Saturday, July 31, 2010

Deception Pass & the Washington State Parks

You are looking at North Beach at Deception Pass State Park from a vantage point on the trail that leads from Deception Pass Bridge down to the beach.

Speaking of Deception Pass Bridge, today at Deception Pass State Park the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the bridge is taking place.

Deception Pass State Park, with more than 2 million visitors a year, is the most popular state park in Washington's state park inventory of around 125 parks.

The State of Washington has had some budget problems, like most states have. A few years ago the state started charging a fee for entering the state parks. The Washington State Parks had always been free to enter for day use. with the principle being that they are the people's parks, and should be able to be used by everyone. The public balked at the entry fees and so they were removed.

I remember being surprised by the new day use entry fee in 2004 when I returned to Washington and visited Deception Pass State Park.

I went to do my regular hike starting at Rosario. That's when I saw that you had to now pay to park. I parked, without paying and went on my hike. After the hike I was really surprised to see the same type parking fee at the parking lot on the Whidbey Island side of the Deception Pass Bridge. Again, I parked and did not pay. When I lived in the area I frequently parked in that parking lot to hike up Goose Rock.

Facing budget woes in March of 2009 the state announced the possible closure of up to 40 of the state parks, including, to my shock, Larrabee State Park on Chuckanut Drive.

Then the Washington State Legislature got clever and passed a couple bills the result of which added an "opt out" feature to car and truck registration renewals. Meaning that when you renew you can "opt out" of the $5 state park donation.

Washington's state parks annually have over 40 million visitors.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 31 Deception Pass Bridge 75th Anniversary Celebration Picnic

This coming Saturday, July 31, there will be a celebration in Deception Pass State Park, at the picnic area at the east side of Cranberry Lake, celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the opening of Deception Pass Bridge.

Construction of Deception Pass Bridge began in August of 1934. It was completed in less than a year, on July 31, 1935.

Deception Pass Bridge was a New Deal Great Depression CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) project.

CCC members who worked on the bridge will be honored guests at the celebration.

The celebration picnic, with music, vendors, games and displays lasts until 5pm.

10:30am-11:30am: Free Shuttle from East Cranberry Lake and Overflow Parking Area (see event map) to South Bridge Parking Area.

11am: Food Vendors and displays start at East Cranberry Lake

Noon: Ceremony at the Bridge. Note: There will be no parking at South Bridge during the ceremony, free shuttles are available from East Cranberry and Overflow parking. Last Shuttle at 11:30 am.

12:27pm: Bridge Closed for procession of antique 1930s era cars and flyover by NAS Whidbey Jets.

1pm-5pm: Event continues at East Cranberry Lake Parking Area: Includes displays, food, and activities for the whole family.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Belgium's Tour de Fat Comes to Seattle Saturday at Gasworks Park

New Belgium brews beer. Years ago New Belgium started the Tour de Fat. A celebration of bikes and beer. New Belgium's started the Tour de Fat with the goal of hopefully ridding Planet Earth of cars, replacing them with bikes. Really cool bikes.

New Belgium's anti-auto attitude comes from several areas of concern, like natural resource depletion, excess energy consumption, pollution and just an over all dislike for oil.

This year's Tour de Fat stops in 13 locations across America this year, including this coming Saturday in Seattle. That being July 31 at Gasworks Park, starting early in the day and concluding at 4pm, after which there will be a party at Browers Cafe where there likely will be some New Belgium fermented beverages available.

On the Tour de Fat website one learns how one can acquire a new cool bike...

It's when one fortunate soul hands over their car, title and keys to the Tour de Fat altar in exchange for a bike. Not just any bike, a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike. There's 13 Tour de Fat stops -- surely one near you -- and that's 13 car/bike trade opportunities. It's about weaning yourself off the petroleum teat. It's about becoming a better, sexier person. It's about rediscovering the cultural thrill of public transportation.

The Ten Commandments of the Tour de Fat:

1. Put no means of transport before thy bike: Come by bike because not only are bikes fun, but they help stave off some of our most wicked ills: Traffic, laziness, and pollution. Tour de Fat has a solution: ride this day, every day, and definitely when Tour de Fat heads your way.

2. Honor all other bikes: All bikes are good bikes, and all those who ride them are good people. This is the one Bike Festival that cherishes bicycle diversity on our Cruise-ade through town.

3. May every generation come forth: This is a family friendly event. Costumes, bikes and a parade? We were thinking like kids when we created Tour de Fat.

4. Thou shall come as a participant not a spectator: It's a costumed celebration of human-powered transportation. Muscles not motors, coasters, v-brakes and rotors. Come in your favorite alter ego, because when everybody's weird, no one is.

5. Thou shalt not bring booze; But enjoy the supplied malted adult refreshments responsibly: Please do not bring any outside alcohol on the ride or into the park. It could result in getting the event shut down...don't be that guy. And when you imbibe in our tasty brews, remember this is a Bicycle Festival with beer, not the other way around.

6. New Belgium shalt not profit: Our goal is to raise money for bicycle and environmental charities. New Belgium Brewing Company does NOT retain any of the events' proceeds. Please think of your $5 beer tokens as donations to a worthy cause. All sales are final; beer tokens do not expire and will be accepted next year (does not include TEXAS).

7. Remember the purpose, and bring not your pooches: No canine friends allowed this year. We're a dog-loving Brewery, but sadly not all municipalities and parks are. Please leave your best friends at home for their safety and the safety of others.

8. Keep the day true with thy good juju: The ride is free, but we suggest a $5 donation to the good bike advocates who are putting it on for you (does not include TEXAS). If you give more, you will not incur flats, mechanical troubles, or dry skin for a while…maybe. This is a celebration of the bike, not an anti-car rally. All tools have their place.

9. Thou shall rise early: Since Tour de Fat is a free show, we sometimes get more folks than we can accommodate. Once we're full, we will handle overflow like a restaurant or bar: one in, one out. We reserve the right to determine the appropriate crowd size in the name of safety and enjoyment for those inside.

10. Thou shalt not steal thy neighbors' bike: Don't even think of leaving with a bike that doesn't belong to you. Modern-day horse thieves will be dealt with by angry mob, pitchforks, and torches.

