BenTha'er-Horizons

Travel

50 States, 50 Landmarks

Well it would be nice to be able to visit all the states and see a landmark there. At least one can keep track of at least one landmark in each state here.
Comments

Coolside Bob

One needs to remember that some people, like Bob, can come out relaxing and looking cool (or is that the white whale look) while taking some days off.
IMG_0201
Comments

View from the Ranch

I got some really nice photos of the area. It was a lovely area to visit and photograph. Here are the mountains and the valley that one would view every day from the porch of the Spring Valley Ranch.
Spring-Valleyview
Comments

Spring Valley Ranch

Here is the Spring Valley Ranch house that is set up as a visitor's center. at the State Park One can picnic and walk around near by. The area lives off of springs and a small lake to provide water to the fields and yard. Hay is grown and there are burros and beef cattle in the area. They hold outdoor movies in the area too.
Smith-Valley-Ranch
Comments

Red Rock Country

This afternoon, since all the work and stress is essentially over, we took Marybeth's rental car up west of the resort to the Red Rock country and driving loop. There are trails and overlooks there. They have a neat visitor's center there too. It was hot but lots of fun. We also made it to Spring Valley Ranch, a state park, that is what was a working ranch in this area and also once owned by Howard Hughes (though he never visited).
RedRockcanyon
Comments

Relaxing in Vegas

Today was getting some relaxation in before ramping up to the Winn board meeting at 5 p.m. Always plenty of details to pay attention to there. One last look at the pool and all the hotel guests who were enjoying it.
IMG_0236
Comments

Poolside in Vegas

Another hot day in Las Vegas so we went out and found a spot under an umbrella to enjoy the pool and sun. Bob went swimming and I just dipped my feet to cool off.
IMG_0234
Comments

Red Rock Resort Vegas Style

Bob and I got up at 3 a.m. today to drive to Portland and catch an early morning flight to Las Vegas. The flight was a good one, no problems. Vegas temperature was up around 110 degrees today so it was a hot and tired pair that got to the hotel about 1 p.m. We could check in and cool off. We didn't make the pool today and it closes at 6 p.m. Bummer
Comments

Mt. Shasta in the Sun

On the road again….home. It is too soon since we needed the break from work and the same surroundings. It was a beautiful sunny day for a trip, at least on the northern California side. I just wish we could have gotten some pictures of the Castle Crags. The lighting on them was spectacular.
Mt.-Shasta-web
Comments

Back in Walnut Creek

We showed up in Walnut Creek area about mid-morning. Stopped in Concord to visit the Koellermeier's to talk old times and business. Later on we headed to John and Josie's place to again talk old times and have dinner. It was a good day and fun to reminisce.
Comments

One the Road to California

After spending a cool night over in Bend, we were on the road to California for a quick trip.Going down Hwy. 97 through Klamath Falls and past Mt. Shasta to Weed, CA we past Mt. Shasta peering out from the clouds. There were some big thunderstorms to the west of Shasta over the Trinity mountains.
Mt.-Shasta-in-clouds
Comments

Sunsetting On My Day

Some days start out great and one can feel happy. They can turn on a dime and not end up being a happy day at all. My day today was very much sensated.
IMG_3192
Comments

People, Beach, and Sunset on Coast

Spending the night at Lincoln City. The sunset was pretty cool and I was able to capture it with the small Nikon camera.

IMG_3187
Comments

More Democrats

While staying with the Becnels, we do get entertained in the morning by the gathering of greedy, needy for food raccoons that come down from the trees. As Tim calls them so aptly, The Democrats.
Comments

Off to NOLA

We stayed overnight at the Shilo Inn and caught a very early flight to NOLA (or Covington) to see our friends, Tim and Karen Becnel. They were so good at letting us visit them and stay for 2 nights. We had a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant for supper. Good appetizers, drink, and food.
Comments

Bob at the Beach

Cool Bob at the beach last week and the Hotel Del in the background. I wish we could do this more often.
cool-bob
Comments

Harbor Drive in San Diego

I got a nice photo with interesting lines to it of Harbor Drive, the trolley line and the palm trees. Great view from Joan and Peter's balcony.
Harbor-drive
Comments

Marybeth and Bob

Another great photo of a long time good friend, Marybeth Rymer, and Bob while at the AAFP conference. We have been friends since 1983 while meeting in Santa Cruz at another cat conference.
Marybeth-and-bob
Comments

More Old Friends

I was sent this photo of myself with two long time friends from AAFP, Canadians Heather Stewart and Sandy Jamieson. We all have been a crazy bunch of people who have fun at our meetings.
IMG_3262
Comments

View From a Balcony

We were invited over to Joan Miller and Peter Keys condo along Harbor Dr. It is located about 2 blocks from the Grand Hyatt where we were staying. We have been there once before and it is a lovely place to visit and has a great view of the harbor. I was able to capture a new sunset, not colorful, yet full of gorgeous light on the harbor.
IMG_0211
Comments

Three Cat Experts

Here is a great photo of three top cat experts that I know at the AAFP conference. From left to right: Dr. Susan Little, Dr. Ilona Rodan, Dr. Margie Scherk.
IMG_0182
Comments

Winn Booth at AAFP

Bob got the Winn booth all set up and looking super. Ready to go and meet people!!
IMG_0016
Comments

Dinner With Friends

Hopped on an Alaska Airlines plane to San Diego today. We had a nice flight, sunny most of the way down to there. Over to Coronado Island and the Hotel Marisol. This evening we had dinner with our wonderful friends Tim and Karen Becnel from Covington, LA at Humphries Restaurant on Shelter Island.
timandkaren
Comments

Hotel del Coronado

We went down by the Hotel del Coronado. Such a famous hotel and great memories of being able to stay in the President's suite at the Del. It is striking, especially from this direction.
Hotel Del Coronado
Comments

Travelling to Bend

We made a trek over to Bend, Oregon to talk to an attorney on updating our Trust and will. We need to make it more relevant for Oregon Law than California plus surprising much has changed in about 15 years. Yes, Surprise! It was a smokey drive over due to the fires around the state and PNW. We did get a nice stop in Sisters at the bakery to by cheese bread and other goodies.
Comments

Flying Home

Up very early and caught a cab to the airport. The flights went well and our layover in Denver was a walk but not long in time. We got home about 1:30 p.m. and Dervish was very happy to see us. Still a bit subdued from losing his people around for several days. We are in the middle of a hot spell so we have to run the air conditioner. Up into the 90s!
Comments

Last Day in Indy

Our last full day in Indianapolis. We got up early to attend the VIN breakfast. Nice to chat and meet new people sitting at our table. Bob went running around the Convention Center and I went off to meetings for pretty much the full day. We will try to get an early to bed time since we have to get up around 3:30 a.m. ET to catch a cab for the airport.
Comments

Steak and Shake

David always told us that the Midwest chain of Steak and Shake was a great tasting place to eat. Better than most burger places out here. I had a mushroom burger and chocolate malt. It was very tasty and I did like the flavor of the burger. I would have to second his comments.
Steak and Shake
Comments

Off to Lectures

The ACVIM meeting officially starts for the rest of us today. I am off to visit the lecture halls and listen to interesting cat related information and also Winn-funded research. It will be good to see some familiar faces and say Hi.
Dr. Emily Gould of University of Tennessee
Dr. Emily Gould
Comments

Minor Leagues

Time change and travel seemed to sap my energy on this trip plus I needed to catch up work in the process, Bob went to see a minor league game at the nice Indianapolis baseball park near Downtown Indy.
IMG_1885
Comments

Off to Indianapolis

We headed off early this morning from PDX to the ACVIM meeting in Indianapolis. Good flights and the weather was breezy but sunny in Indy. Our hotel was right downtown and about 3 blocks from the state Capitol building. Too bad we did not visit. We did go out for a steak dinner. The specialty of Harry and Izzy's is a big shrimp cocktail with shave horseradish in the cocktail sauce. Yum. Nose clearing but good.
Harry and Izzys
Comments

Beautiful Gorges

Look to see some of the most amazing and beautiful canyons and gorges in the world on this site.
Comments

Holiday Weekend, What If

We don't plan on doing anything exciting over the holiday weekend. The weather is going to be very low clouds and blah for being outdoors for any activities. The time will be spent on playing catch up on Winn activities that need to be done. One can dream though and here is an interactive map on how to visit all 48 continuous states to visit a landmark there. It says it can be done in 9 days.
Comments

Memories of Norway

Our friends from Norway have posted a link on Facebook to a site with 30 images from around Norway. I would imagine we have seen better than 50% of these places and have photos from the areas too. Probably not as nice depending on weather, print film cameras, and location. It still is fun to compare. The first photo of Trollstigen is definitely a place Bob and I have been and have lots of photos. Here is the site.

