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    Road Trip USA: Oregon Camping - Silver Creek Falls

    Magnificent South Falls at Oregon's Silver Falls State Park.

    Out and about on the back roads and state parks of Oregon in my little camping rig.  Life is great.

    Only 40 miles from where I have been staying near Keizer, Oregon is Silver Falls State Park.

    The western slopes of the Cascades Mountains are extremely damp and lush.

    It rains so much here there is moss hanging from the trees.

    I arrived on a cool, but dry, afternoon in early June.  After setting up camp I went out on my bicycle to explore the well maintained trails.

    I have been all over the world . . . and this part of Oregon is by far the GREENEST!  Ireland and Scotland are not even close.

    There are many miles of bike paths throughout the park, which I rode on day two of my stay.  This is the Ridge Trial.  I love the look of the orange pine needles covering the trail.  

    The Ridge Trail passed through some marvelous old growth forest.

    A steep climb brought many views of this old forest.

    In many places the forest floor was a carpet of ferns!

    A new wonderment at every turn of the bike path.

    Trees felled by storms lay about here and there . . . and will decompose to supply nutrients to the next generations of tall trees.

    I found myself stopping often just to take in all the beauty.  What a bike trail!

    A damp stand . . . .

    Layers and layers of greenery . . . 


    After a long bike ride in the forest, the overcast sky began to clear, so I packed up my camp site and drove to the South Falls trailhead.  Here, the view of the South Falls from above.  I met a nice family from Thailand here.  It's a small world.

    The path down and behind South Falls offers many fine spots for photography.

    A very beautiful waterfall.

    The trail goes behind the cascading falls . . . a very impressive sight.

    There were a fair number of tourists on this day . . . and we all stood kin silence under the falls listening to the powerful 'song' of the water falling from above.

    The bright sun suddenly appeared along the path to the Lower South Falls. . . making the already green environment explode with luminosity.  Incredible green!

    The picture post card view.

    Silver Creek.

    A nice bridge view . . . there were many other photographers, most with big tripods, wanting to use the bridge as a vantage point . . . but they were all complaining that people walking on it caused it to shake.

    The two-mile path to Lower South Falls followed Silver Creek most of the way.

    This is a very busy trail with lots of curious children.

    A magical place.

    The path rose for quite  while before a view of the creek was visible again.

    A steep zig-zag of stairs down to the fall's base.

    After the winding and steep stairs down, I was rewarded with my first view of Lower South Falls.

    The Lower South Falls through the trees.

    A beautiful view.


    The path here also continued behind the falls.

    The roar of the falls became very loud as you neared it.

    Another fabulous forest waterfall view.

    I got a little wet behind the falls.

    Through the mists . . .

    Directly behind the falls.

    My last glimpse of the Lower South Falls as the sun began to shine again.

    Up the steep steps and onto the ridge for a view of the creek in bright sunlight.

    I walked back up the path to my camper and left the park.  I spent a wonderful three days in a beautiful place.  The camping sites and facilities were first rate.

    Oregon Countryside and Gallon House Bridge

    Hops for your beer:  Oregon is a major world producer of hops . . . a very labour-intensive crop.

    Oregon fields of grain.

    This cooperative farmer stopped so I could take this photograph.  Thank you.

    A small road sign indicated 'Gallon House Bridge' . . . it must be very special, I thought.

    And very special it was too.  Gallon House Bridge is the oldest continuously used covered bridge in Oregon.

    A perfect country road 'find.'

    A very well-maintained old bridge.

    To walk an Oregon country road in June . . . .

    Oregon . . . good people, beautiful countryside.

    On an Oregon Filbert Farm

    Out n the farm, just north of Keizer, Oregon, a storm approaches.

    Western Oregon in mid-Spring . . . breathtaking beauty.


    I am staying with a friend who keeps bees on his 'hobby' filbert farm.


    A large puff of flowers being pollinated . . .


    Busy bees from the farm's bee hives.


    Bees are not the only  insects that carry out pollination duties . . . flies do to.


    Wild clover growing at the fringes of the orchard and gardens.


    Late in the afternoon . . . one small shaft of light found it's way through the bushes to find this one hidden flower.  WOW!


    Such a lovely variety of magnificent flowers all around the farm.


    A whole world in one flower . . .


    Ravishingly beautiful . . .


    So many flowers . . . I wish I knew the names of all of them.


    Many flowers showed signs of flowering for a long time . . . as there were many stages of development all on the same stalk.


    Deep red . . .


    And a salmon rose . . .


    A yellow marvel hidden deep in the reeds . . .


    Oh my!  The patterns!!!


    I have to always keep an eye open for this mean, aggressive rooster.  He will attack without eating!


    Nature's flower arrangements . . .


    Busy bees all across the many flowers in the garden . . .


    I love these bursts of life . . .


