Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, February 5, 2016

Beachcombing on Vancouver Island


Yes, there are beautiful beaches on the Island. Some face east to the "Inland Passage." Others face west toward Japan.
Some beachcombers stride confidently across the sand. This is familiar territory to the Herring Gull.
As the waves began to come up, surfers soon appeared.

Others, the touristy types, huddle and tiptoe carefully, not quite knowing what to expect.

The tidal pools hold unusual treasures. Some like this starfish don't travel well, as when years ago our sons tried to sneak one back to Minnesota. The horrible aroma in the trunk of our car told of its demise.

Then the boys also discovered a mantra ray washed up on shore early one morning. Needless to say that remained behind .

In the same manner, one evening, Mrs. T. and I came upon a washed up squid.

I soon had the feeling though I was being watched!
Further along the swells increased in size,
beating against the rocky shore.

As the sun set in the west, we were a long way from home, at Pacific Rim National Park..... but its was worth every mile it took to get there.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Devils Brood

Meet King Henry II, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and their sons, Hal, Richard the Lion Heart, Geoffrey and John ..... the Devil's Brood.  Click on Mark Twain above for details.

Friday, January 29, 2016

On to VanCouver Island

From Portland we headed north to British Columbia and our eventual destination on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is located in the southwestern corner of the province of British Columbia.

 From Tsawassen, just south of the city of Vancouver, we took a BC Ferry to Swartz Bay on the island. The trip takes about an hour and fifteen minutes.


We landed at Swartz Bay which provides access to BC's capitol of Victoria. This bustling city is, as they say, "more British than the British." From there we drove north to Campbell River about halfway up the island.

 Enroute we stopped at "Cathedral Grove." The island is noted for the giant trees connected to the "temperate rainforest" climate.

At Campbell River. we stayed at a very nice B&B overlooking the "inside passage." This is the route that the giant tour boats take to and fro from Alaska. One evening after dark on our deck patio we saw what looked like a giant ship with colored lights and flashing cameras coming down the inland passage towards us.  According to our B&B hostess it was the last cruise boat coming south for the season from Alaska. The shore of mainland BC seemed a short distance to the east. I wondered how deep the
channel was considering the huge size of the boat. “Five hundred feet deep” was the answer. Deep enough for sure….:)
Mrs. T looks out over the inland passage, from our patio deck, at the B&B.
The Inland Channel. Mainland BC in the not so far distance....

View from the patio deck – Since this was our third trip to the island we skipped some famous but touristy places such as Buchert gardens and upon the advice of our hostess did some island exploring  and beach combing.
 More on that next in: Exploring The Island

Monday, January 25, 2016

Portland: City of Roses

Portland with Mt. Hood in the distance.
To a Minnesota gardener there is something very strange about Portland. Everything growing seems "supersized." From my very first visit to my cousin Roger and his wife Marky's home, several years ago, it struck me how lush everything seemed. Roses bushes ten feet tall and covered with blooms. Shrubs more like small trees.

Portland lies in the Marine west coast climate region, marked by warm, dry summers and rainy but temperate winters. This climate is ideal for growing roses, and for more than a century, Portland has been known as "The City of Roses" with many rose gardens—most prominently the International Rose Test Garden.
This trip we visited Portlands famous and equisite Japanese garden, a vinyard, and Fort Vancouver. It is the neighborhoods that astonish most of all though. Just walk around the block and you see beautiful flowers everywhere!

Several weeks yet before her knee replacement surgery, Mrs. T hops a ride on the tram to the top of the Japanese garden.
Cousin Roger and Markie lead us on a tour of an Oregon Vineyard. Somewhat to our surprise this region has a growing wine industry.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, located in Vancouver, Washington, memorializes Fort Vancouver, the first European outpost in the Pacific Northwest. The park and its adjacent area includes Vancouver Barracks, a National Guard post; Vancouver National Historic Reserve, owned by the City of Vancouver; West Barracks, until recently a US Army post, but now in the process of becoming a part of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve; Pearson Field, a pre-World War II airport in the process of restoration; and Officers' Row, a street of restored army buildings renovated as townhouses and commercial offices; as well as Fort Vancouver itself with imposing Mt. Hood in the distance...
Here three experienced artillery experts check the readiness of the forts cannons.

Later, they had dinner at the Grant House on officers row. Here future General U.S. Grant lived during his 1850's service on the West Coast. The food was very good and later we met a young woman who was dressed to take part in a parade commemorating that earlier era.

As you can see we had a "beautiful" time in Oregon. Thanks to Rog & Marky

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Trip To VanCouver Island

We've been to Vancouver Island B.C on the Pacific Coast in Canada three times. Why not as it was our honeymoon destination fifty years ago this year. Our second visit was with our teenage sons and the final one just after both of our retirements from teaching. Yes, following the advice of Abraham Lincoln's sometime critic, editor and publisher Horace Greeley we like to "go west".   We had headed out  in that direction and you're invited to come along. The actual was three weeks and over 6,000 miles of driving, but we can definitely say we had a great time.
We left early Sunday morning, Sept. 13th, heading west on I-90 to Spearfish in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. The next day it was across the vast open spaces of northeastern Wyoming and then the Big Sky country of Montana. The second night found us in Missuola, Montana.

At Missoula, we connected with U.S. highway # 12 and turned west following the track of Lewis and Clark up and over the Bitterroot Range, through the Lolo pass. This found us in northern Idaho, where we followed the Lochse River to its near confluence with The River Of No Return ( The Middle Fork of the Salmon) at Lewiston. This gorgeous country was and is still the home of the Nez Perce. They, who had saved the Corps of Discovery from sure disaster and who seventy years later were harried across the West by the U.S. Cavalry.

After passing thru the irrigated semi-desert country of western Washington State, we came up the mighty Columbia River and its spectacular green-bedecked gorge. We spent that night on the south rim at Hood River, Oregon. A great nighttime view from our motel allowed us to see the twinkling lights along the river below.

The next morning we headed to Tigard, Oregon for a stay with my cousin Roger and his wife Marky. Tigard is a suburb of the "City of Roses," Portland.

Next: Portland - Gardens Everywhere!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Revenant

Click on Mark Twain above for my take on the movie....

Friday, January 15, 2016


I've had five dogs three modestly large hunting dogs.  Max the lab who taught me how to train retrievers and Chessie and Muffy the Chesapeake's. Then after I retired from hunting came Baron and now Lily both GSD's. Baron was huge. He could easily rest his head on our dining table. Lovable and gentle,  people who first met him were often apprehensive to say the least. Once racing thru some tall grass a young couple told me they mistook him for a llama...:)
Big dogs, big hearts.....

Baron! Good boy.
Irish Wolfhound

My best bud....

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Purgatory Ridge

Jump to my book review blog by clicking on Mark Twains picture above...