It’s All In A Name!

On September 19, 2010 · Comments Off on It’s All In A Name!

In addition to visiting with our friends Mike and Pat McFall, we are here in South Dakota to renew our drivers licenses.  This state makes it very easy to be non-resident residents.  We can renew our vehicle registrations by mail and vote via absentee ballot.  But, the one thing we cannot do remotely is renew drivers licenses…we have to show up in person.  Not a problem, as we are in the state every summer anyway.  And since we can renew as much as six months in advance, it could not be any more convenient.  That is until we went to renew on Wednesday and I encountered a challenge with the drivers license department and my name.

For the record, the name on my birth certificate is Christine Dale Sergy.  Now, how many of you knew that?  Except for a brief period when I was in High School, when I was called Christine ( and that is another story), I have been known as Dale.  So, when I got married, I dropped “Christine” and changed the name on my Social Security card to Dale S. Bruss.  Along with Mark, I have purchased real estate and automobiles using that name. However, on my drivers license and my passport, all my names appear. And therein lies the problem.  The lack of consistency on all my legal documents is what tripped me up when I went to renew my drivers license. 

As a result of new Homeland Security regulations, renewing a drivers license has become as complicated at an FBI background check! Proof of citizenship, Social Security card or 1099, address verification, etc. The first thing they check after looking at all your documents is to verify the name on the old drivers license with Social Security records.  Of course, mine did not match and did not verify.  At that point, everything stops!  There is no explanation that will change the outcome.  There was no new drivers license for me unless and until I could present a Social Security card with my full name, Christine Dale Sergy Bruss!  UGH!!

So, off we went from Custer, SD to the Social Security office in Rapid City.  I have to say that after navigating the MVA and Social Security in Baltimore, MD, getting things accomplished here in lightly populated South Dakota has been like a walk in the park…no problem parking, no long lines, really friendly folks to care of you, no stress!!  So, I apply for a replacement SS card with all my names and am told that it will take up to two weeks for it to come in the mail.  But, she says, that she has never known it to take longer than a week.  I certainly hope she is right. We plan to leave here on Sept. 29, and once I have it in my hand, I still need to go back to Rapid City to get my license.  I decided to have it sent to our mailing address in Emery, SD even though I am here in Custer, SD. My Home Address, our mail forwarder, will overnight it to me as soon as they get it.  But, regardless, even if everything goes in my favor, it will be cutting it really close. 

My current license does not expire until January, so I am not driving illegally. But, if the new SS card does not come before we leave, I will have to come back to SD before January to renew in person.  I have been thinking about how I might do that.  But, I choose to be optimistic that by some miracle, the Social Security Administration and  UPS overnight will be working in my favor.  And here is the positive….The next time I have to renew my license, all my documents will match and I will not have to go through this again!  And, I am never changing my name again!  No photos this week, but thanks for coming along with us.

Downtime in Custer

On September 11, 2010 · 3 Comments

After a spring and summer of traveling weekly, hitching up and setting up, and driving miles in many cases to visit our fabulous National Parks, we have spent the past week in Custer, SD with absolutely nothing on our agenda!  We are here visiting our good friends, Mike and Pat McFall.  When we got here, however, they were not at home!.  They are going through a “passage” in their lives….downsizing from a 45’ fifth wheel trailer to a 40’ motor home.  While we were sitting here on their property for two days, they were traveling back from Texas, where they had just picked up their Foretravel motor home.  As it had been four months since we last saw them, we were delighted when they pulled in last Sunday, just in time for Happy Hour! 

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This is one beautiful coach! Pat says that she is still not sure what every button and switch controls.  They are having quite the experience getting used to a motor home, as they have always had fifth wheel trailers.  Mike says that while driving down the road, he has a tendency to drift to the right.  And Pat, sitting in the passenger seat, keeps reminding him to “stay on the road!:  I am confident that they both will be pros at driving in very short order.

On Wednesday, our friends Greg and Bonnie arrived for a few days.  They have had an adventure this summer…in Alaska!  They too have a big truck and trailer, but decided not to take the rig into Alaska.  Instead, Greg pulled a pop-up trailer with his Harley, while Bonnie road right next to him on hers. 

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Their trailer is a toy hauler…they carry the motorcycles in the rear.  Notice the small, pull-behind trailer on the back of the truck.  They are leaving tomorrow.  But, as we are neighbors at Retama Village in Texas, I look forward to hearing so much more about their Alaska adventure when we are together again this winter. 

