Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pomp and Pageantry

While sitting at the Tiffin Rally, we discovered it was Fleet Week in Portland, with both US and Canadian Navy ships coming into port! So - we were off to spend the day in Portland and check it all out.

While wandering the streets of the downtown Portland area - which was quite charming-

Our World in Flowers! (Elizabeth is near the NW corner of Oregon.)

A beautiful old church - founded in 1851.

We needed one of these umbrellas on a regular basis the past two weeks.

waiting for the ships to come in, we came upon a Marine Combat Center Show Band doing RAP!!! Naturally we had to stop, listen and get pictures of this.

Huh... Marine RAP?

Semper fi, homies.

About 3PM, the bridges all started to go up - and there were the Navy ships in all their wonder along with the ‘fire boat brigade’! What a site to see and how much fun -

The Escort - Amazing!

The USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN getting ready to dock on the Willamette River.

After learning lots, a discussion with Bob Tiffin, enjoying the meals and entertainment - we said a fond farewell to our many new friends and headed back to Ashland for Brian Campbell’s graduation (our Godson). We were the beneficiaries of the Campbell family hospitality and a VERY HAPPY GRADUATION CEREMONY. Way to go Brian -

Pretend you can hear Pomp and Circumstance as it is being played by the SOU Orchestra.

Way to go Brian!

Visitin' on the porch.

Now it is time to head Magic for home. So, we say a sad farewell to all of you for the time being. BUT - we will be back;-)

Much love to you all - and thanks for joining us in our adventures -

Elizabeth & Gary from our Magic Bus;-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bridges, Tunnels, Mountains and Rally...OH MY

There is a VERY long Indian legend about how the Indians prayed for a way to cross the mighty Columbia River and a landslide occurred creating a stone dam/bridge across the river. Today, there is just the Bridge of the Gods. Which we, of course, had to take -

Bridge of the Gods

on our way to another GREEN Dot road - with lots of tunnels right along the Columbia River -

More than 40 trains a day pass through this tunnel.

The destination was Indian Creek Golf Course, which is framed by snowcapped mountains - north is Mt. St. Helens and south is Mt. Hood. Beautiful -

Mount Hood from the Indian Creek Golf Course.

Our next move was a whopping 80 miles to the base of Mt. Hood and the Tiffin Rally. Tiffin is Magic’s creator - and the Rally includes 150 brothers and sisters of Magic!! A VERY weird feeling to walk down the road and see multiple Magic’s.

Haven't seen this many Tiffin coaches in one place since we were at the factory
in Red Bay, Alabama last year at this time.

We are learning a lot - and getting a lot of FREE work done on Magic!! A great perk. The conversations with other Tiffin owners are also quite informative and enlightening - as there is always someone else with your same problems. Tonight is a dinner with the California Cowboys entertaining - so we have our dancing shoes on.

One shout out for the Ladies of Arizona State University and their Softball Championship - WAY TO GO LADIES!!!!

Next report will be from Ashland - E & G from the Rally;-)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Forts and Green Dot Roads;-)

Only one day left on the Oregon Coast - in Fort Stevens State Park. Figured it was time to find out what this Fort was all about - along with all the ‘fuss’ about Lewis & Clark and Fort Clatsop. Here comes another history lesson - so, if you just want the travelogue you might want to skip the first half of this posting;-(

Magic had now been parked in the campground portion of Fort Stevens for a couple of nights, and it was time to find out where the ‘Fort’ was and what it had to say for itself. LOTS!!

Here comes the “Did you know?”:

Fort Stevens was constructed during the Civil War and remained active until shortly after World War II! “Why in the world was a Fort necessary at the mouth of the Columbia in this far-away territory during the Civil War?” - you might ask. The British and pirates were ‘hanging around’ the area, and Lincoln was afraid that the British - who were siding with the South - would invade from here - and confiscate this territory. Although, if the South had won the Civil War - there was no need for the British to confiscate as this territory had been promised to them by the South for their assistance. The British were NOT really fond of “The Union” and were very willing to assist the South. And so, Fort Stevens was constructed and manned in 1864 - The only fort of its type on the west coast.

Try to imagine the moat and drawbridge that protected this original entrance to Fort Stevens.

The Fort was not really utilized during the first World War. In fact, four of the primary guns were removed and shipped to France to bolster the allied defenses. However, during World War II, a group of batteries was constructed along the west coast to supplement the harbor defenses. Fort Stevens is the only continental US fortification bombed during WWII (in fact since the War of 1812!) - struck by shells from a Japanese submarine off the coast on June 21, 1942!! During WWII barracks were constructed to house 2,500 soldiers. Today - there are only remnants of the installation to view.

Riding in this deuce and a half brought back a few Air Force memories for G.
E just thought she was in the Mash 4077!!

The bunkers remain but most of the large guns and mortar launchers are gone.

