About Palmer the Bear

I am a children's writer who will be transcribing for Palmer the Bear. We are both from southern Oregon, but who knows where you might find him. It will be fun to find out...

The City of Roses – Part 1

Ode to the City of Roses – Portland Oregon that is. We took a wonderful trip last Spring to that fine city which graces the shores of northern Oregon, and of course I brought back pictures to share. Our trip was to celebrate my Tessa’s birthday. She has never been much of a city bear, so it was quite a treat showing her around and seeing her reaction. We visited two main attractions while we were there, OMSI and the Oregon Zoo. There is so much to tell you, I figured I would do it in two posts.

I am just a little bear with such a big, big sign!

I am just a little bear with such a big, big sign!

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was established way back in 1944. It contains three auditoriums, including a large-screen theatre, planetarium and exhibit halls. We found it to be a fascinating display of hands-on science which was obviously built to foster curiosity and a love of science.

I think Driver figured the planetarium was a great place to catch a nap after our drive up from southern Oregon.

I think Driver figured the planetarium was a great place to catch a nap after our drive up from southern Oregon.

Our first stop was the planetarium show. We settled into our seats and lights went out – I think that’s when Driver decided to catch a nap. The rest of us leaned back in our seats and stared up into the ‘sky’. Then magic happened! The sky filled with stars, and the nice lady on the mic told us all about the constellations we were seeing. It was quite enjoyable, especially for those of us who stayed awake!

Next we went to the Turbine Hall. It was named that because of the large retired steam turbine from the old PGE power plant. That large room contains all sorts of really cool exhibits to check out

The monster settled in the middle of the room just watching all the people wander by.

The turbine – The monster settled in the middle of the room just watching all the people wander by.

Here is a big robot arm that was lots of fun

Here is a big robot arm that was lots of fun

That's Tessa checking out one of the exhibits.

That’s Tessa checking out one of the exhibits.

There was so much to see in that hall, and of course we had to wander around and check out everything. There was air exhibits, holograms, robot arms, an earthquake simulator. The list just went on and on.

Tessa was full of smiles and running around just like a cub, trying and testing and touching everything. There was so much to explore and check out!

Next was the Earth Sciences Hall. They were full of exhibits of type exhibits. My favorite was the Sabertooth Cat. The Sabertooth Cat lived more than 20,000 years ago and was a big predator in its day. They found a skeleton of one at the LaBrea Tar Pits in Los Angeles California. Check this cat out.

This is the Sabertooth Cat exhibit. I would hate to meet those teeth in a dark alley!!

This is the Sabertooth Cat exhibit. I would hate to meet those teeth in a dark alley!!

The OMSI building is a couple stories tall and full of so many different interactive exhibits. I saw a huge ear, a transparent human body and a microbe that you could put your face in for a picture.

That is not even counting the the view outside. The building sits right on the river bank tucked up against one of the biggest bridges in Portland, so the view outside was beautiful as well.

Ohhh, and I almost forgot!! I didn’t go inside because I am just a little bear who tends to get scared in tight spaces, but there is also a submarine parked outside which you can tour through.

It is called the USS Blueback and was purchased by OMSI in 1994. This submarine was actually in the movie “Hunt for Red October” before they towed it to where it is now. The submarine was then added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Even though I didn’t go inside, of course I got a picture for you…so I will leave you with that and get ready for the next blog. I have to tell you all about the critters at the Oregon Zoo. See you then!!

All aboard!! The USS Blueback  :)

All aboard!! The USS Blueback 🙂

The Bear Is Back in Town!

Love the title.  Doesn’t it just make you want to sing that song…the one from Beverly Hills Cop?  Anyway…I have been a bad bear not keeping up with this blog so I figured I better get back in the swing of things.  I have had lots of fun doing some traveling and had to move the office a couple of times.  I also made some pretty cool posters.  How’s this one?

Explore

I hope you are ready for some fun because I am ready to get back to exploring!  There is so much to see and do in our beautiful southern Oregon…and BEYOND!!

The Independence Day Hike

Palmer the Bear here, and yes I know I have been remiss on my blogging lately. It has been a fun-filled summer in southern Oregon and I’ve been spending more time enjoying it than writing about it. I have to tell about my holiday adventure though. If you are looking for a fun and exciting way to celebrate the fourth of July, I highly recommend climbing Table Rock.

Here is a picture of Upper Table Rock from down below. I can’t believe I was actually up there!!

