Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everything Is Bad For You

I was cleaning one of the shelves in our home library the other day and ran across the classic work by David French titled Everything Is Bad For You, An A to Z Guide To What You Never Knew Could Kill You.

I offer the following excerpt taken from page 18 for your consideration.

Carpenter, Being A -- Save a carpenter: buy plastic furniture. The dust produced while making furniture, cabinets, and other wood products can lead to cancer of the nasal cavities and sinuses.

I wonder what became of the carpenter who hand crafted the door shown in my photo? In the days that the cabin was build, he likely took few considerations for personal safety.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Touch of Fall

The past few weeks, as fellow bloggers have posted the most incredible fall foliage images, has been a joy for me! Having been raised in New England, fall was always my favorite season as the maples turned multiple shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Fall is still a wonderful time in northwest Oregon, but the forests are somewhat lacking in the range of color. Last week I decided to take a drive inland, about twenty miles from the coast, in an attempt to see what this fall had to offer. Unfortunately, the fog persisted most of the afternoon so the color of the big leaf maples were a bit muted. OK, so I cheated a little by adding a little "punch" via Lightroom.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How Quaint

The arrival of fall means that we once again begin hosting groups of school kids at the museum. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of offering a tour to a group of Boy Scouts who were interested in all things nautical. Since time was not of the essence, it allowed us to explore areas of the museum often left untouched by a typical school group.

I have learned that when giving tours to kids, it often helps to have objects available that they can touch. To me, this "hands on learning" really helps me bring home a point. This is especially important when sharing on events that occurred before the student's birth.

Yesterday, I decided to end my tour in the Navel History gallery; this gallery presents a challenge to even our most experienced docents. Displayed within the gallery's walls are artifacts representing two-hundred plus years of history. The question is always what do you share in the remaining seven minutes of your tour?

Keeping with my "hands on learning" approach, I decided to share a little on what life was like on board a ship during World War II. Proudly displayed in the gallery is the bridge of USS Knapp, a destroyer that saw service in both WWII and the Korean War. It never ceases to amaze me how intrigued the students become when they enter the confined space of the bridge. They are truly fascinated by the dizzying array of switches, levers, and dials along with the Captain's chair and the ship's wheel.

As I was watching and listening to the kids, one of them turned to me and inquired as to what was this contraption hanging from the ship's wall. As I drew closer, I realized that he was asking about the rotary style phone. It was one of those times that you realize how old you have become in relation to the rest of world! You have undoubtedly guessed his next question, "How does it work?" I then proceeded to give a quick demonstration; my only regret was that I did not have a camera to record the look of wonder on their faces!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To The Top of Beacon Rock

Last week, the long awaited hike to the top of Beacon Rock finally happened. My buddy Dale and I had big plans to do lots of hiking and bike riding this summer, but as the saying goes, "life is what happens when you make plans". In early July, Dale took a temporary job with our previous employer and I got heavily involved with house painting so the summit of Beacon Rock sat on hold. What the heck, the rock is the remains of an ancient volcano so it's not like it was going to move any time soon.

Since we both spent a good deal of our working lives working outside in nasty weather, it's a prime requirement that any out door outing during retirement be planned around good weather. Last Tuesday, we hit pay dirt as the skies were generally clear and the temperature was in the low sixties, perfect conditions for a hike.

Beacon Rock is located at the west end of the Columbia River gorge and is accessible from the Washington side of the river. I have always thought of it as Washington's answer to the Matterhorn in terms of its profile, but measuring a mere 848 feet in elevation, it is far from a technical climb. As a matter of fact, the trail is carved into the basalt slopes and connected by a series of steel grates and small bridges. The view is to die for but without a doubt it would not be a place to be hiking when the trail is covered in snow and ice!

The view from half way up looking west down the Columbia River

An old growth Doug-fir surrounded by fall colors

Dale surveying the trail

A close up of the trail and connecting bridges

If you are ever in the area, this is a must do hike! Even if you take your time a hike to the top takes less than an hour; it's only about 3/4 of a mile to the top. This leads me to believe that when Dale and I get together it's not so much about hiking or biking but more about friendship and socialization.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sunset Over The Pacific

Fall has finally arrived and in my opinion, it is the best time to visit the beach. The days generally tend to be warm and sunny and the evenings are cool and crisp! My kind of weather!

The same conditions make for outstanding sunset photographic opportunities. Those conditions would be that the beach is generally deserted and the sun sets by 6:45 PM so I can make it home before my normal bed time. Does life get any better!