Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Ship Cutty Sark – Last of the Clipper Ships

Cutty Sark

The last and likely the most beautiful of the magnificent Clipper Ship class, the Cutty Sark was built challenge the reigning champion clipper of the day Thermopylae. The competed around the world for several years.

Whether carrying cargoes of gold or ceramics or blended Scotch Whiskey from it’s home port the Cutty Sark continually set new records for flying across the Duke of Edinburgh—Prince Philip—who established the Cutty Sark Society in 1951 and still serves as the president of its successor, the Cutty Sark Trust. world’s oceans.

The Clipper Ships ruled the waves and world trade for years. Only to be eventually replaced by plugging, smoke-spouting steam ships. The steamers set standards for reliability and size which displaced the graceful Clippers.

The Cutty Sark changed hands several times, was refitted after being de-masted in a storm but was continually degraded in her cargoes. Yet, in 1922 she returned to British hands and was returned to her former grandeur. She served as a training ship for several years. Duke of Edinburgh—Prince Philip—who established the Cutty Sark Society in 1951 and still serves as the president of its successor, the Cutty Sark Trust.

Moved to Greenwich for restoration she suffered a major fire in 2007. Work continued and is now open to the public.

8/8/69

45th anniversary of my discharge. Processed-out at Ft. Lewis, WA after the long flight back from Nam. Main things I remember: All cadre at the proc. center wore masks ’cause we all stank and our breath could melt paint off walls. Took a hot shower & felt clean for the first time in recent memory. I had a pocket full of money and I ate a huge steak at the airport & 3 pieced of chocolate pie…all of which made me sick but satisfied.

I flew into OKC and when my mom grabbed me she was shaking uncontrollably. Driving through the big city to get out of town I thought how normal it looked…just like when I had left it. After I slept the clock around I discovered the world I had left was really gone. Then I had to start building a new life which in some ways was successful but in others I failed totally.

That long day seems like yesterday, yet, here I sit nearly a half century later. On other 8/8s I would lose my dad, I quit smoking finally on 8/8/84…and so many more incidents on 8/8 just because I noticed it on that day…this day…today.

The Dechutes River Below the Three Sisters Mountains

D River

I fished the Deschutes River below the Three Sisters mountains. Beautiful country with desert to the East & high mountain country in the West across the river. Just across the river the pines came marching downward, spreading & thinning as they neared the bottom land.

flowing riverThe river was flowing deep, freezing as it carried the snow melt towards the huge Columbia River in the North. So strong was it rushing I could not tell the curious bump of trout from weeds speeding by me. I caught nothing but the rushing nightfall and a quick run back to then toasty warmth of our host’s house and supper freshly caught from the waters.Historically, the Dechutes has been used by Native Americans as a thoroughfare to the Columbia for trading and hunting. Early explorers, French & American, wandered it’s shores in search of beaver. Later John Wayne rode near it in both his movies “True Grit” and “Rooster Cogburn”.
horses
The Sisters mountains are ancient volcano cones long silent. Their summits are normally covered in snow and brightly visible in the summer sun, shimmering and beckoning for scores of miles out upon the Eastern desert.

The desert was very warm in the early July sun just rising high into the Oregon sky. Having sweated long in the hills of Southeastern Oklahoma the cool(ish) air was a respite. The next morning the vehicle windows were covered with a lite layer of ice.

All through the warmth of mid-day passed a steady parade of guests upon the icy waters of the Dechutes. They rode in wide pointed nose wooden boats beating across the waters with oars. Many folk came individually and in pairs riding the long, sleek canoes not that far distant from the Native Americans a millennium past.
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Still more crowded into the large oblong rafts of rubber and tarp. These last were the gay travelers always accompanied by laughing, joyful screams decrying some beautiful scene or just a steady whooping in delight. These voyagers came from across the country, indeed around the world and presented a fascinating river of themselves for my observation.