Category Archives: travel

Summer Travel Memories

As the rainy season begins, memories of summer sun are good. One highlight was the Dee Wright observatory.

Dee Wright Observatory

Made of the same basalt rock as surrounds it, the observatory blends into the setting. A CCC project of the thirties, it draws visitors to the 360-degree views of seven mountains. We were happy to see five of the seven; two hazy for the others.

Mt Washington through portal

Mt Washington

There are several portals like this, each focusing on one of the mountains. Each mountain has a stone carved label, still legible but getting worn.  One year I tried to photograph the mountain and the label, but I couldn’t make the light work to show both. The next view is of one of the volcanoes from about 2000 years ago that created the landscape.

View of basalt and volcano

Scenery is like this for the last several miles of driving to the observatory. There was so little regrowth that we were quite surprised at how long since the volcano had erupted.

Snow Covered Mountains

Two of the Three Sisters mountains

The Three Sisters are the mountains that gave the town, Sisters, its name. I love looking at that snow in the hot July sun!

A second summer destination was Columbia Hills State Park in Washington–about two hours from Portland, just across the Columbia River. It is the actual site of many petroglyphs (carved in stone) and pictographs (painted on stone). Others were moved there from lower locations to preserve them when the dam at The Dalles was built. Several are located right by the parking lot and always accessible.

turtle like petroglyph

Although it looks like a turtle, the guide reminded us that no one but the artist knows for sure. The guide made no attempt to explain symbols, though some reference was necessary for discussion. You can see by the shadows that that one was carved. The next ones are pictographs.

broken pictographowl like pictograph

They have not tried to date the images, first because it would require chipping some of the stone. And second because they would have to date each one. There is no reason to assume all were created at the same time. The above were available to all. The special one, She Who Watches (below), was accessible only by guided tour. We made our reservations in March for July. At the time we were the first, but there were already reservations for June. There is room for only 20 people per tour and two tours a week.

she who watches

The legend is that as more Europeans were settling in the area, coyote came to the chief to report on the problems. She expressed a wish to watch over her people forever, so coyote changed her to stone.


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Mystery quilt will remain a mystery

The Scottie Dog Mystery Quilt Retreat, set in the gorgeous historic Eureka Inn, has come and gone.

I heard a bit of the history. As with many grand old buildings, it had its period of neglect. Once purchased for renewal, the project failed when the developer went bankrupt.  More neglect until the current developer’s purchase and plan.  This one wisely remodeled it a few rooms at a time, renting them, then remodeling a few more. The public spaces retain the old charm mingled with modern comfort.

You might think we would spend more time in a lounge like this! But if you did, you wouldn’t know quilters. Our focus was on sewing.  Some worked much faster than others–at least two almost finished the center portion of their mystery quilts.  Most made 4-6 of the blocks, and then some slower ones, like me, made one block to be sure we had the directions firmly in our minds, and moved on to other projects.

I am already planning how to enlarge a wall hanging into a twin sized quilt other than by simply adding a border. But first I have two knitting projects to be completed, and they have deadlines.

Photos of the beginnings will be delayed; the design can’t be posted until after the pattern is published. So check back sometime after September. Meanwhile, some more photos of the lovely building.

  I can almost remember styles like this on my mother from the late thirties, early forties. And we had a lamp somewhat similar to this one, but less ornate.

And you know I cannot resist an unusual flower (maybe common to California, but new to me).


Filed under quilting, travel

Lan Su Chinese Garden

It is December, so we wondered about visiting the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, OR, now. But my son-in-law, who had heard my daughter and me rave about it, wanted to see it.  In addition, we were assured that it was an all season garden.  Architecture is as much a part of its beauty as artfully placed plants.

Persimmons clinging to tree

The garden is modeled after an ancient scholar’s garden, and as such is an extension of the home. There are sheltered spaces and open spaces; there are private places for the scholar and his close friends to discuss ideas and open spaces for conducting more public business. There are paths for strolling and contemplation.

The Painted Boat in Misty Rain pavilion represents the journey from Suzhou to Portland; though a stationary pavilion, the visitor is meant to feel as if on a boat while in it.

Suzhou, sister city to Portland, provided inspiration, guidance, artisans, and materials for the project. The “Su” in the garden name signifies Suzhou as well as meaning arise.  The “Lan” is taken from “Portland” as well as meaning orchid. Thus the name signifies the link between the two cities as well as naming the garden, “The Garden of Awakening Orchids.”

The persimmons clinging to the tree provided color as did other seed pods and a few flowers.  Roses bloom till December here, and there were a couple brave ones left along with other unnamed flowers.

