Category Archives: travel

Japanese Garden

Another venture during daughter and grandson’s visit was the Japanese Garden. It is not a colorful season, like spring or fall would be; however, there is a subtle beauty to the various greens.

It is more meditative than a place to run and play, so we wondered about its appeal to a 3 1/2-year-old. The ticket clerk offered a treasure hunt map, which Logan guarded carefully for most of the visit.

Japanese Garden treasure map

He spotted the first item all by himself, but had to be helped to find others.

Japanese Garden tall structureSpotted instantly by Logan, it was at the beginning of the path. ETA a description from the brochure: “The antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern [was] given to Portland from its sister city, Sapporo, Japan. The stones at the base of the pagoda are in the shape of the island of Hokkaido. The red stone represents Sapporo.”

The rest were less obvious.Japanese Garden heron sculptures

A pointed finger led him to see the heron sculptures; I don’t think he ever saw the frog. (It doesn’t even show up in my photo–distant, small and moss covered.)

The deer chaser was fascinating.

Japanese Garden deer chaser

We watched several rounds while the water flowed from the top bamboo to the lower one; the lower one filled up and tipped, making a sound. Luckily it didn’t take too long to fill.

Buddha and the Animals was a bit abstract and took some convincing.

His mother pointed out the number of animals on the map and the number of small stones in the sand garden, and he was finally satisfied.

The Jizo was spotted by only one adult in the group and required retracing steps.

Japanese Garden lecture

Doesn’t he look like he is giving a lecture about it?

Hunger pangs decreased interest in the map; food not being allowed in the garden, we worked on getting to the exit and a picnic area near the International Test Rose Garden.

The two gardens are among the sites in Washington Park.

 

 

 

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Astoria

I have probably mentioned before that Portland Parks and Recreation sponsors van trips for seniors at a very reasonable price. Today’s trip was to Astoria, the oldest settlement (of US and British) in the Pacific Northwest at the mouth of the Columbia River. Named for John Jacob Astor, who had a vision of a trading empire, the settlement had a rough start in 1811-13. (Read about the start in Philip Stark’s Astoria.)

First lunch.

Astoria lu ch

The boat above was originally a fishing boat–now it houses service of fish and chips–the fish is whatever the catch of the morning, and delicious. My friend Jean and I had additional eating plans, but we ran out of time.

Of the many sights, we chose to start with the Columbia River Maritime Museum. I like the architectural rendition of ocean waves.

Maritime Museum

Inside were stories of shipwrecks and rescues and exhibits of old maps, maps that not only showed large empty spaces on the continent, but also creative fictions of an imagined northwest passage, California as an island, and Quivira, a place which if it existed, did not contain the gold expected.  Also there were meticulous records of areas that were explored and recorded, sketches of the explored part on an otherwise blank page.

The difficulties of navigating ships through the sand bar created by the force of the Pacific waves against the exiting Columbia River at the 5-mile wide mouth were explained and illustrated by video. Especially harrowing was the video of the pilot transferring from his small boat to the incoming ship in need of his assistance.

There were the expected photos and models of ships and other equipment.

Astoria diving gear

The only inside photo I got was of this 1940s diving gear.

The museum was large enough and interesting enough that we spent most of our allotted three hours in it, saving everything else we had wanted to see for another trip.

A sidelight.  I had a 2002 travel guide for reference. When it was written, admission to the museum was $4.00 for seniors. We paid $12.00. I had expected increase, but not that much.

Of course the area is scenic.

Astoria Columbia

Astoria River View

The mountains in the distance are Washington state. The five-mile bridge that connects OR and WA is the longest [some qualifier that I don’t remember] in the US.

Astoria bridge

A view of the bridge at museum level.

Astoria Bridge 2

And a view from atop Coxcomb Hill (600 ft.), the site of the Astoria Column.

Astoria column

Some hardy souls walked up the 168 steps; most of us stayed on the ground and viewed the wrap around mural of history of explorations in the northwest.

Next on my agenda is getting back to some quilting projects that have been languishing.