After our Jeep Tour of Fort Stevens, we were off to Lewis and Clark’s (The Corps of Discovery) Fort Clatsop. Not sure what was expected after viewing the intricate Fort Stevens - but, what we saw was not it. We were underwhelmed at the same time we were terribly impressed?!?! Fort Clatsop (the Clatsop Indians were one of the tribes that helped ensure the survival of the Corps) was the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery from December 1805 to March 1806 while they prepared food and supplies for their return trip across the territory they had traversed and mapped. We were underwhelmed as the Fort was barely larger than Magic - but, we were terribly impressed that the entire Corps of more than 20 could live here for months along with stockpiles of supplies!!

Ft. Clatsop was very small. Very tight quarters for Lewis & Clark and the Corp.

After this day of history lessons, we needed something mindless(??) like a round of golf. Seems like the oldest (there is that -est again!) golf course in Oregon might fit the bill. Figured we might stand half a chance on this one - fooled us. One of the worst rounds of golf for both of us so far this spring;-( The upside is we played with friends - Jo & Greg - we have met along the way.

Fun course. The rain cooperated for the most part.

Since food is never far from our thoughts, we headed to the cute little village of Gearhart (home of chef and cookbook author James Beard) to drown our golf woes - and had a ‘snack’ at Beard’s Pacific Way Bakery and Cafe.

Friday was another moving day. And, this one was a long one - 177 miles!! This was REALLY difficult to cope with when for the last 6 weeks we had been doing anywhere from 20 - 60 miles at a stretch on moving day. Perhaps another GREEN Dot road would make the drive a little more tolerable. So - a GREEN Dot road it was! Sometime mid-morning Gary pulled over on a wide spot along the Columbia River to let the ‘caravan ‘ behind us pass. As long as we were stopped - a snack and a cup of tea were perhaps in order. So - we climbed out of Magic to watch the river flow by while we drank and next thing we knew this cargo ship was coming at us. (Hard to think of Portland as a 'port'!) Boy was this thing BIG - and did it leave a wake!

The Columbia River is a major shipping route.

Our new camp is awesome!! The best thing about it is - it is about 80 degrees during the day and maybe 60 at night. We can actually sit out, watch the College Women’s World Series of Softball, make s’mores and enjoy the evenings WITHOUT three layers of clothes and almost no bugs. E is in HEAVEN!!!!

Enjoying the warmer weather we found at our new location and watching ASU in the college softball world series.

To celebrate the good weather, we wandered down Historic Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway - Historic US 30 - the oldest GREEN Dot road (scenic route) in the country. The KING of GREEN Dots!! It was built beginning in 1913, and still retains its old road character and charm -

Nice drive with great scenery.

Wonderful Old Bridges.

The original white guard rails were replaced in the mid 80's.

One of the highlights of this historic highway is the aptly named Vista House. Built in 1917 to mark the completion of the road, this was to be - and is - a place for the tourist to stop, rest and take in the view from over 700 feet above the Columbia River.

This unusual looking building didn't seem very utilitarian as a traveler's waypoint-BUT -

The view was fantastic!!

The magnificent highlight is the series of waterfalls along this wonderfully charming old road. The biggest and best is Multnomah Falls, which drops 620 feet into a densely forested canyon, bridged by a delicate concrete arch. Can you find Gary??

Multnomah Falls.

Hello down there

Latourell Falls.

We capped off our day in the car with the sun roof open and the wind blowing through our hair with a dinner cruise down the mighty Columbia River on the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge.

Ready for our evening dinner cruise.

What a beautiful evening that made E feel like “The Queen of the World”!!!

I'm Queen of the world!

Ahhhhhh!!!!! What a little really good weather does for the attitude;-)

The little village we are staying in - Cascade Locks - is quite cute with the little Main Street (Post Office and Ice Cream stand!) - AND a municipal airport!!

The Cascade Locks municipal airport.

E & G - Sailing off into the sunset on the Columbia River -

Say goodnight.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend - Days to Remember

What better way to kick off the Memorial Day week-end than to visit the US Naval Air Station in Tillamook?!?! (Another Naval Air Station in the middle of cow pastures, just like Lemoore. But, at least this one is close to the water!)

Another Naval Air Station in the middle of dairy farms.

Did you know?? In 1942, the US Navy began construction of 17 wooden hangars around the US coastlines resulting in a huge semi-circle around the US. These hangars housed the K-class blimps used for anti-submarine coast patrol and convoy escorts. Two of these hangars were built at Naval Air Station Tillamook. They were commissioned in December 1942 and served the Oregon-Washington coastal area. Hangar “B” was the first one built and was completed in August of 1943. (Hangar “A” was completed in only 27 days - but, unfortunately, was destroyed by fire in 1992.)

The fact that these hangars were built so quickly was a major feat that - perhaps - can only be understood when one knows that each of these structures houses SEVEN ACRES under one roof. That is enough space to play six football games!! BIG!

The signs to locate the museum were hard to spot. Almost missed it.

One of the world's largest clear span wooden structures. 192 ft. high x 300 ft. wide x 1,072 ft. long. Dwarfs this cargo carrier - the Mini Guppy.

