Sunday, September 27, 2009

Last Stop in Oregon

I let my hair down and did some fishing.
Spring Creek
The Museum Entrance

Blacksmith shop with oxen yokes and other equipment.
The tug used to move the logs to the sawmills.
Part of the Pioneer Village
The yellow poles are part of the loader that was damaged when Mt. St. Helens erupted.

We only traveled 50 miles from Crater Lake to Collier Memorial State Park near Chiloquin, OR where we decided to just kick back and spend a week. It is a nice park with paved roads and sites which is a good thing since it has not rained here in two months and it is so dry the many chipmunks running around put up a cloud of dust like a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. The weather here has been great but different from what we are used to with highs in the mid 80's but lows in the 30's, a 50 degree difference each day. A couple of days have been a little smokey from forest fires in the area including one that just started at Diamond Lake where we stayed to visit Crater Lake last week. The park is on a river and stream and I have done some fishing, but no catching. The camp host told me he has fished here for seven years and has only caught two fish, so we may have to stay here awhile if I expect to catch anything. Although, fishing is not always about catching.

Part of the park is an outdoor logging museum with a collection of antique equipment and a pioneer village with nine log cabins from points around southern Oregon. The logging equipment ranges from ox drawn wagons to a loader that was damaged when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. There is even a tug that was used to move logs across Klamath Lake to the sawmills. The land for the park and the artifacts in the museum are a gift to the state from Alfred and Andrew Collier who donated them in 1945 as a memorial to their parents.
We learned this week that our Crater Lake post is going to be published on Road Trip Journal. We are getting paid $10 for that article but will also be in a Readers Choice Contest in November for a $100 gas card. One voter will also win a prize so we will be asking all friends and family members to vote early and vote often :) :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Crater Lake Yoi, Double Yoi!!!

We have moved on and are staying at the Diamond Lake Campground in the Umpqua National Forest near Crater Lake National Park. We are dry camping and it is the first time we have used my government senior pass so the cost is only $6.00 a night for a site overlooking the lake which we can see as we sit at our kitchen table. The weather has been good with clear warm days that lead to clear "cold" nights. It was in the 30's on two mornings. I did do a little fishing with no luck but the reason we stayed here was to go to Crater Lake which is only about six miles away.Crater Lake is the result of the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama, a 12,000 foot volcano, 7,700 years ago. All the water in the six mile long, four mile wide, 1943 foot deep caldera is from snow melt and rain. There are no streams flowing into the lake so the water is so clean you can drink it, which we did. Because of its depth, the deepest in the US, and water purity the color is unbelievable. There are deep, deep blues and shades of green in the shallower areas. One day was nothing but blue skies which really highlights the color of the water. The second day was a little cloudy but it was still beautiful.
The park service web site says Crater Lake - Like No Place On Earth. We have to agree.
The sky in the west is generally a unique blue until it is seen next to the water of this lake. This one and the next couple pictures are from the rim that is accessible on a 33 mile drive with numerous pullouts. This allows for easy access and gives you a large variety of views.
The orange rock is Pumice Castle, a column of rock that is different than the surrounding rock because of the way it interacted with the air during an eruption.
This is Wizard Island the cone of an extinct volcano within a dormant volcano that rises 700 feet above the lake. We took a boat tour that dropped us on the island for three hours so we could climb to the top and then down 90 feet to the bottom of the crater. The island is totally covered with rocks from ancient eruptions. It was fantastic to spend the day on the water and island that is inside the dormant volcano of Mount Mazama. The high point in the background is Mount Scott that was named for Nanc's ancestors:-):-)
Here are some of the things we saw from the boat. Bottom left: Phantom Ship, the second largest island. Top left: The old man of the lake is a 35 foot long log that has been floating upright in the lake for over 100 years. Center: The Devils Backbone, a column of magma that is stronger than the surrounding rock that has eroded away. Top right: A waterfall from snow melt and beautiful green water. Bottom left: A patch of snow from last winter. It will soon be covered with fresh snow.
Can you tell we loved this place? Top left: At the bottom of Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only access to the water. Top right: On the rim of the crater on Wizard Island. Bottom: Inside the crater on Wizard Island
This is looking down into the crater on Wizard Island and up to the rim of Crater Lake in the background. Nanc wanted to sacrifice me to the volcano gods but decided against it.
Some of the vast array of color we saw here.
The trees on the island are dying from a parasite, which could be a good thing since the view of the entire Crater Lake rim is not blocked. One of several forest fires we could see in the distance. When we got up on Saturday morning we could smell smoke in the campground, but by Sunday afternoon it appeared as if this fire was out

