Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Oregon Coast Adventure

I found out a month or so ago that I would be working in Florence for a few days.  I was kind of excited about that.  Bill and I had been in Florence for a CAA Flyout years ago but didn't really venture out of the casino much because he had work to do while we were there.  This time I decided I was going to do some sightseeing.  I knew I was going to make several trips between Eugene and Florence on Hwy 126 so I decided to take a different route to the coast between Corvallis and Waldport.  I wanted to go down Hwy 101 to see that portion of the coast.  Had never been there before.  As usual, the Oregon coast is rugged and that is what makes it so beautiful.  I made several stops along the way to take photos.  First stop was near Cape Perptua.
I love lighthouses and wanted to see the Heceta Head Lighthouse.  It is a beautiful spot with a small beach and a fairly short, easy hike up to the lighthouse.

I have heard about the Sea Lion Caves for years and have always wanted to go.  I picked the wrong time of the year.  The sea lions don't need to seek the shelter of the caves during the summer.  This is their winter hangout.  But I still enjoyed seeing the cave itself and didn't have to suffer through the smell that the sea lions emit.  I did stop at a lookout between Heceta Head and Sea Lion Caves and saw a few groups of them hanging out in the surf.  Too far away to see well or take any photos though.

I spent my birthday in Florence.  Bill drove down to join me for a few days which was wonderful.

I got recommendations for a restaurant and it was hands down to be Waterfront Restaurant.  I decided to wait until I got there to make my reservation.  I was lucky to get one.  Even a week out, they were nearly booked for a Tuesday night.  But it was a wonderful place.  The first night I was there, I got there at 4:15 and I was lucky to get a spot at the bar.  I enjoyed seeing a sea otter or seal bobbing in the river outside the restaurant.  Both nights I got the crab encrusted halibut which was great.  And for my birthday treat, I got Tres Leches cake on a friend's recommendation which was also wonderful.

I enjoyed walking along the Siuslaw River through Old Town while I was there.  Old Town consists of a lot of turn of the century building with cute shops and restaurants.  I ate at a few other places during my two stays in Florence over a period of a week and a half but I have to say that Waterfront Depot was the best.  There was so many herons and egrets that would land on the shore or various spots along the river.  I enjoyed seeing them.  And there are painted seals all over town just like other cities have cows, pigs or other sculpture.

One of the things that we missed on our flyout to Florence was going on the big dune buggy tour of the Oregon Dunes.  While there is about 20 miles of sand dunes north of Florence, Florence is the start of the forty miles of beach that is part of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.  What a fascinating place.  There are several groupings of trees that they call tree islands that exist because they are fed by fresh water springs.  There are trees that are almost completely buried by sand and you can only see the very top few feet.  We got to get out and play in the sand for a little while.

Overall it was a good trip even though I had to work a good portion of it.  Got to have some beach time anyway.  And loved being able to do that.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Happy Birthday Chris

We hadn't seen Chris for about a month.  We went to visit him in Bellingham the beginning of August.  So we were really hoping he would come home Labor Day weekend to see us and he did.  He celebrated his birthday with friends in Bellingham on the actual day.  We had dinner with him Sunday night.  Had some Thai food and Snickers cake.  Yummy.

The weekend seemed to go by so quickly.  He hadn't seen his friends in a very long time so he tried to see as many of them as he could while he was home.  But it was good to have what time we did have with him.

Celebrating Thirty Years

Bill and I made plans to celebrate our anniversary a few days early on a Saturday night.  We had been given a gift certificate for a Amalfi's in Portland.  We had never been there so thought it would be a special way to celebrate our special 30 year anniversary.  The waitress was really sweet to take a lot of photos for us to make sure we had at least one that was decent.  The food was very good and we had plenty of money left on our gift card to buy some meatballs, lasagna and wine to have even more of their delicious food on other nights at home.

We have had our ups and downs over the years as all couples do but we love each other very much and have had quite a journey together.  Looking forward to finding out what other destinations we have ahead of us.

Base Ball: 1867 Style

Every summer, Vancouver has a couple of base ball games on the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground.  What is interesting about the event is that the players dress in costume from that time period.  The Army team in their uniforms and the Occidentals in their wool base ball jerseys.  They also play by 1867 rules which are much different than today's rules including that they don't use gloves.

There is also a certain number of re-enactors that are also dressed in period costumes.  I have always wanted to go but we usually had something else going on the nights that the game was played.  And Bill didn't really have an interest in it so we just have never gone.  Bill traveled to California to see his brother's family so I was on my own the night of the game.  Perfect opportunity to go. 

