US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: in Seattle (Day 2)

July 22, 2017

On this morning’s walk along the waterfront park there were several cruise ships docked, and as I’ve said, they seem to come and go without much detection. The waterfront is a busy place, nautically speaking, and because of the geography the Pacific coast is actually about 150 miles (240 km) away from this place. Even the big container ships, pulled and guided by tug boats, glide past without much noise.

The waterfront’s Ferris Wheel

Harbor cruise boats and sailboats of all sizes are normal sights in the harbor from our hotel. Further down the street is the Seattle Aquarium, a big Ferris wheel, and plenty of places to find something good to eat. The traffic on the waterfront’s street seems to be in a state of perpetual congestion, although the drivers seem to be civil to one another and to the hundreds of pedestrians who are all looking for something in particular along the waterfront.

Tomorrow we travel back home. Pius has a long flight to Frankfurt, Germany, a four hour layover, followed by a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, and ending with a two hour drive back to Schatzalp. Crossing nine time zones is something that he is familiar with, but still it is sleep that needs the immediate attention. Within a few mornings of his arrival in the mountains back at Schatzalp the temperature for him was 32 degrees (0 C) and a little bit of snow.

April and August

Here is his report: “Der April macht was er will” (means something like “April does what it wants”), a saying that we have in German about the weather in April. “But we have August. You see, April even renamed itself”.

My flight is not quite so romantic, but sleep is not an issue. First to Spokane, Washington, then Minneapolis, Minnesota with a speedy 30 minute layover, and on to Grand Rapids, Michigan with a two hour drive home to Bristol, Indiana. Our temperature is warm, but not like the 110 degrees (43.3 C) in California.

It was nice for us cousins to spend time together driving (and driving) and discovering sights, some of which neither of us had seen before. Nothing can replace the conversation and camaraderie along the way, which was easily as magnificent as the scenery.

Bis zum nächsten abenteuer…
Until the next adventure…

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US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: in Seattle (Day 1)

July 21, 2017

This morning I took a four mile walk north along the waterfront in Seattle through a park. Mount Rainier stands alone as I looked across the harbor in Seattle. Like Mount Shasta it is an active volcano, but Rainier is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world.

Pike Place Market – Seattle, Washington

Only a few blocks from here is the “Pike Place Market” which we have visited a couple of times. It is truly a diverse street market, but I would suspect that most of the customers were tourists. Trip Advisor says: “One of the few authentic farmer’s markets in the United States, this hub of delicious scents, delectable eats and delightful personalities attracts nine million visitors a year.” I suppose some people might consider the fish stands a “delicious scent”… but not me. Pius went clothes shopping today and I took the camera to the market.

Big cruise ships routinely “park” at the dock in front of our hotel. They do it at night and are so quiet that we haven’t been able to watch them arrive or depart. How does a 1,000 foot (305 M) cruise ship just sneak in and then leave without detection? I don’t know, but they do it.

Just a relaxing day today.


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West Coast Trip - July 21, 2017

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US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: to Eugene, Oregon

July 20, 2017

Today was a driving day, but as we drove to Eugene, Oregon one of the attractions near our route was Mount Hood.

Mount Hood

It is an 11,250 foot (3,429 meters) active volcano in the Cascade range and its last eruption was in 1907. Unfortunately, the today was overcast and rainy but Pius quite often thinks “outside the box” so that he still managed to get a beautiful “photograph” of it.

Mt. Hood painting

 

 

 

He took a photograph of a painting with his phone camera. It was hanging on the wall outside of the men’s restroom at the “Original Breakfast Café” in Albany, Oregon where we had breakfast. In this one, Mount Hood is only a few inches tall and is not an active volcano.

 

We dropped off the rental car at the Seattle airport and it wasn’t easy to find a cab, but eventually we were successful. We are staying at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront hotel until we depart for home on Sunday, and it is really a nice place. Only one comment was made today about Pius’ service in the Navy and it was from a waiter at the restaurant at our hotel. He never really caught on to the story, but Pius and I enjoyed the moment.