If you are a fan of vintage airplanes, don’t miss this adventure. The hangar now houses a collection of more than 30 World War II combat aircraft, including a P-38 Lightning, F4U-Corsair, P51-Mustang, PBY Catalina and SBD Dauntless dive bomber - AND, a Ki-43 Hayabusa (also known as Oscar) - the most important fighter of the Japanese Army Air Force. Many of these planes are still in flyable condition!!

Republic Aviation's P-47 Thunderbolt. One of many aircraft on display.

As we bid Tillamook farewell, we crossed one more McCullough-designed bridge - built in 1931 in a bowstring arch design.

Another McCullough Bridge. This guy must have been quite the salesman.

Next stop - Astoria, Oregon.

Our touring began at the Flavel House Museum. Captain George Flavel (1823-1893) found his way to Astoria in the mid-1800’s, became a noted bar pilot on the Columbia River - which, coupled with his being an astute businessman, led to him owning a good portion of Astoria by the late 1800’s (as best we could tell)! He built his dream/retirement home in the Queen Anne architectural style on a hill overlooking the Columbia River for $36,000 in 1886. It included ALL the modern conveniences - gas lighting, a central heating system, even indoor plumbing, which meant ‘real’ bathtubs and toilets!

Built for $36,000.

It sits on park-like grounds covering an entire city block. The flowering Rhododendron (remember our Rhody Day Celebration in Florence??) are just beautiful up here! And, they are everywhere in the wonderful shades of pink and lavender. Couldn’t resist this picture of Gary’s handsome face enhanced by all these Rhodies!!

More Rhodies.

Heading up Coxcomb Hill, one finds the 125-foot Astoria Column sitting atop the Hill. The Column was built in 1925 to commemorate the westward sweep of discovery and migration. This unique structure has 14 murals made in Italian sgraffito technique (etched concrete). You can see these murals in this fantastic photo taken by my personal photographer traveling with me -

Astoria Tower.
We were glad the tour bus didn't beat us to the stairs.

Of course, Elizabeth ‘demanded’ that we climb the 164 steps of the spiral staircase to get the breathtaking views from the top of the column! From here you can see the bridge crossing the Columbia River, connecting Oregon to Washington, and the Columbia River flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

Great views from atop the tower.

We did run across this one building in the middle of Astoria, which really intrigued us - the Film Museum/County Jail. Not sure if this one building is still used for both purposes - if it implies that one equals the other - or it used to be one and is now the other?!?!

Is this a statement on the film industry's net profit sharing arrangements.

Tuesday was another rainy day - so, back in the car to investigate the coast. Of course, this whole area celebrates components of the Lewis and Clark Expedition - the end of their trail, their camp before returning, etc. Seaside, Oregon’s oldest seafront resort, has a statue in “The Turnaround” of Lewis and Clark marking the end of their trail.

The end of the trail for Lewis & Clark.

Seaside is a real trip - built as a destination for Portlanders to ride the railroad to the beach (that railroad thing again!). It is a step back in time to the old Boardwalks on the beach! Here every other store is a candy store - mixed in with the tee shirt shops. And, how long has it been since you saw a building housing bumper cars and a Tilt-a-Whirl?? You gotta see it once - but, once is more than enough!

Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach, on the other hand, are delights! We braved the mist and rain to walk to the viewpoints in Ecola State Park to get what we could in the way of pictures of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. (Ecola is the Chinook Indian word for whale and was affixed to this region by the Lewis and Clark expedition, as they found a whale washed up on a beach here.)

Wet morning. You can almost see the lighthouse.

Haystack Rock in the distant mist. Cannon Beach is hidden in the mist!

The rain got the better of us this time - so we ventured on to Cannon Beach to wander the galleries and shops. This little community is an artist’s colony - so the galleries have wonderful pieces with a great variety to please all eyes. Don’t miss wandering here if you are in the area.

As the day wore on - the clouds began to part. So, we headed back to Ecola State Park to see what kind of shots there were to be ‘had’ with a little sun. The waiting was well worth it - don’t you think??

I can see clearly now..
This lighthouse is no longer used, except as a repository for cremated ashes

Haystack Rock is now visible with Cannon Beach in the background.

Ya' got to be kidding me...right!

Indian Rock

The bird atop this rock seemed to enjoy the spray..... for over a half hour.

Elizabeth shot these trees because they reminded her of me...
I hope she meant this one.. tall and statuesque.

and not this one... old, gnarly and decrepit.

So - these were our Memorial Day travels. During the days we also watched coverage of events across the country and in Washington DC honoring those who have and are serving this country. We talked a lot about our family members who had served for us in the past and our son-in-law and cousin who are serving for us now. We also celebrated Keith’s 36th birthday - hard to believe he would have been that old. We just enjoyed the remembrances.

Main Street, USA, decked out for Memorial Day.

All the houses too.

Hope you all had a memorable Memorial Day - E & G