Category Archives: Travel

Cool thing: the Lamzac hangout

Have you seen this? It is called the Lamzac Hangout and it is a small, envelope-sized pouch that converts to a lounge with “a single flick of the wrist.” This would be a lot lighter and more comfortable than a lounge chair and would solve that camping problem of never having a comfortable seat for serious reading.

Just swing the lightweight bag through the air to create a full size lounge chair. When you’re done lounging easily deflate the bag and roll it up to fit the small carrying bag.

It makes a lounge for one or sofa for two.

Source: Lamzac hangout | Fatboy

Peru at SAM: The Seattle Art Museum

Photo: Daniel Giannoni

 Going, Going, Gone…

The Peru exhibit is over now and I wanted to share a little of what we saw there with you. According to Seattle Magazine, ‘Seattle is the only U.S. venue to host Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon, a rare and astonishing collection of sculpture, metalwork, paintings and textiles spanning a whopping 3,000 years and several cultures.’ – Brangien Davis, Seattle Magazine 

Did you catch that? Seattle is the only place this in the US where the collection will be shown, pretty cool, eh? Some of the pieces in the collection were from Machu Pichu and were discovered by Hiram Bingham III.  He took over 46,000 of them back to Yale with him where they lived until 2012 when they were finally returned to Peru. Seeing how Peru just got them back, one can understand why they are loathe to let them out again. I have a picture of Bingham in the gallery below, if he reminds you of Indiana Jones, there is a good reason for that, Indie was actually modeled after the Yale Historian and tomb raider.

Why is Peru significant?

K, Peru is a South American country that, alone with Meso America in this hemisphere, holds cradle of civilization status. This means that it attained a culture with a level of complexity and advancement, with or without writing, that places it in the same club as ancient Egypt, China and Mesopotamia.

What did we see?

We took a few photos before we saw the NO  PHOTOGRAPHY sign and the rest in my slideshow are from the SAM website. The exhibit was a good combination of history and art and this is something SAM seems to do particularly well based on other shows we have seen here. I would have liked more textiles but just because that is my thing. There was a beautiful blue and yellow hanging that I waited in line for specifically to read what dyes could have given those colors only to find that the “dyes” were in fact macaw feathers traded with the Amazonian tribes, still bright after 700 years. Another complicated textile design turned out on closer inspection to be eight strips woven in two long narrow strips, each in two colors on a backstrap loom no doubt, then pieced together in alternating sequence, with a border in a narrower pattern. Clever, but not complicated.

There was a jug found in a temple that had obviously Lunar symbolism on it. I can’t find a picture of it online to share with you but it had 4 little guys each depicted at different angles, one facing front, one facing left, etc., which I figure have to represent the phases of the moon, below was a dragon with heads at each end with each head swallowing a black stone (even now our symbol for a new moon in the calendar or almanac is a black circle) and along its back were 29 glyphs (because there are 29 days between New Moons). Unfortunately there wasn’t any placard explaining any of it so no one would know about it all unless they knew what to look for.

There was a small bowl that was half silver and half gold to represent the combined energy of the Sun and Moon. I also found it intriguing that Aztec Mummies were buried with gold trinkets on their right side and silver on their left side as those are the same sides of the body said to correspond to solar and lunar energies in Western tradition. There were several examples of turquoise that were interesting because they were much more blue than the color we associate with turquoise, really almost a royal blue. Quite different from the aqua or sky-blue colors of Kingman or Sleeping Beauty mine turquoise from the American Southwest that we are accustomed to.

In spite of the lack of a written “language” they did have pictograms and a way of keeping historical data by tying knots in different colored cords. There was a beautiful example of knotted cords in a case showing the different colors of fiber and different complicated knots. Unfortunately each “scribe” had their own system of knots and colors so while it was useful for the keeping of records, it was was not transferable for the sharing of information. You can see my bad sketch of it below. 

There were two more rooms about the Spaniard’s encounter with Peru which had all the amazing European-style silver and gold work you would expect and then another about the post Colonial era but we were mostly interested in the PreColumbian era so we went back that direction again.

