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Friday, October 31, 2014

Great Basin National Park

Hello! I have another photo heavy post from some of our travels. This time we made our way to Nevada traveling south on HWY 93.

But first is a picture that I took from the truck window while clicking off the miles. It was a tree farm in Oregon and they were in their glorious fall colors.
 The sunny rows of trees stretched along the highway for miles. I loved seeing the straight rows of  trees flying by the window in a blur of different shades of yellow.
 Here is our fifth wheel sitting at one of our favorite parks in Oregon,  Farewell Bend State Park. The Snake River runs right along the park and is the dividing line for Oregon and Idaho.

 Farewell Bend is a quiet and peaceful park and there is a pasture right next to it where you can watch cattle graze. In the evening the cattle follow single file along a narrow trail that probably leads to where the farmer feeds them at night. On this particular evening a deer which turned out to be a buck trotted into view and the cattle stopped in their tracks and just watched the deer as he trotted on sometimes stopping to look over his back for several seconds as though something was following him. Eventually he trotted out of view and the cattle continued nonchalantly along the trail until they too were out of sight.

 We traveled all the way south through Nevada on HWY 93 and along the way we stopped at the Great Basin National Park near the tiny town of Baker. By the way it seems that most of the towns along this route are tiny compared to the vastness of the valleys that HWY 93 cuts through.

 First thing we did was to tour the Lehman Cave. It was a ranger led tour and we were only a group of five so it was very nice. We really enjoyed the tour even though we have been on several other cave tours. We learned even more about what goes on in the darkness of a cave. I was also relieved that we saw none of the bats that live in the cave. Bats freak me out!

This tiny hole you see is the original opening of the cave and Mr. Lehman who discovered the cave realized that he could make money by selling tickets to people for $1.00. After paying their dollar they shimmied down a rope through that small opening and then when they were done they had to climb back up the rope. I am thankful they now have a door that opens up to a nice wide tunnel that you can walk to the inside of the cave. I am afraid of heights so rope climbing is not on the list of things I will do.
 These photos don't do justice to the beauty of the inside of the cave but at least it will give you an idea of what it's like inside.

 We were too late to take the longer tour so this tour was only about an hour long and you only walk .4 mile. So just about anyone can do the tour.


  Pretty awesome!

 The round formation at the top where the light is shining is what they call a shield. There are two sides to it with a crack in the middle of the two sides. In the crack is water which is what helps to form the shield.

 I thought this looked like a heart.

 Sometimes the passage way gets a little narrow so you have to walk sideways and you definitely have to watch your noggin or you might come out with a bit of a headache. Other than that it is a pretty easy tour.
 There are really many different colors to be found in the different formations they are just muted and very soft. Mostly pinks, browns and yellows.
There are also a few stairs to climb but trust me that is much easier than climbing that rope in the early days.

This piece of the cave was so sparkly and shimmery and was so much prettier in real life. 

 Another shield.

 This formation looks like a fin.



 The roundish orange formation is called cave potatoes, cave apples or Christmas ornaments. This was another cave formation that was new to me. I think they look more like ornaments because they look like they are covered in large cut glitter like some ornaments are. They are really pretty and they seem to all be in the same general area of the cave.

I promise this is the last photo. This is very interesting to me. Two ladies wrote their names, where they were from and the date which was 1892. Amazing!
I hope you enjoyed this short photo tour of the Lehman cave and maybe even learned a little something. There is even more to see if you take the longer tour which I guess gives us a reason for a return visit to the cave.
I will save the photos from our hike in Great Basin NP for a later date.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Portland Adventure

Hello! It has been a while since I have posted here. So sorry about that but sometimes life gets in the way. Hopefully I am back and will be more prompt in making posts.

My husband and I visited our daughter in Oregon and she took us to a few places in the Portland area and thought I would share some of our adventures there.

We started our Portland adventure here at the Grotto which is a beautiful Catholic Shrine of 62 acres botanical garden.
I got this photo by using a railing and setting the timer. There was no one around at the time we wanted a photo so I found the flattest surface around which ended up being a railing. Part of a bench was in the photo but I easily cropped it out.
The heart of the shrine is The Lady's Grotto which is in a shallow cave. The sanctuary itself sits at the foot of a cliff and you can take an elevator up to the top where you can see Mt Saint Helen from there on a clear day.
 They were just starting to get ready for the Festival of Lights that I believe starts the day after Thanksgiving or maybe even Thanksgiving Day. I'm not sure which day it is but it is one of the two. I bet these angels will look so beautiful when lit up.
 The next three photos are of the inside of the church. The paintings are gorgeous.
 This is the front by the alter...
...and this beautiful stain glass window was at the back.
 On the upper level is this beautiful monastery.
 It is surrounded by rose bushes which I am sure are a gorgeous sight when in full bloom during the summer months.
I hope we can make it back here to this peaceful sanctuary during the spring or summer when more of the plants are in bloom.
 There is running water and ponds in the gardens.
There is also a labyrinth which is a replica of one from a cathedral in France.
The labyrinth seems quite extravagant and was quite interesting to follow to the center and back out. 
 This is a small quiet chapel also found on the upper level.
 The grotto was built in 1924 and celebrating it's 90th year this year.
Next we enjoyed a walk along the River Walk.
 There are lots of bridges in Portland.
 Portland is also known as the Rose state and is home to the Rose Parade.
 After our river walk we ended up at a place called Kell's Irish Pub. 
According to Amber it is listed as the number one Irish Pub in the nation. I think she is right after eating there. It was a wonderful place.

It just so happen to be happy hour so we ordered some drinks and... 

...some very delicious appetizers. Missing from the photo were the amazing sweet potato fries that came out first and were eagerly devoured by us.   
This mound of deliciousness was the Irish version of Nachos. It is made with fresh potatoes that are peeled and soaked in water and then sliced into thin chips. There was not a soggy chip to be found. All were crisp and amazingly good.  
 This is really a unique place. There is a cigar room downstairs and beautiful rooms you can rent for wedding rehearsal dinners and meetings. Wayne checked out the cigar room and said it was really cool but Amber and I took his word for it.
The ceiling is covered in one dollar bills that are elaborately wrapped around two quarters and there must be pin some how attached to it all and is then thrown up to stick into the ceiling. We saw it done and was told that on St. Patrick's day it the money is all taken down and donated. Pretty cool.
 After leaving Kell's Irish Pub we had one more stop to make before heading home. I am sure a lot of you familiar with Portland have heard of the famous Voodoo Doughnut shop. It was only two blocks down from the pub so we just had to stop in and grab some donuts. Now it was after 6:00 pm but there was still a bit of a line but it was only minutes before we found ourselves inside and drooling over the bountiful offerings of extravagant donuts.
 Even their box is cute and it seems like no matter how many donuts you order you get the same size box.
 Here is what we ordered: two maple bars, and I must say they were huge, one blueberry, one Captain Crunch and one Rice Krispy donut.
And last but not least a Pumpkin Spice donut. Yum, Yum!! What a sweet way to end the day.
And that my friends was our adventures in Portland on that day in October.
 Here's to wishing you many wonderful adventures too!