Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aug 26, Astoria to Bend: On the Road

Thus begins a mini-adventure. Not that we expected anything to be difficult, but it would be the first time Laurel and I and Teagan would travel from Astoria to Bend to see Lee, aka Dad and Grandpa. First stop, Coffee Girl on Pier 39. I couldn't help but take a photo in this setting. I was a bit sorry to be leaving our wonderful weather and the coast I so love for dry and possibly hot parts inland.

My first glimpse of Teagan for the day was in the dark cave of the SUV. Dark because we're parked inside of the Pier 39 building.

Ooooh. Micky, Minnie, and Donald. I hadn't liked them so much as a child, but it seems they've morphed with modern technology into educational animals rather than ones that simply get caught in stupid situations and make impossible contortions with their bodies to get out of trouble. The colors are nice. As long as Teagan can't see the road from his car seat, he can learn about angles and the formation ducks fly in. I'm wondering if his first words will be, " . . . two sides of the triangle."

Same-old, same-old in a sense, but always different, and always worth a picture. I love being able to see the ships just about every day.

A few hours later and nearing Mount Hood, the clouds were interesting. In this case, the white thing on the left is INSIDE the car. Oh, well. I just like taking the photos.

More cloud formations nearing the mountain.

You get only a few good camera-worthy glimpses of Mount Hood as you skirt the old volcano. Today the glaciers are pared down to a bare minimum from where they were a decade or two ago.

Nice cloud formation, beautiful Mount Hood. Skirting the mountain by road.

Here's an underpass with pedestrian overpass adjacent to the mountain. It's attractive, with each design element featuring an animal or image. I hoped to get an animal in the camera sights as the car swooped past, but I think I got toboggans. On another trip, I believe I got a fish.

The small town of Government Camp is just off the main road. We stopped at the part of Government Camp that sits alongside the highway to use the facilities and take a break. As we pulled into a parking spot, a small animal (apparently a vole) scampered out of the weeds and stopped still. I didn't want to scare it, and my first photos were from farther away - as close as I could get with the optical zoom. After awhile, as it hadn't moved, I crept closer. It still didn't move, and I began to get the feeling it wasn't going to. "How weird," we both said, "It just crawled out of the grass right in front of our eyes and DIED, or what?"

Apparently so. This is my close-up of the cute little vole, but now it's a cute dead vole. I didn't touch it, but I did stomp on the ground a mere foot from the animal now baking in the sun at the top of the pass. Too bad. How strange. I wonder if it had been poisoned.

This is the view of Mt. Hood and the ski lift from the road at Government Camp. It looks beautiful, and today it was hot - about 95 degrees.

Here's another view of Mount Hood. For the record, this is the end of August, 2009, and the snow and ice is certainly depleted.

Laurel and Teagan get some exercise. I'd already checked to see about brain freezes or smoothies, but the place was out of ice cream and their freezer was broken. Hot coffee? Not today, thanks.

We had expected to see a lot of this, but there really wasn't much, so it didn't slow us down too much. Another two hours to go. Everything was going fine.

Past Mount Hood, down the slope and onto the high desert plains. It was August tan, gold and brown, and also hazy from fires. This particular short stretch is one of my favorites. It's in a slight draw with a marsh at the bottom. The branches of the marsh plants turn red and other interesting colors in most seasons. At one time it burned, and I always like the contrast of the tortured dark trees in front of Mount Jefferson, but unless one stops, there's only a fraction of a second to get a good photo from a moving car, and this time I didn't. In order to walk to a good photo stop, you need to park off the rise and walk on the narrow siding. That wasn't happening today, so I'm happy with the memory-book photo I did get.

Another photo of Mount Jefferson as we passed it, and then I put the camera aside for awhile even though there are wonderful rock formations between here and Bend.

I came up with one last photo, which I just love, in the valley at Warm Springs. I wouldn't know how to describe this feathery image with its subtle color and perfectly-formed shadow, so I'll simply say, I really like this one.

And on to Bend.

Aug 26, Astoria: A hazy heron morning on the river

Heron Amazing. It's wonderful to be greeted first thing in the morning by a sight like this. It's rather unusual, too. Although there are quite a few herons on the river, they don't usually fly into my little bay beneath the radio tower. I think this is the second one I've seen this month, but before that it had been quite some time.

