Road Trip ~ Day 3 ~ Canada Awaits

BREAKING NEWS – In this installment of our road trip I must start out by saying that you shouldn’t, or rather I shouldn’t, do anything before having coffee. This includes making coffee! I, in my fog-brained stupor this morning, tried to make coffee in the maker that has come with our accommodations. Pretty standard stuff right? Wrong! Step 1. Pour coffee grounds into coffee maker Step 2. Pour in water Step 3. Turn on and wait for delicious coffee to gather below. You would think that I did everything correct, but no. I forgot the most important step of all; investigate and find out if indeed your coffee maker uses a paper filter or not before doing all of the aforementioned steps. If it requires one (the filters located by the coffee would be a good indicator of this) please use it. Coffee abuse is out of control, and who wants that? Really!

On with our regularly scheduled programming – Yesterday we packed up and made our way from Coeur d’Alene to Eastport just before the US/Canadian border. We stopped off at the Duty Free store for some adult libations and proceeded onward. Interesting thing when you get alcohol right before you get into Canada, the people at the store actually drive your booze up to the border and hand it off to you right before the checkpoint where you show your passports. I understand why, but odd all the same.

Much of the day was spent driving; from Coeur d’Alene to Canmore Alberta Canada was about 6-7 hours. I must say that the Canadian Rockies are AMAZING. something you don’t get to see in Oregon. The Cascades are awesome too, just in a different way. I hope the pics I am attaching make my case.

One thing I noticed right off was that all speed signs were in kph .vs mph like in the states. Another thing that makes sense, just that I am sheltered and don’t leave my own crib very often. In fact, this is my first trip to Canada and only my second time outside the US.

We did run parallel to the Kootenay River for while. The amazing thing about this river was that it is an icy blue. It didn’t matter where we were along its length, it was the same blue. It was beautiful and bewildering.

As I mentioned earlier, we spent most of the day in the car and trying to describe all we saw that was spectacular would be an exorcise in futility. I will say that along the way we saw deer by the roadside on several occasions, tons of turtles on logs at a small pond we explored at one rest stop, expressive cumulous clouds and Jess even spotted a rainbow fragment that just is. The picture will show what I mean.

Once we arrived at our resort in Canmore, we brought in our things and decided where to go for dinner. Our destination, The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company. Jess had the shaved prime rib burger, side of fries and an IPA whereas I had the Montreal smoked meat with a side of poutine and their stout.

Tomorrows post will be delayed as we will be meeting up with friends and camping with them. If I don’t post later on, you know that I have been eaten by a grizzly bear.

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Road Trip ~ Day 2


Yesterday morning we switched from the Ramada Inn to the Worldmark resort on the northern part of the lake. We spent much of the day driving around the lake and taking in the local scenery, stopping now and again to eat lunch and take a dip into it’s surprisingly not icy embrace. The lake, which is large by my standards – measuring against the likes of Timothy Lake on Mt. Hood, takes several hours to drive around. Stopping in at Heyburn state park visitor center, we picked up our day use pass and grabbed some literature about the lake, which turns out to actually be five lakes all rolled into one, I guess depending on which bay you’re at. It’s all very confusing and since I wasn’t going to be tested on it, I didn’t commit it to memory. 

We took lunch at Plummers Point within Heyburn State Park. It was recommended to us by the personnel at the visitor center we purchased our day-use pass at. It was quiet, not inundated with tone of people and rather nice for swimming, with a small boat dock and some logs creating a boundary for those wanting to have some splashing-around fun without worry of motorized craft running into you.

After our lunch and swim, we continued our mandering  around the lake(s) stopping in at a few local shops checking out hand-crafted merch. We also definitely took the road less travelled around the lake and saw some amazing natural wonders as well as some wildlife; deer, pheasant hens, a bunny, chipmunks and many avians.

Finally arriving at our resort for the night, we took in our bags, donned our swimwear and once again headed for the lake. I even took a dip this time. The water was bracing and refreshing. There were even small fish hanging around around feet as we malingered in their domain. 

Once out of the lake and were showered, it was time for dinner and decided on Thai for the evenings meal. The restaurant in question was called Thai Bamboo and was located in Coeur d’Alene. So once again we headed back into town. A quick 28 minutes later and we are being seated in a garish red building with rounded eves and a pointed roof. Not anything anyone would miss. The decor was great with bass relief on the walls and a ceiling full of twinkling lights that made you think of stars that alternated colored between pink and blue. 