 

 

 

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Oregon Covered Bridges

I’ve long been a fan of old covered bridges, maybe because I was born in Ohio, and my dad would go out of his way on any Sunday drive to find one that was near. When I later lived in Cambridge, OH, there was one that had been moved to the city park and remnants of another at Salt Fork State Park that had not been moved. The latter was mostly submerged when the dam made Salt Fork Lake, and what could be seen of it was slowly rotting.

Then there was the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County, IN, where the county claimed to have the most standing old bridges in the US. Now I am in Oregon which claims the most in the west. Yesterday I went with a Parks and Recreation van trip for seniors to see some of the Oregon bridges. This was my second trip checking out Oregon’s bridges–I forget the location of the first. But the first thing I noticed both times was that most are white in contrast to the red of the midwestern ones. So while others in the van were asking why Shimanek was red, I was asking why all the others were white.

Shimanek

Shimanek

For most of the day it was drizzling, so I could get only some whole bridge shots.

But most photos were shot under the roof, inside.

Hoffman Bridge, lower right, is unique for the shape of its windows.

It is Oregon, and winter, so there is moss.

And Gilkey Bridge is beside a railroad.

Gilkey RR

Up until the 60s there was a covered bridge over the railroad too.

Gilkey RR detail

Love the lines in those supporting beams.

Travel is fun for itself, but when it also offers design potential, how much better!

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New Bridge and New Light Rail Line

Today was the big opening. I think we have been watching this bridge and the light rail track construction for two years. It is my first time to be in a city when either a bridge or a new light rail line opens. I was surprised by how many celebration activities there were and how well attended.

First the bridge (from the moving train window).

view of bridge

Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People

Those “delicate” looking lines look much larger up close.

cables

The bridge is for bicycles, pedestrians, and public transportation. No private cars.  If you want to know more about it, here are two articles (here and here).

Several stops had extended activities, plus others had a few booths. I had read which musicians were available and planned a schedule. First the Tilikum Village, hosted by the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, for lunch.

Tilikum Village

Tilikum Village

In the back you can see a part of the longhouse and the tent of crafts–lovely beading, weaving and leather work to tempt me. In the front two fires, one new and one baking salmon. In the middle is the line of people waiting for a taste of salmon (very good). Here is a better view of the salmon.

Salmon baking

While eating I listened to drumming and chanting and watched dancing. There was face painting for children, and I saw a young girl with a delicate dream catcher painted on her cheek. (Sorry, didn’t think of a photo.) By the time I was ready to move on, the crowd had increased and the temperature had gotten closer to the 90s.

While waiting the the train, I caught a photo of the tram in transit.

tram

I would think the view would be terrific. The tram, along with all public transportation, was free today, and Plan A had been to ride it. But when I saw how many people tried to board the train, I figured there would be too many trying to get into those smaller cars and saved the ride for another day.

The next stop featured rides for little children, but what attracted me was an opera rehearsal.

opera

Alas, my timing. I got there just in time for their ten minute break. Since there were no chairs, I didn’t hang around long even though I was in the shade. I did hear a bit of Toreador and another song that I didn’t recognize. A clever way to let people know they can get to the opera vis the new train line.

I’d intended to get off at the next stop for the Orange Line Special Ice Cream flavor, bitter orange and olive oil, by Salt and Straw. I had tasted their olive oil ice cream before, and it was much better than it sounds. But the crowd had gotten a bit overwhelming and the heat more intense. So the air conditioning on the train felt pretty good, and I rode to the end of the line, thinking to have ice cream on the way home. But I had a seat on the train, and it occurred to me that I have all month to taste the special flavor. So going home won.

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Beyond the Rockies

Up to Jasper, the trip was by tour bus; at Jasper we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer. I had expected this to be the highlight, but really the Icefield Parkway of the day before was the best of the trip–I even thought of suggesting they do the tour in the reverse order. The train would have been better as introduction; it wasn’t long in the national park or even in the Rockies, though we traveled the Rockies Trench where the Columbia River has its source (not where we could see it though).

Much of the view was trees, and then the second day started out rainy. Luckily it did clear up. And it seemed that when there was a view it was on the other side of the train. The last two photos above are exceptions where the view came to the right. There was a viewing car we could walk to and an area between cars for better viewing–the latter was crowded.