    A never-ending landscape of flowery bouquets . . .


    It is hard to believe these waxy flowers are real . . .


    Tiny flowers in the deep grasses.


    While some plants throw out many, many blossoms, others offer only a few brilliant targets for pollination.


    The back garden . . .


    Busy bees . . .


    A busy bee getting lost in the white folds . . .


    Lovely green . . .


    Lovely berry blossoms . . .


    It has been lovely staying out in the Oregon countryside.


    Flowers everywhere . . . down in the bottom of the garden's ground cover too.


    A tiny world of flowers.


    Afternoon . . . .


    Late afternoon puffs of white . . .


    Oregon is known for its rhododendrons . . . 


    The farmhouse.


    A nutty farmer . . . er . . . a farmer of nuts.


    Some of the filbert orchards.


    Specialized filbert harvesting equipment: sweeper (left) and harvester (right)


    The last of this kind of early-blossoming flower . . .


    I was completely infatuated with these purple beauties!


    There were so many of these on one bush.




    So green . . . it becomes purple!!!


    The last of these messy orange flowers.


    Astonishing beauty!


    Ready to burst.


    Morning opening . . .


    Opening in morning's  first light . . . fully open by afternoon!


    In all phases . . .


    The center exposed.


     . . . and fully open!


    More pink wonders.


    I LOVE these happy little things . . .


    A magnificent purple Iris!


    Remarkable variety of flowers in the garden.


    Many different kinds of rhododendrons all over the garden.


    Gorgeous rhodies!


    The rhododendron must be the most 'flower-full' of all bushes!


    The variety of colors of the rhodies is amazing.


    Red rhododendrons too.


    Bright salmon-colored rhodies . . . 


    I sometimes took photos of the same flower at different times of the day . . . in different light.


    Small delicate little sprites of color!


    A spray of pretty pink flowers.


    I was sometimes surprised by new bursts of blossoms . . . where there had been none only a few days before!


    These beautiful 'ornamental cherry' flowers came right out of the trunk only a foot off the ground . . . not on the limbs and branches!


    I LOVE flowers and am always happy when I am in a garden . . .

    Hot Rods!

    I had the pleasure this past week-end to take a 1955 Chevy street rod to two different 'drive in' car shows in Olympia and Lacey, Washington State, USA.

    The Hot Rod is a distinctly American Art Form . . . stereotypically characterized by painted FLAMES.

    I saw many fine, and some famous, hot rods.

    Wild 40 Willys coupe street rod . . . WOW!

    Scalloped flames on a 1939 Ford Hot Rod.

    The '1939 Ford had a beautifully detailed, polished and painted engine.  I liked the mirror firewall.

    My friend and neighbor, Ken, had two hot rods at both shows: a flamed mint green 1935 Chevrolet and a black 1946 Chevrolet . . . both have 'chopped' tops.

    Among the traditional 'hot rods' were some very rare 'muscle cars' and more recent vintage 'street machines.'  This is a 1 of 31 made "Street 426" Dodge Polara . . . looking like new.

    For Sale - only US$100,000.oo!  Full new custom frame, new Corvette suspension, NEW steel body stampings, New interior and gauges, NEW all-aluminum 800hp big block engine and 6-speed transmission.  Essentially a brand new 1967 Chevrolet Camero.

    The engine, like everything else on the 'new' 1967 Camero, was spotless.

    These are NOT restored standard cars.  The Ford Starliner had a mega-horsepower engine and racing underpinnings.  It is a Hot Rod in sheep's clothing . . . a classic 'sleeper'!

    The nice thing about hot rod shows, and hot rodders in general, is that there are many different categories of modified cars present . . . and appreciated.  Here a very rare 1958 348 cubic inch, three carburetor V8 . . . restored and modified.

    The 'tri-power' 348ci V8 in the 1958 Chevy (above).  This car is a 'daily driver.'

    One of my favorite cars in either show: a 1956 Ford Fairlane.  The owner was an 82 year old custom car upholsterer . . . and this car had a fantastic interior!

    1956 Ford Fairlane custom interior . . . by owner.

    A 1955 Chevrolet done in the style of a 'Gasser' from an earlier era of championship drag racing.

    Another nice 1955 Chevrolet . . . a favorite car to Hot Rod when I was in high school.

    This 1955 Chevy I brought to the car shows belongs to my brother.  It has a modern 383ci V8, TH400 transmission, Ford 9" rear end, modern power disc brakes and modern power steering . . . otherwise it is all stock in appearance.  I spent weeks polishing and cleaning everything inside and out in preparation to show it.

    The engine compartment of 'my' 1955 Chevy.

    Another category of hot rod is the 'Rat Rod' . . . . ugly and untouched on the outside (left exactly as it was found in the field), but with modern high performance engine, transmission, chassis, steering and brakes.  This is a 1953 Ford pick-up.
    The interior of the Ford pick-up 'Rat Rod' had a lot of fun stuff in it!!!