Back to the resort where we rounded out the evening with a movie – Pitch Perfect 2 and a beer. 

Quote of the day: “Don’t math before coffee” Yes, math was used as a verb! That’s the best part.

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Who’s up for a road trip? 

Destination Day 1 ​

Coeur D’ Alene Idaho.
The first leg of our journey went smoothly; we left the house between 10:30-10:45am (only 30-45 minutes than we had envisioned ourselves leaving by) after feverishly grabbing all the last minute things we felt we couldn’t leave behind for a trip of this length, grabbed some grub on the way at local fast food joints and were off and rolling.

Let me step back a moment and tell you where we are ultimately heading too on this excursion. Bannf Alberta Canada no less. It was some months ago, maybe even as early as last year that a buddy of mine had suggested a trip that his and my family should take. We decided that would be a great trip and would love to join. Fast forward to now and we are making it happen.

The first several days will just be me and my wife making our way up to Banff National Park. We will be meeting my buddy and his family (and fellow motorcycle enthusiasts) in Jasper National Park where they will be camping. Two different trips, one common final destination. 

Now that we have the back story explained we can move forward once again. On our way up to Coeur D’ Alene, we stopped only for gas, restroom visits and stretching stops. One such stop was in the town of Lind Washington. From our vantage we had a great view of the trains that were very much in use around these parts.The rest of the time was open scenery of a part of the country I really hadn’t been in before. 

The landscape was mostly flat with some rolling hills. The sky was the show-stopper with a dark grey pall that hung over the horizon from all the fires that have been plaguing the area.

 Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel, dropped off our bags and went in search of a place to eat. My wife, Jessica,  had been eagery researching the local dining establishments on our way here and once we settled on a place, we made our way there. The place was called Crafted. They had 50 beers on tap and the food looked to be tasty. Apparently everyone one else in town thought so too since our wait to be seated was fourty minutes. Sigh! After sitting in a car all day we decided to move along to another of the fine eating establishments where we could get seated right away. A place called the Collective Kitchen is where we ultimately hung our hats. They did have some tasty beers and tastier food! Jess had pork tacos with a side of sweet potato fries and a lemon basil cider. I had a reuben with a side of tots and a dessert pickle. To wash it down I had a blonde ale local to Idaho called Rants and Raves Duckface Blonde. ​

After dinner we headed to a newly (seemingly) constructed area down by Lake Coeur D’ Alene (or Coeur D’ Alene Lake). The waterfront was a built up little bay/inlet thing surrounded by hotels and boat docks. There was even a floating restaurant that could be seen not too far in the distance.

Here are a few more pics of the days/nights festivities:


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Re-capturing a bit of my artistic self

Today I write about a time when I was much younger and attending Sellwood Middle School, way back in 1983. If I am doing math correctly, that is 33 years ago. I am writing about an art class I had taken and how much I appreciate the impact art in general has had on my life.

So, in 1983 I am taking an art class and we were told about a project for the school’s centennial celebration and the roll we are are to play in the grander scheme of things. We we will be putting together a calendar made up of pictures that we will first draw free-hand and then ink in using crow-quill nibs. These pictures range from some old time houses from the neighborhood around the school as well as old photos and such that we had of the neighborhood back in the day.

This was great; we got to walk around the neighborhood and draw houses that had elements not used much any more like fish-scale siding. The homes we drew often resembled doll houses I recall. You see them now and again made into a fancy or not-so-fancy coffee house around the neighborhood these days.

We each did several drawings and submitted them for the calendar. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the cover as well as the month of May. It was fantastic! I was elated, although at the time I didn’t know what that word meant. I was on cloud nine. Then, it all came crashing down and when I asked to get my drawing back, I was told I could not have them back. I forget the exact reason why, not that it matters as I didn’t get my pics back. My cloud didn’t have any silver lining, but instead turned into images that mocked my happiness. Stupid clouds!

I hadn’t forgot about the calendar and at some point after I was finished with school and was a young man, I feel I did reach out to Sellwood about the calendar and was told they didn’t have around. It could be that the box Ann had found had been placed somewhere for years and years hidden away from the casual searcher.

