Friday, December 21, 2018

News You Can Use -- Friday, December 21, 2018

Herb and I are sad as we say we have sold Willie's Tug, and she may be seen somewhere in the wonderful PNW waters.  

Willie's Tug at Kake, Alaska, on our way back to her home in Seattle.  We went to Sitka, Alaska.

But the sadness is replaced with happy thoughts of future travel in our motor home, 
Sweet Caroline. 

(And my fun post of where we are at the end of the day will be "Find Sweet Caroline," instead of "Find Willie's Tug.")

Here are photos made as we traveled home to Texas from the PNW at the end of the summer four years ago, in 2014.  Our golden retriever, Jake, fondly called 'The Doctor,' guards our site in an RV park.

So our next bit of news to share is that Herb and I will close our Facebook account December 31, and spend more time traveling, visiting with family and friends, reading the many unread books we have and the ones we want to buy, and writing our blogs -- which we love to do!!!

We have enjoyed keeping up with friends and seeing all the photos, but we will be just a phone call away, an eMail away, and a text away.

We hope to see and hear from family and friends.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Friday, December 21, 2018

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Texas in the Washington State Museum ? -- Thursday, August 17, 2017

It was almost a year ago, August of 2017, that Herb and I spent the month aboard Willie's Tug at Foss Harbor Marina in Tacoma WA.  We took advantage of the time to explore much of what Tacoma has to offer, and one of our favorites is the Washington State History Museum.

I was so excited to see the exhibit of mountains and volcanoes with the diagram of the single and multi-vents.  I had mistakenly thought Mt. Baker near Bellingham had one vent, because it seemed more pointed as I viewed it from near Anacortes, and Mt. Ranier appears more rounded on top from where I see it in Seattle.

The great diagram below names Mt. Ranier by the single vent, and Mt. Baker by the multi-vent.  I've got a lot to learn and find it so interesting.

In the Pioneer exhibit people are shown making pottery, bread, and weaving.

According to Eric Amesen, African Americans were denied better paying jobs, so they went into the service industry, the men becoming porters and the women maids and kitchen help.

Chinese took the least attractive and more dangerous jobs in the West.  While working on the railroads, they blasted tunnels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In Montana copper mines, they dumped cars and removed surface rubble.  In Nevada silver mines, they washed clothes and cooked.

In the top photo below, a laborer is shown applying Latimer's dry lead to the apples.  One customer who bought this product reported that it really made his fruit better, because it was less wormy.


In the 1940's this product was banned and replaced with DDT, which was later banned, also.

The photo below shows a picking crew.

Label on a can of salmon.

United States citizens were encouraged to buy War Bonds during WW II, when full employment collided with rationing.   This was seen as a way to remove money from circulation, and reduce inflation.

Citizens were also asked to can the crops.

What's left of a poster communicated that there was a concern about the Japanese already owning 47 per cent of Seattle's hotels and having a monopoly on truck garden products.  Other worries were the Japanese population growing faster than whites.

Below is a page from a book about building the Grand Coulee Power and Pumping Plant.

One of my favorite exhibits tells about an anchor that was lost sometime between the 1850s and 1870s when the chain was fouled on a large rock at the bottom in what is now Thea Foss Waterway.

When it was later discovered, the anchor was found to have sea creatures attached.  They were removed by high pressure water hoses and packed to keep them moist.

Now here's what I had to smile about:  "The anchor and stock were trucked to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University's Nautical Archaeology program.

"They were given further cleaning, then placed in a vat of water and sodium hydroxide.  An electrical current was applied to remove the chloride ions from the metal, stopping the corrosion that had been happening for 150 years.  The process took nearly three years to complete.

"Finally, the anchor, chain links, and stock bands were painted with a tannic acid solution and sealed with a microcrystalline wax to prevent any further deterioration."  

Thank you, Texas.    

My heart is in anything Native American.

Especially their art -- the trickster, Raven?

Celeste Kardonsky Dybeck, a Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Elder and a lifelong seamstress, created the Kardonsky Family Tree button blanket in collaboration with artist Candice Olsen.  The project was inspired and precipitated by a life-changing personal challenge (cancer diagnosis) and her creative vision.

The Kardonsys are a mischievous bunch.  The Raven, a known trickster, represents her late father, Walt.  The Moon is her late mother, Deloris.  Waves are their children -- Lou, Celeste, Tim, Candy, Sandy, Valerie, and Alan.  The larger buttons on each of the waves represents their children, and the smaller buttons, their grandchildren.