The Tour de Fat sounds fun. If I were in the Seattle area on Saturday, I would go.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Seattle Colton Harris-Moore Media Circus with Barefoot Bandit on the Beach Cocktails

If you are in Seattle being part of the media circus surrounding court appearances of Colton Harris-Moore at the federal courthouse and you find yourself in need of an adult libation you can walk 2 blocks from the courthouse to a restaurant/bar called "A Pizza Mart" and have yourself a cocktail called "Barefoot Bandit On The Beach!"

The Barefoot Bandit arrived in Seattle on Wednesday. His first Seattle court appearance was Thursday, the same day "Barefoot On The Beach!" appeared.

Colton is a suspect in 80 crimes, give or take a crime or two, doing his Barefoot Bandit thing in 9 states and two other countries besides the United States.

At the present moment Colton Harris-Moore is only facing a single federal charge for his suspected Idaho airplane theft that he crashed near Granite Falls in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Western Washington.

Other charges for other suspected crimes are expected to follow.

Colton Harris-Moore is well aware of his folk hero status. To those who are fans of the Barefoot Bandit's exploits, Colton had a message, delivered by his attorney, John Henry Browne....

"For any of the kids out there who think this is fun, it is not. He was scared to death most of the time he was on his lark, and he's concerned that kids will think this is fun."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nooksack Falls in Whatcom County Washington

A few miles east of the town of Glacier, on the Mount Baker Highway you'll come to a sign pointing you to head south about 2/3 of a mile to find Nooksack Falls.

Nooksack Falls is on the North Fork of the Nooksack River. The river moves fast through a narrow valley then falls 88 feet. 88 feet does not sound like much of a fall, but it is.

You can sit on big boulders above the falls and watch the water rush by and then drop over the falls. You must be very careful. A fall into the Nooksack River above the falls would not end well.

There are trails to viewpoints along the side of Nooksack Falls. Cedar railings act as a very minimalist safety railing. This is not for the faint of heart or acrophobes.

I have been to Nooksack Falls countless times. In all the times I've climbed around the falls I did not know there was a hydroelectric plant generating power from force of all that water falling fast. I learned this when I went looking for a photo of Nooksack Falls.

The Nooksack power plant was built way back in 1906. The project was begun in 1899 by an entity called Bellingham Bay Improvement Company, which was a group of weathy Californians hoping to turn Bellingham into a boomtown. BBIC had all sorts of troubles trying to build the power plant. It was a logistics nightmare moving heavy equipment into a rugged wilderness zone. By 1905 BBIC gave up and were bought out by Stone & Webster who finished the power plant construction and started sending electricity to Bellingham on September 21, 1906.

The Nooksack Power Plant operated for 90 years, then shut down due to a fire in 1997, then started up again in 2003 when the generator was replaced.

As you can see in the picture at the top, the Nooksack Power Plant was a large complex of buildings. Before it became automated workers had to live on site, with their families. There was even a school. The Nooksack Power Plant is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

I am assuming the reason I have never seen the Nooksack Power Plant is that it is downriver from Nooksack Falls, out of view around a bend in the river. Maybe I have seen the big pipe that brings the water to the generator and just assumed it was a water pipeline or made no note of it.

The last time I was at Nooksack Falls was in late winter. Myself and a couple friends were in the area gold panning. And looking for Great Excelsior Mine, which is close to Nooksack Falls. And Lone Jack Mine which was about 10 miles from the falls.

The Lone Jack gold strike happened in 1897. By the time it closed, in 1924, a half million dollars worth of gold had been mined. Over 5,000 claims were staked during the mini-Mount Baker Gold Rush, in what became the Mount Baker Mining District.

If you are visiting Washington, in my opinion, the Mount Baker Highway leads you to the best mountain scenery in Washington. And don't drive by Nooksack Falls without stopping.

And if you are hungry, my favorite place to eat when heading up to or returning from the Mount Baker zone is Carol's Coffee Cup, a short distance east of Deming, just past where Highway 9 intersects with Highway 542, with 542 being the Mount Baker Highway.

I hope Carol's Coffee Cup is still in operation. It has been a few years.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flying to Seattle to Go to Chinook's at Salmon Bay in Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal

A couple days ago the Washingtonian known as the Wild Woman of Woolley, Betty Jo Bouvier, informed me I was flying in to Seattle on July 19, so that I could go to dinner at Chinook's.

On one of my other blogs I blogged about this and said that I didn't know where Chinook's was located.

Then MLK, she being a Fort Worth, Texas native, currently exiled in the Seattle zone, sent me a link to Chinook's website.

As soon as I saw Chinook's website I realized I have been to Chinook's previously, as recently as 2004.

Chinook's at Salmon Bay is located in Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal. Salmon Bay and the Fishermen's Terminal is due west of the 15th Avenue Ballard Bridge. The Ship Canal is to the east, the Ballard Locks to the west.

Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal has been the North Pacific Fishing Fleet Base since 1913. Over 700 fishing boats call Fishermen's Terminal their homeport.

Speaking of a homeport. Anthony's Homeport is a chain of Pacific Northwest waterfront seafood restaurants. I've been to several Anthony's Homeports, most recently the one in Tacoma, at Point Defiance, by the Vashon Island Ferry Dock.

Chinook's at Salmon Bay is part of the Anthony's Homeport chain.

Now that I remember having been at Chinook's I remember what I ate there. It was very good. I have never had an Anthony's Homeport eating experience be anything but good.

At Chinook's I recollect having a Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, Almond Chicken Salad, Clam Chowder, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Mahi Mahi Tacos and, for dessert, Wild Mountain Blackberry Cobbler.

The Blackberry Cobbler was particularly memorable, what with my love of blackberries. It was made with actual wild mountain blackberries, picked up in the Cascade Mountains. Wild mountain blackberries greatly amp up the blackberry flavor and sweetness, compared to the blackberries that grow wild in the Puget Sound lowlands.

So, I guess in a little over 48 hours I may be having myself some Wild Mountain Blackberry Cobbler in Seattle. But, I won't get my hope set too high for that. The last time I was in the Pacific Northwest, July 20 - August 20, 2008, the lowland blackberries only became ripe towards the end of my visit. The blackberries high in the Cascades ripen even later.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Seattle Space Needle

You are looking at a poster from way back in 1962, depicting a sort of fanciful version of the Seattle World's Fair, known as the Century 21 Exposition.

