June First- Amy and Elizabeth’s birthday, Roads Scholar report

These reports just in from Dick:
When Nancy and Beah went back to the hospital to get “the second one,” Mike, at age two, couldn’t believe it. Coming to 2011, We enjoyed the birthday a little early, last Saturday, May 29, in the company of the honorees and their next older sibling and his adored spouse, at Lopez. Nancy concocted a delightful chicken dish, Dick the usual humungous salad, and Brent the very acceptable Chardonnay to go with. Amy and Lib bicycled on to the island, made their fist stop at the pasture, where Mike and Julia were exercising Louie and Flash. An alternative home has been found for Chester!

Going backward, we arrived Friday evening, coming from Usk, Washington. Who knows where Usk is? (For a map of places referred to in this post, click here.)We had gone there to a “Roads Scholar” weekend ( formerly Elderhostel, or Exploritas). Going all the way back, we drove to Wenatchee on Sunday, arrived at Clearwater Lodge outside of Usk, along the Pend Orielle River. the program began at 2:00 PM Monday, with an afternoon of delightful entertainment by the only music teacher in the Selkirk School district. The topic was US Popular Music of the Twentieth Century. He was a gritty teacher, brought a quartet of his high school girls to sing great show tunes of the mid century. We got another afternoon of his knowledge the next day and “Music Man” movie on Tuesday evening. The next expert was Jack Nisbet, Naturalist. Journalist, Author (The Source of the River about David Thompson and his exploration of the Columbia- much more extensive than Lewis and Clarke, about 5 years later). His new book, and subject of his program, is about David Douglas, the “collector” of all things botanical and natural. Think douglas fir, douglas maple, etc. We had two sessions with him, one out in the rain along the river, and associated wetlands- truly delightful. The third program was a local geologist, with in-depth information about volcanos, Missoula lake floods, the channelled scablands, and tectonic plate movement. He was a short, overweight droll man with a full beard, a wonderful sense of humor, and an easy delivery that precluded falling asleep. All told a worthwhile interlude.

On our way back to the west coast, of course we had to spend a night at Sun Mountain. From there we hurried directly to Lopez, over the “North Gollydarn” opened for the summer on the day before our travel.

Back in Shoreline, the grass is long, the local politics are percolating, the schedule is full enough, and summer may happen sooner or later. At least, the days are longer! We look forward to the ingathering forecasted.

Sun Mountain Get-Away — ahhh!

This just in from Dick on his and Nancy’s get-away to Sun Mountain and environs — brings back great memories of Nancy’s birthday party there!


Sometime, 10 days ago or so, we realized that we had no obligations after an early morning dental appointment, from Tuesday until the following Sunday evening. We took advantage of that hiatus to go to Sun Mountain for three days. As soon as Sandy (ne Strand, who was in Martha’s scout troop) got through cleaning my teeth and telling me to floss, we got on our way. It was one of those NW October days that one wishes would last forever.

We got to Winthrop in time for a late lunch at Duck Breath. The cottonwoods and maples were in fine color, as were the aspens. Our room was “Valley View” in the lodge though I had asked for Gardner. The receptionist assured me they were very busy. The lobby was deserted. There was time to read on the patio. That is, snooze over our books. Dinner was a little late, and it was dark, so no view.

Wednesday after a breakfast of trout and eggs (included!), and a beautiful sunrise, we drove up to Hart’s Pass, to see the larches. You may recall, when we were all there two years ago, the larches had not yet changed color, to the expected golden yellow. This year they were past, the needles all on the ground. We did find the proper access to Pacific Crest Trail, which we missed two years ago. It was a nice stroll out on the trail for about a mile and a half,with great views across to the mountains of the Cascade crest. Back down, and back up to the lodge, we had time for the hot tub, and a glorious sunset, then dinner before it got too dark to see.

Thursday morning, again a great breakfast, we had an appointment up the West Chewuch Road to the Bluebird Grain Farm. This organization grows it’s produce on the fields adjacent to Patterson Lake, at the foot of Sun Mountain. The factory is about two miles or so above River Run Resort, well remembered from 2008. The grain Nancy was interested in is Farro, a variety of Emmer. Something we had in 2008 was basically farro. Emmer is the ancient ancestor of all wheat. Bluebird’s products are variations on Emmer. We saw a bill of lading for an outlet in NYC while in their sales room. Of course, we came away with some of it. Steve and Mike might enjoy baking some emmer bread. David, too.

Harvesting Emmer wheat on Bluebird Farm

From there we went ghost town hunting. The books I bought last time about the Methow Valley and it’s history, talked about lots of mining towns up in the hills. We went to find Gilbert, up the Twisp River. At 35 miles, we came to a nice campground, where two guys were packing up their deer- Hunting season had opened. This was the road end. No sign of Gilbert, or any clue of a trail on up to the pass. After lunch, I drove back down more slowly, and did spot what appeared to be a road beginning. Sure enough, around the corner was a rusty fence gate with fearsome signs about danger, unexploded dynamite, unmarked mine shafts and that this was private land and an open mining claim There was even one log cabin of suitable age to be able to claim that I found Gilbert.

Thursday evening we went back to Twisp, had burgers in a CAFE, before the theatre. The play was “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, acted very well by Twisp and Winthrop homebodies.

Friday morning we had a smaller breakfast. I had Methow granola, with a side of bacon- I had to pay for the bacon – and yogurt. We checked out and then enjoyed once more walking the interpretive loop up around the hill above the parking lots. Of course the drive home included a stop at the Buffalo run Inn in Marblemount for blackberry pie.

The week ended with dinner at Amy and Lib’s house. Serbian Spinach! I had forgotten how good that is. And many pictures of Scandinavia, Kayla swimming, and the same Holland that we have recently enjoyed. Now we get to have dinner again to see  the pictures that Nancy took.

Of particular note, on our return, we found the Rod is recovering well from bypass surgery, which he had about ten days ago. At last report, he was preparing to move to the rehab unit at Americare Hospital in Ocean shores, NJ.