Sunday, May 31, 2015

Morrow County Court House

I visited Heppner, Oregon the other day and paused to snap this picture of the county court house.  It has gone through extensive restoration and the clock tower was recently finished and replaced on top of the large brick building.  The court house sits on a rise and overlooks the town.  Impressive.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

US 30

O.K., I am putting on my geek hat again.  Bear with me.  If you recall earlier this year I traveled  along US 80 from its inception on Tybee Island, Georgia to its end (almost) in Texas.  I thoroughly enjoyed driving along the lesser traveled route and stopping in the smaller towns along the way.  A couple of days ago I was traveling with my brother along the Columbia River gorge in Oregon and we stopped to look at a few waterfalls along the way.  We were traveling on a smaller highway that paralleled Interstate 84. At one point I saw this sign and it finally clicked.  This historic Route 30 is the same Route 30 that passes through York and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania.  I lived in both of those counties for many years and drove along this road many a time.  It was called The Lincoln Highway at this point.  I had no idea this was part of a cross country road system.  I guess I wasn't so geek-y then.  Yes, I was.  But I missed this. me an idea for another road trip.  I'm looking at you US 30.

Wahkeena Falls and the gorge

Just east of Portland, Oregon is the Columbia River gorge.  The gorge is surrounded on both sides by lush green forests and steep cliffs.  There are a number of waterfalls pouring over these cliffs and they provide a spectacular view of the awesome wonder of our natural world.  Wahkeena Falls is one of these falls and it doesn't disappoint in its beauty.  Climb the quarter mile winding path for the best view of the falls.  If you look the other way from this viewing point you can catch a glimpse of the Columbia River.  Very refreshing.  The hike and the view.

Multnomah Falls

Along Interstate 84 just east of Portland, Oregon is Multnomah Falls.  It's beauty is spectacular.  Every time I travel along this route I stop here and spend some time gazing at the natural beauty of the waterfalls and the surrounding forest.  There is a short quarter mile hike up a steep, curving path to the bridge that crosses over the pool formed by the falls.  This is always a good place to view the falls up close.  If you look in the opposite direction and you can see the sights along the Columbia River.  It's always a beautiful day along the gorge whether its sunny or fogged in.  The second picture shows the view from the bridge looking directly down into the pool which lies at the bottom of the falls.  It is an unusual shot and deserves an explanation.  Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

friendly sea gull

I took these pictures on the pier in Ocean Beach, California.  My new camera allows me to get some really great close up shots of wildlife (and other things).  The birds are everywhere.  Watch out for the flying poop.  And don't lean on the railings.  Ick-y.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

the pier at Ocean Beach

No matter how many times I have visited San Diego and no matter how many times I have taken a picture of this pier, I always seem to take another picture when I return.  This shot looks like it came from an old time-y post card but it didn't.  I have a new camera with an "artistic" feature and the camera will take 5 shots simultaneously and change the color or focus to give the picture a different point of view.  I never know what I'm going to get and I am always amazed when I see the results.  I think this picture is particularly nice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Heceta Head light

I was driving up the Oregon coast and stopped at a widened area off the road where there were other cars parked at a scenic lookout.  In the distance on the other side of the cove stood Heceta Head Light.  It sits on a very isolated point of land and that is what makes this setting so picturesque.  The light sends a beam 21 miles out to sea and this makes it the strongest light along the entire Oregon coast.  The lighthouse and buildings are jointly operated by The National Parks Service and The Oregon Parks and Recreation Board.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

the Coquille River lighthouse

The lighthouse in Bandon, Oregon is a river lighthouse.  It was built to guide ships into the Coquille River from the Pacific Ocean.  The river is quite long and this river supports the logging industry upstream.  The light originally guided boats through the constantly shifting sand bars at the mouth of the river.  A jetty with a light now does the work of this historic lighthouse.  The lighthouse is currently owned and maintained by the state park that owns the land surrounding the building.  I believe this is the first river lighthouse I have ever seen.

Friday, May 15, 2015

the giant seal

I saw this outcropping of rocks while walking along the beach in Bandon, Oregon.  I think it looks like a giant seal.  What do you think???

sand patterns

I was walking on the beach at Bandon, Oregon and I came across many different sand patterns created by the tide waters as they recede back into the ocean.  The beach is quite wide and the tide waters cover a large area.  The sand patterns become compacted and stay like this until the next tide rearranges them.  The beach is so peaceful and the perfect spot for walking and thinking and studying the unique, natural sand art.  

sunset at Bandon, Oregon

I took this picture of a sunset at Bandon, Oregon.  Bandon is located along the southern coast of the Pacific ocean.  It was a cloudy evening and I had to work hard to get this sunset picture.  It's kind of funny but after I reviewed the pictures and had time to look at this shot, I think I see a giant alligator cloud eating away at the sun.  Perhaps that is why I had such a hard time trying to get the perfect picture of the sunset.  Could be.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Battery Point Light

