Visiting the relations in the good ol' US of A
Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
29Trip End Jan 25, 2006
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Friday 28th Oct
We took the Greyhound coach from Vancouver via Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon (which is a day trip in itself!).
We made it through the United States Border Patrol/Customs who were more concerned as to what we had in our sandwiches than whether we might be harbouring lethal weapons or other dodgy items in our bags. They were glad Rob chose ham rather than beef, lamb or chicken, and I had no problems with my Soya cheese (It pays to be a veggie I can tell you!) - phew as we were a bit concerned about declaring our lunch I can tell you - you do not mess with the happy-smiley people in Customs!!!
Whilst on the coach we were amazed to see an old woman driving down the interstate whilst knitting at the same time
It seemed to us that all that was being advertised on this route were Food, Pawnbrokers and Guns - so welcome to America!!!! Actually once you get past the facade there are some truly lovely people here. Supermarket check-out staff in the UK could learn a lot in manners from the staff in America - so be sure y'all 'have a nice day'!
Our mission in the States was to meet up with my relations - having delved into the family tree fairly recently it has become an interest for me which I want to explore further (time allowing!). I owe much to two people for the hard work that was put into digging up all the history and putting it all together; my Grandfather; Richard Burnell and his 3rd cousin Betty Nash-Carlson. Without them I would be at a loss where to start - but it is great to meet up with other Genealogists, particularly when you share a history together!
As a brief introduction for you my Great, great grandmother Harriet "Minnie" Desborough Burnell was the sister of Louisa A'humty Desborough Nash. Louisa emigrated with her husband Wallis Nash to Oregon after his first visit in 1877. They settled there and Betty is Wallis' grand daughter.
Sat/Sun 29/30th Oct
Sue took us to Bend, Oregon via the Timberline Lodge up on Mt.Hood - this lodge is amazing, it was built in the Depression to give people work - and they were true craftsmen, a beautiful sturdy monument to their hard work. We went from a mild damp morning to glorious crisp snow and bitter winds up at the lodge were we stopped for breakfast! It was great!
From here it was over the Cascade Mountains to the Desert plains! We paid a visit to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation - where 3 Native American Indian tribes were forced to come together and live. These were the Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute peoples trying to co-exist after the White-man reduced the land they could call their own and brought them together as The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
This land stretches from the snowcapped summit of the Cascade Mountains to the palisaded cliffs of the Deschutes River in Central Oregon. Inhabited by nearly 4,000 tribal members, most of whom live in or around the town of Warm Springs
It was a great museum dedicated to sharing their history and customs - but harrowing when you saw the destructive effect white-man can have. For example the US Government tried to suppress Indian languages in the Nineteenth Century; "The instruction of Indians in the vernacular is not only of no use to them, but is detrimental to the cause of their education and civilisation, and no school will be permitted on the Reservation in which the English language is not exclusively taught" - Commissioner of Indian Affairs Feb 2nd 1887
So a bit of an eye-opener!!!
Once we arrived in Bend, which is a pretty little place where Sue and Bruce have a house, we took a walk to Benham Falls to stretch our legs, and then onto the Lava Butte which is the lava flow which stretches for miles and then stops abruptly by the river.
The whole day was great - to see such diversity from Snow-capped forests, to desert, to lava flows. It was a lot to take in.
After a welcome lie-in we visited the Obsidian Trail at the Newberry Volcanic park, and then hiked to the Lost Lake at an elevation of about 2200 feet, but it seems that the lake will remain lost, however we did make it to Butthead Butte (no joke, see the photo!)
(Hello and Thank you for your hospitality Sue & Bruce - we don't normally drink that much gin, honest!)
Mon 31st Oct - Nov 4th
Sue drove us back to Portland via the remnants of a Forest fire a few year's ago which has destroyed 100's of 1000's of acres and took 5 months to go out! There is still a dispute over who can log the land - Whilst Oregonian's remain out of work in the timber industry George W. Bush thinks it more appropriate that Texans go over there (Madness it seems!)
On Monday Sue dropped us off at her brother Pete and his wife Laurie's house in Lake Oswego. There we were also greeted with warmth and generous hospitality. Monday afternoon we got to meet Betty at her 'Tree House' and we spent several hours talking about the family history - she is still doing the research as it is never-ending!
Betty very kindly lent us her car so that we could explore Oregon further - so we spent a rainy day in downtown Portland, visited Cannon Beach where we had some welcome sunshine whilst beach combing - we even picked up some sand dollars - which are the skeletons of a type of sea urchin!
Circumference = 56 feet
Height = 206 feet
Age = over 750 years
It was a biggun' we can vouch for that!!!
Columbia Gorge and the Multnomah Falls provided the entertainment on a soaking wet day when I celebrated the beginning of my 28th year. The Falls are the second largest year-round falls in the U.S.A and one of 28 along the Columbian Gorge road - so it was a spectacular and amazing geographical feature to delight me despite the weather - well it is November after all!!! We then took the 'family' out to dinner, and to my amazement (and secret delight) when I ordered an alcoholic beverage I was asked for I.D - well the beauty of youth has been kind, what more can I say!!!!
(Thanks to Pete and Laurie for providing a great place to stay and even more gin - our reputation preceded us!, and apologies if your dog; Bear has put on a bit of weight - those ice-delights were a treat, but probably no longer!!)
Yesterday we got the coach back to Canada and surprise, surprise Vancouver is still wet - but we have a week left to explore it before escaping to the warmth of Hawaii!!!