Friday, July 30, 2010

Pendelton & Walla Walla

One day we left our boat and drove into the little town of Pendelton, OR. This is a town where the Old West is still alive and well. It is the home of world's largest rodeo. While we were there I joined in with some friends for a friendly game of cards.

Walking down the main street I ran into my old friend, Betty Boop.

We went over to Hamley”s Saloon for lunch and had a drink at the very same bar where folks like Teddy Roosevelt, Wild Bill Hickok and Annie Oakley had been before. I could feel their spirit of adventure just oozing out of the wood of that bar.

Another day we went into Walla Walla, WA. I love saying Walla Walla. It just makes me grin. It is said that Walla Walla is so nice that they named it twice.

We learned about the fine art of wine making in Walla Walla. The countryside is full of beautiful vineyards and wineries. Did you know that a French oak wine barrel costs over $1000?

After sampling many of the wines we headed back to our floating hotel for one more day of adventure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hells Canyon

We left the Columbia River and sailed up the Snake River to Clarkston, WA, which was as far as the Spirit of 98 could go. There we climbed into our jet boats and headed up the shallow Snake River toward Hells Canyon.

Along the way we passed homes and ranches and columnar basalt cliffs.

We saw ancient petroglyphs. We didn't know what they said, but our guide thought the translation was something like, “Welcome to Idaho.”

After a couple of hours we stopped for lunch and then finally entered Hells Canyon.

There we saw waterfalls.

We saw lots of Rocky Mountain sheep along the shores.

High on a cliff we saw an Idaho potato playing the piano. The guide said he was playing hard rock.

The Salmon River joins the Snake in Hells Canyon. It was know as the river of no return. If you go down the river you won't return because the current is so strong.

After eight hours of exploration we were happy to return to the Spirit of 98 say we had been to Hell and back.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I'll take a small break from my travel-loge to extol the wonders of electricity.

We had a great big, huge, awful storm blow through our town Sunday afternoon. We were left without electricity for thirty hours. We have camped for long periods of time without electric power, but we were prepared to do that. At home everything seems to depend on it. Every time I walked into a dark room I flipped on the light switch and it stayed dark. With no power the house got hot quickly and we opened all the windows. It was strange to hear all the outside noise that we miss with the windows closed and our AC running. The most annoying noise was the loud electric generators a few of our neighbors were running. They really are loud. Our family had come for lunch on Sunday leaving a large stack of dishes. It would just take a few minutes to stick them into the dishwasher. After a day without power the dishes began to stink and I finally washed them all the old fashioned way in a sink of soapy water. It really was not that hard, in fact it was actually a pleasant, quiet feeling. In the evening we lit our old oil lamps and played a game of Scrabble and went to bed early. When morning came I had a problem. I am truly addicted to my morning cup of coffee which I was unable to make. A trip to the local coffee house took care of my addiction and gave us an air-conditioned place to read the morning paper. I had to call my daughter's office where there was power and have her print up a form I needed for a medical appointment. My printer just won't work without power. After a morning of running errands we returned home to a still powerless house. When I found my husband sitting and staring at the blank computer screen I decided it was time to load up the food from our powerless freezer and spend time at our daughter's fully powered house with available freezer space. I really don't want to complain. The storm only caused us some inconvenience. Others had great damage to homes and cars. There were even a couple of storm related deaths.

Life has returned to normal for us.

What is that you would most miss without your electricity?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The River

We spent a week on our floating home, The Spirit of 98, as we sailed on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The scenery was beautiful as we sailed past lush green mountains and waterfalls

We went past so many dams that I lost count. The dams have make the river a great source of electricity.

Each dam required us to go through a lock. I found the locks fascinating. As we rose or lowered in our watery elevator, we would watch until the gates finally opened. It was like watching the curtain open on a much anticipated show.

One of Dennis's favorite things was taking pictures of all that we saw.

He,of course,took pictures of the many birds we saw. The white pelicans were beautiful.

There were osprey all along the river.

The green of the mountains gave way to the brown of the high desert. All along the river the wind blew continuously making the riverbanks the perfect place for wind farms. We saw these giant windmills all along the river.

The wind also make the Columbia river the windsurfing capital of the world. The windsurfers are beautiful to watch.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about Hell's Canyon and how I've been to hell and back.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Here are some of the things I loved about Portland.

Mount Hood looks like a mountain is supposed to look with it's snowy majestic peak.

The Rose Garden is full of beautiful, colorful roses.

The Saturday Market is full of food, crafts and street musicians.

It is a city of bridges, making crossing the Willamette river easy.

Powell's Books is the most wonderful bookstore ever. I could stay there for days.

Voodoo doughnuts are so good that people stand in line for hours just to eat one.

