New Years trip to Washington – Part 5

We take a day to rest, clean and organize our things from the adventure at Tillamook State Forest then decide to head north from Vancouver, WA for a day trip to Battleground Lake to enjoy the nature surrounding it. Being winter it is raining off-and-on today, so we go down to the lakeshore so my grandson can have some fun trying to fill the lake with rocks he finds on the shoreline. This is something he really enjoys, he has thrown rocks at Mt Adams, into the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park and now here. Kids are so funny how they entertain themselves. We discussed hiking the trail that goes around the lake but decided that with the rain it would just be a slick mess.

 

 

After our short stay at the lake we head to The Cedar Creek Grist Mill just outside Etna south of the Lewis River along scenic Cedar Creek. A gristmill grinds grain into flour using nature’s forces, usually water being run by a water wheel. The first water-powered mill was reported around 71 BC in Asia Minor. Grain mills in England were counted in the 1086 Domesday Survey In England, which stated there were 5,624, or about one for every 300 inhabitants that year, peaking to 17,000 by 1300.

Cedar Creek Grist Mill is a working museum allowing visitors inside to observe the workings of the mill built in 1876. Samples are given to visitors after the tour of the facility. This is a totally nature driven mill using the water flowing through a plumb to a Leffel turbine installed with its flume (water canal) around 1888. Pulleys, and belts turn the milling stone producing flour, corn meal and sometimes apple cider.

 

 

Resting on a steep and rocky slope in the narrow gorge of Cedar Creek, it is the only gristmill in Washington that still maintains its original structure, mills with stones, and is water powered, this is also the oldest building in Washington State still producing its original product.

 

 

The last owner died in the late 1950’s and the property was bought by The State Fisheries Department in 1961 that removed the old dam and built a fish ladder. The Fort Vancouver Historical Society leased the mill in 1961 and had it registered as a National Historical Place.

Time, weather and vandals took its toll by 1980. “The Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill”, a non-profit corporation, was formed to save the old mill. Using period tools consisting of axes and adzes they replaced the damaged posts and beams. Due to a dam removal in 1961 they had to now get water into the mill, extending the flume 650 feet where the water from the creek could flow into the intake without the dam.

Next to the mill is a covered bridge across Cedar Creek. There is no history on the first bridge although it was completely replaced by a truss bridge in 1935. The 1935 bridge could not support heavy loads, so in 1994 a new covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek was built.

 

 

Sadly it was closed on this weekday right after the holiday but peeking in the windows demands a return visit when it is open.

2017 in review quite a better year

2016 was just a total joke of a year and I was glad it was over, 2017 has been much better and full of adventures.

January started off recuperating from an sudden illness that happened in mid-December and during this time I started planning a trip up to Vancouver, WA the end of February to visit family and purchase my new adventure vehicle, a 2017 Subaru Outback.

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Orange Empire Railraod Museum

A few weeks ago my grandson and I visited the Orange Empire Railway Museum (LINK) when the annual Steampunk fair was being held. This non-profit museum opened in 1956 to preserve Southern California’s railway history that dates from the 1870’s. With over 200 historic railway locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, streetcars, interurban electric cars, buildings, and other artifacts from Los Angeles and the West, the 90-acre site in Perris, California is open to the public every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas (check site for current opening days, times and special events).

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Chesters Fort and Hadrian’s Wall

Chesters Fort Rendering from the south

After the morning wandering and exploring Beamish we drove approximately 30 miles to visit Chesters Fort (LINK) a part of Hadrian’s Wall (LINK). Driving along beautiful countryside we had to have the car disinfected for Foot and Mouth. Arriving at the fort we visited the museum to learn the history of the wall and fort, then walked through disinfecting mats for our short walk to the fort.

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Welcome to Beamish – A Living Museum of Northeastern English Life

Back in 2001 it was decided to visit England, Scotland and Wales and to delve into the history, architecture and culture of the country.  What we discovered was an excellent way to do this, Living Outdoor Museums. This was the first Living Open-Air museum that I had ever visited and it started a search for additional ones during all future travels in the USA and Europe. Visiting one gives you the experience and a real sense of the past as you discover what life was like. Within the different buildings there usually are actors in period dress demonstrating the daily life of the time being depicted, while answering questions you might have and explaining what it was like living in those times.

