BenTha'er-Horizons

Photography

Flowers of Spring

In helping a client with some community cats in her neighborhood, I came across at her house a flower bed with lovely tulips and bluish ground cover plants. Taking photos while there created a beautiful art-like picture with the colors. Spring with the flowers just coming out and sunshine is wonderful.

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Coolest Waterfall Category

A recent article on special sights to visit included Yellowstone Falls. The photo that I took when we visited in May 2023 was taken from Artist's Point. It is clear why this viewpoint is so named since the photo looks more like a painting than a photo. It is lovely!
Info about the Falls follows:
"Rushing through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Falls is actually two enormous waterfalls connected by the Yellowstone River, traveling downstream from Yellowstone Lake. This waterfall is known for being festooned in rainbows, reaching across the cascades like banners in the mist. Uncle Tom’s Point is the best way to see the falls up close but Artist Point offers a picture-perfect view of the falls from down the gorge, framed in the very golden rock that gave Yellowstone its name."

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Early Morning Moonset and Sunrise

This morning was the apex of the full "snow" moon of February while at the same time we had a colorful sunrise.
To the west:
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To the east:
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Full Moon Gloom

The full moon for December (seems like a witching moon) was out in the early morning hours this past week. I was able to snap this photo of the moon glowing through the large oak tree by the house. The light through the limbs of the tree gives an eerie cast to the image.
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Mt. Hood in Morning

We had an early drive up to Portland yesterday. We seem to be stuck in air stagnation and low clouds here yet it was clear skies from Salem north. It was the start of a pretty sunrise and I was able to take a photo with my phone camera out the window of Mt. Hood and the sunrise as we went down the freeway with traffic. A bit tricky yet quite worth it.
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Friends For 40 Years

Dr. Mary Beth Rymer Temples has been a dear close friend for slightly over 40 years. We met at a veterinary conference in Santa Cruz when I was 7 months pregnant with Scott. We have practiced in the Diablo Valley area for 20 years in the vicinity. She now works at Civic Feline Clinic that I established on August 23, 1983. It has been a good friendship. Marybeth, Bob, and I went to the restored Elsinore Theatre in Salem 3 days ago to watch an uncut version of Home Alone on their big screen. What a lot of fun and enjoyment. Gets you in the holiday spirit.
Here is to Marybeth!
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Beaver Moon and Saturn Conjunction

Today is the Beaver (Full) Moon and I was able the other day to get the moon in ascendency and close to conjunction with Saturn in the eastern sky. It turned out to be a nice picture and the moon almost looked like the Star of Bethlehem shining in this photo.
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Boomers at Depoe Bay

A week ago today we were over at the Oregon Coast at Depoe Bay. The waves were coming in fast and hard at high tide. They were high boomers near the bay entrance. We ate at Tidal Raves for seafood which is on the north side of town near Arch Cape. The boomers were hitting the rocks we view from the restaurant. It is a beautiful spot to eat a meal and watch the ocean waves.
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Brilliant Central Oregon Sunset

We were RVing at the Cascade Meadows RV park outside La Pine OR last week. The clouds were moving in for a cooler weekend on Friday evening, June 16th. I saw a red glow to the window of the 5th Wheeler to our north. It made me look out toward the west and Cascade Mountains. The sky was a brilliant red with some orange and yellow tones. It was as if on fire. Bob was able to get some images on his cell phone.
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Yellowstone Colorful Geyser

We recently visited Yellowstone National Park. I had never been close and I was eager to see what was there. The park has many, many geysers and is actually a super volcano. The following is a description of a super volcano status of Yellowstone and a photo of one of the more colorful sights not far from Old Faithful Inn.

Hot spots and geysers represent just a fraction of the action beneath the surface at Yellowstone. The whole park is actually a supervolcano, although it's not supposed to erupt anytime soon. But, how do we know this? Despite the warnings, Yellowstone is quite safe: Its supervolcano is made up of two magma chambers. The first chamber contains no more than 15% molten. Meanwhile, the second chamber contains only two percent molten. Yellowstone optical middle geyser
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Mt. Rushmore Facts

And now it is the opportunity to give some background on Mt. Rushmore. We were able to see Mt. Rushmore on a beautiful sunny morning for a short time. It was awe-inspiring. I would go there again in a heart beat. The Black Hills of South Dakota are spectacular and I can see why the Native Americans revered that geographical area as part of their history and culture.
"The iconic mountain that bears the giant stone faces of four U.S. Presidents is named after a lawyer from New York. In 1884, Charles E. Rushmore was sent to the Black Hills in South Dakota to secure land for tin mining (on lands considered sacred by the Lakota Sioux). He spent many weeks exploring the area with guides, and at one point, he inquired as to the name of an impressive peak nearby. Since the mountain had no name, a prospector with him replied, “We will name it now, and name it Rushmore Peak.” From then on, it was referred to as Rushmore Peak, Rushmore Mountain, or Rushmore Rock. When the national memorial was finished in 1927, it officially became known as Mount Rushmore."
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Devils Tower

Last October, we drove to South Dakota. On our way back to the Pacific Northwest, we took a side trip up into Northeast Wyoming to drive by Devils Tower. It was a geographical sight featured in the movie,
Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I came across a site that describes how such sights came by their name. This is what is listed for Devils Tower.

