My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dancing and Adventure Day 42

Blog prompt: Today is National Dance Day. Do you like to dance? Why or why not?

I love music and I love to dance. But my hubby hates it so we don’t get to dance much. I love going on cruises and attending the dance lessons they have. Usually my hubby sits in the audience and watches but I have fun. I’m not very good at dancing and I enjoy it so I guess that is all that matters.

Travel Notes:

We rode the Cog Railway from Manitou Springs up to Pike’s Peak. Since we couldn’t get all the way up to the summer, we were only charged $25 per person. It was a nice ride but I liked the one we did in Durango better. The ride lasted about 2 ½ hours. After that, we headed towards Denver and landed in Golden, CO. We used a coupon for Holiday Inn and got the room for only $69. And it’s a nice hotel. We got a king bed on the ground floor and they gave us a gift bag with cracker jacks, candy, fruit and bottled water! I had made a reservation for Hampton Inn and they wanted $103 for a queen bed so I cancelled it. We are near the Colorado Mills Mall which was 1 mile around the whole thing. Of course I had to go in a Barnes and Noble as well as Whole Foods and of course Target! We tried to get reservations for the Denver Mint tomorrow but they were full and so we will go on a tour of the Coors Brewery and Celestial Seasonings (we hope!)
To see more pictures on Flickr - Click HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Volunteer and Adventure Day 41 - Colorado

Blog prompt: This week is National Volunteer Week. Do you volunteer for anything? If so, what do you do?

Now that I am retired, I really only do volunteer work. Here are some of the things that I do:
1. I am the web manager/designer for the Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club website.
2. I write a blog for teachers (new and struggling).
3. I am on the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Board of Directors.
4. I am a member of Loving Threads at my church and we make prayer shawls (for hospice and nursing homes) as well as baby stuff for teen parents.
5. I talk to groups of teachers about special ed and using technology in their classrooms at no cost (other than asking for my expenses to be paid if I travel out of my district).
6. I have also volunteered to be a mentor to a student CEC member.

Travel Notes:

Today was a fun day! We left Pueblo and headed towards Florence and Canon City. We went through there too early though for the antique shops to be open. We thought about going to the Royal Gorge Bridge Park but they charged $24 per person and we have seen so many canyons and gorges lately that we decided to skip it. Then we took Hwy 9 up towards Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Along the way we saw lots of deer, pronghorn and bison. I had never heard of this monument but saw it on the map so we decided to check it out. I’m so glad we did because we had a really nice time. It has the world’s only known fossil of the tsetse fly. We took a hike which showed us huge petrified stumps of redwood trees that were over a thousand years old. We also saw the Abert squirrel which was black and had tufted ears. We also saw animals that looked liked prairie dogs but the ranger told us those were Richardson ground squirrels.

After the park we headed up to Cripple Creek and Victor which were old gold mining towns. Cripple Creek had lots of casinos up there now. It looked like gold mining is still going on in both towns too. The ranger said that Victor used to have 20,000 people but now only has 300 people.
To see more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Learning Chinese and Adventure Day 40

Blog prompt: Today is Morse Code Day. Do you know another language? If so, how long have you known it? If not, tell one that you would like to learn and why.

I have wanted to learn how to speak Chinese for a long time so last fall I took a Mandarin course. I had the best teacher who was patient and willing to help. In fact, I had such a good time in the course that she let me sit in the course again the second time she taught it. Since then, we have become friends and she has gone out of the way to help me some more outside of class. Then I left for this huge trip and I haven’t been able to talk to her or practice any Chinese lately. I hope that when I get home and she returns from her trip to China, we can meet some more to practice.

