Redwoods National and State Parks

I wonder if those who work in Redwoods National and State Parks or live close to them begin to take them for granted.  We visited in 2012 and again in 2016.  The parks are said to have the three tallest trees in the world, but no pictures of even the smaller trees do them justice.  One has to be there.

Click on photos to enlarge and reveal captions.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 Dec 41, Japanese submarines patrolled the U.S. western coast and shelled some shipping and oil installations along the California and Oregon coasts.  To guard against potential invasion, the U.S. Army built two concrete block buildings In what is now the Redwoods National Park designed to resemble a working farm.  In fact, the buildings held an early warning radar station complete with generators and two anti-aircraft machine guns.  Two buildings of the last relatively intact WWII post, Radar Station B71, can be found off the Park’s Coastal Drive.

Dates of our visit: 12-16 Aug 21

Spotted on our drive from Oregon to see the redwoods.

Sighted along U.S. 199 in Oregon 12 Aug 21
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“The Power of One”: Building Bridges

Born in 1887, Conde B. McCullough worked for an Iowa bridge company and the Iowa State Highway Commission before moving to Oregon in 1916.  He became Head of the Oregon Department of Transportation Highway Bridge Division in 1919.

McCullough, however, did not just build bridges.  He used the latest engineering knowledge and he believed bridges should be built economically, efficiently, strong and beautiful.  In addition to steel, his bridges made extensive use of concrete and arches.  The concrete is imbued with Art Deco design: lines and geometrical forms.  We noticed as we crossed many of the bridges, that even the concrete railings on each bridge had a distinctive design.

McCullough built 23 bridges in Oregon from 1921 to 1936.  Overall, he contributed to designs for over 600 bridges including some for the Pan American Highway after moving to Costa Rica.  He returned to Oregon to become Assistant State Highway Engineer.

Oregon dedicated the 5305-foot-long the Coos Bay Bridge to him after his death in 1946. When built in 1936, it was the longest in Oregon. Many of his bridges still serve today’s motorists, and there is a nice little museum honoring him at the edge of the New Alsea Bay Bridge which is decorated with some of his original smaller pylons.

Click on photos to enlarge.

While on the subject of bridges, here are some covered bridges from our August visit to Washington and Oregon.

Date of our visit: multiple days in the second two weeks of August 2021

This commentary is part of a small series about how one person or a small group of persons can affect the broader community. You can read more by entering “the power of one” in the search box to the right.

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Going for the best: Pie and the Oregon Coast

We drove up the Oregon Coast in 2012 and back down a portion in 2016.  I even included that route on a list of drives that make you say wow.  It is still one of my favorites.

Alie was not feeling well, so she decided to take a day off while her sister Michelle and I drove from Florence, Oregon to Newport, Oregon and back.

In Newport, we stopped at Chalet Pie House where I had a great piece of pie in 2016 [I could write my autobiography just talking about food I have eaten, when and where.]

The drive along U.S. 101 in Oregon still makes my list for “the best,” and the fresh peach pie at the Chalet Pie House is easily the best peach pie I have ever eaten.

Most of the coastal photos are from that day, but I threw in a couple ringers from our drive south of Gold Beach later in the trip.

Date of our drive: 9 Aug 21

Click on photos to enlarge and see the captions.

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A Carousel for Salem

A sign in Aberdeen, Washington reads something like “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.”

I have written several times about the power of one.  In Salem, Oregon, we encountered the work of Hazel Patton who visited Missoula, Montana in 1995.  There she saw the carousel that Missoula created in their downtown park.

Inspired, Hazel returned to her hometown and recruited four others for a “dream team” to recruit and inspire others.  Dave and Sandy Walker provided artistic leadership.

Over the next four and a half years, a huge team of local people raised $2.1 million dollars and worked to make the vision a reality.  160 artisans carved, sanded and painted the horses and other features of the carousel.

Their product sits on the banks of the Willamette River.  42 horses and two wagons were carved.  32 horses and two foals are on the carousel. Each horse has 3 coats of primer, 3 or more coats of paint and 6 coats of clear polyurethane.  It took an average of 900 hours to carve, sand and paint each horse.

Date of our visit: 8 Aug 21

Click on photos to enlarge.

Outside the carousel, we had a hot dog at Alex’s cart.  He took early retirement from the state government but wanted to keep doing something.  He said he is considering volunteering with the Red Cross.  Go for it Alex.  You can make a difference.

Click on here to see other carousels. 

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Oregon City

Have you heard of it?  In 1844, Oregon City became the first U.S. city to be incorporated west of the Rocky Mountains.  It was established in 1829 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. [See my last post.] Once a principal city and capital, it was surpassed by Salem and Portland.

City hall is about 250 feet above the narrow band of streets along the rivers.  So they built “the world’s largest municipal elevator.”

Oregon City is at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas Rivers.  In those days, rivers were the best means of travel, a source of beaver pelts, and a good place to make a First American salmon fishing village.  Later, water powered industrial-age lumber, flour, ship-building and shipping. The first lumber mill started in 1842 followed by a flour mill in 1844 and a woolen mill in 1864.

Old industrial plants line the river at Willamette Falls.  Paper and wood products became a major part of the economy. The first paper company was established there in 1866.  The Willamette Falls Electric Company transmitted the first long-distance power to Portland in 1889.  Dammed at many places, the falls and its plants are interesting but not particularly attractive.

The falls are the second largest by volume in North America.  After a paper mill closed in 2011, the city and others developed a plan to build public access to a viewing point close to the falls.  We hope they succeed.