Those gondolas halfway up the Space Needle did not actually get near the Needle, let alone that high. That skyride now resides at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup.

That bright beam of light you see shooting from the top of the Space Needle, well that was part of the original concept, but it did not make it on the final product unveiled for the World's Fair.

But on New Year's Eve, 1999, a very powerful light beam was turned on for the first time, called the Legacy Light or Skybeam. 85 million candle power strong. Originally it was thought the Skybeam light would be turned on up to 75 nights a year. But, there was a lot of complaining about the light pollution it caused. So, the light only comes on about a dozen times a year. However, it remained on 12 days in a row following the 9/11 terror attacks.

The original design of the Space Needle, as seen in the poster, also shows a broad spiral staircase leading to the elevators. That also was omitted from the 1962 Space Needle. However a short time after EMP (Experience Music Project) opened next to the Space Needle, a two-story Pavilion enclosed in glass was built at the base of the Needle, somewhat resembling the original design.

At 605 feet tall the Space Needle replaced the Smith Tower as the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it was completed.

The Space Needle was built in less than a year. As the opening of the World's Fair grew closer construction teams worked around the clock. There have been numerous renovations and upgrades made to the Space Needle over the years, including adding another restaurant at the 100 foot level. This also was in the original plans.

The restaurant at the top of the Needle is now called SkyCity. It still rotates, making a complete circle every 47 minutes.

The Seattle Space Needle is one of the safest places to be in the northwest during an earthquake. It is built to withstand up to a 9.0 quake. The Space Needle's foundation base is almost 6,000 tons of cement, with its center of gravity 5 feet above ground level. The Space Needle is designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. The Space Needle sways in the winds about an inch per 10 miles per hour.

Today I was surprised to learn America has another Space Needle. It being in the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The Gatlinburg Space Needle opened in 1970. It is shorter than the original. Did Seattle forget to get the Space Needle name copyrighted in 1962?

The Seattle Space Needle may be the #1 iconic landmark symbol of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. If the Space Needle is not #1 I'm not sure what is. Mount Rainier?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo & Bobo the Gorilla

You are looking at a very old postcard of Woodland Park Zoo. It can be no older than dating back to 1899, which is when the zoo opened.

A developer/mill owner named Guy C. Phinney had a small collection of animals on his estate, which he sold to the City of Seattle for $5,000. And the city's assumption of the property's $95,000 mortgage. Seattle's skinflint mayor vetoed the deal, but the city council over-ruled the veto.

Thus began Woodland Park Zoo.

In 1902 a Boston park design company called Olmstead Brothers were hired to design Seattle parks, including Woodland Park and its zoo.

Now, well over a century later, in July of 2010, Woodland Park Zoo has 92 acres of exhibits.

Currently, to enter Woodland Park Zoo, it costs $16.50 for adults. One is considered an adult at 13 at Woodland Park Zoo. And no longer an adult at 64. I assume at 64 one becomes a senior citizen and the entry fee is cheaper. For kids, 3-12, it'll cost you $11.00 to get them in the zoo. Two and under is free. Fees go down from October 1 til April 30, at $11.00 for adults and $8.00 for kids.

In Woodland Park Zoo you'll find 300 species, 1,090 animals, 35 of which are endangered and 5 of which are threatened. The park has over 1,000 plant species with 7,000 tree and over 50,000 herbs and shrubs.

Only New York's Bronx Zoo has won more Best National Exhibit Awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums than Woodland Park Zoo.

The Gorilla Exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo is considered to be the world's first immersion habitat, with an immersion habitat being one in which the exhibit replicates the animal's natural environment with the viewer feeling as if they are in that environment.

The African Savanna won a National Best Exhibit award. The African Savanna, like the Gorilla Exhibit, was another first of its kind. You enter the savanna through an African village, outside of which you'll find zebras, ostriches, giraffes, gazelles and hippopotamus. Hidden moats keep the herbivores separate from the carnivores, so as not to get eaten by the lions and African wild dogs.

The Northern Trail is another National Best Exhibit Award winner, winning when it opened in 1994. On the Northern Trail you walk through Tundra, Montane and Taiga habitats. The Northern Trail is designed to look like a trail in Denali National Park in Alaska. You'll find grizzly bears, wolves, foxes, mountain goats and bald eagles. The bears are particularly memorable as you view them from inside a cave which gives you an underwater view of the splashing bears.

Tropical Asia, opened in 1990, with the Elephant Forest section winning a National Best Exhibit Award. The Trail of Vines section of Tropical Asia takes you through Southeast Asian rainforest habitats, where some of the animals you'll see are Malayan tapirs, lion-tailed macaques, Indian pythons, orangutans and siamangs.

Tropical Rain Forest won a Best Exhibit Award when it opened in 1992. The Tropical Rain Forest is like a walk through a jungle canopy, following a trail as you view levels of the forest from underwater viewing of jaguars, to high in the forest with ocelots, bushmasters, toucans, tamarins and poison arrow frogs. And outside trails leads to other rain forest species, like lemurs and colubus monkeys, eventually taking you to the Gorilla Exhibit.

Bobo the Gorilla

The most famous animal ever to call Woodland Park Zoo home was Bobo the Gorilla. In the era before professional sports came to town, before the Seattle World's Fair, before Seattle became the tourist attraction it is today, Bobo was one of the most visited attractions in the Pacific Northwest.

Bobo was born in Africa in 1951. A hunter named William "Gorilla Bill" Said murdered Bobo's mom when Bobo was only about 2 weeks old. Said was unable to sell Bobo to any zoo, what with Bobo being the youngest gorilla ever captured.

Gorilla Bill took Bobo back to his home in Columbus, Ohio where his mother tried to take over the job of the mother Gorilla Bill had murdered. A few months later a fisherman from Anacortes, named Bill Lowman, bought Bobo from Gorilla Bill.

Bobo was driven from Ohio to Anacortes where he moved in with the Lowmans. Soon Bobo became famous in the Skagit Valley. The Lowmans raised Bobo like he was a human baby. But, by the time Bobo was about 2 years old he'd become quite a handful, wreaking havoc on the Lowman's home.

In 1953 the Lowmans sold Bobo to Woodland Park Zoo, where he quickly became the star attraction. It was due to Bobo, and people not liking the primitive primate house in which Bobo lived, that public support was sufficient to pass a big bond issue to build a new gorilla habitat and basically turn Woodland Park Zoo into the multiple award winning zoo it is today.

