Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

When Captain Cavedweller and I were at the Oregon coast a couple of weeks ago, I took a few shots on the beach just at sunset.

It was quite lovely. And I really liked having the lamppost in this photo.

The sunset, the salt in the air, the sand beneath our feet … you couldn’t have asked for a better evening to snap a few photos.

She Who Loves Sunsets

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1. While on vacation, we went to a museum that showed how whale boning (which is actually baleen from a Baleen whale’s teeth) was used to provide the rigid structure in a corset. Between the front boning and the back lacing, a corset looked exactly like some old-fashioned, and quite often elegant, torture device for women.

2. I am so lucky to have been born long, long after corsets were commonly worn. This girl would not have done well laced into that contraption.

3. Car salesmen, no matter what city you are in, seem to share a lot in common.

4. When left with few options, lunch at Costco can be a tasty and popular choice.

5. Leaving doors open to your vacation rental on a warm afternoon is, apparently, an open invitation for wildlife to waltz right in.

6. Skylights in said vacation rental are the perfect place for uninvited birds to try to escape back outside.

7. Smart vacation rental owners leave ladders available for stupid renters who inadvertently let birds in the rental and have to retrieve them from 18-foot tall skylights.

8. Pie can be a great breakfast food.

9. The super-sized marshmallows burn just as fast as the regular sized marshmallows. Only the insides take longer to become molten under the charred outer crust.

10. I would not have made it as an adventurer with Lewis & Clark. Nope. Not at all.

She Who Is a Homebody

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One of the places we visited last week when Captain Cavedweller and I were on vacation was Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark and their weary crew spent the winter.

Arriving in December 1805, the brave men from the Corps of Discovery were there until March 1806. The Fort was constructed on the banks of the Netul River (now Lewis and Clark River).

What you’ll find on the grounds today is a replica of the original fort as well as living history programs, an exhibit hall, orientation films, a bookstore, crafts and more. There are also trailheads along the river. Me, being me, decided the hike down to the landing was far enough and told CC if he wanted to do the 6.5 mile hike of Fort to Sea Trail, he was on his own. He decided lunch sounded way better than the hike. Excellent choice on his part!

A replica fort was built in 1955 largely from a floor plan that Clark drew on the elkskin cover of one of his journals. It was destroyed by fire in 2005 and another fort was constructed.

Some things of interest we learned through the orientation films and exhibits were that the group of men who traveled with Lewis and Clark were hand-selected for their bravery, intelligence, strength and skill. These men were the best of the best.

I hadn’t realized how much of their travels from Missouri was on waterways rather than across country. They interacted quite a bit with Indian tribes, were resourceful in their journey and were careful in their actions.

If you want to get a really nice look at the history of these two men and this journey, Discovering Lewis & Clark is an interesting resource.

Another thing that impressed me was their commitment to the project. They did what they set out to do.

Capt. Meriwether Lewis and Capt. William Clark both kept journals. The exhibit hall at Fort Clatsop offered insight into both of their writings and shared some quotes that were quite interesting. Clark was also very intent on drawing accurate maps. According to information shared in one of the orientation films, the measurements he recorded from Missouri to the Oregon Coast were only off about 40 miles. Fascinating considering the tools he had to work with over the vast miles they covered during the journey.

They men originally arrived on the Washington side of the Columbia River but after 10 days of trying to find a place to set up a winter encampment, they voted to cross the river. They found the site, which would become Fort Clatsop and began to build the fort, named for a local Indian tribe.

A few days after Christmas, Clark directed three men to travel to the ocean and form a camp to “commence makeing salt with 5 of the largest kittles…”

The group ended up in Seaside, Oregon, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Clatsop. Salt was obtained by boiling sea water “day and night” in kettles placed on an oven built of stones and fueled by trees and wood debris found along the shore. The men produced about three quarts a day of what Lewis described as “excellent, fine, strong & white” salt.  The reason for the need to make salt was a because the supply the group brought with them was nearly exhausted and they needed salt for both preserving and flavoring their food. About three bushels of the four produced were packed in kegs and taking on the journey home.

