Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Saturday Pictures on Wednesday

Saturday Pictures on Wednesday
July 29, 2015
(click to enlarge)

We snapped some photos on our way back to Bozeman from Seattle. I always check out the wind farms; there are a couple east of the Cascades adjacent to I-90.  A front was coming through with gusty winds. Blades were twirling this time. 

Pasture and an out building.

Abandoned railroad trestle crossing I-90.

When we got near Deer Lodge, Montana, we looked up and sure enough there was fresh fallen snow atop the highest peak -- a sight not usually seen before September.

Fresh snowfall appeared above Anaconda as well.

And fresh white snow was across the mountain tops east of Butte.

At dusk the temperature at Homestake pass had already dropped to 44 degrees Fahrenheit, a huge contrast to the 108 degree temperature we encountered in Spokane on the way out. At home that night the low was 38. Happy to be home again.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Morton Grove Little League All Stars, 1966

We posted this just short of half-century old nostalgic photo on my personal Facebook page back in 2011. We were reminded of it the last few days when a couple of my childhood friends somehow ferreted it out from among my hundreds of pictures posted, and clicked the Like button. It occurred to me that some among the broader audience of current and former Morton Grove residents who read my blog might find the photo of interest. Now the pictured individuals will have an opportunity to turn up in search engine results.

Morton Grove north side All Stars 1966. Starting top left: Tom Brown, John Tritschler, Kevin Dohm, Grady Foster, and Scott McKay. First Row: Richie Kengott, Michael Vincini, Rick Lauson, Bobby Brown and Ricky Klaser. Not pictured, Eugene Knepper and Bob Warren.

The names are as best as I can recollect, supplemented by several corrections and fill in the blanks supplied by Facebook friends. Additional corrections and amplifications are welcome (to email me go to the link on my profile page).

In the 1960s Morton Grove Little League (ages 8 through 12) was split into north and south divisions, with teams competing exclusively within division. Towards the end of each season separate all star teams were named for north and south to compete in the single elimination tournament against other towns that led eventually to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylavania. As I recall the dividing line between north and south was Dempster Street. There were AAA, minor (blue hats) and major (green hats) leagues. When in the majors I played on the Senators in the north. Our games were played at Harrer, Mansfield, Palma Lane and National Parks. My coach was a gentleman by the name of Bob Gore, an insurance agent who lived in a home abutting National Park, down the first base line. I bought my first life insurance policy from Mr. Gore when I was sixteen years old.

My father coached a different team in the same league -- the Indians if I recall correctly. My dad used our lawn mower to create a practice field in the Forest Preserve clearing down the street from our house on Austin Avenue. Dad had the best drilled team in the league. They were repeat champions. The Senators were a perennial patsy for the Indians.  
The Bugle, July 14, 1966

The only time we played at a field with an outfield fence was in All Star games. With our sparkling white all star uniforms, professional umpiring, freshly raked and lined and mowed fields, playing in an All Star game to us felt like appearing in the big leagues. 

After initially posting this photo we happened across this Bugle article to the right when we searched using several of the players names, announcing the north -- and south --- all stars, in 1966, not 1965 as we had first assumed. Based on the article, I have made what I think will be the final corrections of the names.

I was a center fielder and pitcher who played only center field as an All Star because we were one and done. I don't recall the score other than that the game was close and low scoring. I remember shaking like a leaf as the drive rose towards me, but still catching a hard hit fly ball near the center field fence. I struggled at the plate. Our game was at Austin Park, which had a home run snow fence installed across the outfield special for the occasion. I wore the MG hat that signified my All Star status until it frayed around the edges. The uniforms were returned for use by the next year's team. So it was, growing up in Morton Grove in the summer of 1966.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hot To Trot To Seattle

We have been in Seattle through most of July this summer, house sitting while my sister is off to Iceland, Sweden and Denmark with her niece (my oldest daughter). Meanwhile we got a fellow looking out after our home back in Bozeman.

When we blogged about the trip over on I-90 I neglected to mention the extreme heat we encountered along the way. At the lowest point on the first day of our trip (a bridge across the Spokane River) the thermometer peaked at 108 degrees.