Fast forward to the present; I got a wild hair and decided to place an ad on Craigslist about the calendar in the lost/found section. The actual ad is just below in red:

This is going to sound odd, but here goes; I am trying to find a copy of a calendar I helped make while I was attending Sellwood Middle School between the years 80-83. The calendar was made in art class and was comprised of the drawings the students did of some of the old-timey houses around the neighborhood.

Two of my drawings were included in the calendar, one on the cover and one later in the calendar, maybe October.

I know it is a stretch but if anyone knows of where I could get my hands on one of these calendars, that would be the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter if the calendar is marked up, I am really interested in having the drawings back in my possession as the art teacher never gave back the originals.

If anyone knows where I might get my hands on one of these, I would be really grateful.

Thank you.

After having to re-post the ad a few times I get a call from a women that works at Sellwood Middle School and she told me that she ran across a whole mess of them. She threw all but 1 away and that I could have it if I wanted it. Of course I jumped at the chance to get it back and after a few weeks when construction on the school allowed visitors, I met with Ann and picked up my copy of the calendar.


When I spoke with her I mentioned her voice mail to me and that she said I contacted her about the calendar. I said that I had not called or emailed her about this. Someone else had seen my ad on Craigslist and brought this to Ann’s attention.


While I was there, I asked about any year books they may have for the years in question (80-81, 81-82 & 82-83). They said they would look. A very nice woman led me to the library where such things were kept and started rummaging around in cabinets and back rooms.

While she was rummaging, I was looking around at everything. It all looked so much smaller, of course, but with only small superficial changes; computers and such. I was looking around and above the wall opposite the main entrance was a mural of some old-timey buildings I can only imagine used some of the pictured we originally used for some of our pieces that went into the calendar. I recognized several from months in the calendar, not to mention my own on the cover.


To wrap up, I want to thank the person who contacted Ann about my Craigslist ad as well as Ann and the very nice lady (whose name I sadly forget) that eagerly searched everywhere for the yearbooks for me.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was heart broken when I was told I couldn’t have the originals back in ’83 and don’t remember why I was told that but had always felt smaller somehow because I thought I had lost a piece of myself.

I now feel more complete and some of my passion for the arts have re-invigorated my senses and imagination. I hope that each of you reading this can find the joy in something special like I have in art.

Peace be with you!

More to come.


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Fishing .vs Catching

A short disclaimer; these pictures aren’t in any particular order, nor do they represent what I am writing about at any given time in this post. They are just a few of the ones I thought best represented the days’ activities.

20160813_084621[1]This past weekend I grabbed a buddy of mine and at the fantastic hour of zzzz-thirty (which approximates to 4:30am) we headed up to Mt. Hood where we would be visiting Trillium Lake in the hopes of extracting some delectable fish.

20160813_092107[1]We arrived before 6am which I had thought would be early enough to beat the sun rising but as I didn’t actually consult my trusty weather app, I didn’t know when that would be and didn’t plan accordingly. Thus we arrived late. When we did get the car down to the boat ramp where we would be launching from the sun had just risen over the tops of the hills surrounding the little lake we were just about to enter. Kingfishers had amassed en force in numbers I had never seen before at any one time and were swarming the water, buzzing every which way with areal acrobatics the likes I hadn’t seen before. It was like they were performing just for me. It was magical.

20160813_092309[1]I make no bones about my skill as a fisherman/sportsman; I know enough to keep me entertained and that’s about it. I can tie all my own equipment, bait a hook and remove one once I have reeled a fish in. I can clean them to finish out the days activities if I am fortunate enough to have caught anything. I can even fry them up. It doesn’t always work out that way however. Like the title of this entry says Fishing .vs Catching.

20160813_105330[1]I generally feel pretty good with my chances about catching fish at Trillium Lake since several times during fishing season it is stocked with literally thousands of ravenous fish. It’s not like many or most of the lakes and reservoirs around aren’t stocked this way to help support the industry. Coupled with getting into the water when we did and away from where no one can fish unless you have a craft, I figured we were a lock for pulling a few out.

20160813_071922[1]Oh how little do I really know! Truth be told, I am usually pretty cocky about catching fish at Trillium Lake…since I generally do. So it should come as a complete shock to you that not only did I not catch anything, I didn’t get a single nibble or bite! My buddy on the other hand did manage to take two 10 inch rainbow trout out of the lake for his supper.