My favorite exhibit in the museum is a story by Maria Williams of the Native American Tlingit tribe, in which she tells the story of Creation.  (Reference Genesis 1 in the Bible.)

No comment of mine could improve on it....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
    and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
    Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dear Lance

This is a letter Willie wrote before she started this Blog.  One of our first long trips on the new Terra Trikes.  Posted by Walldog.

Dear Lance,

Wednesday, July 9, 2003, I rode my Wizwheelz TerraTrike 30.5 miles on the Tammany Trace.  Did I do good?
Tammany Trace is a rail, or paved former train tram, which stretches from Covington LA to Slidell LA, and we learned about it from our friend Perry who has a guesthouse in Mandeville, one of the Trailheads.

Taking advantage of his hospitality, we transported our Trikes on Tuesday, checked out the riding area in Mandeville, and embarked on our journey about 8 AM Wednesday.  We had Camelbacks full of cool water, sunscreen, inspect repellant, and extra water bottles.  The temperature was around 75 degrees.

Five minutes after we began, we came face to face with US 190, (which, Lee Ann, is akin on a trike to US 290 in a motor vehicle driven by a country driver.)  Herb made it across by pedaling; however, I chose to lift the rear wheel and walk mine across.  In five more minutes we were at the Trailhead in Mandeville and wheeled onto the path north to Abita Springs.  A wonderful part of this path is a tunnel that takes you under US 190, and is quite a thrill speeding down and climbing up the other side.

The path was tree-lined, so that it was cool for much of the trip.  Sips from the Camelbacks were very refreshing along the way. A halfway rest area was a park maintained by St. Tammany Parish (counties to non-Louisianaians), which included a Caboose, covered pavilions, restrooms and water fountain.  Souvenirs are available when the Caboose is open.

 An interesting part of the trip was approaching intersections with motor vehicle roads.  Some were “All Way Stop” and some were Stops for us.  We learned to safely negotiate these.  As you may recall country roads traveling parallel to a railroad track, but needing to cross it, will make serious S-curves on both sides of the track.  No way can you see oncoming traffic, so a complete stop is necessary.  I learned how to be in the correct gear for pedaling from a stop.  Some drivers were courteous enough to stop for us and hold up traffic while we crossed.

Abita Springs is known for its bottled water appropriately named “Abita Springs Water” and its beer appropriately named “Abita Beer,” which they brew in three flavors.  We were interested to tour the brewery, but did not readily find it, so decided to ride on to Covington (only two more miles), as it was around 10 in the morning, and too early for lunch.  Or beer.

This leg of the journey was pleasant – no hills or curves to speak of on any part of the Trace – and we arrived in Covington anticipating the touristy downtown area collection of shops, hoping to find some iced tea and rest a while.  The temperature was climbing.

We discovered that the Trace ended before we found the downtown area, so we began our search for the iced tea.  Again, we encountered US 190 and Herb pedaled across.  Again, I walked my Trike across – only to find that the bike path that we picked up into downtown crossed a bridge over the river, as did US 190, and for some strange reason had a section about 10 feet long with a guard rail on the outer edge that encroached on the width of the bike path, so that we only had room enough for our wheels to sit.  No passing, for sure! 

It was a little scary traversing this bridge, as the 12 inch drop-off would be into the right-hand lane of US 190.  But we prayed for safety and  went slow.  No problem.

                        (If any of our children are reading this, please don’t let our
                        grandchildren read it, as we don’t want to set a bad example.)

We found the downtown area and a neat coffee house for the iced tea.  Also a bonus was a mural of Huey P. Long on one of the buildings, with his motto,   “Every Man a King.” 

As we meandered around the downtown, we came upon another part of the bike path, but had to ride over an almost downed chain link fence gate.  That should have been our clue.  We soon discovered that this path crossed that river – but with no guardrails! 
So – the debate:  continue on a wide path over a river with no guard rails, or go back and cross it along side of US 190.  What to do, what to do?  Since it appeared to be a shortcut, we continued across slowly only to discover that the chain link fence gate on the other side was secure.  Oooooh!  The gate was all the way across the path  -- no way to walk around, as the ground dropped off too steep.

So – we turned around and pedaled back, made our way back to the highway and again to the beginning of the Tammany Trace.  Safely.

                        (If any of our children are reading this,……….)

Twelve noon found us back in Abita Springs and we had lunch in the Abita Brewery restaurant.  Herb had blackened Redfish, which he said was wonderful.  I decided to eat light for lunchtime, so ordered grilled chicken Caesar salad, and I have to tell you that anything you eat in South Louisiana is better than elsewhere!  What can I say!