Bobo never forgot the Lowmans, always recognizing them when they came to visit.

In 1956 Bobo met Fifi. Fifi quickly attached herself to Bobo. There was great hope that Bobo and Fifi would mate and make little Bobos and Fifis. But, that never happened, to the great disapointment of the public and the zookeepers.

Seattle and the Pacific Northwest were shocked on February 22, 1968 to learn that Bobo was found dead in his cage. A great controversy, that has never been resolved, arose over what killed Bobo. An autopsy claimed the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism. Bobo's corpse was mistreated, his head removed and lost.

Bobo died before he could move into the new natural habitat that he helped bring about. I don't remember what became of Fifi.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two Orcas Ram Struggling Gray Whale Back Towards a Beach

That giant 40 foot Gray Whale that has been beached and unbeached 3 times in the past week, or so, on beaches near Everett and the Tulalip Reservation, just can not catch a break.

The beached Gray Whale successfully got off the beach, with human help, on the Tulalip Reservation, with Tribal Police guarding the struggling whale.

But, after the Gray Whale was back swimming in Puget Sound it was on its own, no Tulalip Tribal Police to look after it.

A Tulalip resident who lives on a bluff over looking Puget Sound witnessed a pair of Orcas (also known as Killer Whales) ramming the Gray Whale repeatedly.

To escape the ramming Orcas, the Gray Whale swam to shallower water.

Was the escape successful? Is the Gray Whale beached again, yet to be found? A big whale can not survive repeated beachings.

I wonder if those bullying Orcas are what was the cause of the Gray Whale beaching itself?

I've always found Orcas to be very polite. Well, actually, I've only had one encounter. Fishing with my mom and dad out in the San Juan Islands, by Orcas Island, appropriately, we found ourselves surrounded by an Orca Pod. Including 2 babies. A couple of the Orcas got very close to the boat, as if to check us out.

This Orca Pod encounter was just about the coolest thing I ever experienced on Puget Sound. An encounter that pre-dated digital cameras and the omnipresent ability to get a picture, should something picture worthy occur. So, sadly, no photos exists documenting my one and only encounter with an Orca Pod.

I wonder if that giant Gray Whale did something to make that pair of Orcas mad?

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Anacortes Arts Festival August 6, 7 & 8

Anacortes has three of my favorite Washington attractions. Washington Park is one, the ferry to the San Juan Island is another.

And the Anacortes Arts Festival is a third. There are those who consider this to be the best arts festival in Washington. If scenic setting were the #1 criteria for that distinction, Anacortes is easily the best.

Anacortes is on an island, called Fidalgo. It is easy to get on Fidalgo Island, via several bridges, like the Rainbow Bridge in La Conner, the Deception Pass Bridge from Whidbey Island or the bridge on Highway 20 by the Swinomish Indian Casino. I think that one is called the Duane Berentson Bridge.

From Anacortes the view of the Cascade Mountains, to the east, is a view you do not get closer to the mountains, such as from Mount Vernon. For instance, Mount Baker seems to loom higher and larger, when viewed from Anacortes. The only jarring note regarding the view of Mount Baker from Anacortes is there are a couple refineries processing Alaska crude that were built decades ago on March Point.

Back to the Anacortes Arts Festival.

It is big. This year, on August 6, 7 and 8, over 260 booth artisans will fill 6 blocks of Commercial Avenue, from 4th to 10th street. These artists come from all over the country, with the most popular artists invited back via a jury process based on quality, marketability and originality.

One time I got to sit with one of the artists in one of the booths. That was fun. The artist I got to sit with was known as Miss Janice. Miss Janice and I were having fun visiting, I guess because we had not seen each other since the night before, at a class reunion. Well, one of Miss Janice's customers thoroughly took us to task for being rude vendors. It was a memorable moment.

Pre-Anacortes Arts Festival Activities begin July 23 with a Concert Series. The Fine Art Opening is July 30. The Art Dash Run is Saturday, July 31.

This will be the 49th Anacortes Arts Festival.

Categories to be judged include
  • Painting, Photography, Prints, Drawings
  • Basketry, Gourds
  • Candles, Soap, Floral, Body Therapy
  • Ceramics, Clay, Pottery, Tile
  • Fiber Art, Paper Art
  • Food Products
  • Glass, Jewelry
  • Metal, Sculpture, Yard Art
  • Music
  • Wearable Art, Leather
  • Wood, Furniture, Mirror
You will find the Island Eatery between 2nd & 4th Streets. There you will find a big variety of ethnic and traditional foods.

Among the food vendors you will find B & M Italian Concessions, Bangkok Bistro, Cousins Gourmet, Crepealicious, Deception Cafe, Delicious Asia, Fleetwood Espresso, India Grill Restaurant, Irishman Enterprises, Jak Be Grilling, Janey's Pies, Kornman of Washington, La Jitana Lebanese, La Jitana Salmon, Lahaina Layers, Lopez Island Creamery, Nadya's Greek Cuisine, Paige Lizbeth's Handmade Caramel Corn, Pioneer Popcorn, Ray's Food, Shishkaberry's, Smokey's BBQ Grill and Ziegler's Bratwurst Haus.

At the Island Eatery Zone you will be able to find sno-cones, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, chili, New York style Italian sandwiches, seafood, French crepes with a fresh foodie twist, eclectic, high quality Northwest cuisine, freshly grilled sizzling chicken, espressos, drinks, smoothies, East Indian curry, pizza and pannini sandwiches, fruit, vegetable & meat pies, pulled pork, vegetarian alternative snack food, authentic Lebanese style food, wild salmon, three layer smoothies, locally made gourmet ice cream, traditional Greek food, caramel corn made with natural ingredients, Kettle Korn, Chinese pot stickers and chow mein noodles, chocolate dipped fruit on a stick, slow cooked BBQ, freshly made donuts, Cajun-American with an international flair, hand-dipped ice cream bars and authentic German sausages.

You will also find a Beer Garden at the Anacortes Arts Festival. The Beer Garden is located on 3rd Street in the center of the Island Eatery Zone, across from the Main Stage. You will find a variety of domestic and Northwest micro-brews, plus wine and water. On Friday and Saturday the Beer Garden is open from 11-7. On Sunday the hours are 11-5.

