Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catching up

Mt St Helens

Ellen and Mimi at Otis Cafe

Otis Cafe, Otis OR

Ranger walk at Mt St Helens

Sacagewea's bed at Fort Clatsop

Note: Our two nights in Randle, WA (Sun and Mon) there was no WIFi in the room. You had to go to the restaurant, and even there it was very slow and undependable. Loading photos is difficult.I apologize for the random order of photos - I'm working under duress!

DAY TWENTY-ONE (Sat., July 13): Today we went with J.E. to the Farmer's Market in Salem, and on the way we stopped for lattés at a church-sponsored coffee shop that is very popular and that we like a lot.  As we were walking along we saw a phenomenon that we really were intrigued by and which J.E. says is very common in Portland - the front lawn "Free Library." Someone has set up a nice little weather-proofed bookcase on their front lawn where you can take books and leave books for others. Evidently it really works. There were a number of books in the case we liked and Mimi immediately got one she loved: Dewey the Library Cat.

The Farmer's Market is big and has everything. We met a "kaffeeklatsch" group of women that J.E. would normally be meeting with if she hadn't been with us. Mimi found some presents for Tamar and Julie; I looked around and then visited with one of J.E.'s friends. From there we went to Minto Island Growers food stand for lunch, where we met Bonnie and Roger. This is one of our favorite places to eat in Salem - it is outdoors, and the food is excellent. Great salads and pizza. 

After lunch we went to the Hallie Ford Museum, also a favorite stop in Salem. There is always something of interest to see there - and this time Roger was with us and he had curated one of the shows and also one of the galleries, so we got a personal tour. The two featured artists were Holly Andres and Constance Fowler.  Constance Fowler was an artist of our parents' generation - born in 1906 - who taught at Willamette University in the 1940's and then went to Albion College in MI, and later returned to the Salem area where she continued to create art. Her media were mainly painting and block prints, also some watercolors. She had two distinct phases of earlier representational art and later abstract, impressionistic work, but with underlying continuities. She was a very accomplished artist and a very interesting person as well, and Roger had done a great job of presenting and narrating her work.

Holly Andres is a young, contemporary photographer who does something that is very interesting and compelling - she stages a series of scenes with actors in costume and in settings that recreate an earlier era - the 1940's and 1950's - and makes a series of photographs that create a narrative with an undercurrent of mystery and the ominous. These scenes often involve families and children, and her work often explores feminist themes. You can see everything she does online - just Google "Holly Andres."

One example of humor in art caught my eye: a group of ceramics arranged as though in a box of chocolates - which on closer examination turn out to be frog sandwiches. E.g., the middle one is a "Cheese Frog on a Triscuit."

Ellen walked back to J.E.'s from the museum and I took a ride with Bonnie & Roger.  J.E. had left earlier with Miriam. We all rejoined for supper at J.E.'s on the deck - a lovely meal and lovely evening. Mimi assisted J.E. in preparing and serving the meal and also entertained us during it - one of her amazing feats is to recite all 50 states in just two breaths.

DAY TWENTY-TWO (Sunday, July 14): Today was a travel day from Salem, OR to Randle, WA, via the Oregon Coast. We went first to the Otis Café, west of Salem near the coast - famous for its dark molasses bread and great breakfasts. Soon after, in the town of Neskowin, OR Mimi had her first experience of the Pacific Ocean. We went up Route 101 and got some fine views of the ocean. We stopped at Lewis & Clark National Park - the Fort Clatsop Unit - and learned about the L&C Expedition's winter of 1804. There is a replica of the fort they built to house the 33 members of the expedition - the enlisted men in 8-person bunk houses, officers' quarters and a separate room for the French Guide,  Toussaint Charbonneau,  Sacagewea his wife, and a newborn baby,  Jean Babtiste.  Clark has a slave with him, York, but no one seems to know exactly where he slept.
We had a little picnic out of our food box (with new fresh bread fron Otis!) near the Netun Landing. From there we went to Astoria, OR, went a bit east and crossed over into WA on a ferry which went to Puget Island, WA and then by bridge to Cahlamet, WA. That was an unexpected treat. From there we drove over to I-5 at Kelso, up to Route 12 and over to Randle, arriving at the Tall Timber Motel at about 10pm. A full day but an interesting one. Tall Timber is funky, but we like it. We'll explore Mt St Helens tomorrow and be here again Monday night. Tuesday will be Mt Rainier N.P.

DAY TWENTY-THREE: Today we had a fascinating day at Mt St Helen's National Volcanic Monument. On May 18, 1980, an earthquake triggered the collapse of the north flank of Mt St Helens setting in motion the largest landslide in recorded human history. That was followed by a lateral blast of gas, stone and ash which had a force comparable to an atomic bomb. That immediately melted glaciers on the mountain which created a huge river of mud which flowed as far as the Columbia River and brought the bed of the river up by almost 30 feet! An ash plume went into the air up to 15 miles high. When it was all over, 250 square miles of old growth forest was devastated. Ash fell several feel deep hundreds of miles from the mountain. 57 people lost their lives. Today, the MSHNVM is devoted to research on volcanoes, education on what happened there and its aftermath, and preservation of the natural environment with as little human intervention as possible. It is today a place of great beauty. The eruption created  a diverse new environment. E.g., 100  new lakes were formed. Plant and animal species have come in never seen there before and are thriving. It is an amazing place to visit. We went on a ranger walk, which helped us to understand what we were seeing, and also saw two very dramatic films. Mimi went through the Junior Ranger program.

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Tues., July 16:  We're just having breakfast in the Tall Timber Restaurant. We're heading for Mt. Ranier N.P. today, and may have a chance to go by Fort Lewis. My father was Post Chaplain at Fort Lewis during WWII, and my mother was visiting him there exactly 70 years ago today - July 16, 1943. My brother and I were back in Minneapolis being taken care of by an older woman friend of the family. I have pictures of mother and dad in front of the Post Chapel at Fort Lewis.

My father and mother at Post Chapel, Fort Lewis, WA, July 1943

Dad greeting congregants after service at Post Chapel

"Religious coffee" at the church coffee shop

The Little Free Library. What a great idea!

Humorous frog art (maybe not so funny if you're a frog though)

All hazelnuts in many forms at the indoor farmer's market in Salem OR

Eastern Oregon by artist Carl Heaney at the Hallie Ford Museum
Ferry to Puget Island
Bunk room at Fort Clatsop
Paint brush at Mt St Helens
Supper on JE's deck
Mimi contemplates the Pacific Ocean!
First dip in the Pacific!

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