Astoria, Oregon; London Museums (18-19)

Memorial Day weekend visit to Astoria, Oregon

May 26-28, 2018   A family member was camping at Fort Stevens State Park, so we made plans to stay in Astoria for a couple of nights and visit them. On Saturday we took a short walk to Coffenbury Lake from the campground.


Coffenbury Lake, Fort Stevens State Park

It was a beautiful evening, so we headed north to Clatsop Spit for a picnic on the beach, then visited several viewpoints to admire the clear views in every direction. We looked back toward Astoria, north toward Washington and Cape Disappointment, and west to the jetties that bound the shipping channel over the Columbia Bar.

By sunset we made our way to the beach where the Wreck of the Peter Iredale slowly rusts away in the surf. This is an iconic Oregon landmark we had never visited, so I was glad to finally see it profiled against a colorful sky.



Sunday morning we drove across the Columbia River on the Astoria-Meglar Bridge to Washington.


We had once visited Cape Disappointment on a disappointingly foggy day. Today was sunny and clear. We took the short hike to the lighthouse and the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center.


Lewis & Clark Visitor Center


North Jetty

Lewis and Clark made it to this point, but did not recognize the mouth of the river because of the wide expanse of the estuary.  We had beautiful views today, and interesting exhibits, including a decommissioned fresnel lighthouse lens – always so fascinating to look at.



Wallflowers and north jetty


Looking back toward the lighthouse


Map view of the mouth of the Columbia River

Later in the day we returned to Astoria and bought some fresh spring Chinook salmon to BBQ at the campground with our family members.

Monday we took a stroll along the waterfront in Astoria.


View to Washington



Cormorant on old pilings


Old pilot car



Pacific nine bark


Waiting for salmon to bite


Looking back up hill to the Astoria Column

We stopped to eat our lunch at Youngs River Falls before returning home.  A pleasant weekend getaway.

England Trip Report Part 2

Day 2: London, Museums in the rain          April 27, 2018

A rainy day. It was only two tube stops to the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. We didn’t even have to leave the underground – a long tunnel leads to the museum entrance. When we visited in 2011, the textile exhibit had been undergoing renovation, and I was hoping to see it this visit. But it turns out that there is no longer a textile wing. Textiles are scattered throughout the museum in various exhibits. Some highlights of our viewing:

From the Europe 1600-1815 Gallery:

And two drawing room spinning wheels:

The museum entrance has a domed ceiling with a fabulous Chihuly Glass Sculpture:

Medieval/Renaissance Sculpture Gallery


There is a Fashion Through Time exhibit:

Upstairs galleries are devoted to Ironwork, Glass, Ceramics and other decorative arts:


And Queen Victoria oversees all:


We grabbed a sandwich in the museum cafe. It was still rainy outside, so we went next door to the Natural History Museum.


This is a huge complex – one could never see it all, but we took in some dinosaurs:



We would see more of Mary Anning’s work later when we visited Lyme Regis.

Architectural details throughout the museum inspired by Natural History:

The enormous Hintze Hall:


and the Dodos.


There were tons of people and it was a bit overwhelming, but I enjoyed seeing the exhibits.

The rain had let up, so we continued walking north, past the Royal Albert Hall, the Albert Memorial,


Royal Albert Hall


Albert Memorial


and on to the gardens outside Kensington Palace.


Kensington Palace


Victoria again

This happened to be the day the name of new baby Prince Louis Arthur Charles was announced, so there was a small press pool camped out in their compound. We continued walking until we found ourselves at the Queensway station. We took the tube back to our lodging, refreshed, then found a nearby Indian restaurant for our dinner.

London, Day 3:  Jane Austen’s portrait and more walking            April 28, 2018

One of my goals for this trip was to see the Jane Austen portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Off we went on the tube to Leicester Square, followed by a short walk to the museum. We found the portrait exhibited in a specially lighted cabinet. It is the only existing picture of Jane Austen made during her lifetime – hard to imagine in these selfie days. The portrait is small and the pencil lines are faded. It was drawn by her sister Cassandra in 1810 when Jane was 35 and Cassandra was 37. I appreciated getting to spend several minutes looking at her as she was seen by the person who knew her best in the world.


Jane Austen Portrait in special case



We then took some time to explore the rest of the museum – an excellent walk through the faces of British history. As with any museum, one can’t see everything, but these portraits caught my eye:

Three views of Queen Elizabeth I:


The only American in the museum:


George Washington

Some of my favorite authors:



Recent royalty:


Queen Elizabeth II


Princess Diana

After stopping for lunch in the National Gallery Cafe,


National Gallery


Trafalgar Square

we decided to walk across the Thames again on the Hungerford Bridge,


then walk east along the south bank as far as the Millenium Bridge. It was a busy Saturday – a bit overwhelming how many people there are in London at any one moment. Every language and ethnicity, especially in the tourist areas.


Mural hiding a construction site on the river

We crossed back to the north on the Millenium Bridge,


Tower Bridge


Non-orthagonal buildings on the skyline


the Shard


St Pauls ahead

but then felt too tired to attempt St Paul’s,


St Paul’s Cathedral

which we had visited in 2011, so we wandered back toward Blackfriars, and took the tube back to Victoria from there.


Looking back under the Millenium Bridge: Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern Museum

We found an Italian restaurant nearby – most of the patrons were getting ready to see Wicked or Hamilton playing at the two nearby theaters.


Victoria Palace Theater – we saw Billy Elliot here in 2011.


Typical tube scene

We had accomplished our sightseeing goals for London, had somewhat adjusted to the time shift, and were ready for the next phase of our journey  – on to Brighton by train, then further exploration of southern England by car and trail.