It was such a beautiful day here in the Black Hills that Mike, Pat, Greg and Bonnie, the resident “motor cycle gang,” donned their leathers, fired up the bikes and road off on a 100 mile ride.  I, on the other hand, being sans Harley and OK with that, documented their departure!  Are they not the coolest “Senior Cyclers”  you have ever seen?

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We have another “big week” coming up.  The only thing we absolutely have to do is get our drivers licenses renewed.  That will be on Wednesday.  In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy our time here in what Mike calls “a little piece of heaven!”  Thanks for coming along with us.

Yellowstone to Custer

On September 3, 2010 · Comments Off on Yellowstone to Custer

Today was the last in a four day travel week.  We made it to Custer, SD!  We usually try not to travel so many days in a row.  But, this week, weather altered our plans.  We started the week at Valley View RV Park in Island Park, ID.  That was our home base for our visits to Yellowstone National Park…we were there for eleven days.  It was just an OK park.  It needs a bit of freshening up…new gravel, manicured grass, trees trimmed.  But, for an extended stay, the price was right.  And it had a super Laundromat where I could launder big stuff, like my rugs and comforter.  We could have stayed at a newer park right near the entrance to Yellowstone at twice the price….NOT!  We planned to leave on Monday, but the rain and wind kept us in place till Tuesday. 

Next stop, Big Timber, MT. (165 miles) Spring Creek Campground and Trout Ranch….right on the Boulder River.  Because our rig is so long, we prefer a pull-thru site.  But, this time we opted for a back-in, right up to the river bank.  And the Boulder is not a ‘lazy’ river.  It is a rushing river with the most delightful sound.  And, not a bad view out the rear window!

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When we made out plans to stay at Spring Creek, we had no idea that our friends, Rollie and Gina Thurston, would be there as well.  What a treat!

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Even though we were there for only one night, they made our stay very special.  First, Gina made her “world famous” Taco Soup and took it and us to have a wonderful dinner with their friends, Michael and Janna, who live in the area.  Then they showed us a hidden gem in the hills outside of Big Timber…Natural Bridge and Falls State Park.  More rushing river water and falls!!

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Wednesday morning it was time to push on west, 135 miles to Hardin, MT.  The Little Bighorn Battlefield is only a few miles from Grandview Campground, our planned stop.  We were going to stay two nights and visit the battlefield.  Maybe next time!  Day three brought us to Spearfish, SD (230 miles.)  The was our longest day of the the week and we still had one more to go.  Fortunately, our trip today from Spearfish to Custer was only 70 miles and we were here by 11:00 am.   We are staying with our friends, Mike and Pat McFall on their beautiful lot with a view of the Black Hills.  They are on their way back from Texas, where they just picked up their new (to them) motor home.  So, we will be by ourselves here until they get back next week.  We are so anxious to see them and their new RV. 

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So, here we are for about a month!  Since we left Texas at the end of March, with a couple of exceptions, we have traveled at least one day every week on our trek to visit as many National Parks as we could!  Our last park, number 15, was Yellowstone, a fitting end. I am looking forward to staying put for awhile, enjoying some down time and having a special visit with Pat and Mike.  We will be here long enough to witness the annual buffalo round-up in Custer State Park. Thanks for coming along with us this summer, and stayed tuned for whatever happens next!!

Yellowstone – America’s First National Park

On August 30, 2010 · Comments Off on Yellowstone – America’s First National Park

IMG_2101e We have come to the end of our week + at Yellowstone National Park.  Our plan was to leave today on the first leg of our trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota.  However, we woke up to a 100% threat of rain and thunderstorms all along our route and decided to stay put one more day and go tomorrow when the  weather report is more favorable for travel.  So, it is a chilly and rainy day…the perfect day to recap our incredible time here at Yellowstone.

Over 2 million acres and larger than the state of Delaware, Yellowstone National Park sits on top of the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest volcanic system in North America.  It is also referred to as a super volcano, because the caldera was formed by large explosive eruptions.  Yellowstone is, by far, the largest and most diverse park we have visited this summer.  Lakes, rivers, meadows, mountains and thousands of thermal features are all here in Yellowstone…it is quite the remarkable place.

