Today we set off on our adventure in Northern Minnesota. We went on a boat trip through Voyageurs National Park which is about 40% water. Our boat trip took us to an island that used to be a gold mine. We saw many people fishing, camping, and just having fun on the water. We also saw an old fishing camp which was the last commercial fishing camp in northern Minnesota. We came across about a dozen eagles, most of them juveniles. Later on we went to Canada where we had poutine, Tim Horton’s, and picked up some Canadian candy. My favorite kind is coffee crisp.
I can’t wait for tomorrow which is when I will start my two week canoe trip in the Boundary Waters. Hopefully the mosquitoes won’t be too bad!
Today Woody and I got to go to the Boeing Museum of Flight at Boeing Field with my Great Uncle Rollie. The first thing that we saw when we were driving in was the brand new KC-10 refueled that looked like they were ready to be shipped out. When we went inside we saw tons of planes in the main area. My favorite ones were the Beech 45, the Aerocar, and the F-4 Phantom. Next, we walked into the WW2 exhibit where we saw about 10 more planes. I learned about the American Volunteer Group that helped defend the Chinese from the Japanese during World War Two. There was also a case full of almost every airplane from World War Two. My favorite places from in there were the Heinkel He 111 Z-1 Zwilling, the off centered Blohm & Voss Bv-141, and the North America F-82 Twin Mustang which looked like two P-51 Mustangs attached.
Next, we went to the World War One exhibit where we learned about fighters during World War One and some of the things they did. For example, if a pilot shot down another plane they would try to land and get to the crash site quickly so they could take any memorabilia they could. After that, we went to the aircraft pavilion where we saw most of the bigger planes including the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-29 Super Fortress, the 787 Dreamliner, the 747, the F/A-18 Superhornet, the F-14 Tomcat, Air Force One, and the Concorde.
My Great Uncle Rollie retired from Boeing a couple years ago, so it was fun talking with him about airplanes and stuff.
Today we got to go to the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville, home of the Spruce Goose. The “Spruce Goose,” also known as the Hughes H-4 Hercules is a massive wooden floatplane from World War Two. It only flew once for about thirty seconds but it’s pilot and designer Howard Hughes kept it in a climate controlled hanger for about 1 million dollars a year. It was large enough to carry 750 soldiers across the Atlantic.
Also in the museum we got to see an A-10 Warthog, A ME-262 jet fighter, and a SR-71 Blackbird. My brother and I got to fly some planes on a full motion simulator. I flew a P-51 mustang and my brother flew a red bull plane. Later, we got to listen to the checklists and radio chatter that precede a Titan missile launch.
Lastly we got to watch a video about a week multinational training exercise at Elgin Air Force Base. It depicted fighter pilots, Air battle managers, A-10 pilots, mechanics, and Pararescuemen. It started out with air to air battles. I really liked seeing how the ABM directed all of the airplanes from the fuselage of his. Then there were A-10s and bombers that took our targets on the ground. Next, there was a downed fighter pilot who had to evade enemy forces who were searching for him. Eventually a team of PJs were able to come in and rescue him. The last day was the culmination of exercise and they all trained with live munitions.
Overall I just had a really good day and I am happy that I visited this air museum. (AT)
Maureen’s edit: I don’t mind going to air museums with the boys, but once I found out we were in the Willamette Wine Valley I was on a day date with Gunner! We checked out Domain Drouhin in Dundee(my ddd!) and Duck Pond and Stoller near McMinville. It was a beautiful afternoon with lots of flowers and beautiful scenery and tasty pinots! (MT)
We went to Arches NP today in Moab, Utah. In the visitor center I learned all about the 2000 arches in this park. Many are unnamed but some have funny names like Donut or Bacon Arch. On our drive through the park we saw a rock formation that looked just like a popsicle. We also saw the famous delicate arch from a distance.
My favorite part of the day was when we got to go climbing on some big rock formations. Our climb was tiered with about 5 small steep bursts. My brother and I really like climbing. When we came home my brother and I set up a tent on the top of a hill and camped there for the night. (AT)
Today we went to Zion National Park in Utah. It was super packed the whole time we were there. The line to get in was long and so was the line to get on one of the shuttles. Our first hike was to the emerald pools where we saw some pools and little waterfalls.
Next, we saw a ranger who talked to us about how water is passed through the giant rocks. The water takes almost 2000 years to come out. Later on we walked to the Narrows where we saw many people with waders walking down the path.
At the end of our time in Zion when we met the artist in residence and he was fun to talk to. He is this month’s photographer. He gets to stay in the oldest building in the park.
There was a look out in the park called Big Bend that was neat. I had a lot of fun at the park because it was like we got to see two in one:Zion and Big Bend!(AT)
Today we went to Yosemite National Park, one of the first national parks in our nation. As we entered the park we saw spruce, pine, and sequoia trees all around. There were rolling hills all around and some snow scattered on the ground. Our first stop was Bridalveil falls. This giant waterfall was like one long line of water.
By the road we had a great view of El Capitan, one of the well known points in the park. Next, we went to a bridge where we had a great view of the Yosemite Falls where we would hike to later that day. In Yosemite Valley we learned about the park and it’s history. More than 100 years ago naturalist John Muir invited Theodore Roosevelt to the park to inspire him to make it a national park.
We also took a hike to mirror lake and on the way we saw some rangers working. They were cutting down dead trees and when one got cut down it was so big you could feel it hit the ground. Once we got to mirror lake my brother and I got in the chilly water along with our dog, Gunner.
On our way back home we got to see the sights again, from the half-dome to the crystal clear rivers. We also saw a turn off for a helipad. I wonder what they might be doing with that. I suspected they may use it as a base for search and rescue operations.(AT)
Today we went to Pinnacles National Park. We went on a hike through tight crevices in a cave with beautiful views. Pinnacles is also home to the California Condor. It is the newest national park, the 57th one. President Obama turned it from a national monument to a national park in 2012.
After that, we drove by all kinds of Dole fields where they were growing lettuce and many other kinds of plants like cauliflower, broccoli, pimentos and grapes. We also drove by a couple of factories where they cut up those plants to turn them into prepackaged salad. I thought that was cool because we don’t really see those types of crops being grown very often. The nickname for this area is the “Salad Bowl of the World”!
After that we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is the second largest aquarium in the United States. The first thing we saw was the kelp forest which looked just like a forest except there were tons of fish swimming around. My favorite part of the aquarium was when we got to touch animals in the touch pool. My favorite touch pool animal was the decorator crab which covered itself in plants for camouflage.
After the aquarium we went on a walk to the Coast Guard Station nearby. They had a large complex that was all fenced in but we got to go on the pier where they had 2 47′ Motor Lifeboats. These are deemed basically unsinkable and they can withstand waves of 20 feet, winds of 85 mph, and they can self-right themselves in less than 10 seconds if they are tipped over. That was pretty cool to see. (AT)