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USA Northwest
Seattle: Gateway to Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Western Washington and Alaska
by Jerry W. Bird

I have always admired the Boeing Aircraft Company, whose home base is in the Seattle area, and have hopes of including a tour of this marvelous world-class complex as well as the spectacular Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in our 2003 Air and Marine Travel Show series. Most of our delegates from North America and overseas, being members of the aviation and travel industry, will applaud the decision. My personal connection with the City of Seattle goes back decades - my father Don Bird was born here and my maternal grandfather Ernie Somerton grew up in nearby Edmonds, before moving north to Vancouver. When it comes to fond memories of Seattle, Tacoma and Western Washington, I'll never forget the wintry day driving west from Calgary, Alberta, when my son Ron (then 12) and I were having visions of Ivar's famous clam chowder(continued)

San Francisco iconsGo for the Gold on San Francisco Bay
Inspired by stories by the two Johns (Steinbeck and Jakes) who recall their life and times in the San Francisco Bay, Monterey Peninsula, and Sacramento Delta, I was hooked from my first visit. The fact that both my father and sisters Rosalie and Sally chose to live there was another reason to spend so much time exploring many of the places I read so much about. When we visited the historic site at Sutter's Mill, where the '49er Gold Rush began, and drove through the mountains to Reno, I was part of the scene. Having harmonized with a Barber Shop Quartet in Folsom during their international convention, visited numerous wineries, and driven the Golden Chain, I soon became a Northern Californian at heart. San Francisco is a treasure chest of experiences. (continued)

Meet Box Car Willie at California's Railroad Park near Mount Shasta
Railroad Park is a motel complex that features an acre or more of antique railway cabooses, gathered from across the USA. Returning from a "Railfair" meeting in Sacramento, we were stranded at Dunsmuir (near Mount Shasta) in the midst of a raging snowstorm. (details)


Historical Flashback
Anchorage: Gateway to the Alaska Panhandle, North Pacific, Canada's Yukon and Russian Siberia

The first settlers arrived in the area around 4,000 BC. They were descended from tribes who first migrated across the land bridge from Siberia over 29,000 years ago.
• Russian trappers and hunters land in search of furs and trade in the mid-1700s.
• Captain James Cook's search for the Northwest Passage in 1778 led him to explore the waterway that now borders downtown Anchorage. (

Portland, Oregon

Gateway to Mount Hood, Columbia River Country and the Oregon Coast
by Jerry W. Bird

I fell inlove with Portland, Oregon at first sight, which wasn't hard because I was pumped up with excitement for weeks before we left North Vancouver in my grandfather's Buick. As a normal 12-year old, Jantzen Beach, a popular amusement near the river, blew me away completely. Sad to say, it is no longer a public place. The city's laid back lifestyle and local amenities were another lure, the swimming pools were far ahead of anything in Canada at the time. We were hosted by a house full of relatives; American cousins by the dozens, and with some attractive, though slightly older girls included -I thought I was in heaven. For a while I begged my folks to move there, but to no avail.

Oregon- MIni mapMany years later, we spent a New Years holiday in the area, and one of the things that impressed me was how easy and inexpensive it was to get from downtown to distant points via the light rail transit system. Simple but efficient. Click for full size version of map. Last time I visited Portland, we arrived via Horizon Air from Vancouver, BC, as guests of Oregon Tourism on a media "fam" trip hosted by Susan Bladholm. What we experienced during 5 days in a nine passenger van, was a capsule of what you should do in a week or more. We headed straight east to the Columbia River Gorge, a wonder of the world, where we stayed at the charming Lodge, with roses and chocolates on the pillow of my curtained four poster bed. The sprawling riverside grounds reminded me of an English country scene along the Thames.

Next morning at breakfast, our waitress recited a poem about Columbia Falls, as she trickled the syrup down on our pancakes from a jug held high above her head. This idyllic spot on the Columbia River is one of the most popular wind sailing locations in the west. More recently, organizers have launched some exciting river cruises along the Columbia from Portland. Heading for Mount Hood, our next stop of note was Timberline, a mountain village built by order of President Roosevelt as a make work project in the 1930s depression era. Like most things in Oregon, it was a class attraction. Continued