Many items had stories,  for instance the ornament pictured above:

This spectacular Mochica gold forehead ornament from the fourth or fifth century A.D.—a representation of a terrifying sea god surrounded by eight tentacles—was intercepted in a London gallery by Scotland Yard, subsequent to a 2004 tip from an individual informant. Instantly dubbed by some newspapers the “Peruvian Mona Lisa,” the famous Mochica octopus was recovered in 2006 by the Peruvian authorities and returned to the Museo de la Nación in Lima. It had, according to archeaologist Walter Alva, been discovered during the illegal excavation of a tomb at La Mina in the Jequetepeque Valley, which had been extensively looted in 1988. The present exhibition of this masterpiece of Mochica goldsmithery, which quickly became a symbol of the war on art trafficking, is its first showing outside Peru since its incredible recovery.

We followed our tour of Peru with a stop at the  Pike Brewpub at the Pike Place Market, We haven’t been down here in years and the brewpub has really grown but it winds around so many levels that it is hard to really tell. The pub has turned into kind of a museum as well with copies of early Kent Valley settler Meeker’s pamphlet on Hop growing and various ephemera about the history of beer making in the Washington territory.

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Summer means Camping!

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We love Camping!

One of the first things you notice in a campground is the humongous condo-style motorhomes, a close second is the number of dogs. Yes, dogs love to be in the woods so close to the trees and the dirt and the rabbits hopping around. But I think even more than that, it is the easiest way for people with dogs to travel. If you think about it, the alternatives are pet-friendly motels, boarding or friends. Pet friendly motels are difficult to find and many only take small dogs. Contrary to what you may think, you can’t leave the dogs in the room and actually go out to dinner. Most “pet-friendlies” have policies that you have to be in the room with the pet at all times. You could board your dog but then you are worrying if the place really looks like what they showed you or if they just have a couple of nice runs for show. Then there is the way we usually do it, either travel separately or find a friend who isn’t on vacation the same week to stay with them which is so much more involved than arranging for a cat-sitter. In case you don’t remember, here is the week long saga of when our poor cat-sitter tried to check on Rob and Gracie for us and Gracie got so goofy about seeing a man come in instead of us that she jumped the 6 foot fence and went missing for a week — Gracie is Missing.

Before dogs, we used to backpack. I do miss the isolation of backpacking from time to time but I also love the flexibility of car-camping; things like showers, fresh fruit and bread are hard to beat. It is also nice that friends can visit. Joe rode his motorcycle out and stayed over since the camper has king-sized beds at each end. Rob was thrilled to share his bunk with him and covered Joe with dog kisses. During the day, Rob is outside whenever possible. On the other hand, Gracie spent an entire gorgeous sunny day inside, go figure… I guess she got enough of the great outdoors before her rescue in Taiwan. Something I love about having the camper is that we can each decide whether we want to be working or off, roughing it or not. I can be inside at the dinette on my laptop, using Wi-Fi to upload pictures and write this blog post while Scott and Joe can talk outside, sitting in the dark and sipping Scotch as if they were in another time and place entirely.

One of our favorite campgrounds is in Tumwater, Washington which allows us easy access to our little wooden boat which is moored nearby in Olympia, the southernmost port on Puget Sound. From there we have puttered around on beautiful days watching tall ships engaged in mock cannon battles, tugboats lined up to race one another, and wooden boats of all ages and types and then again, we’ve been out on days with not another boat in sight and just the harbor seals and the sea birds to keep us company. Either way, at the end of a long day out on the water, it’s only a 7 mile drive back to our cozy camper.

