Vacation 2017 – Part 8

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The day after our excursion, I stayed behind and let Cindy go out with the others. I wasn’t in the mood to drive hither and yon on somebody’s whim. I had my own whims, and on top of that list was sitting around and reading all day. Or at least as much as I could. East of Eden by John Steinbeck was my choice. It was a good choice. I didn’t even break out my camera to take pictures. That’s why there is no picture at the top of this post.

When Cindy came back from the sightseeing and shopping she started preparing a dinner for everybody. It was a good meal that got great reviews. Michelle and Lee also gave me wonderful birthday presents.

Hot Dog!

The highlight of the next day was the birthday party for Wyatt. He turned four that day. There were no children there, just adults. It was held on the beach where a fire could be built to roast hot dogs and make smores. The party started in the late afternoon. By the time rolled around for Wyatt to open his presents, we had to break out flashlights to add to the light from the fire. When he had finished with his presents Cindy and I decided to skip the smores and drive back to our unit.

On the way back to the access road we turned too soon and ended up stuck in the sand. I walked back to the fire to get help, and then hiked back. We were deep in the sand, and I was preparing to call AAA, though I’m not sure I could get cell phone reception, when a couple of good Samaritans with a tow rope pulled up in a pickup truck. In very little time they had us free of the sand and on our way.

The three amigos

The next day, our last in Gearhart, was fairly uneventful, though Michelle was sick. Michelle’s family came to say goodbye before leaving. Lee and Wyatt came back to our unit for a while to let Michelle rest. Later we went to their unit for dinner. And then we packed for our trip back east.

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Vacation 2017 – Part 7

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Cindy and I spent a large portion of the following day with Lee, Michelle and Wyatt. Michelle asked us what we wanted to see. I mentioned that Cindy and I had seen signs for Fort Stevens State Park where there was a military museum. We had also seen a sign advertising a maritime museum in Astoria, Oregon. And finally there had been a sign for the Fort Clatsop Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. Any one of these places would be fine places to visit. All of them were located north of our location at Gearhart.

Remains of the Peter Iredale

We started with Fort Stevens State Park. The picture above shows what is left of the Peter Iredale, which ran aground in 1906. It was a ship built during the transformation from wooden sailing ships to steel clad ships. No crew was lost during the storm that ran the ship aground. This is all that remains.

Pacific shoreline

Fort Stevens gun battery

We went on to view other sections of the coast, and some of the abandoned gun batteries at the actual fort.

In front of the museum

From there we went on to the modest fort museum. There we learned that Fort Stevens had been in existence since the end of the U.S. Civil War, and was closed in 1947. During World War II it had been attacked by a Japanese submarine, but their shells fell on the beach rather than on the fort. The men in charge determined that the U.S. guns didn’t have the range to hit the submarine. Rather than pinpoint their location, they decided to not fire back.

From the pier

We left the fort and drove into Astoria to find a place to eat lunch. Lee and Michelle’s first choice had a long wait for an available table. It didn’t seem wise to stay there with a three (going on four) year old boy. So we moved on. We found a very good barbecue joint on a pier. After we ate, Lee, Wyatt, Kyle (Michelle’s brother who had joined us), and I stood on the pier and watched the birds and the ships while Cindy and Michelle sampled wines in the nearby wine shop.

We eventually left the pier and started looking for the maritime museum. I was ready for an afternoon nap, so I didn’t shout and point out the museum when I spotted it. It was a short distance up the street from the Doughboy Monument (don’t ask me, we didn’t see it. I figured the monument was either to World War I soldiers or the Pillsbury icon.) So we started back to the condos. I had to put off my nap for a while because Michelle wanted another opportunity to stand on the beach and watch the waves. But it was a pretty good day.

Vacation 2017 – Part 6

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Cindy and I slept in the next morning. As much as I like to travel, not starting the day in the car or even with the motel industry’s normal “complimentary continental breakfast” was a bit of a treat. I pulled out our laptop to connect to the free WiFi that was promised in a packet of materials in our condo. I couldn’t connect. The information we had been supplied suggested that we call the office for help. “Just dial 0” said the relevant page. That’s when I realized that there was no telephone in our unit.

