Category Archives: Adventure



When a grandaughter and her family moved to Anchorage, I learned that you need to be on your toes while driving downtown in the event a moose shows up on the street.

Moose can weigh more than a thousand pounds and stand tall enough to pose a deadly danger to anyone riding in the front seat of most passenger cars that strike these critters head-on.

No wonder they are given the right-of-way on streets in Anchorage and in other areas of the Northland. And I wouldn’t want to argue with a moose who invades my yard and garden in search for a blueberry or some other goodie.

The elk is considered a member of the deer family. The males grow antlers, and these furry-looking animals wade in lakes and munch on yummies that grow in and around water. Many people rely on these animals for meat. I’ll stick with hamburgers, however, because you don’t have to skin them, and they’re served with French fries.

Which reminds me of a moose joke that I heard years ago:

The director of a zoo in mainland U.S.A. decided to order two of the animals from a supplier in Alaska.

While writing the order, the zoo director realized that he didn’t know the plural form of moose.

So he wrote: “Please send us a moose, and while you’re at it, send us a second one.”


Three old men

I am licensed to drive again. This renewal authorizes me to steer a vehicle down the road until I celebrate my 95th birthday.

No exam was required other than a vision check.

I wonder, however, whether I’ll be permitted to extend another seven years when April 18, 2025 rolls around?

By then the self-driving car will be perfected, and I can drive safely — if I can remember my destination.

I began driving a car when I turned 12, which was permitted because my parents were too busy on the farm to pick up feed for the livestock during harvest season, and no one traveled our road to town on week days.

Fortunately, I have an unblemished driving record:

√  No DUIs because I don’t drink.

√  No speeding tickets because my car won’t travel that fast.

√  No accidents because my car already looks like a wreck.

As I began writing this essay, I remembered the story about three elderly guys who meet each morning for coffee and conversation at a local eatery. One of them was late on a stormy day in January.

As the missing man shuffles toward the table pushing a walker he explains, “I lost my hearing aid, and I almost missed getting here because I couldn’t find my glasses.

“I may not be able to hear or see, but, thank God, I can still drive a car.”

So, fair warming. I expect to be “on the road again” for at least seven years.


The cardboard box is making a comeback.

We were informed by a front-page newspaper story Sunday that cardboard boxes are being used in the United States as cribs to help cut the infant mortality

Someone this country apparently learned — probably a sharp marketing agent — that hospitals in Finland began shipping cardboard boxes home with babies starting in 1938.

Baby boxes are credited with helping decrease Finland’s infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to three deaths per 1,000 births in 2013.

While Finland gets credit for inspiring the Baby Box craze in this country, the cardboard box has served as a suitable place to sleep for decades, especially if you are poor and can’t afford a store-bought crib or if you’re homeless. Continue reading CARDBOARD BABY BOX FAD MAY SAVE MORE THAN LIFE



fly-fishingI shared the “Bobber Story” with clan members recently, and several reported that they chuckled when they read it.

Later, a frown formed on my face, and I wondered if I had made a mistake in repeating the story that I discovered while sorting through piles of “stuff” as I prepare to shuffle off this mortal coil, i.e. walk into the sunset.

First, the story:


She had never been fishing, but told Willie she loved to fish so that she could spend some time with him.

He was happy to find a woman who appreciated his obsession with fishing gear, bait and water temperature.

When they arrived at Willie’s favorite fishing spot, the fish weren’t biting, but Lucy didn’t care. The sun was shining, and the water lapped gently at the sides of the boat. To be with Willie was all that mattered.

After an hour of listening to his fishing stories, Lucy said, “Willie, you know that red-and-white thing you put on my line?”

“You mean the bobber?” he replied.

“Yeah, how much did it cost?

“About 50 cents.”

“Well,” Lucy said, “then I owe you 50 cents because mine just sank.”


After sharing that story, I realized that I might be criticized for holding a woman up to ridicule. Had I overstepped the ever-tightening circle of political and social correctness? Probably so in the minds of some of my readers.

Which reminded me that I once shared fly-fishing experiences with a woman I met for the first time during a party in Central Oregon.

“How long have you been a fly-fisherman?” I asked innocently.

After she lectured me for several minutes, I changed my vocabulary and now refer to anyone who fly-fishes as a fly-fisher.

So, if anyone objects to my use of a woman as the foil in the bobber story, I apologize and henceforth will refer to that person as a non-fisher.



         When the thermostat screamed at 2 a.m., I knew that my wife and I were the latest victims of an ice storm that spread across western Oregon this week.

Early on, we stayed warm and escaped much of the damage that other homeowners suffered from falling trees and limbs. That changed, however, when I was awakened by the scream, which is the only way I know how to personify an inanimate object that voices despair so forcefully at 2 a.m.

Ironically, I was reading a historical book, “Out West,” by Tim Slessor when the storm began painting the landscape with ice, felling trees and branches and shutting off power to more than 21,000 households in the surrounding area.

My personal pity party about the inconvenience created by this winter wonderland began to thaw and to disappear as I read about men who sought beaver pelts in the west during the 1800s. Continue reading SCREAM IN LIVING ROOM CAPTURED MY ATTENTION



When the rain arrives each fall in Oregon, my thoughts often cross the Pacific Ocean to an island nation where inhabitants are preparing to spend warm, sunny weekends on thousands of miles of sandy beaches.

Jeffrey Masson described moving to New Zealand as “Slipping Into Paradise” in his book published in 2004. The place, he says, reminded him a bit of Hawaii — but without people.

New Zealand, which is about the size of Oregon, became the focus of my study of the Down Under region several decades ago after I discovered that several of the world’s most venomous snakes reside in Australia.

So, I moved my attention eastward across the Tasman Sea to a two-island nation where you can walk in the woods or fish along a mountain stream without encountering a snake of any kind. A kiwi — maybe — but not a snake, a centipede, a tarantula or a scorpion.

The bonus, of course, is that the seasons are reversed, which makes it possible to enjoy summer year around — if you are willing to spend a lot of time traveling 7,000 miles from my home in Eugene, Ore., to and from Auckland. Continue reading THOSE WHO FEAR SNAKES SHOULD GO TO PARADISE


After a New Year’s Eve dinner with friends in Eugene, the conversation turned to recounting where we had vacationed during the summer. Each couple described how they had enjoyed trips overseas and ocean cruises to exotic places. When it came our turn, myfrenchgled-hotel wife Lou and I looked at one another and smiled.

“We’ve been to Frenchglen,” I explained.

“Where’s that?” inquired one of the native Oregonians in our assembly.

“In southeastern Oregon,” I replied. “You know, down in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge country north of the Steens Mountain. Ever hear of Peter French and the Kiger Gorge?”

Traveling the back roads of Oregon has been a pastime since my wife and I moved to Oregon in the 1950s.

It always surprises us to learn that many people from the Willamette Valley have chosen to travel overseas but are unacquainted with places like Frenchglen, the Malheur refuge and Steens Mountain. Fewer yet have eaten a hamburger at Fields or have traveled a dusty trail through the Alvord Desert country. That is where Facebook “friends” of artist John Simpkins will find him today living and painting in the former Andrews School. Continue reading FRENCHGLEN A STRANGER TO GROUP OF OLDTIMERS