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Pompeii – The death of a city

On a fateful August morning in 79 AD Pompeii (LINK), a Roman town-city near modern Naples, was totally destroyed and buried under a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius (LINK) killing around 3,000 people as the rest of the population had already fled before the eruption. A flood of ash and protoplasmic heated air rained down on the town for approximately 6 hours completely burying the town and its inhabitants in up to twelve layers of ash and debris up to 82 feet (25 meters) deep.

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Flam, Norway Railraod

We leave  Copenhagen, Denmark on a cruise ship so we can see the Norwegian fjords in our vacation time frame. First port was Flam, Norway.

We scheduled an excursion on the Flam Railway to see the sights of the scenic Norway countryside.

The Flåm Railway has been named one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. The train runs 12.6 miles (20.2 kilometers) from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, up to the high mountains to Myrdal Station. Along the journey are some beautifully stunning scenery of Norway.

In about an hour you go from sea level in Flåm to the Myrdal mountain station at 2,844 feet (867 metres) above sea level. In Myrdal you can connect to trains running between Bergen and Oslo.

The Flåm Railway is one of the steepest standard-gauge railway lines in the world, with 80% of the journey at a gradient of 5.5%. Along the trains route you see small villages and hamlets, beautiful mountainsides, foaming waterfalls and pass through 20 tunnels. It’s longest tunnel is the 4,401 foot (1,341.5-meter) long Nåli Tunnel.

The first engineering surveys for the Flåm Line were performed in 1893 with the plans approved by Parliament in 1916.  Construction started in 1924, with track laying starting in 1936 and the rail line finally opening for service in 1940. Of the 20 tunnels along the route only 2 used machines for digging, the rest were dug by hand.

 

 

Train at Flam RR Museeum

Train at Flam RR Museum

After the trip  we stop at the Flam Railway Museum to learn more of the history of the Flam Rail Line and how this rail line was constructed. The models, photos, illustrations, actual equipment and older train engines was a great way to understand how this rail line was built and used, the engineering and the hard labor that went into constructing this rail line.

After the museum it is time for walk around town, visit the tourist information center and a tourist souvenir shop next door with interesting nic-nacs. After our walk among the shelves, and a few laughs at some of the items for sale, we must stop at the local grocery store to pick up a few items to enjoy for snacking as they are not available on the ship. As it is getting close to the time for the ship to depart we head back to get ready for dinner with the 5 other couples at our assigned table.

Sitting down to dinner we all relate our days adventures and thoughts on Flam while enjoying the wonderful food and the scenery floating by outside the large windows of the Dining Room. We enjoyed the small town feel, the scenery on the Rail Journey and walking around town. This would be a town to stay in to enjoy for a couple of relaxing days exploring the local area with a vehicle or just hiking. Our table is one of the last to finish as we all are enjoying the company and conversation. I think we would all stay longer but there is another dinner service they must get ready for. As the others leave for their nightly adventures, it’s back up to Deck 10 for the evening walk enjoying the scenery as we sail away from Flam to our next destination Alesund, Norway.

Vigeland Museum and Frogner Park

Vigeland Museum-8After we finish exploring Akershus Fortress we take the T-Bane over to the Vigeland Museum. This museum was the workplace and home to Gustav Vigeland, a Norwegian artist who negotiated free rent on this space for the future rights to his work with the government. This building houses his sculptures, woodcarvings, models, drawings, sketches and photographs of the artist through his years of work. His interesting sculptures are very modern and surreal which made for an interesting and thought provoking visit.

Vigeland was born in 1869 to a family of craftsmen and also designed the Nobel Peace Prize Medal. Vigeland moved to his new studio in Frogner Borough during 1924. His studio was located in the vicinity of Frogner Park, which he had chosen as the definitive location for his fountain. Over the following twenty years, Vigeland was devoted to the project of an open exhibition of his works, which later turned into the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement in Frogner Park.  