Oh, well. I decided to take a trip to the office later. In the meantime, Cindy decided that it was time to go buy some groceries so that we wouldn’t eat all of our meals in restaurants. We got back in the car and headed out searching for a grocery store. Cindy also thought that rather than go into the store hungry, we should eat something to drive out any hunger pangs. That was wise.

We headed north. We were surprised that we had to leave the main highway in order to find a restaurant that wasn’t fast food. It took some searching, but we eventually found a small cafe that served breakfasts and lunches. It was packed. We each chose breakfast. Then we headed towards a supermarket that we had seen during our quest for a meal.

We shopped and started back to the condo. During our driving we had made note of signs for Fort Stevens State Park, where there was a military museum, and for a maritime museum up the road in Astoria, Oregon.

We unloaded our groceries and stored them away. Then we started to once more relax. I picked up the book I was currently reading, Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and was soon lost to the real world.

Elk just outside

And more

Cindy got a call from Lee. He said that there were elk just outside their condo unit. I looked out of our patio door window and saw the elk between us and the ocean. It was the highlight of my day, and he highlight of our entire week at the condo.

Vacation 2017 – Part 5

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Montana or Wyoming?

Here is a problem. My notes on the trip fail to mention where we stopped to stay for the night after we left Yellowstone National Park the previous day. And my memory is such that I don’t recall if we stayed in Montana or Idaho. I believe it was Idaho, but…

Anyway, we started out the next morning with the goal of getting into Oregon because we needed to be on the northwest coast the following afternoon. For some reason I made absolutely no notes during our trip that day. I don’t even know where I took the above photo. I just know that I was in the passenger seat and took the picture because of the black wall. That day we drove to Bend, Oregon, where we spent the night.

I got on the laptop that night and tried to pick a route that would keep us away from the wildfires. I found a very useful website that indicated the fires and the relative size of the fires on a map.

***

From Bend, we drove northwest on US 20 until we found the junction of OR 22. We were driving through beautiful country, but there was a lot of smoke in the air. A few times we were warned by signs that we were entering firs activity areas, but the roads were open.

Detroit Dam

From the top of the dam

We stopped at the Detroit Dam and lake. There was so much smoke that the visibility was terrible. I adjusted the 2 photos above to bring more clarity to the pictures.

We arrived at our destination, Gearhart, Oregon, in the mid-afternoon. We stayed in a condominium that was rented while the owner was out of town. I saw a notice in the office where we checked in that said to be on the watch for elk. It was rutting season and that they didn’t like to be disturbed. Interesting. Lee, Michelle and Wyatt were in another condo about a three minute walk or a five minute drive from the one we were in.  Both condos were on the ocean and we only had to walk up a slight rise to see it. It was time to relax.

Cindy at rest

 

Vacation 2017 – Part 4

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Who would have thought

I never thought that I would write a sentence, let alone a paragraph, in praise of a highway rest area. And yet, here I am writing about the Lusk Rest Area in Wyoming. Cindy and I agree that this was the prettiest and the cleanest rest area we have ever visited. Due to our travels, we have seen many over the years. If awards are ever given to rest areas, the Lusk Rest Area deserves to win. Well done, Wyoming!

Cowgirl

We continued on in Wyoming. The haze from the western wildfires became more noticeable the further we traveled. We stopped to spend the night in Dubois, Wyoming. This statue was one of many in the town. I failed to get the name of the sculpture and sculptor. We had a good dinner at the Nostalgia Bistro, where we celebrated my entrance into the ranks of septegenarianhood (it may not be a recognized word, but it should be…write your Congressman).

***

The next morning we headed out for the Grand Teton National Park. While we occasionally had clear skies, more often the views were partially obstructed by smoke and haze. The following picture is one that I took in the park. I played around with the contrast and saturation in order to get a clearer view of the mountains.