Travel Notes:

We left for Great Sand Dunes National Park this morning. We had a lovely drive across the mountains again but it wasn’t as treacherous as the other day. On the way, we stopped in Alamosa, CO to shop in two antique stores. Don found lots of treasures that he is excited about. After that we head to the National Park and was amazed. We hadn’t expected to see this huge sand dune with a creek running along the bottom. On the side of the dune was a snow covered mountain with trees too. The ranger says there are bears and bobcats in the park too. We are spending the night at in Pueblo, CO. Maybe tomorrow we will go to the Pueblo Zoo.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Adventure Day 39 – Colorado

We started out the day by heading to downtown Durango and were willing to pay for parking in order to go on the train ride. When we bought our tickets ($49 each), we found out that parking was free on Sundays at the meters. Now we were all set for our train ride from Durango to Cascade Canyon (the winter route). We were able to board the train at 9:30am and were on Car #3 seats 15-16. It took two hours to get there and there were lots of things to see out the windows. Whenever we passed by an intersection or houses, adults and children had stopped to wave to the train. Even along the road, cars stopped to take pictures of our steam engine pulled train. We even saw a huge field of prairie dogs like we see in the zoo, only these were in the wild. When we reached the views of the Animas River, they were outstanding! We were really high above the river and were able to see the rapids clearly. When we reached our destination, we stopped there for an hour and ate lunch. They sold concessions on the train so we had 2 hotdogs and a root beer for lunch. After lunch we hiked to a footbridge over the river. Before we knew it, it was time to return to the train. The rocking of the train on the way back made me sleepy though. Even though I had a hard time staying awake, I became alert when we passed about eight mule deer along the tracks. We arrived back at the station around 3pm and went to the museum, which was included in the price of the ticket. The museum was really worth seeing.

After the museum, we went to our car and decided to drop our stuff off so we could walk around town. That is when we found out we had car trouble. We called AAA and they sent a tow truck to help us. I was afraid we would need to be towed to a dealership (on a Sunday, no less!) but he was able to jump it off and start it. We dropped by Burger King for dinner and went straight to the Hampton Inn in case we had more car trouble. She started up fine at Burger King so I hope she starts up okay in the morning. I guess we’ll find out in the morning. Since the hotel had a laundry, I decided to do a load of clothes since they got dirty on the train ride.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adventure Day 38 - Colorado

This morning we headed out to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I didn’t realize that the elevation was so high and the gorge dropped so radically. There were patches of snow all along the road and it was pretty cold up there. In fact, I changed out of my shorts and tshirt for blue jeans and a long sleeved shirt. We did a few hikes and the views were spectacular. At the visitorthe Million Dollar Highway through Silverton. The road became very curvy, narrow, and had sheer drop-offs on the center we watched a 24 minute video about the park that was really interesting. After the park, we headed towards Durango along side. You can only imagine Don’s death grip on the steering wheel after yesterday. Finally, he let me drive for a little while through the scariest part. I didn’t get to drive long before he decided to drive again. Of course I think it was because the road got wider and did not have anything to do with my driving! We arrived in Durango pretty early and drove around town. We ate dinner at a place called Serious Texas BBQ which had great tasting food and pretty reasonably priced. When we left dinner, there was snow swirling around us so I’m glad we are over the mountain and not on the other side. We are comfortably tucked in a Hampton Inn (it isn’t as good as the one we were in yesterday and did not seem as good quality as some of the others that we have stayed in) and may take a train ride tomorrow.

To see more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Favorite Tree and Adventure Day 37

Blog prompt: Today is Arbor Day. Tell about your favorite tree and why it is your favorite.

My favorite tree is an Apple Tree. I always wanted on to climb and hang a swing from its thick limb but I never had one when I was growing up. I also love apples and thought it would be wonderful to have all the apples I wanted. When we bought our first house, we planted an apple tree but then moved before we ever got to get any apples. We don’t have one at our house now because there is nowhere to really have one.

Travel Notes:

We left Moab, UT this morning after going to a Chinese/American breakfast buffet. It was really good and I was surprised to eat Chinese food for breakfast. Then we drove towards Cisco, which is a little town Don remembered from our last visit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as he remembered. We headed on to the Colorado National Monument for the day. The Rim Rock Road traveled right along the edge of the canyon rim throughout the monument and the views were absolutely stunning. Don drove the whole way and since he hates heights so much, he had a death grip on the steering wheel the entire time. (It is no wonder that his wrist hurts tonight and he has blisters on his fingers.)We did a few hikes along the way but finally decided it was time to head for Montrose, UT where we had a reservation at the Hampton Inn. I think we are staying at too many of these when there was a personal note to me on the desk in the room.

To see more pictures on Flickr - Click HERE.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poetry and Adventure Day 36

Blog prompt: This month is National Poetry Month. What is your favorite poem? How does it make you feel?