I do not know if I am going to be able to make it to the 2010 Anacortes Arts Festival. I am currently about 2,200 miles from Anacortes. If I were within 100 miles I would go for certain.

The Barefoot Bandit Colton Harris-Moore Caught in the Bahamas

You are looking at the Barefoot Bandit, Colton Harris-Moore's, shackled bare feet, walking, in custody, in the Bahamas, where he was caught on Sunday after a high speed boat chase.

Colton's mother, Pamela Kohler, has retained Courtney Love's Seattle entertainment lawyer to take care of her interests. Colton's mother claims to have a deal for a book.

Meanwhile, back in the Bahamas, Colton faces several theft charges, including the boat he used to take police on a high-speed chase.

Colton had a gun, which he tossed overboard before being arrested. He was wearing cargo shorts and a bullet-proof vest. And no shoes.

Colton also had a laptop computer and a GPS locator with him.

Somehow the 6 foot 5 teenager managed to steal an airplane in Indiana (his 5th alleged plane theft) and fly the plane to the Bahamas, where he crash landed on Abaco and began his Bahama Barefoot Bandit operation.

Colton has been on the lam since escaping a Washington halfway house in 2008, after which he broke into dozens of homes across Washington, British Columbia and Idaho. In addition to the home break-ins there were the plane and boat takeovers.

The Barefoot Bandit has over 60,000 Facebook fans, many posting comments verbalizing their disappointment over his capture.

Now the battle between all the jurisdictions who want to prosecute Colton Harris-Moore begins.

I wonder how long it will take the movie version to hit the big, or little, screen?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another Whale Beaches Itself On Puget Sound

What is going on in the water of Puget Sound that has whales trying to leave it for dry ground?

The latest whale to reject the sound is a 38-40 gray whale.

He or she first beached itself at 2 beaches near Everett.

The whale was returned to the sound, but has now come ashore again, at Mission Beach on the Tulalip Reservation.

Tulalip Tribal police boats have set up a protection zone around the beached whale, keeping whale looky-loos at a distance, so rescue workers could work. Before the Tribal police moved to protect the whale, people were coming up to it in boats and kayaks.

Yesterday, when the tide hit its lowest point, the whale was completely out of the water. When the tide came in again the whale was still partly out of the water. Workers kept hosing the beached whale with water to keep its exposed to the sun back wet.

The whale shows signs of trying to move back into the water and is not thrashing, so far, in panic mode.

In a strange side note, in my current location in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone, area lakes do not appeal to me, due to things like water moccasins and garfish. And giant catfish.

However, in Washington, I never worried about swimming in Puget Sound, with whales, orcas, giant octupus, crabs, sharks, sea lions and seals. I guess, maybe, it's because all those Puget Sound sea critters mind their own business, while you really don't want to cross paths with a water moccasin when you are in a Texas lake.

I hope the Tulalip whale changes its mind about moving to land and happily swims off again into the Puget Sound.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The American Old West in Winthrop Washington

You are looking at the Winthrop Hardware store in Winthrop, Washington. I believe it burned down a few years ago. But rose from the ashes, rebuilt.

Winthrop has a history of rising from the ashes. Much of Winthrop was destroyed by fire in 1893. And then re-built. Back then, Winthrop was a mining town.

Placer gold was discovered in the State Creek District in 1868.

The gold brought in a rush of settlers. One of them was Ben Pearrygin. Nearby Pearrygin Lake State Park is named after him.

Guy Waring is credited with founding and naming Winthrop. Theodore Winthrop was an adventurer/traveler and popular 19th century writer. Winthrop was a Yale graduate. Guy Waring was a Harvard graduate. His roommate at Harvard was Owen Wister. Owen Wister wrote The Virginian after a honeymoon visit to Winthrop to visit his Harvard roommate.

Winthrop holds the record for the coldest temperature ever measured in Washington. Minus 48 degrees on December 30, 1968.

Winthrop used so be in a very isolated location in Washington. Not easily accessed. Seen by few.

Then in the 1960s the North Cross State Highway was being built to connect Western and Eastern Washington via a new pass over the North Cascades.

By the late 1960s the economic turnaround of Leavenworth was well known. Anticipating a flood of tourists Winthrop decided to become a theme tourist town too. But not a Bavarian mountain village, like Leavenworth. Winthrop decided to build its them on its past and become an Old American West theme town. It was already well on its way to that theme, naturally.

The North Cross State Highway opened in 1972. Soon turning Winthrop into a popular tourist town.

I like visiting both Winthrop and Leavenworth. I think Winthrop may be my favorite of the Washington theme towns. I'm a sucker for anything American Old Westish.

Winthrop is now a popular, easily accessed, destination for cross country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, river rafting, fishing, golfing, horse riding, camping, sight seeing and shopping.

Sun Mountain Lodge is close to Winthrop. From Sun Mountain Lodge, in summer, you'll find a lot of miles of mountain bike trails. In winter you'll find miles of cross country ski trails.

The picture of Sun Mountain Lodge gives you a good idea of the scenery that surrounds Winthrop, with the Cascade Mountains to the west.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Record Breaking Washington Heat Wave Hotter Than Texas

I am currently in North Texas where it usually is a lot hotter than Western Washington. But today, where I am right now, Fort Worth, Texas, the high today is expected to be 89.

Meanwhile Seattle is predicted to hit a high of 95 today, with another record-breaking high on Friday.

I like how the weather descriptors are so different. Today Seattle's is "Blazing Sunshine". While today Fort Worth's is "Showers". Up in Washington you are going to have a return to relatively cool temperatures on Saturday. While in Fort Worth it is day after day in the 90s. With rain. As you can see below.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mount Baker Snowiest Location on Planet Earth

You are looking at an old postcard of Mount Baker. The view appears to be from the Mount Baker Highway.

When I lived in Mount Vernon I could see Mount Baker from my kitchen windows. In my current location, deep in the heart of Texas, no matter where I look I see no mountains.

Only Mt. St. Helens is a more active volcano than Mount Baker of the volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range.

Like Mount Rainier, Mount Baker is visible from a large area of the Puget Sound zone, you can see the mountain from Seattle and Vancouver.

Of the Cascade mountains, only Mount Rainier has more glaciers than Mount Baker.

