Monday, May 21, 2018

Hood River Honeymoon

I tried to include both the wedding (which was small) with the honeymoon trip in one blog but there were too many pictures to have it all make any sense. So here is part two with what I think are some good photos of an awesome part of the western countryside.

First we drove around Mt. Hood. Our final stop on that tour was to visit the Timberline Lodge, an heritage site, because of the uniqueness of the construction and the age of the building. It reminded me of Sun Valley and I think it was of the same era when using vehicles for transportation to tour was considered a huge adventure; the 1930s and 40s.

We began our day trip from White Salmon/Bingen, WA on
the Highway 35 loop, taking us around the base of the post-
volcanic 11,239 ft. Mt. Hood.

It was warm enough
in the sunshine.
The tallest mountain in Oregon, it receives about 420 inches
of snow each year. We were on our way to the Lodge
Snow runoff creates temporary lovely waterfalls along the road.
Standing outside the Timberline Lodge, an historic landmark
and at 6,000 feet offers four-season skiing, the only area in
the U.S. to do so. 

Timberline Lodge was built in 1937 as part of the Works
Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression.
A popular tourist attraction for over 80 years!

Friends of the Lodge, a non-profit organization, has helped
to keep the Lodge fresh and vital with renovations,
restorations of fabrics, landscaping and other projects.
Rough-hewn timbers make the
Lodge a solid structure, and an
appealing tourist stop or stay.

The open concept offers guests both the cozy feature of a
fire along with impressive views inside and out.

The Lodge inside...
And the view to the outside from the Lodge's lounge.

Vista House, a great vista point on the Columbia River, OR.
As we concluded our drive around the mountain, we stopped at the Vista House, taking advantage of the sunshine and planned to drive to the various falls. However, the road to Multnomah Falls was closed off, due to the damage caused by the Eagle Creek Fire last September (2017). Over 50,000 acres of forest was burned, included bridges on trails in the area. The ground is unstable without trees and roots to hold things together, and landslides and tree falls are common now.

The historic road is narrow, curvy and now, in some places, downright hazardous because of the damage from the fire. We were not able to get up to Larch Mt. for this reason.
Standing at the Portland Women's Forum Overlook point on
the drive up the historic Columbia River Highway.
View upstream of the Columbia River from Vista House.
View looking downstream on the Columbia River
Latourelle Falls have an easy access from the parking lot.

Honeymooners at Latourelle Falls
Looking at Vista Point from Women's Overlook downstream.

In this photo of Vista House, you can see how much timber
has been burned from the Eagle Creek fire; all the brown
spots should be green and that is where the falls are.
Loved the lighting around the base of Latourelle Falls.

Another view of Latourelle Falls; bright spring colors. I am
thinking another trip in the fall would be gorgeous.

A Stellar Jay stopped by to visit us on the trail to the falls.
The next stop was Bridal Veil Falls. It was more of a hike on some pretty trails and a fair number of folks were going there. There is another falls en route, Shepherds Dell, but we decided to invest our energies in the Bridal Veil adventure.

With all the wedding planning, moving Wayne's stuff, going to his son's wedding, etc., we have not been going out and walking as much as we probably should have. While I enjoyed the hike, my back did not and I was off to see my chiropractor as soon as we returned. Now I am 'back in alignment.'

Bride and Groom at Bridal Veil Falls; wish the photographer
would have used the flash as I suggested.
The next day we had planned a trip to Portland/King City to see a dear friend of Wayne's, Ralph "Al" McFarland, and we got to meet his new partner, Jezebel. Unlike most cats, she was pretty eager to see who the new folks were and wasted no time in being coy.
Jezebel; enough said.

Al and Wayne are both widowers and they were, with their wives, couple friends. Al moved away and then was faced with a double loss of his wife and his long-term friendships. Spending the day together was sweet and lovely, like the flowers we bought and bittersweet with end of a day we all enjoyed.
Al, Wayne and Al's daughter, Gwen in front of their most
favorite garden store: Al's (not his, just the same name).

Friends are so important; we must 'water' them like our garden to keep them flourishing in our lives.

I don't think I can ever have enough blue things growing in
my garden; but here are the blue and golds of our wedding.
These were all the flowers left at the store after Wayne got
through buying...

Gwen told me this is red clover... so pretty to see on the road.
Plenty of work to be done when we return home!

After a long day of flower buying, we stopped at Shari's and
enjoyed a meal (with some memories) together.

Another day we spent doing some ancestry research for Ratcliffs in Oregon. We did find an old pioneer cemetery, after driving about a new development several times following GPS instructions: "your destination is on the right." Finally found it by contacting the veterinary store and it was behind it, hidden in the trees. Fortunately someone is taking time to keep it cleaned up but it's a little too late. Many of the graves are now "unknown."
Crossing the narrow metal bridge over to Hood River, OR.
Mt. Hood looms over the valley.
Wayne cleared the headstone and we took pictures for his
ancestry work.
We went to the Idyllwild Cemetery to locate MOSES RATCLIFF, as Wayne is very involved in ancestry. There were other Ratcliffs in the area, but no phone calls were ever returned.

Back at our campsite, the eagles were plentiful and very
'chatty' in the mornings.

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We took a tour of the Bonneville Dam and fish hatchery on our way to have lunch with friends of Wayne's from his days in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

From Wikipedia: "The dam is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Portland, Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. The primary functions of Bonneville Lock and Dam are electrical power generation and river navigation. The dam was built and is managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. At the time of its construction in the 1930s it was the largest water impoundment project of its type in the nation, able to withstand flooding on an unprecedented scale.[6] Electrical power generated at Bonneville is distributed by the Bonneville Power Administration. Bonneville Lock and Dam is named for Army Capt. Benjamin Bonneville, an early explorer credited with charting much of the Oregon Trail. The Bonneville Dam Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1987."

