I love the sounds of birds chirping and pounding surf as the sun begins to dip low in the sky. The horizon glows a dusky blue, interrupted with shades of orange and pink. That’s what I can see and hear tonight, as I gaze out upon the Oregon Coast from the comfort of the living room. Some would argue that it’s too chilly to have the windows open. I would argue that this is the very purpose for blankets!

I left Portland this morning with a different set of goals. I’ve gone searching for waterfalls, for mountains, but not for….airplanes. You see, Oregon has some interesting airplane locations. With some guidance from Mr. Johnny, I thought I’d head out in search of bombers and a Goose.

The first place I went was to a restaurant parking lot. Yep, you read that right. At one time, there was a gas station, and the people who owned the gas station thought it would be fun to use a decommissioned B-17 bomber for a canopy over their gas station. Fast forward several decades, and this is what remains:





Now it sits in the restaurant parking lot. Dad says the’s a group trying to raise funds to restore it. He said, too, that the front should have been there in a building. I looked around and didn’t see it anywhere. All I found was a surfboard design shop and a greenhouse.

After that, I headed for McMinnville, Oregon, home of Evergreen Aviation. What’s so special about Evergreen? They happen to own the largest airplane to ever fly- the Spruce Goose. If you’ve seen Leo DiCaprio’s The Aviator, then you know the story of Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose. This plane is MASSIVE. It’s hard to believe they ever got it off the ground. The museum also has a nice collection of WWII era planes, including a P-38 Lightning. That’s a plane thst I had never seen before. and if you know me well, you know that I’ve seen lots of planes. The collecton had some early fliers, too.




I eventually made it to Lincoln City, where the road I was traveling met up with Highway 101. About 10 minutes into the drive, I got the first glimpse of the Pacific. I turned off the rad, rolled down the windows, and breathed in the tangy, salty air. Ahhh. When I found the rental house, I was really excited to see the ocean view. I opened the windows and immediately took a peaceful nap. I wandered down to the beach. What a beautiful beach, even if it is different than the soft sandy kind. I’m excited to do some more exploring the tomorrow.





I found a quaint little restaurant in town called The Drift Inn. It had great atmosphere! The place was aged enough to have some character, the food was great, but best of all-they had terrific live music! It was just the right kind for dinner, mellow and not so loud it drowned out conversation. I picked up a few groceries, came back to the house and watched the sunset. Peaceful. Very peaceful.

Listening to the surf under western skies,

Happy 4th of July from the Rose City!

I made the trek into Portland today. Luckily, with the holiday, traffic was at a minimum. My first stop was the International Rose Test Gardens. This garden was probably twice the size of the first garden I went to. However, it didn’t have the scent of roses wafting in the air.









From there I went to the Japanese Garden. These gardens are very different from ours, but are very tranquil and peaceful. I was hoping to catch a traditional tea ceremony, but they weren’t having one today.





After I finished at the gardens, I headed into downtown to the aerial tram. Bummer for me, though. It was closed for the holiday. After some meandering, I was able to locate a freeway and head for my next destination: Voo-Doo Doughnut.

Voo-Doo Doughnut has been mentioned on food shows many times. Their first claim to fame was the maple bacon bar. Yep-a maple frosted yeast donut with 2 strips of bacon on top. But this donut is really just the tip of the iceberg for the flavors they have. They have cereal topped donuts, candy-themed donuts, and even donuts named after rappers. I picked up a Voo-Doo donut (raspberry jelly filled, chocolate frosted in the shape of a doll), a maple bacon bar, and an ODB (chocolate icing, Oreos, and a drizzle of peanut butter). Oh yeah, sugar overload!




My next mission of the day was to return to the Columbia River Gorge area to find and photograph waterfalls. Apparently, most of Portland had the same idea. The traffic was insane getting there, and at one point there was a national guardsman directing traffic. I decided to pack it in. Disappointed, I headed to cheer myself up with the true cure-all: shopping. It’s amazing what a little ‘retail therapy’ will do to restore a good disposition!

I had a little time to kill before my plans, so I to take the old highway to my next destination. It took longer than the interstate, of course, but what a beautiful drive! I stumbled upon the Vista House lookout point and all of the waterfalls! Of course, the parking situation hadn’t improved, but I could at least hear the falls, and was able to snap a drive-by picture of one of them.





That last picture didn’t turn out half bad! I couldn’t even see what I was snapping.

Finally, it was time to really get a good look at the Gorge…a dinner cruise on a sternwheeler! It w a lovely trip up and down a small section of the gorge, with some tasty dinner and nice company from the traveling couple seated at the table next to mine.






My camera and I weren’t on speaking terms, so the last few photos were taken with the iPad.

I finally got back to the room, I was satisfied that I had squeezed as much as I could out of my day. I opted not to fight traffic to watch fireworks. Instead, I just fired up the TV. I saw New York’s, and I saw a broadcast of the ones here. Perfect!

That’s all for tonight. On the move again tomorrow…to the coast!

Watching TV fireworks under western skies,

From High Atop Johnston’s Ridge

Ok, history buffs…what happened on May 18, 1980? Anyone? Anyone?