Stallheim Gorge, Norway
PD_0126
Comments

Forgotten Civil War Sites

I love to travel and go to Civil War sites. I especially like to find small gems of historical sites that don't always attract crowds. Bob and I have been to Gettysburg, Appamatox, Fredricksburg, Antietam, Vicksburg as some of the biggies. They are special. Now it is great to find this article about some forgotten much lesser known battlefields. Check it out here.
Comments

Grant Review, Dreaming of Boats

We had the Winn grant review today and got finished earlier than we thought we would. Efficient group of people. Now the other work begins. In the meantime, maybe I can dream of nice big boats like I saw at the Tampa Bay marina just outside the Marriott Hotel downtown.
boats tampa bay
Comments

Merlot Wine and Friends in Tampa

I moved over to the Crowne Plaza Hotel closer to the airport this afternoon so we could have the Winn board meeting and grant review here. The hotel gave me an upgraded room since I handled the negotiations for the meeting. The other pleasant thing is that they delivered a bottle of Clois de Bois Merlot wine to the room with cheese, grapes, and crackers. I share with my good friends, Glenn and Elaine Olah. We toasted Bob who could not be there.
Wine in Tampa
Comments

More speaking in Tampa

Getting more CE in today and also watching Steve Dale speak on the veterinary industry and also the Human-Animal Bond. He does a really great job speaking and involving the audience. His mom should listen to him. HappySteve Dale
Comments

Winn Day at AAHA in Tampa

Busy day in Tampa. Winn Feline Foundation had our track in AAHA conference in Tampa. I had to introduce 2 speakers over 4 lectures through the day. It all went very well and people seemed to receive the information well and pick up the Winn materials for their business. Saw one of my veterinary classmates I had not seen since veterinary school, Randy Felts. Time flies.
Comments

What Happens In Vegas

I had to get up early today and catch a flight to Las Vegas. Plane was full and Las Vegas was sunny and warm, not hot. The airport is huge anymore since so many people travel to Vegas. it is a busy, crazy place. I was going to check in to the first day of the Western Veterinary Conference. Upwards of 15,000 people come to the conference. I stayed at the main conference hotel and it was crazy checking in. They were efficient in doing so and I had a nice room close to the elevators. The check in line snaked about 3-4 layers to the front desk as one can see in this photo.
IMG_1567
Comments

Country Music Awards

Country Music Awards are on tonight. We were in Nashville just a few days before they had the big event there. Where Bob and I sat in the Patron Club last Saturday night looked right down on the MVPs tent for the awards. About as close as we are ever to get. Happy
CMA awards
Comments

James K. Polk

President James K. Polk came into office making a promise to serve one term and accomplish his goals in that time frame. He pushed the expansion of the United States to the West..........Manifest Destiny as it were. I have a biography on his presidency which I still need to read. He is buried in Nashville and here is his burial site. Another interesting fact gleaned while there is that the town was established by settlers, one of whom was last name Donelson. He was the father of Rachel Donelson, the wife of Andrew Jackson. Interesting connections.
James K. Polk burial
Comments

Huey and the Print Shop

Last day in Nashville. We did some wandering around the shops near the hotel before off to the airport hotel. A long time poster print shop is located between the Omni and the Country Music Hall of Fame. We learned they have two cats living in the print gallery, Maow and Huey. We got a glimpse of Huey watching the poster printers working. Having a cat adds a lot of color to the place.
HUEY
Comments

Halloween In Nashville

Not much of a spooky Halloween. I spent the day in lectures about feline medicine and Bob went sight seeing around Nashville. The city seems safer and has a lot more to enjoy than the last visit. Bob went to see the Johnny Cash museum today and felt it was a must see. I will have to save it for another time. We spent the evening at dinner with veterinarian friends. I had to take it slower since I had one of my molars break last night and it is painful to eat sometimes.
Here is a picture Bob got of the Tennessee capital. It was a great place to visit I remember from last time.
Tennessee capital
Comments

Music City Here We Are

We took off yesterday afternoon to fly to Nashville for the ABVP meeting. We are staying at the Omni Hotel which is fairly new and quite nice. It is across the street from the Music Center and attached to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville seems to have changed from when I was there 15 years ago and we are more on the eastern edge about 4-5 blocks from where the meeting was last time.
Comments

Last Day for Kalamazoo

Interesting day of presentations and interactions about cats. It was an enjoyable three days in Kalamazoo and I had a great time. I think everyone else did too. Long flight home to Portland through Detroit. Really had to hustle with my bags to get to the new gate.
Comments

The Big Day

Today was my scheduled presentation in front of people at Zoetis. Since I am not a frequent speaker and work behind the scenes, it seemed to go fairly well. We also had a panel discussion and that seemed to be also well-received. It was a relief though to be done and I think I have gotten on the horse and survived so I can do it again if needed.
Comments

Off to Kalamazoo

Caught a flight to Kalamazoo, MI by way of Minneapolis. A large portion of the aged population like me seemed to be traveling to Minnesota. Kalamazoo in the dark looked like a great spot for Halloween Trick or Treating much like Haddonfield from the movie, Halloween. I didn’t get into my room until 11 p.m. so a tired old lady.
Comments

More Meetings

While he is often taking photos and videos of us, I was able to get Steve Dale, radio personality, in a quick snapshot as we got set for another round of board meeting and grant review for Winn.
FullSizeRender
Comments

Planning

The day was fully spent doing strategic planning and practicing leadership. The meeting went well overall and we had a nice evening for dinner at Gibson’s steakhouse located right at the hotel. Eric Bruner, our board member, lead the session.IMG_5115
Comments

Flying to Chicago

Had to leave before 7 a.m. to fly to Chicago for the Winn October meeting. It was a slow start and the flight delayed but it was a nice evening having dinner with my old buddy, Drew Weigner. We have not have enough time to spend together in recent years.
Comments

Hanoi and the Ghosts of Communism

Michael Totten is at it again. Writing about the city of Hanoi in current times, held up to the light against its earlier days of Communism. The system is still there yet not the same. They love America there in spite of the past. Enjoy reading it here.

“The last vestiges of economic communism appear to have been vaporized. Hanoi looks and feels more like a capitalist Wild West than the actual West does these days. But some habits die harder than others.”
Comments

Round Two in Boothmanship

Spent a lot of the day in lectures and roundtable discussions. Lots of interesting information to absorb and hopefully share with others. The roundtable on diabetes in cats had a lot of worthwhile data on what others are doing in their practices as far as monitoring and treating. Bob got the booth up and running Thursday afternoon while I was in lectures. It looks pretty good and lots of people stopped by and donated today.
Bob and booth in Indy
Comments

Indianapolis Bound

My time in the mid-west has been mostly centered around Chicago and St. Louis. Maybe parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. I have not been to Indiana and so today was my first visit to the area and Indianapolis. It is flat, very flat to a girl who grew up near mountainous Oregon. The airport is a distance from town, lots of room to grow if they are looking for that. The route to the hotel was very bland and utilitarian. Really not impressive for a city compared to others. Let’s see what develops.
Comments

California and Tulios

Traveled down to Walnut Creek, CA today to our old home stomping grounds. Traffic is worse than ever, especially along N. Main St. We met our friend, Marybeth Rymer, at Tulio’s Restaurant across from my old practice. The food was the same and as good as ever. Bob had his rigatoni with meat sauce and I had the chicken caesar salad. Their dressing is the best ever and the one I love the most. It was the same and I could have carried off another salad or more if I could.
Comments

Thayer's Approach at Vicksburg

Much to our surprise while traveling through Vicksburg and visiting the historical battlefield there was seeing the monument and stop for Thayer’s Approach. General John Thayer on the Union side had a critical piece and attack during the Vicksburg siege. His men had to attack the Confederate entrenchments up a steep slope. The following picture gives a description of the attack.
Thayer’s Approach
Thayersapproach
Comments

A Single Democrat

Here is a photo of one of the grabbier, aggressive “Democrats” of the group. This one made sure it got plenty of the bread from dinner the night before.
singledemocrat
Comments

The Democrats

One should be able to detect that I am not a fan of the modern Democratic Party and what they stand for. I am very anti- when it comes down to it. Our friend Tim has labeled the six masked critters who come begging for handouts, “The Democrats”. How apt. They are looking for free dry pet kibble. I must admit they are cute to view but I am sure not too friendly if you got close. They stay hidden in the trees and shrubs until they can skulk out and grab their goodies.
BTW, we were headed home from the South today. Our plane trip was good and all on time.
thedemocrats
Comments

Natchez on the Mississippi

After Vicksburg, we were off to the south to visit the city of Natchez along the Mississippi. We were able to drive the Natchez Trace in part on the way. It is a historical route from the late 1700s to early 1800s route from Nashville, TN to Natchez in Mississippi that Native Americans took, frontiersmen, commerce people, to move into the Spanish owned territory along the Mississippi. The road is beautiful in that it is limited access and highlights the natural aspects of the area geography and plant life. We did get to see one yearling deer along the road as we went.
Our destination was Natchez. The city has a big visitor’s center with a lot of information about the area. Natchez eventually went for the South in the Civil War though from their explanations, many of the business people at that time came from the North and had roots there. They did not favor secession. The city now is a tourist destination and it appears a big spot for many to have a travel destination wedding. It is also a center of antebellum homes that people can tour. We just viewed the outside. A lot of history to be found here.
Natchezhome
Comments

