Curiosity: forget “Cherchez la femme” (Look for the woman.) “Cherchez l’histoire.” (Look for the story.)
My son Ben was right about the insane traffic between D.C. and NYC. Drivers disregard speed limits and weave across lanes without signaling. But we had no close calls.
We spent a couple of hot days in Lawrenceville, NJ, with my daughter Miriam and younger grandson Leo. En route to visit Gary’s brother and sister-in-law in Cherry Hill, NJ, we stopped at Grounds for Sculpture, a lovely park in Hamilton, NJ that we’ve visited many times with Leo and his older brother Oscar. Many of the works on display are 3D renderings of famous paintings. Gary had fun playing in Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe.
Just before we reached our ultimate northeastern objective–Groton, CT, for the Commissioning of the USS Oregon SSN 793– we spent a couple of days driving around Bethel, CT, where Gary lived in the ’70s. His old house is still looking good.
We enjoyed a tour of the submarine before the Commissioning ceremony, and were gratified that one of the Admirals who spoke at the ceremony acknowledged that the USS Oregon is the only submarine in the Navy with a porthole.
That’s because Gary and other members of the Commissioning Committee persuaded the Director of the Astoria Maritime Museum, which had two portholes from the old battleship, BB3, to donate one of them to the new USS Portland. The Committee had the porthole beautifully mounted, with a photo of BB3 visible.
Now the challenge is to find a place on the bulkhead to display it.
After Governor Kate Brown gave an address, the ship’s sponsor, Dana Richardson, gave the traditional order: “Man this ship and bring her to life.” And they did.
We were glad to hear from friends at home that KOIN TV covered the commissioning and surveyed the audience. One of them captured this screenshot that includes us– in the middle of the back row, right in front of the equipment.
The following day, we chartered a nice boat ride and I got to see where Gary sailed years ago.
The next day we headed north across New York State, where we intersected the Erie Canal. This waterway I remember, because we cruised halfway across, to the Oswego Canal when we did our intercoastal waterway trip in 2004, on our boat Annikin. We aimed for the same intersection with the St. Lawrence this time. And we headed to Kingston, as we did before. This time we stayed in town.
We’d booked on a 4-day cruise of the Thousand Islands, but when they did Covid tests at check in, Gary tested positive. He’s had no symptoms–before or since. (However, we can reschedule for next year, which fits in nicely with another event.)
So, making lemonade from this particular lemon, we made our way up the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa, beginning with a visit to Ft. Henry, originally built during the War of 1812. We saw demonstrations by members of the Fort Henry Guard (university student recruits trained as British soldiers from 1867).
Essentially, we did by car what we wanted to do by boat sixteen years ago. By car, we made the trip from Kingston to Ottawa in one day.
We spent the night in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, then drove across North Dakota, where signs referring to “Rough Riders” made us decide to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Teddy should be proud of his legacy. We encountered bold, but cautious wildlife.
We spent one night in Finlen, on the east edge of of Montana, then drove to Butte, to visit Gary’s daughter Wendy and son-in-law Bob.
There we encountered domesticated animals: dozens of goats, three horses and five dogs.
Wendy has two Great Pyrenees who take care of the goats. The miniature poodle, Minnie, was dropped on their property by an eagle.
The collie, now named Fin (short for Finlay) came to their house the day before we arrived, after spending a year in an animal shelter. It was amazing how much his behavior changed by the next day. Annie is a beautiful German shorthair pointer. Wendy said she’s very happy to have Fin’s company.
Next we stopped at Twin Falls, Idaho.
After that, we came southwest to visit friends and family in the Bay Area. Yesterday afternoon we arrived safe and sound at home–stopping for a tour of the Oregon Caves, which we’ve never visited before, along the way.