Sunday, August 29, 2010

Des Moines & Greenfield, Iowa

Sat, Aug. 22nd - Sun, Aug. 29th

Burning the proceeds of a recent storm in our daughter's backyard in Sioux Falls.

Visiting friends in Fairmont, Mn. "City of Lakes". What a pretty town! There are five lakes in town, four of which are connected, so you can boat from one to the other. We had supper at the Channel Inn, which has been mentioned on the food channel on TV.

Saying goodbye and leaving with gifts of tomatoes, cucumbers and more books to keep us entertained for a while. Thanks so much for all the hospitality Mark and Sue, and for supper.

We visited the state capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday. It was completed in 1886 and is the sixth capitol in Iowa, the third since becoming a state and the second to be built in Des Moines. It is the only capitol with five domes.

The central dome is 275 feet above the ground and gilded with 23-karat gold leaf. There are 29 types of marble, 13 types of wood and 1,475 interior steps for a total of 330,000 square feet. The gold leaf is so thin that 250,000 sheets of it is only one inch thick. It was re-gilded about ten years ago.

It took two years to complete and cost $482,000. Inside there is a model of the battleshipUSS Iowa that is 18' 7" long and weighs 1,350 pounds. There is also a display case of dolls representing all the governors wives in their inaugural gowns.

Now that's a library! This used to be the state library, but they ran out of room. So now it is just the Law Library. On election night, CBS broadcasts from here.

We took a guided tour and went up these 132 steps for a view out over the city and the interior of the courthouse below. Whew, what a hike! And the air conditioning didn't get in here either.

This picture is taken from below amd we are next to the windows just below the gold area surrounding the blue sky.

Here is a close-up. You can see John standing by the railing just below the windows.

Another view looking down from above.

Leaving the capitol heading west, we walked about a block to the State Historical Building which was free and very interesting. We had lunch across the street to the south at the Noodle Zoo, which was also very good, but unfortunately not free.

Heading east behind the capitol is the Veteran's Memorial.

This reflection of the capitol building was across the street to the northwest. Kind of cool.

Just a few blocks west of downtown is a very nice sculpture park.

This one was my favorite.
Crouching anonymous figure with a "skin" composed of letters from the Latin alphabet. Individual letters or symbols have no meaning on their own, but blossom into words, thoughts and language when combined with others. A metaphor for human culture in which a person alone has little potential, but when formed into groups or societies, becomes stronger.

Terrace Hill is the Governor's Mansion. It was built by B.F. Allen just after the Civil War at a cost of $250,000. A few years later during the recession of the 1870s, he sold it to F.M. Hubbell for $55,000 to pay off his creditors. It was in the Hubbell family over 70 years and they donated it to the state to use as the Governor's Mansion. The last four governor's families have lived here in a third floor apartment with three bedrooms and five bathrooms. They use the rest of the house for formal functions and entertaining. All of the wood in the house is from Iowa, except for the grand stairway banister, which is Brazilian rosewood. The house is over 140 years old and the banister is the only wood that has been refinished. The hallway and stairway carpets were recently replaced at a cost of $60,000.

These are the gardens behind the mansion.
There was also a carriage house which is now the visitor center and gift shop.

This is the Salisbury House and Gardens. The couple who built it wanted it to look like an old, authentic English Manor. So they used old bricks that were being scrapped when downtown Des Moines redid their streets, roof tiles that were also being scrapped from somewhere and flint rock that was used for ballast in empty ships and then scrapped. They had a boxcar full of the flint rock shipped from the coast. Their only cost for these items was the shipping. They intended not spending over $150,000, but ended up spending $3 million. It is 28,000 square feet with 17 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms and two carriage houses with 7 garage stalls and a basement under one of them to store other machinery including an airplane. They also have 3,000 first edition books in the library. It was built from 1923 to 1928. Then the stock market crashed in 1929 and they couldn't afford to live there anymore. So they donated it to Drake University with the stipulation they could live there until they died. In 1954 she got sick and went to the hospital and he moved into an apartment. At that time the Iowa State Teacher's Association bought it and used it for offices for about 20 years. Now the Historical Society has it and has put most of it back to it's original state. A very interesting tour.