Happy 30th Epcot!

dunthor epcot

Epcot turns 30 this month

Have you been to Epcot lately? Epcot is my favorite park at Walt Disney World in Orlando. I found some pictures of the opening and a story from The Orlando Sentinel: Pictures: Epcot opens at Walt Disney World in 1982 –

I did a search of my blog and found two earlier posts about Epcot. March 2009 is about a business trip of Scott’s that I tagged along on and January 2011 was when I was in Orlando again to take care of my mother until her death from breast cancer. Her home was between Disney World and Universal Studios so every night at 9 pm you could see and hear the fireworks at both places.

dunthor, epcot
photocredit: wiki commons

Now that it is getting more Autumn-like here in Seattle I am pining for that Orlando weather. When I flew down on Halloween in 2011, the flight was full of people from Seattle heading down for the winter with tons of luggage, dogs, cats, etc. Except for the flight itself, doesn’t snow-birding sound wonderful?

The continuing adventures of Camper Bob and Gracie Coleman

Because we have the good fortune to have a wonderful house sitter, we were able to take the dogs camping this weekend. We like Olympia Campground because it is wooded and close to where we keep Chinook, our boat. We don’t plan dog activities as such, they just lie around, chase pinecones, beg snacks, bark at stuff, really the same things they do at home but it is more fun because they are outside. I spend most of my time inside, this trip I’ve been working on my tattoo-story that I’ll have posted soon. I took a break this morning for some exercise, left Scott and the dogs at the campsite and drove to the state Capitol to walk the trail that circles Capitol Lake. It is partly paved, partially gravelled and busy without feeling crowded. However, it was crowded enough that the only blackberries that were ripe were too far away to reach. All the easy to reach vines were picked clean. I did see lots of tiny ducklings but I am bummed that they don’t show up in the photo, sorry about that. I made an extra loop downtown to lengthen the walk a bit  and then stopped at Taco Del Mar to bring home tasty vegan burritos for lunch, yum!

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Click here for the official page: Things to see on the Capitol Campus.

Click to see my route:

Oregon Coast 2011

Inga's pick for the best photo of the trip

This is my new favorite way to plan a vacation: instead of planning 7 days or 10 days, plan 5 and then keep extending it, day by day. This removes that dreaded “end of vacation depression” and feels decadent, like helping yourself to another scoop of ice cream. So, since we have a reliable rabbit/cat sitter and flexible schedules, we are still on vacation! Continue reading Oregon Coast 2011

Florida’s Space Coast

We went to see the Kennedy Space Center last week. I have seen parts of the complex in Apollo 13, The Right Stuff and of course, I Dream of Jeannie, but never in person. The surrounding area is beautiful and includes a national wildlife refuge on this barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean. The weather was sunny, yet cold, so we didn’t have crowds to deal with and were able to check out all the exhibits.

Merritt Island

We both loved seeing the Rocket Garden and the Apollo / Saturn V Center. It was really cool to see the logos/badges that were designed for each mission and to see the crew names and remember watching those broadcasts as a kid. I was disappointed with the Early Space Exploration Museum, not because of what was there, which was good, but because it could have been so much more.  I, of course, would have started from early man’s interest in space with depictions of asterisms from cave paintings, charts of the movement of planets and stars, inventions like the astrolabe, etc., but the curators chose to limit the museum to rocket science starting with Goddard’s experiment.  The rockets are named for the gods, Saturn, Juno, Gemini, and Apollo, and the centerpiece of the lobby floor is a map of the planetary spheres, with their corresponding astrological signs no less, yet there is no mention of the development of astronomy, flight or any of the other technologies that are necessary for space travel. For example, some of the early spacesuit prototypes looked just like old hard hat diving gear and I would have enjoyed reading about how the suits evolved as more was learned about real space conditions.

The tour bus narrator assured us that we would not see any alligators because it was too cold. I figured that since it was cold, they’d be looking for some heat. We spotted two just lazing in sunbeams. I spotted the one above as the bus headed into the shuttle complex and we walked back along the road to take pictures with my cell phone. Having heard that gators can get up to ten feet long, I sized it up and declared him to be little and unlikely to be of any trouble. Somewhat incredulously, Spouse-man explained that the tail is included in the length and that this fine specimen qualified as full size. But as I looked into its eye, I sensed the same comfy vibe I used to get from Angus, our big orange cat, and I knew that as long as we kept our distance, it was quite content to stay put and bask in the sunlight. The next day, I showed the pix to the security-dude, a local Floridian, who was fixing the alarm in the condo and he noticed just how close I got to take the shot. He looked utterly aghast and was probably thinking of the nightly news — “Yet another tourist has been munched by an alligator while taking its picture.”

