Sunday, September 30, 2007

Manning Ferguson Force

Manning Ferguson Force was a Harvard-educated lawyer and son of District of Columbia's mayor. During the American Civil War, he served as an officer under the command of General Sherman and advanced to the rank of general. General Force was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary courage on the battlefields in and around Atlanta, Georgia. The general was severely wounded and disfigured for the rest of his life. Click on the photo above to read the placard about this Civil War hero.

I'd never heard of this man until I visited the museum on the military base of Fort Lewis, Washington. Fort Lewis is located beside Interstate 5 twenty miles south of Tacoma. As my wife and I drove the return trip to Seattle from Portland, we stopped to tour the museum. We were required to register at the Army's processing center before we were allowed to enter the post's gates. The process of registering was somewhat lengthy as we queued with military personnel and their families. Many people were waiting to get help with vehicle registrations, housing, and other matters associated with life in the military. I was impressed with the system of picking a number to wait our turn. It was computerized and eliminated most tension that often occurs with people waiting in lines.

I'm so glad we persevered in obtaining the pass to enter the fort grounds. The museum was very rich in military history of the Northwest with displays and information ranging from the Pig War on San Juan Island in 1859 to current portraits of soldiers killed-in-action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fort Lewis is home of 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division; 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division; and the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).

The museum is housed in The Red Shield Inn which was built in 1918-1919 and is now placed on the National Register of Historical Places by the United States Department of Interior. This building is another story. A picture of the front of the building is below the picture of General Force.

The bottom picture shows Interstate 5 which is only a couple hundreds yards in front of the museum. Trucks and cars zoom past the museum at high speed in an unending flow. I suspect only a tiny fraction of motorists on the interstate highway know the stories of heroes in this important museum.

Click on each picture for an enlarged view.

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Embassy Suites

The car in the picture is a Toyota Camry (2007) with 2,500 miles on the odometer when I rented it from Hertz at Seatac Airport in Seattle.

The hotel below is Embassy Suites which is located at 7900 NE 82nd Avenue in Portland, Oregon.

My wife and I stayed in this hotel three days as we toured the areas around Portland (Hood River, Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and Mt. St. Helens). When we vacation, we prefer to lodge in upscale property like Embassy Suites as we take in the sights, sounds, and feel of places we visit.

I realize many people own getaway property or travel in motorized homes. Ownership of a condo at the beach or a cabin in the mountains compels one to return to those sites often. I know there is capital appreciation opportunity associated with this type of investment. But, to me, it places restrictions and limits freedom to go different places and experience life where one has never been before.

When we vacation, we want to avoid making beds, cooking meals, cleaning floors, dusting furniture, mowing a lawn, and all the other work associated with a second home ownership. We do enough of that in our one and only residence.

We drove the Toyota a total of 1,134 miles during the nine days in the Northwest U. S and Victoria, B. C. The fuel economy of this new Camry averaged 29.8 miles per gallon while carrying from two to four adult passengers and luggage.

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mount St. Helens

I remember the news about the volcanic eruption at Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington. It was May 1980 when the mountain top was obliterated and volcanic ash spewed into the stratosphere that eventually circled the earth. There were reports of ash residue on cars as far away as Tennessee. The explosion leveled tens of thousands of giant trees on the mountain side. Debris flowed from the mile wide volcanic grater and raised a valley floor by 150 to 200 feet for twenty miles. A stream and road in the valley were buried by this flow.

Twenty-seven years after the eruption, my wife and I visited this mountain in August 2007. A modern highway has been built along higher ground which leads to a monument and visitor center near the new mountain top which is 1,300 feet lower than before the eruption. A retired forestry employee told me that loggers hauled six hundred truck loads per day for two years to salvage logs from the down trees. Three million seedlings have been planted in the area to restore the forests.

The picture above shows me viewing the raised valley floor from a scenic lookout along the highway. Grass is growing and elk herds graze in the meadows below.

The bottom two pictures show a moonscape like terrain around the mountain top. We watched a video in the visitor center entitled "The Fire Under Us". It's a realistic re-enactment of some events following the eruption. Four loggers and two fisherman barely escaped with their lives. If you get the opportunity, view this video.

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States and is seen by two million people each year. My wife and I visited this waterfall and others along the Columbia River Gorge between Portland and Hood River. There were lots of visitors and several hikers and campers in the area.

If you look closely, I'm in the white shirt standing on the bridge in the below photo.

We continued our drive east to have lunch at Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River before we drove up the mountain to Timberline Lodge. The bottom picture shows a mural inside the Full Sail dining room.

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Columbia River Gorge

The view above is from Vista House at Crown Point overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. This river is the border between the states of Washington and Oregon. One historical marker indicates that the road from Crown Point descends 600' to near river level and maintains a 5 percent grade. The road was built around 1915 and supervised by Samuel Christopher Lancaster, highway engineer, from the state of Tennessee. Local road builders insisted the road couldn't be built and resentment ensued when Mr. Lancaster showed it could be done.

The Columbia River Highway was known as "king of roads" during the 1920's. A marker at one view point outlined the vision of the scenic highway where "tired men and women ...may enjoy the wild beauty of nature's art gallery and recreate themselves".

My wife and I drove the route, toured the waterfalls and hiked some trails in August 2007 and enjoyed the beauty of nature there.

Have a good week!

Vista House is shown in this picture.