Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Let's Go Fly a Kite

While in the Astoria area we stopped by the World Kite Museum in Long Beach, WA. This is one-of-a-kind museum and the home of the annual International Kite Festival that will be in its 43rd year in August of 2023.

The museum traces the history of kite flying and has many interesting kites on display, as well as kites for sale.

A display at the  museum reads:

"Developed more than 2000 years ago the kite was mankind's first invention that could actually fly. For centuries people all over the world used kites to pursue the dream of flying themselves.

During Medieval times, the first human pilots rose into the air using giant kites for wings. Beautiful kites used in rituals and ceremonies kept the idea of flying alive in people's minds. Eventually, pioneering scientists discovered the secrets of aerodynamics, often by performing experiments using kites.

Since earliest days, kites have provided both the technology and the inspiration that has made flying possible." 

According to the Museum, the Japanese had the first word for kite, which meant "Paper Hawk".

This Chinese dragon kite is 50' in length. The orange and white "body" sections are suspended from the ceiling and wind throughout the museum. 

In China birds were considered to be a symbol of happiness...

This quite was huge...and beautiful

Insect kites signify good fortune

The Yunnan province in China makes kites in this unusual shape.
They have a sturdy frame and fly well in strong winds.

Alexander Graham Bell discovered that he could use tetrahedral shapes in different combinations to make a variety of kites. These kites had maximum lift and minimum weight. 

This kite is almost like a quilt!

A leaf quilt sewn with grasses or vines

This is a WWII kite that was used for different purposes during the war.
The kite could collect and send weather data on aircraft carriers to help determine when it was safe to fly or land. This kite also could lift equipment so enemy planes could be detected by radar when they were further away.

Kites were used for target practice. They were far less expensive than shooting at planes!

Many experimented with using kites to fly,
some successfully, others not!

One of the museum visitors commented that this kite should have been modeled after Pegasus, and have wings. It's hard to believe this particular kite could actually fly. 

The museum had a display telling more about kites. 

One display explained the basic types of kites.

One was about kite fighting. When I read "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini I was intrigued by the kite fighting described in the novel. The museum had several fighting kites, including some for sale.

In 1846 Engineers held a contest to see if anyone could fly a kite across Niagara Falls. A boy managed to get his kite snagged on a tree on the Canadian side of the falls. That string was then used to help pull heavier strings and cables across the water, enabling Engineers to finally get a cable across the water in order to begin constructing a bridge.

There was a display of the posters created for advertising the annual kite festival. I really enjoyed seeing many of the posters. The artists captured the fun of flying kites. Here are a few of my favorites:

Life After Adventure Caravans

After our tour was completed we traveled a short distance from Astoria to Seattle. We stayed at a campground in Issaquah, WA, which coincidentally was one my parents used to stay in 30 years ago! My brother and his wife flew in for a quick family reunion. 

We did a lot of eating...

Deb, Cyndi, Geoffrey

We enjoyed a beautiful walk in the Japanese garden in Washington Park

Deb, Geoffrey, myself

Geoffrey, Katharina

We happened upon a volunteer who was doing a practice tour with a docent. He invited us to come along. We were so thankful as we learned a lot about the garden, the symbolism and the story that unfolds as you walk through the garden.

Mama duck and her ducklings was a hit with all of us

There were turtles sunning. The Island in the middle of the picture is called Turtle Island, only because it is shaped like a turtle's back.

A great visit. Great memories!


Sunday, July 9, 2023

End of the Trail

We travelled close to 4,000 miles from St. Louis to Astoria, OR following the trail set by Lewis & Clark in 1805. We managed the trek in 47 days as opposed to their 18 months of travel. However, we didn't need to build a fort to spend a winter. We didn't have to cordelle boats against the current of the river. We only needed to hunt for restaurants or grocery stores to feed our group. We didn't need to find Shoshone Indians to barter for horses, and we didn't need to traverse the Bitterroot mountains by foot, stepping over downed trees, around boulders and wading through snow. Even though our trip was far shorter than that they experienced, we had similar feelings of joy as we reached the end of the trail.

When we visited the Anheuser-Busch facility in St. Louis we were all given a bottle of beer at the end of the tour. As a group we decided to carry that bottle across the country and enjoy it at the "end of the road". One of the members of our tour suggested drinking the beer at Cape Disappointment as we were disappointed that the beer we received was only a Bud Light...so, that's what we did! My bottle of beer is perched on the monument at the Cape Disappointment Visitor's Center.

Before the Corps of Discovery reached the end of the trail, they had to stop at a "dismal nitch" where they were trapped by the weather on a rock outcropping above the waves. They were soaked to the skin. A storm raged, and they had no food. Once the storm broke they continued on their way. 

The expedition hoped a ship would be in the area that could take them back to the eastern, US, but any that were there had left the area. Winter was once again approaching, so the group built another fort, Fort Clatsop. It was similar in construction and design to Fort Mandan. 

Winter was bleak at Ft. Clatsop. From November to March there were only 12 days without rain!

Lewis & Clark traveled to what is now "Seaside, OR" while looking for whales. A bronze statue now commemorates the team.


What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....