Monthly Archives: July 2015

July30 – A Trip to the Sun

July30 – A Trip to the Sun

Today, I took the girls to the Oregon Observatory and Sun River Nature Center. Our agenda was to look directly into the sun.  This is what we saw:

Yes. That is a picture of the sun, taken with my iPhone, through a special white light filtered telescope. If you look closely, you can maybe see a sunspot: which is actually a COOL spot on the surface of the sun. 

“Sunspots appear dark because they are cooler, by up to 1,500°K, than the surrounding photosphere. They are associated with strong magnetic fields and solar magnetic storms moving in a vortex pattern, similar to a tornado on Earth.”

Then, we saw this:  

This is a picture taken through the hydrogen alpha filtered telescope and reveals “surface details and loops of gas called prominences.” The gasses on the right side are the prominences. 

The core of the sun is about 27,000,000d F – thesurface of the sun is about 10,000d F – hot lava is about 1,000-2,000d F – the daytime temperature where we are (near Bend, OR) is in the 90s – nighttime temperature here is in the lower 50s!!

To round off the solar experience, here is Astronaut Zoe:  

And Molly, the Gray Squirrel:         

The rest of us were Kangaroo Rats. Humans are at the 7th line. Seems impossible to me. 



July18 – Trees of Mystery Sky Trail


Today is or last day in Klamath, so we did something extra touristy.   

The reviews were really positive and made the tram ride sound really good.  It was ‘so so’ and gave us a different perspective of the trees. I wouldn’t rate it that highly, as an experience, but the walking trail was really nice. 

The kids all wore their new sneakers, and nobody complained about them. They give the memory foam 3 thumbs up.   


To help this page load faster, I only included 2 pictures. More pictures on smugmug

July12 – Driving on California Highway 1


 We left Fort Bragg yesterday and headed north to spend this week in The Redwood National Park (Klamath).  Our group of four families has been making our way north from the Los Angeles area to meet up with other families in Bend, Oregon at the end of July. 


The drivers spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy figuring out the best route to drive. The very scenic highways in Northern California are very twisty and harrowing to drive. Highway 20 from Willits to Fort Bragg was amazing, but it was agonizingly slow, and the big rv’s struggle because of it.  The majority decision was to take the long way around via 20 and 101 to get to Klamath.  Of course, since I drive separately from Phil and the rv, I was free to find out firsthand what Highway One was really like.  

As soon as we left the area, we encountered road work, which had one lane completely closed, leaving us a single very narrow road. When we finally reached the first hairpin curve, we were stopped by a traffic snafu. An 18 wheeler and a van/trailer were unable to go around the curve at the same time.   

It didn’t really take long for them to work it out and get moving again, but I was Officially Worried. It was compounded by the fact that there was zero cellular service. But I was determined to do this. I passed several small southbound rv’s, including one towing a large utility trailer.  We also passed two rv parks that had a LOT of large coaches and fifth wheels. Obviously, there were lots of people who didn’t think the road was too difficult. 

My verdict was wishy washy, though:  It was a pretty drive, and it was a lot fewer miles. I didn’t think it was significantly prettier than other sections of the coastal highways, but I also did not think it was particularly harrowing.  There were some areas where the road dropped off sharply, but overall, not bad. 


July10 – MacKerricher State Park


Molly and Zoe are at a Ranger program about Snowy Plovers. Phil and Annie are back at the RV. As I sit alone on the cliff, silently listening to the waves and children’s screams, I am reminded of another time when I sat alone by an ocean. 

In the spring of 1991, I trekked alone around the coast of Australia, starting in Sydney and ending up in Darwin. I spent a few days on Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide.  The island was inhabited by wallabies and seals, among other things. One night, I hiked at dusk to an area where the wallabies were to be found. (Mob, Troupe, or Court)

I crouched on the ground for what felt like hours as dozens of wallabies hopped past. They came close, and since it was dark, I could just see shapes. It was a very peaceful memory. 


And here are the Junior Rangers:


July8 – To the Pacific Ocean


I 20 is perhaps the curviest road EVER – and breathtakingly beautiful. We drove from Cloverdale this afternoon. What a different climate here!  It was 64 and cloudy when we arrived. The sea breeze was refreshing, and the horns and bells from the harbor are eerie and enchanting. Deer are everywhere, as are seagulls and crows. I also saw a GIGANTIC jack rabbit, a heron, and wild turkeys. It is rather odd for this Galveston girl to see beach houses NOT on stilts, though. 

Fort Bragg is known for sea glass, which is apparently abundant on the beaches. For 60 years, the residents of this area used the beaches as trash dumps.  All that remains are broken bits of glass, ravaged by the sea.