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spruce Goose

Looking down the wing that was high enough for a man to stand in.
The Spruce Goose and a replica of the Wright Flier.
The wingspan of this WWII B-17 was less than the span of the tail wing of the Goose.
The interior of the Spruce Goose.

We stayed at the Sleepy Hollow Campground in Lafayette, OR for two days so we could visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum. The museum is the home of the Spruce Goose, the largest wooden plane ever built. Because of the shortage of metal the plane was constructed out of birch. It was given the name Spruce Goose as a criticism of the cost of a wooden plane that most people did not think would fly. It was built by Howard Hughes at the end of WW II and was featured in the movie about him starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The plane was designed to fly troops to Europe and avoid the German u-boats but became obsolete before it was completed because the war ended. As with many other things, Hughes became obsessed with its completion and spent several million of his own money to finish the project. It was completed and was cleared to practice taxiing in 1945, but with Hughes at the controls he put the plane in the air for a one mile flight. It was the only time it flew and Hughes spent a million dollars a year to store it in a hanger for 33 years until his death. It was then opened to the public in a specially constructed dome in California. When the company that owned it was bought by Disney, who had no interest in the plane, it was purchased by the Evergreen Company in McMinnville. OR. It was disassembled, put on barges and shipped to Oregon where it was restored and reassembled to be displayed in their new museum. I have always been interested in this plane and we had seen the movie so we both enjoyed seeing it up close. It towers over all the other aircraft with its 320 foot wingspan filling much of the building. You can also go inside to see the cargo bay, but a tour of the flight deck was an extra $20 each so we passed. The museum has a extensive collection of restored military, commercial, and private aircraft with about 65% being flight certified. They have big plans for the museum including a hotel and a water park where you will be able to slide out of a 747. We have been to several aviation museums and we enjoyed this one, but if you have been to others and have no interest in the Spruce Goose you can pass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Portland, OR

Portland Brewpubs -- Great Beer
M.C. Escher

Nanc stopping to smell the roses. A few of the roses.
Upper Pond
Sand and Stone Garden
Mt. Hood and the city from the Japanese Garden.
Dragon Boat Races

We spent a week at Jantzen Beach RV Park in Portland, OR, a park with a reasonable weekly rate for an urban setting. This is a good place to stay when visiting the city but the down side is it is in the flight path of the airport and there are always planes coming or going during the day. It was not bad at night and the nearby million dollar homes get the same noise as a trade off for living near the river with a view of Mt. Hood. One reason I wanted to stay here was to try some of the many brewpubs. Portland is to beer what Seattle is to coffee with more breweries per capita than any city in the USA. We ate out six of the seven nights we were here and the reward was some decent food and some GREAT beers. Nanc is willing to agree to the brewpubs because they all have an excellent selection of wine. We got to watch the Steelers get off to a great start on the road to a repeat with a win over the Terrible Towel stomping Titans.

On Saturday morning we went to a big farmers' market in the city and then to the Portland Art Museum where they had a special exhibit, Virtual Worlds M. C. Escher and Paradox. We have always been fascinated by his work and it was interesting seeing how he progressed through the years to finally get to the style of drawing the impossible structures for which he became most famous. You could spend hours looking at his work and constantly finding some new fascinating detail.

One afternoon we went to Washington Park to stroll through the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden. Portland is known as the rose city and the garden is a tribute to that status. There are hundreds of plots with past winners, the queen's walk honors the Rose Festival Queens, and many different experimental hybrids. It was really beautiful and the smell was wonderful. The Japanese Garden is several acres of landscaped grounds in the ancient tradition of Japan. It is dedicated to Portland's Japanese population and its Sister City, Sapporo. There is a mix of water, plants, buildings and sculptures along the meandering path. There are several little alcoves with benches that were quiet and cool on the hot day we were there. The garden has a great overlook of the city and Mt. Hood. What a great place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was like stepping into another world.