Devils Tower is an impressive rock formation that stands 867 feet high above the Black Hills of northwestern Wyoming, considered sacred by Indigenous cultures. When settlers first arrived in this part of the country, the rock was labeled on maps as “Bear Lodge,” a translation for the common Lakota name Mato Tipila. However, the name changed when Colonel Richard Irving Dodge led a geology and mapmaking expedition to the site. Dodge wrote that the Indigenous people called the place “bad god’s tower,” which eventually led to the adoption of the name Devils Tower. However, this is believed to be a bad translation, as no records have ever shown that Native Americans considered the tower to be associated with evil spirits.Devils Tower
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Jupiter and Venus Conjunction

In the early evening just as the sky was darkening on March 3rd, Jupiter and Venus came together in conjunction over the west horizon. This was just for a short time and won't happen again for another 9 years. I was fortunate to sit out on our porch and view with strong binoculars. I also was able to capture a bright view of them together with my iPhone. Vada and Victoria joined me to get a view of the planets and then the bright moon more to the south.
Jupiter-Venus conjunction
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Sun, Clouds, Snow and Trees

Another overnight snow storm though not as heavy as the last one. We did get some early morning sun peeping through the clouds to backlight the snowy Douglas Fir trees. It was a lovely sight to see and photograph!
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Picture Postcard Scene

The snow yesterday offered me an opportunity to shoot some photos of the pristine snow early before it melted.

Here is a photo of a neighbor's home across the valley framed with snow covered maple and Douglas fir trees.
A picture postcard scene to me.
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In the Still of the Morning Snow

After midnight today and through sunrise, we had our first snow of the winter season. The temperature was about freezing level and would warm up during the day to over 40 degrees F. The snow was not going to stick around long which is good since it is Valentine's Day and dinner beckons.
I was able to catch with my cell phone the yard lights shining on the snow. It looked like the 'still of the night' in an old time setting.
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An Afternoon of Rainbows

We traveled down to Eugene on a recent Saturday afternoon to visit with Dr. Patricia Shea. We usually have lunch at Ta Ra Rin near Cat Care hospital. A good place for Thai food.

On the way home and after reaching home we were treated to some interesting displays of rainbows. One as we traveled up I-5 freeway with a peak through the clouds. The other was in the direction of Green Peter Mountain to the east.

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Along Interstate 5 near exit 228 to Lebanon

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Looking to the east and Green Peter Mtn.
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Parterre 2020 Version

This past 2 years have been difficult to work on our garden areas and keep them clean up from weeds and grass. Many are a bit overgrown. Age and medical issues have caught up to us. I will say that our parterre area is looking particularly nice and mature this year. One area to enjoy and be pleased on how it has turned out from our small version of an English type of garden. Enjoy the view!

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Moon Through Tree Tops

The weather has been more volatile lately, cloudy and rainy with wind and then broken clouds to sun. Not much as far a summer here yet. I did go out on a recent evening and was able to see a partial moon through the tops of the trees. I think these trees next to the house on the southeast side are about 30 feet taller than they were 15-16 years ago. At some point I won't see the moon in that position due to the trees. It did come out as an interesting photo though.

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Brilliant Rainbow

I jumped out of the Subaru when Bob stopped across from the little barn and got this very bright colorful rainbow while going into town yesterday.

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Pink Sky and Snow on the Mountain

Portland got walloped with about 7 plus inches of snow last night which brought the city to a standstill. They are scheduled to not have it melt off for several days due to cold weather hanging around.

Our area missed it. We did have a pink reflection of the sunset on the clouds over the Peter Mountains with it reflecting off the white snow.

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Birds Don't Read

I don't think this bird was paying attention to the sign of not going past the fence. The waves were pounding the rocks behind the bird but Hey…

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Big Waves

It was nippy trying to walk along the top of the beach the other day. The sun was out and so was the wind. The tide was slowly going out but the waves were big and also very noisy.

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Face Forward

At least a 4 point buck giving us a full on face forward view.
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Big Rack Up Close

The bucks come out in daylight to show off too.

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A Fawn

It is the season to see a number of fawns around the area. We have some on our place. Sadly a number end up hit by cars and dead alongside the road.
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A Big Set of Horns

Some have to get into the picture at night time, especially with a big rack of horns.
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Elk Photo Bomb

Then we had an elk photo bomb the camera. "Ready for my close up Mr. Demille".
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Turkey's Head

The trail camera picks up some interesting photos. We had a turkey photo bomb at the bottom on one picture.
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Firs in Sunlight Sidestream

Another photo from last night's display of bright sun streaming horizontally from under the clouds onto the trees near sunset.
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Trees in Sunlight at Sunset

Today the weather was troubled and unsettled. Near sunset, I was able to get this photo of the sun streaming from the west under the clouds and highlighting the trees. Really setting off the colors.
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Our Elk Herd

Look at that rack of horns on this bull elk from the elk herd who visit our property. Impressive!

