One more eclipse story

And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

— Roger Waters, “Eclipse” from Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”

The sun eclipsed by the moon, Aug. 21, 2017, Albany, Ore. Photo by Debbie Cockrell

The eclipse coincided with my birthday. I took Amtrak to Albany, Ore., the day before and fretted as the train passed Salem, Ore., and the haze/clouds seem to get. thicker. But, I did see a hint of blue sky ahead. Jim had arrived a week ahead of time for his own work, but sending me pictures of scenes around town prior to my arrival. Continue reading “One more eclipse story”


Money, it’s a gas …

Seen Friday, Aug. 18, Albany, Ore. Photo by Jim Cockrell

It’s time to cash in on the eclipse.

Fred Meyer, Albany, Ore. Friday, Aug. 18. Photo by Jim Cockrell

Read more of my coverage here. And here.

And here’s a link to the story behind the photos.

The time to decide is today

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Screenshot of NASA’s home page Friday.

If you’re going to make a trip to an eclipse totality zone, say in Oregon, it’s go time. Here is my article today on how to get it together.

Madras, Ore., already is seeing the influx with a festival just outside town.

The forecast is promising: “Intermountain West still looks like the best viewing conditions, but the area from St. Louis to Nashville is a close second,” writes The Washington Post today.

And if you need any more convincing, here’s a TED Talk on why everyone owes it to themselves to see a total solar eclipse before they die. 

Just go. If you’re not up for a big car trip, get as close as you can to the path of totality. Go outside, put on your protective glasses, and just experience it. If you didn’t get the glasses, grab something with pinholes (a colander, for example.) Place an index card in front of you as the screen. Have your back to the sun and hold the colander beside your head, aiming at the card. Congratulations, you have an instant pinhole projector to watch the eclipse phases.

This is a phenomenon unlike any other. Don’t waste this moment with a normal schedule of a Monday doing mundane things, indoors or in a car.

Here’s a schedule of when it will be in your part of the country. Now you have no excuse for missing it.

Remember the Apollo moon landing. 1969 wasn’t such a jolly year for our country, either. But for that moment, when the astronauts landed, we stopped and watched, in awe.

This is one of those times.

Get outside.

More of my eclipse coverage here.

Why I commute

The park that is practically in our backyard, one of two state parks less than a few miles from where we live.

When I was a kid, it seemed unheard of the time spent in people’s cars commuting in places like Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is here.

These are my latest articles (for one I partnered with fellow reporter Kate Martin) and what people face on the road working the Olympia-to-Seattle corridor. Some drive from the Oregon border. Daily. Others face shorter commutes, but also see bottlenecks just the same on I-5.  Continue reading “Why I commute”

New job title and a blog reboot

My favorite place on Earth. Mount Rainier, 2014

Hey, I’m back! Just a quick note that I’m now reporting for my longtime employer, The News Tribune in Tacoma, after working as business section team leader since 2011. Our newsroom is changing, and I asked to change along with it. Here’s my (sort of) first bylined report. I’ve gone by another moniker “Staff Report” in the past when I was section editor and needed to write about gas prices and such.

The story below is not for those fit and trim seniors, of which maybe there are a handful in the country. This is for the rest of us, seniors or not, as a reminder to keep moving and get out there and hike according to your ability like your life depended on it, because it does.

And for the regular readers of this blog (sorry it’s taken so long to get back) I’ve got some catching up to do with you, I realize that. More to come. Soon.

Hiking Multnomah Falls in Oregon

One of the “smaller” falls at Multnomah Falls park.

Yes, we did. That was my goal after completing some trails at Mount Rainier. Mind you, I’m coming back from years of inactivity, so the video below, when you see me hiking with my trekking poles, it’s because my knees feel way better after the hike when I use them. Continue reading “Hiking Multnomah Falls in Oregon”

Back to the Mountain for a Hike and My Next Challenge: Multnomah Falls

mountain July 20Saturday was a gorgeous day at Mount Rainier. We left our house late, around 11 a.m., and by the time we got to Eatonville the clouds had dissipated, and it was soon a blue-sky day. We then set off for another challenging hike. Continue reading “Back to the Mountain for a Hike and My Next Challenge: Multnomah Falls”

When We Came to the West

Celia C-2
Celia and Jim on the road, 2004

To celebrate our new MacBook Pro, we have been watching Ken Burns “The West.” It’s a documentary series that, like most of Ken Burns’ work, is a time commitment. So far, it’s not been a happy series. Lots of mass slaughter, sneak attacks and plenty of history you are never taught in school because it would leave you fairly traumatized.

We came to Washington state in 2004. We left Kansas City on Halloween and drove the first night to Salina, Kansas, the first place I ever saw Bob Dylan perform years before. That night of the concert, we drove back to Kansas City, never dreaming a few years later Salina would be our launch point for leaving the Midwest forever.

After Salina in our trip to the Northwest, we drove all the way to Rawlins, Wy., and stopped for the night because it was snowing pretty hard and we’d seen some off-the-road pileups starting to occur. Our soundtrack for the trip was Brian Wilson’s remake of “Smile.”

“Light the lamp and fire mellow,
Cabin essence timely hello,
Welcomes the time for a change.” 

I cannot listen to “Cabin Essence” off “Smile” without thinking of that snowy stretch of road.

The next day we drove to Boise, Idaho, then on to Tumwater, Wa. Our first residence was in Tumwater before we eventually settled in Olympia.

And that was it. Our trip was as far removed from Ken Burns’ “The West,” as it gets. We benefited from those wagon trains’ harrowing six-month journeys with a sanitized interstate experience, us and two cats packed in our Mazda staring at the endless ribbon of highway ahead.