The Cairo

One of the most remarkable pieces of the Vicksburg Civil War site is the exhibit of the Cairo (pronounced kay-row). It is an ironclad ship that was sunk in 1862 by Confederates as it tried to steam past Vicksburg. The ship was sunk to the bottom of the channel until it was found and raised through extensive work in the 1960s. One of the cannon carriages is maintained in the museum plus a number of items used in the daily lives of the men aboard the ship. The exhibit is under a sail-like cover and open air. It is an amazing piece of history. Seven ironclads were built. This was the only one sunk yet preserved. Those not sunk were de-commissioned and scuttled.
The Cairo
Cairoexhibit

Thecairo







Comments

Off to Mississippi

We headed off to Mississippi today about 10 a.m. after taking our leave of Karen and Tim. We hated to say goodbye since they are such good people. Our trek took us slightly west and then north into Mississippi to skirt the edge of Jackson, the state capitol. We could not see any of the state buildings. My impression of Mississippi is green, red soil, lots of small trees (evergreen and pine) with slightly rolling hills in places though overall flat land. Our destination was Vicksburg, one of the great Civil War battlefields and a spot we were told not to miss. Boy, was that comment right. It was so very well done and covered a lot of area. Bob and I got through about 80% of the tour by the end of the day. Food here is deep fried whatever. When Bob had batter covered fries, I could not believe it.
Union canon with the Illinois Monument (Union battle lines) at Vicksburg
canonandillinoismonu
Comments

Cat Video Festival Day

Long, fun day of helping our friends set up and hold the first International Cat Video Festival Day in New Orleans. The videos were shown in the auditorium at the Museum of Art at City Park. The booths were set up in City Park. Great music, great food (yum, the Crawfish Beignet), great pictures, and cat goods to buy. It was hot and humid so I hunkered in a chair when not in the cool Museum. It appeared to be a good day for Karen and Tim for the festival though LOTS of work. Here they are in one of their photo experiences for the day with attendees and photo content winners.
catvideoday
Comments

Speaking for Myself

Actually, I am not speaking just for myself and really speaking to the CFA Delegate’s in Winn’s behalf. Glenn Olah is there and will follow me on the podium. After the talk, I was done and able to head over to get our rental car, have lunch with Marybeth before we headed to Covington LA to see Karen and Tim. Interesting riding over the long causeway bridge across Lake Pontchartrain. A lot of growth and people found in this area and roads are pretty congested. Many moved here after Hurricane Katrina and away from New Orleans.

vickispeaking
Comments

Symposium Day

Well, the big symposium day has arrived for Winn. We also had our Zoetis/Winn grant review in the morning. A jam packed day of details and work though it all went well right up and through the great dinner at the Red Fish Grill on Bourbon St. I got all the audio setup and Bob was videographer again. Logistics were a bit difficult for the Symposium room with the food, water, and drinks yet all got said and done in the end. Here is one speaker, Dr. Philip Fox, speaking on HCM in cats.
Dr. Fox speaking
Comments

Meetings and Prints

Since I am now in charge of meeting logistics for Winn, my day was spent making sure of the board meeting room availability and that all our packages have arrived for the Symposium the next day. I made sure to stop and greet Jamie Perry as she holds the “Winnie Marchin’ In” print for sale. We hope it is a big fundraiser for Winn and a seller for her.
JamieandWinniemarching
Comments

Off to New Orleans

Headed off early this morning to New Orleans for the Winn Feline Foundation annual meeting and Symposium. Our flight was through Houston on United. A day of thunderstorms. As our flight left the gate to taxi out in Houston, we had a thunderstorm pass right overhead. There was a one hour ground stop and delay taking off due to this. We arrived in New Orleans at the leading edge of a thunderstorm with lightning all around and over Lake Pontchartrain. A bit of a bumpy ride down and a fast, “hot” landing. Good to get into the Big Easy.

Lightning
Comments

Home from Jersey

After visiting the website designer for Winn’s new website, Bob and I headed to the Newark airport to catch a flight home to Portland and then Lebanon. Unfortunately, I was not on the side of the plane to see the New York City skyline as we left. What a shame to miss that view though one can see the Empire State Building and the new Freedom Tower in the skyline as you look toward there from Newark.
Comments

Hudson River

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans strung a linked cable across the Hudson River to Constitution Island to prevent the British from moving their boats and army up the Hudson Valley by the river. Here is a photo of the Hudson River from right at West Point Military Academy.
Hudson River
Comments

Off to Jersey

Bob and I left Portland at 6 a.m. to fly to New Jersey, landing at the Newark airport. As we approached the airport, I did get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty (seemed small) and also the Manhattan skyline. The look of the cities in the area as we looked down seemed almost burnt or bombed out in appearance. The trees had not leafed out, the grass was brown, and all seemed dark on the surface. They had a tough and snowy winter that seems to have defeated the “garden state” look. It was depressing and the winter was depressing for them too.
Comments

Another Cuba Time

Michael Totten has written another great follow up article to his series about Cuba. I wish our current leaders in Washington, especially on the Democrat side, would take the time to read them. Maybe then some, like Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa (who will retire, Thank Goodness) would not make the idiotic statements praising Cuba as a wonderful example of government working for the people. How the streets are clean....................could it be because they are not allowed to have anything extra as far as food and goods that would even clutter the streets? Maybe they would be jailed if they did or were menaces to society. Too bad Tom Harkin is not jailed for being a pure ignoramus. See here what Cuba is really like and why Michael Totten says he won’t return while the Castro regime is in power.
Comments

Che Quevera and Cuba

Here is another great article and analysis of the recent history and status of Cuba by Michael Totten. He covers the bloody background of Castro’s henchman, Che Quevera. Unfortunately, a large number of ignorant individuals have romanticized Quevera and his visage is found on many a T-shirt. From all reports he was an evil man who was happy to practice revolution, especially in the form of killing anyone in his way or did not support his beliefs or efforts. Michael Totten covers this well in this article and a description of the monument to Quevera in Cuba.
Comments

Beach Dog Ball

Following up on the photo of the two dogs romping on the beach, I did get a photo of one of them running and playing with a yellow ball, much like the one Dervish has. It is fun to watch dogs have a great time at play. This was taken at the beach in the center part of Lincoln City.
beachdog
Comments

Dogs Having Beach Fun

The beach near the D River and the Shearwater Inn seems to collect a lot of beach goers, animals, and kite flyers. I was able to catch a couple of dogs having fun running along the beach, into the waves, and playing catch with a yellow-green ball like our dogs. The dogs here enjoy their beach run, for some reason our dogs don’t seem to enjoy it like their romps in the trees and pastures here.
dogbeachfrolic
Comments

Morning Sun Breaks Over Ocean

Before we left the Shearwater Inn early this morning, there was a beautiful break in the clouds where the sun burst through to highlight the sky, ocean, and beach. I was able to snap some photos from the room balcony. Here is just one of the several photos I took of this sight.
cloudsunspot
Comments

The Splash of Oceans

We were off to the Oregon coast today for a getaway. Staying overnight at the Shearwater Inn in Lincoln City as a Super Bowl viewing treat. We spent a good portion of the day shopping and sightseeing along the coast. It was a fairly nice day with some beach sun. When I was not taking pictures, Bob went and got a good photo of a wave splashing at the outlook tip near Boiler Bay. Nice colors and swirls to the wave as it pounded against the rocks. We saw a lot more wave action this trip than one month ago.
Oceansplash
Comments

Cuban Road Trip, Part Two

The second part of Michael Totten’s Journal covering his road trip around Cuba is found here. In this piece, he traveled to Trinidad which is a World Heritage Site. From his description, it is a beautiful city in many ways, unfazed by the Communist changes to architecture and buildings. Much of what has been there has been in place for centuries, even longer than parts of Paris as he mentioned. It is illuminating when he describes again how little people live on in Cuba, twenty dollars a month. Though even if one has cash money there is little or nothing there that one can use the money to buy. It is much like a post-apocalyptic world where money has no value or meaning to everyday life.

“So it turns out even Trinidad’s bubble of private enterprise can barely hobble along when it’s encircled by communism and cut off from the rest of the world. In hindsight, that’s obvious. I showed up in Cuba on a middle class salary, and I even brought emergency money, but I still couldn’t buy anything. Nothing’s for sale. Everything is in short supply everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your pocket or your account. Cash isn’t as worthless as it would be after the end of the world, but it’s close.”

Comments

Cuban Road Trip

As much as I wish I was the one traveling and on a road trip, I am not. Reading Michael Totten’s World Affairs Journal does make me feel as if I was though. He is a very engaging writer and brings a person right into the heart of where he is. You can see the countryside and experience what he experiences. I have written a piece earlier about his series on Cuba and here is another part of that visit. In this Journal piece, he is writing about taking a road trip to visit the Bay of Pigs. It is a name that should resonate in U.S. history and during JFK’s presidency. One gets a feel for the life of the average Cuban. People live on the same amount of money given to each person monthly. Seafood and meat items can be luxury goods and get them into very serious trouble. Michael Totten’s work is definitely worth reading.

“Police officers pull over cars and search the trunk for meat, lobsters, and shrimp. They also search passenger bags on city busses in Havana. Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote about it sarcastically in her book, Havana Real. “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.”

If they find a side of beef in the trunk, so I’m told, you’ll go to prison for five years if you tell the police where you got it and ten years if you don’t.

