Sunday, July 23, 2017

SS Pacific Tracker and MORE

Imagine looking outside and seeing the unusual vessel below. What kind of ship is that? Fortunately, we found it on ... it's the SS Pacific Tracker, identified on VT as a "Research Vessel." Further investigation revealed it to be a government vessel primarily used as a part of the Missile Defense System. Very limited information seems to be available. The best source we could find is here.

SS Pacific Tracker
Departing Puget Sound
July 21, 2017  10 AM

Zooming in on the Pacific Tracker
The vessel is a part of the Missile Defense System

Couldn't see the name of the ship in the binoculars.
My only way to ID was

COSCO Oceania
July 19th  11:25 AM
Out beyond Elliott Bay Marina

Tug and Barge probably headed to Alaska
Unusual load: Containers (half the barge) and rebar (reinforcement steel)
Rebar is HEAVY. Not much on the barge.
Spotted July 19th  10:23 AM

A Postcard for the Weekend
This week's theme: Bridges
From our Postcard Collection ...

Thanks to Maria for hosting Postcards for the Weekend where bloggers share some of their collection of postcards according to themes that change each week. For this week's theme, Bridges, we selected a card that, in one view, shows both the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. Also shown is Treasure Island, location of the World's Fair in 1939 called the Golden Gate International Exposition.


Clouds at Sunset
July 22nd  8:36 PM

About 15 minutes before sunset on July 22nd.
The sun was behind clouds and just above Two Brothers Mountain in the 
Olympic Mountains. The effect was almost like a halo. 
Linking up and sending thanks to Yogi♪♪♪ for hosting Sky Watch Friday!

From our Yellowstone Collection -- The Prang

In the mid-1800s the American West was still being explored. A few early explorers were returning to their homes in the East with stories of an area full of hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, a big lake, rivers, and an amazing canyon. Many people found the stories unbelievable. In 1871 the Secretary of the Interior authorized an expedition to see if the stories were true. Leading the Expedition was F. V. Hayden, the person in charge of the U S Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. Hayden took with him a large group of experts including a photographer and an artist. After the completion of the Expedition, Hayden returned to Washington DC with the photographs and art work and presented it all to the US Congress with a suggestion to reserve the area for the purpose of "the setting apart of this wonderland as a great National Park for all time." Congress liked what they saw and passed an Act to create Yellowstone National Park. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Act on March 1, 1872, creating the first National Park. Hayden published, in 1872, his report to Congress in the American Journal of Science and Arts, in an article titled The Hot Springs and Geysers of the Yellowstone and Firehole Rivers. A few years later, in 1876, in an effort to educate the public on the new Park, F. V. Hayden published a book with the same artwork and descriptions he had used with Congress. This book was one of the first published describing the Park and it has become one of the most desired items for a collection of early Yellowstone memorabilia. It is known, amongst collectors, as "the Prang" coming from the name of the company that published the book, L. Prang and Company of Boston. The inside front page is shown below ...

Title Page
The Yellowstone National Park, and the
Mountain Regions of Portions of Idaho,
Nevada, Colorado, and Utah
Published by L Prang and Company
Boston, 1876

A map produced for the book showing the location
of Yellowstone Park and the places the artwork

Typical Illustration
Artwork of Thomas Moran
The Prang Company used cutting edge chromolithography
for this publication in 1876. 
Example of the description of features written by F V Hayden
This is a portion of the Yellowstone Lake description.

In the world of printing, this 1876 publication by the Prang Company holds a special spot of recognition for the high quality (color) chromolithographs of Thomas Moran's artwork. A genuine Prang may go at auction for somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million dollars or more. Fortunately, the Thomas Gilcrease Museum Association, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, published, in 1997, a reproduction of the Prang and we are lucky to have one of those reproduction copies.

Closing Thought ...

While randomly viewing blogs we found the following bit of philosophy quoted on the front page of a blog but without any attribution, so we're unsure who created it. Although it appears created for all of human kind, it seems particularly applicable to our current state of affairs in America.

Billions of Versions of Normal

There are billions of people and a version of normal to go along with each one of them. No two versions are exactly the same. There will be hundreds of thousands of little things that make up your version of normal. With any luck you can find people that have close to the same idea of what normal is that you do. These are your friends. Anyone else you try to tolerate as best you can.


  1. Hello, love the view of the Pacific Tracker ship. Your sky shots are beautiful. That is a great quote on the versions of normal. The book on Yellowstone looks interesting! Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

  2. Very interesting that ship. All sorts of secrets out there and the story of the Prang is interesting.

  3. The Tracker ship is most unusual.I am sure glad you were able to get these pictures of it.The sky shots are beautiful.Have a wonderful week and keep on getting those amazing pictures.

  4. I didn't remember that SF Oakland Bay bridge being quite so
    Those giant golf ball things on the Pacific Tracker were interesting. Thanks for finding that link!

  5. Those big 'golf balls' on the ship must be the antennas.
    The sky pictures sure are pretty.

  6. Nice pictures - and funny to read one has to do research to know more about a resaerch vessel.

    The sky views are wonderful - as all of your sky photos are - and I love to see the bridge picture. A very long bridge and I think is an amazing idea that people could construct bridges like this so many decades ago.

  7. That ship is very interesting. So much goes on around the world that we don't even know about!

  8. For this old prairie boy there's always lots to learn from the ship traffic in the post.

  9. What an excellent aerial view of the Golden Gate bridge! I reckon the photographer was on a helicopter to take this photo?

  10. I always adore your ships view John! just incredible!

    Your sky glimpse have deep spiritual touch in their capturing ,you seem to put so much thought to catch a perfect view,so mesmerizing actually.

    Bridges are so fascinating to look at .
    loved the one on postcard

  11. I sure do enjoy your ship traffic, and your always-increasing knowledge of what's out there. And your old picture of those bridges is a treasure. Thanks for sharing all your fine pictures, John. You will always be associated with Yellowstone in my mind, too. :-)

  12. Sometimes visiting your blog makes me want to move to a place near the beach so I can have a view as marvelous as these.

  13. "find people that have close to the same idea of what normal is that you do."

    Heheheh...well, I read that and thought, "Good luck with that."


  14. Great view of the pacific indeed! and intriguing to see those vessels..


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