Fun At The Beach

Just wanted everyone to know that, though were of advanced age, even we can have fun in the sun. The difference is we just wear more clothes when we do it.

This is from the beach at Seaside, Oregon.

IMG_2166The purpose of our trip, in addition to walking on the beach, was to watch Lydia play soccer with her high school team. We drove over on Friday and it rained all the way giving us cause for concern for the first game that evening. But it cleared up a little and the kids played a relative dry game.

Saturday was gorgeous and provided us with a fairly nice sunset.

DSC_3996Sunday was also great for our trip home. The dogs were happy to see us. The cat was indifferent.

 

 

Fires, Trees, Pope Francis, and Food

The skies all over Oregon are filled with the smoke of numerous forest fires burning around the state. It’s sad to see all those trees burn but, you know what? There is more standing forest now than there was when Lewis & Clark visited the area. The cause, lightening, is still a common cause, but the reason we have more now is because we have brave people, with excellent equipment, willing to go out and fight the fires. Back in L&C’s days, they just burned until they went out on their own.

Speaking of all those trees – Why aren’t more of them logged and milled in the USA? Maybe they really are, and we just don’t know it. What I see in our neck of the woods, on both sides of the Columbia River, are HUGE water front collecting facilities for logs that are loaded on cargo ships which are destined for the other side of the Pacific. Some rumors I’ve heard (conspiracy?) is the many of these logs are transported to huge ships, outside our 12 mile limit, that make cheap plywood and return it to the US for sale. I don’t think that’s true, but it’s an interesting concept. They really do, however, get carted out of the country by the boat load. Literally.

When writing this stuff, I have begun to research what my fingers report, and continually find myself going down ‘conspiracy theory’ paths. Some are quite involved, and interesting. Fun reading.

For the record, if anyone who reads this works for the government, I don’t believe any of that conspiracy theory stuff. Not me. No sir. I think the government is full of honorable people who have my personal well-being very high on their list of priorities … right below their pay raises, private medical plans, raiding social security, screwing up the medical world, figuring new ways to get taxes from us for which there is no need except to line their pockets. All of these yahoos should take a page from Pope Francis’ book on how to conduct yourself when in a position of power. He’s really something and kinda makes me think it’s OK to be Catholic.

Actually, it is OK to be Catholic … or anything you wish to be along religious lines.

Although we are far away from the current forest fires in Oregon, our sunsets are much more dramatic because of the smoke. We can smell the fires burning, too.

DSCN2247

OK – I cheated because I don’t have a current picture of a smoke affected sunset. This one is a sunrise. I like it because you can see the crescent moon over Mt. Hood. And, it’s not even a summer sunrise – it’s from November 2010. Still, it’s pretty, even though it’s a little ‘ho hum’ by Oregon standards … yawn … (take that, Jewel).

Just as I sat down to do this, about 3 hours ago, the smoke alarm went off so I knew supper was ready and had to stop. We had tri tip steak. Very good. I like it because I don’t have to gnaw meat off the bone. We also had beets and smashed potatoes. I regret not taking a picture for you, but here are some previous meals you may have missed …

DSC_3944 DSC_2504 IMG_0159 DSC_6924 DSC_6843 DSC_5529

 

Diane just told me it’s midnight and time to stop. Last time I looked it was only 10 pm. Guess I’m not a real clock-watcher anymore, like I used to be …

G’nite.

Seaside, Oregon – Day 3

OK – right off the bat, the title is misleading. Sure, we woke up in Seaside, but didn’t stay long before heading north toward home. That’s probably misleading, too, but you can look at a map and figure out that St. Helens is kinda NE from Seaside. Going up Highway 101 one must go north to Astoria, East to Rainier, then south to St. Helens. It’s complicated. If we were crows it would be a much shorter trip but we aren’t so it wasn’t.

After packing everything into the Buick, we took one more walk up to the board walk to see how things were progressing. Ruth, our hostess, told us that she was the “T-Shirt Lady” for the upcoming volley ball event, that there were 126 nets installed,  and the number of teams registered to play was up to 1162. She figured it would be closer to 2000 since registration didn’t close until Friday. So, I grossly over estimated how many nets there were. But, it looked like hundreds to me. Either way, Seaside is going to be jumping this weekend. Seriously.

