Thursday, November 1, 2018

North to Seattle

I caught the Amtrak train north to Seattle at 8:38AM.  However since Amtrak does not own the rails it has to give way to Burlington Northern who does.  We were supposed to arrive in Seattle at 11:50 NOT 12:30.  I made a mad dash for the city bus, got off at Union and headed downhill to the Downtown Seattle Meet and Greet.  I was there for the last ten minutes or so. 

I had planned to catch the #10 bus up the hill to High Five over Eye Five.  I made a detour to Groundspeak HQ to straighten out a problem with my daughter's Geocaching Account.  I purchased a Lackey Geocoin while I was there.  I caught a #40 bus downtown and then a #10 bus up the hill to get High Five over Eye Five. 

I was like a chicken with my head cut off this afternoon chasing the webcam. I no sooner figured out where the camera was pointing when it changed position.  Finally I figured out that the most noticeable object on the overpass was a very large bright orange sign - Road Closed Ahead. So that was I in the photo in black slacks and a long black coat standing in front of the sign. 

I caught a bus at 9th and Pike downhill to 4th and Pike.  I walked to 2nd where I caught a bus almost to the King Street Station.  Amtrak left at 6:10, arriving Vancouver 20 minutes late at 9:30PM.   

I saw a bald eagle in a tall tree right before we got to Ridgefield.  I saw the World's Largest Egg at Winlock.  I saw the spectacular Narrows Bridge during the daytime and then again at night lit with white lights.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest

After breakfast I drove to Marshall Community Center two miles from my house.  I went on a Senior Trip to Hood River for the 36th Annual Hood River Valley Fest.  We stopped at McDonalds on the way for a break.  We stopped at a clothing shop in downtown Hood River.  I sat outside on an Adirondack chair with the sun at my back.  

We entered the HRV Fest at 1:00 PM.  I sampled some cheese and had a couple large, delicious dates.  I walked each row of vendors twice.  After an hour I decided that I had been there, done that.  

I walked a few blocks west to find lunch.  I ended up at Ferment Brewing Company at their 2nd floor restaurant at 403 Portway Ave.  I sat at the end of a long table by the window where I could watch the lone windsurfer on the windy Columbia River as well as enjoy the scenery.   I had a delicious FBC Burger and Assam Tea.  No fries.  I sat there for a couple hours enjoying the view and reading an article in a Gorge magazine.  Then it was time to wander back to the van.  

We traveled to Cascade Locks on I-84.  We stopped at a restaurant for dessert.  I sat at one of the tables near the windows and enjoyed the view.  No dessert for me.  Time to cross the Bridge of the Gods and travel west on Washington State Hwy 14.  We arrived in Vancouver about 6:15.  I traveled home.  Very enjoyable day. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Missoula Ice Age Floods Trip September 2018

On January 28, 2018 I attended the Broadway Rose Theatre, Tigard production of "Murder for Two".  I arrived early so I read a worn booklet from the theatre display rack.  I saw the notice on the bottom of a page that the Portland Audubon Society was offering a Missoula Ice Age Floods trip in September.  I called Monday morning to register for the trip.  I joined the Audubon Society of Portland that afternoon.  I was the 14th (and last) person to sign up for the trip.

Saturday, September 22
I was picked up by Vancouver Cab at 1:35 PM.  Ten minutes too early!  I checked in at Alaska Airlines at PDX.  I went through TSA security.  I got a Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt and Shortbread Cookies at Starbucks.  I boarded the plane about 3:30.  We took off at 4:00.  We landed at 6:20 in Missoula.  I took photos of the Missoula Ice Age Floods strandlines on Mt. Jumbo with the large white letter "L" on the hillside as we flew over.  I picked up my luggage.  I met Nancy who is also on the trip.  She was on the same nonstop flight from Portland.  I called the Comfort Inn to be picked up. 

I checked into Room 410 at the Comfort Inn University with a great view of the Clark Fork River.  Spectacular sunset!  I went to dinner at Tamarack Brewing.  Someone paid for my dinner!  I got a cab ride back to the hotel.  I wrote in my journal as I watched  "Love it or Leave it".  Off to bed!

Sunday, September 23
I had breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  I caught the hotel shuttle about 8:45 AM.  At the airport terminal I met up with Nancy.  We met the group (minus one) at the terminal lobby including our group leaders: Candace Larson and Patty Newland.  We traveled in two 15-passenger vans.  We switched vans and seating each day so we got a varied experience. 