    A rare body style 1949 Ford with a 'built' flathead V8.

    A beautifully prepared 4bbl flathead V8 in the 1949 Ford.

    A pair of 1939 Chevys . . . one a business coupe and one a 4-door sedan.

    A very nice 1941 Chevy with a perfect body and perfect paint.

    One of my favorite rods from the two days of shows . . . Model A pick-up.

    I like the big 'fat fendered' four door hot rods . . . so practical.

    The classic hot rod, the '32 Deuce Highboy.

    A '33 Ford full-fendered hot rod.  Nice flames . . . very traditional.

    Very nice display with this '35 Chevy . . . the burger drive-in window window tray from Bob's Big Boy.

    "Dare to be different" - 36 Plymouth hot rod.

    Another unusual make and model: a 40 Buick.

    An amazing '41 Lincoln V12.

    Everybody loves a 1959 Cadillac.  A nice collection at the parking lot car show in Lacy, Washington.

    Caddy tail lights and classic hot rods.

    "Low Rider" car culture was represented by this amazing 1964 Chevy Impala . . . it won the 'Best Engine' Trophy.

    The prize-winning engine in the 1964 Impala.  Wow!

    Car owners often displayed plaques that itemize the various modifications and custom parts.

    Certain cars from the 'Muscle Car' era are considered 'Holy Grail' cars.  This 426 Max Wedge is a Holy Grail collector car.

    Perfectly presented 426 Max Wedge engine . . . essentially a race car engine offered in a street car.

    Another of my favorite cars.  The paint and interior on this VW were absolutely amazing.

    The interior on the brown Bug.

    There was a motorcycle category at the show too . . . this Honda won the trophy.

    Another classic Deuce Highboy . . . in red.  Tidy.

    Winner, Best in Show . . . custom '49 Mercury convertible.  WOW!

    The dashboard on the Best of Show '49 Merc.

    A beautiful customized Hot Rod.  Classic!

    Another of my favorites, and winner of the Best Truck in Show, was this Ford Econoline pick-up.  It was a real crowd favorite too.

    The Ford Econoline interior.

    Cute 'eyelids'.

    Nice old Buick hot rod.

    Another Buick . . . custom Riviera.

    I had a lot of fun walking around the car shows . . . talking with the car owner/builders about their pride and joy . . . and answering questions about my brother's '55 Chevy.

    It had been many years since I attended a hot rod show . . . and now I have my fill!

    The Procession of Species

    An annual parade in Olympia, Washington State, USA brings families, teens, and old folks together in celebration of the life on our planet.

    A popular event in Olympia, Washington is the Procession of Species.  The townsfolk arrive early to grab the best viewing spots along the route.

    For families, the parade is an opportunity to dress up and walk down Main Street together.

    Groups of friends, of all ages, gathered hours before the official start to practice their street routines.

    For the children  . . . heaven!

    The parade rules were simple: any species that lives in the air, under the sea, or on the land . . . and NO motorized vehicles.

    I wandered the pre-parade staging areas for these portraits of the communities' creativity.

    The kids were ready.  Cute.

    The city came around with wagons full of colored chalk for the children . . . . and came around later to collect the unused chalk.

    Bird Girl!

    Floats . . . getting ready to parade.

    Stilted sea creatures arriving for the parade.

    Final adjustments for comfort before the long march.

    Some of the children 'street artists' were very good.

    A large crowd began to assemble for the parade.

    Wherever you have a large crowd, buskers will appear.

    The clouds looked threatening . . . .

    The Olympia city center was closed for the afternoon.

    Olympia, being a state capitol, is a political town.

    Town characters . . . The Goddess of Trash, "One day, everything you have will be mine!" she exclaimed.

    Old Olympia.

    The crowds began to gather around the town square in front of the old state capitol building.

    A marvelous xylophone band played in the square gazebo . . . . . and then . . . and then . . .

     . . . and then a break-dancing Superman entertained the crowd . . . and then . . .

    And then the Boys in Blue separated the crowd to the sidewalks . . .

    And then there was a buzz in the air as the start of the parade approached.

    A fantastic scene approached!
    A parade of homemade costumes and floats.  America celebrating itself.

    I loved this Mantis costume . . . and wanted one too.

    Citizens parading.

    Its fun to dress up in a costume and walk through your town.

    The families that 'floated' together were my favorites.

    The ladies I saw practicing before the parade did well . . . and garnered much applause.

    Some of the costumes were very creative!  The Human Fly really scared some of the children . . . in good fun.


    A fly eye!  Spooky!  Creative.

    Even the morose teens joined in!

    Jellyfish were very popular.

    Fantastic colors of the jellyfish!

    Some of the jellyfish were simply beautiful.