This is Upper Table Rock, a mountain located in Sams Valley near Medford, Oregon. The two Table Rock mesas perch 800 feet above the valley and were formed some 9.6 million years ago from a lava flow that snaked down the Rogue Valley from vents east of Prospect. Since then, erosion has worn away the softer surrounding rock, leaving the hard andesite rock capping the U-shaped mesas.

In 1850, a gold strike in Jacksonville attracted lots of miners and settlers to the area and the local Takelma Indians were upset, so they launched an attack in 1853 to get their homeland back. The U.S. Army fought back so the Indians went to the top of Upper Table Rock to get away. The Army sent Joe Lane up to have a chat with them. He promised to give them a reservation that included the Table Rocks and a fort nearby to protect them from armed vigilantes. Since he kept his word, he because a hero among the whites and Indians, and he even had an Oregon county named after him.

Welcome to the Upper Table Rock Trail

In modern times, more than 10,000 visitors hike this trail every year. Especially in the spring, hikers enjoy the different wildflowers and migratory birds. On July 4th, folks pack up picnic lunches (bring plenty of water) and hike up just before dark to enjoy firework displays from all over the Rogue Valley at the same time.

We journeyed up the Upper Table Rock, which has a 1.25 mile trail to the top. It is an easy to moderate hike which gets pretty steep in sections. Make sure you wear good shoes and bring plenty of water.

This was my helper, Trinity. She is a great little hiker and we had lots of fun. Thanks Trinity 🙂

Since I have little short legs, I caught a ride with one of my fellow hikers, Trinity. Is she cute or what? She was full of energy and smiles all the way up the hill, and she even learned to stay on the trail to avoid poison oak and not disturb any nature.

We paused now and then just to rest or to say hello to a wandering caterpiller or snake. Fortunately, we did not run into any rattlers but we were on the look out just in case. One fella caught a blue belly lizard and tried to set it on his shoulder but it took off down his back and leg to the ground and kept on running.

 

There is the group just heading up the hill for our hiking adventure. I wanted to ride in Driver’s back pack but he complained about my chubbiness so Trinity said I could travel with her.

The trail is well maintained and a fairly nice climb, though it does tend to get a little steep towards the end. I was happy for the ride instead of having to climb on my own. Dogs are not allowed on the trail, but I did not see any signs about bears so I was good to go.

Since it was July, the weather was pretty hot headed up the hill. Lots of water is definitely recommended to drink or even pour over hot fur (I mean hair). Most of the trail is gravel with some run off rocks.

Casey and Trinity reaching the flat top of the mesa just as the sun was starting to set. This is such a great picture, I had to share it.

We reached the top of the mesa just as the sun was starting to set. I was even more amazed up close at how flat this mountain truly is. It really was like walking across a table top.

As the sun started to go down, the temperatures went down quickly as well. We were glad we thought to bring jackets and blankets even if they weren’t needed during the hot hike up.

 

Made it to the TOP!!

The view from the top was FANTASTIC! You could see all over the Rogue Valley:  Medford, Central Point, White City, Eagle Point and maybe even Ashland in the distance. We walked to the side of the mountain that faces Medford and found a spot set in to the hillside a little out of the wind. Then we set up our camp for the evening’s festivities.

Mr. Squirrel

As soon as the blankets were set down, the drinks uncapped and the snacks broken into we had a few visitors who asked to join our little party as well.

These little creatures enjoyed stealing crumbs from our potato chips while we stole the opportunity to get some great pictures.

 

As the sun set on the surface of the mesa, we snuggled into blankets and watched fireworks shows all over the valley happening at once. Pictures would not due it justice, but that is a show I definitely recommend seeing. I only posted a few of the pictures here, but look me up on Facebook where I will be posting the rest.

Once the show was over, we hiked back down the trail by flashlight. Trinity got a ride on her uncle’s shoulders and I tucked into Driver’s back pack. I don’t think he noticed but I had a nice snooze. A hike out in the beautiful outdoors, a yummy picnic and not just a fireworks show but all the shows at once. Now that was an Independence Day to remember!!

McKee Bridge – An Original Pit Stop

As you know my home base is Medford, Oregon USA. For those not familiar with the area, Oregon is in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, known for wilderness, outdoor recreation and Bigfoot. It is a great place to play, especially for us bears. Medford is the biggest town in southern Oregon, and that is where we begin our journey.

My seat for the trip. Let’s go!!