The next day when we passed through the massive wind turbine farm above the Columbia River Gorge east of Ellensburg I noted that, as is the norm, there was little movement. On this peak cooling and electricity consumption day, the blades turned on probably one-third of the turbines and slowly rotated at that. I would venture a guess that perhaps ten percent of the electrical generation capacity was actually being realized. As per normal, alternative and renewable energy, alternative and renewable energy, alternative and renewable energy, say it five, ten, fifteen, a hundred or a thousand times and elect someone who says that for you -- that will make it work, Okay?
F/V Northwestern of Deadliest Catch fame, docked at
its home port, Salmon Bay above Ballard locks,
Seattle, Washington.

As we crossed over the Cascades and cruised down to Seattle temperatures cooled to the mid-90s due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean. We settled in and have been in Seattle since.

You could call it my home away from home, in that Seattle is the city I've spent more time in than any other place that I have not actually settled in my sixty plus years on this earth. My first visit was 53 years previous.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Let's Play Ball!

We decided to attend the Mariner's game Sunday -- the last before the All Star break. I had not been to a professional baseball game in Seattle since 1977. First for me there was the question of the ball park because the last time I had seen the Mariners they played in the Kingdome.. They told me the Kingdome had imploded. Sure enough the video is online.

So we jumped on the Route 5 bus and took it straight down to Safeco Field.

We were fortunate to secure fourth row seats up the left field line, just behind the ball girl. Seattle Reign and Women's World Cup soccer star Megan Rapinoe threw out the ceremonial first pitch fresh from the United States championship victory over Japan last week just north of here in Vancouver, British Columbia. That would be about all the Mariners fans had to cheer until the bottom of the 9th inning.

In red and gray opposing the Mariners were the Los Angeles Angels.

Seth Smith's pinch hit home run in the bottom of the 9th was way too little, way too late for the Mariners.

The home team suffered a 10 to 3 loss in what the Mariners manager said was the "worst game of the year."

But for us it was the best because we got a renewed taste of what it meant to be in the major leagues.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Uncle Lyndon King Armstrong At Rest

Here at Along the Gradyent our blogging pace slowed considerably during June and into July. The primary cause? Our five-years young laptop started slowing down and sporadically freezing up, then self-checked into hospice and died, so the local PC repair geeks confirmed, leading to need for replacement. "No problem," we said. We went to the places that sold PCs in Bozeman, systemically checked out the machines and the interfaces to see what features could be had and how those features comported with our needs. We settled on the brand and style whose keyboard I am presently pounding.

But we learned then that Bozeman is not a place where vendors actually stock computers. It could take from five to ten days to get a machine in hand after shipping from some distant West Coast distribution center, by which time we were preparing to leave town on our segment of a low-cost multi-family midsummer's journey of musical chairs' housesitting.

"No problem," I said, "I don't need a computer immediately, I have a smart phone, that I can use that at least to search the net, navigate and receive and send emails," a bold claim which led sequentially, of course, to that four-year old hand-held devise's rapid demise. When we finally pulled up to a Best Buy in Seattle, the credit card lords hiccupped at the prospect of authorizing an expensive electronic purchase 687 miles from home.

Anyhow, I shall spare readers the remaining details except to say that our blogging output will ramp up slowly as we learn a new system (since when did icons become charms?) and we enjoy the beauty and bounty of gorgeous summer weather.

Now let's get to our presently intended blog post.

About two-thirds of the way from Bozeman to Seattle lies the city of Spokane. Laying just west of the Idaho/Washington state line, Spokane's population rose from 350 in 1880 to about 20,000 in 1890. Spurred by a rapidly growing mining sector and following a boom pattern typical of the American West, the city's population skyrocketed to 100,000  by 1910. Spokane took these last 100 years to garner its second hundred thousand citizens.

One of the 1890 migrants whose move into the city surged Spokane's population and drove its economy was my great uncle, Lyndon King Armstrong. Lyndon King Armstrong was a pharmacist, miner, engineer, publisher and trade association leader.  Lyndon set out from Bathgate, North Dakota, to the Pacific Northwest early in 1890.