Ruth also changed their reader board to commemorate Grams’ 86th. Here’s proof …

DSC_7031

Oops … I was there, too …

DSC_7033

… and, this is Ruth with the girls …

DSC_7040

As I recall, from our previous visit to the Hillcrest Inn, Ruth and her husband, Don, met in the Marine Corps. She completed either 6 or 9 years (I can’t remember) and Don made it a career. We had some fun conversations during our first visit, but didn’t get to talk this trip.  Jay, whose image I failed to capture, helped us at check-in, as did Missy. They just make the experience better. Nice crew. A great place to stay.

OK – no more plugs – that’s it …

Here’s a picture of the Seaside turnaround, the end of the Lewis & Clark Trail.

DSC_7053

The bronze statues are rumored to be of Lewis & Clark staring off into the ocean discussing what they were going to have for dinner that night. Being terminally tired of eating fish and venison, the opted for Norma’s, only 1.5 blocks away, where they reportedly shared a Turkey of The Sea sandwich and bowl of clam chowder. That’s how old Norma’s is.

From Seaside we drove north about 6 miles to the nearest Goodwill store which Diane had her sites on. It’s in a new area of Warrenton that has been stripped of whatever used to grow there and developed into a growing mall area on both sides of Highway 101. Goodwill is on the east side of the road, just past Costco. We wandered around in Goodwill for an hour or so, and I was the only one who purchased anything. I got a bag of Nike golf balls for $5, and 18 pencils for $1.99. Seemed like a really good deal, to me.

Then it was lunchtime which brings me to what was vetoed as the potential title for today’s entry. Since we had already planned to visit Costco for their outrageously big and cheap hotdogs, and soda, the first thing that popped into my mind was Grandma Gets a Weiner. It was, although she laughed, deemed inappropriate so I didn’t use it. I suspect, however, I’ll earned a considerable amount of grief for even mentioning it. I did not, as you notice, take a picture of any of us eating lunch. They are really good, by the way. I normally get the Polish Dog, but went for the All Beef today. And a Pepsi. I was going to get vanilla yogurt and refill my cup with root beer so I could make a root beer float, but by the time I got to the counter, the yogurt machine was reportedly defunct. So, I went without.

Then we crossed the Youngs Bay Bridge, on which we had to stop because it was raised to allow a tall masted fishing boat go by. It didn’t take long. Here’s the view while we waited.

DSC_7068

Now, first glance may cause you to think the bridge you see in the distance is the one we’re on, but that isn’t the case. The distant one is the Astoria-Megler Bridge which links Oregon and Washington. If you follow that link you’ll discover that bridge is 4.1 miles long near the mouth of the Columbia River which is 1243 miles long and originates in British Columbia, Canada. One of the memorable things about the river is Buoy 10 which is at the mouth of the Columbia. If you want excitement, that’s the place to go. If you have a tendency to get sea-sick, stay away. I spent over 1/4 of a century in the US Navy and had the opportunity to ride some pretty rough seas, but Buoy 10 is the only place I ever got sea-sick. I was miserable, but I caught a nice Silver.

Once we gained access to the other side of Youngs Bay we took a right turn before heading in to Astoria proper. Instead, we weaved our way around the back side of the hill, on which Astoria resides, and made our way up to the Astoria Column, a significant landmark in Oregon. It has a continuous ribbon of artwork wrapped around it depicting the history of the area starting in 1792. It’s literally a work of art that you can climb. Inside, of course.

Here’s what it looked like, today …

DSC_7077

DSC_7079

We have all visited it many, many times in the past, and have climbed the 164 steps to the tower but not today. I threatened to do it, leaving instructions to call 911 if I wasn’t back in 30 minutes. Then I just went around taking pictures of the view.

This is the Astoria-Megler Bridge going to Washington …

DSC_7085

This is the Youngs Bay Bridge looking toward Warrenton …

DSC_7083

After leaving the Astoria Column, we headed down the hilly streets of Astoria toward Highway 30 and home. The streets of the city rival those of San Francisco. Honest.

The trip home was uneventful and I didn’t watch any of it preferring, instead, to read my current book on my iPad. I’m reading The Witness which started out boring, but is turning into an interesting mystery.

Now it’s supper time and I must quit in order to ingest some of Diane’s very tasty beef stew in order to replace all the energy I’ve used here whacking away on my keyboard.

Cheers

Day 2 – Beale AFB, California

We slept extraordinarily well last night, even though I failed (I failed) to pack the cord for my CPAP machine which caused concern for both of us. Me, because snoring gives me a sore throat, and Diane because she was fearful she’d have to keep kick-starting me all night long. Neither happened, so maybe it’s OK for me to start breathing fresh air at night once again.

