Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Winter Wings Expedition

I had the wonderful opportunity in the past to attend the annual Winter Wings Festival, headquartered in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and since it will be occurring again next month, I want to write about it to encourage anyone interested to make plans to attend. The 2009 festival will be held February 13-15. This will mark the thirtieth year for the event, which makes it the longest running bird festival in the nation. Activities are held throughout the Klamath Basin area, which covers thousands of acres of protected bird habitat, in both southern Oregon and northern California. The photos above show just a few of the activities that I was able to participate in during the three days I was there. The first color photojournalism article I ever had published was on hot air ballooning, so I was delighted to get to photograph a hot air balloon launch against the back drop of snow-covered fields and mountains---something I had never seen before. And something I had DEFINITELY never done before was take a dog-sledding adventure trip (that's me sitting in the sled above, waving my hand). What was unique about my particular dog-sledding trip was that my "musher" was also a physician, doing a family practice residency at the Klamath Falls hospital. "Mushing" and a kennel full of huskies was just a hobby for that family! Since the commercial operator of sled-dog trips ( was completely booked up for the always-popular President's Day Weekend activities, the physician/dogsledding family that my son knew, offered to take me out instead. It is an adventure I won't soon forget! The lower right hand photo is the brilliantly blue Crater Lake, where I went snow-shoeing with other Winter Wings Festival attendees. As enjoyable and beautiful as the snow-shoeing, was the drive up to Crater Lake Lodge, where a tunnel had been cut through the snow to allow cars to pass, was equally thrilling. It is an eerie feeling to be going up a road with snow banks taller than your car on both sides of the road! This event is as much about photographing wildlife, as just observing it, so again this year, the Canon camera company is sponsoring three separate photography activities. Another event I would recommend is the pre-dawn "Eagle Flyout" event, where participants position themselves before dawn at the site where eagles are know to roost over night, so they can see the eagles fly out at the first light of dawn. Fortunately, this was followed by a delicious, hot breakfast in a beautiful valley lodge setting that enabled one to warm up after enduring bitterly cold temperatures, awaiting the flyout. The Klamath Basin has hundreds of eagles in residence, and in fact, hosts 80% of birds that use the Pacific Flyway. So besides eagles, there are thousands of ducks, geese, and swans. With the recent publicity caused by the geese/airplane encounter that resulted in a U.S. Airways plane landing in the Hudson River in New York, you may be having second thoughts about flying into an airport within the Pacific Flyway. However, I have flown into Klamath Falls several times, and my airplane has yet to hit a single bird! That may be because the commercial airport is adjacent to Kingsley Air Force base, where military airplane training flights are ongoing, and personnel there take measures to keep wildlife off the airstrips. In the past, folks have come from as far away as Germany, England, and 35 different states to be a part of the festival, so why don't you consider doing the same? Go to their website, for registration information, and a complete listing of events. The last part of Ecclesiastes 10:20 reminds us that "a bird of the air may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say", so when someone asks you how you heard about the Winter Wings Fest, just say "a little birdie" told me about it. Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Inauguration Expedition Tips

