Monday, October 19, 2015

October is a great month to take a Sunday drive in Oregon. I was visiting my sister in Portland reading the Sunday paper and saw in the garden section that a neglected Japanese garden had been renovated east of town in the city park at Gresham, so had to go investigate:

I like the Brazilian purpleheart railing on the entry bridge to the island garden:

Some nice garden features:

I grew up in Oregon and had never been to Timberline lodge on Mount Hood, so kept heading east up into the misty mountains:

You really do have to head all the way up Mount Hood to where the trees stop at the timberline around 6000 feet in elevation to get to the Timberline Lodge:

It was built in the 1930s during the depression by the WPA as a make work project as is shown on bronze plaques and inscriptions chiseled in stone:

They hired out of work artists and craftemen. I like what they came up with. How about the fellow who carved the log rafter tail into a rat head. Nice!

Reminds me of the stone masons in the middle ages who would carve the stone cathedral gargoyles with the faces of the project overlords and church officials. Apparently I am not the only stone mason who has a problem with authority.

Speaking of stonemasons I had read about the Italian immigrant stone masons that were working in the WPA and found a historic photo of them hard at work on Timberline Lodge back in 1936. I am guessing the guy in the hat and uniform to the left is the government overlord from the rafter tail who is overseeing Luigi and the Mario brothers. Mind you, I have an active imagination :

Now I see how they got the keystone that weighs more than my truck over the main entrance:

Once through the main entrance it looks almost medieval inside:

I especially like the bear mosaic above the copper and stainless drinking fountain. Check out his tongue. He can't wait to eat that salmon he just caught:

The solid 2 foot square hand tooled posts and beams on the first floor:

The hexagonal stone fireplace is a work of art:

I wandered around for a long time and only took a few photos. This place is like a fantasy museum for people who appreciate hand made objects and old world craftsmanship. I certainly am glad I went.

But after Sunday brunch it was time to head home south 100 miles through the national forest on forest service roads that basically parallel the Pacific Crest Trail. Past waterfalls and babbling brooks:

I can now say I have driven my truck to the bottom of a lake. Clear Lake in the Mount Hood National Forest is empty this year due to a lack of snowfall last winter. Normally this would be 20 feet under water:

I stopped at the Clackamas Historic Ranger station. It’s closed for the winter. I like the fir tree cutouts on the shutters. Looking closely I saw a lonely stone chimney standing in the background of this picture:

I guess the original Ranger Station burned down long ago. All that is left is the stone foundation and chimney. Really nicely done:

Different people did the stone retaining wall out front. With moss and 100 years later it looks better than it did when it was first made. That’s the beauty of stone walls:

I was soon on single lane paved FS42 that led deeper into the national forest:

It led up onto the ridgelines and eventually turned to gravel. No traffic out here in the middle of nowhere:

Forest service road 4690 eventually dumped me out onto a fantastic road FS 46 which is a two lane paved road dropping steeply down to the Santiam River:

I had a lot of fun stopping by to visit friends on the way. Rick E. and his lovely wife had hosted me in ConcepciĆ³n Chile in 2014 and are now back in Oregon for a year before heading back to South America. I stopped by for a visit and look forward to helping Rick do some home improvements when I get back from South America next year.

Also stopped by to visit Jim and Ann who sent me so many nice letters while I was in jail this summer. I’m heading over there tonight for dinner. Should be fun.

more later….


  1. John, I'm sure glad your out and about again. I have really missed your writing and wandering. I'm looking forward to the start of your new RR over at ADVrider. Now get that house of your sisters painted so you have a little money to start the new adventure.

  2. Hi Phillip,

    I have a new passport and a ticket to Buenos Aires. Flying out on 11/11 for points south. Should be riding my bike by 11/15. I look forward to keeping you entertained this winter with more pictures and stories from the roads less traveled.


  3. Great that you are out and about, great pix as usual, I was jonesin for some pacific northwest and your pix reminded me why I love being up there in summer and fall. Could almost smell the forest and mountain air.............keep on keepin on..........Ron

    1. Hi Ron,
      You've got it figured out. The Pacific NW is one of the nicest places in the country from about the day after the July 4th weekend to Halloween. But even today you can feel the days getting shorter and the seasons changing here west of the Cascade mountains as it shifts to the drizzle and gray of winter. It's time to head to Arizona in two days to park my truck and enjoy some desert sunshine for a couple weeks before catching a plane to Argentina.

  4. Hola Tio:
    We are in Nebraska. 1st time ever. On the drive up from Dodge City we were making about 45 with a 30mph crosswind. Quite the drive, consistently turning right to go straight. Only 2 weeks until you can KawaZuki! Good on you mate!