On the day we marched in the health care protest (previous post) we watched dragon boat races on the Willamette River. There were teams from all over the US and Canada racing in several different categories. Each boat had twenty rowers, a helmsmen at the stern and a drummer up front setting the pace. The races we watched were very competitive and looked like everyone was having a great time. Even though we don't often stay in big cities we enjoyed our time in Portland and as always we plan on returning in the future.

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Nation, Under Insured

We participated in a protest for health care reform in Portland. Who do you think inspired this sign?
This is a sign of the times. Since retiring, we have paid for our health care which we planned for. We are now having to absorb the outrageous increases each year. WE NEED TO REDUCE COSTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Over 100 people joined the march after finding out about it on line. This was a real grassroots protest not an astroturf affair. There were people from all walks of life from older medicare recipients, to healthy young adults, to a woman with a child in a wheelchair.The organizer being interviewed by local TV.
Some of the signs.
This is what will happen to US if we don't join the rest of the free world economies and make affordable health care available to ALL.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Last Stay in Washington

Nanc and Dave catching up on the last forty years.
The Scott family
An example of Preston Singletary's work.
The Chihuly Bridge
Glass sculpture in the plaza.
John de Wit and an assistant work the glass.

We are now at the Olympia Campground in Olympia, Washington. This park is owned by the same people who own the American Heritage Campground where we stayed five weeks ago on our way north. This one is supposed to be a couple dollars a day cheaper but turned out being a little more expensive because they gave us the FMCA discount on the weekly rate at the other place. The pricing systems used by parks is always a mystery. Both parks are pretty nice with this one being easier to navigate with the big rig and the other one having bigger sites that are divided by vegetation. AFTER I WROTE THE ABOVE IT STARTED TO RAIN AND WE AWOKE TO A LAKE AROUND THE RIG BECAUSE A DRAIN WAS PLUGGED. I COMPLAINED BUT IT DID NO GOOD. DON'T STAY HERE IF THERE IS A CHANCE OF RAIN!!!!!!!!

We are staying a week here so we can spend some more time with Dave, Kazuko and their family. This is the fourth time Nanc has seen her brother in four years after not seeing him four times in the previous ten when we were working. Most of those times were related to funerals or other family events so this has been great. One evening after dinner we just sat on a bench overlooking the water in Olympia and told stories about what we have been doing the last forty years. It is fantastic to now have the time to do this.

One day we visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. They have a great permanent collection where they contrast the use of glass using such categories as transparent/translucent/opaque, hot/warm/cold, factory/studio, vessel/sculpture and several others. This gave a number of different perspectives and was a unique way of looking at a material we take so for granted. A temporary exhibit Echoes, Fire and Shadows by Preston Singletary, a Tlingit Indian, had items made of glass that were based on the woodcarvings of the native people of Alaska. He has produced everything from mythical creatures to bentwood boxes in glass. We found this very interesting since we have seen so many examples of these native works at the museums in Vancouver and the Makah Nation. The Tlingit Indians were also the visiting tribe we watched perform at the Makah Days Festival we attended. Outside the museum the plazas have many glass sculptures and the Chihuly Bridge of Glass that contains the work of world famous Tacoma native Dale Chihuly. We had seen many examples of his wonderful work in the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The museum has a large hotshop where you can get up close and personal with the museum's team of artists and visiting artists. We watched the team blowing martini glasses for a fundraiser they are having next week. John de Wit, a Whidbey Island artist, was working on glass sculptures that he would later paint. Everyone was willing to take time to explain what they were doing and answer questions.

This is our last stop in Washington and we have really enjoyed the things we have seen and done while here. The pace of our travel has been just about right with stays of a week at most places which gave us time to explore the area. As usual we did not do everything we planned and we will be back here in the future. Nanc's brother Dave said we should tell people the weather here is not the best but we can not tell a lie, for the most part it has been fantastic with cool nights and warm sunny days. That said it has rained a lot the last two days and they are reporting sn_w above 6000 feet in the mountains so we will be heading to the lower latitudes very soon.