Here are some photos from the fort. Enjoy!

Replica table and chairs in the fort.

Fire used to heat beef grease for making candles.

Pouring wax into molds similar to those that would have been used in 1805/1806.

Sacagawea – her importance in the success of the trip was highlighted in several areas throughout the fort displays and exhibits.

Lewis, Clark, and a local Indian (and Lewis’ dog Seaman).

The detail on the statue was amazing. Look at the fringe on his coat.

Captain Cavedweller, of course, liked this particular exhibit that showcased some of the guns and accessories from the time period.

On the trail to the river, the landscapes were quite lovely.

If you ever find yourself on the tip of the Oregon Coast near Astoria, stop in at Fort Clatsop. It really is worth your time!

She Who Loves History!

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When Captain Cavedweller and I were on vacation a few weeks ago, one of the places we visited was the Astoria Column.

It is a very interesting piece of architecture and beyond that, the views from the column are breathtakingly beautiful.

To get the full effects of the view, you must climb up a gazillion stairs which would be why CC and my camera went to the top and I stayed at the bottom.

These would be the gazillion steps I did not wish to climb. CC climbed them and was still sore four days later.

If you ever find yourself in the Astoria, Oregon, area, take a trip out to the column. It is well worth your time.

Here are some details:

  • Patterned after Trajan’s Column, Rome, Italy
• Constructed of: Concrete
• Depth of foundation: 12 feet
• Elevation, Coxcomb Hill: 600 feet
• Height: 125 feet
• Number of steps: 164
• Number of cartoons: 12
• Number of brown figures: 200
• Length of artwork, unwound: 500+ feet
• Decoration at top: State seal of Oregon
• Completed in 1926
• Dedicated July 22, 1926
• Original cost: $27,133.96
• Column restoration: $1 million 1995
• Plaza restoration & lighting: $2 million 2004


She Who is Not Fond of Stair Climbing

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The Yurt

When Captain Cavedweller and I started talking about where we wanted to go on vacation, we threw around a lot of ideas, finally settling on the northern Oregon coast.

My friend Michele told me about a website, Vacation Rentals by Owner, that offered homes for rent. Since we were going to be there for a week, it seemed like a better choice than staying in a hotel. So I started browsing through the options and came to a complete and abrupt halt when I saw a listing for a yurt.

Not just any yurt… but a beautifully finished yurt in a private wooded setting complete with a pond.

From the online photos it looked quite wonderful. So I contacted the owner, made our reservation and paid a deposit.

Then CC and I began to wonder if we’d taken one to many steps off the deep end.

When we told people we were going to spend a week in a yurt, they looked at us kind of funny. Some even laughed at us.

Having never stayed in a yurt before, we didn’t know what to expect. From what I’ve heard, some yurts are nothing more than an octagonal shaped tent on stilts.

Lucky for us, the one we rented was way more than that.

There was the lovely pond.

And the creek that would have been perfect for wading in on a hot summer day.

There was a fire ring for campfires – and even sticks for roasting wieners or marshmallows.

And an amazing deck complete with picnic tables, coolers, plenty of chairs and prep space.

Not to mention a very nice barbecue.

And then we went inside…

Where we were greeted by this fun sign that I loved. Everyone needs to run amuck on occasion. (Although there was no bear wrestling or skinny dipping or snipe hunting on this trip.)

Comfortable leather couches and a big flat-screen TV for Captain Cavedweller’s viewing pleasure.

A beautiful kitchen in which I took much pleasure. (If you look up to the top of the photo you can see zig zag lines of light. The owner had fun little lights strung across the top of the yurt and rope lights encircling the inside as well as the outside. It was awesome!).

Even the bathroom was very nicely appointed and carried through the lodge theme.