Geese and their goslings on the Dam grounds; watch where
you step!!
The alternate (and current) route to the Multnomah Falls is best accessed near the Bonneville Dam area, so we included that as part of our trip to Cascade Locks. It is every bit as impressive as the postcards, but there is something pretty special about seeing it for real.
Multnomah Falls from top to bottom.
People were pretty helpful about taking our
picture when we asked.

Bridge of the Gods near Cascade Locks, OR is one of the
oldest bridges spanning the Columbia River.
Our last night in Hood River the mountain gave us a rosy
peek from our campsite.
After two weeks away from home, it was time to head back and see how the garden was doing, pick up Peaches (Wayne's dog) and see what it would be like to not have random days and nights just cruising along. I was looking forward to getting back to painting some of the places we'd been... until our next adventure!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Paired like Geese for Life

"Honeymoon cottage" at the Wanapum State Park, WA
Our wedding in Vantage, WA, was all that we could have asked for - and more! The weather cooperated, all the guests and family that could attend were there, two wonderful videos were taken of the event for the absent ones to enjoy and soon there will be pictures from the hired photographer to review.

Susan Smith, pastor's wife and Wayne's
daughter helped to arrange the flowers. 
Just as Pastor Smith (Wayne Smith is Wayne Ratcliff's son-in-law) said to the group, "I now declare you are husband and wife," two geese in the Columbia River, near the beach where we were having the ceremony, suddenly began honking loudly and as we were watching, the two took off and flew away. Everyone agreed it was better than a basket of doves being let loose!

Bronwyn Brady and "Lolita".
I was 'given away' by my two friends, Carol Joy Bennett and her husband, Joe Woodbury. I had another dear friend, Bronwyn Brady, standing attendance with me by driving me to the venue, and she took some of these photos.
Joe Woodbury was my escort part way,
then his wife Carol joined us for the last lap.
Prior to the wedding, we stayed at Sportsman's Campground in Union Gap, WA, near Yakima for the Washington Spring Sashay (square dance event) with three well-known callers: Jim Hattrick, Adam Cristman and ----. Hattrick is an old friend of Wayne's who he hasn't seen in some time, so it was a lovely reunion for them.

While at that campground, I saw an osprey near a pond where we were walking. He watched us closely as we moved through his territory. It was here we discovered that the tow bar was broken and I would have to follow the RV for the rest of the trip.
Broken tow bar meant following the RV everywhere.

This eagle is giving us the "eagle eye."
Wayne and Susan Smith, daughter of Wayne R. (right)
Our next stop was the Big Pine campground on the Yakima River. It was running fast and high but the campground was somewhat empty of campers. It made for pleasant camping and while we were there, Wayne's son-in-law Wayne Smith and his wife, Susan, came down to discuss wedding plans. That was the night a huge eagle decided to swoop down over our heads and park in a tree nearby. Very impressive and Wayne R. got a photo of him.

During that stop we took time to find some of the local potholes so Wayne could get some fishing in.
We caught two trout and many sunfish. Wayne ate the trout.

He let me use a rod and was surprised to discover he was marrying a woman who wasn't afraid to put a worm on a hook and one who could also catch a fish... not just him (LOL!).

My logger lover lowering a limb... not mine - ha ha!
We also went over to visit his other daughter, Aleece Martin, but they were off getting a couple of pigs for their farm, so he found a chain saw and got rid of the willow tree that scratched the Jeep during his son Dennis's wedding two weeks before. Once a logger, always a logger, it seems.

The next stop was Wanapum State Park in Vantage, where the wedding took place. It is a very lovely spot on the Washington side of the Columbia River, just above Wanapum Dam. It fills up quickly in the summer and it was already full for our weekend in May as well.
Wanapum State Park from the highway up above it.
The bride, Larry Dykeman, Dennis Hughes and the groom.
We were very lucky to get the spot we did up on the "Inner Circle" where the sites are larger, more grass and trees on the site and neighbors are spaced apart. And the view was awesome! The beach area where we had the ceremony is perfect for families with children with lots of space to run around and water shallow enough to be fun. The trees offered protection both from the wind and the hot sun, because surprisingly enough, it was rather warm for May that weekend.

Several of Wayne's friends were there:
Dennis Hughes was his Best Man, Larry Dykeman drove with Dennis from Deer Park, and his school chum Bailey Sammons and his wife Terry, came from Olympia to help us celebrate.
Terry Sammons, the groom and Bailey Sammons of Olympia.
We kept the ranger busy that weekend with people coming and going but when we went through the ranger station for the last time, she had a big smile on her face and thumbs up!

Bride is escorted by Joe and Carol... we had
a laugh ahead of time picturing them 'holding
me up' as we are all seniors!
We have some photos that were taken of everyone who was there, but I still don't have them to post here.

After the ceremony, we had a potluck with hamburgers, hotdogs, salads and soft drinks followed by cutting the cake (carrot cake with cream cheese frosting) and toasts with sparkling apple cider. I so appreciative of everyone who came and participated in various ways to make it such a special event!

Ceremonial spot on the Columbia River, heralded by geese!

The "Tikquities" amongst the
Petrified wood in Vantage, WA.

What a birthday present!!
Pastor Wayne Smith introduced us as Lord Ratcliff and Lady
Anne Tudor because back in time there was a Lord Ratcliff
who married a Tudor... history repeats?
When we get the wedding photos of family and friends, I will post them here and a few on Facebook.