If you guessed that’s the day that Mt. St. Helen erupted, you were correct. When I woke up this morning, I had absolutely no idea what I would do today. I decided to avoid the horrors of city driving by heading away from the city. I headed north to Castle Rock. This is the beginning of the 52-mile drive that leads to the national monument at Johnston Ridge Observatory.

It’s pretty clever- they have 4 different visitor’s centers spread out along this road. Each is operated by a different group, but all have restrooms, water, etc. It’s a nice way to break up the drive. Plus, each one builds the anticipation of getting closer to the mountain.

Visitor Center 1


Visitor Center 2


Visitor Center 3


Visitor Center 4 Johnston Ridge


It was actually an incredibly enjoyable day! The weather was perfect, the subject matter was interesting, and the drive was beautiful. I got to see some more alpine wildflowers, plus a few of Washington’s own plants thrown in. At one point, all of the ferns reminded me of a dinosaur movie!









The trip took longer than I thought, but it was well worth it!

Have a safe 4th of July, everyone!

Having a blast under western skies,


Tuesday, the Landscape Bloomed

The drive across eastern Washington is desolate. There are occasional crossroads, a house here or there, and lots of fields filled what look like tumbleweed plants. This scenery seems to stretch on forever. I drove for about 4 1/2 hours until I crossed the Columbia river into Oregon. I started to get excited..I mean, it would be the gorge soon! Well, not quite as it turns out. It took about 2 more hours of following the river, gradually watching the southern landscape give way to rolling hills, then rocky walls along side the interstate. Finally, it started to look like the brochures..hah!




I stopped for lunch at a little “bistro and wine bar” that I randomly discovered driving down the road. Being that I still had a long way to go, I passed on the wine, but did have a great grilled cheese sandwich- provolone and Gorgonzola with an onion-bacon jam on thick sliced homemade bread. Sounds odd, I know, but it was tasty! The cook (chef?) gave me a route that would allow me to avoid a lot of the rush hour traffic I was headed for. He warned me that it would be a winding road, but thought I might get some great photo ops.

I’ll just say that “winding” was the understatement of the century. I’m glad that I had a chance to practice terrifying driving at a slow pace on the buffalo reserve, ‘cuz I kicked it into high gear on this road! By the time I got to the flat part of the road, I had to peel my fingers away from their white-knuckle death grip on the steering wheel and I had a massive headache. But I made it! Needless to say, my photos of the gorge are nonexistent. It’s too hard to drive and snap pictures. But I found a remedy for that. You’ll have to read the blog in the next couple of days to find out what it is…

When I got to the hotel, I intended to just crash. However, that niggling thought was in the back of my mind that I should be doing SOMETHING. So I grabbed some directions and my camera, and out the door I went to the Penninsula Park Rose Gardens.

It was a beautiful late afternoon at the park. One thing about Portland is that people are outside. Everywhere you look, there are people biking, walking, jogging… So this little park was hopping with all ages of people. The first thing I noticed was the smell. It was heavenly!! Te air was saturated with the sweet scent of roses. There were thousands of them, planted in little gardens with strolling pathways in between. I took oodles of pictures, but I’ll try to restrain myself. There aren’t many I turns of red roses, though. They we difficult to photograph, and I found that I was drawn to other colors. Amazing. I had such a nice walk through there!











I thought some of these might be potential subjects for art quilts….inspiring scenery and subject matter seems to be all around!

Smelling the roses under western skies,

Catching Up

I haven’t been a very faithful blogger the last few days. Those long drives really take it out of a girl! Plus, describing the drives to you may another be the most interesting reading material in the world.

So let’s start with Monday. I packed up and departed Kalispell late in the morning. My biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to protect the quilt while I was on the road…my mom and I had come up with the idea of wrapping ir around a mailing tube. So off to Target I went. Guess what? They don’t sell mailing tubes. Wrapping paper tubes were too small, and I really hated to spend $15 for wall decals that I wouldn’t use. After meandering the store for quite some time, I stumbled upon a presentation board, just like the one the kids use at the science fair. Bingo. It’s laying flat and is all secure, thanks to some heavy duty masking tape.

The drive leaving Montana was uneventful and quite pretty. The roads I drove followed a river and wound through national forest areas.

Bye-bye Montana!

After Montana came Idaho. It was really a very short drive, since I went through the skinny top part. Just before you reach Couer D’Alene ( the locals call it core duh- lane) ‘ there’s a little mining community called Kellogg. The days, they mine for copper and silver there, but once upon a time, a fellow named Thomas Erwin tried his hand at gold apparently went well, because he built a mine. But sometime around 1880 the mine was abandoned and covered up. And it sat empty, undiscovered until around 1991. That’s when it was discovered again, sold to a former miner, and turned into a museum. Pretty interesting, aye? It was a very Informative tour. Since they didn’t have anyone else who wanted to go, I got a one-on-one tour with Ray. He knew a lot about the mine, the minerals inside, and the mining process, as he was a former miner himself. Afterward, he taught a small group of us how to pan for gold. I found a few stone treasures, but the gold I found only made me a fool (fool’s gold).