Salmon Creek Ravine Park

Scott found a great park just North of Burien! The Salmon Creek Ravine Park is right off Ambaum and is well worth checking out. It is a hike, not a walk — the trails are unimproved gravel and wet leaves but you can meander through 88 acres of mature forest with a wild stream at the bottom of the ravine. It is so quiet that you’ll forget you are still in the Shorewood neighborhood. We didn’t meet up with a single other person but the cedars and sword ferns are huge and healthy looking and there are lots of good subjects for nature photography. Rob did an awful lot of running and sniffing and had a generally wonderful time.

Click this link to see the route and elevation data from my Garmin 405: Garmin Connect – Activity Details for Walk with Scott & Rob.

This link is to an article about the park on the B-Town Blog.

A link to the Burien Parks Website.

A link to an article in the Seattle Times.

Rob and the Snowman

Rob enjoying the carrot he pulled out of the snowman

We spent another beautiful weekend at Crystal Mt and received a lovely gift when we checked into the Village Inn, a gift certificate for a two night stay to thank us for the previous blogpost. How cool is that?

We had the same room and the desk clerk, who Rob has a crush on, mentioned that this is the first year that the hotel has allowed dogs. I hope they continue because it is the best weekend get-away and if we didn’t bring Robert along, all we would be doing is pointing out different things and saying to each other, “Wouldn’t Rob love this?”

This time we snowshoed to Bullion Basin on an old abandoned ski run. When we arrived at the saddle, the area was packed with kids on snowshoes and their dads. Robert wasted no time but began greeting and schmoozing them all. When they finished their lunch and departed, Rob noticed that snowmen they left behind had carrots for noses. He ate one right then and then remembered to stop and eat the other on the way back down.

Click to see more pictures on Flickr



Snowshoeing at Crystal Mountain

photo of Inga and Robert by Scott Duncan

What a great trip! I joined the fan group for the Snorting Elk Apre’s Skiing Adventures at Crystal Mt, WA on Facebook and have received some emails about discounts and special offers at the ski area. Scott and I decided to take advantage of the latest 3 nights for the price of 2 deal. The Village Inn has what they call deluxe pet rooms so we were able to bring Robert along for some snow recreation. The hotel was comfortable and clean and very pet friendly. They even had a dog bed in the room and each day the housekeeper left a cookie and chicken treat for him.

We brought our snowshoes and found some great trails. Scott says, “Today we ventured out of bounds into Pickhandle Basin between East Peak and Pickhandle Ridge. It was serene and very quiet. We are inspired to come back and explore further plus Robbie was beside himself with the joy of being in the snow.” He really had a blast. He never got cold or tired, he met dogs, skiers and kids, figured out that the Tully’s had milkbones and ran and ran. He did run off with a trio of snowboarders at one point but for the most part he stayed with us.

There are several different places to eat up here. The Snorting Elk Cellar is a deli and pub, the Alpine Inn is a fine dining restaurant, and the Tully’s kiosk has hot dogs, sandwiches and chili. At night the stars come all the way down to the mountaintops and we had a beautiful first quarter Moon high above us. I recommend this ski area as a great getaway, whether or not you ski. While we both love to ski we figured that snowshoeing would be more compatible with having Rob along. Have you tried snowshoeing? It is fun and great exercise. I added my snowshoe and book recommendations to my Amazon store. Click the link to the right of the blog to enter the store.

Click the link to see the rest of our photos on flickr.

Click here to watch video of Rob in the snow.

Click this link to check out the restaurants.

Click this one to check out the 3 hotels and make a reservation.