Friday, September 19, 2014

What I Did This Summer by Bigfoot

by Bigfoot

     My summer activities fall into two categories: 1) checking out some local things in the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula and 2) traveling to and from and staying in Bend, Oregon.  

     One thing I got to do this summer in the Bitterroot Valley was check out some local breweries' tasting rooms which I hadn't been able to go to before.  One interesting thing about alcohol laws in Montana as compared to Oregon is that in Montana a business serving alcohol does not have to serve food.  This is especially case in tasting rooms which have a 3-drink limit.  It also means that dogs can work there and that you're welcome to bring your own food from home or from a local restaurant.

Here I am at Blacksmith Brewing in Stevensville.  The brewery is housed in an old smithy that then became an industrial laundry.  

Lolo Peak Brewing is newly opened in Lolo and claims to be adding a kitchen this autumn.  The beer is okay and the atmosphere it really good.

     Another thing I got to do this summer was go to the Paul McCartney concert in Missoula!  It was held at the University of Montana's football stadium and was supposedly the largest music event ever held in Montana with 25,000 in attendance.  Whoa.  Missoula's population is under 70,000 and the "Missoula Metropolitan Area" has less than 112,000 people, so 25,000 is a big chunk!  Of course, people traveled from out of the area to attend and rumor has it that hotels were booked up before the tickets even went on sale.  I stayed with friends in Florence, so I didn't have to sleep rough just because I got my ticket at the last minute.

I had a pretty good seat, too.  Not up front, but plenty close and with access to a VIP box with food and beverages... all for FREE!
Seeing a Beatle perform was not the only non-beer excitement I got up to, I also got to see the tail end of the 102nd Annual Creamery Picnic Parade in Stevensville complete with Shriners in fezzes driving wee cars.  

We lucked into the end of the parade route when we walked from our car to the Stevensville Library book sale.  Never miss a library book sale if you can help it.

     While traveling to and from Bend, Oregon, I tried to get there as fast as possible, but made sure to stop at some of the more interesting rest stops and sites for necessary breaks, especially places I didn't visit last time I was spending time in Bend.  Ahem.  

Overlooking the Columbia River from the Oregon side, on I-84 somewhere between the I-82 and US-97 interchanges.

There is a very windy rest stop near Sprague Lake in Central Washington along Interstate-90.  This particular trip was very moody weather-wise.

I  kept meaning to stop at the Mountain Identifier on US-97, but would either say "next time" or not notice it coming up and zoom by.  On my last trip, I ended up having to take US-197 in order to meet an old pal in The Dalles for breakfast and was disappointed in myself for having put off this opportunity.  What a nice surprise that US-197 has its own Mountain Identifier!

The view from these spots is great for seeing the mountains, at least a half-dozen of them.  This view is sort of southwest-facing, but the Mountain Identifier does nearly 180 degrees of identification of Mountains.

     I was so busy in Bend, Oregon that I didn't get to do much site-seeing or attend to much that was photogenic.  There was a lovely view from the job site, however, and I would frequently eat lunch while taking it in.  Verizon ate the photo of that.

On my last trip my colleague forgot to pack her work shoes, so we had go get her some.  Of course, even on Saturday our workday starts well before shops open so we did what we could wearing sandals, then drove over to the mall.  We got there several minutes before they opened and walked around.  We came around a corner to this beast and I had her get a shot of me with it.  Pretty impressive for a mall Mexican restaurant.

El Rancho Grande was not open for business at 9:55a on Saturday.

Another interesting thing on my last trip was that my colleague had a wedding reception to attend in Portland, so we took a couple of days off to do that and so she could see some more of her friends and family.  Days off are not something we did really, so even driving 3 hours each way was worth it.  First thing she did was meet her friend at Ikea.

She was very excited to get in there and pick up some things like wooden hangers, shadow box frames for her foreign  toothpaste collection, and some other odds and ends.