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Rainbow In Town

I stepped out of Scott's house to get some outdoor photos yesterday afternoon. The weather has been foggy, gray, and cold. We did have some sun breaks in part of the day along with some sprinkles. I found this rainbow at the end of Oak as I was looking back toward downtown Lebanon.

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Rain Drops

I looked outside this morning and could see a lovely buildup of raindrops at the end of the birch tree branches outside our bedroom. I felt it made a lovely photo to snap and share. Here is one.
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Don't You Like My Profile

The trail camera is taking nighttime shots again. Though we got daytime ones too of the local deer. We had hoped for the elk since they went back that way. No such luck. We did get one miss who likes her profile.
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Blood Moon

Unfortunately with not having a good functioning telescope, I couldn't get a closer picture of the blood moon. The last was in 1982 and the next will be in 18 years. Here is what I did get at one point of the moon eclipse.
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The Wild Blue Colored Yonder

Beautiful sunrise this morning. I caught a photo of an airplane winging its way, visualized through the bright clouds, likely from PDX to elsewhere land.

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Cougar Reservoir

Here is a view from a viewpoint near the top of the earthen dam of Cougar Reservoir. This is a pretty deep reservoir since the canyon for the river is quite deep, a long way down. No boating noticed so not a fishing lake though people did camp at certain areas near it.
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Deer Posing

Our local deer herd, one of the poseurs……..
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Going For A Drive

Headed over to Sisters, OR today with some side trips to a few spots along the way. This was a gloriously beautiful warm spring day. Many people were out traveling and enjoying the wonderful nature that is Oregon. Here is Mt. Washington standing loud and proud amongst the various Oregon Cascade mountains.

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Quartzville Area

Bob just read the Albany Democrat Herald this morning. There is a public safety log entry for around 1:06 pm Sunday where someone called in finding a pile of bones with a baseball cap alongside at Milepost 3 Quartzville. Bob and I were driving in this area around that time, stopping to get photos. The photo here is from near that area, we have others that may be closer. Very strange and hope to find out more.
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Mt. Jefferson

We went for a drive today well up into the Cascades. We followed road 11 along Green Peter Reservoir and along the Yellowbottom area to where the road runs into Highway 22 near Marion Forks. It was a beautiful day full of sun and warmth. The day was crystal clear. So it was stunning to come around a curve and see such a view of Mt. Jefferson.
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Coyote Checking It Out

Here is another photo from the trail camera's photos from the last group of pictures. In this one the coyote is sniffing around where the three deer had been 20 minutes before. He is checking on his prey I would assume.
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Coyote picture

A two week check on our trail camera. No night shots this time, only day photos with some deer and one coyote who is following the deer track. Interesting photo.
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Magic Rainbow

The dark clouds parted for awhile and the sun peeked out through a break illuminating the rain. Up popped a full rainbow which I was able to capture a picture with the IPad as it displayed against the mountains.
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My Ceiva Picture

It is really cool to see one of the pictures I submitted for a photo contest show up on our Ceiva display. One photo I took of the Half Penny Bridge over the Liffey River in Dublin Ireland was one. It was a night photo and had great colors reflecting off the river. I rested my small Canon G-10 on the edge of the bridge to support it instead of on a tripod. It seemed to offer enough support. This is not the greatest photo from a camera of the Ceiva frame as the photo came up at one time but it shows what it is. Others around the country or world who have this unit will see my photo.
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Cold New Years

The weather has been bright and sunny but cold. BURRRRRRR.
Even the garden cat sculpture was frosty this morning and the cat looked like it was winking at me!catgardenornament
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Family Over 40 Years

I came across this interesting article about a man who photographed his wife and her 3 sisters every Christmas holiday for 40 years. Each picture with each year is chronicled in the article. We enjoy our families and photos are such memories. Many have shared these memories across the internet cloud through media like Facebook. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to maintain such a photo journal or history in such a manner. My hat is off to him for doing so. Check it out.
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High Waters

A pineapple express came across the Pacific Ocean and also poured rain from the clouds over this weekend. The high water mark was supposed to occur on the South Santiam River this afternoon. We took a short ride down to the Waterloo area, especially the park to view the river. The river was rushing past high and fast. The water was swirling and eddying as it headed toward the small falls near the bridge. Here is an example of the river rising near the park.
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Wave Mullet

One wave I got a photo of seems to be like a hair mullet or mohawk. Almost standing up like a curtain. The other wave portions are churning sand and making the wave colored brown. Interesting mix.
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Rocks and Milk

How the waves foam over the rocks looks so cool, like foamy milk being poured over a dark surface. I love the patterns of how the water foams over the surface. This was taken with a telephoto lens down to the rocks at Depot Bay.
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Bob Can Fly

Is Bob trying to mimic the seagulls that are close by on the Oregon beach near Lincoln City or is he just acting goofy for the camera? I will leave that for the viewer to decide…..