We went to Caffe Dolce for brunch.  I saw the display of Dolce Tableware and met the Proprietor.  He gave me a glossy catalog.  We drove back to the airport to pick up the last of our group.  We drove north to the National Bison Range for a visit on our way to Thompson Falls.  The highest point on the drive is 4,700 feet above sea level.  A signboard described historic Glacial Age Missoula, which helped form this valley.  Strandlines are still evident on north-facing slopes.  I saw a "Glacial Lake Missoula Highest Point 4200 Feet" sign as we drove down the hill.  I saw American bison, pronghorn and bald eagle in the refuge.  We had dinner together at Big Eddy's, a local restaurant.  We stayed the night in Thompson Falls at the Falls Motel.  I stayed in Room 26.   I watched television and then off to bed!

Monday, September 24
We had breakfast at Minnie's Restaurant in Thompson Falls.  Highlights of the day included viewing Rainbow Lake - a Kolk, Giant Current Ripples at Camas Prairie (Earthcache) and the ancient shorelines of Glacial Lake Missoula.  We had a picnic lunch at Finley Flats.  Following the Missoula Ice Age Floodwaters we headed for Spokane Valley.  We traveled along Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho.  We stayed overnight at the La Quinta Inn.  I stayed in Room 309.  I got a gift package for joining the La Quinta Inn membership.  Found nearby geocache.  We had dinner at Twigs Bistro.  I watched HGTV and went to sleep.

Tuesday, September 25
We had breakfast at the La Quinta Inn.  Our destination was the Grand Coulee Dam.  We visited the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge near Cheney, encompassing over 18000 acres of the Channeled Scablands and home to a diverse array of birds and wildlife.  We had a picnic lunch.  Traveling northwest we visited many interesting flood features, including ring dikes north of Othello.  While the group hiked to the dikes, I stayed in the van and read a novel.  

We traveled to Grand Coulee, a 60-mile-long deep channel carved by floodwaters.  We stayed two nights at the Columbia River Inn, in order to explore this area.  I had a room on the 2nd floor.  I sat on the balcony and read my novel.  The patio chair seat was too low so I put the seat cushion from the bedroom armchair on it.  We had dinner at La Presa Mexican Restaurant.  I walked down the service road to the gate to watch the laser show on the dam spillway. 

Wednesday, September 26
We had breakfast at Pepper Jacks Grill.  Great French toast for breakfast.  We explored both the lower and upper Grand Coulee.  The group visited the Lake Lenore Caves.  I stayed in the van reading.  We stopped at the Dry Falls Overlook and Visitor Center.  Dry Falls was under 300 feet of water moving 65 miles per hour during the floods.  After lunch we drove along Banks Lake, a 27-mile long reservoir.  It was formerly a dry coulee formed by the Missoula Ice Age Floods.  The group hiked in Northrup Canyon.  The mosquitoes were vicious.  I stayed in the van reading Grisham's new book - "The Rooster Bar".  I walked along the lake with a few from the group.  We had dinner at the Melody Restaurant which left a lot to be desired.  I watched television. Today I saw a Killdeer, Great Egret, Red-wing Blackbird, Northern Pintail, Pelican, Canada Goose and a caterpillar.

Thursday, September 27
We had breakfast at Pepper Jacks Grill.  We crossed the Ephrata expansion bar below the Lower Grand Coulee.  We headed towards the Drumheller Channels, northwest of Othello.  This area of 50 square miles was scoured by the floodwaters.   I saw ducks, pelicans, Burrowing Owl and a squirrel.  We had a picnic at Potholes State Park.  I saw a Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, California Quail and heard a Great Horned Owl during the afternoon.  I had Room 201 with a balcony at the M&M Motel in Connell.  I sat on the balcony, read my novel and watched the birds.  We had dinner next door at Michael Jay's Restaurant.

Friday, September 28
We had breakfast at Michael Jay's Restaurant.  Connell lies at the mouth of the Washtucna Coulee, once the westward path of the Palouse River.  During the floods the Palouse River scoured out a new channel that the Palouse River now follows.  We traveled through the 500-foot deep, four miles long Devils Canyon.  We saw the spectacular Palouse Falls (Earthcache).  Four people died recently at Palouse Falls.  Some of the group went for a walk along the rim.  We had a picnic lunch.  The Yellowjackets were so fierce that I ate my lunch in the van.  

