Monday, October 7, 2013

Keep Portland Weird

     Portland, Oregon is an amazing city. Every time I visit, my eyes can't consume enough. Seriously, it's a visual hullabaloo of fascinating details. I wander around in a daze with my mouth open and a huge grin on my face. Nowhere else can you find such a combination of creative and friendly people.
    In my last jaunt through Portland, I took a trip with my comrade in chaos, Adrienne, to the Hawthorne districtan area riddled with vintage shops, interesting stores, and delicious eateries. Here are a few places that caught my eye.

Miao Fa Chan Temple: This is a stunning, Chinese style, Buddhist temple.

A house with an arch made of bicycle wheels

Hinson Baptist Church, constructed in 1909

This  bike was chained to a sign post next to the Lone Fir Cemetery. I thought it was a fascinating memorial.

Okay, I saw this van and just about shrieked. We drove around the block several times trying to find a place to park because it is nearly impossible to find parking in the Hawthorne district.  This van is a work of art. Somebody spent some serious hours and creativity constructing this mobile sculpture. Just check out some of the fine details.
Amazing van

close up

I don't know if you can see inside, but the interior is interesting too.

There is a freaking dinosaur on the front. Just how awesome is that!

Hehe, there is a hand on the rear windshield wiper that waves at you.
I can't wait for my next trip to Portland. I'm sure there are more captivating discoveries to be found!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Biking near Yoncalla, Oregon

Biking Near Yoncalla, Oregon

     I took a beautiful fifteen mile bike ride with my husband over the Fourth of July weekend. We started out from Yoncalla, Oregon and biked a loop that including riding through the town of Drain. Yes, I know, they are unique names. I'm sure the residents of Drain have heard every type of pun and insult imaginable.
     It was a beautiful ride, the weather was absolutely perfect and for most of the ways, there was no traffic. Just the type of conditions that I adore.

I love the rolling green hills around Yoncalla.

Starting off, just as we left Yoncalla, we hit a massive, lung-killing hill. No, I didn't bike the whole hill. I died well before the top. When I finally reached the peak, I threw nasty, hateful glances at my husband who biked to the top as if it were a tiny hill. I'm terribly jealous of him and his skinny bum.

there are lots of old farms around Yoncalla that have been there for generations

my skinny-bummed husband

I loved this old truck out in a field

I look happy here because the horrid hill is far behind me. From there on it was pretty flat riding.
 When we reached the town of Drain, we stopped to explore the area. If you ever have a chance to drive through Drain, make sure you visit the Hasard House. They sell spiffy chocolates there.
The Hasard House in Drain, Oregon

Covered bridge in Drain, Oregon

The ride from Drain back to Yoncalla wasn't as fun. There were more cars, and the shoulder was almost nonexistent. I was not a happy camper after a rednecked 4x4 truck zoomed past me with an obnoxious honk that scared the blood right out of me. I admit, unkind words flashed through my mind, and if I had had a James Bond bike with rocket launchers attached, that truck would have been history. But, it was worth going that way just to see all the abandoned buildings. You know how I am about abandoned buildings.


Practically a ghost town

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hitching a ride on the Wheatland Ferry

     For my latest bike adventure, I hitched a ride across a ferry. Since one of my scenes in my latest novel takes place on a ferry, I wanted to experience what it was like. I chose the Wheatland Ferry in Marion County, Oregon, since it's reasonably close to my house. From the Ferry, I hooked onto the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and rode north. What a stunning place to ride!
     The Wheatland Ferry is a cable ferry that crosses the Willamette River. Here are my photos of the Ferry ride. 
Wheatland Ferry

Looking at the Willamette River from the Wheatland Ferry
Crew Cabin

Motorcyclists on the Ferry. They were very friendly.

Crossing the Willamette
After riding across the river, I biked along a quiet and almost traffic-free road. Since it's spring time, the air was scented with lilacs and fresh grass. The best part about the Willamette Valley is the bold colors. The trees, the grass, the moss, everything is vivid green.

Wetland along the road
Old Truck buried in the grass
Beautiful field
Along the road I noticed this house. Yes, that is a windmill on top of the house. Just how cool is that? I want a windmill house!
House with a windmill on top
     For my bike ride, I planned on finding two different Cemeteries. I never did find the first one. I know it is off the road in someone's personal property. Next time, I will find it!
     The second cemetery was easy to find. It was out in the middle of a pea field. Bwahahaha, for some reason that just tickled my fancy.
Cemetery out in a pea field
    To get to the cemetery, I went past this cute old church in the tiny town of St. Louis. Yes, there is a St. Louis, Oregon. I live within 30 minutes of the town and never knew it existed.  

St. Louis church
    From the church, I biked down a little gravel road to the cemetery. I was thrilled to see so many old grave markers at the cemetery.
My spiffy bike.I had to bring Edgar along.
Lots of crosses on the headstones

Huge wrought-iron cross on a grave

I'm always looking for interesting names for characters in my books. I love this name: Felix Gregoire  :D
      I plan on going back to that area to bike some more. Expect more blog posts soon.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ghost Towns of Eastern Oregon: Shaniko, Antelope, Friend and Clarno

     Our family headed east this week in search of a different type of ghost. Our goal this trip, to locate several ghost towns. So we loaded up the SUV and took off for Maupin, OR.

     In Maupin, we stayed at The Oasis, a series of cabins which were used for railroad construction in the early 1900's.
Here is one of the cabins

what our cabin looked like on the inside
     There wasn't much to the cabins: a tiny table, refrigerator, and a bitty little bathroom.  But the cabin was heated, and if you sat in just the right place, you could get wifi.

     The first ghost town we went searching for was Bakeoven. Along the way we found this tiny cemetery. 
Buzan Cemetery
    We continued east until we found Bakeoven. I must admit, we were slightly disappointed. There wasn't much to see at Bakeoven, just an old barn and a small building next to it.

        From Bakeoven, we drove to Shaniko. Shaniko isn't exactly a ghost town, there is a sparse population of about 35 people. The town consists of both abandoned buildings and restored buildings. 
Shaniko School

I love this old truck parked out in a field

Shaniko Hotel


various building in Shaniko

Paddy wagon


remains of a wagon

     Outside of Shaniko, along the road, we found a couple more interesting buildings.
House out in a field

looks like an old school house

old building next to the school house

The remains of a mattress within the building

    The next town we visited was Antelope. Antelope is another town that has a small population with many abandoned buildings. 
small building in Antelope

abandoned school. The rusting playground makes me ache

beautiful church in Antelope

Old firetruck parked by the school

     East of Antelope is a tiny ghost town called Clarno. Again, there wasn't much to the town. Just an old grange and an abandoned school that was on private property.
old bridge entering Clarno

Clarno Grange

Old Clarno school

     Near Maupin is the White River Falls State Park. It's a beautiful place with an amazing waterfall and an abandoned dam.
White River Falls

Remains of the dam

part of the old dam

      The final ghost town  we visited had the happy name of Friend, Oregon. Again, we drove a long distance to find only a few buildings. But this was the most "ghostish" of the ghost towns we found.

abandoned school in Friend
The school had an outhouse

abandoned building in Friend

Loved the windmill

abandoned store at Friend 

old building at Friend

old tractor near a barn in Friend.

     We had a wonderful time searching for ghost towns. Unfortunately, time ran out before our enthusiasm did. I can't wait to head east again in search of more!