Next visit I will pick up the guide to plants of the garden and learn some of the names as well as enjoy looking at the flowers.

Brave red rose

yellow flowering tree

Yellow flower detail

The plum blossom is especially hardy and blooms in February, making it one of the three friends of winter along with bamboo and pine.  Its sturdiness is shown through the tile design, “Plum blossom on cracked ice.”

ground tile design

Throughout the garden, the ground is covered with tile designs like this, all named and each extending the theme of its area. In addition, guests are invited to remove shoes and walk over the varied textures for foot massage.  Needless to say we saved that pleasure for a future warmer visit.  Quilters would enjoy the garden for the design inspiration of the various floors.

The garden covers a city block in the midst of Chinatown.  Generally I was not aware of the city outside, but sometimes it got into my photos, as in this one.

a garden in a city

The garden feels much larger than an acre because of its design.  The guest walks in various loops as the scholar once would have, and perhaps the guest contemplates as well.  Poems are part of the overall design (English translations in pamphlets) to aid the contemplative experience.  Our contemplation consisted of listening to the tour guide.

Besides the loops to stroll there are structural elements of view within view, creating the illusion of distance.

keyhole arch


Filed under nature, travel

To the International Quilt Show

Today I leave for Houston for the International Quilt show. It will be my first time to visit that show, and I am looking forward to being overwhelmed.  I have two days to view it, and hope that is enough.  I didn’t sign up for any classes this time. Oh, some looked tempting all right, but I resisted. I need to use what I know for a while before moving in new directions.

I haven’t decided whether to take my camera or not.  I view a show much differently if I am taking pictures.  I am more interested in light, angle and composition.  I become a photographer instead of a quilter.  It also makes me more impatient of crowds, the people who get in the way of my carefully composed shot. I prefer enjoying the people.

I do much better just enjoying the quilts, looking at design, looking at technique, maybe commenting to my companious or eavesdropping on others who are commenting.  Of course i do not touch, though that takes MUCH restraint. On rare occasion I have sketched something I want to remember, but I do that less and less. Instead I figure the mental image will do, and if it gets distorted, maybe there is a reason.  There will be bed quilts, wall quilts, traditional quilts and art quilts, and I will revel in them all.

I will be meeting friends in Houston, and that certainly adds to the fun; I will also be staying at the new Hosteling International Hostel, the Morty Rich Hostel.  Hosteling is a great way to travel; in the US it has always been for people of all ages, and they finally took “Youth” out of the name of the organization.

So time to get packing.

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Playing Tourist in Portland, OR

Although I now live in Portland, OR, I still feel a bit like a tourist as I explore.  This past weekend was heavy duty exploring.  First I got my veggie fix at the Saint Johns Farmers’ Market.  Don’t they look yummy?

I can tell you the peaches, beets and lettuce are wonderful.  After I got home I pondered whether I’d gotten beets or radishes, they looked so red.  So I cut one up for salad. It was a beet, but tender and tasty.  I’d not tried eating raw beet before. There are larger and smaller Farmers’ Markets about town, but this one is just the right size and quite easy to get to, so it has become my first choice.

Next stop was the Overlook Village Street Fair on N. Killingsworth St.

FatDog MustardI didn’t do a lot for the economy, but I enjoyed browsing the booths of jewelry, food, and other crafts.  I couldn’t pass up this handcrafted mustard after I’d sampled it, though. And I did have my first VooDoo Doughnut.  I’d often been advised to taste them, so with a booth brought to me, how could I not?  They didn’t have their specialty at the booth though, something like maple bacon doughnut. So I still have to find the shop itself.  There is a cool yarn shop on N Killingsworth along the street-fair route, The Naked Sheep. (Don’t you love the name?)  They were having a sidewalk sale, and they also had a tent for people to sit and knit a bit.  When I joined there were 3 others there; during the hour I was there about 10 passed through, most stopping to knit, one to spin, and a few just to chat. We were also in good listening distance of the stage, so got the full effect of the music.

The next stop was the free concert in the Park.  The Portland Festival Orchestra offers six concerts throughout the summer at different city parks.  I actually knew where the first two were located and which bus would get me there, so I attended both. The first was in Cathedral Park. No trouble seeing where the park name comes from, is there!I had wondered if the orchestra played the same concert in the six different venues, but no, there is variety in the first half. The second half is a tradition.  Often they play Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf  and always Haydn’s Toy Symphony.  For the latter they call the children forward and hand out whistles with bird like warbles. The children blow them (and stop) at the director’s signal. Since the concerts were different, I went again on Sunday to the one at Peninsula Park Rose Garden.