We traveled south to Lions Ferry State Park.  I forgot to bring my book from the van so I listened to music on my IPhone.  We went back to Connell for the night.  I rode the van to the north end of Columbus Avenue in Connell and walked back to the motel, looking at Murals and Bronze and Concrete Sculptures along the way.  Some of the sculptures had geocaches.  Today I saw an Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawk, California Quail, Golden Eagle, Gull, Sparrow, Lark, Loon, and Canada Goose.  We had dinner next door at Michael Jay's Restaurant.

Saturday, September 29
We had breakfast next door at Michael Jay's Restaurant.  We made our way back to Portland.  We saw Wallula Gap, Two Sisters and Hat Rock.  I read my novel at a picnic table at Hat Rock State Park while the group went for a birding hike.  We had lunch at Sergios 2 in Hermiston.  We arrived at Portland International Airport approximately 6:00 PM.  I got my suitcase and headed for the restroom and electric outlet to charge my IPhone.  I boarded the MAX light rail.  I pushed the emergency button to warn the conductor that a large metal suitcase had been abandoned in the MAX car.  It was removed. Two MAX Light Rail trains and two buses later I was back to the street where I live.  It was good to be home!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

August and September 2018 Trip

Thursday, August 23, 2018
I took a Vancouver Cab to PDX at 7:30 AM.  I had a non-stop 9:45 AM Alaska flight, arriving Washington D.C./National at 5:50 PM.  I had Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche with fruit at The Country Cat.  I purchased a smoked sockeye salmon fillet at Made in Oregon for Lorraine.  I boarded the flight at 9:15 AM for 9:45 AM departure.  I had the window bulkhead seat in Premium Class.  Nice flight.  I had the Fruit and Cheese Platter.  I got my luggage and met my eldest son, Jeff, at the airport car pickup.  Nice surprise.  

He dropped me at the Comfort Inn, 5716 S Van Dorn St. at the far edge of Alexandria.  It turned out to be a great location.  I had an end room on the 9th (top) floor.  I bought a frozen lasagna and diet Pepsi at the lobby.  The tiny microwave in my room was only 700 watts.  The lasagna was supposed to be cooked with an 1100 microwave so I cooked it longer.  I watched HGTV which was a treat.

Friday, August 24
I had breakfast at the hotel.  I got a Lyft to the Amtrak Station in Alexandria.  I rode Business Class to Charlottesville, Virginia from 11:19 AM to 1:43 PM.  I got a complimentary bottled water and Diet Pepsi at the Club Car.  I took a photo of the water tower in Manassas (Benchmark: HV5205).  Lorraine picked me up at the Train Station.  We stopped at Grocery Stores and Chicken Feed Store on the way to her house.  We had soup and salad.  The trees have grown and surround the house cutting off the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  She plans to remove the trees to open the view again.  I fell asleep to the sound of crickets and the mating call of cicadas.    

Saturday, August 25
We had breakfast.  We drove to Staunton where we visited a Virtual  - Staunton Military Academy Memorial.  We had Afternoon Tea at Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room.  The Victorian Tea was really skimpy with the clotted cream and strawberry jam.  We wandered through the garden.  Who was Anne Hathaway?  Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare, the English poet, playwright and actor. They were married in 1582, when he was 18 and she was 26 years old.  Back at Lorraine's hilltop home I took a nap.  We watched Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in "The Post" (2017).  I had a good night's sleep.

Sunday, August 26
We visited the Walton's Mountain Museum in the quaint village of Schuyler, VA, the childhood home of Earl Hamner, Jr.  The Museum is located in the old school.  We saw a 30 min. video.  The classrooms have been converted to exhibit rooms.  Five rooms replicate the TV sets: "Ike Godsey's Store", Kitchen, Living room, John Boy's room and Pony Cart room.  Nearby was the Waltons Hamner House.  

We visited The Batesville Market where we had light snack.  We stopped at Hill Top Berry Winery in Nellysford to have wine samples.  I really liked the Mountain Apple Wine.  Back at Lorraine's house we had a light dinner.  We watched the first Walton's 1971 TV movie: "The Homecoming - A Christmas Story" starring Patricia Neal and Richard Thomas.