It was interesting that our motel room was 111. Eleven is a number that shows up in our lives repeatedly, so we see it as a good omen.

At the motel, we ate a bit of breakfast, filled our coffee cups in the lobby, and took off. We crested the Siskyou Summit at 9:44 am, and crossed the border into California at 9:48. It’s now 9:54 and we’re coasting in to the border control station at Hornbrook so we can tell the guards that we are not trying to sneak non-California fruits into their state. That’s important to them.

Whew! We made it past the crossing guard station … she was a hottie in shorts.

At the moment, we’re grinding along behind an RV who, in turn, is grinding along behind a semi-truck because the lanes are restricted. They’re working on 2 miles of the downhill side and we’re going uphill. Dang.

During this pause, some of the quaint little place names we’ve passed ate flitting through my little head. One, in particular, reminds me of an old trucker song we used to hear all the time. It’s Wolf Creek Pass which is a little north of Grants Pass. Another favorite is Jump Off Joe Creek, near the bitty town of Wolf Creek, is a name that causes me to envision all kinds of goings on to cause a group of concerned people to christen the place with such a descriptor. Do you think his name was really Joe? Do you think he really jumped, or was he pushed? Or, was this a place where Sam was actually on Joe and the snap of a nearby twig startled them, causing Sam to nervously jump and Joe compounded the visual effect by pushing Sam up and away. Bill, an innocent bystander, the twig breaker, having followed Joe and Sam to this secluded location because of concerns he had for the sanctity of heterosexual activity, witnessed the event and, since not a lot happened in that area of the woods, rushed willy-nilly to the nearest saloon to report that he had just seen Sam Jump Off Joe down by the Creek. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

It’s now 10:12 am and we’re cruising by exit 753 which is next to Mt. Shasta. The mountain is virtually naked … just a few spots of snow and ice are scattered sparsely around it’s tippy top.

I’m still think about Sam and Joe, and wonder if they were forced to flee Wolf Creek for warmer climes near San Francisco where they struck on the idea of starting a commune where they could spread the joy they found with each other to those seeking satisfaction in a similar manner. My search of the internet hasn’t revealed any concrete evidence to support this theory, but I think I’ve seen vague references about an obscure little rod and gun club that was opened in 1898 near the corner of Haight & Ashbury.

This, of course, is unfounded discourse,
making me wonder why
someone of my gender would
seek solace in another guy.

OK. That was a lame attempt at a bit of poetry and a disclaimer that what I’m sharing is pure figments. Still, there’s evidence throughout history that this kind of activity has been going on for pretty much ever. I’ve always thought it was one of God’s way to keep the population in check. One might wonder what the world would be like today if everyone had remained staunchly heterosexual throughout history. Just think about all that extra begetting that would have been going on. I suspect there’s a formula somewhere that could compute the difference in population density between the two different lifestyles.

Any guesses?

It’s 10:55 and we’re almost to Shasta Lake. First stop of this leg is Redding for gas and Gas (lunch).

Now I must pause and navigate before I get into trouble. Again.

Hey there … it’s 1:23 pm and we just left the Win River Casino in Redding where we had a very nice lunch. And we didn’t gamble even though we each received $5 on our Players cards so we could get the lunch special at a discount. We figure we made $18 with the free money and discounted lunch. That works.

It especially works because the gas tank lady was telling Diane it’s time to fill up so we stopped at the first station after leaving the freeway. I know, dumb thing to do, but we both thought the safe thing to do was fill up sooner than latter. As you may have guessed, we paid $4.30 a gallon instead of $4.00 had we waited a little bit.

It’s 90 degrees here. And mostly brown. Not pretty like home.

It’s 7:13pm, now. We’ve had a Subway supper and are ensconced in our Visiting Airmen barracks room on Beale AFB. We arrived about 4:00pm. It would have been about 3:30, but Diane let me drive for the last couple of hours and didn’t navigate me very well. The difference was that, instead of going around the right side of the base, to the main gate, I took a left at a sign that read Beale AFB, with a very distinct arrow pointing to the left. The Wazer program didn’t seem to object, except for a distinctive “BEEP”, so I thought everything was just fine. But, we had to drive all the way around the runway to a back gate.

Beale AFB is about the size of Vermont and is covered, mainly, with dried up fields that appear to have been cut and bailed. Very tidy. As we made our way across many miles to the correct side of the base, we watched high altitude spy planes landing. They look like gliders and are the modern day version of the U-2 Gary Powers was flying when he was shot down over Russia in 1960. At that time, the U-2 was running under CIA control. Perhaps they still are. I do not know. But, they are super quiet, and glide along slow as a bird.