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Wave Spouts

Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast has some of the most intriguing and spectacular waves that hit the rocks along the bay. One phenomenon is where the wave hits so hard and at the right angle that there are wave spouts that merge upward. Fun to watch. Here is one….
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MiniMe Pirates

The Dread Pirate Robert has a Mini-Me version. The Mini-Me version has a truly great curl of the lip and way of saying that pirate, ARRRGH! Check it out.
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Forgotten New York City Island

I came across a fascinating article about an island that is part of New York City yet it is abandoned and overgrown. It had been used in the past by the city as a way station/hospital for certain situations. Now it is tucked away and forgotten. Forgotten except by a photographer who spent a number of hours and days chronicling what the island is like now. The photos are haunting and buildings seem to sit wanting to speak out about their story, the tales they could tell of days gone by and people who came through. Composition is great in these photos and one can read about it all here.

“North Brother Island is a secret hiding in plain sight. Located in New York’s East River, it was once an important part of the city’s infrastructure. In the last 50 years, however, it’s descended into ruin: Buildings have crumbled, vegetation has grown wild, and its primary visitors are now migratory birds. But as photographer Christopher Payne found out in the course of creating his book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City, the island still has stories to tell.”
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Technology and World War l

Most would consider World War l as the war that ended dreams of young people. A destroyer of the old order. A war to end all wars. It actually oversaw the birth of modern technology of warfare. Not necessarily a good thing though the technology was developed with the idea to save lives and end the war sooner. Yet, it didn’t work that way in the end. Take a look into this world and see photos from the era. This is the third part of a 10-part series on World War l in The Atlantic.

“Industrialization brought massive changes to warfare during the Great War. Newly-invented killing machines begat novel defense mechanisms, which, in turn spurred the development of even deadlier technologies. Nearly every aspect of what we would consider modern warfare debuted on World War I battlefields.”
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Winterboer House Sunrise

I posted a photo yesterday of the brilliant and large sunrise. Today I will post a photo of how the sunrise extended even toward the north and colored the sky above Berlin Ridge and the Winterboer’s house. It was unusual and quite pretty to see the sky so pink at that time. It did not last long though so the photos had to be quick and without a tripod.
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Surprising Sunrise

We have had fewer sunrises than usual so far this fall and winter. This morning it surprised us with a truly bright spectacular and large sunrise. Large in meaning because it extended along the eastern mountains toward the hills of Berlin Ridge Rd. The colors covered a large area of the horizon, more so than usual.
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Cat and Kittens Rocks

A short way south of our motel in Bandon was a nice beach with several rocks farther out in the surf off the beach. One cluster of rock formations are called the Cat and Kittens Rocks. Since they brought to mind the love of cats, I had to get a picture of the grouping.
Cat and Kittens Rocks, Bandon
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Sunset Bay

There is a small bay west of Coos Bay that is called Sunset Bay. It is a frequently photographed place since it is a spectacular spot for sunset viewing. It is also a pleasant spot for picnicking, beach walking, water sport, and fun at the coast. At least, on a sunny warm day such as this one was for us.
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Bob observing the scenery.

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Beach Play

One of the fun things for children at the Coast is to play in the sand and water. I caught a couple of boys enjoying their activities. The younger wanted to play in the sand; the older preferred to build log structures. The later activity was a struggle and he was never able to place one log up into the fork of another log.
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Color and Irrigation

More from that amazing sight of orange and blueish purple fields planted side-by-side. Bob got a nicely composed shot of one of the fields through an irrigation wheel. Good job!
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Colorful Fields

Great day of visiting with my friend, Marybeth. Bob and I had a nice lunch with her at a Vancouver Korean restaurant. Nice tasting and spicy food. It was with sadness that we had to leave Vancouver to drive home and not be able to spend more time with her. We could spend days chatting and have talked about taking photography classes at some point. It was a hot and early evening sun to drive home in. We got some really nice photos of local field crops and their color posed against each other.
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The Grant House

We took a recon trip up to Vancouver WA to visit the Hilton Hotel and restaurants in the area for next month’s Winn Symposium. One restaurant should be a great location due to its beautiful and historic structure and location on Officer’s Row at the Ft. Vancouver Historical site. The setting is very Pacific Northwest and striking. What a spot to be billeted in the military in its day!
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World War II Bunkers

If you want to see what can be made of long abandoned World War II bunkers in France, Holland, and Belgium, check out this article and the photographs taken of the bunkers in different lighting and in the winter. A lot of history and most likely the stories of men’s lives all wrapped up in these concrete “mansions”.