No one is allowed to have lobsters in Cuba. You can’t buy them in stores, and they sure as hell aren’t available on anyone’s ration card. They’re strictly reserved for tourist restaurants owned by the state. Kids will sometimes pull them out of the ocean and sell them on the black market, but I was warned in no uncertain terms not to buy one.”
Comments

White Ghetto

Being a big Justified TV show fan, one has to wonder what southeast Kentucky and Harlan County are really like. Bob and I have certainly been in the more central part of Kentucky, south of Louisville, toward Danville and then slightly eastward to Frankfort. One writer, Kevin Williamson, has written a long article about Owsley County, Kentucky which is north of Harlan County and considered the poorest county in the United States. He has titled the article, The White Ghetto, and it does give a sad and discouraging look at parts of the rural countryside in areas of the U.S. where people have little work and local industry. They live for their “draw” from the federal government. Bob and I laugh at one of our favorite scenes in an episode of Justified is a Raylon Jennings looking for a suspect up in the hills of Appalachia where the family members are agitated and frequently spouting “don’t touch my draw” as this is the worst thing in the world to them (which it probably is). There are towns here in Oregon that may approach this type of scenario. Cascadia, east of here, on Highway 20 might come close. Our son, Scott, swears Falls City which is west of Independence, OR would also fit. I am sure there are more. For a read of Williamson’s article, go here.
Comments

Early Morning

We had to get up before 3 a.m. in San Antonio to catch the flight home. We had pretty smooth sailing along the way through Salt Lake and landed about 9:30 a.m. Home about 1 p.m. It is amazing how travel can wear a person out in trying to get unpacked and details finished up.
Comments

Last Day in San Antonio

Surprisingly, it seemed like the numbers of attendees for the last day were way down. Certainly, not as many in the exhibit hall and much fewer in the lecture rooms. I did not place in the photo contest “dagnabit”. Bob helped Tim and Karen to pack up and get ready for a 9 hour drive.
Marybeth, Bob, and I had dinner at Boudro’s on the Riverwalk. One of their specialties is to make guacamole at your table. They took one avocado and cut it in chunks. They mixed it with juices of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lime. They mixed in salt, cilantro, and serrano pepper salsa and it was scrumptious with chips. They have the recipe on the website.photo-1 copy
Comments

Slowing Down

I was able to get in some veterinary lectures this morning. I wound down this afternoon and just visited some of the exhibits. Bob attended the full day design conference and was able to get more information on rooms and materials from this part of the program. We wound down in the Marriott Rivercenter hotel bar with bar food and drinks.photo
Comments

San Antonio Trip

Off to the airport earlier this morning to catch a flight to the great state of Texas. We flew through Salt Lake City on the way to San Antonio. Bumpy ride down and back up with Salt Lake City. Hot and humid in San Antonio. The temperature is around 90 degrees. We got together with Tim and Karen Becnel to have dinner along the Riverwalk at The Original Mexican restaurant. Bob had a good margarita, the mexican food was not quite as good as our local in my opinion.
Comments

Cape Kiwanda

The rain is coming down hard today and it is snowing heavily in the mountains. So it makes for a nice thought to reflect back to a sunny day at the Oregon Coast. It is always striking to visit Pacific Beach and Cape Kiwanda. If there is time, the restaurant and brewery close by is a good place to relax and have tasty food.

_DSC5238
Comments

More Family Beach

While at the Oregon coast I like to take a lot of photos. The ocean waves look great though photos also need interaction and activity, so getting photos of families or pets can add a bit. One set of photos I took the first day where of a family with two little boys who were enjoying running in the sand with their father (when they weren’t hanging close to mom). Enjoy!

_DSC5209 (1)
Comments

Land and Transport

Being a history buff and married to a person who has a Masters in Agricultural Economics and background in transportation, I found this article fascinating to read. In Canada, farms were laid out in ribbon-like pattern along a transportation route. This was developed by Cardinal Richelieu in the 1600s.

The transportation-centric layout of ribbon farms in North America traces its roots back to medieval times. When France was trying to stabilize its colonial foothold in the New World back in the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu (an adviser to the king and powerhouse in French politics) hatched a plan. To encourage more intensive settlement, he parceled the land similarly to the way it was divided in France: in long, thin strips oriented perpendicularly to a transportation route – which in Nouvelle France was primarily the St. Lawrence River.

This concept was different in the United States where the land was plotted and the transport systems brought to it as described here……

Much of arable North America, however, was not allocated in ribbon farms. The Public Land Survey System carved up large portions of the United States into one square mile sections, each of which were subdivided to create farms and aggregated to form townships. Canada adopted a similar system, the Dominion Land Survey, for its prairie states.

So when the U.S. started with square farms, the process and the results were the exact opposite from ribbon farms: We plotted the farms first and then pondered the logistics. It’s therefore no surprise that Americans feel transportation should come to us instead of the other way around. We pick a place to live and then figure out how to get where we need to go. If no way exists, we build it: roads, arterials, highways, interstates … and so on.

ribbon farms
Comments

When Do We Get There?

Most people who have children should know the refrain, “When do we get there?” My children, especially Scott, was great at asking that question about every 5 minutes on a trip from our home then in Walnut Creek California to family in Oregon.
It is amazing how quickly we can be in one place and later in the day, it seems halfway around the world. London in the morning and San Francisco in the early evening, when it would take days or weeks in the past. Of course, with all the TSA headaches of flight in these days, it can seem to be drug out and exhausting when it is so much better than in the past. I noticed a webpage that showed how long it took to go from one location to another at different times in our history. The information can be found here. Happy journeys!

train_platform
Comments

Coast Goodbye

Packed up the latter part of the morning for the trip home. I did try to keep my eyes open for some photo opportunities. While I got the colors of the sunset in the waves last night, we also had a bit of a colorful sunrise and colors in the waves this morning. The moon was also on the descent above the sunrise and made for an interesting take for the morning.

_DSC5270Sunrise through the waves


_DSC5254Sunrise moon
Comments

War of 1812


While in Nova Scotia, we were able to visit the main city, Halifax. We spent two days there and went to see their version of the Tattoo. The first full day was spent primarily visiting the Citadel which was within a few blocks of our hotel. This fortress was the main military installation for this region and it sits upon a hill overlooking the city of Halifax. They have a lot of students who are hired to be in costume of the day. They give tours and there are a number of videos and tours that can be enjoyed while there. In the main building on the upper floor, they have a military museum. One section of the museum is dedicated to Canada’s involvement in the War of 1812. The war is certainly a factor in our history too. Since this is the 200th anniversary of the war and is a major celebration in some areas. The Atlantic Maritimes were a primary region of Canada affected. One recent article in a Canadian publication, the National Post, has a number of links to topics on this subject.IMG_3597A marching band at the Citadel
Comments

Trains

A couple of people I know have talked about how convenient the trains are that travel along the East Coast corridor. It is less expensive to fly and less bothersome than driving. One can spread out a bit more than a plane and it also has wireless to be able to work. Trains though do not work well and are boondoggles in wide areas of population centers like on the West Coast where the cost/benefit ration make them cost prohibitive. That does not mean that politicians do not try such as the airhead who is governor of California demonstrates with his strong push to bankrupt California further by building high speed rail there. The courts have waived the environmental requirements so they will push forward with the project no matter who it hurts. An example of the train station at Philadelphia.
IMG_3034
Comments

Philadelphia

Got in to the hotel about midnight last night. It was an interesting experience taking a cab to the hotel. After I got my bag from baggage claim, I started to walk to the taxi area on the other side of the airport. There was a man asking if anyone needed a cab. Silly me, I answered I did. He took me over to a relatively nice town car with soft seats and no taxi meter. I was a bit nervous that this ride might claim me as a highjack victim or take me somewhere unknown. Fortunately, I did get to the Inn at Penn though the ride was full of his pontificating about the recent spate of politics and who he supported. I felt I best stay quiet on my part since we were opposites in viewpoint since he had my luggage and my person he could not treat well if so desired. I do believe though he was an unlicensed taxi driver working on his own. He tried to charge more than usual though I paid it feeling I included tip doing so. Here is a view of Philadelphia Bob took when we made a similar trip a year ago. The new Constitution Hall Museum.