     After that she ran some work-related errands and hung out with her mom on the Westside.  That night, though, she drove back into SE Portland to meet some great friends at another great friend's restaurant, Taqueria Nueve.  All her friends were very welcoming and didn't mind that I tagged along, but I tried to just sort of blend into the background and let her catch up.

Everyone raved about the food, as she knew they would and the staff did a great job of accommodating a party of an unknown number of  people showing up at various times.  The drinks were also delicious and thanks to Dale's permanent status as the Designated Driver, my colleague was able to partake of a few margaritas.  Thanks to her mother, she was able to retrieve Khan the next morning.

   Again, I held back while she caught up with some her long(est)-time friends and "newer" friends, too, but I could not resist getting one photo to document my time there.  Of course the happy couple had a professional photographer there to document their special time and we all couldn't resist getting all meta about it.

My colleague was wearing a dress so she didn't lay on the ground like the pro who is not naked despite what it looks like.  If only there had been another photographer stander behind her to capture the whole moment to take the meta to another level.
   Now that I'll be spending the autumn and winter in the Bitterroot, I hope to get out a bit more to the local sites.  There are more breweries here and in Missoula to visit, after all.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

YES, I Am Still Doing My Blog!

So where I have been all summer?  I've spent most of the summer working out of town is where I've been all summer.  Or at least more of the summer than I have been at home.  It was supposed to be the summer of getting the yard into starting-point shape and building a woodshed, but it was the summer of doing lots of rewarding decorative painting for great clients instead.  Not a huge sacrifice, but I hope it isn't like that next summer.

Some of the work I got to do in Oregon:

Five (5) finishes viewed from one place!  The ceiling, the far wall, the niche, the round wall, and the mouldings on the top and bottom of the round wall.  Whew!  Thank you O'leal & Associates for another great project!

Faux distressed leather ceiling. Can't wait to see it with the chandelier!

Two (2) finishes here: Venetian plaster walls and ceiling (not shown) and aged brass rope moulding on an unfinished lighting feature.

This was supposed to be the summer when we worked to get the yard area of the property back to a good starting point for the next few summers, but my being gone so much pushed that off a year.  I'd hoped to build a new wood shed nearer the house, but ran out of time.  Our temporary firewood storage is pretty much the same set up as before, but with newer pallets and, most importantly, much closer to the house and on the same side of the house as the wood stove.  It's near where we hope to build the shed next summer.

We had also hoped that there was still time to get a drop box/dumpster delivered so we can finally get rid of some of the stuff* that the last owners left, but Eric really hurt his back while doing fire wood chores on Labor Day and I can't move a lot of this by myself.. I'll recycle what I can, but recycling is a whole lot more complicated here than in Portland. I guess this will be a project for spring.

Rumor has it that they just ran out of time for getting rid of 30 years worth of saving, storing, and maybe a little hoarding. Considering what was around the place when we saw it with our real estate agent, they got rid of 95% of it. Still, it's a drag we must pay to get rid of their stuff.

Full disclosure: The dog butt (upper left) is ours.

Regardless of the dumpster project, I must stain the fence.  It's a lonnnnnng fence, but at least it's just posts with a top rail... and I'm alllllllmost done.

If and when we get more fencing installed, I'll make sure I have a couple of weeks after the posts are set and the rails installed to stain it before the field fence goes on.

The posts are approximately 8' apart, with a 16' rail on top.  I figured a 16' section took 20-25 minutes to complete.

I realize this is a lot of pictures of a pretty simple fence, but dang it,  it's A LOT of fence and it's taking A LOT of time so finish.

Mostly the fence is in the open, but there are a few places where it runs through vegetation. like these lilacs.  I don't know how much extra time these sections took and I guess that I don't want too.  Oof.

The section to the left of the walk-through gate is the last part: about thirteen 16' sections.

I hope to put together a post or two of the activities that filled in the cracks of summer... stay tuned.

* And by "stuff," I mean "crap and rubbish."