2015 In Photos

I’ll admit it, I take too many pictures. I also share too many. Apologies in advance!

LeMay Family Collection – Tacoma Washington

This morning we got up way too early, at least I considered it too early. Mike seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to be packed and eating breakfast by 6:30am when the place we’re visiting doesn’t open until 10. Needless to say, we had a bit of time to explore the area.

We drove around Puyallup a bit, finding their State fairgrounds, which was quite impressive compared to the rapidly shrinking and lamer Oregon version. Most impressive to me is their assortment of fixed rides, including this beautiful little wooden coaster which was originally built in 1935. I think we need to come back and visit during the fair.

Vintage woodie coaster that's only open twice a year? Challenge Accepted!

Vintage woodie coaster that’s only open twice a year? Challenge Accepted!

Mike, of course, searched for Antique stores. He found a few (boo).


Rats. He found one.

Fortunately they were closed (yay!). Finally, it was 9:30 and time to head up to Marymount.

In Tacoma there are two museums with connections to the LeMay family and their cars. Mr. Lemay amassed such a quantity of classic cars that no single location could readily house them all. The vanguard of the collection is shown across the street from the Tacoma Dome at America’s Car Museum, which we love, but a greater portion of the collection (about 500 cars) are crammed together in three very large buildings at the old Marymount Military Academy.

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Burke Idaho

Note – I originally sketched out this post this back in 2011, fully expecting to do the research needed to finish it up in the next few weeks, then completely forgetting about it until a few days ago. D’oh! Well, I finally had time for the research and truly enjoyed “revisiting” this amazing spot virtually. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it too.


07-03-2011 We left Wallace early Sunday morning, taking an inconspicuous road underneath the freeway and further up into the hills. Our destination was Burke Idaho, a mining town that was mainly ghosts and a few current residents who were willing to put up with possible landslides and collapsing mines to revel in the rugged beauty of this place (or the cheap land costs).

We rode through little hamlets with hopeful names like Sunshine and and Gem, rolling to a stop in front of the monolithic structures of the defunct Hecla Mines. Eerie even in the bright morning sunshine, these huge brick and cement structures just begged to be explored, but newly erected fencing and multitudes of “No Trespassing” signs (along with our own need for self preservation) keep us on the right side of the fence. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, let’s go back a few years to see what this place is all about.

Bustling Burke in the 1920's.

Bustling Burke in 1897.

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Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas!

Every year it seems this holiday comes sooner than the last. Why does time fly faster the older we get? Good grief, nephew Kevin is away at college this year (OSU) with Jake right on his heels as a senior and Sam close behind. College? How can it be, only a few years ago we were buying Rescue Heroes and Captain Underpants for their Christmas gifts, and now it’s Xbox gift cards and iPhone accessories.

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Petersen Rock Garden – our local living fossil

Feeling a little stir crazy this afternoon, I decided to play hooky from the daily grind and go find something interesting to photograph. I ended up at Petersen Rock Garden, which is chock-full of “interesting”.

This 4-acre slice of Americana was created by a guy named Rasmus Petersen, a Dutch immigrant who settled in Central Oregon in the early 1900’s.


There’s the man himself. (Vintage photos are courtesy of Friends of Petersen Rock Garden’s Facebook page.)

Apparently Mr. Petersen liked rocks, I can’t imagine any other reason for wandering Central Oregon looking for strange specimens then dragging them home, probably to an ever-growing pile in the back yard. At the age of 52, and probably in reaction to his family saying something like “What the HECK are you going to do with all those silly rocks, Rasmus?”, Mr. Petersen began building a garden.

Vintage photos are courtesy of Friends of Petersen Rock Garden’s Facebook page.

1950’s photo of the Pixie House with the Peterson home in the background. (Vintage photos are courtesy of Friends of Petersen Rock Garden’s Facebook page.)

I’m sure it started small, maybe a few beds made up of cement walls embedded with pretty stones in rows creating colorful patterns. Then it appears to have become something of an obsession for the man. For the last 17 years of his life, he built, expanded, changed things, added water and plants, added bigger and more elaborate buildings, and generally lived up to his reputation as a bit of an eccentric.

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State Fair Memories

I grew up with the state fair, living in Salem meant that getting there was easy, and parents were comfortable dropping their teenage charges off for an afternoon without worrying something awful would happen. It was always a bit bittersweet because the end of the fair meant the beginning of school, but it was a fun way to end our break.

In Jr. High and High School you’d always want to have a date take you to the fair, it meant you were cool enough to have a summertime boyfriend. I can remember going with my buddies and seeing other friends their with their boyfriends and being oh-so-jealous. It was the place to see and be seen.

My Junior and senior year I worked at the fair, it was two weeks of hot sweaty labor inside the Hefty Chef building, it’s gone now (along with all the other permanent eating establishments there), but used to house the largest fast food establishment there, serving the requisite greasy curly fries, fried burgers, fried everything. The only training we got was a half day of orientation learning the cash registers and the menu basics. Back then there was no food safety training, no safety training of any kind, I guess they figured if we’d survived this long around hot stoves at home, we’d be smart enough not to burn ourselves or our co-workers without any extra training.

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Lonerock has a lone rock. And a church. And lots of other awesome buildings.