Eight miles later we were back in Mandeville, thrilled through the tunnel, and back to the Trailhead.  Traffic on 190 was not so bad, and I was able to pedal across this time.  When we arrived at the guesthouse, we agreed it was one of the best bike trips we had ever had.

The next morning – on our Travel Home Day – Herb suggested that first we should pedal in the other direction, east toward Slidell.  Fountainbleau State Park was only 6 miles away, and would serve as a good morning’s exercise. 

Our only obstacle was a huge (especially from the low angle from which we were looking) maintenance bucket truck trimming tree limbs off the path.  We were able to get their attention, and they waved us on by. 

We were overtaken by a bicycle rider from Baton Rouge who regularly rides the trail, having property at two locations along the path.    Contributing to the enjoyment of a conversation with this gentleman was the soft Baton Rouge accent, only found in Baton Rouge.  Sorta made us homesick.  He told us of a coffee house on the lakefront where he frequently goes to read his morning newspaper.  Said we could safely ride our “contraptions” to it. 

At Fountainbleau we were awed by the very old oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and the expanse of Ponchartrain Lake.  Then back to Mandeville in search of the coffee house for a refreshing glass of iced tea.

The first thing we saw as we approached the seawall back in Mandeville was several sailboats not too far away.  I asked Herb to take my picture with the boats in the background, so I could give it to Debbie Simpler, one of my sailor friends in Longview.  After I saw the picture, I realized the craft were too far to show well. 

At the coffeehouse we enjoyed the patio shade and cool drinks and the peacefulness of the lake scene.  A friendly local approached us and said he had seen us riding our tricycles on Marigny Street the day before. 

We finally decided we needed to head back to Texas and would stop for lunch along the way.  What better way to remember Louisiana than to have one last Cajun meal, so we headed for Copeland’s in Baton Rouge.  What a treat!  We had crawfish and redfish Creole.  (Without the rice, Dr. Atkins.) 

And so to home, with plans to find more Rails to Trails or other bike/trike paths for future rides.

Post Script:  The Trikes are on their way to a new home in Memphis, TN.  They were purchased by a couple who hope to have as much fun on them as we did.  Good Luck!!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Willie is the Winner! -- Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sometimes we get lucky.

At the Seattle Boat Show in January I sign up for a drawing to win a month's free moorage at Foss Harbor Marina in Tacoma.  As I visit their booth, I ask "Where is Foss Harbor?  My friends and I always stay at Dock Street Marina."  I was told the location, and then remember seeing the name of the marina as we cruised the Foss Waterway to and from Dock Street.  "Yes, I will sign up for the drawing."

So imagine my surprise when I get a phone call in a few days to let me know I am the lucky winner! Wow!  I am so excited, especially when I realize that it is not too far from SeaTac Airport.  I ask if I might have my month start and end in consecutive months -- August 15 to September 15, so that Herb and I could take public transportation to SeaTac to fly home to Houston and attend our granddaughter Stephanie's wedding to Marcus.  

Sure, I am told.  There's no problem with the dates.  So on Tuesday, August 15, we cruise out of Lake Union through the Locks and into the salty Puget Sound.  Bruce and Vicki on our sister ship, Moon Shadow, join us hoping to make a stopover at Blake Island, but the marina looks full, with a few boats tied to pilings waiting for someone to vacate a slip.

Tacoma is not too far away, so we head on down the Sound.  Foss Harbor welcomes us and we settle into our slip for a nice vacation.  There is much to see and do in Tacoma, and we do quite a bit of walking.  The photo below is taken from the historical draw bridge, which is about halfway between the two marinas.   Without my Nikon for a great zoom, I aim in the direction of Willie's Tug. It's tough, but I really can see her.

Find Willie's Tug....

Found Willie's Tug....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Must See Areas in Fremont -- Sunday, August 13, 2017

For the past few days Herb and I have been glued to the TV in Tacoma, watching the weather and flooding on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts, and praying for all those in the path of Harvey.  Fr. Jim, a priest in the Houston/Pearland area says we should all take a break from the stress, maybe play a board game.

So this morning I take a step back and think of a happier day:

While in Lake Union Herb and I take many walks, trying for a different direction every day.  From our marina today we take the canal walking path down to the Ballard bridge, then across it into Ballard. From here we follow the Burke Gilman Trail on the other side of the the ship canal bike trail.

The trail takes us to Fremont.  How often can you walk from one city to another?    So I love it when I see on the sidewalk 'city limit' signs painted that tell us we have walked from Ballard to Fremont.