Views got more dramatic in the afternoon of the second day when we emerged from rain forest and headed into desert at Fraser Canyon.

Fraser Canyon

Note the sagebrush in the foreground.

contrast of irrigation and desert

The green of the irrigated field was quite a contrast.

It was a long slow descent–partly for photographing and partly for safety. It was one of the longest stretches of 2% descent. That didn’t sound so dramatic to me until I read that because of the weight of a train, even 1% can be challenging.

Because there had been a mudslide that made the tracks impassible, we transferred from train to bus shortly after this canyon to get to Whistler. After an overnight and a morning in Whistler we continued by train to Vancouver, BC.

River scene

More improved scenery, this time from an old time open air viewing car.

white water

This was the highest bridge on the line.

Vancouver, BC, is a city I will be returning to. The nature of tours is two hours in a museum where I could spend all day. We visited the Museum of Anthropology at the University, the Vancouver Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. There were more.

 

 

And that concludes the trip photos. It is time to get back to quilting.

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More Rockies Photos

The Rockies in the U. S. are higher than those in Canada; however, the Canadian Rockies look higher because the glaciers carved the valleys deeper. Bow Summit, with its view of Lake Peyto, gives a sense of the path the Peyto Glacier took.

Lake PeytoThe cloudy, teal color of the lake water results from light on rock flour–small grains of rock scraped by the moving glacier. The teal color is more vivid on some days than others.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

At Moraine Lake, the rock pile that created the lake can be climbed–and several members of the tour did.

Moraine

Moraine at Moraine Lake

Wild life is a fun feature when out in nature.  We had a couple sitings of Big Horn Sheep families.

Big Horn Sheep

The driver stopped the bus, but there wasn’t time to get out. We also saw a couple bear and a bison herd. Some group members, while walking through town, saw a black bear eating berries about ten feet away.  A little close for their comfort, but the bear seemed not to notice them and just kept eating.

At the entrance to Banff is a bridge made from rock smoothed by the glacial river.

bridge

Also at Banff was the Cave and Basin Hot Springs.

Cave and Basin

No longer is it open for bathing. There are endangered snails that live there that would be harmed by the pH change from even dipping hands in the water. Because of the temperature of water from the hot springs, there are some tropical fish up in the cold Rockies.

The days in Banff and Jasper areas included lectures and field trips, Ben Gadd in Banff and Kirsten Schmitten in Jasper. From Jasper we took the Rocky Mountaineer train to Vancouver–those photos are yet to be sorted out.

One more mountain view.

Mountain in Banff area

 

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Back from the Rockies

I’ve been back a day and am getting my photos sorted. The Rockies, like the Grand Canyon, are hard to capture in photos. Add to that hazy skies from forest fires in British Columbia and Alberta, rain, and shooting from moving vehicles, and most of my pictures are mental.

Rockies in haze

We did wonder if we would get any views.  Of course the real concern was containing the forest fires. Rain the first night settled things a bit, and there were views on the Banff Gondola ride.

Gondola up Sulfur Mountain

Here is the route of the gondola up Sulphur Mountain, lifting us to about 8,000 feet.

Gondola machinery

The gondola looked sturdy enough to trust for that uphill ride. Each held four people, and the view was stunning. It was possible to walk yet higher after we got off–I thought I was high enough. Here is one view from the stopping point.

View from gondola drop offAnother participatory event was riding the Ice Explorer on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. (The hardy people could hike up to it.) Athabasca combines with five other glaciers that feed from the Columbia Ice Field. Unlike the Continental Divide that feeds two oceans, the Columbia Ice Field feeds three: Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic. Our guide said this was the only proven one, though there are one or two others assumed, one in Siberia.

Ice Explorer

We were told that the glacier was as deep as the Eiffel Tower is high. And that it retreats 10 feet a year (gaining 15 in the winter and losing 25 in the summer). Here is an article about retreat with slightly different figures.

Melt run off

Watching the rushing melt run off was quite dramatic, as was watching the rushing river at Natural Bridge. You’ll have to imagine the sound of the rushing water.

Natural Bridge, side view

Natural Bridge frong It was mentioned that the water was so high that it was flowing over instead of under natural bridge.

I’ll sort some more photos and be back in a day or two.

 

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