Now, about our our barracks room … it’s really nice, actually, something I would expect for the Air Force. They always get the best housing while the Navy always got the best ships. That’s seems fair.

Our room is one of four access from a common area that is about the size of a large hotel room with a living room and a full kitchen. That’s where I’m currently sitting, watching the Seattle/Green Bay game, as I type. Two of the other rooms are occupied … one by a male sergeant, and the other by a female Lt. Colonel. The sleeping rooms are large, with their own TVs, with Dish Satellite. We can’t find anything wrong with the place and, it would be dumb to do so, because the room only cost us $34. Nice. There really is a benefit for spending half your life in the military.

Tomorrow I’ll keep another diary, whether or not you want me to, and finish it up from the Navy Lodge at Lemoore Naval Air Station. That’s going to cost more than tonight, I’m sure.

Changing Plans, a New Roof, and My Ditch

Now I must be serious, at least for a short time. Most of you know that’s hard for me to do and will tolerate this diversion from the norm, so I only ask those of you who wound up here by mistake to please have patience while I make an attempt to shift some gears.

For some reason, at this point, speaking about gears, I’m compelled to insert a “vrooooooom” right here. Silly, I know, and it’s not going toward the serious side of things as I had intended.

The serious “stuff” is that Diane and I made a decision to remain on this side of the Rocky Mountains the remainder of this year. The original plan, as of this morning, was to drive to Charleston, SC to attend the annual USS Cleveland reunion, but some things got in the way of those plans, taking a trip east out of the plans. Therefore, we will miss seeing Charleston, as well as points north, as was our desire. To those of you in Connecticut, whom we love to pieces, we send our regrets. There will be another time, we promise.

Our roof is going to be replaced beginning next Thursday. From start to stop it’s going to be a 3-day event. Pretty amazing to me because it’s a total ripoff and replacement of 3 layers of shingles. Tons and tons of shingles. One of the biggest cost factors is disposal of the old material.

We’re extremely happy that Mark’s Custom Exteriors could rearrange their schedule to accommodate us before we have to head south on Sunday. Even though it’s cutting it close, we’ll be here to ensure every nail is hammered in properly. I’m going to do that be wandering around on the roof, putting a little “x” on each one of them with my handy magic marker. No nail gets covered up until I “x” it. Normally that would add 2-3 days to the job, but I’ve been practicing this and have devised a way to do it without all that bending over, or crawling around on my hands and knees. I’m simply going to pre-“x” them before they’re loaded into the nail gun. I know, it seems kind of pointless doesn’t it? But, just for fun I’m leaving some of the nails blank just to see if someone comes to get me to “x” it. I seriously doubt they will, and I will not complain because that would just be silly. Who would do something like that?

In a precious entry I reported that I was being allowed to rent a small excavator to enlarge the ditch I dug, manually, that’s intended to drain water away from our driveway, and keep it out of the garage. I know the ditch works but it needs to be deeper and I’m just flat out of the energy required to hammer my way through all those rocks and roots. As it is, I’ve succeeded in killing the tree whose roots I severed to reach the back yard, so it’s something I’ll have to address before the floods loosen it all up and it topples into the neighbor’s yard. It’s OK that I killed it, because I was going to cut it down anyway … it has a terrible knot-forming kind of disease that just doesn’t look good. The birds love it so Diane was kinda wanting to keep it, but I sood my manly ground and killed it anyway. Actually, I didn’t mean to kill it. It just kinda worked out that way. Apparently it’s OK because I’m still sleeping inside.

Weather … we haven’t had any measureable rain for the past 2 months. That’s unheard of in Oregon. We always have rain, right? Most people believe it rains in Oregon all the time. We get our share, for sure, but it’s a bit sparse this year. I think most of it was recently dumped on Louisiana and the surrounding area. The folks who moved here from California, and there are more than a few, think it’s just fine that we’re not having any rain because that’s what they’re used to. Real Oregonians, however, do not thrive well in dry weather. We get all wrinkly and it’s not pretty. We need moisture. Thankfully, Diane is an Avon representative so I have unlimited access to all kinds of moisturizers when I need them. Lots of them make me feel pretty, so I use them on rainy days, too.

I think it’s time to terminate, now, since I totally lost track of where I’m going with this. Truth is, I never had any certain direction in the first place. Just like normal.