This past week John and I drove south through central Oregon. It was a two day trip that we took in our tow car and which necessitated us to spend one night in Bend, Oregon. Initially we drove through very dense forests Douglas firs, cedar and hemlock. Being a fairly wet area, there are also many ferns which dot the roadside. This is the western side of the Cascades, which receives about 40-100 inches of rain a year.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
We are now settled in Silverton, Oregon, which we visited three years ago. Yesterday we drove north of the town to Mt.Angel, a small town with German roots tucked in the countryside which surrounds Silverton. We drove by fields of corn and even larger fields of hops. There are also apple orchards in this part of the country. Along the way drove through the Gallon Covered Bridge, built in 1916.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
This mountain is the youngest and most explosive of the Cascade Mountain volcanoes. Thirty-five hundred years ago she exploded producing thirteen times more ash and rock than on May 18,1980. The mountain is about 100 miles northeast from where we are parked here in Portland. We drove there on Friday, which turned out to be a long trip as it involved a lot of mountainous driving over narrow winding roads which have been damaged by frost heaves. Unfortunately we never did get a good view of St.Helens because of the heavy cloud cover over her on the day we were there.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Portland certainly has two gems worth visiting, which are its Japanese Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden. While wandering the streets of downtown Portland we walked over to Chinatown, which is not at all like the Chinatown of Los Angeles. The latter town has numerous Chinese stores and restaurants, and has a very colorful, bustling scene- which cannot at all be said for Portland's Chinatown. However, within the Chinatown district is the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, also known as Lan Su. The name represents the relationship between Portland and Suzhou, Portland's sister city in China's Jiangsu province which is famous for its beautiful gardens. With the gardens is also a home designed in the 15th century Ming style by artisians and craftspeople from Suzhou. Rocks in the garden are mined from a freshwater lake near Suzhou.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I had mentioned sometime in the past that we were in the Portland area for a family wedding. The wedding of my niece Sarah and her fiance Mike occurred this past Sunday, in Oregon City.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
On Monday we moved our home to a park just outside of Portland, Oregon. This coming week-end there will be a family wedding in Oregon City. We have relatives in the city of Portland so this seemed a good spot to roost for awhile.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Several years back Missouri Botanical Garden had a Chihuly glass exhibit placed throughout the gardens, which John and I did see. And thankfully those gardens purchased some of the glass artwork so they could forever remain with the park. Consequently John and I are very familiar with his work, and we have seen more of it during our travels over the states. At the Chihuly exhibit in Seattle we learned more about the artist and also were able to view the whole scope of his work as it has emerged over the past fifty years. The information which I provide in this posting, regarding the artist and his work, I obtained from the numerous interpretive signs and videos which are available at this art museum. Chihuly grew up in the northwestern part of our country and his work Niijima Floats was inspired by his memory of Japanese fishing floats found along the beaches of Puget Sound, and by a visit to the Japanese Island of Niijima.
Friday, August 9, 2013
We were not successful in reserving a spot for our rig in any area in Seattle or even near it. Next time we are here we are going to have to do that months ahead of time, especially during the summertime. Consequently we had to settle for Fall City, which is about 25 miles north of Seattle. In 2010 I wrote a post about a visit we made to Snoqualmie Falls, that place is located about 3 miles from where we are presently parked. We have been in this park now for several days and I am thankful that we could not get into any other place! Our home is surrounded by tall pines, large-leafed maples and ferns which offer lots of shade and keep us cool. There is little grass on the ground because it is mostly covered with moss. Across from us is an empty lot and its borders are lined with many blackberry bushes. The bushes are heavily laden with the ripe sweet fruit, which we have already indulged in rather frequently. Today our nephew Andy and his son Ben visited us, and, while returning from the pool, we saw three pileated woodpeckers. Maybe you can understand why we love it here.
