hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Westshore Terminal

It's just up the road from us in Point Roberts and many residents here only now about coal dust.  In the summer, the Terminal conducts tours for visitors.  About an hour long.  You see a short video and then ride around the terminal area (not all that big, really) and find out what they do.

Ed and I made reservations and took the tour a couple of weeks ago (they're finished doing this for the year now).  But i really recommend you're trying to remember next summer to get signed up.  Despite living very much IN the world, I am always surprised to find that I know almost nothing about how anything really works.  How trash gets collected and disposed of, how paint is made, what they are doing at all those places down on Mitchell Island.  When I was a kid, we used to go on a tour of a bakery every year.  That's pretty much my entire background on industry.  I'd like to go on a tour of a bakery now!  My guess is that they have changed over the last 70 years.

Anyway, everything they told me was news.  I didn't know that Westshore Terminal was an entirely different operation from the container terminal.  Or that the coal didn't come there in railway cars and get immediately transferred into ships somehow.  Or that they are shipping two different kinds of coal: metallurgic coal from Canada and thermal coal from the U.S.  There are giant piles of coal all over the place and giant machines moving it around.

[A very big machine and some very fine coal.]

Growing up, my family had a coal stove.  Originally, a small one that you put lumps of coal in.  Later a coal furnace that had what was called 'slack coal' and was more pebbly.  Neither of the things they're shipping look like those.  All very interesting.  They showed us what they're doing to try to reduce coal dust.  But they understand it's a problem.

Go and learn something next summer when you have a chance.

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