Tuesday, January 20, 2015

August 2014 Trip to Oregon

In August of 2014, just before the start of the Fall 2015 term, Linda and I drove to the farm house in Peru and then to Denver to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon.  Cary came with us for the quick family visit.  (The photographs cover our entire trip.)

After arriving in Portland late in the afternoon, we drove to Astoria, a beautiful town at the mouth of the Columbia River where Kindergarten Cop and Short Circuit got filmed, favorite films of my daughter and son, Leah and Cary.

At the start of our first day, after enjoying the view of the bridge from Astoria, OR, to Washington near our hotel, we visited the Astoria Column.  This impressive structure pays tribute to Lewis and Clark, whom I thought I had left behind in Nebraska.  

 Haystack Mound

After our brief look at Astoria, we headed down the coast, eventually reaching our hotel in Florence as the sun set.  We spent a couple hours at beautiful Haystack Mound, familiar to all who have seen The Goonies.

Thousands of birds nest on the mound, from Puffins to Sea Gulls.  This time around, no Bald Eagles showed up; they feed on the baby birds.  I would easily watch the birds for hours.

Oh, while there, we enjoyed a tasty brunch at a combination hardware store and cafe, Brew and Screw.  We all recommend the place.

On our drive to Florence, we stopped at a couple parks along the coast.  One path in particular impressed with its beauty.  We walked out on a peninsula that offered rather impressive vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the Oregon coastline.  

This summer (2015), I will make reservations in advance to go Grey Whale watching on a boat out of Depoe Bay.  Weather in the afternoon forced the cancellation of any tours.

While in Eugene for three full days before we returned the rental car and flew from Portland back to Denver, we visited with family members.  

Linda's mother and brother also live in Eugene, as does my sister and mother.  So I got to see my sister and her family, and Linda spent time with her brother's family and her mother.

I got put in charge of making a couple meals at Linda's mothers--Lemon Chicken and Omelettes--and we went out to lunch with my mother and sister and family. I also supplied comic relief after walking through the screen door to the patio where I worked on my computer. 

Linda and I did our graduate work at the University of Oregon, she in Romances and I in Comparative Literature.  Inasmuch as I had not visited the beautiful campus for many years, I took Cary for a tour of specific areas of the campus that appear in Animal House, from the field where the golf ball hits the fellow on the head to the Fish Bowl, scene of the famous food fight.

During my years at UO in Eugene, I often went fishing for relaxation, wading out into the Willamette River here and there, hoping to land a trout.  I also frequented a series of ponds connected to the Willamette River not far from where I first lived.

Now called the Delta Ponds, the small bodies of water are now part of an impressive nature preserve.  And as in most places in Eugene, the folks responsible for the ponds' management put in walking paths that meander around the area.  Mostly, I am pleased that I recognized the area where the state stocked the ponds with Rainbow Trout we enjoyed eating from time to time.

On our return to Denver, we helped my son in Boulder, who works for Avery Brewery, move into an apartment.  In addition, we enjoyed a lunch at the brewery.

Leah, our daughter in Denver who works at Children's Hospital, did not move; however, she bought her first car, which is pretty damn exciting. 

So, drinking beer, helping Cary move, and going with our daughter buy her first car consumed our time in Colorado.  After staying with me a couple days in Peru, Linda returned to Wisconsin, and I got ready for the fall term of 2014.

One last note about this year's trip to Oregon.  For relaxation, in addition to fishing, I loved attending Eugene Emeralds' games.  The minor league team played in old and loved Emerald Stadium, which now lies empty and in a state of disrepair, which is sad.

The team now plays in a beautiful stadium built for the U of O
baseball team.  However, people got together and purchased the property and hope to rebuild the original stadium.  So we shall see.

Summer Places With Linda and Bill

 Rush Lake
Yellow-headed Blackbirds

During my summer months in Ripon, WI, Linda and I enjoy taking bike rides or going for walks.  Mostly, however, we bike, around four times a week and for a couple hours.

Among other places, Rush Lake is a favorite, around six miles from our start on the bike trail that begins in Ripon and goes to Rerlin, around twenty
miles away.

A dying and shallow body of water, Rush Lake earns its name; the birds and animals always surprise and amuse us.  This summer, I finally managed a photograph of a Yellow-headed Blackbirds, for many nested there.

In addition to Black Terns and plenty of Sand-hill Cranes, as the photographs reveal, we saw a rare visitor over the summer months, White-faced Ibis.

 White-faced Ibis

We also loved to ride on the paved road at Horicon Marsh, around twenty miles from Ripon. 

I believe that Horicon Marsh earns the distinction of largest Cattail marsh in the US. 

At least twice a week, Linda and I ferried the bikes to this spot criss-crossed with hiking trails we experience now and again with our bikes.

Linda and I now carry a bird and a flower book, stopping frequently to enjoy Purple Cone Flowers or the many Canada Goose families that waddle the road on which we bike.  Horicon offers an appealing selection of wild flowers and many species of birds; take a look at the pictures from this summer's fun.

Horicon Marsh Wild Flowers

In addition to Rush Lake and Horizon Marsh, we also walked on he trails at Coresco Park, located adjacent to Ripon College, where Linda teaches French for three more terms before retiring and joining me here in Peru, NE.

I think that we walked there together only once, thus the limited number of photographs.  We favor the other two locations that do not require mountain bikes.  

On a walk I took alone, a young buck startled me but did not bounce away, so I got a couple fun photographs.

In addition to our biking and walking trips, I also enjoyed watching the various birds and animals in the backyard, including the poor Chipping Sparrow parents who raise a Cow Bird almost larger than the two of them combined.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Birds and Animals Seen on the Morocco Trip

On this trip, we saw many more birds and animals than we did last year.  Getting out into the Atlas Mountains made a significant difference.

Last year, we did encounter an Egyptian Cobra at some Roman Ruins, and I am glad not to have repeated that experience.  I did, however, get close to a cobra in Marrakech, an interesting experience with what I assumed were defanged snakes.