We have spent the last week in Vancouver celebrating my parents’ birthdays. Dad turned 80 on Tuesday and mom was 78 on Wednesday. We were glad to share the time and celebrations with them.
On Saturday mom went to the Washington Democratic Caucus. We were interested in the process and the results. Her precinct had to move outside because there were so many people but there was no drama in their large vote for Bernie Sanders. Their precinct mirrored the state.
On Tuesday, we traveled along Historic Route 30, the beautiful route into the Columbia Gorge. We stopped at Vista House, so named because of the beautiful vistas viewable from the site.
Traveling a little further along we saw this goat enjoying a rest on top of the cabin. We aren’t sure how it got there but it didn’t look distressed.
We continued on to our destination, Multnomah Falls. These are the second tallest, continuously running falls in the United States.
We met and enjoyed lunch, the first birthday celebration, at the Multnomah Falls Restaurant with cousins Marilyn and Lynn from Rock Springs and aunt Rosalee who lives in Hood River. We hadn’t known Marillyn and Lynn were coming to the area this week so it was a nice surprise.
On Wednesday, we went to the Rhinelander Restaurant in Portland and celebrated the birthdays with cousins Connie, Michael, and Charlie and his girlfriend, Lisa. Mom and dad have enjoyed the Rhinelander Restaurant since our family lived in Portland in the late 1960s. A good time and good German food, was had by all. Good German beer was had by some.
The beginning of the week was miserably wet and cold and we had the misfortune of finding a substantial leak in our trailer. Actually, it is a good thing we found the leak but it took Randy most of one day to find it, temporarily fix it, and then get everything dried out with the blow dryer. Things happen when we live in so many different climates and go rocking and rolling down the road!
Its a good thing we have Handy Randy.
Later in the week the weather was sunny and warm and mom and I enjoyed some top down time in her BMW Roadster. This car used to be Randy’s and we both enjoyed driving the car a bit.
One day mom and I went to the Clark County Historical Museum and enjoyed seeing the exhibits about Native American beading and basket weaving. There was also a very moving art exhibit done by descendents of those who survived the Sand Creek Massacre 152 years ago in Colorado.
A combined Cherokee and Arapahoe village was settled on the banks of Sand Creek, where they had been instructed to reside after treaty negotiations. Also as instructed, the village was flying both the United States flag and the white flag of surrender. The Colorado Territorial Militia, angered by rogue attacks by other Cherokee bands, took horrible vengeance on women, children and old men of the village while the younger men were away hunting buffalo.
The soldiers mutilated the bodies and proudly displayed them as they were cheered through Denver. Two officers refused to allow their men to participate in the raid and later testified against the commanding officer, Colonel Chivington. It is a sad tale. Sand Creek National Historical Site is now in our plans when we are next in Colorado.
On a cheerier note, a food exhibit told us that Vancouver had once been the Prune Capital of the World and that Burgerville, a southern Washington and Oregon hamburger chain, began here in 1961. The privately held company has 40 restaurants and uses fresh, local and sustainable food sources.
So the next day we went for lunch! Papa Murphy’s Pizza also has headquarters in Vancouver, but we’ve had their pizzas many times.
We all went to the Pearson Air Museum on Fort Vancouver. We’ve seen a lot of airplanes in the last couple of months but we still learned a few new things!
As WWI began observation balloons and planes were used to see enemy encampments and movement. Originally, when opposing observation planes met in the air, they just waved to each other. As war progressed, they began to shoot at each other with hand guns. Eventually guns were mounted on the planes, and the age of fighter pilots began.
This is a replica of a 1914 French Voisin, the first airplane ever built specifically to be a bomber.
When the United States entered WWI, German planes were dominant in the skies. The allies needed a steady supply of airplanes. The pacific northwest had large stands of aviation quality sitka spruce but the local loggers were on strike due to unsafe working conditions and long hours. The US Army Aviation Corps created and managed the Spruce Production Division. US Army soldiers worked beside loggers and saw mill operators. The mill produced enough wood to build 300 airplanes a day. Two thirds of the lumber was shipped to the allies for their planes. The Spruce Production Division supplied sitka spruce for the allies for 15 months and discontinued the day after the war ended.
Pearson Airfield was the unexpected ending point of the Russian long distance flight in 1937. Three Russian aviators flew 63 hours, 17 minutes from Moscow, over the pole, intending to land in San Francisco. Oil pressure problems necessitated them landing in Pearson Airfield. They were treated as heroes by those living in the vicinity including the Commanding Officer of Fort Vancouver, General George C. Marshall.
Our last visit in the area was to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. There is an audio tour that introduces you to the habitat and the inhabitants as you drive. We saw many, many birds in the wetlands.
We also saw many turtles and nutrias in the slough. Nutrias are water rodents that originated in South America. They were brought here as part of the fur trade and are now considered an invasive species. They were kind of cute in the water – until you see that rodent tail! Yuck!
We are 90 minutes from Boise as I post this blog. We are looking forward to spending most of a month at “home.”