In a way this is another covid story. By the beginning of the year vaccinations really started to roll out. Pat was able to get one early because of her age and as the supply increased the requirements got lowered to cover more and more people. Knowing the vaccine was around the corner gave us all hope. This was great news as Pat was now comfortable traveling to see family. With that in mind Pat booked a trip over Mother’s Day to the west coast to see everyone. It had been a while since she saw her daughter and grand kids and she couldn’t wait to see everyone.Continue reading Depoe Bay for Mother’s Day
Sunday was Veterans Day and the weather turned out to be rather nice. For me the afternoon started with a walk north towards the Lloyd Center and quickly changed to a trip out to Washington Park to visit the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial. It was just a beautiful day and I wanted to be out.
I have a weird relationship with Veterans Day. I am not a vet, never served in the military. My dad was in Vietnam but he never talked about it and I never asked. Through a weird series of events many years ago my dad and I had off and our respective wives were working. The two of us having nothing better to do we went to DC. First stop was the Vietnam Memorial and then we went to the American History Museum.
It was such a great day just hanging out with my dad. He passed away many years ago but I have never forgotten that trip to the city. I wanted to visit the memorial to remember my father. I miss him every day.
What should have been a straight shot train ride got derailed by an accident along the tracks. I just walked past the closed stop and onto the next one. Remember its a beautiful day and I love to walk. Eventually I made it to the park. The memorial is right there when you get off the train and if my understanding is correct this is also the bottom of Forrest Park.
Anyone can put a stone statue some place and call it a memorial. This one was much more than that. It was started by locals wanting to honor those that didn’t make it back from Vietnam. With years of fundraising the organization had the money they needed to start construction.
You walk down this path that leads to a fountain and small plague. Next the path spirals up the hillside. Along the path there are giant marble walls with all the names of the dead and the year they died. When you get to the end you see a list of MIA. Thankfully you can see that some of those names have been taken off. They didn’t make it back alive but they made it home.
I got to the top of the path and just had to take a seat for a while. All these emotions running through me. The lives lost to war, needless war. The lives of all those soldiers still fighting, doing what they think is best to protect America and our allies. And my dad. Greatest man I ever knew. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him and for that I am eternally grateful. I found some peace that afternoon.
Memorials are there for a reason and I was glad I got to the Vietnam Memorial. The weather was good, it was a holiday, and it was a Sunday. Just being there, sitting, thinking, and looking at everything around me. It was a great day. Let us never forget.
Earlier this year I caught word of a giant flea market in the middle of no where Washington. The city was called Packwood and twice a year during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend the city throws together one hell of flea market. The city doesn’t shut down but it’s population swells each weekend to unimaginable levels. Between the shear number of vendors and all the people wondering about it is a sight to behold.
Friends of Bobby and Tracy have some family land right in Packwood and each year they gather to celebrate and have fun. We were invited to join in the festivities this year and it was a blast all weekend. We camped outside and I must say the weather for me was perfect. It was breezy at times but during the night it was nice and cool. It also never rained which was awesome. Only for like a half day on Sunday was it actually sunny and warm.
As soon as we arrived one think I noticed was the communal atmosphere. All weekend everyone helped each other out. Food was the coolest thing as everyone shared what they had. No one went hungry and for the most part we all ate together which considering what coordination is needed that is pretty cool.
The flea market is a huge event. I walked for miles over three days and didn’t see everything. Not only are there vendors along the main highway but you can go down any road and find even more vendors. Most I will admit stuff is junk but if you find the right buyer it can be worth gold. I ended up not buying anything but I was amazed at all the stuff I saw over the weekend. If you are a creative person you can find that one amazing little widget here that will just make your design. I did spot two classic typewriters and thought about them for a hot minute but decided against it. That is still something I would like to own but this wasn’t the right place to make the purchase.