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Winning

One really good note from the day that shall stay nameless.
Paul Aziz, my photography instructor from Linn-Benton was elected mayor of Lebanon. Since we do not live in the city limits, it is more symbolic for us. He is a positive, good-spirited man and will do a good job.
I took the following sunset photo the day I went to one of his classes this last spring.

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Another Covered Bridge

I have not been able to keep up with posting blog articles as I hoped since I had to travel to Chicago last weekend and then was sick with a cold right as I came home.

One of the recent posts I had was of Karen in front of the Larwood Covered Bridge with her river rock. Not far, about 5 miles, from Larwood is the Shimanek Covered Bridge. It is along Richardson Gap Road, a common route we take now to go to Portland and PDX. Enjoy!

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More Joy of Children

One photo I really enjoyed taking was of a little girl dressed as a Southern Belle at Shirley Plantation. This plantation is the longest family-owned business/plantation in the United States. We had a nice visit there last summer at the end of June. The family still farms the plantation.

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Joy of Children

Energy and charm that just exudes from them. Watching children can be fun. Taking pictures can be even better. It is fun to catch them in unguarded moments as they explore the world. I have been trying to do more photos of kids because they are often moving and doing interesting things.

I enjoyed taking the following photo of a young boy having fun at the stopover on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. His family were trying to get him to react to them by raising his arms. He was so cute to follow through. It added to my pleasure too because it was the first full day of our vacation and I felt that uninhibited emotion of raising my arms in “joy” of being “free of commitments”.

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Frog at Jordan Pond

I finally finished uploading all the relevant photos from the trip to our Cloud album and to our CEIVA receiver in the family room. It has always been fun to look over and see what photos are cycling through the receiver that day. And it is particularly enjoyable when I am able to add a new batch to the what is available. I was so excited one day to look over and see a photo of the Ha’Penny Bridge over the Liffey River in Dublin on the receiver screen. I think it was more of a double-take because it had my name on it as photographer. I had submitted the photo for a contest with CEIVA and here it was being shared with many others over the photo wire. HappyThis photo work episode inspired me to watch the photos as I uploaded them. For some reason, I enjoyed the one we got of the little frog in the water at the edge of Jordan Pond on Desert Island in Maine.

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“Froggie go a courtin’, uh huh!” While trying to line up newsfeeds to use here and on the community Facebook page, I came across a website with great photos for the year.
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What's In A Name?

I realize that I have not spent any time at the start explaining the meaning behind the “BenThaer-Horizons” website name.

When I first considered doing a website 3 years ago, I was strongly looking at going into Coaching-work and lifestyle type. I am still interested in that field though I found I could not focus the time and money to do what it takes. One also needs a business plan or just a plan to make it successful, productive, and, hopefully, money-producing. So that is where the Horizons part comes in. I do want to think about new horizons and fresh outlooks to take a positive, hopeful look at life’s opportunities. Bob and I also love Scotland--the lochs, the glens, and the bens (mountains). There are a lot of mountains around us here in Oregon. If you combine Ben and Thayer (shortened to Tha’er, the domain name can’t take apostrophes, so Thaer), we felt it sounded like someone would say, “BenThaer” as we would joke when we would see an article or picture of a particular place, “We’ve been there”!
Convoluted, yet Thayer logic.

Well today is going to be a catch up day, plus tomorrow and the day after. I will have to get back to making lists of items that I must accomplish for the Winn Feline Foundation. I also need to learn more about this website software and podcasting, etc. Lots of little tasks to work on.

So to enjoy more of that today, a lovely sunny summer day in Oregon, here is a shot of a wonderful field of color just north of Silverton OR we saw on our drive home yesterday morning. We have our dogs home and the kitties are happy to see us. Oscar is talking more to us that he has in the last 4 years we have had him. I can just hear it, “Please don’t go away again!”

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Yesterday was Bangor Maine

Waking up at the Shilo Inn near the Portland Airport, it is hard to believe that our wake up call yesterday was in Bangor Maine. It was a bright hot day in the Northeast yesterday, though not muggy. The weather in Boston was similar to what we would find in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

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Maine Lake near Bar Harbor

We found the airport facilities quickly and got the rental car returned. The Alaska Airlines gate area was comfortable and there were electrical outlets available for the intrepid. A view from Boston harbor to Logan International airport as planes line up.

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The flight was uneventful and we had a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood as they lined up down the Cascades on our approach into Portland. The Thayers were tired so staying the night at the Shilo Inn made sense. Now on to home and our family and animals.