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This is the Roosevelt Arch, located at the north entrance to the park.  The park was officially created on March 1, 1872, and the cornerstone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt  in 1903.   The inscription above the arch reads, “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”

There are over 10,000 thermal features in the park, and no, we did not see them all.  But what we did see were almost mesmerizing, holding your gaze, creating a very contemplative inner calm.  When we walked around the geyser basins with other folks visiting the park, it was quiet…with people walking slowly and looking intently at these natural wonders. 

There are different types of thermal features in the park. Geysers …rain and snow melt migrate down through cracks and fissures in the earth.  It reaches an area far below the surface where it is heated by rocks that have been heated by boiling hot magma.  Pressure forces the water back up through the cracks and when enough pressure builds up, the scalding water erupts through a small opening in the earth’s surface.  The most famous geyser in Yellowstone is Old Faithful.  The height of the water eruption is not the tallest in the park, but Old Faithful is the most reliable geyser, erupting approximately every 90 minutes or so. 

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While crowds of people wait patiently, Old Faithful signals that it is getting ready to erupt with a series of little teases…short, brief eruptions. 

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Then the big blow comes!  Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water to a height of 106–185 feet  lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes.  The average height of an eruption is 145 feet.

Hot springs  are pools of water where the circulation of hot and cooled water keeps the temperature low enough to avoid eruptions.

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The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the U.S. and the third largest in the world.  The vivid colors are produced by pigmented bacteria.

Mud pots are acidic hot springs with not much water that look like bubbling mud. The presence of sulfuric acid makes mud pot areas smell like rotten eggs.  

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During our 4 days in the park, we drove over 300 miles and, in addition, to the thermal features, we saw incredible landscapes, waterfalls, and wildlife.  Here are a few of my favorites shots.

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Roaring Mountain – a landscape alive with microorganisms, but inhospitable to humans

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Yellowstone Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone River

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Tower Falls

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Lower Falls – Yellowstone River

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Having Fun!!

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Upper Falls – Yellowstone River

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Mule Deer along the Madison River

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Bison at Yellowstone Lake

 

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And one close up!

We took so many more pictures, and they are all published on our website.  Check them out to experience more of our trip to Yellowstone.  And, once again, thanks for coming along with us.

Cattle, Convicts and Cars

On August 22, 2010 · Comments Off on Cattle, Convicts and Cars

IMG_2004eThe trip from Glacier National Park to our current spot right outside of Yellowstone is more miles than we like to travel in one day.  So, we decided to break up the trip and stop halfway in Garrison, MT for three nights.  During our Red Bus tour in Glacier, we met a couple from this area, and they mentioned that we needed to visit the Grant-Kohrs Ranch in nearby Deer Lodge, MT.  As we did not have a “touristy” event scheduled for this stop, we decided to check it out.

This is a working cattle ranch that was purchased  for $19,000 from Johnny Grant, a French-Canadian fur trader, in 1866 by Conrad Kohrs.  At a time before barbed wire fenced off the open range, Kohrs and his half-brother developed the largest ranch in the west, over 1 million acres.  In just a few decades, during the time of the open range, Montana became a mecca for cattle barons, who developed huge herds of longhorn cattle.

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The age of the cowboy and cattle drives came to an end when overgrazing and the deadly winter of 1886-87 caused enormous losses, estimated at one-third to one-half of all the cattle on the northern plains. Many cattlemen never recovered. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch did, in fact, recover.  But, the open range was gone with the arrival of settlers, barbed wire and 160 acre claims. 

Ultimately, the ranch passed into the hands of  Kohr’s grandson, Conrad Warren, who bequeathed the ranch, now only 1000 acres,  to the National Park Service.  It was opened as a National Historic Site in 1977.

While there, we walked around the grounds and had a guided tour of the original ranch house. The interior was incredibly preserved.  All the  grand furnishings, wallpaper, carpets are original to the house. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed.  There are plenty on the Grant-Kohrs Ranch website if you have an interest.  But, here is the house.  A brick addition to the house was added by Conrad Kohrs, enlarging the house to over 9000 square feet…quite a grand residence on the Montana plains.

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Just down the street in Deer Lodge, MT sits The Old Montana Prison.  Established in 1871, this prison was active until 1979, when a new prison was built west of town.  The complex consists of an administration building, a cell house, a very large exercise yard,  a hospital building and a theater.  It was pretty eerie inside these buildings…small cells, concrete walls, low lighting…awful!

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Visitors Area

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Infirmary/Dental Area

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Cell Block

Adjacent to the Prison is a Classic Car Museum with over 150 cars….from Model T’s to Mustangs.   Here a just a few of my favorites.