Mount Baker is one of the snowiest places on the planet. In 1999 a world snowfall record was set of 95 feet in a single snow season. That is a lot of snow.

The drive to the Mount Baker Ski Area is quite an adventure, both when snow is on the ground, or not. It is at the ski area that the snow record was set.

When the snow melts, for the most part, by late summer, the hiking in the Mount Baker area may be the most scenic in the Cascade Mountains.

That is Mount Shuksan behind my nephews, Jeremy and CJ. CJ is looking to his left at Mount Baker. Jeremy and CJ are sitting on top of Tabletop Mountain.

By later summer, usually, the snow has melted enough to drive past the ski area to a big parking lot, from which you can hike on to Mount Baker, or climb Tabletop Mountain. Or hike other trails.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tumwater Falls & Olympia Beer

You are looking at an old postcard of Tumwater Falls in Olympia, Washington.

Tumwater Falls is a series of cascades on the Deschutes River.

The term "cascade" is a northwest term that indicates a fall of water slightly short of being a waterfall, it being water cascading, rather than falling. It is a subtle distinction that has always been lost on me.

Tumwater Falls (or Tumwater Cascades) is located near where the Deschutes River enters Budd Inlet, which is a far south arm of Puget Sound.

Tumwater Falls was the location of a town, now gone, called New Market. New Market was the first European settlement in Western Washington. New Market was also the site of the, now sadly gone, Olympia Brewing Company.

The Olympia Brewing Company brewed Olympia Beer.

Olympia Beer was the first beer I ever tasted. I was maybe 8 or 9. Mom and dad took us to Tumwater, to the Olympia Brewing Company tour. At the end of the tour there was a sampling room, liberally dispensing samples. Kids got a soda of some sort.

But, I recollect asking if I could have a sip of the beer. I don't remember if it was mom, or dad, who introduced me to alcohol in this manner, but I took my sip, thought it tasted real nasty and did not sip beer again for a long, long time.

I don't understand how it is that the Olympia brand of beer somehow died. It was very popular. Had sort of a cult following. Not quite like the Coors cult following. But close.

What has become of the Olympia Brewing Company buildings, I can't help but wonder? The brewery was quite a noticeable site when taking a big bend on I-5, heading south to Portland.

Is Rainier Beer no more too? Is that brewery, previously so visible next to I-5 in south Seattle, gone too? How were these travesties allowed to occur?

Dry Falls, Sun Lakes, Wind, Riots & Streakers

You are looking at an old postcard of Dry Falls. I did not remember there being such a big lake at the base of Dry Falls.

And then I looked at some pictures I'd taken years ago to see there is a lake at the base of Dry Falls. The lake in my picture is smaller.

Sun Lakes State Park is very close to Dry Falls. I don't remember if you can drive to the lake at the base of Dry Falls. I do remember dirt roads and hiking in that direction.

When I was a kid camping at Sun Lakes State Park was my favorite of our family camping destinations. I think my favorite thing about staying at Sun Lakes was the regular nightly hurricane like wind. I think the name for it is Zephyr.

Something about the Coulee and the temperature dropping with the setting sun caused an air pressure differential that created a BIG WIND. Sun Lake veterans know to expect this and make sure everything is as secure as possible. I've seen campsites blown totally apart, with the Sun Lakes newcomers in a state of shock.

I don't recollect there being any warning signs about BIG WIND potentials.

When I was in my 20s Sun Lakes was a frequent weekend destination. It had a sort of Spring Break feeling. At times the crowd of twenty-somethings could get a bit rowdy. I remember a night of confrontation with park rangers that turned into a sort of riot. With streakers. I was just an observer. Not a rioter or a streaker.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lake Chelan, Stehekin, the Lady of the Lake & Bears

You are looking at an old postcard of Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is Washington's biggest natural lake.

Lake Chelan is a very narrow, 55 mile long lake. And very deep. Chelan is the Salish Indian word for "deep water."

At a maximum depth of 1,486 feet deep, Lake Chelan is the 3rd deepest lake in America and the 24th deepest in the world.

I remember swimming, or trying to at Lake Chelan State Park, on a HOT August day, with the water of Lake Chelan being very cold. I imagine the cold water, even in summer, has something to do with the lake being so deep.

Another memory of camping as a kid at Lake Chelan State Park was a camper murdering a snake with a shovel. The Park Ranger was not happy about this. The murdering camper thought he was killing a deadly rattlesnake, when what he actually killed was a harmless bull snake.

The town of Chelan is at the south end of the lake. The state park is also at the south end of the lake. The waters of Lake Chelan flow into the Chelan River through the Lake Chelan Hydroelectric Dam.

At the northwest end of Lake Chelan you'll find the town of Stehekin. which is also where the Stehekin River flows into Lake Chelan, with the Stehekin River being the biggest contributor of water to Lake Chelan.

Stehekin is in North Cascades National Park. You'll find a National Park Lodge in town. I had a fine stay in the Stehekin National Park Lodge a few years ago.

There is no road to Stehekin. You can get there either by hiking, float plane or boat. From Chelan you can take the Lady of the Lake or the Lady of the Lake II. Number 2 goes way faster than the original Lady of the Lake. I took the slow boat to Stehekin and loved it. If I remember right it took 4 hours. A very relaxing, very scenic, very fun 4 hours.

In Stehekin you'll find yourself at a gateway to a lot of good stuff. Like one of the best bakeries I've ever been to. Dinner at Courtney Ranch is another very good thing. We went to Courtney Ranch every night of our stay in Stehekin. A bus picks you up to take up up the Stehekin Valley to the ranch. It is a very wild bus ride.

Go to my more detailed description of my visit to Stehekin to hear about the bears, waterfalls, hiking and more...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tiny's Fruit & Cider Stand in Cashmere Washington

You are looking at an old postcard of Tiny's Fruit Stand in Cashmere, Washington.

Richard Graves was "Tiny." Tiny was 6 foot 3 and weighed 440 pounds. Due to Tiny's heft and the Eastern Washington heat, Tiny's office was in a walk-in cooler. In winter Tiny would plow snow wearing no coat, just his trademark Hawaiian shirt.

Tiny was born in 1930, died in 1971, 41 years old, of either a heart attack or cerebral hemorrhage.

