Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mt. Shasta

I was just zipping by the mountain the other day and I decided to pull off of I-5 and take in the beauty of this majestic peak.  Mt. Shasta is located in Northern California just south of the Oregon border.  It is spectacular and another one of America's natural beauties!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

the state capitol

The other day I visited the state capitol building in Salem, Oregon.  It is built in the Art Deco style and is the replacement structure that was built after a great fire destroyed the prior building.

The Senate chamber uses black walnut wood interior and the carpet is woven with a Chinook salmon and wheat pattern symbolizing fishing and agriculture.

The chamber that houses the House of Representatives uses white oak and has a much lighter look to the room.  The custom made carpet has a Douglas Fir design and this pays homage to the state's forestry industry.  There is a beautiful hand painted dome in the central entryway.  Great tour!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

national cemetery

These pictures were taken at the national cemetery in Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument in Montana.  Many of the early graves were given to the fallen soldiers who fought in battle here.  It is also a cemetery where US military veterans are buried.  It is a solemn place with an ever present peaceful beauty.  It is a very thoughtful and beautiful resting place.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

memorial to the fallen warriors

High on a hilltop overlooking the wide open plains of Montana is a very thoughtful memorial to the fallen warriors who fought during the battle at Little Bighorn.  A beautifully crafted iron sculpture rests on top of a curved stone wall as part of the circular open air tribute to the warriors.  Unlike the US soldiers that fell and were buried on the grounds, there were very few markers on the battlefield  where the warriors fell.  That is because the surviving warriors carried the bodies of the fallen away from the place where they fell and took their bodies to their ancestral burial grounds in the far away hillside caves where their forefathers were also buried.  This memorial is a very touching tribute to a very proud and courageous people.

the fallen infantry

While I was driving through the Little Bighorn battlefield I stopped at various pull-offs along the way and got out of the car to read the informational plaques that were placed there.  I was able to see the areas described on the plaques and get a better idea of the wide open spaces where the fighting occurred.  The fallen infantrymen of the US Army were buried where they fell and the white stones were placed to mark their graves.  The hillsides were dotted with these graves.  Eventually, when the national cemetery was established on the grounds, the soldiers were reburied there.  A large memorial was erected to commemorate the battle and under the original memorial the bodies of the horses that perished during the battle were buried.  The surrounding terrain offered no cover for the soldiers and the horses were  used in many cases as shields for the soldiers.  A very sobering thought.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

the battle at little bighorn

I drove through Montana in late September on my way to the west coast.  Near Billings I took a short detour off of Interstate 90 and stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  I had read about the battle in history books but seeing it put a lot of things into perspective.  I had visited other battlefields where hills and trees offered the soldiers protection from the opposing side.  However, here I was looking out over the stark flatland of Montana and finding myself amazed at how a battle could have taken place here at all along the banks and shallow hills of the Little Bighorn.

Not all of the soldiers present during those fateful days in June of 1876 perished.  Two out of the three regiments survived.  But General Custer's group of soldiers didn't make it.  Miscommunication, arrogance and bad timing led to the US Cavalry downfall.  And the native tribesman that called this wide open area home lost warriors as well.  The visitor center gives detailed information about the epic battle that was fought here and the drive through the park (complete with pullovers) gives the visitor perspective of what the soldiers and warriors faced during the battle.  The message written on the wall is very moving.  The monument is operated and maintained by the National Park Service.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

a new start

Look what I woke up to this morning.  Fresh snow fell during the night while I was sleeping.  It's beautiful and white and all over my car and the lawns and the fields and the trees and the hillsides and did I say it is beautiful?  Well, it is.  A fresh start to a new year of adventures.  I'm ready.