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Early RVing!

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It was an interesting and unexpected day for us…so much to see in a small town on the Montana plains.  For more pictures visit our website. And, once again, thanks for coming along with us.

Glacier National Park – Part II

On August 18, 2010 · Comments Off on Glacier National Park – Part II

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After our less than enjoyable day in Glacier National Park on Thursday, we decided to give it another try last Sunday.  Right away we knew the day would be better, as the weather was just glorious…bright sunshine, no wind and cool temps! 

As I mentioned, we decided to tour the western half of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in one of the Red Buses.  The information at this web link is really interesting, giving the history of these 1930’s area vehicles and the refurbishing they went through in the 80’s and 90’s.  There are 33 Red Buses today in Glacier National Park offering half and full-day tours. 

 

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One of the neatest features of a red bus, is the canvas roof that is rolled back so the passengers can stand up at stops to take pictures and feel the warmth of the sun while traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  Here is our tour guide and driver, Christy, starting to roll back the canvas.  These drivers are called “Jammers.”  This name harkens back to the time when the bus transmissions were stick shifts and you could hear the drivers clutching and jamming the gears as they drove up and down the mountains.

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The tour started at the old world looking Lake McDonald Lodge, located on Lake McDonald.  It is the largest lake in the park…ten miles long and one mile wide. Most of the mountain valleys and the lakes in Glacier were created by the movement of glaciers, leaving “bowls” or u-shaped valleys.  Lake McDonald is one such bowl.  The lake was created when a piece of a glacier broke off and was trapped in the bowl. The ice melted and, voila, the lake was formed! 

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Today, Lake McDonald is fed by MacDonald Creek.  These shots were taken right where the creek empties into the lake. 

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Further up the valley, the creek flows more swiftly with cascades and white water.

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This is an area called an Avalanche Chute.  As the snow comes roaring down the mountain, it brings trees and debris along with it.  Avalanche chutes are located all along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  Clearing the snow in the spring may be delayed in order to remove the debris.

 

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Heaven’s Peak

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A lovely stretch of the Going-to-the-Sun Road

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The Garden Wall

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U-Shaped valley created by a swiftly moving glacier

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One of many waterfalls, this one directed under the road

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View from the Visitors Center at Logan Pass…elevation 6645 feet.

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Mountain goat family!

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I just love waterfalls!

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We are all smiles near the end of a terrific Red Bus tour.  Our friend, Jack, recommended that we take this tour and he was right.  Now, we recommend the same for you when you visit Glacier National Park.  Check out our website for more photos.  And, once again, thank you for coming along with us.

Glacier National Park – Part I

On August 14, 2010 · 3 Comments

IMG_1875e Glacier is the thirteenth  National Park we have visited this summer.  Add to that, three dams, two National Monuments, one State Park and various and sundry tourist destinations, it has been quite the tour…I can hardly believe it!

Our visit to Glacier is having its own unique highs and lows, that will take two blog entries to explore.  As I have mentioned previously, we like to take advantage of in-park shuttles whenever they are available.  We have found that having someone else do the driving avoids parking issues and generally makes the park visit more enjoyable.  So, when we read that Glacier has a shuttle system, we were pleased, as the 50 mile Going-to-the-Sun Road is narrow and winding and steep…and also, UNDER CONSTRUCTION!  It is the only road that crosses the park, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass

Named for Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, which dominates the eastbound view beyond Logan Pass, construction on the road began in 1921 and was completed in 1932. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is now 78 years old and is in need of complete rebuilding. This work will continue for the next 8-10 years, depending on funding.

We decided that we would travel the whole length of the road, from the West Entrance to the East Entrance and experience the diverse landscapes that distinguish Glacier National Park.  From the park brochure, “In the space of a few miles, you can travel from lush cedar/hemlock forest through alpine meadows to the edge of western prairies…where the prairies give way to glacier-sculpted mountains.”  We wanted to see it all.  And one of the nice features of a shuttle system is that you can get on and off at your leisure at various pull-outs along the way.  This is what we expected, but on this day not what we experienced!

IMG_1847eWe boarded the first of three shuttles at the Apgar Transit Center near the West entrance of the park.  Now, this bus only goes 14 or so miles, to Avalanche Creek.  Beyond that point, this bus is too big to navigate the narrow, winding road that hugs the mountain up to Logan Pass, the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  So, at Avalanche we transferred to a 12 passenger van for the trip to the summit. Very quickly, we realized that our plan to get on and off at various spots just was not going to work.