Weldon Again/ Sasquatch sighting! And London, Day 1 (18-18)

Weldon Wagon Road, Husum, WA     5/19/2018   Hike#31

We walked the Weldon Wagon Road trail again with friends who were hoping to see the blooming balsam root here, as we had last year.  Instead, we were treated to a suite of later blooming flowers among the fading yellow blooms, including prolific ookow, buckwheat, wild onions, and a few new to me flowers.


May 2017


May 2018



We enjoyed taking the trail slowly and catching up with friends – also saw a few creatures along the way:


butterfly on buckwheat




watchful oak tree




Not a lot of crafting this week, though many weeds were removed from the overgrown front yard. I added some sky stitches to the Elgol cross stitch.



England Trip Report, Part 1

April 23 to May 12, 2018

Some background: In June of 2011, we spent a full week in London with our three teen/young adult kids. Our rented flat in Kensington was like living in a museum. We visited many of the iconic sights – the British Museum and Library, Westminster Abbey, the Churchill War Rooms, Buckingham Palace, the V&A Museum, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, the London Eye, the Tower and Crown Jewels, St Pauls’ Cathedral, Covent Garden, Greenwich, Abby Road, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the London Eye. We didn’t see everything, but we saw a lot using the London Pass, which makes it practical to pop into some of the more expensive sights for a short look around without committing a whole day. We then spent another nine days with a rental car touring north of London, including Stratford-upon-Avon, northern Wales, Liverpool, Keswick in the Lakes District, Hadrian’s Wall, then flying home from Edinburgh.

What I missed on that trip were localities associated with my favorite author – Jane Austen. We saw her portable writing desk at the British Library, but I still wanted to get back to southern England to see more of her world.

For this trip, we started in London, and spent a few days walking around and adjusting to the time shift. Then we travelled in southern England via rented car to Jane Austen related places, and to hiking trails.

Day 1: London                  Thursday, 4/26/2018

We arrived in London at noon, which was 2 am Pacific time. We made an effort to sleep on the flight with some success, and managed to stay awake for the rest of the London day. A good start to our journey. We were lucky enough to be able to check in early to our room at the Premier Inn near Victoria Station, then off we went for our first day of London adventures. The weather for the next few days was predicted to be a mix of clouds and rain, and that would affect our sight seeing choices a bit.


Agatha Christie tribute near Leicester Square


Dan wanted return to Covent Garden to find the artist from whom he had purchased a hand painted tie in 2011. Luckily she was there, and he found another tie he liked. I’ll try to post a photo next week.


Covent Garden street scenes


After refreshing ourselves with a scoop of gelato, we walked down toward the Thames River as the weather was holding  fair.


Thames view – Hungerford Bridge and London Eye

I noticed Cleopatra’s Needle was in our general path, so we stopped to look there, also, to see the lovely tulips blooming in Whitehall Gardens.



Whitehall Gardens


Cleopatra’s Needle -1500BC



One of two sphinxes that flank the needle


Sign identifies the WWII bomb damage to the sphinx

We crossed the river on the Hungerford Bridge, then walked along the south bank past the London Eye.


London Eye


Note the airplane threading the eye


We recrossed the river via Westminster Bridge,


Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, and Parliament





Parliament details


Parliament details


A rose window of Westminster Abbey through the trees


Parliament square

then walked on into St James Park and toward Buckingham Palace.


View toward Buckingham Palace


Pelicans in the lake

Lots of waterbirds and blooming flowers:




View back toward Whitehall and the river


Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace

From there it was a short walk back to our lodging.


We passed Westminster Cathedral on the way.

Somewhat exhausted, we opted to eat dinner at our hotel restaurant – a good choice  considering we could barely stay awake to eat it. We had walked about 5.5 miles including airports and underground concourses. Day one done.

To be continued…


Re-entry/Tom McCall Point (18-17)

After two and a half weeks in London, Cornwall, Devon, and a visit to Jane Austen’s  house and quilt in Chawton, we are back home in Portland, Oregon. I barely had time to jot notes of our adventures, let alone write  blog posts. Historical sites, museums, hiking, and travel days; navigating narrow hedgerows via Lady Google. Wildflowers were in bloom, and the weather mostly cooperated when it really mattered. I am writing this at 4 am because I am still adjusting to the 8 hour time shift. I plan to add blog posts about our adventures as I go through my photos.

Tom McCall Point, OR     5/13/2018       Hike #30 

Meanwhile, we took advantage of our jet lag by going on a hike at sunrise on our first day back. Tom McCall Point is a favorite seasonal wildflower hike in the eastern gorge (3.6 miles/1100 feet).

The early morning low light gave a luminous glow to the landscape.


Tom McCall Point – our goal


Looking back toward the Rowena Plateau trailhead and the Columbia River


Deer in the meadow below


The views opened up as we climbed higher.



Mt Hood


Early spring flowers were mostly past, but the balsam root at the top was splendid, along with lupine, penstemon, and bicolored cluster lilies.

There were only a few other people hiking that early.


Dan approaching the summit, Mt Hood beyond


Mt Adams

We had the summit to ourselves for twenty minutes before heading down.


We also took a short hike at the nearby Memaloose Overlook – I had read that bitterroot (Lewisia) can sometimes be seen blooming on the rocky cliffs nearby. We didn’t find any, but did spot some pink Clarkia blooms for the first time this season, so it seemed a worthwhile side trip.


Clarkia near Memaloose Overlook


I knit a couple of inches on my Cornwall socks while on the plane. It turns out I chose a color that reflects well the fields and seas of Cornwall.



And while we were gone, the spring turned to summer. The yard is a bit overgrown, and new flowers are blooming.