Travel Day & Air Quality Maps

Thursday I am heading over to eastern Washington to spend my final 5 nights in the state.  Here is what the nationwide map looked like last Thursday:


Yellow is Acceptable, Orange is Bad, Red is Very Bad (Unhealthy), Purple is Hazardous.  As you can see, this time last week things looked pretty bleak for the Northwest US and Southwestern Canada.

Here’s what it looks like this morning:


As you can see, there is a small area of orange in eastern Washington and within that orange area is one red spot – Spokane.  Where am I going for the next 5 days??  Spokane.

The area just north of Mount Vernon got some rain yesterday morning which moved east along the border with Canada and I think that, along with other areas of rain in the past week, have contributed to the temporarily improved readings.  The fires continue, though, so I expect smoke and bad air to return.

Padilla Bay Interpretive Center

Wednesday I drove out to this facility, not far from where I am staying in Mount Vernon.  It is part of the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, an 11,000 acre protected area in and near the Salish Sea and the saltwater delta of the Skagit River (which runs adjacent to downtown Mount Vernon).  In additional to several rooms of displays and photographs explaining the research which occurs here there were several aquariums with some of the critters which live underwater.

Starry Flounder


Coonstripe Shrimp


Painted Anemone


Giant Pink Star (probably 3 feet across.  It was clinging to the glass so you are seeing the underside of it)



Red Sea Urchin


There were lots of other things in the tanks but these were the most photogenic and many were too dark for the camera to focus on them properly (my smartphone camera likes to push my buttons by focusing on the wrong thing…)