Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fortuna to Stockton

Just south of Fortuna, we came to the Avenue of the Giants. It is the old Highway 101 and it curves around over and under the current 101 but it goes through the Redwood Forest so you can enjoy more of the gigantic trees at a more leisurely pace. They were amazing! We stopped for another photo op at the Immortal Tree.
And, of course, we couldn't pass up a chance to drive through a tree. Mom did very well navigating her car through the tree! They had cute tree houses that you could play in, as well - and yes, of course I did!

We planned to enjoy some of the Northern California coast from Highway 1 but it was so slow going that we had to cut our intended route almost in half but we enjoyed what we could. It was so cold that we once again had to fix our sandwiches and eat in the front seat of the car just watching the ocean. I certainly hope it warms up as we head south!

We were going through Healdsburg which is where our good friends (& my God-parents) were spending the weekend so we decided to stop by for a visit. We caught them just as they returned from their day of biking and enjoyed a cup of coffee at one of the cute local shops. It was fun to see them out here even though we only live a few hours apart. Mom hadn't seen them for almost a year so it was a special treat for her.
The most amazing part is when Phyllis took us over to the local wine shop to show us our friend, Ginny's, picture on one of their prominent shelves. Ginny won a gold & bronze metal in the 1964 olympics in Tokyo and she was also my swim coach when I was growing up. She was in Healdsburg a few weeks ago during the Olympics and someone mentioned her medals and the owner gave her a bottle of wine if she promised to send him a picture of her with her medals. What a small world!

We made it to Stockton where were were staying with my PSCE buddies, Matt & Amy - and their four kids. Amy & Hannah made us a delicious pasta salad with all kinds of fresh fruit. It was a great dinner - and way better than peanut butter & jelly (again!) They are such a wonderful family and it was great to have the evening to visit!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Waldport to Fortuna

It was a cool night. as usual, and we slept with the window barely open so when we woke up, we decided to put a fire in our fireplace. I enjoyed sitting by the fire and watching the flames dance about. I love fire so much that I've been known to turn the AC on just so I can put a fire in the fireplace. :) I definitely enjoyed that feature of our B&B.
We also enjoyed coffee in bed looking out the sliding glass doors onto the ocean view below. It was spectacular! They delivered coffee to our room at 7:30am for us to enjoy when we woke up. Breakfast was served at 8:30 and we enjoyed visiting with the one other couple that was staying in the B&B. Sharon made delicious cheese blintzes as well as muffins and scones. Quite possibly a perfect breakfast!

We continued driving down Highway 101. We
passed several lighthouses along the way as well as gorgeous views of the Oregon coast.
We stopped at a vista point for Devil's Churn and we were told they had spotted whales just beyond the white caps. We watched for awhile and even took the 2 mile drive to the top of the cliff so we could get a better view. I did see a couple of water fountains from their spout but never saw the actual whale. I guess we'll just have to keep looking!

We took a little detour over to the Redwood State Park because mom wanted to get up close and personal with the gigantic trees. I was glad she was there. She saved the day when a tree almost fell on her - and she didn't even break a sweat!

We also took a scenic drive that paralleled the 101 and stopped to take a picture with a tree that was hollow. We had an interesting time finding a way to set up the camera with the timer since nobody else was around but we managed. We decided to drive as far as we could but ended up going even further before we found a hotel. We finally found a vacancy in Fortuna and called it a night.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The coast of Oregon

Nancy made us a delicious breakfast before we hit the road. Since we were heading the same direction as the beach, I took mom on a cruise down the beach - for about five miles. It was fabulous!! The clouds were way low so you couldn't see much of the ocean but it was fun to weave our way down the beach. Thankfully, there weren't any sunbathers to squish because there wasn't any sun! The beach ended and we got back on the 101.

Our first stop was Seaside, Oregon to see the monument marking the end of the Lewis & Clark Corp of Discovery. Mom purchased an abridged version of one of the books on the Lewis & Clark journey at Fort Clatsup and we enjoyed listening to it while we drove the coast. It is fascinating story and one I never paid much attention to - but I plan to learn more!
We happened to be there just at the right moment because a group of Civil War re-enactors were just getting started for their 20 mile hike to Fort Stevens where they were having a Civil War demonstration for Labor day weekend. The captain said "what is our motto?" and all the men replied, "this is gunna suck!" It was hilarious. I loved the bagpiper!

We hiked to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse which is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon - 93 feet. :) It was a beautiful view from the top - though they only let you stick your head up to see - you couldn't walk around the top.
Mom and Dad have a friend in their church, Ross, who was telling mom and me last week about a house in Waldport that his father built - which is now a bed & breakfast. We decided it would be a fun place to stay so we made a reservation. It was beautiful!! When we made the reservation she only had one room available but when we arrived, Sharon told us that the guests in the premiere suite had cancelled so mom decided to splurge and we upgraded. It was AMAZING! The balcony above my head is the balcony off our room and the view of the ocean was fabulous!

We took a walk on the beach just below our B&B and played in the sand. It was breezy and cool but the sand was hard and fun to walk on. We picked up a few rocks but didn't find many treasures.

