Pristine Puget Sound

We soon reach the Pacific Coast of Washington. A new National Park Service volunteer is onboard, describing the local birds and scenery over the intercom. Exceptionally well-informed and more talkative than the last guides, he turns out to be a former emergency services dispatcher. It seems that everyone has at least one MIT story to tell, so he tells of an MIT queue-modeling simulation, commissioned by the local government to cut staff to the bare minimum. Instead, the simulation indicated that the existing staffing was already insufficient. This round of ammunition made happy campers out of the police, fire, and ambulance folks.

He explains why railroads often hug the coast. This mode of transportation places a premium on flatness, and the beach is guaranteed to be flat because any major deviations will long have been worn down or sedimented up to sea level. As we enter Everett, he describes the campaign of the small city of Seattle to have the Great Northern terminate there instead of Everett. It worked, and so now Seattle is the premier city in a 150-mile radius. We pass the docks of the Everett harbor, and he notes logs being loaded aboard a ship returning to China, from which it'd carried manufactured goods offloaded at Seattle or Vancouver.