Monday, September 30, 2019

Stone Guardian

Stein's Pillar in Oregon...
Mysterious and imposing Stein's Pillar
Similar to Washington's Beacon Rock Stein's Pillar is the remains of the core of an ancient volcano. As tall as a 35 story building, it sits off the beaten path not far from Prineville in Oregon.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Crowded


Taken during a recent weekend in Parksville BC.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Surfin' USA

The Deschutes River runs through Bend OR...
Bend residents float down the Deschutes River on a warm day...
If you've ever been to Kamloops in BC, Bend in Oregon will seem familiar. Bend has a comparable population to Kamloops. Like Kamloops, Bend is located in an arid part of the state. It has a river running through the heart of it just like Kamloops.

Bend has something Kamloops doesn't though. Surfing!

Yup, you can surf in Bend. They've created a whitewater park in the river which includes standing waves. Local surfers politely take turns riding waves just like we do here on the west coast.

You can watch the surfers in real time via this webcam.

Wave riding in Bend's whitewater park...
Surfers at Bend's whitewater park

Monday, September 23, 2019

Bend it Like Blockbuster

The last Blockbuster is still going strong in Bend OR...
Have I slipped through a bend in time?
See what I did up there in that caption?

Bend Oregon is home to the very last Blockbuster on all of earth. At one time the video chain -- with its instantly recognizable yellow and blue logo -- had 9000 outlets.

The end of the chain came in the form of digital media which supplanted DVDs and BluRays as the media format of choice. Combined with streaming services such as Netflix video stores disappeared quickly.

That said, this Blockbuster still has a steady and loyal customer base. It also survives on its reputation as a must-see tourist attraction in Bend.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The art of Springfield

Regal faces painted by artist Bayne Gardner...
Some of the art of Bayne Gardner...
Springfield has a lot of colourful murals amid the streets of its downtown core. Some of them are in back alleys off the main roads so you have to hunt for them.

They even have tours organized around them. One of the most impressive murals celebrates local author Ken Kesey who was the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Large mural celebrates local author Ken Kesey...
Ken Kesey immortalized in a mural...

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Springfield

Springfield OR's commemorative Simpson's mural...
The gang's all here in Springfield...
Anyone who has any sort of passing knowledge of the long-running The Simpsons animated series knows that it is set in the town of Springfield.

But is there a real Springfield? Well, it turns out that there are about 33 of them in the United States, but the one that is the inspiration for the series is Springfield OR. The creator of the series, Matt Groenig, grew up in nearby Portland.

The real-life Springfield commemorates this fact with a large bright mural on the side of their oddly named Emerald Arts Center downtown.

The very tan coloured Emerald Arts Center in Springfield OR...
"Emerald... you keep using this word.
I do not think it means what you think it means."

Monday, September 16, 2019

Spruce Goose

The Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum...
Too big to get it all in one frame...
In McMinnville OR you'll find the excellent Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. Two large hangars hold all sorts of interesting aircraft and you can even try your hand at a flight simulator.

One hangar is dominated by the Spruce Goose, built by Howard Hughes in the mid-1940s as part of the war effort. This thing is huge... like really really BIG.

The wingspan is longer than a football field. The tail is eight stories high. Even by today's standards this is a massive aircraft, all the more remarkable when you consider that it is constructed almost entirely of wood.

The Spruce Goose dominates the hangar.
The Spruce Goose dwarfs everything else around it...

Friday, September 13, 2019

Twedes again

Sombre clouds strike the appropriate Twin Peaks vibe in North Bend WA.
A gloomy cloudy day over North Bend in Washington...
Whenever we go through Washington state, we try to make it a point to stop in at Twedes Cafe in North Bend. It's a popular gathering place for visitors, particularly those who are fans of the quirky and spooky cult series Twin Peaks.

Although it's famous for its coffee and cherry pie as a result its appearance in the show, on this particular trip I decided to try their banana creme pie instead. I can reliably report that it too is very good... and VERY filling.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

La Conner cute

Main street La Conner WA...
The residents of La Conner even park artfully...
On our recent trip to Oregon, we stopped in at La Conner WA. We discovered this picturesque community two years ago.

If you are an art lover, La Conner is your town. The main street features numerous shops selling art in quality from pricey fine to mass produced 'lifestyle' and everything in between. We have some of it sitting in our home as I write this.

A wrap around veranda catches the eye...
All stair rails, veranda and posts...





Monday, September 9, 2019

LOST

A curtain of green...
What mysteries does the ISLAND hold?
During a recent trip to the surf town of Tofino here on Vancouver Island, as I emerged from the water, I was struck by how much the beach and lush canopy looked similar to something you might experience on a tropical island.

Take away the telltale tall evergreen trees and you could be looking at the jungle of some mysterious island off South America. It was an effect enhanced by the call of the many birds hidden in the trees.

White sand and thick vegetation of Vancouver Island's outer beaches...
The beach at Florencia Bay...

Friday, September 6, 2019

She sees seaweed by the seashore

Fields of seawood waiting to be buried on a Mexican beach...
 Burying seaweed in the hot sun... not fun.
We'll be heading back to Mexico's east coast this year, after three vacations on the west coast.

I can't complain since the trip is free for us, but I'm less enthusiastic about the east coast. They have a growing seaweed problem there. Each day, vast mats of seaweed wash ashore on the resort beaches. In the heat of the day, it rots quickly, producing a pungent smell similar to sewage.

Who wants to spend time on beach like that? It turns out -- unsurprisingly -- no one.

During our last stay in Playa del Carmen, we witnessed teams of labourers sent out each morning from the hotels to clean up the beach areas in front of the resorts. Their job was to dig deep holes in the beach sand and bury the seaweed.

In some places the problem has become so acute that they've had to resort to earth-moving equipment to dig the trenches.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

They zig... you zag

One of the cars of VI's Rat Rods...
More Mad Max than Rolls Royce...
When you can't afford to buy and maintain a vintage car what do you do? You go the other way and go for the grunge look.

That's the philosophy behind the Rat Rods, a group of car enthusiasts who gleefully adorn their car with lo-fi accessories, rust and DIY parts.

Skulls and bombs adorn this car...
The Chevy from Hell...

Monday, September 2, 2019

No school like old school

An eye-catching red Boler and matching pull vehicle...
Despite the Boler, I doubt this car has ever been near an RV park...
My wife and I often go to vintage car shows -- known more commonly as 'show and shines' -- because we are old enough that they bring back fond memories of our childhoods and teen years.

The car owners are frequently grizzled and grey, but their enthusiasm for restoring cars never wanes. They are always happy to talk about their automobiles. If not with the public then with each other.

Swapping stories at the auto show...
That's a lot of grey facial hair!