Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oregon is a Yellow State

Since this is election season, there is talk of red states, blue states, the same for counties, etc. After spending a week away from the campaign commercials and other assorted garbage, I've come to the conclusion the Oregon is a yellow state this year.

The major trees in western Oregon are either evergreen or the leaves turn yellow in autumn. I spent a few days at Champoeg State Park this week getting away from the crap at work, getting some alone time, and riding my bike around aimlessly looking for wildlife and nature. You will see that Oregon is a yellow state in autumn.

I had a cat to keep me company and you can watch him in the YouTube video below. He is on his way to the rescue people who give cats good homes. This one will have no problem. He is a real sweetie pie.

To the pictures!



Sunset over a grove of Douglas Firs.



A little later looking out over the Willamette River



It is amazing how still the waters get when there aren't boats tearing up and down the river at all hours. It is nice and quiet too.



SAME!



A collection of leaves gather in the water by a boat dock. Notice that not all of them are yellow.



I brought my "acoustic" bike on this trip (as opposed to my electric bike which stayed home charging).



I don't generally make a practice of taking pictures inside a public restroom (certain US Senators can thank me for that). However, this bunch of ladybugs were quite interesting.



Gee, I wonder why these are called Big Leafed Maples? Not sure. Acer macrophyllum echoes the common name. On the other hand, the Lodgepole Pine is called Pinus contorta, so there you are.



The last easily visible sunrise of the trip. It was dry the whole time, but the fog and clouds became more persistent with each passing day.



I would never order an espresso at a Buttville store. Luckily, the real name is Butteville so drink up!



Happy Halloween from the pumpkin farm!



There was a big hatch of box elder bugs and they seemed to collect in the screen of my windows.



My home away from home.



Here is the kitty. He loved to talk to me and spent a lot of time hanging out with me. On the colder nights, he especially liked nuzzling up to the camp fire.



Big leaf maple on the left, apples on the right.



For all of you who live in or near an Oak Grove, but can't see any oaks because they've been replaced with suburbia...here is a REAL oak grove.



So I was letting my mind drift as I rode my bike up the lane through this golden field of grass when a great flapping and clattering occurs on this fence post in front of me. I was only about 15 ft away from the Great Blue Heron when it bolted and glided over to the place you see above. If I had been paying attention, I might have gotten a good close up. On the other hand, my brain definitely benefited from the relaxation.



The original townsite of Champoeg is marked off by intersection. I had a nice stroll along DeGrasse which ended in the middle of a field.



When the American settlers finally outnumbered the native Americans and French-Canadian metis in Champoeg, they allowed democracy to fluorish and create a government in Oregon in a close vote. Well, the Native Americans really didn't get to vote, so...well, you can guess how it went.



Above and below are more shots of the cabin.






An oak gall sits like an easter egg on the ground.



The vine maple is a refreshing break from all the yellow leaf deciduous trees in the forest. It can show several colors on a single leaf. Also, depending on their environment their foliage can seem as if there are different species of tree in different areas. The don't get very tall, but they are one of my favorite trees.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shifting Gears



One more day until vacation. From monster stress to several days of alone time. This is the kind of transition I can get my mind around. Since I chose ole Jack in the previous post in one of his more psychotic roles, I thought Easy Rider was a bit better direction to go. Believe it or not, I saw a stars-and-stripes kid's helmet just like Peter Fonda's about a month ago when I was helping my Dad clean out his storage area. He still has the darn thing. Hopefully I will come back with some nice fall foliage shots and get them on line before the first snows.

In the mean time, we can look forward to some of the most inane advertising in the next 2 weeks as the election I think of as Cognitive Dissonance 2008 nears. Well, you can...I am going to try to avoid the whole thing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Worst is Over (except for this Hubris)




All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All work and no play makes Don a dull boy. All quirks and no planes make dogs a doll toy. All jerks and flow-bees makes frogs a Mull joy. All quarks and no leptons makes Hawkings a bit coy. All corks and no bottles makes wine a non-existent ploy. All smirks and no plan makes George a dumb boy. Fall cirques and no jokulhaups make Iceland a cool place. Call Dirk and no more cakes annulled today. Luckily, I gots vacation next week.