Monday, August 27
I was awakened at 5:00 AM by very loud noises.  The concrete trucks had arrived at 4:00 AM to pour the barn floor.  We had breakfast.  Lorraine drove me to the Amtrak Station in Charlottesville.  I caught the 8:52 AM train to Alexandria.  I rode Business Class.  I got complimentary drinks at the Club Car.  I arrived about 11:00 AM and got a Lyft ride to the Comfort Inn.  I got the same room at the end of the hall on the 9th floor.  I took a nap.  Jeff picked me up in the evening.  I found two Virtuals: O and A Railroad Tunnel and Alexandria, DC.   We had dinner at Los Cuates Restaurant on King Street.  I had Quesadilla Chicken.  Jeff dropped me off at the Comfort Inn.

Tuesday, August 28
I ate breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  I rode Lyft to the Van Dorn Metro Station.  I rode the Trolley the complete loop of Old Town Alexandria.  I got off the Trolley several blocks from the Metro Station to walk the length of King Street.  I bought a necklace and "Lincoln Letters" by William Martin at "Look Again" a resale shop.  I ate lunch at 2:00 PM at Starbucks.

I started finding the information for an Earthcache four years ago.  I finished finding the information this past week. I stopped at the Alexandria Visitor Center/Ramsay House, viewed the exhibits/information at the Archeological Museum at the Torpedo Factory, and toured the Lyceum History Museum researching the history of Alexandria.

I had a cup of ice cream at Ben & Jerry's about 5:00 PM.  I took at Lyft back to the Comfort Inn.  Jeff picked me up later.  We went to National Harbor.  Jeff took my photo for the "Awakening" - a Virtual.  I had a marvelous dessert - Creme Brulee & Berries -  at Fiorella Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, 152 National Plaza, National Harbor, Oxon Hill, Maryland.  Jeff got a pizza.  He dropped me off at the Comfort Inn on his way home in Springfield.

Wednesday, August 29
I ate breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  I rode the Hotel Shuttle to the Van Dorn Metro Station and the Metro to Alexandria.  I rode the Trolley.  I had a Blueberry Scone and Earl Grey tea at Starbucks at 11:15 AM.  I had an interesting conversation for over an hour with a man sitting at the table.  It got a cup of ice cream.  I visited the Torpedo Factory.  I had a light meal of Fruit & Cheese and Shortbread Cookie about 3:15 PM at Starbucks near the Waterfront.  I rode the Trolley, Metro to Van Dorn and then the Hotel Shuttle to the Comfort Inn.  I had leftover Quesadilla Chicken from Monday nights dinner.  I watched the two hour "Master Chef" on television.

Thursday, August 30
I ate breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  I rode the Hotel Shuttle to the Van Dorn Metro Station and the Metro to Alexandria.  I rode the Trolley.  I found a geocache however the original ammo can cache was missing.  I got a scoop each of mango and lemon sorbet in a cup at Dolci Gelato.  I had lunch at Starbucks near the Waterfront.  I visited the Alexandria Archeological Museum for half hour.  I rode the Trolley, Metro to Van Dorn and then the Hotel Shuttle to the Comfort Inn. 

Jeff and I walked the trail at Jones Point, a geographic point on the Potomac River which is part of the city of Alexandria.  A small park and the Jones Point lighthouse are located at the point, which is immediately North of the confluence of Hunting Creek and the Potomac River.  The 1791-1792 survey of the boundaries of the District of Columbia began at a spot that was then at the tip of a cape at the Point.  The south cornerstone from the boundary survey remains in a seawall several yards south of the lighthouse.  I found a Survey Disk.

The 1855-56 lighthouse was built as a river navigational aid.  It is a rare, surviving example of an integrated lighthouse - keeper's dwelling and tower for the light.  It has or had a smaller Fourth Order Fresnel Lens that were used in lighthouses on rivers and inland waterways. 

The park highlights many of its historical aspects though NPS placards that appears along the walking trail.  I was fascinated to read about Margaret Brent.   This outspoken woman (1601-1671/1676) secured a 700-acre patent in 1654 which included Piper's Island (later known as Jones Point).  She was not only a landowner but Lord Baltimore's attorney.

Friday, August 31
I ate breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  I rode the Hotel Shuttle to the Van Dorn Metro Station.  I put $6.00 on my Metro SmartTrip card.  I rode the Metro to Pentagon City.   I explored the Mall which has definitely seen better days.  I rode the Metro to Van Dorn Station.  I took the Trolley down King Street.  I had lunch at Starbucks of Tomato and Mozz Cheese Panini.  I got a cup of ice cream. 