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Because, in fairly short order we noticed a complete weather change.  The bright sunshine gave way to clouds and fog. 

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And then…the construction!  In this area, the road narrows down to one skinny lane.  So the wait time could be as long as 30 minutes. We continued on to Logan Pass, where we had to change shuttles once again to  travel the final 18 miles to the East Entrance.  By this time, we had been on the road for over 2 hours!

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The Visitor Center at Logan Pass

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The view from Logan Pass

At the pass, we again changed shuttles for the 18 mile trip down the mountain, through even more construction, to the East Entrance to the park at the little town of St. Mary.  As we came down the mountain, the weather, once again, changed…this time for the better.  This is the area of the park where the prairie meets the Rocky Mountains with virtually no transition. 

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Given that we had been on the road for close to four hours, we figured we had better get some lunch before making the trek back to our car.  By this time, we were tired of riding busses and vans, we were tired of construction traffic and long waits,  we had not seen much of the park, and I was getting cranky!  To top it off, on the climb back up to Logan Pass, it started to rain and continued with a few heavy downpours until we got back to our car….three hours later!!!  I had so looked forward to seeing the wonder of Glacier National Park, and, to say the least,  the day was not as enjoyable as I had hoped. 

But, there will be a Part II to this story.  Tomorrow we will return to the park and take a guided tour in this!  Come on back for the rest of the story!!

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Mt. Rainier National Park

On August 11, 2010 · Comments Off on Mt. Rainier National Park

OK, I have not been faithful to this blog for the past couple of weeks, even though we have had some activities that might have been of interest to you.  So, let me catch you up.

IMG_1704eThe last week of July we stopped at Yakima, WA in order to visit Mt. Rainier National Park, some 80 miles away.  Covering 368 square miles, Mt. Rainier National Park was established on March 2, 1899.  From the park’s brochure, “Geologists consider this mountain to be an ‘episodically active’ volcano, meaning one that will erupt again some time in the future even though it may be quiet now.” Geologists and seismologists say, however, that Rainier will give fair warning before erupting!

At 14,410 ft. above sea level, Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and fifth highest peak in the lower 48.  It is one of a number of volcanoes that form the spine of the Cascade Range, stretching from Mt. Baker in northern Washington to Mt. Lassen in California.  The infamous Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood in Oregon are in this group.

 

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This our first view of the mountain as we  drove from 1900 to 5400 feet.

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The Grove of the Patriarchs is an old growth forest of Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars.  We could not resist!

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Once we reached the Visitors Center, the mountain was “upon” us,

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… and we noticed a group of hikers getting ready to ascend the mountain.  Don’t know how far they planned to climb.  But it was clear that we were not planning to join them!

Mt. Rainier is the twelfth National Park that we have visited on this trip…I can hardly believe it!  We have gotten pretty adept at doing research before we go, finding the Visitors Center first, scoping out the trails that are suitable for us, taking advantage of park transportation, etc…fairly routine stuff.  But, what is not routine or ordinary is the absolute majesty of these special places.  And they are all different.  I would be hard pressed to give you a favorite. Each park, in its own way, is unique and absolutely stunning.  Thank you for coming along with us.

The Oregon Coast

On August 3, 2010 · Comments Off on The Oregon Coast

Mark and I have made a number of stops since my last blog post about the Coastal Redwoods…sorry about staying away for so long.  After leaving Grants Pass, OR, we made our way to Lincoln City on the Oregon coast.  While there, we really enjoyed taking in the look and feel of the Pacific Ocean.  It was windy and chilly, located down a path from a bluff, devoid of sand dunes, but with plenty of smooth surface rocks…nothing like the Atlantic Ocean in the summer!

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Look closely and you will see a kite guiding a wind surfer on the waves.

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We also took a couple of side trips both south and north of Lincoln City.  Newport, OR is a charming town with an old lighthouse, a thriving waterfront and fishing harbor.

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The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was built in 1871 and in service only until 1874. It was located too far from the shoreline and proved to be less effective than needed.  Thought to be the oldest building in Newport, this lighthouse is unique in that the keeper’s living quarters and the light are in one building.

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Late in the afternoon, the fishing boats have returned and are tied up for the night.

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A seafood processing plant at the end of the boardwalk.  Great mural on the building.