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The Thayer Farm
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Louisbourg and Glace Bay

Compared to yesterday, the morning was sunny overall with high clouds. It was a gorgeous summer day and great weather to spend part of the day visiting the might Louisbourg Fortress. The original was destroyed by Wolfe in about 1760. Canada restored a period reproduction fortress in 1969 that currently covers about 20% of the area of the original. Considering how large this fortress is with its many buildings, the original site must have been huge! The Park Service has many people dressed in period costumes around the fort to allow visitors to see how the people lived and worked in that day. The fort was originally built by the French and was the largest fortress offering protection on the East Coast in its day. The French traded all over the area and worked with the native people, the Mi’kwaw. It was captured twice by the British until it was destroyed as mentioned before.

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Louisbourg Fortress and buildings

As mentioned, there were a number of people greeting visitors while in period costume. Women in clogs, white hats, and dress aprons. Children in similar costume. Men in military uniforms or in work clothing of the times. One interesting piece was when they were driving 3 geese around the streets plus leading a ewe and lamb for a “celebrity TV cook” named Allen Cox(ey)?, possibly of BBC showings. He had a man filming the animals which from what I was told.......... the geese were old and probably would not have tasted very good. At least it wasn’t Gordon Ramsey, who would have screamed at everyone.


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And the women..........

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In the afternoon, we drove northeast to Glace Bay. It is the site of Marconi’s first transmission of wireless sound across the Atlantic to a site in Cornwall. The first step to our use of cell phones! A wonderful story of his struggles to accomplish this is in the book, “Thunderstruck”, by Erik Larsen. It was only a 30 minute tour of the museum yet it was special to me because of this book. They have a gentleman in the museum most days sending out wireless Ham radio signals and Morse Code across the world. We have come a long way in 110 years.

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Table Head at Glace Bay, N.S.

Right after this visit, we went to the Miner’s Museum. We did not take the tour, though you can go down into a coal mine next to the sea. This area was the first coal mining done in North America. It was an interesting history. Unfortunately, the government felt that coal mining did not pay for itself and the mines were overall shut down by the 1990’s. There are still about 3000 miners in the area, down from about 12,000.
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Cape Breton Highlands to Louisbourg

Today’s plan was to venture up and over the Cape Breton Island peninsula. We said goodbye to our hosts at the Pilot Whale in St. Joseph du Moine. It was an interesting stay since the area is Acadian settled and our hosts speak English and Acadian French. Our French is too rusty and long ago to be of huge use in this setting. I do want to include a picture of the B and B and the surrounding country as we go.

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As we headed up the coast, we stopped at Aucoin’s Boulangerie, a French bakery with great bread. We approached the part of the National Park that has few to no roads near Pleasant Bay Harbour. You can see what wild country it looks like and there were clouds and mist over the mountains. Lots of deer, moose, coyotes, and other critters in those mountains.

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Stopping at one spot along the Ingonish area of the Cape Breton coastline, we could get a closer view of the beautiful shores, rough water, and the work of the lobster fishermen in their boats snagging lobster traps close to shore.

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Snagging lobster traps

One interesting side trek we took was to Baddeck, along Bas d’Or Lake. This lovely little town was the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell and his family. He kept a laboratory here also. They have a national historic site museum here and it tells of his life and inventions. Bell started out his life working with the deaf and trying to bring a hearing world to them. His wife was hearing challenged. He also ended up being close friends with Helen Keller and helped expand her world. Bell was amazing in that he had a hand in inventing the telephone (of course), also worked with the telegraph, gramaphone, flying, kites, X-rays, genetics, and the hydrofoil. His work with flight went on to form the Lockheed company. His large home here near Baddeck was called Beinn Bhreaghm. The following photo is of the Bell museum.

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Alexander Graham Bell Historical site
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Cape Breton Island, Day One

Today started off early with a 7 a.m. departure to Cape Breton Island. Our goal was to make the 11:30 a.m. Cailidh in Judique at the Celtic Music Cultural Centre. Both of us love Celtic music and have many albums. This area is the birthplace of Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and the Rankins for just a small number.

We made the Cailidh with a little time to spare. “Failte” (fell-cha) greets us as we enter. “Failte” is “Welcome” in Gaelic. The Director of the Centre is Kinnon Beaton and he will play the fiddle for about one hour over the lunch period. We listen to music while eating a lovely seafood chowder full of scallops, crab, and lobster which is then topped off with a bread pudding with caramel sauce. The music is toe-tapping wonderful and we got some video of the different songs played. Here is Kinnon Beaton with Dewars playing piano. We even had an example of “Close to the Ground” Cape Breton step dancing.

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They have an exhibit area at the Centre where one can learn about jigs, reels, slow airs, and Strathspeys. They even have video to show you how to play a few notes of the fiddle and to do step dancing too.

We headed on further up the left coast of Cape Breton to our destination of St. Joseph du Moine, just south of Cheticamp. Our B and B is the Pilot Whale at St. Joseph. Not far from there, Bob saw a Bald Eagle just off the road and he was able to get a few photos of this magnificent bird. (A host at our B and B stated a moose was spotted a few days ago in a local bog. Not a common sight if you go looking for them).