There is a larger, more famous, rose garden in Washington Park, but this one is lovely!  I’ll have to check for location of the other parks and the buses that will get me there. Also later in the season another orchestra provides concerts at the Washington Park. I will have to drive to that one because the last shuttle through the park is at 7:00 pm, and I have been told it is too large to walk to public transportation. I’ve also been told it is large enough to get lost in while driving. Maybe I should explore it during the day before trying to get home in the dark (even with my new GPS).

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Cross country to a new home

It’s been a long time packing, traveling, unpacking. Only the traveling was fun, and not all of it.  We spent 49 hours moving, according to the GPS. One of those days was driving through Yellowstone and another morning through Columbia Gorge on the way to Portland OR.

Blue Funnel Hotspirng

Blue Funnel Hotspring

This trip we did some of the lesser traveled thermal areas, Biscuit Basin and West Thumb Basin.  Of course we paid our respects to Old Faithful, and luckily we were told it was due to erupt in 10 minutes, and not again for another 90.  We headed to a spot that was rather empty before realizing it was empty because the wind was blowing directly at us. So when Old Faithful performed, we got quite the shower.  It was impressive as always.

One thing about doing Yellowstone in early spring is that it is still cold, so there is more visible steam from the thermal areas. There is also more snow on some of the roads and paths.  None of the side roads were open so we missed some of the scenic byways, but what we saw was grand. And the roads that were open had drifts at the sides over 6 feet high still.

snow on boardwalk

Snow on Boardwalk

In fact, there was still snow on some of the boardwalks.  This is the most that I got into, but then I followed only the easy pathways.  The boardwalks are important because in the thermal areas, the crust isn’t always strong enough to hold people up. Even animals sometimes crash into the hot springs.  Their instincts for danger must not be strong enough.  This path had about 12 inches cleared for walking on, but it was impossible for me to get to the observation area. Other more agile folk just climbed up over the snow, making a rather icy path . A BBC series on Yellowstone conveyed how very intense winter there is. And this was spring.

It was a very good day in a very intriguing place.

The 12 and 14 hour driving days were less interesting, but necessary to get across country in time to meet  my furniture.  On the last day, we were earlier than I could get into my new apartment so we took our time on the Columbia Gorge Drive.  There was a 14 mile stretch of old route 30 that we took, and we stopped at two water falls and one observation point.  There were more falls where we could have stopped, but though we had extra time we didn’t have that much.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

Observatory at Crown Point

Observatory at Crown Point

The observatory is a nice art deco structure from around the 20s  And the views from it are spectacular.  It was mostly cloudy so visibility was not 100% but we could see quite a bit. And lucky for us, the rain stopped when we were out of the car. It was mostly mist when we were driving, so it could have been worse.  In fact in spite of the reputation for rain in Portland, I have  seen sun and blue sky on every rainy day so far, and three days of blue sky and sunshine in my two weeks here.  It was a wonderful entrance to Portland–a little like Lake Shore Drive is a wonderful entrance to Chicago.

It was a refreshing pause between packing and unpacking.  The unpacking is nearly finished. I have found a knit group that meets weekly on Mondays that I have attended.From these women I am getting the knit scene and also just some general information about Portland.  And online I find at least one quilt guild, a very large one.  I will soon explore quilt shops and get the full scoop on what is happening in that realm. I have found a bank and a library and soon will change my auto license and do the drivers’ written test–and hope they choose to waive the driving test.  I’ve always had a yen to live in the west, to be near mountains and the ocean, things Indiana could not offer. So I am looking forward to this phase of my life.

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Vacation Travel

It has been a long time since I have posted. I have either been traveling from Indiana to Oregon and back, preparing for travel or recovering from travel.  One goal was to see Glacier National Park while there still are glaciers.

Numbers were impressive, but the visual image moreso.

In 1850s 150; now about 26

1932 contrasted with 1988

We did see Jackson Glacier.  The drive along Going-to-the-Sun Road was beautiful; the contrast of snow and wildflowers wonderful. And we learned the definition of ‘glacier’: Vertically the ice is 100 feet, horizontally an acre, and it is moving. Construction and one way traffic gave us an unofficial viewpoint.

Of the various waterfalls, this one was quite impressive.  I think I remember 492 feet–and it isn’t all in the photo.

So the scenery remains, even as the glaciers dwindle.  Projections are that they will be gone by 2030.  We were speculating on new names for the park then and chose The Park Formerly Known as Glacier National Park.

We stayed in East Glacier at Brownies.  I was quite pleased to see a quilt on the bed in our room. I hope it was made by a local quilter.

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