So, on the map in the middle of pretty much nowhere is a place called Lonerock.


It’s not exactly the kind of place that you go through on the way to someplace else, which is probably why we haven’t visited yet.

We were looking for some gravel roads to explore, and this area has a nice selection, with some wet weather the week before it was a perfect time to do a bit of dirt.

First things first, breakfast and coffee in Fossil.

First things first, breakfast and coffee in Fossil.

Then on to some tasty road selections with beautiful views!

With views like this, I can understand why residents down in that valley are willing to put up with this road.

With views like this, I can understand why residents down in that valley are willing to put up with this road.

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Trip Report – Southern Adventure January 2014

It’s not a circus without a few clowns, right?

Pam & Mike’s Southern Adventure 2014

Jump to:

Day 1: On the road from Terrebonne to Laughlin
Day 2: Pig-in-a-poke and how the other half lives
Day 3: Two clowns visit ghost towns. And donkeys. Lots and lots of donkeys.
Day 4: Taking the dam road to Las Vegas, with a stop in a dam town for a little antiquing along the way.
Day 5: Scary Clowns and Elvis is in town.
Day 6: Old school tech day with pinball and fusees, and we totally ignore the possibility of Stranger Danger.
Day 7: “More, Please” at Red Rocks and CarsLand Vegas Style.
Day 8: This Circus has no clowns, but I hear the high wire act is pretty good.
Day 9: What kind of clowns go into Mexico just for cheap booze? That would be us.
Day 10: Capybaras and Condors and Red Pandas, oh my.
Day 11: California Mis-Adventure?
Day 12: Disneylast


This all started because we were channel surfing.

A few years ago we sat bored in front of the tv on a rainy Saturday. This doesn’t happen often as Mike never sits still. Even when he’s sleeping he’s still moving. The cats find him decidedly un-cuddle-worthy on that account.

Basically, the only way I can get him to relax is to feed him massive quantities of beer and Chinese food.

I, on the other hand, am a cat’s dream – overly warm, with plenty of extra padding, and I can sit for hours without moving. At least someone appreciates my Zen-like skills.

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Day 12 – Disneylast

I can’t believe I’ve actually milked this trip report out so long! I thought at first that I’d just do a quick synopsis with a few photos, but then I realized, DUH, nothing I ever write is a synopsis. My synopsis aren’t even synopsis’s (is that even a word?). See, I can’t even write an opening paragraph about nothing without getting all wordy.

So, here we are at the last day of this vacation. Well, of course it’s not really the last day, that’s tomorrow, but I’m definitely NOT going to bore you with a report of our drive home (booo-ring).

We got up bright and early and headed to the parks. I did forget to mention the one other nice thing about Fleabag Flats, there’s a Starbucks next door. I had a freebie Birthday drink waiting for me, so we stopped in and I got a gigantic Frappuccino. I don’t usually drink this much caffeine in a day, so by the time we get to the gates I’m jittery as heck. I probably should have eaten some breakfast to soak up a little of that sugar and all. Fortunately I’ve got some protein bars in the pack so I eat one of those and the DT’s go away.

We used our Disney-fu to find a gate with no line and created our own. Of course soon we had a bunch of sheeple behind us, while the gate next to us remained without a line until they actually opened and people finally realized “hey, that’s an entrance too!”

Last thing I told Mike as I handed him the camera, “Don’t forget to get the top of the building in the picture!” Either I was talking Swahili, or he’s deaf.

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Day 11 – California Mis-Adventure?

The last time we visited Disney World Lite (Mike’s term) was prior to my discovery of Tour Guide Mike and EasyWDW and the revelation that there is actually a way to tour that helps avoid lines and all that jazz. Although we visited often and I understood how to use FP and had a general idea of what needed to be done early to avoid lines, I was still an infant when it came to touring plans. I was really excited to be back here and see how all my education about the right way to tour would change Mike’s mind about this place.

See, in Mike’s mind, Disneyland is made up of fun rides, crowds, and long wait times. California Adventure is the boring place where he can get in a nap while his wife rides stuff.

Looking at the schedule for today and tomorrow, morning EMH today is over at Disneyland, tomorrow it’s California Adventure. Also, Radiator Springs Racers is down for maintenance today and open tomorrow. Putting on my WWJD (What Would Josh Do) thinking cap, it wasn’t hard to figure out where we’d start this morning.

As we walked up the center promenade, I pointed out to Mike the long lines for DL while there were just a few people on the CA side – his response, “sure there are, people LIKE Disneyland, NO ONE likes California Adventure”. Grump. My plan here is to get in and grab FP for World of Color, then head to TSMM and hopefully get in a few rides before lines build.

Mike kept asking me what was so special about this nighttime water show. I knew from experience that if I try to talk things up too much it just gives him more ammunition if it doesn’t live up to expectations, so I just said that there were lots of people on EasyWDW who said the show was incredible, and they were all people whose opinion I trusted, so I think we should see it. He grumbles about the hassle, but since there’s no fireworks at DL either of the days we’re here, he finally accedes to my wishes.

Getting FP for WoC was quick and easy, and we were on to TSMM at a fast walk. We got there in front of most of the crowd…and the ride is down.


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