Tag Archives: holidays

Packwood Flea Market Memorial Day Weekend 2018

This aint no museum this junk is for sale.

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.

Mt. Rainier National Park

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.

At higher elevations you can still easily find snow. We had a quick snowball fight at the fails. I mean, why not.

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.

 

American Independence

what a perfect day
what a perfect day

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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.

fourth_of_july_2014-13The 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.

AMAZING
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.

Pre-Thanksgiving with Mom

Since I will be gone over Thanksgiving I have been trying to see my family to celebrate early.  Early in November Nancy and I went down to my mom’s house for a Sunday afternoon turkey feast.  She cooked a turkey breast in the crock pot with all the fixings and it was fantastic!  I was tasked with a cranberry dish and desert which I hit out of the park.  When I showed up with my apple cranberry bake and ultimate pumpkin pie my mother was astonished.  When I cook I go all out.  I didn’t get some frozen pie you stick in the oven, this was completely from scratch all the way down to the crust.  And the cranberry bake was a huge success.  My mother ate that first and immediately got up for seconds.  We spent about 5 hours over there catching up.  I don’t get to see my mom and Norman to often so when I do, I like to talk.  Nancy even mentioned I was Chatty Cathy over there.

first, the serious shot
first, the serious shot
now comes the crazyness
now comes the crazyness
sucker punch
sucker punch
ouch!
ouch!
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Hercules
Hercules

Veterans Day in Washington DC

path along the reflecting pool
path along the Reflecting Pool

Photo Gallery

For most federal holiday they happen on Monday or Friday and often the government shifts around the day off to fit this ideal model.  So having Veterans Day in the middle of the week just felt odd and out of place.  On top of that Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast and decided to sit on top of Virginia ALL day.  I was planning on getting outside to do a little hiking but that got washed out, literally.  So when my dad called saying he was going to DC to visit the Vietnam Memorial, possible Arlington National Cemetery, and the Smithsonian’s American History Museum I decided that was a better day spent than inside my house.

We got some what of an early start, I went to his house around 10am so we could take Metro into the city.  I was not overly concerned with high traffic today, middle of the week and rain would keep most people away.  Plus the more people I talked to it was about a 50/50 split on who had off.  Needless to say there was plenty of parking in the garage and seats on the train.

When we got to the Smithsonian stop and took the long escalator ride up we got our first taste of just how miserable the weather was going to be.  I was hoping that the further north we traveled things would improve, but of course that was wishful thinking.  The wind would howl blowing cold moisture soaked air, layers of warm cloths were the only defense against this onslaught of mother nature.  A good rain jacket or umbrella was a must too.  My dad’s umbrella decided to break down and provide only minimal defense against the rain, but for today it would do the job well enough.  The rain falling was never heavy, just a steady, even, rainfall.  Enough to make it not fun to be outside.

Vietnam Memorial
Vietnam Memorial

The walk from the Metro stop to the Vietnam Memorial is about a mile and half, not that far, but no fun in the rain.  We made the most of it and I was able to get a couple nice shots considering the day.  We passed the Washington Monument and the WWII Memorial before we reach our destination.  Around the memorial were a ton of veterans mingling and reminiscing about days of old.  The cold and rain were not enough to keep these guys from honoring the memories of their fallen brothers.  It was inspiring really, I imagine many of them dealt with much worse in the jungle to let a little rain bother them today.  We tried to get close and walk along the wall but police had it blocked off to the public.  An officer said they were preparing for a ceremony at 1pm and we should come back around 3pm if we wanted to get closer.

We spent a good amount of time standing around looking at the wall talking about Vietnam and the current war.  The conversation around the memorial was definitely different than the one on the train ride up or the walk over.  My dad was in country for 17 months as a MP at a southern airfield.  He has never talked about it and I never bring it up.  But I know it affected him.  We talked a little about what the American public was like back then and again now.  To me it is eerily similar now as it was back then.  The public is loosing patience with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, just like in the late sixties with Vietnam.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years.  Will history repeat itself?

lobby of the museum
lobby of the museum

With our sole searching done we trudged along towards the American History Museum.  They recently remolded the museum and opened it back up to the public, plus we wanted to get out of the rain.  Walking along Constitution Avenue we quickly noticed that the roads were blocked off, not even pedestrians were allowed to cross the road.  We knew it was for someone important, and we assumed the President.  A few minutes later we see police motorcycles drive by followed by three heavily armored limousine and 10 or so black SUV’s.  The motorcade even had an ambulance thrown in for good measure.  One of the SUV’s looked like it could have communicated with Spirit and Opportunity on Mars.  That’s just the way he rolls.

Getting to the museum we made a quick stop at the cafe on the first floor for some lunch and much needed hot coffee.  It felt good to be inside and out of the rain.  Next we got a map of the museum and started exploring.  The guide we talked to recommended the Star-Spangled Banner, Julia Child’s Kitchen, and American Presidency.  But before we saw any of these we started with America on the Move since it is on the first floor.  My dad loves trains so it was an obvious first choice.  It is pretty amazing to see how far we have come in this country.  But when you considering how massive it is, it’s no wonder we love to travel.

Next it was up to the third floor and work our way down.  The big attraction here is the Price of Freedom display which shows every war America has been in.  From our countries the little known wars in our early history all the way up to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we are bravely fighting.  We took our time especially walking through the Vietnam section.  I am pretty sure it brought bake memories for my dad.  He pointed out on a giant map the place he was stationed in country which was pretty neat.

a funny statue of Washington
a funny statue of Washington

On the second floor is the Star-Spangled Banner, this is the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what eventually became the national anthem of our country.  When I was a kid the flag use to be displayed so when you walked in from the Mall entrance it was the first thing you saw.  As time went on they covered it and would only display it for a brief time during the day.  Now, it is entirely encased in a environmentally controlled chamber away from people and light.  Throughout the flags history people have not taken the best care of it.  Large sections were cut out and sold and at one time it was displayed outside on the museum wall.

We had time to check a few other section of the museum in our limited time.  Of course we couldn’t see everything in the few hours we had, but we saw everything we wanted to.  It was great spending the day with my dad in the city.  It reminded me of my youth when he would take my brother and I up regularly to check out the museums.  Even in my thirties going to the museums with my dad is a lot of fun.