You just have love a city whose motto is,”Keep Portland Weird.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


As we drove toward Fort Lewis, I could feel a growing excitement and nervousness. I was going to meet a daughter-in-law and teen aged granddaughter I had only just learned about a couple of months ago. I had talked to Pam on the phone several times and she seemed very likable and seemed to be happy about our visit, but still it all seemed a little strange and unreal. We called from the gate and she came to meet us and help us get through security. I told her I would be wearing a pink cap so she would recognize me. When she arrived there were big hugs all around. I did not cry. Getting through the paper work and security kept us business-like until we got through the gate and home. When we stepped into the house we had a welcome committee waiting for us. Our newest granddaughter, 15-year-old Courtney, was there with Pam's parents, Evelyn and Dick, who were visiting from Iowa. We began to talk and share pictures and stories and laughter. It did not take long to feel like we were at home with family.

It was obvious the our Todd had found the perfect woman to be his wife. Pam adores Todd and is so proud of her soldier. Courtney refers to him as Dad. They are counting the days until he returns home again.

Todd called the next morning. For the first time in more than eight years I heard his voice. He sounded so good. I cried.

Yesterday I called my granddaughter in Louisiana, Todd's daughter Michaela. She was excited because her dad had just called her from Iraq. She said, “Gramma, I think my dad has finally grown up.” She too is now counting the days until her dad comes home and she can see him again.

We took this picture after lunch just before we left. I love my growing family.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We did enjoy our vacation in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny everyday we were there. We never needed any of the rain-gear we were advised to bring. Each day was wonderful and different from the day before. I'll begin our travel log with Seattle.

Seattle is a beautiful city. I could be happy living there. It did not feel like a big city, rather a small town sort of place. The sky was blue, sail boats decorated Puget Sound and Mount Rainier hovered over the city like a protective warrior. Dennis's baby brother Bob lives in Seattle. He spent the day giving us a personal guided tour of his adopted hometown.

The morning was spent browsing through the Public Market. We watched as fish flew through the air from seller to buyer and admired the colorful produce and flowers. I sampled curds at Beecher's cheese and enjoyed a cup of coffee from the original Starbucks.

We ate lunch at Lowells restaurant in the market, overlooking Puget Sound. Part of Sleepless in Seattle was filmed in this little cafe. It was such fun to visit with Bob and catch up on family stories.

We ended our afternoon with Bob on top of the Space Needle. Spectacular views!

In the evening we met Lorraine and her family for dinner. The food at Etta's was fabulous(prepared by Seattle's famed chef, Tom Douglas!) The conversation was delightful. It is so much fun to spend some face to face time with blog friends!

Tomorrow I'll continue my story and tell you about my brand new family in Fort Lewis.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


We are home.
Our trip was wonderful. We have lots of good pictures to share and good stories to tell.
Now I'm going to rest and enjoy being home again.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Leaving On a jet Plane

The world is full of disaster and grief. If I think about it too long I get upset about things I can do nothing about. So I am just going to hop on a jet plane and fly away to enjoy friends, family and God's beautiful creation while I am still able to go.

Tomorrow we fly to Seattle for a bit of sight seeing and a visit with Dennis's little brother. We plan to eat dinner one evening with the beautiful Lorraine. Then on to Fort Lewis where we will meet our newest daughter-in-law Pam. She is married to our recently found long-lost son. We are looking forward to getting to know her and her daughter and hear some stories about our boy in Baghdad. After a night at Fort Lewis we will drive to Portland where we will board a river boat for a trip along the Columbia and Snake rivers. It should be a beautiful trip. We will ride through Hell's Canyon in a speed boat. My kids say their parents are going to hell.

I don't know if I will be able to blog while we are gone. If not I will report on the journey when we return.

Stay safe my friends until I return.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Independence Day

I am so glad that I am an American. I love this country that is my home. In spite of the many problems that plague our nation, there is no other place I would rather live.

There are many reasons that I feel blessed to a citizen of this country, but the one I am thinking about today is the blessing of freedom of religion.

Our forefathers were very wise when they wrote the founding documents of our country. They remembered that many of the early settlers of our country fled here to avoid religious persecution. They understood that religion should not be dictated by by the state. Faith is an individual thing. The religious practice of an individual should not be controlled by government. Our founding fathers were very careful in the words they chose to preserve individual religious freedom. When writing the Declaration of Independence they avoided any name for the divine that could refer to a particular religion. Words like “Creator,” “Nature's God,” and “divine providence” are used. There is no mention of Christ nor any reference to the God of the Christian Bible. The Constitution is not a Christian document. It is a document that preserves religious freedom. This is what the first amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

I am a Christian who is happy to be able worship God. My faith and understanding has changed a bit as I have journeyed through life. I am grateful that I am free to adjust my religious practice as my understanding and faith have changed. I appreciate my freedom of religion.

Recently there was a large protest in one of our southern states that angered me. In a place where many large Christian churches are filled with people enjoying their religious freedom, large, angry mobs formed to try to deny other people the right to practice religious freedom. The protesters did not want to allow religious freedom to people who did not practice the same faith. There were screams and shouts about the Constitution saying this was a Christian nation. The mobs were not demonstrating the compassion and love of the Christ they claim to follow. They were demonstrating their ignorance of the Constitution.

I do not want this angry, narrow-minded group of people to impose their brand of religion on me or any one else. They frighten me. I do hope the constitution is upheld and the people of another faith will be allowed to build their worship center and peacefully enjoy their right to freedom of religion.

God bless America!