And someone may have enjoyed the deep garden tub and bubble bath way more than they should have. Maybe.

We were completely surprised and impressed by how lovely, nice, comfortable and completely wonderful our yurt turned out to be. We’d definitely stay there again if we make another trip to Seaside.

As Captain Cavedweller put it, it was one luxurious week of roughing it.

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When Captain Cavedweller and I headed out on vacation last week, I wanted to drive through a particular area because my next series of books is set there. For visual purposes, I wanted to get up close and personal with the region.

Exploring the town, we decided to take a “short cut” on to the rest of our trip.

That short cut ended up taking a good hour if not two longer than if we’d backtracked and gotten back on the freeway.


But then we would have missed out on some hairpin turns, cliffs with no guard rail… and some really beautiful country.

We drove from Grass Valley to Tygh Valley, Oregon, on an old curvy road that was about to make yours truly car sick. But the views were spectacular.


We came down a winding hill and around a curve to see several people fishing the Deschutes River. Driving a few hundred feet up the road, the river was roiling and absolutely breathtaking to see. You could even feel the spray on your face.

We discovered part of our travels took us over the old Barlow Road. For those of you who aren’t history buffs, the Barlow Road  is a historic road  built in 1846 by Sam Barlow and Philip Foster, with authorization of the Provisional Legislature of Oregon, and served as the last overland segment of the Oregon Trail. Its construction allowed covered wagons to cross the Cascade Range and reach the Willamette Valley, which had previously been nearly impossible. Reports say it was by far the most harrowing 100 miles of the nearly 2,000-mile Oregon Trail journey. I could easily believe that to be true.

Before the opening of the Barlow Road, pioneers traveling by land from the east followed the Oregon Trail to  The Dalles and floated down the Columbia River to Fort Vancouver, which was both dangerous and expensive.

The Barlow Road begins at The Dalles and heads south to Tygh Valley, then turns west and roughly parallels the White River on the north and then west. It  crosses the south shoulder of Mount Hood at Barlow Pass, follows Camp Creek and the Sandy River for some way, ending in Oregon City. When the Mount Hood Highway was constructed, the Barlow Road was mostly abandoned.  It still exists as a dirt road in some places, while most other parts have been paved over by modern streets and highways.

If you are ever in that part of Oregon and don’t mind windy, curvy roads, take a side trip for some scenery you’ll never forget.

She Who Sometimes Enjoys Getting off the Beaten Path

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Reaching 100,000

Hubby, my very own Captain Cavedweller, had the day off today and instead of sleeping away half the day as he has been known to do on rare occasion, he was up early and rarin’ to go. Where I don’t know, but rarin’ I tell you.

So with nothing better to do than twiddle his thumbs, he went out to start my car for me, shovel the sidewalk and scrape the windshield. When he came back in, he reminded me to keep an eye on the odometer as I drove into work because my car, my wonderful little car that has traveled to hither and yon and back again, was just about to hit 100,000 miles.

Huh? How could that be?

Who’s been taking my car for long joy rides and not telling me? Where did all those miles come from?

It is possible a lot of them came from running around the countryside the last four years doing home parties. The car and I have been to parties covering a four-state region.  We’ve driven through rain, snow, sleet, hail and even thunderstorms that caused me to toss Goldfish crackers all over the inside. I’ve run through potholes made by T-Rex’s (long story for another day), had the back window blown out on the freeway by what should have been labeled a fallen meteor and slid unscathed through icy intersections (no, it wasn’t this morning, although with the state of the roads it could have been a possibility).

So I spent my white-knuckled drive slipping and sliding into work, glancing repeatedly to watch the car go from 99,990 plus miles to hit the big 100,000.

Although there wasn’t any fanfare or confetti as the 99,999 rolled into 100,000,  it is an occasion I will remember. My sweet little car and I have been a lot of places. I’m hoping we have many more miles of adventures to travel together.

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