The lighthouse in Crescent City, California is called Battery Point Light.  It is a working light house that is open for tours but is only accessible during low tide.  The light house sits out from the mainland and people have to walk over a low rocky pathway to get to the hilly path which rises to the point where the lighthouse is located.  I was able to walk the short distance out to the uphill path and was able to walk around the property.  What a view of the ocean!!  The inside of the lighthouse was open for tours and was set up as it was originally with antique furnishings.  It was sparsely but adequately furnished.  The lighthouse is on the national historic registry.  On the way down the hill I noticed that the tide was beginning to come in and the pathway was barely above the water.  I was one of the last people to be able to cross without getting my feet wet.  The water rose over the rocky path and people were scrambling to get across between water surges.  We all laughed as it was rather funny.  Everyone made it across.  What fun!!  This is a beautiful little lighthouse.

beautiful landscape

These low growing flowers were thriving amongst the rocks on the pathway leading to the light house.  What a lovely thick carpeting they made.  Very fragrant, too.  Just delightful!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

climbing my mountain

At the end of the jetty was an out cropping of rocky boulders.  I heard you could spot whales from this vantage point.  So, I walked out to the end of the pier, found the pathway up the side of this rocky terrain and waited and watched.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the view was outstanding.  I glanced over to the right and I could see another path that led higher up into the center of the rocky out crop.  The path was narrow and there seemed to be a greater distance between climbable rocks.  I hesitated for a moment but like a siren calling to a sailor I couldn't resist the temptation to climb higher "just to see what was there".  And so I did.  I carefully maneuvered around the rocks until I came to a point where I had a very good vantage point of the entire horizon.  I stopped and stared.  The natural beauty of this area was breathtaking.  I stayed a while and then I climbed back down.  You know what?  Climbing up may be tough but climbing down can be tougher .  It's a balance thing.    I didn't see any whales that day but I did test myself.  The thought that always gets me going is "I may never get back this way again".  And so, there it is.  My mini Mt. Everest.  Conquered.   Check.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

cats and birds

I took this picture of cats and birds sitting peacefully together on a pier.  O.K., they weren't really looking at each other or even talking together but they were sitting near each other and not fighting.  Maybe we should pay attention to this little act of peaceful co-existence and practice what we see. Just a thought.

Monday, May 11, 2015

a Crescent City sunset

                                 Just a very pretty sunset along the northern California coast.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

avenue of the giants

If you ever want to feel dwarfed by space and time, stand next to a redwood tree.  These giants are thousands of years old and reach towering heights.  I remember first seeing these beauties when I was on a family vacation many years ago.  Seeing them again brought back memories of family camping trips.  The sight of these trees is genuinely amazing.  Raw nature at its finest!

the drive-through tree

As I was driving up the northern California coast I noticed a sign advertising the drive through tree.  Well, I just had to stop and see it.  Did I drive through it?  But, of course!!  However, I watched others drive through the tree first.  When I saw an SUV pass through I figured my car would fit.  It was a tight squeeze though.  The side view mirrors are not retractable so they were about an inch away from losing their position of authority.  All said, though, I came through just fine and I satisfied my curiosity to boot although I feel sad for the tree.  It has survived well even after this horrible cut through its center.  What were people thinking?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

the temple of 10,000 Bhuddas

I stopped in Ukiah, California for the night.  I had read about this Bhuddist temple that had 10,000 Bhuda statues lining the walls of the temple and I decided to visit and see it for myself.  Without counting (I took their word for it) I could see how this would be possible.  Each statue was encased behind glass on long shelves stretching from the back of the room to the front.  The statues were all golden and they gave the room a rich golden hue.  The room contained kneeling benches instead of pews.  This is a retreat center as well as a school and a conference center.  There is a vegan restaurant on the premises where I ate lunch. Very good food.  Peacocks freely roam the grounds.   A very spiritual feeling arises from the gardens and koi ponds.  Come to meditate.  Come to enjoy.

crossing the Golden Gate bridge

This is me crossing the Golden Gate Bridge last Sunday.  Woo-Hoo!!  Rite of passage moment.  I will say that I was a little apprehensive leading up to this moment.  I was somewhat nervous when I started out that morning on my drive toward the northern California coast.  But, I had recently been given an I-PAD with a GPS system and with the help of Jenny (I named my GPS Jenny) I was able to navigate quite nicely through the streets of San Francisco and over the Golden Gate bridge.  Interestingly, there is no toll fee for the bridge if you drive in the northerly direction out of the city.  Lucky me!  Anyway, I DID IT!!  Hooray for me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

First United Methodist Church

I attended church services at the First United Methodist Church in Salinas, California last Sunday.  It's a beautiful church and the congregation was very welcoming.  I hope to come back some day. 


Apparently this is the answer to the age old question "Was it the washer or the dryer?"

