Summer Holiday – day 14

29 08 2015

Day 14 was spent on the road.

After carefully packing up the wet tent (it was to stay in the car for a couple of days before we’d have chance to dry it properly) we headed north. We passed through a lovely little place with the unfortunate name of Drain.

As we headed up the I5, we stopped off at Cottage Grove to grab a coffee and stretch our legs. I was amused by the sign outside a KFC which seemed to offer some unusual cuisine due to ambiguous English…

Odd menu

Odd menu

After a long but uneventful drive we arrived at our hotel in Portland. After the usual arguments over who gets the shower first we headed out for tea at Chipotle. Along the road we passed an oil change shop just as it was closing up. I really liked the colour from the interior lights.

Oil Can Henry's

Oil Can Henry’s





Summer Holiday – night 13

29 08 2015

It was our last night in Umpqua River lighthouse park, so we made a point of visiting the lighthouse while it was doing its thing. Whilst there we were treated to a far-off thunder storm over the Pacific. This wasn’t sharp forked lightning but rather subdued sheet lightning. Unfortunately the storm gradually came to land and by morning we had a thoroughly wet tent. We’d had glorious weather all holiday and now we had to put the tent away wet! :(

Red and white beams visible from the lighthouse

Red and white beams visible from the lighthouse

Red in the trees

Red in the trees

Hard to believe how far the beam can reach out to sea

Hard to believe how far the beam can reach out to sea

Lightening on the Pacific horizon

Lightening on the Pacific horizon





Summer Holiday – day 12

29 08 2015

Day 12 we headed south to Coos Bay for Fish’n’Chips at SharkBite’s Café. The fish was very good. The chips not. So bad in fact that I’d caution you against going. I had a Cobb salad and it was definitely meh. Shame really – the café looked like exactly the sort of place that should do awesome “simple food”.

On the way back to the site, we stopped off at Eel Creek for a traipse on the dunes. This State Park charges a day use fee of $5. Unfortunately we weren’t exactly “cash rich” and I opted to put the $3.32 we did have along with an apology into the envelope. Thankfully the car was still there when we got back, so I guess we got away with it.

The dunes are extensive at Eel Creek, but we only ventured a little way towards the actual coast… it was very pleasant but hard going. You can walk on virgin hard-packed sand for several metres then without any warning you can sink up to your ankles. The following map links to the excellent map provided by the USDA.

USDA – Eel Creek and John Dellenback Dunes Trail

A land without scale

A land without scale

I just love them Tiger Feet

I just love them Tiger Feet

King of the Dunes

King of the Dunes

I finally get the meaning of "vista"

I finally get the meaning of “vista”

Crest of the dune

Crest of the dune

Arbutus?

Arbutus?





Summer Holiday – day 2-3

20 08 2015

After a very pleasant night in Memaloose, we headed further south for our next stop. This was The Cove Palisades near Madras, which was to be our base for a day trip to the Painted Hills.

Threatening clouds over Mt. Hood

Threatening clouds over Mt. Hood

The camp site at Cove Palisades was a little tucked away over the river. The geology was imposing along the road, but the site was comfortable if a little dusty. There were huge boulders strewn around which were a stark reminder of the potential fluidity of the apparently solid landscape.

Huge blocks of rock had fallen from the cliff behind our site at some point in history.

Huge blocks of rock had fallen from the cliff behind our site at some point in history.

Just before dusk, Mrs E and I took the short but steep hike up the cliff to the tabletop plateau behind us. There was a circular hike around its perimeter, but night was already falling as we reached it, and we decided to descend just as the sun was setting over Mt Adams.

Billy Chinook Lake from the top of the plateau

Billy Chinook Lake from the top of the plateau


From the top of the plateau there were extensive views back over “The Island”. This is closed to public and only a few researchers are allowed to visit its steep sides. As we walked a little around the perimeter path, we could look down the steep cliff to our campsite below.

Our campsite was a small dot way below the cliff. Our silver Pilot is just visible to the right of the RV in the next site

Our campsite was a small dot way below the cliff. Our silver Pilot is just visible to the right of the RV in the next site

As we headed back for the hike back down, we were treated to a wonderful sunset over the gorge towards Mt Adams. If you look carefully you can see the mountain in the shade of the sunset.