Yep, that is me riding on the dashboard because Driver decided to bring Girlie, his co-pilot, so I decided to be a gentleman and let her have my seat. It is just the beginning of summer in Oregon. The skies are blue with a few stubborn clouds. It is one of those days when the weather is not warm enough to go swimming, but it is definitely nice enough to go outside and play. Sounds like a great day for a picnic, and McKee Bridge on the Applegate River is a beautiful spot to do just that.

So our course is set to head west. From downtown Medford, we take the highway out to Jacksonville (an awesome little town you’ll hear more about later). Making a left at Ruch, a town that is barely a wide spot in the road, and we head out towards Applegate Lake. The drive is relaxing and scenic, following along the Applegate River and winding through trees and farmland. I focused on the road ahead, keeping an eye out for deer. We came across a few families of them and Driver had to slow down so they could cross the road. A little over 20 miles out and on the left is McKee Bridge.

Me Posing On The SignOf course the first thing I did was hop out of the van and dash over to pose on the sign. This is a historic moment at a historic landmark. It is my first official travel destination pose, and hopefully the first of MANY as I have fun showing you around.

McKee Bridge is a quaint covered bridge built in 1917 and, until 1919, it was used as a rest stop halfway between Jacksonville and Blue Ledge Copper Mine. It was named after Aldelbert “Deb” McKee who donated the land. They was used up until 1956 for mining and logging until the bridge was deemed unsafe for traffic.

This is a side view of the bridge, where it spans the Applegate River only about 8 miles from the California border. The bridge is such a touching piece of history tucked back into the woods in a gorgeous location. A few visitors stop in to the nearby convenience store and cafe on their travels up to Applegate Lake. During the recent years, the grounds around the entrance to the bridge have undergone lots of improvements.

Picnic Area

They have a cozy, well-groomed picnic area right next to the water, nestled in the trees. Such a picture perfect area to swim, fish or devour a delicious lunch. Now I know, being a bear, you are expecting me to say that I spent the afternoon running around stealing other people’s picnic baskets but I was very well behaved. After a nice lunch by the water, I was ready for a relaxing nap in the shade.

McKee Bridge Front View

This is what the bridge itself looks like from the front. It looks a little sad because unfortunately you can’t walk on it anymore. It has been deemed unsafe due to a lot of deterioration. They are working hard to raise money for repairs though. Officials are applying for a grant and the remainder will have to be raised. If you are interested in pitching in, please contact the McKee Bridge Historical Society, PO Box 854, Jacksonville, Oregon 97530.

The Plaque

I hope you enjoyed this bears-eye view of McKee Bridge, an awesome historical picnic area to visit. For more pictures or just to say hello, please find me on Facebook. Look for Palmer Bear. As for me, I am off to a new adventure so I will be checking in again soon. Remember, there is always so much fun around you if you just take time to explore. Never be bored!

Getting Ready to Roll

Okay, we are getting official now. The blog is set up and I got myself a Facebook page. I have been studying maps and weather reports, and I even got myself some sunglasses.

Somehow, I don’t think this is working.

Yes, there was a definitely issue. Tire pressure?  Check. Clean windshield? Check. Gas in the tank? Check. But yours truly can’t seem to reach the pedals, and we just are not going to get good photos from the driveway. So…I figured I better enlist the help of my buddy.

Meet Driver

He is a fun dude and can definitely reach the pedals. Guess he is not one much for pictures though. He said it was a bad hair day.  I’m thinking he just doesn’t want to be a celebrity. Maybe he can be like that guy Wilson on television who peeks over the fence and all you ever see are his eyes and his hat.

That’s me in cruise mode, ready to go.

The good news is, he is behind the wheel and so I am off to explore. I promise to bring back lots of pictures and stories so stay tuned. For more pictures or to just say hi, you can also hit me up on Facebook. Just hunt for me by name…Palmer Bear. See you on the road!!!

Meet Palmer

This is me busy at work…sure is nice to have the home office. I can work in bearly nothing 🙂

Headquarters – southern Oregon. What does a bear do in the woods? Hi, Palmer the Bear here and it is my job to show you. Stick around. I love to travel or just stay close to home checking out new places and fun you never even noticed was there. This is gonna be great!!

A little about me…I am a small bear, easy to tuck into corners or ride on shoulders. I travel with my human companions. You can meet them later. I was named after an awesome lady by the name of Agnes Hansen Palmer…but most of the family call her Grammy. Anyway, enough about me. Let’s get on the road!!