I soon crossed over into Washington and was in Spokane early. We Midwesterners seem to mispronounce this’s Spow-can. The things ya learn when you travel. 🙂

That takes care of Monday…more to follow!

Catching up under western skies,

Short and Sweet

Tonight the post will be short and sweet. I spent most of the day on the road between Montana and Washington. It was a pretty drive, watching the mountains give way to rolling hills. I’m in Spokane tonight, and it’s pretty flat here.

I have I pictures from an afternoon diversion at a gold mine, but my card reader got packed away in another bag…so I’ll elaborate about that another time.

When I got to the hotel, I decided that I would just relax this evening. I spent time in the pool, had dinner in the hotel restaurant, and am now just waiting for it to be late enough to go to bed. I’ve moved onto Pacific time. I wanted to go to bed at 7….not good. It’s 9:15 now. Hopefully I’ll make 10:00. 🙂

Tomorrow puts me into the area around the Columbia River gorge…excited for more beautiful scenery.

Fighting the sleepies under western skies,



This blog post is coming to you from literally under western skies. I’m sitting out back of the cottage, watching the sky fade slowly from the peaches and oranges of sunset into the dusky blues and purples of the night sky. Overhead, the stars as just beginning to peek out and it’s finally cooled down. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect evening.

Tonight is the first night since I’ve been here that I’ve been awake long enough to come out. Apparently, the time transition took a little while for me.

Today wrapped the first of my quilting workshops. It was an amazing experience, and really challenged my thinking about fabric as art. I met a wide variety of interesting people, most of whom are far more advanced in the art quilt world than I am. Even so, I was pretty proud of what I accomplished this week. I tapped my creativity and went with it.

This is the photo I started with:


This is where I ended with my quilt today:


I still have quite a bit of detail work to do, but you get the general idea.

So I send a big thanks out to Lenore Crawford, the instructor for the class. You opened my eyes to something different and made it exciting. It certainly won’t be my last art quilt!


I want to share some of the pieces from the class. You can see how they’ve evolved this week as well.







As a treat and a way to beat the heat, I headed north this evening to the city beach at Whitefish Lake. Montana’s idea of a beach is different than what we’re used to. It’s sort of like sitting in sand that has the texture of kitty litter and looks like the dirt in your driveway. The lake was chilly enough that this girl only made it in up to her ankles, which is saying something about the temp of the lake! I spent some time there enjoying the late afternoon sun, wading, and just relaxing.



I had to add the last picture because I’ve never seen a vending boat on a lake! It was a concession stand/ water rental shack all in one!

In the last day or two, the canola plants have blossomed in the field. It turns these fields a very vibrant yellow that seems to glow. As I drove home from the beach, I detoured on some back roads to get a few pictures. More beautiful scenery!!




Tonight’s my last a night in Montana for awhile. Tomorrow night’s post will come from somewhere west of here. I have LOVED every moment of the time here. Montana will forever have a huge piece of my heart.

As I look up the night sky, I see the big and little dippers, and according the Night Sky app, Saturn is peeking out just over my left shoulder. Beautiful.

Stargazing under western skies,


Tonight’s post will be brief, as most of what I did today involved sitting in one spot and fussy-cutting water. Good results, but tedious work.

Here’s a few shots of the quilt as it progressed today: ( and yes, the bears were just for giggles)




I did take a break this afternoon to check out a craft fair here in town and to grab some dinner. I worked about 11 hours today. Whew!

On the way home, I was awestruck by the view to the east of here. The sunlight reflecting off of the clouds was simply gorgeous.



That’s it for a tonight. This writer is wiped out. More tomorrow!

Hitting the hay under western skies,


It was an intense, but productive day at the quilt shop today, I made it about 10 hours before I gave up and came home.

I knew I’d need fuel to get through this day, so I hit the road early to find breakfast. One of the most recommended places (according to TripAdvisor) is a place called The Forge.



The building is a National Historic building, having been a blacksmith’s shop back in the early 1900s. The food was good, but the ambience was excellent!



Fully charged, I headed to class with all of my clouds cut out. After the fiasco yesterday, I was determined to have the sky finished by lunchtime. I made it!


I then spent the afternoon working on the green hills in the foreground. That cut actually went pretty well.




I included a close up, in case you wondered what it really looked like.

I took a break, then dug back in. I got a little bit done on the water, but that’s my task for tomorrow…and the boats….

I thought I’d show you some of the other quilts, so you could see some of the talent in the class. It’s amazing!







On the way home, I treated myself to Sweet Peaks ice cream. They had a lot of interesting flavors, but I had a hankering for huckleberry. I can’t believe that I haven’t written about the huckleberry mania before now…it’s everywhere! You can buy almost anything with a huckleberry flavor or scent. I’ve seen soap, candles, candy, pies, ice cream, jams, jellies, lip balm, and even BBQ sauce. I like the flavor a lot, and the berries are a really intense purple color. So if you head to Montana, be sure to check out the huckleberry craze!

Tomorrow’s another long day at the quilt shop- but I feel good about it!

Fusing fabric under western skies,