Troutbirder II

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

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...

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Strange Affliction

I’ve been lucky. Not a day in the hospital from the time I was born till a freak drug allergic reaction at age 62  left me in intensive care for almost a week. But that’s  another story….

It all began with a routine chore. It was filling my lawn tractor with gas.  I had failed to notice the crack in the plastic gas cap. Racing to finish the mowing job ahead of an approaching storm I kept going in spite of an increasingly heavy mist.  It included some gasoline being sprayed each time I hit a bump in the lawn.  Finishing the job as it began to pour I ran into the house where I met my wife.  She immediately wanted to know what the “awful smell’ was.  A closer sniff and she determined my wet T shirt was the source.  I had been totally oblivious to the smell.

A few days later my GP sent me to the Mayo Clinic  who gave me a sniff test with little bottles of liquid (high tech that wasn’t).  It was determined I had lost some of my senses.  Mrs. T. agreed.  It was actually a virus which took my sense of smell and to a lesser degree that of taste. Still they told me I was lucky since it could also have been my sight.

There were clues to all of this back then but when something gradually disappears you don’t always notice it. My complaints about all the bad smelling and tasting coffee had been noted.  Switching brands hadn’t helped.  When I,  quite out of character,  agreed with my senior high school students how bad the smells from the lunchroom  one floor below my classroom were, the all cheered.  The worst though was when after our skunk scented hunting dog caused my son to puke and I hadn’t noticed anything unusual.  Still when all was said and done I did recognize my good fortune in never having taken up smoking.  We all know the habit can kill you.  Turning into a human torch while mowing the lawn would have been considerably quicker.   

Monday, January 4, 2016

The 1st MN Second to None

Check out the details on Troutbirder II book reviews by clicking on Mark Twain and Troutbirders picture above.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas memories

It was December 24, 1948. Christmas Eve at my Grandparents home was being celebrated. All the Aunts, Uncles, cousins, my parents and new little brother were in attendance. Presents were exchanged. Cookies eaten, libations shared. Family gossip was avidly discussed. The family presents for the children were opened.
Later, that night,Santa Claus would arrive at our home and more presents would be opened in the morning. . What he might bring was yet to be discovered. The war was not far behind and clothes not toys were still the currency of the time. But now there were exceptions. Troutbirder and his cousin Prudence stand excitedly in front of Grandma's Christmas tree. She, with the doll of her dreams and he with the electric train he always wanted. It was a Lionel O27 gauge. Made of iron and steel and a real whistle, not downsized and made of plastic like today.
In 1948 I had also received a crudely made toy car, which was manufactured of aluminum, no longer needed for bombers.

I still have that car and my train, holding on to them and those memories of long ago.