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US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: to Crater Lake, Oregon

July 19, 2017

We left our motel in Redding at 7:15 am today and headed north to Crater Lake in Oregon. Retracing our path from Friday we passed Mount Shasta and what a sight it was. Driving to Redding yesterday we could see him from 50 miles (80 km) south, and today he could still be seen from where we ate breakfast 75 miles (121 km) north. Mount Shasta is a volcano and so it stands alone in what looks like lava beds. Because of this, it the view is not obstructed… and it helps that it is 14,300 feet (4,359 M) tall.

As we were driving northward we first entered the Klamath National Forest and it is one of the most beautiful forests of its kind. Evidence of past forest fires could be seen. There were a couple of very large and wide open flat places such as “Butte Valley”. These were being farmed with crops and also were irrigated.

Cinder’s Cafe – Worden, Oregon

We ate breakfast at “Cinders Cafe” in Worden, Oregon (just south of Klamath Falls, Oregon) which isn’t really a city. It’s more of a few buildings along the road, but the café was genuinely as local as it gets and Cinder took very good care of us.

We entered the Crater Lake National Park at the south entrance. The lake itself is circular so it is possible to drive all the way around it, but today most of the road on the eastern side was closed because of snow that still remains from last winter’s enormous snowfall.

Crater Lake – Oregon

The water in Crater Lake (Oregon) is so blue because of its purity (and therefore clarity), that any photograph almost looks fake. 7,700 years ago this 12,000 foot (3,650 M) volcano erupted and then collapsed upon itself forming a caldera that is now filled with water nearly 2,000 feet (600 M) deep. Today, the rim of the “crater” is at about 7,000 feet (2,100 M), the surface of the lake itself is at an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,800 M) and is about 5 miles (8 km) in diameter. Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone and rises about 700 feet (215 M) above the lake surface.

Our destination for today is Eugene, Oregon. When we arrived we ate supper outside at the Elk Horn Bar which was only about a mile from the motel and nearby Oregon State University. Tomorrow we are driving toward Portland, Oregon on our way back to Seattle and the Seattle Marriott Waterfront hotel.


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West Coast Trip - July 19, 2017

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US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: to Redding, California (again)

July 18, 2017

My cousin, Pius App, is a “story magnet”, and this is today’s memorable story from our west coast trip. He has a special interest in the USS Zumwalt, a recently commissioned hi-tech naval destroyer, and yesterday our cousin, Pat Hillman, presented him with an official USS Zumwalt cap. Pat’s husband grew up with Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr. (Chief of Naval Operations 1970-1974) and their families have been very close over the years.

Pius in his USS Zumwalt hat

This morning, in the motel restaurant, Pius was wearing the hat and a veteran rushed up to him and asked about his service in the Navy. It took Pius by surprise and he told the man that he was not from this country… and the man hurriedly walked away.

It happened again tonight at dinner. We were placing our order and a veteran, spying the hat, came up to Pius and asked how long he served in the Navy explaining that he was in the navy for 20 years himself working for Admiral Zumwalt. Pius told him the same story about how he was from another country, and also explained about how he got the hat. The man thought that was a great story and we all had a good laugh.

I think that Admiral Pius App, now of the Swiss Navy, gets a lot of respect whenever he enters a room wearing the USS Zumwalt hat.

We drove today from our motel in Fresno, California to the Thunderbird Lodge in Redding, California (the same place that we stayed last Friday). Driving north on US 99 we could easily see the smoke from the Detwiler wildfire that we saw at Lois & Jerry’s OD Ranch. By this afternoon it had grown to 20,000 acres (81 sq km) burned and only 5% contained. We also saw smoke from another (smaller) wildfire six miles (9.6 km) southwest of our motel in Redding.

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US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: to Tulare, California

July 17, 2017

Breakfast on the OD Ranch

There is nothing like breakfast on the deck at the OD Ranch. Miss Lois, ranch matron, rustled up some grub for us greenhorns and Jerry, ranch foreman, served us outside where the breeze was light, the temperature was perfect… and the smoke from the wildfire in the distance was clearly visible.

The wild fire started yesterday and was about 15 miles (24 km) away. The updraft that the flames generated created a white cloud billow that extended upward beyond the gray smoke. By the afternoon today, the fire had consumed 11,000 acres (44.5 sq km) and was not yet contained. It is another glimpse of Mother Nature’s dark side.