Tiny's Fruit Stand, with a focus on apple cider, opened in 1953. Tiny's Fruit Stand quickly became a Washington iconic location. Thanks in part to the fact that Tiny was a marketing genius, known as "The Cider King." Tiny had thousands of "Tiny's Cashmere Washington" signs posted all over Washington and beyond.

I remember seeing Tiny's signs all over the west on family vacation trips.

Tiny also put bumper stickers on the cars in his parking lot. You also saw those all over the west. I wonder if the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon still does the bumper sticker thing?

Tiny sold millions of apples, somehow managing to do so even though his marketing image used a picture of an apple with a worm in it. A cute worm wearing a black derby. Tiny drove a big Cadillac with a big apple on it. I don't know if that apple had the worm. I suspect it did.

Just a sec, is that Tiny's Cadillac he is standing in front of in the Tiny picture? It appears the big apple, on the car, does have the trademark worm.

I remember stopping at Tiny's many times as a kid. I do not have any memory of actually getting to see Tiny. I do remember the free cider samples. I also remember stopping at Tiny's with my little sister Jackie, just a baby. Tiny's filled up her baby bottle with apple cider. That was her free sample.

After Tiny died, friends continued to operate his fruit and cider stand. Then in 1972 Tiny's burned down. I remember this as being shocking at the time. Even more so the next time I was driving past Cashmere to see Tiny's gone, with blackened ruins remaining.

Tiny's was rebuilt and reopened in April of 1974. But, it was not the same thing. I remember the "new" Tiny's as being a metal shed building. Tiny's closed for good in December of 1981. The loss of a Pacific Northwest Washington icon.

Cashmere survives just fine, despite the loss of Tiny's, what with Aplets & Cotlets being even more well known than Tiny's.

I take it as a sort of tribute to Tiny that on the bridges across the Wenatchee River, that one crosses to enter Cashmere, there are boxes of apples, in artwork form. I have never looked close enough to see if any of the apples have a worm. With a black derby.

Cashmere & The Liberated Armenian Aplets & Cotlets Inventors

Today is the 4th of July. So, I am going to tell you a story about a couple of guys who came to America, seeking liberty and refuge from the danger in their homeland.

There is a town in Eastern Washington called Cashmere. Cashmere is on Highway 2 between Leavenworth and Wenatchee.

After Leavenworth successfully turned itself into a Bavarian Village theme town, Cashmere thought it might replicate that success with a theme of its own. By giving its main street an American Colonial period look. This did not have the same success as Leavenworth's theme.

Cashmere is better known for something else, besides its "theme." Cashmere is where Aplets & Cotlets are made.

Early in the 1900s two young Armenians were wise to escape Turkey and the growing nationalism which was making life increasingly difficult for the Armenian minority. Armen Tertsagian and Mark Balaban decided to start a business together in Seattle. First a restaurant, then a yogurt factory. Both failed.

In 1915 the pair took a trip to Eastern Washington. They'd grown not all that fond of the damp climate of Western Washington. When they saw Cashmere it reminded them of their homeland.

Armen and Mark made the move to Cashmere and bought an apple farm. And named it Liberty Orchards in honor of their newfound freedom.

Then they started Northwest Evaporating, an apple dehydrating method that prolonged the life of apples and helped with the food supply in World War 1. Next they started up a cannery, named it Wenatchee Valley Foods, making a very popular apple jam they called Applum.

Next up Armen and Mark started the enterprise which was to make Cashmere a well known town. There was this well-liked Middle Eastern confection called Rahat Locum, which means Turkish Delight. Turkish Delight was made from jelled apples or apricots, mixed with walnuts.

Armen and Mark made an Americanized version of Rahat Locum. And called their confection Aplets & Cotlets. Starting off in 1918 with sales locally and at their small fruit stand, Armen and Mark's Aplets & Cotlets are now produced in a large factory with a wide variety of fruit confections shipped all over the world.

Thousands come to Cashmere annually to tour the Aplets & Cotlets Factory.

Armen died in 1952, followed by Mark in 1956. By the late 1940s the pair had been joined in Cashmere by Armenan relatives. Greg Taylor, Armen Tertsagian's grandson, has been the president of the Aplet Cotlet Company for over 30 years.

I am not a big dessert fan. But, I have always liked Aplets & Cotlets.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

North-Cross State Highway over the North Cascade Mountains

That would be a picture of me, from a few years ago, standing on a rock on Washington Pass Overlook, looking down on the steep section of Highway 20 that descends east of Washington Pass on the North-Cross State Highway.

The most recent pass over Washington's Cascade Mountains was a long time in the making.

Way back in 1895 the state funded the exploration of a possible route over the North Cascades. After a year of surveying, the State Road Commission decided that the Skagit Gorge was not a practical route for a highway.

This would have been long before Seattle City Light built hydroelectric dams in the Skagit Gorge. Before the dams and their reservoirs, the Skagit Gorge likely looked quite daunting, road building wise.

It was then decided that Cascade Pass presented the best route. This is to the south of the Skagit Gorge. By 1897 the Cascade Pass route was marked out and designated as State Highway 1 or the Cascade Wagon Road.

Floods soon destroyed most of the road work done on the Cascade Wagon Road. By 1905 Washington's first State Highway Commissioner declared the money spent was a waste. The Cascade Pass route was abandoned.

However, in 2010, you can exit Highway 20 (North-Cross State Highway) at Marblemount and take the Cascade River Road along the route of what was abandoned so long ago. Eventually you will enter North Cascades National Park. The road will end at a big parking lot. From there you can hike the Cascade Pass Trail.

You will see that it is really obvious what an incredible feat of highway engineering this would have been, had that road been built. You can hike over Cascade Pass to Eastern Washington. I don't know if the road has been repaired from floods a few years ago. But, previous to the floods a bus would pick up hikers and take them down the Stehekin Valley to Stehekin or Courtney Ranch.

In the picture you are looking at me, on the Cascade Pass Trail, looking at Mount El Dorado.

By 1936 Seattle City Light had built Gorge and Diablo Dams in the Skagit Gorge. To build the dams a highway had to build in the previously rejected as highway-doable, Skagit Gorge.

Workers moved into the company towns of Newhalem and Diablo. Tourists began to visit. By 1940 Ross Dam was under construction.

Once more the idea of building a pass over the North Cascades grew momentum. The idea of the Cascade Pass route was abandoned forever, with agreement reached that a route over Rainy and Washington Pass would work.