Grand Teton Park

Old Faithful

From Grand Teton Park we drove  few miles north and entered Yellowstone National Park. There were so many delays for road construction within the park boundaries, I started to fear that we would run out of gas. Finally we came to the Yellowstone Inn where we filled the gas tank and then our bellies in the restaurant. We decided that you can never see Old Faithful, the geyser, too often, but we almost missed it. I took this picture from a distance while it was winding down from its most recent eruption.

Vacation 2017 – Part 3

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A view from the bridge

We continued on in Nebraska, heading more or less towards the northwest corner of the state. We saw a sign that indicated that there was a historic bridge on a road that branched to left of the one we were on. So we decided to drive over to see it. We found the Bryan Bridge which was built in 1932, It is an arched cantilever trussed bridge that is connected in the middle by a single pin. It was designed by a Russian emigre who graduated from the University of Nebraska Engineering, and was named for the then Governor of the state. I took a number of pictures from the bridge but only realized after we go home that I never took a picture of the actual bridge. You can see a picture of the bridge and read more about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Bridge.

We continued on to Valentine, Nebraska where we stopped at the pretty city park to eat a picnic lunch. We had packed food in our cooler so that we would not have to eat every meal in a restaurant or pick it up in a fast food drive-through. With the exception of a stray cat that wanted to join us, it was a pleasant meal.

From there we drove on to Chadron, Nebraska, where we decided to spend the night. Before checking in to a motel however, we drove a few miles south of town and went into the Chadron State Park, which was the first state park in Nebraska. In parts of the park you can still see the effects of a fire that happened in 2012. It was in this park where we first noticed the haze/smoke in the air from the wildfires that have been burning in our western states this year.

Vacation 2017 – Part 2

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Inside the mill

Inside the mill

We had spent the first night in Anamosa, Iowa. When we got up the next morning I pointed out to Cindy that we were across the street from the National Motorcycle Museum, but she wasn’t inclined to visit it. So we left town after partaking of the free continental breakfast. If you want to visit the museum, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Our drive through Iowa was uneventful, as was a large part of our time in Nebraska. We weren’t on the Interstate, so we didn’t feel as if we had to rush anywhere.

When we arrived in Neligh, Nebraska we found the Neligh Mill. It was a a mill built in 1873 by John D. Neligh. It was originally a water powered mill that produced flour and animal feed. As the years passed it was upgraded to also produce electricity. The mill was also modified to no longer depend on water power and the grind stones were replaced by steel milling machines that were electrically powered. The upgrades allowed the mill to produce more flour and feed that was marketed outside the area under a number of names.

The mill is now a historic site operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society. For more information about the mill you can visit this website: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/mill/index.htm

I’m short on text today, so I’ll add a couple more pictures.

An exhibit

The original power source

Vacation 2017 – Part 1

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On the road again

I’ve been back home now since Thursday night. Usually I am in a rush to start posting about our trip as soon as I’ve had a good night’s sleep, but not this year. I am not sure why I’ve put off writing, but I haven’t had any desire to sit at the keyboard and pour out my stories. Still, if I don’t start soon I may never get around to doing it. Unlike past years, I don’t plan on doing a day by day breakdown. I may well skip over some days, or cram three or four days into one post. I’ll just play it by ear.

Once again we headed west, but not to Las Vegas this year. No, this year we drove to Oregon to spend a week with Lee, Michelle, and our grandson Wyatt. In the picture above we started our drive going west through Illinois. Please note that we are not on an Interstate highway. We had to share the road with trucks, but certainly not as many as we would if we had taken an Interstate. Plus we had seven days to make the trip. There was no reason to rush any more than was necessary.

Having plenty of time was good. Cindy took it to mean that we could leave later on our Tuesday start date. I’ll only say that we left later than the 8 a.m. that I preferred. Oh well. I love her. It was a cool, cloudy morning. We stopped and ate (a late) breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants before leaving Indiana and heading into the wilds of Illinois. The trip across Illinois was uneventful. We crossed the Mississippi River and drove into Iowa in the afternoon. We stopped and spent the night in Iowa.