If you are one of the 1.5 - 3 million people planning on attending the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America on January 20 of this year in Washington, D.C., I have a few tips for you based on my expedition to the last inauguration. My first tip is DRESS WARMLY! As you can see in the photo of my sister and me at the 2005 Inauguration in front of the Capitol's Inauguration outdoor stage, we were bundled up! It had snowed earlier and there were still bits and pieces of the white stuff on the grass, in spite of the thousands of footsteps melting it away. Not only is the ceremony outside, but when you consider all the time spent outdoors for security checks, walking from one venue to the next, waiting on public transportation, the parade, and activities on "The Hill", you will be out in the elements for many hours. There is a legend that the harsh weather is responsible for the death of a former president, after being in office for less than a month. President William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on an extremely cold, wet day. Nevertheless, he faced the weather without his overcoat and delivered the longest inaugural address in American history---it took at least two hours. He then rode through the streets in the Inaugural Parade. Thereafter, President Harrison became ill with a cold, which people at the time attributed to his Inauguration Day exposure. The cold worsened, rapidly turning into pneumonia and pleurisy. He died nine days after becoming ill---the first American President to die in office. Therefore, although he had the longest inauguration speech in American history, he had the the shortest term for any American president---only 30 days! So when your mama says "Child, put on your jacket before you go outside" you better heed her advice! My second tip is to contact your congressman regarding any special activities they are having for their constituents while in town for the ceremonies. My sister did that for us, and it resulted in us being invited to a lovely brunch held on "The Hill" in his office building. Although, the meal and getting to visit his office were quite nice, the best thing about it was what happened on the way there. Automobiles are not permitted near the building, so EVERYONE has a bit of a walk from the traffic barrier to the building entrance. That leads to my third tip: Be prepared to see some famous people! I happened to be right in front of the traffic barrier when a big, black van with blackened windows pulled up to the barrier, and big men in suits, dark sunglasses, and walkie-talkies jumped out from every door. I didn't know who they were protecting, but I got my camera ready, and Arnold Swartzeneager walked right in front of me! I was almost TOO CLOSE to get an in-focus photograph! And do you know what came out of my mouth when he walked in front of me? I said "Hi, Arnold!" like we were old buddies! I realized later, that was somewhat disrespectful, and I should have at least acknowledged his being a high-ranking politician and said, "Hello, Governor". But anyway, I got the shot, and it even got published in some area newspapers, with a "Photo by Tricia Turner" byline that, of course, thrilled me to no end. I made sure my California cousins knew I had a "close encounter" with their governor by sending them copies of the newspaper! My next tip is this: If you are going to an Inaugural Ball, you are going to have to leave the parade before it is over. My sister and I tried to "do it all", starting back to our hotel room at the end of the parade to change clothes in preparation for our planned experience as "Cinderella at the Ball". By the time we made it to the venue where our formal-attire event was being held, President and Laura Bush had already made their appearance, danced their dance, said their hellos, and moved on to the next ball. But we did get to hear the band, sample the food, and catch our breaths a little before heading back to our hotel room in the wee hours of the morning. For a listing of events that will help you prioritize your activities, go to the official website, which is . That stands for "Presidential Inauguration Committee-2009" . My final and most important tip for attending the Presidential Inauguration is to PRAY! As we were walking around on The Hill before the ceremony, a lady gave my sister and me, and many other people, a copy of the small book shown in photo above, called "Pray For Our Nation". Thousands of us had it to meditate on as we stood outside in front of the Capitol, waiting for the ceremonies to begin, and many were using that time, to do exactly what 2 Chronicles 7:14 commands: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." The eighty-eight page book had prayers for every imaginable aspect of our country's functioning, as well as prayers recorded from former U.S. Presidents. You can see many of these at and get a copy of the book for yourself. I would like to end this entry on attending the Presidential Inauguration, by quoting this prayer spoken by our first U.S. President: "Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate Blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by the Holy Spirit....Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ." That is my prayer today for each of us, as well. Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony-----in Vermont???

With all the news in the media today about the upcoming swearing-in ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the new U.S. President, I thought I would pass along a bit of historical trivia on the subject, that I learned some time back on an expedition I took to the lovely state of Vermont. There I visited a place called The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, in Plymouth, Vermont. That is the location of a highly unusual event---the only time a U.S. President was sworn in by an official other than a judge. Notary Public, John C. Coolidge, swore in his son, Calvin Coolidge, as President of the United States. This occurred in 1923 when the then vice-president was visiting in his father's home in Plymouth, Vermont, and was notified of the death of President Warren G. Harding. It was determined that ANYONE legally authorized to administer an oath of office may swear in a president, including a notary public. Although any site in Vermont is worth a visit, I was especially glad to get to visit this location, because I have an uncle who was born during the presidency of Warren G. Harding, and---as was common in those days---was named after the president. I call him "Uncle Warren G". I have no idea what the "G" stands for, or why President Harding always included that initial in his official title, rather than his entire middle name. However, it does make me curious to find out, now that there is a media flurry about whether or not President-elect Obama will use his full middle name--Hussein---or just the initial "H", as he used throughout his campaign. So perhaps in the next four years, those new parents who decide to name their newborn boy after the president, will have to decide if they will do as my grandparents did, and just use the middle initial, or will they use the full middle name of the current president for their child to carry the rest of their lives. Regardless of what the parents choose, they can rest assured that their child is a valued creation in God's sight, because of these treasured verses in Psalms 139: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Expeditions to Movie-filming Locations