Sun setting over Mt Adams

Sun setting over Mt Adams

This site was to be our jumping off spot to visit The Painted Hills, and the next day we headed off to the famous park. It took a lot longer to get there than anticipated, but the drive was pleasant and the time passed quickly. The entrance to the park was almost missed and a few miles down a quiet track led us to a very low-key Painted Hills. The landscape was unearthly and stunningly beautiful. After a short break for lunch, we checked the park map and headed off for the first of the sites at Red Scar Knoll.

Painted Hills

Painted Hills

The car-park was near a small white hill that was distinct from the surrounding reds and yellows. According to the signage, this was due to a “cataclysmic” eruption spewing sup-heated volcanic ash and gas over the landscape. All of 39 million years ago.

Cataclysmic

Cataclysmic

The main site at this particular stop though was the so-called Red Hill. This was one of many gentle piles of red or ochre rock. On closer inspection the hills were actually a kind of hard clay. The term popcorn rock is used. As the rains come, the rock actually absorbs moisture and expands. As the rock dries out, it shrinks back and has an appearance of a very large pile of coloured popcorn. We’d seen similar rock in the Badlands of Alberta near Drumheller. Despite many signs asking people to keep off the slopes there were several tracks. It was comforting to know that their marring of the landscape would only last until the next rains.

One of many red hills

More fluid, up close

More fluid, up close

Despite the generally dry environment, the place was not without its life. We found a prickly pear cactus that someone had tried to shield from careless feet by building a small wall with pebbles.

Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear

As we returned to the car, a small movement caught my eye and I was delighted to see a small lizard scampering on a log. His instinct to freeze and hope we weren’t hungry allowed me the time to get him in focus.

Lounging Lizard

Lounging Lizard

From this angle, we saw the red hill in contrast to other layers of sandy soil, and started to get a real sense of the colourful landscape and the surprise views one could achieve just by moving a few metres one way or another.

Nature's palette

Nature’s palette

We got back in the car and headed back to the next stop which was an exposed fossil bed known as Leaf Hill Trail. There were stern warnings not to disturb the fossils which were mainly leaves and were helping scientists understand the landscape that had been obliterated by the volcano 39 million years ago.

Juniper berries

Juniper berries

Stern warning

Stern warning

The slight rise in the landscape gave stunning views over the park and the sweeping vistas of colour.

Yup - those are Painted Hills alright!

Yup – those are Painted Hills alright!

The next stop on the tour back towards the entrance took us on a spur road to an area of the park that was featured in a brochure we’d seen. This was Painted Cove Trail. Here, the rock had been protected by the use of a boardwalk to keep the public off the delicate rock. It hadn’t entirely worked, but there were few footmarks on the delicate surface.

By now we were in sensory overload from all the spectacular scenery, but the best was yet to come. The final stop gave us the most spectacular views of all at Painted Hills Overlook Trail.

We decided the day was wearing on and we opted not to attempt the final trail up the Carroll Rim Trail. Maybe next time…

On the way back out of the park we made one more photo stop to capture the spectacular scenery right next to the road.

IMG_7997

By now we were ready for tea and we headed back north to the Cove Palisades and bed.





Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 9

26 07 2015

Route: BP Trail/Skyline Trail

Time: 3:23:32

Well, the time is pretty irrelevant on this one… I hardly took the direct route!

Starting at the car-park, Mrs E. and I headed east along the BP Trail for an hour or so to the Skyline Drive road. From here, we headed straight up the hill (and I mean Straight. Up.) We were actually trying to find the remaining parts of a General Electric J-47 jet engine from a crashed US F-86 Sabre that hit Grouse in 1954, killing its 25 year old pilot. We took the Skyline Trail most of the way up, then took a detour to the east so that we could visit the engine, which is now a kind of memorial to the dead pilot.

That makes 40 recorded ascents… but for some reason the Grouse Grind Tracker is only counting 39, despite logging all 40. Perhaps it’s smart enough to know I didn’t really do the Grind, so it’s disallowing the exceptionally long time.

When we got back to the car-park, one of the pay meters was still broken, so I told a guy about to begin the Grind that he was wasting his time continually pressing all the buttons. He was in luck though – I’d paid for an “all day” ticket, as I didn’t know how long we were going to be. He might as well continue to make use of it since we were leaving. He seemed disproportionately pleased with his good fortune, and headed off to the Grind in particularly high spirits.





