Forest Berries

From the woods around Fort Clatsop.

Lily of the Valley berries?I think they may be wild Lily of the Valley in an intermediate stage of ripeness.  Can anyone confirm (or point out what the actually are)?


Coast Guard Lifeboat 44300


My favorite exhibit at the Maritime Museum in Astoria was this boat – Coast Guard Lifeboat CG-44300.  It’s an actual boat, retired from service after 19 years of active duty and 15 years as a training boat.  It had an incredible run on active duty, and now it’s spiffed up, as shiny and clean as if it were a replica, demonstrating an ocean rescue.

Rescue DioramaThe CG-44300 was a 44′ prototype boat, self-righting and self-bailing, that was used along the Oregon coast in order to be tested in extreme weather and large waves; it passed its tests with flying colors.  During its career, it evidently rolled over several times, was pitchpoled once (rolled front to back end-over-end), and retired only when an engine was damaged on a rescue mission.

One of its most unbelievable stories – to crib directly off the informative placard – is this:  one evening when the 44300 was moored in a boathouse in Yaquina Bay, a 10,000 ton lumber ship lost steering control  and ran into the Lifeboat, plowing it through some docks and under another boathouse, where it had to stay, presumed unsalvageable, while the other crash wreckage was cleared away.  But when it was freed, it bobbed right up out of the water and righted itself, ready for use again.

Stern and Cockpit

It definitely deserves its place of honor on display at the front of the museum.

View from the Top

Of the hill at least – not the top of the tower.  After climbing a large number of hills between the Goonies house and the Column, only to find at each that we had reached a dead end and had to go down again and back up, I was completely beat.  There was no way I was going to walk up another 150 stairs (or however many it is) just to be slightly higher up.

Plus the view is very beautiful just from the base of the tower.

Looking Westward


Here are John and Max again…

John and Maxwell

standing in front of what looks, from this angle, suspiciously like a bridge held together by duct-tape.

Duct-taped bridge


Check out how far we climbed!
(confession: by the 5th thwarted attempt upward, I had to start pushing my bike up the steep inclines.  But I still made it!)

Astoria Weekend

John and I spent the long weekend in Astoria, OR – at almost the very northwest corner of the state, near the mouth of the Columbia River.  We had some fun adventures, including stumbling across a huge Civil War reenactment, a super-long, super-steep bike ride (or in my case, bike push-up-the-hill), and visiting museums and historical sites.

John found a really cool hotel, located actually on an old pier, which originally housed a canning factory, so we were (mostly) surrounded by River.

Hotel on a Pier


Our room was on the southeast corner of the building – so while we had to go out on the balcony to look across to Washington, we had an excellent view upriver.  Lots of passing boats and barges, like this one heading out to the ocean (and eventually to Mabini, Batangas, Phillipines, if you’re curious).


Bulk Jupiter

The Bulk Jupiter – weird name, huh?

Bulk JupiterVery pretty against a background of the Astoria-Megler Bridge, though!

Bulk Jupiter with Bridge



Civil War to come!

Rabbit Mold

This was in the lighthouse kitchen: a rabbit-shaped mold.  The question is, what were you supposed to mold inside it?  It’s between a candle mold, and some sort of cooking implement.   I can’t see it used for a cake, or a large rabbit candle….

Mysterious Mold

What do you think?

More Historic Crafting

Perhaps it’s not “crafting” if it’s a practical sewing machine that was probably used for clothing, linens, curtains, and other every day requirements…

Pretty and Practical

but there was some beautiful decorative handwork as well – cross stitch embellishments and crochet edgings …

cross-stitched flower

and an impressive beaded rendition of the light station done by a coastguard worker while stationed there.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse and grounds in Beads

John G. Tregembo

Patriots Jet Team

Patriots with colored contrailsThe blue angels were originally scheduled to perform at the Air Festival, but had to cancel due to sequestration.  Instead, we saw the Patriots jet team – a civilian team composed of ex-airforce pilots, I believe.  They were just as good (in my opinion) and had multi-colored contrails.  Fun!

Red White and Blue



Stunt Skydivers

Sorry for going MIA this week; we’ve been on a very short but fun trip to Michigan.  But now I’m back… and before posting the couple of photos I took in the midwest, I thought I’d follow up a little on the Air Show from two weekends ago.  This is the most interesting thing we saw there: sky divers with little jets attached to them, with which they made contrail patterns in the sky.

The two above jumped from a pretty low level – nothing very unusual, except for the jets.  But about 5 minutes after they had landed, we looked up and saw a plane flying and two tiny, tiny contrails near (but not behind) it.   As they fell, we realized it was another set of jetted skydivers, this time making patterns with a plane.  Pretty amazing – especially given the height from which they jumped (very large).  I’m zoomed in in these photos – and the close-up is cropped – so you get an idea of how far up they were.

Stunt Planes

We spent a couple of hours at the Oregon Air Show on Saturday – a fun little excursion (especially for photography).  Here are a pair of planes that made a lot of contrail patterns together in the sky.

Stunt Planes

Stunt Planes

Sadly, I only had my zoom lens, which was good for shots like those above, but didn’t go wide enough to capture the overall sky pictures.  Here’s the closest I came – one side of the heart made by each plane.

Sky Heart

Tiny Frogs (in the wild)

I’m going way back, to our weekend in Chicago, to the Botanic Gardens.  I know you’re probably expecting to see some flowers, or at least trees, but I have to start with my favorite part of our few hours there.  We were walking along a graveled path, when suddenly one of the tiny bits of gravel leapt sideways.  I thought that my eyes had been imagining things, but – it leapt again.  Notice any

Tiny Frog!


Upon closer examination, it was a tiny little frog, and it wasn’t just on its own – the path was full of them, all over the place.

Itsy Bitsy Frog

Here’s one next to our friend Josh’s fingers for scale:

Frog, Josh's Fingers


I’ve never seen such a thing before.  It was crazy how small they were.  I’m afraid that I may have squashed a number of them before noticing that they were there, but hopefully not….