(This was prompted by the fact that I've worked about 40 hours since Friday and I normally work M-F)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Although you'd never guess it by the Christmas decorations in the stores, Halloween is just under two weeks away. I've been saving some items to share during the Halloween season and here's the first: a set of photos from a fellow named Steve Martin, (no, not that Mr. Martin).

These photos were taken during the early 1900s and are of people in costume. All the photos are very good and very much in the spirit of Halloween. Make sure to check out the rest of the photos while you're there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Snabulus Debate Coverage

This was the defining moment of the 2008 debates:



Tip of the hat to Talking Points Memo for the vid link...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

August in Seaside, Part III

It seemed like the hotter it was in Portland, the more the fog moved in to protect Seaside. Finally, it descended upon the entire city.



A length of pipe from from some unknown portion of Seaside's infrastructure cuts a silhouette in the fog as it raises out of this sandy beach. The mossy surface along with the background shows that the work of nature and man are sometimes one and the same.



A sand castle fortress reminds me a bit of Tolkien's Helm's Deep. No orcs or Riders of Rohan appeared out of the fog or in miniature on the ramparts. I count myself lucky.



Here we are at the Seaside Inn restaurant getting ready for some wonderful entrees.



The "main drag" in Seaside has undergone many changes over the years based on economics and the predictions of the changing tastes of the tourist trade of which Portland pays the major role. The new Seaside reflects the consumer culture with many more opportunities to buy trinkets than to enjoy amusements. With that said, some of the old amusements still hang on. Places like Pronto Pup (a corn dog joint where you can see the batter and frying in front of your eyes), Tiny Tiny Tees miniature golf, and the bumper cars you see above were all around when I was a kid. That kind of nolstalgia is one of the biggest draws for me. They bring up memories of the last of the operational nickel and dime games including nickelodeon movies, losing my first lunch on the Tilt-A-Whirl, and breathing the smells of corn dogs, cotton candy, and saltwater taffy wafting on the sea breeze. These were some of the brightest spots of my childhood.



I've never played here, but Fascination is a game which has obviously been around for a while. It is probably a "gateway drug" to gambling.



At the Seaside turnaround, statues of Lewis and Clark stare out to sea and, on this evening, a beautiful sunset. Speaking of Lewis and Clark,...



On Friday morning, I left to pick up the MiniSnab from her backpacking trip to the Olympic mountains in Washington state. While I was doing that, Ladybug and her dad stumbled across a reenactment performed for the benefit of a local historical group. Actors recreated 1808 and using period technology, demonstrated the salt making techniques of the Lewis and Clark expedition along with showing the clothing and equipment that the crew had at their disposal. They were quite impressed with the display.

The trip between Portland and Seaside was not so visually appealing....



I was actually shocked at the amount of large scale logging which has taken place near Highway 26 over a 40 mile stretch over the last two years. It is looking less like a dark, verdant forest and more like the aftermath of a volcanic eruption (we know about that thanks to Mount St. Helens).



To be sure, a strong storm with some gusts knocked down corridors of trees as if a tornado passed through during the 2006-2007 winter. There are areas along the highway where uprooted trees form a 10 to 20 foot high dirt birm along the leeward side of the freeway that is only rarely broken for a quarter mile. I have a hard time believing that this entire area of knockdown was the result of that storm and that the clearcuts were entirely salvage cuts. Most of the area is part of the Tillamook State Forest which is owned by the state of Oregon. I know the post-9/11 economy coupled with federal "security" mandates which were imposed without funding placed every state in a huge economic hole. Perhaps Oregon made some tough decisions that I failed to keep up with. In any case, many of these clearcuts march right up to the back of private properties and For Sale signs abound. This was an area which we considered moving to at one time. I am glad we didn't now.

I didn't find much during my short Internet research, but it probably doesn't matter because the trees are gone now and it will be decades before it starts to look like a forest again. The damage was done by man or nature, so we go on trying to remember the forest that was.