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We headed into Cheticamp for dinner time. The outstanding structure is the Catholic church of Eglise Saint-Pierre. It had an beautiful interior as the other churches we saw on the Acadian coast.

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Eglise Saint-Pierre at Cheticamp N.S.

Shortly after visiting the church, we drove out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Cheticamp harbour. It is active and the light was going for all boats and ships at sea.

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It is fascinating as we travel across Nova Scotia. There are areas of more English influence such as near Halifax. As we traveled into the Cailidh Trail such as with Judique and Mabou, the signs are in English with Gaelic underneath. In the areas where the Acadians are more present, such as in Cheticamp, Grand Pre, and Saint Bernard, all the signs are first in French, then in English (the reverse is true in other areas of Canada). What an interesting culture and impact they have on their surrounding communities.
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The Evangeline Trail

It was with sadness that we left our hosts in Annapolis Royal. Bill and Ann Marie were about the best B and B hosts you could find. We shared a number of stories and laughs while there. We met a lovely couple, Bob and Susan, from Halifax during the first two days. They were so kind to share some of their lobster purchased over on the Bay of Fundy. Fortunately, Susan was an expert at cracking lobsters since we are ham-handed. It was so good! Now, when it comes to pig, Susan is less apt. They went to the local Pig Feed just down the road at the community center on the night of Canada Day. We wanted to go and could not get tickets for the same time. When it came time that the roasted pigs were carried out “in whole” and served right off the pig, Susan said she could not look at the pig or eat it. The production and look were too much for her.

Well, on to packing up and going down the Annapolis River Valley to follow the Evangeline trail. The farm land was impressive, especially around Kentville and the Acadian dyke land of Grand Pre. Grand Pre is the center of “Le Grand Derangement”. On july 28, 1755, the Acadians (the men) were invited to meet with the area’s Governor. While there, they were surrounded by troops and promptly separated from their families to be transported to ships and dispersed to other areas. This is the start of the Acadians being sent to New Orleans, Quebec, New England, and France. Despite the dispersement, the Acadians have survived and carried on their traditions. They could not have had a better spokesperson as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, Evangeline.

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Evangeline statue at the National Park

The National Park service has a lovely museum and headquarters in Grand Pre. The Park covers about 14 acres with lovely gardens and it also looks over the dykelands the Acadians developed. There is a memorial church on the grounds and it gives more history and color to the trials of the Acadians. Just this last Saturday, the Park Service found that this site had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of 16 in Canada (three in Nova Scotia).

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While at the church, I noticed two children enjoying the church cat. The young man said he loved cats............my kind of people. So Bob got a photo of us with Evangeline, the 16 year old church cat.

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We got to Halifax about 4 p.m. and prepared to attend the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo at the Convention Center in Halifax. The Tattoo was spectacular and full of talented people. The U.S. was represented by the Band of America’s Few. It is made up of retired Marine band members. The focus this year was on the Queen’s 60th Jubilee year, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Highlights were the 1812 Overture at the end of the first act and the high wire scaffold act above the center arena floor of the Paris Police Officers Group who perform impressive gymnastics. The pipes and drums at the Tattoo.

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Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

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Wine Tasting and the Acadian Coast

July 2 was a very pleasant day of sightseeing. We drove west and south to visit the Bear River community. It is developing into a wine area and we stopped at Annapolis Highlands winery. They have a Pinot Gris that is good and different from a Pinot Gris made in the West of the United States. It is a bit more tart, less sweet than an Oregon wine. After a great lunch at My Dream Cafe on the Bear River (and it is on, since part of it is on stilts in the river), we drove down the Acadian coast.

One pretty stop was the Gilbert Cove Lighthouse on the way to St. Bernard’s. It was interesting because we watch a seagull harass a Bald Eagle near the lightlhouse.

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St. Bernard’s has the largest stone church in North America. It is very large and impressive from a distance. While visiting, a young Acadian girl came to see her brother at the church and started practicing her violin. I got 2 great clips of her playing. It was very special and she was lovely and very good at her craft. The church is renowned for its acoustics and many international artists have played there. I would say the acoustics are special.

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Eglise’ St. Bernard

About 5-7 miles further down the road is another large wooden church at Church Point. This is a very unique church with many wonderful stained glass windows. It has a wonderful story and the interior walls are lined with canvas. The following is an example of the church and then its stained glass.

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Eglise’ Saint Marie

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One of the 20 odd stained glass windows.

Last but not least, the full moon over the Annapolis River at high tide. What a beautiful sight!

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O' Canada

Now that I have better internet access, I am going to work on catch up for the blog. I will probably enter days or interests in different blog entries so it does not get too long.
Sunday, July 1, was Canada Day. We decided to participate in the local town’s festivities (Annapolis Royal). We first went downtown to visit the shops and see the local museums. The first one we visited, Sinclair Museum, was small yet interesting. It was an example of an Acadian tavern from the 1700’s that showed the wood and stone structure through cut-outs of the walls and floors. Just outside we saw one of the town cats strolling the sidewalk greeting people.