Monday, August 5, 2013
I had no plans to write any more postings until we were in the Seattle area. However, we had such an interesting day Saturday on our bike ride, that I thought our readers would enjoy hearing about it. The Coal Mines Trail runs from Cle Elum to Roslyn. The trail follows the right-of-way of the Northern Pacific Railroad branch line developed in 1886 to export coal from the Roslyn Cle Elum coal fields. In 1987 the railroad branch line was decommissioned and the tracks and ties were removed from the right-of-way. The trail is 3.5 miles long, and seemed to us to be quite doable for our small bikes. We also thought that, since the weather had been quite cool, we had no danger of becoming over-heated. We were wrong on both counts. It was a steady uphill climb from Cle Elum to Roslyn, on a gravel path. We did not get over-heated, but the uphill struggle on loose rock did cause us to sweat a bit. Then I thought that maybe it would all be worthwhile if a deer crossed our path, but all we saw was one lone squirrel. That short distance took us about an hour- returning to Cle Elum took 15 minutes- we coasted most of the way! On our return trip our path was shadier, and a cool breeze wafted out across our path bringing with it a wonderful pine smell. Occasionally we could get a glimpse of the Cascade Mountains between the tall pines. And we were surprised by the presence of a great blue heron on the bike path! I braked suddenly, and the screeching of my brakes sent him into instant flight. I also have to mention here the profusion of wildflowers which we saw along the trail. It was surprising how much more pleasant that ride home was!
Our morning trip to Roslyn left us quite thirsty and tired. After sitting and lingering over a long lunch hour in a restaurant, we felt up to tackling a hike to the historical cemetery located on a hill a short distance out of town. As we soon found out, it was one of the most interesting cemeteries which we have ever toured. The complex covers 19 acres of woods and hills and has within it 26 separate cemeteries from prior to the turn of the 20th century. There are sections dedicated to the African American miners, veterans, and many different fraternal organizations. We found one lodge which we had never heard of before- the Redman organization. Apparently for their meetings they wore buckskin clothes and leather moccasins to “preserve American traditions”. Heaven help us! Seriously, the lodges were probably important for providing sick benefits, as well as caring for widows and orphans. Work in the mines took many lives.
As in many coal towns Roslyn was a melting pot of many nationalities. In the cemetery there is a section for the Italians, Slovakians, and Serbians, to name but a few. In the Polish Lithuanian section is a large sign explaining that after immigration to America the two nationalities shared churches, societies, and cemetery ground. However, due to “reawakening of nationalities” in their home countries, the two groups parted ways here in America. I would assume that happened around the time of World War l.
There is also a section for foresters. In 2001 a forest fire took the lives of four local young people. Their cemetery section is quite beautiful with blooming flowers and sculptures. In the picture above two burnt stumps are placed among the animals and flowers. It may seem a bit morbid to get excited about a cemetery, but for me this one certainly spoke to me about the lives of Roslyn's citizens through the years.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
On Thursday we drove further west into the state of Washington. We passed through the three-city area of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland. They lie at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake and Yakima Rivers. After noticing the harvesting of wheat in the Walla Walla area, it was interesting to see the wheat sitting in large piles at the wharfs waiting to be shipped out. Heading north we drove through a section of the Yakima River valley where there are many peach and apple orchards as well as vineyards. I now fully understand why it has been said that Washington produces the most apples of any other state! Climbing out of the valley we suddenly left the lush fields and pastures to discover a vast canyon spread out below us.
That evening we parked outside of the town of Cle Elum, a town named after its namesake river which flows down from Cle Elum Lake 8 miles to the northeast. In the Kittitas Indian tongue Cle Elum means “swift water”. The Yakima River flows into the Cle Elum River, we are currently parked close to the Yakima River. At the present its level is quite high and it, as well as the Cle Elum River is flowing very swiftly.
Yesterday, Saturday, we drove into the town to tour the Carpenter House Museum. In the early part of the last century Frank Carpenter was a successful banker- his bank was one of the very few which survived the Great Depression years. His house is a large three-story frame building. In one of the bedrooms we were surprised to find furniture made by John’s past employer, the Boeing Company. During World War I most planes were made of wood and therefore Boeing had many wood craftsmen. Pictured below is a French styled bed painted cream with floral wreaths, made by the company. It was in the nursery of the home.
From the town of Cle Elum we wandered north and stopped to take hike the Salmon Viewing Trail along the Cle Elum River. Unfortunately this is the wrong time of the year to see their passage down the river- that happens in September and October. Along the river there are bleachers from which to view the salmon.
Our furthest point north Friday was the town of Roselyn. It was once used as a backdrop for the television series “Northern Exposure” and given the fictitious name of Cicely, Alaska. In reality it was a successful coal mining town founded in 1886 with its population peaking at 4,000 in the 1920s. It is now a town catering to tourists, with many restaurants and small shops. What makes it so charming is that the town has kept many of its older buildings, many of which were built in the early part of the 20th century.