Date of our visit: 8 Aug 21

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Vancouver and the Columbia River

Speak of Vancouver and most people will immediately think of the wonderful cosmopolitan city in Canada, but we stayed a couple nights in the pleasant town of Vancouver, Washington in order to have dinner with some relatives across the river in Portland.

Click on photos to enlarge and get captions.

Vancouver sits on the north bank of the Columbia River, and the city is taking advantage of its location.  Restaurants on the river were crowded even early in the evening, and not wanting to wait for a table, we continued our search eventually finding a very fine Vietnamese restaurant a few blocks north of the river and several blocks east of the main downtown area.

Vancouver, Washington waterfront near Grant Street.

“Fort Vancouver” was built as the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company’s Columbia department serving from 1824 to 1860.  The Department had 34 outposts, 24 ports, 6 ships and over 600 employees. Clerks, managers and their families lived inside the fort while other employees and residents of the area lived outside in a village.  Today’s fort is a replica.

The day after our dinner, we drove up the north side of the Columbia River Gorge, crossed the

Bridge of the Gods just north of the massive Bonneville hydroelectric dam and returned on the Oregon side.

Dates of our visit: 6-8 Aug 21

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Olympic National Park, part 2

Our picnic spot on Lake Cushman

Olympic National Park covers 1,422 square miles, most of it wilderness. There are distinct ecosystems and a few roads in for those of us no longer able to hike long distances. Day hikes can be found on the mountains, in the temperate rain forest, in the lowland forest and along the coast.

Lowland forest

In an earlier post, I described our drive to Hurricane Ridge where we saw alpine meadows and rugged peaks with glaciers.  This post talks about our drive further south into lowland forest, and it is our intent as I write this to visit the Hoh Rainforest on the ocean side of the mountains before we head home.

Coming out of our base at Shelton, we entered the park near the Staircase Trail at the end of Lake Cushman.

After several days driving a lot, we were ready for an easy day. Michelle and I walked the short Shady Lane Nature Trail just nine tenths of a mile.  Then we paused along Lake Cushman for a picnic.

I have read just a few day immersed in nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

It works for me.  

Click on photos to enlarge and to see captions.

Date of our visit: 5 Aug 21

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Wandering around Kitsap Peninsula

The Kitsap Peninsula sticks up like a thumb on the mitten of the Olympic Peninsula.  It is across Puget Sound from Seattle.  Based in Shelton to the southwest for a few days, we drove around Kitsap.


I make clear my “Sights Listed by States” above just lists places we have heard about, not places we endorsed.  After a bit, I figured out that Winion, Washington was supposed to be Union, on Forbes prettiest towns.  Don’t bother with it.  It is a nice collection of vacation homes along the Hood Canal, but nothing special.  On my next update, I won’t correct the spelling; I will delete it.

Further along, we came to Bremerton.  Alie, a student of World War II history in the Pacific, was interested to see the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where so many ships were sent for repairs.  A carrier, probably the Kitty Hawk, was in the yard waiting to be scrapped.

We were intrigued by Poulsbo [Powz-bo], founded in 1885 by Norwegians many of whom spoke Norwegian until World War II.  They have retained their identity as “Little Norway,” and it has become quite a tourist draw.  Sulys Bakery had a line up the street for their Poulsbo Bread, a multi-grain bread based on a Biblical passage and made and sold only there.  We preferred the wonderful chocolates made at Boehms Chocolates.  Later we ate at the Brass Kraken Pub with ordinary food except for the best sweet potato fries I have ever had.

Boehms Chocolate, Poulsbo

We then visited Bainbridge Island where ferries from Seattle land at Winston.  In general, our impression was of a more chic, i.e. expensive, vacation place.

Finally, we drove to Hansville at the northern tip of the peninsula to visit the charming 1879 “Point No Point” lighthouse, the oldest on Puget Sound.  There, I finally got a good, if distant view, of Mt. Baker. [See my earlier post at]

Date of our visit:  4 Aug 21

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Just take the ferry, drive up the road and WOW!!!

As mentioned in my last post, Michelle got a reservation for our car on the ferry from Coupeville on Whidbey Island to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula.

Driving up the mountain.

We then drove up the 17-mile road from the entrance of Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge.  I wanted to see Mt. Olympus in 1999, but the main road was closed and our 4-wheel drive SUV kept sliding off the snow-covered back road – sideways!!  So we turned back.

This time it was a beautiful dry day, and we pulled off the road occasionally to admire the view of the distant mountains.

A guest comes to lunch.

On one occasion, we stopped for a picnic lunch in our car while a deer walked up to have its lunch beside us.

Finally we topped the ridge near the Hurricane Ridge Visitors’ Center and the three of us simultaneously said “Wow!!”

I have seen photos of the Himalayas and we have visited the Canadian Rockies which are even more spectacular, but I still went “wow.”  To turn a bend and suddenly see that long row of snow-capped mountains was thrilling.

Date of our visit: 3 Aug 21

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Curious but lazy.

I was walking very early this morning along a misty Oregon coastal beach when I came upon all these rocks.

They were covered with life. But I don’t know mussels from barnacles or seaweed from sea anemones. I thought of a blogger from India that I read who knows both the common and scientific names for all sorts of flora and fauna. I admire the scope of his knowledge.

“I should go look these things up.”

“Nah, I’ll just enjoy the experience of seeing them.”

Click on photos to enlarge.

Date of our visit:  19 Aug 21

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