We spent the evening enjoying our gorgeous room and a bottle of wine from the winery we had visited earlier in the week. I even took a bath in the jacuzzi tub. I could live like this!! It was a perfect evening in a beautiful room in a gorgeous home.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Astoria & Fort Clatsup

Mom decided to join me for part of my journey down the Pacific Coast Highway so after loading up the car with all the essential items needed for the journey, we were off! We meandered through Washington - stopping wherever the spirit led. We made it to the Megler-Astoria bridge which is the gateway from Washington to Oregon and it was the final piece that connected the 101 from Canada to Mexico. It was an impressive bridge - and our destination for today was just on the other side - Astoria, Oregon.

We checked in at our PEO Bed & Breakfast. It's really neat to be part of something that connects women around the country like family. Nancy was a wonderful host and even gave us each our own room - which was not expected! She informed us that the beach near her house is considered a highway and you can drive on it. That was all I needed to hear to make that our first stop.
Driving down the coast is one thing - but driving ON THE BEACH is a totally different experience. I loved it!! I would have kept going but mom had an agenda.

Our first stop in Astoria was Fort Clatsup. It was built by Lewis & Clark to survive the winter before making the trek back to St. Louis. Someday it would be fun to do a trip following the Lewis & Clark trail from St. Louis to Fort Clatsup.

We drove around town until we found the Astoria Column which sits high up on the hill overlooking the valley. The views are incredible - even with the fog which seems to be pretty constant in this part of the country.

We were almost ready to call it a day when we passed a sign for Fort Stevens. Not having a clue what it was, we decided to check it out. We saw the remains of a shipwreck from 1906 that is still visible on the beach and along the road we came across three beautiful elk - just having supper! They were awesome! Thankfully, no other cars were on the road and we sat and watched them for a good five minutes. They kept looking at us like we might be a good side dish but then kept on eating the vegetation. Whew!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins

My good friend, Brian, from Kansas City also came to Seattle during his sabbatical and he invited me to join him for a Mariners game. He even came to the apartment and picked me up and visited with mom for a little bit and then we were off to the game. Luckily, we left in plenty of time because traffic was quite backed up and a train blocked us from the parking garage until it had passed. The SafeCo stadium is awesome! They have these cool set ups to take some fun pictures - hence the picture of me catching the fly ball. I know you think it's real - but really it's fake. Sorry to disappoint! I'm sure the fact that my other hand is holding on to a bar to keep me from falling on my face is completely unnoticeable!
The food is also a treat at a Mariners game! I watched in awe as Brian enjoyed some sushi - not something I've ever considered baseball game food but things are just a little different in the pacific northwest. I had my traditional nachos supreme which reminded me a bit of being at a Royals game. The playing of the game reminded me of one, as well. The Mariners are supposedly worse than the Royals (though I still love them) and we lost. I didn't mind, though - it was still a LOT of fun!!
The best part of the game is when Raul Ibanez (former Royals player) hit a home run. It was awesome!! I remember Raul because when the Royals fans would cheer for him, I always thought they were "boo-ing" which I didn't think was very nice. I was glad to find out I was wrong and they were just yelling "Ra-ooool"!

Safeco Insurance was offering free pictures with your choice of several players or the Moose mascot. Of course, we chose the Moose - he was the cutest!! Our code to get the picture online wouldn't work so I had to track down someone at eshots who handled their website and they sent it to me. Whew!

We came back to the apartment after the game and had dinner with the parentals. I was glad mom and dad got a chance to get to know Brian since he is such a good friend of mine. They really enjoyed him which didn't surprise me one bit. It was a fabulous day and it's hard to believe it's my last day in Seattle. Tomorrow mom and I are off to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The park and the pub

I had coffee with my friend, Zach, this morning. Zach and I worked together in 1998 on the youth ministry staff of Village Presbyterian Church in KS. It was one of those small world moments when mom and dad said they were coming to Sammamish and the new youth director was from a church in Kansas. I couldn't believe it when it turned out to be one of my former interns!

Mom and I spent the afternoon at Gilman Village - having lunch at Julia's and shopping. It was a cute area with a variety of cute little shops. When dad finished work, we loaded up a picnic and headed back to Beaver Lake Park.
However, someone was already using the shelter which had the only grill at the park so we spent a couple of hours reading, fishing and riding bikes and then headed home for supper.

We walked over to the Pine Lake Ale House for supper. It's a cute neighborhood pub and dad seems to be on a first-name basis with the wait staff. They obviously like him around here!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pike Place Market

We went in to Seattle to meet a couple of mom & dad's friends from Wichita at Cutter's Bayhouse Restaurant just across the street from Pike Place Market. It was a great place to eat with a fabulous view since one side of the dining room was glass overlooking the Puget Sound. Since it was our first visit to Cutters, they brought us a complimentary appetizer of Salmon & Artichoke dip. It was fabulous!
After we dined, we walked around Pike Place Market and enjoyed watching them throw fish at the Pike Place Fish Co. They are famous not only for their flying fish but also for their tools used in helping businesses learn to work as a team.