Heron Why do they always look like they want to get back at you for something you did? I knew this heron wouldn't be staying long, so I took its photo as quickly and quietly as possible through the mud-splashed window.

Heron Flying I was right. I figured that this is about what I'd see when the heron caught any movement through the window.

Tow Boat and Wood Chip Barge I've tried so many times to get the brilliant yellow-gold of the wood chips, and they usually turn out gray. The light was better this time. I love the way they look in the green barges, although I always think about all the trees it took to make them.

Belle Nautica Ship with Pilot Boat Arrow 2 Here's the pilot boat Arrow 2 alongside the Belle Nautica. I'll seriously miss mornings like this if I ever have to move.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Aug 9, Bend, Part 1: Sunday Morning

We decided to go out for coffee, but wait . . . there's something red and shiny in the driveway.

Ashley? Adam? ???

So I got out while they were moving their car. Time to smell the flowers, or at least look at them. They're beautiful right now, and they are spreading. Lee says he only planted one. They now surround the base of the spruce tree, and they've begun their descent down the terracing.

The closer you get, the better they look. I remember when they were planted.

They're called "gaillardia," but I don't know what species they are.


A couple more.

Colorado blue spruce by the garage door. It was moved here when Paul extended the bedroom.

Aug 9, Bend, Part 2: Starbuck's

En route to Starbuck's. Why did they build something this ugly, when they could have designed a more pleasing exterior? Its selling point is that it's an energy-efficient design. We went inside one of the models a few months ago, and it felt like being inside something that should have been sitting on a shipping pallet. I don't mind industrial at all, and in fact, I've enjoyed living in industrial neighborhoods, but I failed to find the charm in this home. And they don't seem to be selling, but maybe that's the market. Looking at one is sort of entertaining. I can only imagine what it will look like when this corner is filled with these horrible brown boxes.

The entrance to Starbuck's. Just clicking the shutter for the memory book. It was nice outside.

Just out front of Starbuck's in the landscaping. A tripod is needed here, so it's not sharp, but I like the purple flower with this background. It was nice to look at, and it's nice to remember.

More purple blowing in the weeds and the breeze outside Starbuck's. Natural landscaping. I like it.

Aug 9, Bend, Part 3: Megaflowers - Breakfast at Nancy P's

It's on the border between downtown and residential, and its yard is overflowing with life, both green and colorful.

I had actually wanted oatmeal for breakfast, but Adam wanted Ashley to experience Nancy P's. It's a bakery. They didn't have oatmeal. Oddly, I wasn't in the mood for quiche (which is excellent here), so I ate some bad things that tasted wonderful - a carrot cake cupcake with tons of frosting, and a bran muffin with berries that was to die for. The weather was great. Here's Adam at our outdoor table in front of a hanging basket of purple petunias.

On the other side of the patio were pink petunias. Can this place grow flowers, or what?

A twining vine.


Translucent purple petunias. I love this! The flowers above surrounded us on the patio.

Some young apples on a tree near the dining patio. It really takes me back to some of my favorite things about Grandma's house - all gone now.

Lovely flowers along the sidewalk at Nancy P's.

Queen Anne's lace.

There's a wonderful combination of vegetation here - the flowers, the pines, the apple tree above.

More flowers along the sidewalk.

This is probably a gaillardia. I learned the name today.

Lots of gaillardia. Long may they bloom!

If you like flowers (and who doesn't?), visit Floral Friday and follow the Mr. Linky link.

Aug 9, Bend, Part 4: Flowers on Monterey Pines

Back home to Monterey Pines Drive after breakfast, I was struck by how beautiful the clouds were in the perfectly blue sky. It's been awhile since I've been to Bend, and everything looks different from the coast, and different from the last time I was here. I'd become trigger-happy with the Canon.

Here are some more gaillardia alongside the street across from the house. In the last post, I said, "Long may they bloom," but it appears that their season may be coming to an end. At least some of these have lost their petals.

The lavender in the front yard looks soft and beautiful.

And this lavender-colored pansy caught my attention near the front door.

I don't know what this orange flower is, but it's beautiful and it's nearly in focus. I like it.

This is also in the front yard at the edge of the grass. I think it's Queen Anne's lace going to seed, but I'm not sure. I like the patterns against the deep shade.