I don't know why I get such a kick out of visiting places where a favorite movie was filmed, but the fact is, that I do! And apparently, I am not the only one, because there is an entire "niche market" in the tour/travel industry that focuses on trips to locations where a famous movie was filmed. Some of the more memorable movie places I have visited are as follows: The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, where Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour filmed "Somewhere in Time"; Prince Edward Island, which is the setting for "Anne of Green Gables"; Old Quebec City, where a famous chase scene occurs in Leonardo DiCaprio's "Catch Me If You Can"; and the park bench in Savannah, Georgia, where the famous scene from Forrest Gump takes place. I also drove several hours in Mississippi River Delta country once, to the tiny town of Lepanto, Arkansas, to tour an old homestead, used in the movie based on John Grisham's book, "A Painted House." And don't even get me started on Utah! There have been so many movies filmed in that scenic state that a famous resort, called Red Cliffs, has a whole wing of its property turned into a museum of movie nostalgia items based solely on movies filmed in Utah! The most memorable Utah location to me (because my son is also a rock climber) was the state park where Tom Cruise filmed his famous rock-climbing scene. Likewise, my son has also climbed Devils Tower in Wyoming (which I visited once on a motorcycle trip) where a very famous science-fiction movie was filmed (does the term "strange encounters" come to mind?) Geographic, or otherwise easily-recognized landmarks, are often used in movies to set a scene in the viewer's mind of where the story is taking shape-----think of the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign on a hill above that city, The Plaza Hotel, Statue of Liberty, and Empire State Building in NYC, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or the Sears Tower in Chicago. These landmarks let us fix in our mind the setting for the film, without ever saying a word. I guess what got me thinking about movie locations was the fact that the ABC-Family television network has been advertising this week that it is showing the movie, "Jumanji", with Robin Williams, on Saturday night. Thanks to my friend, Sue, (pictured above in front of Frank's Barber Shop, in Keene, New Hampshire) I was able to visit the town where the Jumanji story unfolds, , go inside the shop, and photograph the actual, real-life barber, who has a cameo appearance in the movie, as he is standing in front of his barber shop. There was no one else in the shop when Sue and I visited there, and he talked to us at length about his involvement with the movie, and did not hesitate at all to have his photograph taken beside the movie poster he has prominently displayed inside. Although I didn't remember every scene from that movie, I definitely remembered the street scene that showed a billboard advertising Parrish Shoes, because the name Parrish is part of my family history. So I was delighted to get to see and photograph the famous advertisement, still in excellent condition, on a brick wall in Keene, New Hampshire. As far as movies I have seen that have made me VERY MUCH want to visit a particular location, but which I have not yet had an opportunity, I would nominate the hit movie, "Mama Mia." I watched it recently with my step-daughter (so I guess in our case, it was "step-mama mia") and was captivated by the beauty of the Greek Island where it was filmed. Through a search on the Internet, and an article on Wikipedia, I learned that the island where the wedding chapel scene takes place (which is situated at the end of a very steep path, high on top of a mountain, overlooking a brilliantly blue sea) is Skopelos, home of Agios Ioannis Chapel. I have been considering a trip to Patmos, the Greek Island where the book of Revelation was written, so maybe I will plan on a stop at Skopelos, as well! Perhaps by setting the goal of visiting the Agios Ioannis Chapel, it will keep me motivated to stay physically fit, because it appeared to be quite a climb to the top! Enough dreaming about future trips, it is time for some weight -lifting exercises, because like my scuba instructor would always remind me when I complained about the heavy tank I had to carry when scuba diving---"If you can't tote it, you can't float it!" I guess the same principle applies to floating away to Greek Islands! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Tournament of Roses Parade

If you are like millions around the world today, you may see all, or parts, of the annual New Year's Day parade that is the highlight event of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California (probably some of you thought the football game was the highlight--but not for me!). The parade was started in 1890, and it has been televised nationwide for about as long as televisions have been in existence. So, ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of seeing that event some day. It seemed like an attainable goal when my father told me that his brother, who lived in California, had driven him down the famous boulevard of the parade route, whenever he visited that brother years ago. So when that brother's son, my first cousin, asked me to come out to California to help deal with the loneliness I experienced following my husband's death, I didn't hesitate! I was on a plane headed for the west coast as soon as I could arrange it! My cousin and his family have lived in California all their lives, so they knew all the ins and outs of parade logistics and provided me the wonderful experience of viewing each and every float at the exhibition grounds that open, once the parade is over. (I didn't arrive in time to go to the actual parade that year). I guess I must have talked about my good time quite a lot, because my sister convinced me that we needed to make a trip out to Pasadena in the future, and take in the full Tournament of Roses experience, including tickets for grandstand viewing of the entire parade. We used a company called Main Street Tours, headquartered in Torrance, California, ( because I had met the folks that run that company, and I was very impressed with their operation. They did an excellent job of getting us where we were supposed to be, and added lots of fun activities to the tour, in addition to the parade. Of course, there are several companies that sell tour packages to the Tournament of Roses, and a quick check on my Internet search engine listed another company ( that is involved in getting people there. (Although I have not actually traveled with Cartan Tours, that is on my travel calendar for the future, as I have already put down a deposit with them for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.) If after viewing the parade on television today, you decide you would like to see it in person, check out the official website, , and start planning now for how you will spend New Year's Day next year! Unless you have a friend or relative that can help you once you get to the Pasadena area, I would recommend using a professional tour operator to assist you in transportation and other details, that only an "insider" can anticipate. Miles of smiles! Tricia
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2009's Most Important Expedition

I enjoy expeditions to seek out new places to visit, new acquaintances, new restaurants, new cultures, and new travel experiences. But the first day of the new year is a good time to remind myself that the most important "seeking expedition" is the one talked about in the theme verse of First Place 4 Health that says, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33) Wishing you a Happy New Year, and many miles of smiles on your 2009 seeking expeditions! Tricia Turner
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