Back at B.L.'s in Greenfield. Seems like everywhere we go John can find something to help out with. He is especially good at leaning on the shovel.
We are heading back to Brookings Labor Day.
Probably no more blogs for about three weeks. I'm on vacation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baseball Tournament in Eugene, Oregon

Sun. July 25th - Fri. July 30th

Let me help Grandpa!

I'll drive Grandpa. I'm already buckled in.

We left Helena Sunday with our grandson and one of his All-Star team mates to take them to the Babe Ruth regional baseball tournament in Eugene, Oregon.

Our first stop was to see the Silver Dollar Bar with over 55,000 silver dollars on the walls near the Idaho border.

We stayed over night at the tri-cities (Kennewick, Richland & Pasco) in Washington and saw several miles of these ammunition bunkers the next morning just over the Oregon border. The Umatilla Army Depot.

Mt. Hood, Oregon. It was such a clear day, we could see it from at least 120 miles away.

Carter and Jaret just right of center on the bridge at Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls about 30 miles east of Portland.

Jaret and Carter doing a little pitching and catching practice in the backyard at John's cousin's house in Portland.

Our first morning in Eugene practicing at the batting cages in the mall.

Chowing down at the food court after practice.

Carter at first base for the around-the-horn trials the day before the tournament. They also had agility trials and a home run hitting competition.

The finals for the home run competition for the 12 year olds. Two boys tied with six home runs each out of twenty times at bat. In the tie breaker,
one hit o and the other hit 5 home runs out of 10 times at bat. Pretty amazing.

Our team marching in for the opening ceremonies at the minor league game the night before the tournament.

All the teams lined up on the field.

Did somebody say hot dogs? Let's eat!

Coach's talk after we lost our second game. He asked, "Who likes to win?" No one answered. So he asked again. Carter immediately jumped up and yelled, "Carter Wald likes to win!"

Carter pitching.

Carter went to supper with his team mates, so we did a little exploring. This sign is in front of the track at the Oregon State campus. It indicates the cities and years in which they had athletes competing in the Olympics and how many miles it was to each city.

Steve Prefontaine from Coos Bay, Oregon was the best distance runner in America. He was killed in a car accident.

Statue of Bill Bowerman, teacher, innovator, visionary and motivator at Hayward Track Field at Oregon State. He experimented with his wife's waffle iron, trying to make better soles for running shoes. He ruined several waffle irons and finally came up with what eventually became Nike.

There was a steeple chase race going on while we were there, so we watched for a while. About half the people going over the hurdles fell in the water every time they came around. It was kind of fun to watch.

Carter playing first base. Carter made the first two outs at first and the third was a pop fly. 1-2-3. The second inning Carter made the first out at first again and then there were two strike outs. 1-2-3. Third inning Carter caught the hit and touched first for the first out. Then there was one on base, a force at second and a strike out. Almost 1-2-3 again. Fourth inning Carter caught the first hit and touched base for the out. Then there was a long pop caught for the second out. Then Carter caught another grounder and hustled to first. 1-2-3 again. When you're hot, you're hot! 10-0 in 3 & 1/2 innings.

Boy, these bats are heavy, but WE WON, WE WON! They were like a whole different team the second day.

Fourth game Carter pitched an awesome game.
First inning was a strike out, a single, a pop fly to center and a pop fly to right field. Almost 1-2-3. Second inning two singles, a pop to the pitcher caught and fired to first for two outs and a hit straight to first base for the third out. There were a lot more very good plays and several very good hits.

One of Carter's hits almost hit the fence. They won again 5-4 in five and a half innings.

Team picture after their second win. They were one very happy team. I guess their coach was right. They were better than that and they just needed to be reminded of it.

Tourney's over. Time to party and head back home to Helena.

I apologize for mixing up the order of my posts, but I don't know how to fix them. So the post that should be after this one is before it. Just click on older posts at the bottom of this page to see the most recent one.