Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vibrant, Bold and Fiery

How else to describe this sunrise from last week while working in Minnesota?

Perham, MN Sunrise

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Escape from the Great Escape

Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Fall Fest at Schweitzer Mountain Resort outside of Sandpoint, Idaho. It was a three day celebration with live music and over sixty "local" beers and ten ciders on tap. There was also wine tasting available.

On the last day of the festival, the music didn't start until noon so we decided to take the chair lift up to the top of Schweitzer mountain to take in the views.

We should have known better when the resort spent twenty minutes getting the lift to finally operate properly. But nooooo. Up we went!

Our Friends - Rich, Joanne and Cody

We made it up safely and spent about a half an hour walking around and seeing the surrounding sights. Many people take the lift up in the summer to go hiking or mountain biking back down to the lodge. The views on a clear day are impressive!

Lake Pend Oreille (Pond O'Ray) and Sandpoint below the snow fence at the top

George, Joanne & Rich
What Ski Run Would You Like to Take?

Soon it was time to head back down to the village in the resort. As we neared the lift, we heard the warning chime going off and on again. Not a good sound to hear.

The Great Escape (or is it?)

We figured it wouldn't take them long to fix things and resume operations. Wrong!

As we sat at the picnic table next to the lift to wait things out, we could smell the brakes and heard cussing and grunting from the mechanical area (where the open window is in the picture above). The situation was not looking promising.

When we first walked over to the lift the nearby digital thermometer was showing 61 degrees. It was a bit breezy but the sun was out and made it bearable. After all, it was 61 degrees!

The grunting and cussing continued along with the warning chimes. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. A strong smell of hot brakes. Things were obviously not going well.

After a while, a mechanic showed up to help work on the lift. Apparently the lift was struck by lightning two nights before and the mechanic had new parts he needed to install once they got everyone off of the lift.

We quickly decided there was no way we were getting back on that chairlift! Our friend Rich called the resort and said they needed to get a shuttle vehicle up to the top of the mountain and start bringing people back down.


Meanwhile, a cloud had settled over us blocking the sun and the thermometer started to drop.

The resort finally got the lift running again and gave us the option to ride it back down. The lift operators said it was safe. We agreed with that. But was it reliable? Sixty plus people had been stuck for forty-five minutes in the wind and cold. A few brave souls opted to go down via the chairlift rather than wait for alternate transportation but not us. We weren't willing to take a chance.

The temp was now was down to 51 degrees (before windchill) as we waited for our ride to show up. We were not dressed for this and couldn't wait to get back down the hill. About ten minutes later, we were cozy in the 4WD Tahoe vehicle and on our way. At the bottom, we were given coupons for $10 off a meal plus refunded the ticket price for the lift. Not a bad deal. We were impressed by how quickly the resort set out to do the right thing.

Since it was now close to noon, we decided to get some lunch - indoors, of course! And to refill our now empty beer mugs.

We'll go back next year for the festival but I think we'll pass on the chair ride to the top.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mount Hood

My travels back and forth to Minnesota took me on a different route yesterday. I flew into Portland, Oregon instead of Seattle, Washington. It was a clear day and I was lucky to be on the Mount Hood side of the plane. Gorgeous!

What was fascinating was the chain of volcanos beyond Mt. Hood.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good Fences - Vinyl Meets Fire

Near the town of Methow, Washington, is a pretty little horse farm with white vinyl fencing for their pasture. The recent firestorm left their farm fairly intact except for where the fire burned close to one of their fence lines. As you can see, the fencing didn't fare very well against the heat and is not quite good fencing these days. The good news is that the horses were safe.

Linking to TexWisGirl and her Good Fences meme.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Perigee Moon

Taken last night from my viewpoint at our local airport (wide open spaces!). The moon is orange because of the smoke from our wildfires.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

InSPIREd Sunday - Trinity Episcopal

I really like the looks of this church in Litchfield, Minnesota.

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday - a meme each weekend sharing religious architecture from around the globe.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Firestorm 2014 - The Aftermath

This shows the overall progression of the Carlton Complex fires (from InciWeb ); over 250,000 acres burned; 3,000 plus personnel at peak of fire; 300 homes lost. As of today, 8/8/14, fire is still burning in some areas and is 91% contained.

Progression Map - Carlton Complex

The pictures say it all.

Smoke in the air coming up Hwy 97 towards Pateros

What's left of a telephone pole

Another destroyed pole

Yet Another Pole Destroyed by Flames

Power Company to the Rescue!

Lost Home

Remains of a couple of vehicles

Former Gold Creek Fruit Stand

Fire Retardant (Red colored areas)

Glimpse of Fire Retardant near Balky Hill

Survivor among the blackened landscape (and the Power Company at work!)

Burn Area

More Burn Area

Missing Guard Rail Posts

Burnt Fence Poles

Pateros Sign at Site of Large Sign that Burned

Smokey Bear Survived Not Too Far from Pateros Sign

A Small Glimpse of Fire Camp at Liberty Bell High School, Winthrop

Guess what? It's not over yet.
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