Here's what I did on my summer vacation, teacher.
No, wait... I'm 65 and retired. Every day is a vacation now. (Yeah, right; if you believe that, just wait until you retire.)
Laurel and I got back last night from a family reunion -- her side of the family -- in Madison, Indiana. Madison is on the Ohio River, a bridge away from northern Kentucky. We stayed at Clifty Falls State Park.
Not surprisingly, I saw (1) cliffs, and (2) falls, at the park. This is a view from an overlook of the Big Falls (on the right). It's straight down from where I was standing. Getting to the base of the falls requires an arduous lengthy hike up the streambed -- something some relatives did and I passed up.
What struck us as soon as we arrived -- impossible to miss -- was the presence of a coal-fired power plant adjacent to the state park. I kept thinking, "No way would this be allowed in Oregon." But, hey, coal used to be king in this part of the country.
Now Green Oregonians like me hope it willl be deposed in favor of renewable sources of energy. Cleaner sources. I was told that scrubbers capture most of the pollutants from the center stack, the only one which is operative now. Well, carbon dioxide is a pollutant too, a really dangerous one.
I found the power plant chimneys strangely fascinating. Evil, yet also a reflection of well-intentioned human ignorance. The Clifty Creek facility was built in the 1950's, before global warming had become a concern.
The chimneys, Wikipedia tells me, are some of the tallest in the world. This photo was taken as the sun was setting with thunder clouds as a backdrop.
I took a short hike to an observation towr our first morning at Clifty Falls State Park. Naturally a selfie was in order. The black stuff in the bottom left background is coal. From our room we could watch yellow bulldozer "pusher-bees" buzzing around that area much of the day, busily pushing the coal into a tall pile from where, I assume, it somehow found its way into the power plant.
On our last day, six of us took a tour of the historic Lanier Mansion. Our guide was both highly knowledgeable and entertaining. Great sense of humor. I think he is the blob on the spiral staircase leading to the upper floors. Hadn't realized at the time that the peak looks like half of the yin-yang symbol. Maybe the architect was a closet Taoist in a 19th century Christian land.
Here's the family reunion gang. Minus me, since I was taking the photo. (Laurel is in blue on the left.) Lilly, the little girl in the middle, has one of her "Carrie" looks going on. Her mother, standing behind her, is a professional photographer. She is fortunate to have a daughter with a thousand faces. Lilly is highly expressive.
I enjoyed our five day stay in southern Indiana. The countryside is charming and very attractive. Anyone who thinks that all there is in Indiana is flat corn fields is way wrong.
But in my opinion, anyone who says that Oregon isn't the most beautiful state is even more wrong. Sitting on the left side of the plane as the Delta flight prepared to land in Portland, we were treated to a great sunset view of Mt. Hood.
Sure, there's no place like home. I understand that almost everyone in the United States likes where they live. Yet after spending 43 years here, I can confidently say "there's no place like Oregon."
Meaning, no better place.
We keep trying to think of a state we'd rather live in. Haven't come up with one. That said, please don't move here. Remember Governor Tom McCall's adage: "Come visit; don't stay."