It is kind of funny; in the week before we actually went fishing my buddy was asking if we were still on for fishing and then commented about maybe breaking his streak of not catching any fish. My snarky reply was that he could go fishing but I was going to go catching! He said he didn’t know that that was allowed and he wanted to do that too!

So at the end of the day. I managed to get some rather spectacular pics of Mt. Hood by way of Trillium Lake. I even have a few pics of the beaver lodges that do house several beavers. I also captured some pics of my gear and kayak, an overly friendly duck looking for nibbles to eat and some more beautiful pics of the water and mountain.

By the time we left around noon, literally hundreds of cars had lined every conceivable space where a car could park and people by the droves were making ready for the afternoons’ water activities. I had never seen Trillium Lake so full before, but it doesn’t surprise me with the mercury going into the 90’s that day.

I am going to wrap this up and wish everyone a great rest of your summer. Enjoy it while it lasts. Me, I am going to take a road-trip or two and maybe get some more fishing in after Labor Day. See you ’round.

Peace be with you!

More to come.








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Paulina Lake + Camping = Excellent Weekend

20160610_105012Last Thursday my wife, her parents, our combined three dogs and myself made it to Paulina Lake for some R&R. The forecast initially said it was to be really nice weather then as the departure day drew near, the forecast changed to say that there was a greater chance of not-so-good weather to take place. Not that it mattered to us, we were going anyway…and not just because we had already reserved and paid for the site and it was too late to cancel and get our money back, but because this is one of the best camp sites I have been to. That is saying something with having been to places like Cascadia, Perpetua and Trillium (honorable mention to Little Crater Lake) for some of my favorite camping experiences.

20160611_083219The days were up to the high 60’s, maybe reaching 70. The nights got to the low 40’s and maybe high 30’s with one night being cold enough to give us a light dusting of snow/ice crystals that all but had melted by the time we were up in the morning. The only indicator that we even had any snow was the picnic tables has the lightest dusting covering them.

Since it was just the 7 of us and no one else in any of the other camp sites, we let the dogs off leash most of the time we were there. Eventually one other site filled up with about 20 people but they too had their dogs off leash. Both groups of dogs were friendly but we didn’t intermingle them to be on the safe side.

20160610_112156Breakfasts were usually seemingly big affairs, being corned beef hash, eggs and coffee during two of our morning spent there. The other morning we had french toast, bacon and coffee. One thing to know about my family and in-laws; they love to cook. Not prepackaged BS but actual real food that requires cutting and chopping and seasoning and heating. I could have sprinkled lots of other cooking terms but thought that would have been self indulgent. Suffice it to say, meals often took an hour to prepare from start to finish. It was well worth it however.

20160612_175846We did manage to kayak/canoe a number of times and even managed to fish a few times. No luck with the fishing but the real score was in the beauty of this place. You could not believe how indescribably pristine things look. Mother nature was all around. We even saw Bald Eagles, Egrets, hawks and even a deer. We didn’t see any bears but we did have to place all our food within our cars over night…just in case.

20160612_123354We did a little hiking with the dogs as well, ya know, cuz we were there. We managed probably less a than a mile around Paulina Lake before the path seemed to disappeared and we made our way back to camp. Our camp was nestled with its back between two small hills with a path leading between the two in back. A perfect place for the dogs to get more exercise if the \y felt moved to get it.

20160612_184135Throughout the day and at night we played various card games or chilled out just relaxing near the fire talking. We were able to have a fire this time around because it was still so early in the season and everything wasn’t just a huge tinder-box. We brought wood and were even able to use some material that had been felled because of root rot and such. Their small branches made perfect kindling to start the fire in the morning and at night. Conversations were wide ranging and always interesting.

Monday morning came too soon and before we knew it, we were packed up and heading back to the big city. On our way back we did manage to stop off at Gilgamesh in Salem for lunch/dinner for one last hurrah of our start to the camping season.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

To my mother-in-law – thank you for allowing me to share the day with you!

Today was my first Mother’s Day sans my birth mother, who passed last year just after Mother’s Day. Today was a day to celebrate what I do have in my life and not dwell on the things I don’t.

Peace be with you!

More to come…


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