This puts us near the Fremont Sunday Market, where we have lunch and visit the various vendors. Looking at Herb's path on his phone, he tells me there is a troll -- The Fremont Troll --under the Aurora Avenue bridge.  I think this is a must see!

This lovely creature is a very popular one, and people are lined up to get their photos taken by friends.  A really close look shows a young boy peering over the top of the troll's head.  He has a really big grin on his face as he turns to face his mom's camera.  Herb and I enjoy the moment, but do not stand in line to be photographed.

Being fans of the search engine, Google, we are so excited to see one of their signs as we walk near their Fremont office building.  The park on the ground level has a large cairn, and I ask Herb to please let me get a photo of him near it.

Finding our way back to Willie's Tug, we are awed by discovering a piece of the Berlin Wall which came to Fremont in 2001 to commemorate the role of Seattle and Boeing's C-47 in the Berlin Airlift of 1948.


I had had a fun conversation with boater friend Chris about the state of Washington's Fremont bridge, in comparison with Portland's Fremont bridge.   I remember driving across the one in Portland and share a link here to show its beauty.

However, I don't think I told her about the humor attached to Seattle's bridge, so as we return to Lake Union, I turn around to take these photos.  The sign claims Fremont WA is the center of the Universe, so we should turn our watches ahead 5 minutes.

Ha ha ha!

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, August 13, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bike Ride from Baltimore to Seattle -- Friday, August 11, 2017

Gas Works Park on Lake Union, Seattle, is our direction for the afternoon walk, and we are surprised to see a message on the sidewalk, "We are the Cure!"     Immediately it makes me think of the fund raisers benefiting cancer research.  Walking farther past this message is one that reads, "Ride strong!"   As we reach Gas Works Park, we see booths for 25, 50 or 100.  It is not clear to me whether that means a rider could sign up to do 25 miles, etc., or laps.  A lap around the lake is 6.2 miles.  Do the math.

We later are overtaken by bikers as we walk across the Fremont bridge, so we know that some of them rode into town, as well.  They had numbered tags on their shirts and logos of "Obliteride." What a great take off on Wasilla AK's husky race called Iditarod.   So they aim to obliterate cancer.

Continuing our walk around the lake, we meet Adriana, who says she spells her name with one 'n.' We ask if she is part of the race, but she says no, that her father died from cancer and she just began wanting to run.  She is in Seattle to visit her son, but lives in Chile, where her grandmother, Adrianna, is not responding well to cancer treatment.  She again tells us how to spell the name -- the grandmother's name has two 'n's.'  We have a delightful visit.

Our loop around the lake brings us to the south end, where we come upon a group having lunch. Their spokesman tells us they rode their bicycles from Baltimore to Seattle.  Names of survivors, or those who have succumbed to cancer, are written in the stripes of their shirts.  

4K on the spokesman's shirt refers to the 4,000 miles they rode.

What dedication!

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Friday, August 11, 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Making Willie's Tug Shine Again! -- Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Willie's Tug is due for a good bath and Manuel of Selene Yachts Northwest, Lake Union, Seattle, is just the man to do it. However, he says he needs her to leave her end of the dock slip and cruise on up near the office, where better access will be.   We laugh about whether this is an upgrade to the high dollar area.  

Manuel says the polishing and waxing will take 'a while,' so we should chill out and enjoy the area.  It is a doable walk into the city of Fremont for lunch, so off we go. Timing gets us to the Fremont bridge just as it begins to open for tall boats. At first I think it is for the tugboat now passing under the Aroura Street bridge, but realize later it was a sailboat with a very tall mast.  No photo of it.

Traffic stops for the bridge to open.

Returning to Selene at Lake Union, we take Manuel's suggestion to chill out, but as hot as the temperature is today, it is hard to find a cool spot.  Inside the cabin would be unbearable (windows have to be closed for his work), the cockpit is in the sun;  and besides that, when he needs to work on the bow, he adjusts the lines to bring it in, and let the stern out, so that we cannot step off the swim platform to the dock.

We love watching the progress Manuel makes, as Willie's Tug takes on a new look.  We say, "Looking good, Manuel."  He replies, "Starting to shine...."

So what to do?  Where to wait?  The coolest place we see is the the fly bridge of  a new 50ft. Selene.  So up we go!   There is a nice breeze up here, plus the view is great.  Later we show Brian, broker of the Selenes, the photo below, and he jokes that he could make that viewing place permanent for us.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Tuesday, August 8, 2017