    These jellyfish were very creative . . . they would rise, fill with air, then propel themselves around . . .

    Lots of jellyfish . . . and a narwhal.

    The sun finally came out and dried off the dampness.  There were many troupes of dancers.

    With the dancers came the drummers . . . 

    And more dancers!

    Having fun with your chums.  A good day.

    Getting into it!

    Parade parrot.
    A fish when closed, a butterfly when open.

    Some of the 'species' were very large . . . like this frog . . .

    23 people were needed to manipulate this giant peacock down the avenue.  Beautiful!

    A very large flying insect buzzing around.

    Just plain folks out having a good day.

    A couple of wizards showed up as well.

    Fun for the whole family.
    Sister mushrooms?

    A creative starfish.
    A great day out frightening the kids . . .

    A rare 20 foot street shark . . . they would drag the crowd with the tail . . . as the children would scream!

    How much does it rain in Olympia?  So much, that they have to actually carry the sun!
    For a few, it was a long day . . . . might want to use larger wheels next year . . . and grease those bearings too . . .

    This group were fantastic dancers with a wonderful routine.

    An energetic and diverse group of very good dancers having a ball!

    And then the last of the floats passed by . . . and the parade was over.
    Time to go home . . . and enjoy the sweet memories.

    But I don't want to go home . . .
    Do we have to go home NOW!

    And that was that, as they say.

    Biking The Chehalis Western Trail In Early Spring: Heaven!

    Mile Zero - The Chehalis Western Trail, just outside of Olympia, Washington. 

    With my new (used) bike under me on a cold and damp late March day, I headed up the trail to see wht I could see . . . . and take a few photos.  Mile Zero is only a few hundred yards from where I am staying.

    The brown vestiges of last Autumn still strewn about on the wet trail . . .

    . . . but here and there the first signs and sprouts of Spring were appearing.

    I rode this trail in sections . . . up and back for 5-7 miles each way at a time, in different weather and in an ever exploding Springtime.

    Before all the foliage returned, there were still many views out across the Thurston County rural landscaped.

    The Chehalis Western Trail is a converted logging company rail line cut through beautiful forested Pacific Northwest countryside.

    The trail is very well maintained and the horse riders, walkers, and bike riders share the pavement . . . and follow the rules.

    As the weeks went by, and the weather warmed, the bare branches started to show tiny daubs of green.

    The deep, old growth forests remain lush throughout the winter.

    There are a number of ponds and small lakes along the 18 miles of the trail I have ridden so far.

    I have taken my bike rides at various  times of the day  . . . an evening scene at one of the many lovely lakes.

    Riding through these tree-lined canyons and green tunnels is a visual delight.

    My new (used) large-size hybrid bike.  Perfect for this kind of riding.  It has a sprung front end and a sprung and damped seat.  Very comfortable.  I have since added more kit - lights, a dinger, a water bottle, and a couple of sacks for my phone and camera.

    Such different scenes along the way . . . from open and sunny to dark and closed in.

    I stopped often to take photos and have a sip of water.

    A beautiful pond where I would sit and rest each time to just enjoy Nature.

    As Spring progressed, the trail became greener and greener.

    Very occasionally I would see another cyclist or walker.

    New growth everywhere . . . . in late Spring.

    There was more and more green in the tree tops the later in Spring I rode.

    Sometimes I would load my bike into my truck and drive up to where I last turned around.  My last leg (so far) was from mile 11 to mile 18.  This leg of the trail brought me up into the foothills of the Cascades Muntains  . . . and a very different topography.

    The Deschutes River.

    The Chehalis Western Trail runs along side the Deschutes River for several miles.

    Up in the hills there were beaver dams with duck pairs paddling about.

    The trail crossed several pleasant streams.

    A Llama (or Alpaca?) ranch along side the trail.  Cute.

    I felt right at home on the trail . . . there were many 'Old Timers' like me out for exercise and inspiration.

    My now 'kitted out' bike on a water stop . . . up near Mile 18.

    I returned often to my favorite pond for quiet meditation.


    It has been raining about 50% of the time I have been here . . . and many areas of the forest are supersaturated . . . making for some wonderful reflections.

    Beautiful daubs of green and yellow adorn the trees all along the route.

    A small sign directed me to this pretty lakeside rest area.
    An idyllic Pacific Northwest scene . . . on the more-or-less rare clear day in late April.

    The same stretches of trail I rode only one month earlier are now lush with new leaves and flowers.

    Trees sprouting puffs of Spring.

    Beautiful wild flowers along the trail.

    Blossoms and blooms.

    These fruit tree blossoms . . . smelled so sweetly.

    Deep in the undergrowth . . .

    Such a bold yellow!

    Such lovely scenes all along . . .

    Greener and greener as the weeks go bye.

    April 27, and the refoliation is nerly complete.