathered, confirmed. Evidence needs to be analyzed, new "leads" need to be corroborated or eliminated...

...follow-up work has to be completed.

It's my job to oversee this process... the entire investigation process from the investigator's initial call out through the investigation to it's eventual culmination. I ensure any follow up investigations that need to occur, in fact do occur. If they don't, for whatever reason... or if there's questions I have relating to the investigation I hit the road and poke around as well.'s a pretty simple job...

...that takes me down some pretty interesting back country roads.

Yeah... I love this job, this state. The puzzles of the job are challenging, provoking, enlightening and the scenery is fantastic.

When the moment begins too dull... the puzzle nears it's end... the scenery starts to bore all I have to do is wait a bit... it'll change... it always has.

I really have no idea why I posted this piece aside from the fact that I woke up too early this morning and simply felt the urge.

There I go, bragging up the state again!

Damn... gotta quit drinking coffee so late at night.

...oh yeah, and wear clothes when you fry bacon... damaging effects if you don't!



Cathy said...

We drove over the Cascade Mountains, up into British Columbia. I was awe struck at the beauty. The only thing that still pisses me off about my divorce is that I now won't grow old and die in Washington State.

Sounds like you have a great job and what a great state to live in if you have to do all that traveling.

D. H. said...

I was raised here... was born in Fort Ord, CA. in 1953 but was raise here.

I've been to every state in the union except Maine. I love this state. I keep coming back. I've often thought that if I go to Maine I'd be staying there... though I did love North Carolina.

Cathy, if you truly want to "grow old and die in Washington State" you will... if you "want" bad enough. Divorce or no divorce!

And like I said... I love my job.

You just keep your and your son's head down with those tornadoes...

Nuclear Mom said...

Great blog! Being an Eastern Washintoner (recent transplant) myself I find this entry very interesting.

DG said...

sigh... miss the place... Don't miss the traffic

D. H. said...

DG- Yah... the traffic's bad. Tomorrow I have to head up to North Bend. Wonderful. That's a "lock sidearm in the trunk" morning.

D. H. said...

Nuclear- Hi! So you're in Eastern Washington! Cool. You'll love it up here in our little corner of the world... depending upon where in Eastern Washington you're at. Life's a bit slower paced on that side of the mountains... not as many people to compete with, etc. but it does get pretty hot in the summer over there and pretty cold in the winter... again, depending upon where you're at.

Thanks for stopping by. I have fun visiting your blog too. Good stuff!

Harleydreamer said...

I'll say it again, I do envy you in the places you go and the things you see. The photos are spectacular. I'll live vicariously through you for now.

It's been said that only REAL men fry bacon nude. Or was that REAL CRAZY men?