Pius and I left at about 9:15 am for our drive to visit with our cousin, Pat Hillman, in Tulare, California. It was a warm day even in the car as we drove into the sun for over 3 hours. Pat greeted us with lunch and then a tour of the J. D. Heiskell Feed Mill in Pixley, California.

One of the J. D. Heiskell Plants

It is an incredible operation and is one of the largest facilities of its kind. J. D. Heiskell Feeds is number 4 on the Forbes list of privately owned companies as they operate 18 plants in 11 states.

Pat and Pius

We returned to Pat’s home and she and Pius had a long conversation about Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr.  and the destroyer named after him. Admiral Zumwalt went to school with Pat’s husband Dale Hillman (now deceased) and the Hillman and the Zumwalt families have been very good and close friends through the years. Pat had previously done her research and had many questions for Pius about his Swiss upbringing, family, career, and interests. It was such a wonderful afternoon!

Later, on our drive north to our destination of Fresno, California, the outside temperature reached its “high water mark” for this trip of 110 degrees (43.3 C). Surprising to me is the fact that there is quite a difference from 100 degrees (37.8 C) and 110 degrees (43.3 C) on the body.

We have adjusted our itinerary for tomorrow to skip the portion of our trip to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and to Muir Woods. Pius used to work in Silicon Valley and has been across the bridge before, so we decided that we need a break from our intense driving schedule. Our destination will be back to Redding, California… about a 5 hour drive from Fresno.

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US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: in Jamestown

July 16, 2017

It is nice to spend the day relaxing instead of driving, and it is especially nice to spend it at the home of our cousins Lois & Jerry O’Day on their OD Ranch. In the morning, before the temperatures got too hot, Lois & Jerry took us around the Jamestown area on a driving tour.

Our first stop was a visit to the extinct town of Quartz Mountain (near Jamestown, California) where the App gold mine was located.

App Street in Quartz, California with Pius App

We saw the spot where John App noticed an outcropping of quartz that contained gold. Because of this, he decided to locate the mine near this spot. The above ground portion of the mine is gone now, and a house has been built on top of the hill where the mine buildings once stood, so we drove up and took some pictures. John App was considered the foremost authority on quartz mining in Tuolumne County, California and the App Mine generated millions of dollars of gold (by today’s value of money).

We Apps are unable to visit Quartz Mountain without photographing the App Street sign… especially with us standing in front of it. Pius brought the German connection of our family to it when the photograph was made.

Near Wood’s Creek, just outside of Jamestown, is where John App built a home in 1852 for himself and his wife Leanna. It was built with lumber from the Algerine Mill. The town of Algerine (about 4 miles, or 6.5 km south) no longer exists, but was a “shoot ‘em up town” in its day. The house is vacant and has fallen into mild disrepair, but with its solid structure it is still sound and livable. Many people are hoping that it is restored as an historical monument to John App and Leanna Charity Donner App.

John and Leanna are buried in the Jamestown Cemetery, just outside of Jamestown and near the homestead. We visited it next. The cemetery is located on a hillside where a wrought iron fence encompasses their graves. Pius said that this is the kind of fence his grandfather would have created, and that if he came here alone, and didn’t know where the grave was, he would have automatically gone to this spot.

Detwiler Wildfire with a temperature inversion

In the late afternoon we noticed a plume of smoke about 15 miles (24 km) to the southwest. It was a wildfire that had started in Mariposa County and later called the Detwiler fire. Many fire units and airplanes were dispatched immediately but the temperature was 100 and the winds were blowing. It quickly grew that day to 7,000 acres (28 sq km) and eventually consumed 82,000 acres (332 sq km) before it was under control several weeks later. It was a large fire, even by California standards, and made the national news. Over 4,000 people were on the ground fighting the fire along with 550 fire engines, 20 helicopters, 90 bulldozers, and 1 DC-10 jet that dropped thousands of gallons of water at one time. 60 residences were destroyed, but the town of Mariposa was untouched.

In the evening Lois hosted a family get together on the OD Ranch with about 15 family members. This connected our German App roots with our American App family members who helped settle the west. John App would surely have never expected our Swiss cousin (Pius App) to visit and make that connection possible. Not many families have such a rich history and connection as ours.

Tomorrow our Destination will be Tulare, California to visit our cousin, Patricia Hillman.


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West Coast Trip - July 16, 2017

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