And one more “touristy” visit…Tillamook, OR to visit a famous air museum and world famous (so they say) Tillamook Cheese.

The Tillamook Air Museum is located in a huge all wood hangar…one of two built on this site in 1942 to house the K Class blimps that were commissioned to patrol the Pacific Coast searching for enemy boats and submarines.  The hangar now houses an impressive collection of vintage aircraft. 

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This hangar housed 8 blimps, each 252 feet long.

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Aero Spacelines Mini-Guppy, a wide body cargo aircraft…cargo bay is 18 feet wide and 91 feet long.

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Mark…aircraft…’nuff said

Our second stop in Tillamook was the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  What an operation!  We were told that this facility is the second most visited tourist attraction in the state of Oregon.  It was definitely busy on this weekday afternoon.  They offer a self-guided tour of the cheese-making operation and plenty of opportunity to sample the merchandise…with a cafe and ice cream counter.  Add to this, a retail store where you can buy every cheese, yogurt and ice cream product they produce, to take home with you.  It was delicious!

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This is  replica of “The Morning Star”, a two-masted schooner, built in 1854 by farmers in Tillamook County, who needed a way to get their milk to market in Portland.

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  A graphic of “The Morning Star” is still prominent in the Tillamook Cheese logo.

We had been so looking forward to visiting the Oregon Coast and our expectations were more than met.  And, yes, we would go back!  Visit our website for more Lincoln City, Newport, and Tillamook photos.  And, thanks for coming along with us.

 

The Coastal Redwoods

On July 17, 2010 · 1 Comments

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Using our spot in Grants Pass, OR as a base, we traveled 100 or so miles south to California and the Redwood State and National Parks. The National Park Service  and the California Department of Parks and Recreation cooperatively manage the National Park and three redwood state parks along the northern coast of California.

Mistakenly, I thought that redwood and sequoia trees were the same. Not so.  Redwoods grow along the Pacific coast and sequoias only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Redwoods grow taller, to nearly 370 feet, taller than the Statue of Liberty, in fact the tallest trees on earth!  Sequoias grow thicker to 40 feet in diameter, not quite so tall and live as long as 3200 years…2000 years for the redwoods. 

The climate along the Pacific coast is perfect and necessary for the survival and incredible growth of the redwoods.  An old growth tree consumes 500 gallons of water each day!  This is satisfied through winter storms that dump 60-80 inches of annual rain and summer fog.  It is estimated that redwoods receive up to one third of their annual moisture from this fog.  No rain on the day we visited and just a smidge of fog! 

When we arrived at the northern entrance to the parks, we decided to travel southwest, pick up the Pacific Coast highway, and travel along the coast for a few miles to enjoy the ocean.  This is an up and down highway, and these three pictures show the site of the ocean from above and at beach level.

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A little further south is a spot where the Klamath River flows into the Pacific Ocean.  There is an overlook at the top of a 650’ bluff where you can clearly see the mouth of the Klamath River and its sandspit, as well as the coastline to the south.  Well, clearly is a relative term!  When there is fog, this is what you see!  No matter, the fragrance of the ocean and the fog on our faces was lovely, even if the the view was less than stellar.

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We turned around and headed back north to find an old growth redwood grove.  And we were successful!  The Simpson-Reed Grove is in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park at the north end of the park system. The loop trail through the grove is less than a mile, taking you through a very jungle like landscape.  Trees are very close together, many in clusters that illustrate how these trees propagate.  From the park’s brochure, “Coast redwoods reproduce by seed and by stump and basal sprouting…if a redwood is felled or is badly burned, a ring of new trees often sprouts from burls around the trunk’s base.  These so called family groups are common.  Saplings use the parent tree’s root system.”

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Trees in Clusters

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In addition to the towering standing redwoods, the ground was covered by foliage and downed trees.  When a tree falls due to age or fire or storm, it is left to contribute to the landscape and eco-system.  And lying horizontal, they are still magnificent!  Imagine a downed tree as long as a football field!

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We also saw a number of standing trees whose trunks had been damaged but are still beautiful!

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And here we have  hemlock trees that have sprouted and grown on top of downed redwoods.

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An example of a burl on a redwood trunk.

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Soon it was time to head back north to Oregon, across the mountains yet one more time.  Just another wonderful day in paradise!   Check out our website to see all of the many pictures of the redwoods we took during our visit.  And, once again, thanks for coming along with us.

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