I rode the Trolley for a few blocks.  I went to the Lyceum History Museum.  Fascinating!   I saw a couple interesting books in the Gift Shop - Sarah Vowell's "Assassination Vacation" and "Historic Alexandria" by Ted Pulliam.  I rode the Trolley, Metro to Van Dorn and then the Hotel Shuttle to the Comfort Inn.  Back at the Comfort Inn I showered and rested.  Jeff and Donna picked me up.  We went to Lena's - wood-fired pizza & tap.  It was a wild night with thunder and lightning.   I was wakening with flood warning alerts at 12:01 AM and again at 12:06 AM.

Saturday, September 1
I ate breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  Jeff and Donna picked me up.  We headed for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  We couldn't find the cache at the Washington Monument.   We found The Original Washington Monument, High on Longstreet, First Killed at Gettysburg, Peace at Gettysburg, The Only Civilian, Triassic Toe Tracks, Little Round Top, Unsettle Spirit, Gettysburg PA, A Tragedy, Step into a Blessing, Schools Out...Forever!, Got a Virus and Fallen Firefighters' Memorial.  We had lunch at O'Rorke's Gettysburg, PA.  We got back to Alexandria very late so I ate leftover pizza with a cold Diet Pepsi for dinner.  I watched television.

Sunday, September 2
I ate a late breakfast at the Comfort Inn.  Jeff and Donna picked me up.  We headed for Delaware and New Jersey.  We found NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Bethany UAME Cemetery, Colonial Cache, The Cache of Wolfenstein (my son, Christopher, solved this Mystery Cache four years ago), Fort Casimir, Rt. 9 (Almost) Broad Dyke Canal, Obsolete Giant, Linda's First, The Oldest Living Cache in South Jersey and Sushi.  We had lunch at Jessop's Tavern in New Castle, Delaware and dinner at Coakleys Pub in Havre De Grace, Maryland.

Monday, September 3
Jeff picked me up at 9:30 AM at the Comfort Inn.  Donna was not able to join us so Jeff and I did some geocaching.  We hiked to the stone bridge at Lake Accotink so I could get correct coordinates for my Waymark - Stone Bridge.  We found Spy's Cache (very long snake in culvert), ALLH #20 - Ash Grove and Chauncy's Cool Cat cache.  My very first cache in October 2004 was a traditional cache near the Ash Grove main house.  We had lunch at IHop.  We visited Gunston Hall an 18th-century Georgian mansion near the Potomac River in Mason Neck, Virginia. The house was the home of the United States Founding Father George Mason.  Jordan C. was our tour guide.  We traveled back to D.C. and Donna's home for Afternoon Tea.  It was quite lovely.  The scones were especially delicious.  Back at the hotel room I watched the movie "Legally Blond".

Tuesday, September 4
As a Gold Star Member I did not need to check out of my hotel room until 2:00 PM.  I ate one of Donna's delicious scones for my breakfast.  I watched the movie "Gifted" (2017).  I caught a Lyft to Van Dorn Station and rode the Metro to National Airport.  I checked my suitcase and got my boarding pass.  I got some food at Starbucks.  The flight left at sometime after 5:30 PM.  I had the window bulkhead seat in Premium Class.  Nice flight.  I watched two movies - "15:17 Paris" and "Father Figures".  We arrived in Portland about 8:00 PM or so.  I got my suitcase from Baggage Pickup.  The handle was broken so I got the paperwork to have it fixed.  I rode MAX Light Rail, and two CTran buses to get home all for $1.50.  Christopher met me at the bus stop to wheel my luggage home.  Cold weather and low humidity.  What a relief!  It was a great trip but I will never again visit the East Coast in August.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Friday, July 27, 2018

Red Is the New Black?

On Monday June 18, 2018 I traded in my Black VW Tiguan and purchased a new 2018 Cardinal Red VW Tiguan from Hannah Motors VW Dealership in Vancouver, WA.  After several hours of intense negotiations I got the luggage security cover and the price that I was willing to pay for the car.  I paid the car off earlier this month.  I started noticing how many red cars there are!  Red must be the new black!

Staying Cool on Hot Summer Days

It is so weird but nice to have air conditioning in the house.  I have lived in this 2000-sq-ft house since December 1973 with no air conditioning and an inadequate forced air heater.  I finally had an American Standard Platinum 18 Heat Pump and Air Handler installed at the end of June.  A Heating and Air Conditioning Company in town did the installation.  It was a challenge but they did a fantastic job.