IMG_3038
Comments

Glass Sculpture

While in Seattle in September, we passed by the new glass sculpture exhibit and garden near the Space Needle. It is a spectacular sight with color and design. These sculptures really glow at night with the lights around them. Here is an example of a portion of sculptures present.IMG_4143
Comments

Major Storms

The East Coast is preparing for what is termed the Frankenstorm. This storm will have a resemblance to the Perfect Storm of 1991. It is a hurricane with a warm weather surge that meets a cold front coming from the West and North that will collide. They expect a huge surge of water to hit Long Island with lots of rain (flooding) and then snow inland. The barometric pressure drop is impressive from their models.
In anticipation of this problem, there have been a couple of interesting articles about preparing for major weather systems and also how to handle being stranded by weather or other problems when flying. Both of these pieces have good information to consider and are just a bit different from the usual discussions on how to prepare or deal with an emergency or life’s changes.
sandy-storm-200x300
Comments

Friends in High Places

How can we not appreciate and treasure good friends? Phony people are all around. The real gems who are real and would be there when needed are not. When you find them, hold on to that specialness as best you can! We got by email today a great photo of our evening at the Space Needle in Seattle with Tim and Karen Becnel. We had such a wonderful meal and view with great conversation. Tim and Karen fit into the special friend category. It was so great to have them stay at our home so we could share an Oregon experience too.
Thayers_and_Becnels_SpaceNeedle
Comments

Windmills

One of the big pushes in the past 5 years has been to develop wind power. Certainly, the area around the Columbia River Gorge and wheat fields of southeast Washington State and northeast Oregon have been prime locations. A number of windmills have been going up in these areas. Often, they are wind farms in name. There has been a lot of controversy over their use. Certainly, a number of business people and companies have lost a lot of money in this energy field. The windmills seem to be produced primarily in China and their lifespan may only be 20-25 years for all the money they cost us. They are striking though and if not too clustered, they do have a look about them. It is interesting to see them at night along the Gorge because they are set with red, blinking lights to determine their location for planes and helicopters (I would assume). It is like seeing a long line of Christmas lights in the sky.
IMG_4210
Comments

End of the Dry?

The late Indian Summer may be almost over. It has been warm, sunny, and dry since near the end of July. There has only been a few hundredths of an inch of rain over that time. The fire danger in the Pacific Northwest is extreme. One exhibit of that is the following photo. When we went up to central Washington State last weekend, we could see across the Columbia River a small fire started on a steep slope about 2 miles east of Hood River. The fire was not still burning when we came back that evening. There have been several fires in that area, some that have closed Interstate 84. it is easy for fire to spread so they are quickly putting them out. The rain is supposed to start in about 48 hours and the plants will most likely give a big sigh of relief………AHHHH!
IMG_4203
Comments

AVMA Headquarters

The morning was spent in discussions at the AVMA headquarters. The meeting rooms are nice and they offer a lunch area on site. The last portion of the morning was spent at the Council on Research meeting where one member, Dr. Tom Rossum, said he had a lot of respect for the work of the Winn Feline Foundation.

Caught an on-time United flight back to Portland. Since I was starting to come down with my cold, it was not a great experience to have a significant nose bleed as the flight was ascending to travel altitude. Traveling is not fun though I will add in a photo of the “drillmaster” statue from last night at Weber Grill. We need Bob to hold that pose as he grills.2012-09-30_18.42.25
Comments

Schaumburg

Most of today was spent at the Embassy Suites in Schaumburg IL. I don’t have much to detail though we went to eat dinner as a group at the Weber Grill. This restaurant is set to highlight the Weber Grill product and the menu is primarily barbecue or grilled items. The food choices were very good. I had a grilled meat choice mix--pulled pork, meatloaf (grilled), and homemade sausage. Yum!
2012-09-30_18.43.10
Comments

Space Needle Memories

Who would believe that this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair with the Space Needle and the Monorail leading us into the future. The idea was space age technology with the development of the microwave and other items we use daily.

My family traveled to see the World’s Fair and I was a young girl. Who me, I am going to tell how old I was in 1962?
Ah, the memories from days gone by. We rode the Monorail from the Westlake Shopping Center over to the Science Center and the Space Needle to eat dinner at the SkyView Restaurant up top with Tim and Karen. Here is the Space Needle from a lowly perspective.
IMG_4144
Comments

Destinations

How exciting to see one of our photos from our trip to the Atlantic Maritimes be used in a travel photo display in our local paper. The Albany Democrat Herald posted one of our photos of French Harbor on PEI. They requested people to send travel photos and a travel tip to the paper and they would show the best ones. Probably 12 photos were picked and ours was one. Our tip was to plan more time to visit Prince Edward Island………two days is not enough where two weeks would be better. This is the second photo I have had placed in this paper. It certainly makes my photography hobby a lot more fun and rewarding. Here is the photo they printed.
_DSC5122
Comments

Freight Transport

There is a lot of freight transport up and down the Columbia River. Barges bearing grains and other products travel to the different ports by going through the locks at a number of dams. I was fortunate to catch a photo of one of the barges that travel the river along with a Burlington Northern freight train traveling on the Washington state side of the river. This was near Wallula Gap, called the Big Bend of the river. We saw several trains traveling along the Burlington Northern tracks as we traveled.
IMG_4023
Below: Columbia River at Wallula Gap

IMG_4025
Comments

Mt. Hood and Home

We took the route around Mt. Hood coming home. It was a road that Bob had not been on--Highway 35 out of Hood River to connect with Highway 26 near Timberline Lodge and going west to Portland. We cut southwest from Sandy on 211 through Estacada to Molalla and then south on 213 as we usually do along the east edge of the Valley. It was an interesting and different drive. Here is Mt. Hood from up close and the southeast side.
IMG_4034
Comments

Classic Cars

We were scheduled to drive home today. We did not realize that Walla Walla had their Wheelin’ Weekend of classic cars on tap. As we went to eat breakfast and get our bread at the bakery to take home, we waited outside to watch the cars being set up for viewing and most likely, judging. One can see how much they gleam after all the hard work put into their care and restoration.

IMG_4018
IMG_4016
Comments

Wine Tasting

In the late afternoon, we headed to L’Ecole No. 41 winery which is along Highway 12, west of Walla Walla. Its setting is at an old schoolhouse that was used right up until about 1974. The Baker family bought the school and started a winery there. This function was a wine tasting with catered appetizers along with featured wines. The function was to celebrate the wineries 30th Anniversary. All in all, it was a very nice function where we purchased some good wine. Who knew Bob was a two-fisted wine drinker (besides his wife). Happy
IMG_4010
Comments

Fires

We drove up to Walla Walla today. As we crossed the Hood River bridge across the Columbia River, we saw the smoke plume for a forest fire just north of the town of White Salmon WA. They had evacuated some homes in the area since the fire was not contained. It is rugged country up that river gorge and in the forest area. We did see some planes heading there with water drops.
IMG_3998
Comments

The Gorge

We are headed out this morning to drive along the Columbia River gorge on the way to Walla Walla WA. I have been along the gorge innumerable times, especially when younger, and did not appreciate the scenery as I do now. It is a geographic and scenic marvel. I am including a photo taken from the Washington side of the river east of The Dalles looking back to Mt. Hood.
DSC_0087
Comments

Travel Photos

There was a listing in the local paper today about sending in your preferred travel destination photo. Both Bob and I sent in a photo each from our mix. I sent in one of the women re-enactors from Fortress Louisbourg and he sent in one of French Harbor on PEI. They also wanted a travel tip too. My tip was to participate and enjoy in local celebrations and living history re-enactments. It adds to your trip and the memories. Another photo from that day at Fortress Louisbourg.
_DSC5046
Comments

Music of Evangeline

I have been sorting and trying to put together an I DVD of our trip. That usually means a mix of photos, video, music and text/labels. In this situation, it takes a bit of organization, concentration, and time.
As I have mentioned, one of the trip highlights was watching a young Acadian girl rehearse her music for an upcoming festival near St. Bernard in Nova Scotia. She was lovely in her Evangeline costume and her play was spectacular to me. Please enjoy!
Comments

Research Networking

Today was spent in a meeting and later, dinner, trying to move collaboration efforts forward on research. It is three steps back, sideways, and some options forward. I will have to work on a set of questions that can be used to see how we can find common ground to work for better research.

In the meantime, I loved the glow lamps that were out on the deck of the Midway. They seemed to light the way and hopefully I can think of them as a beacon lighting some answers our way. (VT)

IMG_3891
Comments

The Midway

The AVMF had their annual function this evening on the de-commissioned aircraft carrier, USS Midway. There probably were several thousand people who attended through the evening at the AVMF event and later with the general AVMA event on the ship. It was a lovely evening on the deck. Two Navy helicopters flew over with AVMA and AVMF officers and their military canine escorts. Plus a military canine use demonstration was performed later. These animals are heroes to all of us on what they do and how they protect our military and country’s safety.

Here is Bob relaxing next to The Cat station where planes would be catapulted for their flights. Nothing like being able to “Listen to Bob”. (VT)

IMG_3893
Comments

Seeing Old and New Friends

It was not easy getting up and around after some travel the day before. The convention center is about 4 blocks away and Petco Field is just 2 blocks. Baseball would be so much more fun than sitting in lectures. It was so nice to enjoy the ambience of San Diego. Lots of restaurants around our hotel, Hotel Solamar, in the Gaslamp quarter.

Bob took off on a rented bike to visit Balboa Park and have Vietnamese food for lunch. He said there are a lot of empty businesses and changes north of the trolley line. The vibrancy, activity, and tourist areas seem to have moved to the Gaslamp area and away from Horton Plaza and spots north of that.

I got to see some old friends who I have not spoken with in a few years and met knew ones that night while visiting Joan Miller at her condo near the Convention Center. What a view and a neat show of fireworks over the harbor and past the Marriott hotel. (VT)

IMG_3879Bob and Kim Thornton (author)
Comments

Catching Up

Today was a travel day. We got up EARLY to catch a 2.5 hour flight to San Diego. The flight went well, especially sitting in First Class. A real quiche breakfast instead of a breakfast cookie in the back rows. There was a marine cloud layer over San Diego when we landed which went away by late morning.