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Or observed two Westies and a Scottie checking out the wooden boardwalk with their owner.

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At 11:30 a.m., we were at the town hall steps listening to the Town Crier and his two young apprentices, along with the Mayor of Annapolis Royal, read the Canada Day proclamation. We joined in to wave Canadian flags and sing O’Canada. While I respect the Queen and wish her all health, I cannot sing God Save The Queen since we did have a Revolution to not have royalty as our head of government. Bells were rung, proclamations unfurled, and a flag raised.

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We followed the crowd from the city hall along the path to Fort Royal to the Canada cake cutting and hot dog grilling area. The local band played several wonderful songs under the shade trees near the battlements. In another area, there were try outs for a future town crier. “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, my name is “Oliver Stephen Bonnington” was firmly shouted while ringing the bell.

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The people were very friendly and as we were leaving, Oliver’s Dad came over and wished us a wonderful rest of our vacation. It was very special to see how this little ceremony demonstrated the pride and enjoyment the Canadians have in their traditions. They were supportive of each other and their community. We visited Fort Royal’s museum before we left the festivities and learned about its function as a military fort for the area. There had been 13 major battles there and the fort had changed hands 7 times over its history.

Later that afternoon, we ventured off to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. The Gardens are highly regarded and a wonderful place to view. The roses were so fragrant, especially one variety, the Mrs. John Laing, from 1887. It had a tangy, sweet smell.

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Mrs John Laing rose
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Annapolis Royal Sojourn

Bob and I have been staying at a B and B in Annapolis Royal area of Nova Scotia since Saturday night. It has been difficult to get the computer to access the internet so I have not been able to write on the blog as much. Hopefully, while in Halifax I can catch up. We are having a great time and there will be lots to share.

For a taste, I will post a picture of our B and B, A Seafaring Maiden, in the blog for the day.

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Bangor to Annapolis Royal N.S.

Rousing ourselves early this morning, we hit the road shortly after 7 a.m. to go to Acadia National Park, the Park Loop, and Bar Harbor Maine. We knew we would have to leave the north part of the Island by 1 p.m. to head along Hwy. 1 along the Maine Coast to Calais (pronounced “Callous”, which Bob laughed about more times that I could count), the border crossing with Canada. Back to the DownEast area..............Acadia and Bar Harbor. We went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain which is the highest spot on the East Coast and the first part of the United States to see the sunrise. The island was named Desert Island by Champlain in the early 1600’s because it is bare of most trees and has a lot of rock with little cover soil. You can see how happy Bob is to be on vacation and seeing new territory.
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After visiting the mountain, we stopped by Bubble Pond and then Jordan Pond. These are more beautiful small lakes than ponds that have been dug out of surrounding ground by glaciers many years ago.

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We then shortly visited Seal Harbor, the Northeast Harbor and drove along Sommes fjord. One boat was out in the fjord checking his lobster traps.

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Our final stop while on Desert Island was Bar Harbor, a very quaint town that brings to mind Carmel or Calistoga CA. it looks like a neat place to stay and then see the sights around the area. We enjoyed a Lobster Roll with fresh Maine lobster on grilled toast. We bought 1/2 lb. crab meat at the same place to eat along with way with a box of fresh strawberries. The crab was really great, mild and melt in your mouth like butter. Yum!

It was on to Calais and entering Canada. The border crossing was fairly quick. They wanted to know if Bob was an unemployed Terrorist and if I was his veterinarian accomplice. Since we weren’t, it was OK for us to be Canadians for a few weeks. We found a lovely beach and view of the Bay of Fundy at Dipper Harbor located about 18 miles west of St. John.
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We rushed off to get in line for the ferry crossing from St. John to Digby NS. For some reason, the ferry left the dock about one hour before we expected. Later we found out that the time zone changed to one hour ahead at the border. A very good thing that Bob pushed us to be there early or we could have missed our ferry and lost the $178 it cost to take it. It is about 72 km across the Bay of Fundy (where the tide change can be 4 stories in itself). We will arrive about 11 pm at Digby and on to the B and B.
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A Day of Travel, Then Boston

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We got started this morning by arriving at PDX shortly after 5:30 a.m. Our seats had been re-structured to where we had to be in the last row on the left side. Full flight. Time did seem to go quickly and it was a non-stop on Alaska Airlines. We landed with thunderstorms around and in the midst of rain and wind gusts. As wheels touched down, a big wind gust blew the plane sideways to the right. A new experience.

We caught the Blue Line Bus #66 to the Water Taxi/Harbor Express to Quincy. It was a fun ferry and an opportunity to take photos of a new area I have not seen before. Boston Harbor and the City (below).
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The Boston Harbor Wharf near downtown Boston from the Harbor Express on the way to Quincy.


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