Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire’s Favorite Son by Peter A. Wallner

I am working on reading a book about each of our presidents. You can see the ones I have read so far here.

Franklin Pierce our 14th president was an interesting man whose political life was based on preserving the union. This book only covers Pierce’s life up to his inauguration. Although it took me six months to read I found the book compelling. Pierce was 47 when he was elected, the youngest president up until his time. The previous biography of Pierce prior to Wallner’s book was published in 1931 and Wallner uses new sources and modern research to describe the life and times of Pierce. Here are a couple quotes from the introduction.

“The reality of the man did not seem to fit the reputation, and maybe it is the reputation that needs to be reconsidered in light of the reality of Franklin Pierce’s life and career.”

“His failings in these early years, and they were many, are consistent with the inability of the second party system to deal with the single-issue movements such as abolitionism and temperance and their moralistic, divisive, and often extralegal propensities.”

The most tragic thing about Pierce’s life is that he and his wife had three children all of whom died before he became president. The most horrifying death was that of his ten year old son Benny who was seated right behind his parents when he was killed in a train accident on the way to Washington for the inauguration.

Camping in Nevada’s New State Park – Walker River State Recreation Area

Duke and I just got back from a two night camping trip in Nevada’s newest State Park, the Walker River State Recreation Area. The park just opened this summer. It is made up of four units along the east fork of the Walker River. The units are not contiguous. The first night we camped in the Pitchfork unit in the Riverbend Campground. The campground is less than two hours south of Reno. It has nice bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. I loved the setting, especially with the fall colors.

2018-10-29 09.31.30

 

We had yummy Guiness stew for dinner.  Once it got really dark we enjoyed the amazing number of stars and the view of the Milky Way that you can only see when you are away from city lights.

2018-10-28 18.41.40

The park includes a 5.6 mile stretch of the Walker river that is open for floating or kayaking. I think it would be fun to rent a kayak and make the trip some time.

2018-10-29 11.03.17

2018-10-28 16.41.51.jpg

During the days we had beautiful fall weather. The only problem was that the nights were cold. The first night it got down to 27 degrees!

The next morning we packed up and moved about 45 miles down dirt roads to the Bighorn Campground in the Nine Mile Ranch unit of the park. It is a rustic campground with brand new pit toilets. Each camp site is well separated and right along the river. We were the only ones camping there and overnight it got very cold – down to 18 degrees! Other than the cold it was a wonderful place to camp.

2018-10-30 10.52.09

2018-10-30 10.53.10.jpg

 

2018-10-30 10.01.35.jpg

We had good sleeping bags and lots of blankets but it was hard to get up in the morning. Even the water in our five gallon container was frozen! The temperature warmed up pretty fast once the sun came up.

When we warmed up we packed up and headed home. Along the way we stopped for lunch at Rosie’s Place a great Mexican restaurant in Wellington.

2018-10-30 12.05.44.jpg

The End of our Trip – Reykjavik to San Francisco to Home

Friday morning we set out early to see a bit of Iceland before catching our 3:00 flight to San Francisco. We stopped at the Gullfoss Warterfall. The weather was windy and cold and the walkways were a bit icy. It is a pretty amazing waterfall.

Next we stopped at Geysir. Our tourist map calls it the best known geyser in the world because it leant it’s name to the English language to describe a periodically spouting hot spring.

The Keriō volcanic crater was our next stop.

We still had a bit of time so we stopped for a coffee in Reykjavik.

Our flight was uneventful. We were through immigration in San Francisco in about ten minutes and then caught BART to Walnut Creek where we had a special welcome!

Yesterday I attended and thoroughly enjoyed a New England Historical Genealogical Society all day conference in Oakland. One of the speakers was a genealogy rockstar Robert Charles Anderson.

This morning we caught. Amtrak home to Reno. It was a great trip. We plans to do our next big trip in the Spring. We are still deciding exactly where to go.

Making the Most of our Part Day in Dublin and then a flight to Reykjavik, Iceland

Our flight to Iceland was at five this evening so we had the morning to do a wee bit more exploring in Dublin.

We checked out the Dublin City Museum in the basement of City Hall.

Then we walked through the grounds of Dublin Castle and stopped in at the Revenue Museum.

Finally we visited the Chester Beatty Library. It is a jaw dropping collection of manuscripts and rare books. As an example We saw the earliest known versions of the Apostles letters from the second century.

Our flight to Iceland was about two hours. We will only be here twenty hours or so. We rented a car and drove two hours east. Along the way we picked up some snacks at a grocery store and are spending the night in the little town of Fluor.

Our Last Full Day in Ireland – Dublin

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is where we spent our morning. It is interactive and very very well done There are no typical museum displays but you work your way through twenty interactive rooms full of media of all types. We learned about Irish emigration and the people who have emigrated. It was good to be inside because outside it was blowing a gale!

On our way back to the hotel we braved the gale to walk through Trinity College.

For dinner we found another great pub and had Beef and Guinness Casserole and Bangers and Mash.