A small part of my day

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Mosey

I took this picture about a month ago. Once a month during the summer, Lafayette has what they call Mosey Down Main street. People set up stalls to sell wares; there are food stands; there is some live music; and some of the merchants are open after their regular store hours. While this has been going on for a number of years, this was only the second time that we attended. The first time we went, it started pouring down rain and we left. This time was OK. But I think that attending once every two or three years will be good enough for me.

***

I decided to do some ironing this morning. It is something that I have been putting off for quite a while now. When I told Cindy what I was about to do, she said something along the lines of, “Oh, really?’ I believe I detected a hint of sarcasm in her voice. I had to admit that I had been talking about ironing for a month or more, but had never gotten around to actually doing any ironing. Well, today was the day.

I prepared for the task by setting up the ironing board, getting out the iron and filling it with distilled water, plugging the iron into the wall socket, and turning on the iron. Standard stuff that everybody does. Unless you are one of those devil-may-care types who use tap water rather than distilled. If you are one of those people, I can’t imagine what the innards of your iron looks like. Oh, and I put on some music to iron by.

I started out with the shirts. I had four that were so badly wrinkled that even I didn’t want to be seen in public wearing them. I need to tell you now that shirts are the garment that I least enjoy ironing. I don’t dislike all aspects of the shirt. The collar, the box plate, and the lower body of the shirt are easy to iron. But I always have trouble with the yoke, the arm holes, and the sleeves. They all have puckered areas that I cannot flatten with an iron without ironing in a crease somewhere else. It didn’t help that I started out with the iron on the wrong setting and found myself trying to muscle the fabric flat. I rectified that before I started in on the second shirt.

The second shirt went a little faster and caused fewer problems because it was a short-sleeved shirt. Still, It seemed to me that it took a long time to finish the second shirt. I thought about that. Maybe it was because I was listening to the wrong type of music. I popped out the Pink Floyd CD and put in one by Jerry Jeff Walker. That seemed to work. I defy anyone to do a slow job of ironing when Jerry Jeff is singing Hill Country Rain. It can’t be done.

The third shirt went quickly. The fourth also went at a similar pace. Of course with speed you tend to give up on other smaller things like the four-inch long wrinkle I ironed into the right sleeve of the third shirt. Or skipping the yoke entirely on the fourth shirt. Nobody will notice.

I also realized that I could put off ironing the two pair of pants that needed it. After all, I wouldn’t be needing them any time soon. I’ll get them the next time I iron. I’m sure that will be soon.

Oh dear!

building a

Waiting for a red light to turn green

I took this picture this morning while we were waiting for a traffic light to turn green. It is just the back of an older building, but I like the way it looks. I wouldn’t want to live there, but I think the picture has an artsy-fartsy kind of look.

***

It is probably just age creeping up on me and slapping me in the face, but I’m starting to worry about myself. Here are  couple of things that have bothered me recently.

  1. A couple of days ago I took a load of dirty laundry to the basement to give it a wash. I put the clothes in the washer, made the proper settings on the machine, closed the lid, and turned on the dryer. And stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out what was wrong with that picture. Yes, I turned on the dryer instead of the washer. It only took a couple of seconds to correct my actions, but still…
  2. This morning I borrowed Cindy’s car to run some errands. I needed my sunglasses, but since I keep them I my car, I had to unlock it to get them. I left and ran my errands. When I returned I remembered that I needed to return my sunglasses to my car, so I unlocked the door, opened it, tossed the keys into the front seat, set the lock and closed the door. As I turned to walk inside I glanced down at my hand and noticed that I was still holding my sunglasses. I had locked my keys in my car. Luckily we have another set, but still…

If you would like to make me feel better, you can tell me about something similar that you have done. You can make a comment, or if you don’t want to share it with the small part of the world that reads Classical Gasbag you can use the form below and only I will know about your embarrassment. Somehow I feel there will only be crickets around this post.