This is Why I Volunteer:

Judy and I spent the month of July at Fort Yamhill State Heritage Site. When we first volunteered with the Oregon State Parks in 2013, Matt Heureter, park ranger, offered us a position. Immediately upon arrival Matt offered us the opportunity to take “Core Training” at Canby Oregon. With this training I really got pumped on the interpreting side of volunteering. With my background in band through grade school, high school and Coast Guard training, I got excited about the possibility of learning the Civil War bugle calls and incorporating them in my interpretation.
Well, long-story-short; I bought a bugle and I have used it at three different venues in the past four years. July 2016 started out with the “Fourth of July” celebrations and I dusted off my “Honor the Flag” presentation and offered the opportunity for several visitors that weekend to raise and lower the Fort Yamhill Flag. Because we are a heritage site we are flying a rather large 34 star “Period” flag from the time of the American Civil War. I have seen crusty old former “first sergeants” get choked up over handling the flag of our ancestors. It’s a neat feeling being part of their experience.
On July 30, 2013, I was rocked back on my heels. A Vietnam Veteran, about my age, battered hat and full facial hair, approached me as I was sweeping the parking lot and started to explain that I had done the “Honor the Flag” with him over the July 4th weekend. He went on to explain that it really hit home with him and his son, indicating the man standing beside him. He wanted to thank me and started to offer his hand. I caught a glimmer of metal in his palm as our hands met. Our hands rotated and a coin dropped into my palm.
I looked into his eyes and could see he was a little misty eyed. He started to explain that he had just “Coined” me because the flag ceremony had touched him so deeply. He continued to explain the honor he had just bestowed on me as we stood together examining the two inch diameter coin.
As I reflect on the events of our tour of duty at Fort Yamhill in July of 2016, I get a little choked up myself when I realize that: ”This is why I volunteer.”
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A Step Up

We have settled into Fort Yamhill State Heritage Site once again. We were here in 2013, and 2014 also. This park is about 20 miles west of Salem on highway 22 in the Grand Ronde valley. Once again Dr Dave Brauner and his archeology students from Oregon State University will be here looking for the history of this place. Read More »

Spring Break at Wings of History

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We are just now leaving the Wings of History compound heading for the Pacific Northwest for the summer. We spent 10 days camped inside our private gated community, so to speak. Here are some of the activities we enjoyed. Read More »

Angel of Mercy

Judy and I went for a little walk after supper this evening. Our destination was the Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend’s “Down Town.” The route was just over a mile and a half. What we didn’t think about was the 230 foot high hill between nearly sea level at the park and nearly sea level at the marina. On the way back we were smarter, we ducked around the end of the hill on “F” street, but that made the return trip almost 2.5 miles, but that hill was only 117 ft. We reached the corner of “O” street and Cherry and were contemplating one last hill to climb, probably about 100 feet when an angel of mercy drove by in a State of Washington Rangers pickup. If we got her name right it is Elishia. She recognized us from the park and stopped to offer a ride back to our camp. It knocked about 7/8ths of a mile off our return trip.

San Diego Yawl, Pacifica

San Diego Yawl, Pacifica


The photo is a San Diego yacht, the “Pacifica,” about 50 ft long and it appears to be a yawl. The wheel is definitely ahead of the mizzen mast and it appears the rudder must be ahead of the mizzen also, the defining characteristic of a yawl. I am speculating that we will see this boat in the Classic Mariners Regatta starting June 5th. First race is noon on the 6th.

We’re Having a Wild Spring:

Judy and I agreed to take over a vacant position at the Port Orford Lifesaving Service/Coast Guard Station Museum for most of the month of April. Read More »

First Log Train from Keasey:

Yes! It is the light of an oncoming train. The first log train from Keasey arriving at Vernonia, Oregon. Read More »

Goodbye California, Hello Oregon:

I admit, I have been a little slack on the blogs recently. Not because of a lack of interesting topics, just so busy and yet we get nothing done. I don’t understand. California hasn’t been all that good to us this trip through. Yet we had some delightful times. We visited Lynn and Doug Johnson on our way up 101. Then on our way over the hills into Gilroy we started to develop an unusual vibration; especially when we started pulling hard on the hills. Judy was driving when it started to sink in that something was changing in the sound of the coach. Read More »

Company Comin’:

It is August and we are in our last month as Camp Hosts at Yamhill State Heritage Site this year. Several of our friends have already stopped by on their way back from the annual Church Campout. Everything went very well. We had just enough parking space for their RV’s and everyone got to tour the archeological digs that are going on. A couple of friends have over-nighted on our couch, and friends with RV’s can over night at the Spirit Mountain Casino. Of course you are on your own with your new Coyote Card. Read More »

What Were We Thinking!

Here we are at Stub Stewart State Park, up in the Oregon Coast Range at 1,200 feet elevation in October going on Thanksgiving. We just walked down to lock up the Day Use restrooms at seven o’clock, one of our regular chores. It is totally dark and the temperature is 42 degrees with a 10 mph wind out of the south west. I am dressed in high top shoes, woolly socks, long pants, regular tee shirt, long sleeve tee shirt, long sleeved sweatshirt with a hoody, a fuzzy vest and a wind breaker over it all. I have my volunteer hat and volunteer vest and my hands jammed deep in my pockets. Judy is dressed similarly except she has her woolly gloves on. Read More »

Honor The Flag

Today, as part of our volunteer duties here at Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area, we greeted sixteen visitors. With the visitors help we raised and lowered the flag six times today. Each time we told them about the history of our special 31 star flag. It represents the US Flag that was in use when the US Army Fourth Infantry built Fort Yamhill on this hillside overlooking the Grand Ronde Valley. Each time I played the bugle and demonstrated the bugle calls appropriate to that moment in history in 1856. California had just become a state in 1851, Oregon wouldn’t become a state for three more years in 1859. Fort Yamhill was a frontier fort set between the natives and the settlers trying to keep the peace. Read More »