The market is filled with various vendors with everything from flavored vinegar to leather bags to flowers and jam. It is fun to just walk around and look. We managed to spend our afternoon doing just that - and then decided it was time to head home. Dad had an evening meeting so mom and I spent the evening at the apartment watching mysteries on tv.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jane and Jessica

We went to worship at Sammamish PC this morning and it was a great service. The music was fabulous - a good combination of old hymns and praise music. We were joined by our "old" friend, Jane, and her husband, Joe. Jane used to babysit me when we first moved to Marshall in 1972. They live about an hour outside of Seattle and mom and dad have really enjoyed the time they have been able to spend with them this past year - including going to Madison, WI, to perform the wedding ceremony for their son, Matt.
After church we went to Beaver Lake Park for an all-church picnic. It was a beautiful afternoon and it was a good chance for us to visit. I wish I'd had my fishin' pole! :)

My favorite activity of the afternoon was watching the kids play "pin the hair on Jerry." It was hilarious - though he did look a bit like George Jetson! I think we might have to steal that one sometime - and I know a certain associate pastor that would be a perfect target. :)
We went in to University Presbyterian Church for their 5 o'clock service where we met up with my friend, Jessica, and her husband, Mike. I came to Seattle a year ago for their wedding. Jessica was one of "my youth" when I worked at Burke Presbyterian Church in Virginia and we went to Kenya together in 1996. She's an awesome young lady and I am so blessed to have her as a friend. After worship, we walked over to Ruzhen Mongolian Grill for dinner. I was glad mom and dad had a chance to get to know Mike & Jessica - and vice versa!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back to Seattle

As we were leaving Carl & Sue's, we passed the trees where the eagles hang out and sure enough, he was sitting there keeping watch over everything. They are impressive creatures! Carl had some amazing photos of two eagles sitting side by side which I was tempted to post as my own but decided against it. I do hope to have a good telephoto lens for my camera one of these days and then I will be able to capture better pictures of things like eagles - and deer!

We took the Kingston Ferry over to Edmonds. The weather was beautiful today so we were able to get a picture which we were unable to do on the ferry to Bainbridge. I love the ferries. They are such a fun way to travel - mainly because I love being on the water - but it's also just fun to sit and enjoy the view. I don't know that I'd want to do it on a daily basis but I sure do enjoy it when I get the chance.

Dad and I had fun playing with our cameras on the ferry. After we landed in Edmonds, we stopped by the home of one of dad's fraternity brother to pick up some pear cider that they picked up for me when they went to Vancouver, Canada. It is delicious - I'd go get my own if it weren't so difficult for me to get in and out of the country! We had fish & chips at Ivar's and then headed back to Sammamish to unload the car.

I left my parents and went to play with my friend, Sarah. Sarah has a cool apartment with a living room window that looks out on the Seattle space needle. It's awesome! We had a great evening looking at pictures and then dinner at a cool Cuban restaurant not far from where she lives. I'd never had Cuban food (that I remember) so it was an experience. I think I ate an entire cow but after spending a week with vegetarians, it was kind of nice! :) The evening went much too quickly but I'm so glad we were able to find some time to get together.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Marymere Falls and Deer Park

Carl took us on a hike to Marymere Falls. We met a very nice couple from Pennsylvania who joined us for the hike. It was a beautiful hike and the weather was great! We saw deer along the path as well as conks on the trees. The moss was as soft as a featherbed and was growing on everything. It was awesome!

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves along the way. I managed to take a little siesta on one of the man-made bridges along the path. It wasn't the most comfortable place to stretch out but I made do with what was available.

I also discovered a great place to spend the night if we got lost in the woods. It was completely protected from the elements with a nice soft ground for sleeping. :)

The falls were gorgeous. They certainly didn't come close to some of the falls I've seen on this trip (Niagara) but they were beautiful in their own way!

Mom and dad are amazing hikers - it's so hard to believe they are 70 years old (or almost)! They are as active now as they have ever been - possibly even more so.

After our hike, we stopped in Port Angeles for lunch at Shirley's Cafe. She makes a mean burger! Then we headed over to Deer Park for another adventure.

I got a little nervous when I saw the metal storage cabinets for food to keep it away from the bears so I decided I should protect myself from the bears. I didn't want to get eaten!

There is a campground almost to the top of Deer Park which looks like it would be a fabulous place to camp! There are plenty of places to explore and climb and get AMAZING views!

At the very top of the mountain, you could see all over the state of Washington. At one point, the clouds dissipated and we could see the "spit" right across from Carl & Sue's house. Carl could even pick out his house - but that takes a very trained eye! Dad was trying to take my picture and he kept telling me to scoot back just a little, a little more, a little more...

OOPS - too far!! AGH! Help!! Not to worry - I managed to pull myself back up by my fingernails. Whew - that was close! ;)
We came back to the house and I spent most of the evening hanging out in the yard enjoying the deer. They are such beautiful creatures!