We hitched a cab ride down to Sea Port Village, a lovely spot, to wander around and eat lunch.We picked the Edgewater Pier restaurant along the harbor. They had a really tasty chicken taco salad that hit the spot. Sun, water, and a great view of the harbor. What could be better than watching the newest Destroyer, No. 110, the William P. Lawrence, come in with many hands on deck to its port of call. The ship was commissioned in July 2011 and is a 509 foot guided missile destroyer. This destroyer was one of the Portland Rose Festival ships visiting this last June. What a shame to have missed it. (VT)

2012-08-03_11.47.04William P. Lawrence DDG Destroyer
Comments

More in Lighthouses

Here is another version of a light house as we approached Prince Edward Island on the ferry.

IMG_3779
Comments

Lighthouses are Cool

One thing we saw a lot of on our Maritimes vacation were Lighthouses. There are a number of lighthouses on the West Coast, especially along the Oregon coast. There are a number of books about the history of the lighthouses. I love their look and it was special to see so many different functioning Lighthouses around Nova Scotia and PEI.

IMG_3781
Comments

Yesterday was Bangor Maine

Waking up at the Shilo Inn near the Portland Airport, it is hard to believe that our wake up call yesterday was in Bangor Maine. It was a bright hot day in the Northeast yesterday, though not muggy. The weather in Boston was similar to what we would find in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

IMG_3372Maine Lake near Bar Harbor

We found the airport facilities quickly and got the rental car returned. The Alaska Airlines gate area was comfortable and there were electrical outlets available for the intrepid. A view from Boston harbor to Logan International airport as planes line up.

IMG_3298

The flight was uneventful and we had a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood as they lined up down the Cascades on our approach into Portland. The Thayers were tired so staying the night at the Shilo Inn made sense. Now on to home and our family and animals.

DSC_0021The Thayer Farm
Comments

Back to Boston, Flying to Portland

It is back to Boston day today. Our flight leaves around 5 p.m. and we will need to turn the rental car in. It has been a memorable trip and one I would love to do again. The gentleman seating us for breakfast said he would often take his children to PEI for camping on the beaches. It would be a great vacation place for Maine folks with kids. I want to show recognition here for our trip from the start until we left PEI.

IMG_3286Boston Harbor and city, June 26.

And memories of the culture of Nova Scotia and PEI, a demonstration of drumming at the Piping School.

IMG_3852

To the colorful countryside, fields, and water of Prince Edward Island on July 9.

_DSC5110
Comments

Leaving PEI and Canada

As the evening ended last night and we drove back to Summerside, there was a spectacular sunset off to the west. We saw it over the fields and wished we could have viewed it over the Gulf of St. Lawrence along the north coast. Here is an example of a sunset over PEI.

IMG_3856

Today, we said goodbye to PEI with the hope to return some future day. Our B and B hosts gave us advice on where to get a photo of the Confederation Bridge located between PEI and New Brunswick. The bridge is about 8 km. long, and the longest bridge over a body of water that freezes.

IMG_3863

We had about a slightly over 6 hour drive from Summerside on PEI to Bangor ME. The border crossing was quick and we were welcomed back to the States. It is a very isolated drive on Hwy. 9. Many homes and businesses are abandoned. I think this could be the loneliest highway in America in my opinion, not Hwy. 50 in Nevada. (VT)
Comments

Prince Edward Island

Yesterday was the main day we had to get a small taste of Prince Edward Island. We got around early and headed north from Charlottetown for the Central Coast route. The main goal for part of the day was for me to visit Cavendish. This is the town where Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series of books, lived until she was 37. The area and her life experiences gave her the background to create the charming girl, Anne, of the red braids and straw hat. The books were my lodestone for reading when I was young and instilled in me my hunger for reading. As an only child, I could grab onto and absorb the concept of “kindred spirits”. How special to be able to see something that has had such an impact on your life. We first visited the grounds and remaining real homestead where she lived with her grandparents. LMM’s grandnephew and his wife still manage the site and gave a lovely description of the area and her life. About 1 mile away, the visitor’s centre for the Green Gables historic site covers the house of LMM’s great uncle where she would spend a lot of time and also
influenced in her writing.


IMG_3808

We continued around the central coast route and stopped by French River. The countryside is striking because you have a mix of the fishing industry, small communities, and the farm crops. French River is a great example of the colors noted on PEI.

_DSC5122


Another spot we stopped at was St. Mary’s Church at Indian River. They will hold festivals and concerts at this church. We met a couple who had been married there and heard some of the history. It had been a Catholic Church and in recent years has changed to another denomination. The spire has the 12 Apostles located around the outside.

IMG_3837

Our final destination of the day was our B and B in Summerside called Island Home. Summerside is a popular destination on the south coast and a great central location to visit PEI. Our host, Pat, was helpful in suggesting a place for dinner and things to do. He also mades a very good breakfast. (VT)

While we waited to check in, we stopped in to the College of Piping and went to a free concert they had at 3:30 pm. The young instructors demonstrated piping, drumming, and dance steps. It is great to see institutions developed to keep these traditions going.

IMG_3848

In the evening, we headed over to Kensington which is about 8 miles away to eat dinner and attend a Ceilidh at a local church. The group was called The Long River Players and is made up of 2 men and 2 women with outside help from a step-dancer and their sound lady who plays keyboard. It was a foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time with the group. A very nice way to spend the evening.

Comments

Goodbye to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia

As I was writing the blog for last night, the fog quickly rolled in from the ocean and covered the surrounding area. It was eerie and I felt a bit like being in a scene from the movie, “The Fog” with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh. “Stay away from the fog, don’t go into the fog!” It was still foggy in the morning though cleared up quickly away from Louisbourg. We headed off along the southern scenic shore of Bras d’Or Lake along Highway 4 to head to the PEI ferry. This lake is a huge saltwater lake that practically divides Cape Breton Island in half.

As we started across the Canso Causeway to leave Cape Breton Island, Bob looked to our right and noticed a large number of people along a short promontory jutting into the water of the Causeway. Bob started going “Oh My, Oh My”. What was capturing his attention and everyone else’s was a pod of 10 plus whales near the shore that were diving and playing in the water. We turned around as quick as we could do it safely and came back to that location. The following picture is one of several we got of some of the whales. We also got some video of them and the people watching. People were calling friends--“You have got to get over here to see this!”. Everyone was so excited and it was such a show, a free one at that. We felt the whales were giving us “The Wave” as they frolicked to say Goodbye to Cape Breton for us.

IMG_3751

After this wondrous enjoyment, we headed again for our ferry. Our luck was not holding and we just missed it. So, we had to wait at the ferry terminal for the next one. It was a beautiful trip across the Northumberland Strait to PEI. We had music from two musicians and it was sunny and warm. We had heard great things about PEI and how beautiful it is. Red soil, white houses and fences, neat fields of potatoes, and green lawns. It all was true. It is a delightful area. The farming area reminds me at times of the rolling agricultural area between Stayton and Silverton, though with potatoes.

We have ended up staying the night in Charlottetown. Victoria Park near the harbour is beautiful and has a lovely walkway around the water.

_DSC5075
Comments

Louisbourg and Glace Bay

Compared to yesterday, the morning was sunny overall with high clouds. It was a gorgeous summer day and great weather to spend part of the day visiting the might Louisbourg Fortress. The original was destroyed by Wolfe in about 1760. Canada restored a period reproduction fortress in 1969 that currently covers about 20% of the area of the original. Considering how large this fortress is with its many buildings, the original site must have been huge! The Park Service has many people dressed in period costumes around the fort to allow visitors to see how the people lived and worked in that day. The fort was originally built by the French and was the largest fortress offering protection on the East Coast in its day. The French traded all over the area and worked with the native people, the Mi’kwaw. It was captured twice by the British until it was destroyed as mentioned before.

IMG_3731Louisbourg Fortress and buildings

As mentioned, there were a number of people greeting visitors while in period costume. Women in clogs, white hats, and dress aprons. Children in similar costume. Men in military uniforms or in work clothing of the times. One interesting piece was when they were driving 3 geese around the streets plus leading a ewe and lamb for a “celebrity TV cook” named Allen Cox(ey)?, possibly of BBC showings. He had a man filming the animals which from what I was told.......... the geese were old and probably would not have tasted very good. At least it wasn’t Gordon Ramsey, who would have screamed at everyone.

_DSC5041

And the women..........

_DSC5025


In the afternoon, we drove northeast to Glace Bay. It is the site of Marconi’s first transmission of wireless sound across the Atlantic to a site in Cornwall. The first step to our use of cell phones! A wonderful story of his struggles to accomplish this is in the book, “Thunderstruck”, by Erik Larsen. It was only a 30 minute tour of the museum yet it was special to me because of this book. They have a gentleman in the museum most days sending out wireless Ham radio signals and Morse Code across the world. We have come a long way in 110 years.

IMG_3739Table Head at Glace Bay, N.S.