Art for art’s sake

14 07 2015

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter went to the Vancouver Art Gallery on their Tuesday “by donation” evening. She didn’t get to see everything, but was enthusiastic and wanted to go again. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to go with her this evening.

Now, first of all, I have to applaud them for having Tuesday evenings as “by donation”. It allows people who might hem and haw about being able to afford the normal entrance fee to pay what they can, or what they feel appropriate, and still get to experience the art on display. As we queued I saw several posters informing attendees that it was entrance by donation, and that a donation of $10 was appropriate. The normal entrance fee is $20 (or $15 for students) and I think a donation of $10 or even $5 would be quite achievable for anyone who was even vaguely interested in visiting the gallery.

I was quite prepared to fork out my $10 and though I accept I am reasonably affluent, I was appalled by the number of well-dressed, iPhone-toting student types who were handing over 25c coins as their entrance donation. Now, I used to be a student in a former life. I know money can be tight, but 25c?! That, dear reader is most definitely taking the piss! All due respect to the staff though – they smilingly took the mite and issued a receipt and entrance ticket (which possibly cost more than the 25c received!) See elsewhere for my thoughts regarding integrity!

The temporary exhibition was “Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums”. These were good, solid religious paintings by the likes of  Botticelli. Not sure why, but I found them intensely boring. Shocking, I know. Some of them were literally hundreds of years old. They were incredibly skilfully painted. Ground-breaking at the time. I could appreciate their art, but they were just not doing it for me.

As we moved to the stairs and the first floor, I was completely lost for words. Here was “modern art” in its extreme. My daughter loved “How Do I Fit This Ghost in My Mouth?” Me though – it looked like a bunch of random items from a car boot sale. With some of it I could again see the skill in its execution, but I was left with an overwhelming sense of WTF?! One entire room (Geoffrey Farmer’s The Surgeon and the Photographer) was filled with foot high folk created from fabric bodies and carefully placed collage from magazines and the like. It looked for all the world like the left-overs from a Terry Gilliam segment of a Monty Python film.

The full half hour?

The full half hour?

Ni

Ni

Sorry Mr. Farmer… just not my cup of tea.

One of the other rooms was a bizarre installation of animatronic items with changing lights and sound. A small anteroom had an IKEA bed with a sleeping bag on it, and my artsy daughter told me that the main installation was supposed to represent a nightmare as experienced by the person who was overnighting in a strange house. Hm-mmm. Perhaps… I definitely think one of the Slag Brothers from The Wacky Races was there though…

Slag 1 or Slag 2?

Slag 1 or Slag 2?

The installation is called Let’s Make The Water Turn Black and is another Geoffrey Farmer work. It’s supposedly an homage to Frank Zappa and his developments in xenochrony or “strange time”. I can believe that.

The top floor made up for everything though. There was some weird nonsense with “wallpaper” – basically digital patterns projected onto the walls of the room, but otherwise there was some of the VAG’s Emily Carr collection and… photographs! I loved the photographs. “Residue: Persistence of the Real” included a series of photos by Robert Burley (from The Disappearance of Darkness series) of disused manufacturing plants associated with film and photography. There was Polaroid, Ilford and Kodak. I was just mentioning the lack of Agfa (where I used to work) when around the corner there were two images of Agfa’s Mortsel site near Antwerp in Belgium, which I knew very well. I wonder how many casual viewers had even realised the connection between the images.

Source: Robert Burley: FILM COATING FACILITY, AGFA-GEVAERT, MORTSEL, BELGIUM [#1] 2007

One wall had a series of three or four images depicting the demolition of one of Kodak’s plants in Rochester as it came to terms with the death of film. End of an era that everyone saw coming except Kodak!

There was another series of images by Geoffrey James called “Inside Kingston Penitentiary” which depicted the final day as the Ontario prison was closed down. These images were stark but very human, showing how prisoners had imprinted their personalities on the harsh environment of the old prison.

 





Quite the drama

13 07 2015

We were invited out to a pot-luck last night, down at Crescent Beach. A most convivial evening, and dramatic sunset too.

No image post-editing, I promise…

Drama in the sky

Drama in the sky

More drama

More drama








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