Thursday, May 7, 2015

the Steinbeck Center

The Steinbeck Center is located in Salinas, California.  It is named for and dedicated to the author John Steinbeck who was born and raised in this town located in the central valley of California.  His experiences here shaped his view of farm labor and was the central theme of his writings.  This center is magnificent.  It not only has a museum dedicated to the author but there are also conference rooms and lecture halls used for various writing festivals and educational forums.  The day I visited the center there were many young people (school age) attending a writers conference.  The center overlooks the main street of downtown Salinas.  A couple of blocks away from the center is the birth place of John Steinbeck.  It is a grand old Victorian style house.  Just lovely.   See for yourself.

written in stone

                                                           A quote by John Steinbeck.

the John Steinbeck Public Library

The main library in Salinas, California is named after their native son, John Steinbeck.  Wow, looks             like you'll find more than books there, too!!  Let's have some fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Carnegie Library

Many times in my journeys I come across Carnegie library buildings.  Some times they are still in use as a library but more often than not they have taken on a second life, generally as a museum.  Here is an example of a Carnegie library-turned-museum in San Luis Obispo, California.  What a great looking structure.  What's on display inside?  Bicycles!  There is a display of various bicycles from the early giant wheel variety to more current racing bikes.  See for yourself.

Mission San Luis Obispo

On my way up the California coast along US 101 I stopped in San Luis Obispo to see the old mission church.  The thing I like about very old churches is that they have a lot of hand painted decorations on the walls.  I love to see the artistry and the mix of colors.  This church has an L shaped sanctuary with little  chapels tucked away in alcoves.  It is a very beautiful church.  Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

staying in San Diego

I have been staying in San Diego for the last two weeks.  What an enjoyable time I have had.  I have eaten at some new (to me) restaurants, visited the downtown library with the amazing ariel view of the Coronado Bridge, discovered my new favorite fabric store, cooked a bit and helped to throw a surprise party for J and J.  Oh, and there was a huge art festival in the Little Italy neighborhood.  I had a great time just being with and talking to the ones I love.  Good times.  Fond memories.

a beautiful flower

See what bloomed.  It's beautiful, isn't it?  This plant lives in D and D's garden in San Diego.  It has a special meaning.  It's lovely and beautiful.  And special.

more highway 80

There is a highway that runs from Casa Grande, Arizona to San Diego, California, called Interstate 8.  I use this route on my way west.  Guess what.  I-8 was built on the old US 80 highway route.  The road has gone through many transformations over the decades.  Even though the current US 80 has its western terminus in Dallas, it was at one time a coast to coast highway.  It was known as the Dixie Highway and was dedicated to the veterans of the Korean war.  Earlier this year I drove west on US 80 from Tybee Island, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast and now I have completed the old route to the Pacific coast.  Yes, there are chunks of the route missing, never to be found again.  But..... well I'm just sayin'.  I did what I could and I drove what there was.  Now I'm done.

the giant crater

Near Winslow, Arizona, there is a huge crater that was created by a meteor strike thousands of years ago.  I had to see it.  After all, I was "in the neighborhood" so to speak.  There is a museum in the main building that gives a great explanation of the crater's formation.  Outside, overlooking the crater, there are several observation decks on various levels.  The viewing is great from every level.  Astronauts did their training here before their moon walk expeditions. The astronauts are honored for their achievements with a large inscribed plaque in the museum courtyard.  The size and depth of this crater is quite amazing.  Amazing is an understatement.  It's more than that.  Come see for yourself.

Monday, May 4, 2015

the blue hole

I was told by the woman who was working at the old museum in Tucumcari that I must stop in Santa Rosa to see the Blue Hole.  I was curious about this place so I drove on to Santa Rosa and found this natural wonder.  The color of the water is very blue and the temperature of the spring fed water is a constant 64 degrees.  The hole is used for swimming but it is also a diving center.  The depth of the hole is 81 feet and divers come from all over to train and to enjoy their diving experience.  The hole is bell shaped which gives a wide underwater space to investigate.  The underwater caves have been gated in order to prevent divers from getting "lost".  The surface area of the water is very clear and would be perfect for swimming but knowing that there is an 81 foot drop off beneath me is kind of scary.  Beautiful to look at, though!  Santa Rosa is located along historic Route 66 in eastern New Mexico.  Stop on by and see for yourself.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

the old museum

While I was in Tucumcari, New Mexico, I stopped by the Tucumcari Historical Museum.  What an amazing museum this is!!  It is filled (on three stories) with antiques and memorabilia from the area and it is a non-stop feast for the eyes.  The museum is housed in an old school building built in 1903.  It is easy to picture the children running up and down the central wooden staircase.  Every room is filled with items donated by local residents and the displays clearly represent the history of Tucumcari and Quay County in eastern New Mexico.  Surrounding the outside grounds of the museum are buckboards, wagons, a windmill and even a soon-to-be-restored jet airplane.  There is an annex building named for and dedicated to Herman Moncus who was a resident of the town.  He was instrumental in collecting and donating exhibits for the museum.  The museum is located just a few blocks off of old Route 66 which runs right through the main street of town.  It is so much fun discovering these museums along the way as I travel. This one is amazing.