Right after this visit, we went to the Miner’s Museum. We did not take the tour, though you can go down into a coal mine next to the sea. This area was the first coal mining done in North America. It was an interesting history. Unfortunately, the government felt that coal mining did not pay for itself and the mines were overall shut down by the 1990’s. There are still about 3000 miners in the area, down from about 12,000. (VT)
Comments

Cape Breton Highlands to Louisbourg

Today’s plan was to venture up and over the Cape Breton Island peninsula. We said goodbye to our hosts at the Pilot Whale in St. Joseph du Moine. It was an interesting stay since the area is Acadian settled and our hosts speak English and Acadian French. Our French is too rusty and long ago to be of huge use in this setting. I do want to include a picture of the B and B and the surrounding country as we go.

IMG_3656

As we headed up the coast, we stopped at Aucoin’s Boulangerie, a French bakery with great bread. We approached the part of the National Park that has few to no roads near Pleasant Bay Harbour. You can see what wild country it looks like and there were clouds and mist over the mountains. Lots of deer, moose, coyotes, and other critters in those mountains.

_DSC4969

Stopping at one spot along the Ingonish area of the Cape Breton coastline, we could get a closer view of the beautiful shores, rough water, and the work of the lobster fishermen in their boats snagging lobster traps close to shore.

_DSC4995Snagging lobster traps

One interesting side trek we took was to Baddeck, along Bas d’Or Lake. This lovely little town was the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell and his family. He kept a laboratory here also. They have a national historic site museum here and it tells of his life and inventions. Bell started out his life working with the deaf and trying to bring a hearing world to them. His wife was hearing challenged. He also ended up being close friends with Helen Keller and helped expand her world. Bell was amazing in that he had a hand in inventing the telephone (of course), also worked with the telegraph, gramaphone, flying, kites, X-rays, genetics, and the hydrofoil. His work with flight went on to form the Lockheed company. His large home here near Baddeck was called Beinn Bhreaghm. The following photo is of the Bell museum. (VT)

IMG_3676Alexander Graham Bell Historical site
Comments

Cape Breton Island, Day One

Today started off early with a 7 a.m. departure to Cape Breton Island. Our goal was to make the 11:30 a.m. Cailidh in Judique at the Celtic Music Cultural Centre. Both of us love Celtic music and have many albums. This area is the birthplace of Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and the Rankins for just a small number.

We made the Cailidh with a little time to spare. “Failte” (fell-cha) greets us as we enter. “Failte” is “Welcome” in Gaelic. The Director of the Centre is Kinnon Beaton and he will play the fiddle for about one hour over the lunch period. We listen to music while eating a lovely seafood chowder full of scallops, crab, and lobster which is then topped off with a bread pudding with caramel sauce. The music is toe-tapping wonderful and we got some video of the different songs played. Here is Kinnon Beaton with Dewars playing piano. We even had an example of “Close to the Ground” Cape Breton step dancing.

IMG_3611

They have an exhibit area at the Centre where one can learn about jigs, reels, slow airs, and Strathspeys. They even have video to show you how to play a few notes of the fiddle and to do step dancing too.

We headed on further up the left coast of Cape Breton to our destination of St. Joseph du Moine, just south of Cheticamp. Our B and B is the Pilot Whale at St. Joseph. Not far from there, Bob saw a Bald Eagle just off the road and he was able to get a few photos of this magnificent bird. (A host at our B and B stated a moose was spotted a few days ago in a local bog. Not a common sight if you go looking for them).

_DSC4931

We headed into Cheticamp for dinner time. The outstanding structure is the Catholic church of Eglise Saint-Pierre. It had an beautiful interior as the other churches we saw on the Acadian coast.

IMG_3640Eglise Saint-Pierre at Cheticamp N.S.

Shortly after visiting the church, we drove out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Cheticamp harbour. It is active and the light was going for all boats and ships at sea.

IMG_3646

It is fascinating as we travel across Nova Scotia. There are areas of more English influence such as near Halifax. As we traveled into the Cailidh Trail such as with Judique and Mabou, the signs are in English with Gaelic underneath. In the areas where the Acadians are more present, such as in Cheticamp, Grand Pre, and Saint Bernard, all the signs are first in French, then in English (the reverse is true in other areas of Canada). What an interesting culture and impact they have on their surrounding communities. (VT)
Comments

Halifax Harbour

Today was our day to visit Halifax since we will hit the road early to see a Ceilidh in Judique on Cape Breton Island. We love celtic music and this area is certainly a center of it. Many good artists come from this region.

But I jump ahead. This morning we toured The Citadel. This is the main fortress on top of a hill overlooking Halifax harbour. It is now a tourist site yet was an active fortification for 200 years. There were many young men in dress uniform performing tasks. In questioning, we find that they are students primarily working and performing a role and not active military. They seem to do a good job and certainly appear authentic. The following is a picture of the Clock Tower at the base of the Citadel with the Convention Center just behind along with Halifax Harbour even farther in the distance. The Clock Tower is very distinctive landmark in the city.

IMG_3571

The Citadel was established in 1746 and the Noon Gun has been fired every day since 1856, maybe even since the 1700’s. We were fortunate to watch the military ceremony to load and fire the Noon Gun. You can see from this picture below how they were set up to fire.

IMG_3588

The Pipes and Drum corps were on hand at shortly after noon to play a rousing group of songs. I can see why at one time they banned the bagpipes as a war weapon since it can be rousing to follow the call of the pipes and drums. A great way to get in the mood for our celtic journey.

IMG_3597

The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It had a lot of interesting exhibits under its roof. Two that caught my interest were one-- the display on the ships and people who laid communication cable from Nova Scotia or Newfoundland across the Atlantic to Britain or France over the last 100 years plus. Dangerous work with a need for many skills. One cable ship responded to the Titanic disaster since they were better able to retrieve the bodies that were found from the ocean surface. The other exhibit covered the terrible disaster that hit Halifax on the morning of December 6, 1917. A French munitions ship, the Mont Blanc, was entering the harbor and was hit by a Norwegian vessel, the Imo. A fire started and burned on the Mont Blanc. The French sailors knew the danger and left the ship to take shelter in nearby woods. Many of the people in Richmond (this section of Halifax) were unsuspecting or went to sightsee. A massive explosion leveled the area killing thousands and injuring possibly 25,000. A personal note in a film shown at the museum said one family lost 25 members. So very sad. (VT)

Comments

The Evangeline Trail

It was with sadness that we left our hosts in Annapolis Royal. Bill and Ann Marie were about the best B and B hosts you could find. We shared a number of stories and laughs while there. We met a lovely couple, Bob and Susan, from Halifax during the first two days. They were so kind to share some of their lobster purchased over on the Bay of Fundy. Fortunately, Susan was an expert at cracking lobsters since we are ham-handed. It was so good! Now, when it comes to pig, Susan is less apt. They went to the local Pig Feed just down the road at the community center on the night of Canada Day. We wanted to go and could not get tickets for the same time. When it came time that the roasted pigs were carried out “in whole” and served right off the pig, Susan said she could not look at the pig or eat it. The production and look were too much for her.

Well, on to packing up and going down the Annapolis River Valley to follow the Evangeline trail. The farm land was impressive, especially around Kentville and the Acadian dyke land of Grand Pre. Grand Pre is the center of “Le Grand Derangement”. On july 28, 1755, the Acadians (the men) were invited to meet with the area’s Governor. While there, they were surrounded by troops and promptly separated from their families to be transported to ships and dispersed to other areas. This is the start of the Acadians being sent to New Orleans, Quebec, New England, and France. Despite the dispersement, the Acadians have survived and carried on their traditions. They could not have had a better spokesperson as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, Evangeline.


_DSC4912Evangeline statue at the National Park

The National Park service has a lovely museum and headquarters in Grand Pre. The Park covers about 14 acres with lovely gardens and it also looks over the dykelands the Acadians developed. There is a memorial church on the grounds and it gives more history and color to the trials of the Acadians. Just this last Saturday, the Park Service found that this site had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of 16 in Canada (three in Nova Scotia).

_DSC4915

While at the church, I noticed two children enjoying the church cat. The young man said he loved cats............my kind of people. So Bob got a photo of us with Evangeline, the 16 year old church cat.

IMG_3558

We got to Halifax about 4 p.m. and prepared to attend the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo at the Convention Center in Halifax. The Tattoo was spectacular and full of talented people. The U.S. was represented by the Band of America’s Few. It is made up of retired Marine band members. The focus this year was on the Queen’s 60th Jubilee year, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Highlights were the 1812 Overture at the end of the first act and the high wire scaffold act above the center arena floor of the Paris Police Officers Group who perform impressive gymnastics. The pipes and drums at the Tattoo. (VT)

2012-07-03_18.36.24Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

Comments

Wine Tasting and the Acadian Coast

July 2 was a very pleasant day of sightseeing. We drove west and south to visit the Bear River community. It is developing into a wine area and we stopped at Annapolis Highlands winery. They have a Pinot Gris that is good and different from a Pinot Gris made in the West of the United States. It is a bit more tart, less sweet than an Oregon wine. After a great lunch at My Dream Cafe on the Bear River (and it is on, since part of it is on stilts in the river), we drove down the Acadian coast.

One pretty stop was the Gilbert Cove Lighthouse on the way to St. Bernard’s. It was interesting because we watch a seagull harass a Bald Eagle near the lightlhouse.