A big to do all weekend was corn hole. I don’t know what it was but Bobby and I played a lot of it all weekend. We would practice and practice. Get confident in our skills and challenge the same two people all weekend. I think we won one game and that was it. Still a lot of fun and we will see about a rematch next time. We talked about making our own board too. Pretty simple design and it would be a great opportunity to practice my knuckle ball.
Everything we needed was at camp and we could walk to the flea market so no reason to leave. Our only adventure out all weekend was to Mt. Raineir since we were so close. I have never been to the park and neither had the family so it made for a great day trip opportunity. Getting there we took the long way around and unfortunately it took about an hour to get into the park once we made it to the entrance. It was such a great day that everyone was coming down from Seattle causing a huge delay getting into the park.
Once we got in we hit a ranger station and found a quick but scenic hike to Carter Falls. This is a series of falls along the larger Wonderland Trail. First you cross the Nisqually River on your way up the Wonderland Trail. Its crazy seeing the river bed and its ever changing flow. I think its about a mile up the trail and there are the falls. Nothing that impressive but still a nice little hike up the mountains. It was crazy to still see snow at this elevations, around 3600′. We even had a snow ball fight……in June.
Actually some of the best scenes where on the drive down the mountain. We passed this waterfall tucked under the road which was really cool. At one point we rounded the corner for a long straight and the mountain just opened up. All weekend we couldn’t see the mountain and even now while hiking it was covered in clouds but at that moment, things where perfect. Mr. Raineir is certainly an impressive mountain.
A great and fun weekend. Lots of relaxing, cigars, walking and food all weekend. Over Labor Day weekend I am going to see the Indy race here in Portland but there is talk of going up again that weekend. I won’t be able to make that but it would be a fun weekend. If you get some good weather it can be a lot of fun.
The Fourth of July fell on Friday this year, the perfect day of the week if you ask me. It has been in the mid-90’s the last few days but the heat wave broke and was in the low 80’s for July 4th. Combine that with a good breeze and the day was perfect for being outside.
We decided to BBQ ribs at the house and with Will and Sondra driving up from North Carolina, we gathered the family for an old fashion BBQ. Like most of my stuff, my BBQ books are packed in a box so I searched the internet for a new rub and sauce recipe. Not long after I put the ribs on the grill the smell was amazing. It had this spicy notes to it and with the hickory smoke, the combo was a good one. I modified the rub a little to add some more kick and I think it was a good idea in the end. When the rest if the family showed up to the house, Will said he could smell the ribs as they drove down the street. So far so good on cooking them.
The rest of the afternoon we hanged out on the deck. Greg and I smoked cigars and everyone sampled a myriad of beers that I purchased the day before. I love days like this. Days I get to sit back, smoke cigars, drink good beer and chill with family.
After four hours on the grill the moment of truth was reveled. For the first several hours I was able to keep a constant 225 temperature in the grill. The last few hours were a little tougher but for the most part all afternoon I had a constant low heat. To me, this is the critical part of BBQ. Anyone can make a rub and put it on meet. To cook it at the right temp for several hours is what makes you a BBQ master. With Matt’s help I pulled off the ribs from the grill and they looked amazing. One rack I had trouble getting out so I was pushing on one of the bones to free it and the whole bone just popped right out. All indications pointed to perfectly cooked ribs. A sample a few minutes later confirmed, I had an exceptional set of cooked ribs. With all the family gather I felt some pressure to perform and I came through with flying colors. Everyone agreed they were amazing.
After dinner Will, Sondra, and Maggie packed up their gear and headed to Washington, D.C. Will and Sondra wanted to catch the fireworks before heading to North Dakota. I thought about going but I was in a really good groove so I stayed with everyone else at the house. We light off a few roman candles and watch the fireworks on PBS instead. I know it is not the same as being there, but we didn’t have to fight the crowds to see the show.
It was a long day but a good day with the family. The weather was absolutely perfect all day with cool temperatures and a good breeze. The ribs came out amazing and all the sides hit the spot. I hope next year to have the Forth of July party at our new house and invite everyone over there to celebrate.