In the early 1950s the North Cascades Highway Association was born and began lobbying Olympia to get onboard with the North Cascades Pass Plan. In 1958 Washington funded the building of a highway from Diablo to Thunder Arm.

Thunder Arm marked the end of the North Cross State Highway, while, over the next 9 years road construction continued from both sides of the mountains.

In 1968 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the bill that created North Cascades National Park.

Meanwhile, in the sleepy isolated Methow Valley, the town of Winthrop was turning itself into a Western Theme Town in anticipation of tourists having easy access to their section of Eastern Washington for the first time.

Finally, in 1972, Western Washington was connected to Eastern Washington, with Highway 20 crossing the Cascades, on September 2, 1972. It was a big deal. After the ribbon cutting opened the highway a lot of dignataries took the roadtrip over the new pass, including President Nixon's brother, Donald.

I made my first trip over the new highway, driving my now antique 65 Fastback Mustang, 3 weeks later. I have lost track of how many times I've been over Rainy and Washington Pass since. I remember being totally awed to see what had been built, after so many years of it being worked on.

If you are ever being a tourist in Washington, you don't want to miss driving over the North-Cross State Highway and North Cascades National Park.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Squirrel Tree in Leavenworth

Leavenworth is easily my favorite of the Washington tourist theme towns.

Leavenworth was a dying logging town, back in the 1960s, when the townspeople knew something had to be done.

Someone came up with the idea to turn Leavenworth into a Bavarian themed town. The Cascade Mountains Alpine-like setting was perfect.

It was not long before the main street of Leavenworth was transformed.

A drive across Stevens Pass, on Highyway 2, from Western Washington, heading to Wenatchee, Sun Lakes, Soap Lake or anywhere else in Eastern Washington, you were now drawn to stop in Leavenworth.

I think it is likely the success of Leavenworth surprised all involved. The little dying town quickly became a thriving, growing town, with new buildings added, all Bavarian themed.

Leavenworth's Oktoberfest is now the biggest outside Germany. Nephew Joey and I happened upon Leavenworth's Oktoberfest on the way home from an apple picking expedition to Yakima, back on an October evening in the 1990s. It was an eye-popping spectacle.

I have never not had a good time in Leavenworth, no matter what time of the year. During summer when it can be quite hot. Or during winter, with snow on the ground. It's always fun.

I've not been to Leavenworth since August of 2001. I remember we had burgers from an outdoor grill place I'd gone to many a time, the name of which I can't remember. Spent a little time in the, then new, brew pub. And sat outside at Starbucks for awhile getting perked up by coffee before heading east to Wenatchee and the Columbia Valley to find fresh fruit.

I remember this day as the last day I have had a good apricot.

I forgot to mention, the old postcard of Leavenworth at the top. The Chalet is called The Squirrel Tree Chalet-Motel-Restaurant.

The Squirrel Tree appears to be somewhat Bavarian themed. The postcard obviously pre-dates the 1960s, which tells me something I did not know, in that there was some Bavarian theming going on in Leavenworth prior to the massive transformation that turned it into one of America's most successful tourist towns.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Remembering Honeyman State Park, the Oregon Dunes & Family Camping History

That would be me, running down a sand dune at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a few, well, quite a few, years ago, while camping at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.

I was born in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is about 50 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. So, heading west from Eugene, in about 50 miles, will take you to Florence. Florence is at the north end of the Oregon Dunes.

Just south of Florence is where you'll find Honeyman State Park.

Some of my earliest memories are of the Oregon Sand Dunes and Honeyman State Park. I may have been only 3 and I only had, at that time, one sibling, my little brother. I remember us playing on the sand dunes. I remember Uncle Lottsie and Aunt Pernie being there. Now long gone.

By the time I was 5 we had moved to Mount Vernon, Washington. I remember one of our earliest camping trips, by then I had another sibling, a sister. We headed south to Honeyman State Park. This was before a freeway made this an easy drive. Mom and dad had a tent and we rode in a 1955 Plymouth.

We got to Honeyman State Park, set up the tent, had a fun evening, went to bed, in our sleeping bags, in the tent. And the rain started. A lot of rain. The tent could not keep the rain out. It was nearing dawn. Mom and dad decided to pack it all up. And head home. All these years later I now realize the only option was to drive all the way back to Mount Vernon, because a motel was likely too expensive.

Me and my siblings, well, actually, just my brother, were sort of crying about not getting to see the sand dunes. My new sister had never seen them. So, before we hit the road, we drove to the parking lot by Lake Cleawox and tried to climb a sand dune in the rain. Me and my brother made it part way up. And then it was time to go.

I remember this as if it were yesterday, but it was a long time ago.

Upon our return to Washington, mom and dad vowed no more tent camping. And so they bought an Arrowhead trailer. That Arrowhead trailer was our home for a lot of camping trips and vacations, including going to Yellowstone and Disneyland. At some point in time the Arrowhead was replaced with a nicer trailer, but I have no memory of it.

Eventually mom and dad got a big RV, in which they traveled America after they retired. They no longer have their RV. I never progressed on my own, in camping world, past having a nice tent. My brother has had several camping trailers. I don't know if he currently does. I don't think my 2nd sister has ever had a camping device. She likely does not remember much about family vacations, in the way her older siblings fondly do.

My little sister, I doubt has ever gone camping. She certainly does not have any sort of camping device. Sadly, she totally missed out on the family vacations, with all her siblings, so she didn't inherit the camping/roadtrip gene.

However, my oldest sister, the one who was with us during that aborted tent camping at Honeyman, that sister did inherit the camping gene. She's gone from a tent, to a camper on a pickup, to a trailer, to her first RV, to the current RV, this ridiculously big thing where you push a button and the living room expands, you push another button and the bedroom expands, you push another button and the flat panel TV appears. Plus a full size tub in the bathroom.

I'm thinking that rainy tenting failure in Oregon, all those years ago, deeply imprinted on my sister's memory, and on some level she vowed, camping-wise, to never be wet again.

Honeyman State Park, and all the Oregon State Parks are very well done. However, I have not been in one for over a decade. I hope that is still the case, that the Oregon State Parks are still extremely well run, well cared for, well designed and a pleasure to camp in.

I hope some day I make it back to Oregon to find out.