Fun facts and details from a wandering lifestyle

April 26, 2011

Travel is broadening. Despite the fact that we both intend to loose a few pounds on this trip as a result of good eating and increased exercise and therefore decrease the width of our beam, the trip has widened our minds. I already have a head full of unrelated and generally useless trivia but after almost 60 years of dribbling that information out, it is good to get some new stuff to share randomly as the occasion requires.

One of my favourite TV characters was the writer played by Morey Amsterdam in the Dick Van Dyke Show. One of his set pieces on the show was to recite a joke about any topic you could name. Of course, the show was scripted but the talent was inspiring. But I digress. What I want to do today is give you some of the fascinating gems I have learned in the first few weeks of travel.

FACT: Rainbow and Steelhead Trout are the same species. I learned this at a self-serving aquarium exhibit operated by a lumber company in Oregon which demonstrated that they had over 50 scientists working on environmental issues and preserving the fish and other animals who are affected by the thousands of other employees dedicated to cutting down trees and denuding the environment.

FACT: At the Tillamoot Creamery I learned that over 100 years ago salt was originally added to butter during production to preserve it during shipping. It is the same reason that salt pork and similar products were produced. Without the added salt the butter turned rancid before it could be used. Improvements in transportation made the production technique unnecessary but consumer’s taste for salt keeps salted butter on the shelf.

FACT: Cape Blanco is supposed to be the most westerly point in the contingent United States. There is a lighthouse on the Cape which despite being the shortest lighthouse on the western coast is the highest lighthouse above sea level because of the cliffs that the lighthouse is located on. At least one other community claims to be located at the furthest point sticking into the Pacific.

FACT: Paul Bunyan was raised on milk fed to him in 80 gallon baby bottles. You can see a life size statue of Paul and Babe the Blue Ox at the Trees of Wonder exhibit in Oregon.

FACT: Bandon, Oregon is a nice place to visit despite the fact that some wag has added an “A” to the beginning of the name on a highway sign making it less attractive as Abandon.

FACT: There is less than 4% of the original old growth Redwood forest left. Some of these trees were growing when Jesus was born and have survived over 2000 years of history. Yet in just over 200 years we have decimated these forestry giants to make shingles and deck lumber.

FACT: Over 50,000 containers full of consumer goods are offloaded in the Los Angeles port EACH DAY. When you see the vast array of products available at Wal-Mart it is easy to see where much of that cargo goes.

FACT: There are six soil types of soil in the Napa Valley. Most wine growing areas contain one or two. Apparently the only other place in the world with six soil types is a small valley in France. Since more than 80% of a wine’s ultimate success comes from the orchard then you can understand why Napa has such a variety of excellent wines.

FACT: The slogan for this trip has become “Not all who wander are lost.” I hope you appreciate that these facts are no longer lost.

That’s what I have been thinking about.

Jon Hall

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