_DSC4873

St. Bernard’s has the largest stone church in North America. It is very large and impressive from a distance. While visiting, a young Acadian girl came to see her brother at the church and started practicing her violin. I got 2 great clips of her playing. It was very special and she was lovely and very good at her craft. The church is renowned for its acoustics and many international artists have played there. I would say the acoustics are special.

IMG_3496Eglise’ St. Bernard

About 5-7 miles further down the road is another large wooden church at Church Point. This is a very unique church with many wonderful stained glass windows. It has a wonderful story and the interior walls are lined with canvas. The following is an example of the church and then its stained glass.


IMG_3505Eglise’ Saint Marie

IMG_3508One of the 20 odd stained glass windows.

Last but not least, the full moon over the Annapolis River at high tide. What a beautiful sight! (VT)

IMG_3530

Comments

O' Canada

Now that I have better internet access, I am going to work on catch up for the blog. I will probably enter days or interests in different blog entries so it does not get too long.
Sunday, July 1, was Canada Day. We decided to participate in the local town’s festivities (Annapolis Royal). We first went downtown to visit the shops and see the local museums. The first one we visited, Sinclair Museum, was small yet interesting. It was an example of an Acadian tavern from the 1700’s that showed the wood and stone structure through cut-outs of the walls and floors. Just outside we saw one of the town cats strolling the sidewalk greeting people.

_DSC4818

Or observed two Westies and a Scottie checking out the wooden boardwalk with their owner.

_DSC4812

At 11:30 a.m., we were at the town hall steps listening to the Town Crier and his two young apprentices, along with the Mayor of Annapolis Royal, read the Canada Day proclamation. We joined in to wave Canadian flags and sing O’Canada. While I respect the Queen and wish her all health, I cannot sing God Save The Queen since we did have a Revolution to not have royalty as our head of government. Bells were rung, proclamations unfurled, and a flag raised.

_DSC4841

We followed the crowd from the city hall along the path to Fort Royal to the Canada cake cutting and hot dog grilling area. The local band played several wonderful songs under the shade trees near the battlements. In another area, there were try outs for a future town crier. “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, my name is “Oliver Stephen Bonnington” was firmly shouted while ringing the bell.

_DSC4859

The people were very friendly and as we were leaving, Oliver’s Dad came over and wished us a wonderful rest of our vacation. It was very special to see how this little ceremony demonstrated the pride and enjoyment the Canadians have in their traditions. They were supportive of each other and their community. We visited Fort Royal’s museum before we left the festivities and learned about its function as a military fort for the area. There had been 13 major battles there and the fort had changed hands 7 times over its history.

Later that afternoon, we ventured off to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. The Gardens are highly regarded and a wonderful place to view. The roses were so fragrant, especially one variety, the Mrs. John Laing, from 1887. It had a tangy, sweet smell. (VT)

IMG_3448Mrs John Laing rose
Comments

Annapolis Royal Sojourn

Bob and I have been staying at a B and B in Annapolis Royal area of Nova Scotia since Saturday night. It has been difficult to get the computer to access the internet so I have not been able to write on the blog as much. Hopefully, while in Halifax I can catch up. We are having a great time and there will be lots to share.

For a taste, I will post a picture of our B and B, A Seafaring Maiden, in the blog for the day. (VT)

IMG_3469
Comments

Bangor to Annapolis Royal N.S.

Rousing ourselves early this morning, we hit the road shortly after 7 a.m. to go to Acadia National Park, the Park Loop, and Bar Harbor Maine. We knew we would have to leave the north part of the Island by 1 p.m. to head along Hwy. 1 along the Maine Coast to Calais (pronounced “Callous”, which Bob laughed about more times that I could count), the border crossing with Canada. Back to the DownEast area..............Acadia and Bar Harbor. We went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain which is the highest spot on the East Coast and the first part of the United States to see the sunrise. The island was named Desert Island by Champlain in the early 1600’s because it is bare of most trees and has a lot of rock with little cover soil. You can see how happy Bob is to be on vacation and seeing new territory.

_DSC4728

After visiting the mountain, we stopped by Bubble Pond and then Jordan Pond. These are more beautiful small lakes than ponds that have been dug out of surrounding ground by glaciers many years ago.

_DSC4739

We then shortly visited Seal Harbor, the Northeast Harbor and drove along Sommes fjord. One boat was out in the fjord checking his lobster traps.

IMG_3376

Our final stop while on Desert Island was Bar Harbor, a very quaint town that brings to mind Carmel or Calistoga CA. it looks like a neat place to stay and then see the sights around the area. We enjoyed a Lobster Roll with fresh Maine lobster on grilled toast. We bought 1/2 lb. crab meat at the same place to eat along with way with a box of fresh strawberries. The crab was really great, mild and melt in your mouth like butter. Yum!

It was on to Calais and entering Canada. The border crossing was fairly quick. They wanted to know if Bob was an unemployed Terrorist and if I was his veterinarian accomplice. Since we weren’t, it was OK for us to be Canadians for a few weeks. We found a lovely beach and view of the Bay of Fundy at Dipper Harbor located about 18 miles west of St. John.

_DSC4807

We rushed off to get in line for the ferry crossing from St. John to Digby NS. For some reason, the ferry left the dock about one hour before we expected. Later we found out that the time zone changed to one hour ahead at the border. A very good thing that Bob pushed us to be there early or we could have missed our ferry and lost the $178 it cost to take it. It is about 72 km across the Bay of Fundy (where the tide change can be 4 stories in itself). We will arrive about 11 pm at Digby and on to the B and B. (VT)
Comments

Maine Stopover

We traveled up I-95 this afternoon and reached Bangor Maine in 4.5 hours. It is not a very scenic drive since there is mostly just scrub trees alongside the road. It appears that the East Coast seems to favor not cutting plant growth alongside roads where in the West, we have a much better view of the countryside from our freeways. It is much nicer to view the Willamette Valley or the Columbia River Gorge than have the view blocked by trees.

Bangor seems to be a nice city with some large barn-like homes near the downtown. They look like they have a lot of square feet or would hold a number of apartments. It is difficult to adjust to the New England abruptness or crustiness, especially with servers at restaurants. It is no-nonsense business, “What do ya waaant” type of request and don’t interfere with their work. Bob asked tonight for Zinfandel and they said they had it. it was White Zinfandel and when he said he had asked for a red Zin, it was “Oh, you want a Chianti”. Different reality! Bangor is Paul Bunyon Country and also has a museum of The Maine. It is a shame we don’t have more time here. On to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor ME daytime tomorrow, a thunderstorm is threatening tonight. (VT)


2012-06-29_18.26.44 Peirce Memorial to Lumbermen in downtown Bangor.
Comments

Heading off to Maine today

We are set to leave around noon for our drive from Quincy up to Bangor Maine. Before we leave the area, I want to mention the Stone Cottage at the Adams House. The cottage in the picture has about 14,000 books belonging to the 4 generations of Adams. It also has the desk of John Adams where he wrote many of his papers and important documents. (VT)

_DSC4698
Comments

"It is but the farm of a Patriot' - John Adams, 1788


Getting around early, we made the 10:15 tour of the Adams Historical Site in Quincy MA. The tour leaves from the National Park Service store at Hancock Plaza. The trolley goes first to the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The houses are next to each other. It reminds me of The Alamo in that the houses and some lawn are right in the middle of many homes and businesses in a large neighborhood.

_DSC4692

The Adams home is below where they lived after John Adams was Peace Envoy to France and Ambassador to Great Britain. There were many original antiques and paintings. The Stone Library was wonderful with 14,000 books belonging to the 4 generations of Adams. The desk John Adams wrote many of his papers and worked on the Massachusetts Constitution is there. This is felt to be the oldest, standing Constitutions in the world and the basis for our Constitution. You can feel the respect and awe for this document by the National Park Service guides and the public. One wishes that many in our current government and administration could have such respect for our federal Constitution. Instead of fund-raising, maybe some historical sight-seeing is in order. (VT)

_DSC4697

“John Adams is an honest man, often a wise one, and absolutely at times, out of his senses.”
Ben Franklin, in Paris.

_DSC4707
Comments

A New Day

I could see a bright orange glow peeping through the gap in the curtains at 5 a.m. ET. I got up and looked out the window to see this beautiful sunrise over Quincy MA. We should be off to the Adams Historical Site today so it should be a new, interesting day. (VT)

IMG_3311
Comments

A Day of Travel, Then Boston

IMG_3291


We got started this morning by arriving at PDX shortly after 5:30 a.m. Our seats had been re-structured to where we had to be in the last row on the left side. Full flight. Time did seem to go quickly and it was a non-stop on Alaska Airlines. We landed with thunderstorms around and in the midst of rain and wind gusts. As wheels touched down, a big wind gust blew the plane sideways to the right. A new experience.

We caught the Blue Line Bus #66 to the Water Taxi/Harbor Express to Quincy. It was a fun ferry and an opportunity to take photos of a new area I have not seen before. Boston Harbor and the City (below).

IMG_3287IMG_3295

The Boston Harbor Wharf near downtown Boston from the Harbor Express on the way to Quincy. (VT)


Comments