It was a beautiful evening.  Not too hot.  I am sure it was still plenty hot in those wool uniforms, suits and long dresses and petticoats.  I am fairly certain that they appreciated that it wasn't even warmer though.

I decided to start my evening at the Grant House for dinner.  I had a lovely meal of calamari, summer salad with berries and a blueberry buckle that was out of this world.  Then I walked across the street to take in the game.  I didn't bring my chair.  Had to park too far away and didn't want to take it into the restaurant so I just decided to walk around and take photos for awhile.  I didn't stay too long.  About 45 minutes.  But long enough to take in the atmosphere.  One more event checked off my list.

Tale of Two Hikes

Chris came home for a weekend in July to spend some time with us.  Bill wanted to go hiking with him and they decided to do Dog Mountain.  Not wanting to be left behind, I went along for the drive.  I dropped them off at the trailhead for Dog Mountain and headed over to Oregon.
Bill always starts his Mosier Twin Tunnel hike on the west end of the trail so on the times that I went, I would hike as far as I could but I could never get to the tunnels to see them.  I decided since I was on my own, I would start on from the east trailhead so I could make it to the tunnels.  I enjoyed being able to see them and take some photos of them.  After I got back to the car, I drove on the Columbia River Historic Highway to The Dalles and took some pictures from Rowena Crest.  The views on that side of the gorge are so much drier and rockier.  The guys took their own photos from their hike as well.  The views on each side of the gorge are so different.  Hence me calling this the "Tale of Two Hikes."

We had the usual lunch at the Big River Grill and stopped to get some beer from Walking Man before we headed back home.

WWU Graduation

Christopher has been in Bellingham the last three years working on finishing his bachelors degree.  He did two years of study at Clark College here in Vancouver prior to transferring to Western Washington University.  The last few years have been challenging but he has managed to graduate.  He didn't really want to walk for graduation but did it for me.  I was disappointed when he decided not to walk at his Clark College graduation but knew that his schooling wasn't really done and that I would have this graduation to look forward to.  He decided to go the casual route.  He just wore his WWU Viking t-shirt, shorts and his Vibram toe shoes under his cap and gown for graduation.  And didn't shave.  But I was taking what I could get.  At least he was walking across the stage for me to celebrate his accomplishments.

He has been friends with Luke Price for most of his time up in Bellingham and they have been roommates this past year.  They sat next to each other during the graduation ceremony.  The weather was actually a little chilly.  Reminded me a bit of Tom's graduation four years earlier.  Windy and threatening to rain.  But fortunately it wasn't as cold as it was for Tom's graduation and the rain never materialized.

Tom flew up to see Chris graduate.  It was with mixed feelings.  We hadn't seen him in almost a year.  But the Air Force wouldn't give him any time off to come up except for the weekend.  And the airline tickets were so expensive.  Especially given that he was only in Washington State for a little more than 24 hours and with us as a family for less than that.  He made it into Seattle Saturday morning at 0840 but by the time he rented a car and drove up to Bellingham, he arrived barely in time to go to the graduation ceremony.  In fact traffic was so bad and we had no idea if we were going to be able to find parking easily or not, we left Chris off in the middle of the street near the stadium so he could get lined up while we found a parking spot. 

Chris accepted his diploma from the president of the university.  

After graduation, we had a little bit of time to kill before the restaurant we were having dinner at would open.  So we got Tom checked into his room and then headed to Chris' favorite brewery, Wander, to have a a few beers (and a black currant cider for me).  So good to be able to be together as a family even it if was such a short time.  We went out to Everson to have dinner at the Herb Neimann Steak House to celebrate.  We had a great German meal.  Bill and Tom had steaks and Chris and I had schnitzel.  And all the sides were German--potatoes, red cabbage and green beans.  At dinner we found out that Tom had recently been promoted to captain so that was another reason to celebrate.  And for Bill, we had an early Father's Day celebration for him to be with both his boys at the same time.

Tom had never been to Bellingham before so he wanted to see a bit of the town.  After dinner, we drove through the downtown and went to Fairhaven so he could see those and took a walk through Boulevard Park to see Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands in the evening light.  It was a beautiful evening to walk along the water.  With all the clouds, not everything was in view but at least it wasn't raining.

Tom had had a really long day having gone to the airport at 0100 our time so he was tired.  We said our good nights early and met back up in the morning with him and Chris to go to Skylark Cafe in Fairhaven for breakfast as soon as they opened.  After breakfast, we all went on our way--Chris to get some work done, Tom to get to the SeaTac Airport to go back to Wichita and Bill and I to come home and prepare for the week ahead.

Congratulations to Chris for a job well done.  And good luck in finding a job and having a start to a successful future.