Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stories and Summer Photos

     For this edition of the travel blog I’ll go in two directions.  I’ve got some stories relating to our upcoming trip to Scotland and I’ve got some photos to share from some of our short summer travels.  The two don’t necessarily go together, except in my summer addled brain.  Hope you enjoy both.
Photos of Lake Tahoe in June and the surrounding mountains.

Rainy Golf

As we get ready for our fall trip to Scotland, we’ve been looking at the current weather in Scotland: rain, rain, rain, cloudy, rain, cloudy, rain with sun.  That’s just next week.  It looks as if it will be lots of rainy golf on this trip, which reminds me of a couple of stories of past rainy golf trips.
Tail chewing chipmunk near Lake Tahoe.

A couple of photos of a hunting osprey at Spooner Lake near Lake Tahoe.

Anything Except Eden.  We were playing the Eden Course at St Andrews right next to the Old Course.  The Eden is a fun track—a decent challenge, but gentle enough to be relatively stress free.  When we started out the day was pleasant: light winds, a few puffy clouds, and mild temperatures.  The weather started to change a little about the twelfth hole—the wind picked up a little, the clouds thickened and darkened, and the temperature dropped noticeably.  We knew that the weather changed quickly next to the sea, but we were surprised at how rapidly it was deteriorating.  On the fourteenth, the furtherest hole from the clubhouse, the rain started softly, a harr (sea mist) the Scots would say.  By the time we got to the tee of the fifteenth the rain was horizontal and into us.  Anne and I dug desperately into our golf bags for rain gear, but the weather had been so perfect when we left the car that neither of us thought to put in rain jackets, not to mention rain pants, hats, gloves, umbrella (though in the kind of wind we had umbrellas would be pretty useless).  I teed off and promptly lost sight of my ball in the driving rain.  There was nothing else to do (there’s no shelter on a links course) but to start walking in from the hinterlands.  We felt slightly better when we noticed all the locals were walking in as well, although they all had on rain gear.  We got to the car about the time the storm let up a little.  We hadn’t thought to bring a change of clothes with us in the car, but we both took our unused rain pants and jackets into the clubhouse where we changed out of our wet clothes—interestingly, the clubhouse changing rooms had driers in them, though we didn’t want to take the time to use them.  With golf done, we toured around St Andrews, a great university town, dry in our rain pants and jackets.
Lessons learned: always carry rain gear in your golf bag in Scotland, and always carry a change of clothes in the car.  
Lone tree between Reno and Mt Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Mt Lassen

Lake Helen in Mt Lassen Park, still frozen in late June (8000').

Mt Lassen summit

Sulfur Works (mud pot)


Playing Inch GC to Write About It.  Inch GC is a village 18-hole course on the edge of the Grampian Mountains in Scotland’s northern whisky and castle country.  We had arranged to play the course to write it up for one of our golf guide books.  The day was not a great one.  When we got to the course there was a light mist falling.  Knowing we were going to get wet makes it easier to prep for it.  We put rain covers over our clubs and we donned rain pants, jackets, rain hats, and even rain gloves (they allow you to hold onto wet clubs even in the wet).  We’ve played in these conditions before, not our favorite playing conditions, but we knew how to handle it.  The first hole was fine—I even managed to get a photos as Anne helped protect the camera lens from the mist.  On the second hole the wind picked up to about 10 miles per hour and the mist got heavier.  On the third, the mist was now rain and the wind was increasing.  When I teed off on the fourth neither Anne nor I could track the flight of the ball very far.  We eventually found that ball and decided to call it a day.  Playing Inch GC to write about it would have to wait for a better day.

Rock formation near Lake Helen.

Derelict barn on the way from Mt Lassen to McCloud.

Relief.  We arrived at Portleithen GC near Aberdeen on Scotland’s northeast coast ahead of our scheduled tee time.  The rain was moderate, but steady.  We knew that the club’s captain was scheduled to play with us, so we had steeled ourselves to the idea of a wet round.  We met the club manager and the captain in the professional’s shop and chatted for a short time.  Then I said, “We usually are willing to play in almost any condition, but it seems awfully bad out there today and tomorrow there’s supposed to be a break in the weather.”  The reaction from the captain was classic, “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was hoping you weren’t the kind who would say let’s go regardless.  I’d love to play tomorrow.”  At that the manager laughed and said, “See, I told you they’d be reasonable.”  And at that we all laughed.  The next day was gorgeous.

Anne and I at our booth at the Portland Highland Games.

Our campsite in the Three Sisters area.  The tent is new and palatial.

Even in the rain someone will enjoy the campfire.

An osprey outside of Oregon City says to me, "Are you edible?"

Black and White study of the old Oregon City paper mill.

A visit to the Oregon Garden in Silverton yielded some nice flower shots and this dragon fly photo.

Next: The next post on my blog will be from Scotland.  It could be about the weather or it could be about some absolutely new adventure.  Even I'm looking forward to what it will be.