Looking to the the Main Gate from the Plateau at Frogner Park

Looking to the the Main Gate from the Plateau

Right across the street from the museum is Frogner Park with the Vigeland Outdoor Sculpture Area.  We first stop at a corner 7-11 and pickup hot dogs, chips and drinks for a lunch in the park as not much else was open during the holiday. We join the thousands of other people enjoying the sunny holiday in the park while eating our picnic lunch. Frogner Park is the largest park in Oslo occupying a former manor house grounds of 80 acres. The park includes the Manor House and Vigeland Sculptural Exhibition area which houses 212 of his bronze and granite sculptures. There is no way we would be able to walk the entire park so we concentrate on the area between the museum, the Monolith Plateau, the Fountain and the Bridge which showcases Vigeland’s sculptures. What an enjoyable time exploring these sculptures and the park grounds. We cross the bridge, head to the T-Bane stop at the Main Gate on Kirkeveien and head back to our apartment after a glorious afternoon of walking.  This was the most crowded we saw the T-Bane during our time here and we had to wait for 2 trolleys before we were able board. Everyone was outside enjoying the weather and visiting with family and friends.

Such a wonderful day, Vigeland sculptures belong in a park. They are larger than life and make your mind explore the meaning behind them. A park for an afternoon stroll and picnic lunch in the beautiful sunshine.

Kon Tiki Museum

Next door to the Fram Museum was the Kon Tiki Museum honoring Thor Hyerdahl’s adventures aboard the Kon Tiki and Ra II.

The Kon Tiki, a balsa wood pre-Columbian ship design that sailed in 1947 from Peru to Polynesia is a 30 foot by 15 foot raft of nine balsa wood logs designed and built to prove that sea travel could have been possible by the South American population and they could have populated the South Pacific. After covering 4,300 nautical miles in 101 days, an average speed of 42.5 miles per day they reached Polynesia. 

The Ra II was built of reeds based on ancient Egyptian design and sailed from North Africa to the Caribbean. On May 17, 1970, Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl and crew set out from Morocco across the Atlantic Ocean, Heyerdahl thought that Mediterranean civilizations sailed to the America’s and exchanged cultures with the people of Central and South America. The crossing of 4,000 miles of ocean to Barbados took 57 days.    

What interesting people the Norwegians are, they love the outdoors, travel and exploration. When I hear my distant relatives probably have Viking blood it is no wonder my family loves to explore and travel to see new and interesting destinations.

 

Fram Museum; Oslo, Norway. A Tale of a Norwegian Polar Expedition

Leaving the apartment early we jump on the T-Bane for the harbor to catch the ferry to Bygdoy for our Norwegian maritime history lesson for the day.  After a delightful ride we exit the ferry right at our destination, 3 separate Norwegian Maritime Museums.

Maritime Museums from the water

Maritime Museums from the water

Fram Arctic Expedition Map

Fram Expedition Map

First up is the Fram Museum, which tells the story of a Norwegian Polar Expedition taken between 1893 and 1896. The ship, the Fram, was commissioned by explorer Fridtjf Nansen and built in 1891 by Colin Archer to reach the north pole by using the shifting ice flows. The museum was built in 1936 to house the ship and explain the 5-year polar exploration of the 12 brave men. The 36’x128’ double ended ship was built with a shallow draft, a 24”-28” thick hull, 3 masts, and a rounded hull to ride up on the ice flow. It was also supplied with a wind generator to supply electricity to power the experiments and men’s needs. It was amazing these men survived the trip frozen in the ice flow for so long with no means of resupply. The map attached shows the extent of their voyage.

The expedition never reached the pole due to the shifting ice current and Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen decided to head out by dog sledges to reach the pole. That proved unsuccessful due to the ice flows and the 2 made their way south to Franz Josef Land where they made camp for the winter.

The Fram meanwhile continued west then made a southerly course swing on the ice flow to emerge into open waters and make it’s way back to Oslo. Nansen and Johansen were picked up by a British explorer who took them back to civilization at the same time the Fram emerged from the ice.

It was very interesting to walk the decks, inside and outside, and see how these men lived and survived during that voyage. These were brave men who risked their lives for adventure and discovery with no means of support, communication or rescue. The exploration was not a failure as the crew brought back a lot of information previously not known. Here are some photos of the ship and museum.