My favorite poem is I’m Nobody by Emily Dickinson. It is one of the first poems I remember liking and relating too during my teenage years. I felt that she knew exactly how I felt and that I was not alone. I still like to think of this when I’m feeling down.

I ’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Travel Notes:

Today we hiked around Capitol Reef National Park. We did some wonderful hikes and the scenery was beautiful. The best hike of today was the Grand Wash Trail where we hiked to the Narrows. The walls were really high and intimidating. The rock formations were outstanding and it really made me think about how long some of them have been here. After hiking the trails, we headed toward Moab and Arches National Park. Unfortunately we didn’t know this weekend is their big car show and it was really hard to find a hotel room. We finally got one for about $100 but tomorrow night they want $200 so we are leaving and heading towards the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day and Adventure Day 35 (Utah)

Blog prompt: Today is Earth Day. Do you do anything to help conserve energy? Share some tips that you do.

1. We use those CFL bulbs in our lights.
2. We turn up the air conditioning in the summer and turn down the heat in the winter.
3. I compost my food scraps in my worm bins so I can use the natural fertilizer in my flower beds.
4. We turn off the hot water heater when we travel.
5. I drive a Toyota Prius which is a hybrid car.

Travel Notes:

We got up early and hiked the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. We thought about adding the Peek a Boo Trail but decided we would just do the 2 trails instead. It was a wonderful hike and we met lots of neat people. Some of them were from Nevada, Hawaii, Holland, and California. It made the hike better because we stopped often to talk with different people. The trail down to the Queen’s Garden was steep and narrow but the views were fantastic. Coming up the Navajo Trail (Wall Street side) was really muddy and slippery. It also was very steep with lots of switch backs. I really enjoyed the hike today! Since we finished early, we cancelled our room at Ruby’s Inn and decided to drive to Capitol Reef National Park. We drove through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the views were awesome along the drive, especially when we hit parts that were still covered in snow. Finally we arrived in Torrey, UT which is right outside Capitol Reef National Park and will spend the night here.

To see more pictures on Flickr - Click HERE.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kindergarten Kid and Adventure Day 34

Blog prompt: Today is Kindergarten Day. If you could act like a child in kindergarten, what would you like to do today?

I would play and laugh as if I didn’t have a care in the world. I would not think of any of the ugliness or the meanness that is in the news. I would enjoy every one I met and only see the good in them!

Travel Notes:

We got up early this morning and headed to Bryce Canyon National Park. We went through a mile long tunnel and were able to look out the windows into the canyon. When we got to the other side, we hiked to the canyon overlook which was about a mile hike. The views were outstanding. When we got here we found a room at Ruby’s Inn which is an historic place right outside the park. Then we drove along the scenic road in the park and stopped at most of the overlooks. The scenery is awesome. Tomorrow we plan to do some mega hiking but today we are just trying to get used to the high altitude since we are almost at 10,000 feet. We relaxed this evening and did a load of laundry.

To see more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Competition and Adventure Day 33

Blog prompt: Today is the Boston Marathon. Tell about a competition that you participated in and how it turned out for you.

When I was in college I worked in the circulation (also called complaint) department of the local newspaper and there was a competition for selling newspapers subscriptions. The ones who won got a free trip to New York City (from SC) and since I was from NY, I really wanted to win this. I was such a poor college student that I rarely ever got to go home to see any family. I knew this would be a great chance to see my sister so I really worked hard at it. The worst part of this was that I was only a part time employee and had a hard time competing against the full time employees. But, I was lucky enough to be one of the winners and won the trip to NYC. While I was there for the weekend, my sister and her family drove into the city from Long Island and met me for lunch. I was so glad that I won that trip!

Travel Notes:

We are spending the night in our tent in Zion National Park and I’m so excited. I think it will be dark enough to see a lot of stars and I hope to be able to identify some constellations. We have hiked all day so I just hope that I can stay awake long enough for it to get really dark. We have met lots of nice people on the trails today which made it a lot of fun too. I was really surprised today to find out how hard the trails really were because I think all of them went straight up. I think the park turned out better than Don expected. We had lunch at the park café and then soft serve ice cream. Now we are sitting by our tent watching the sun set. Dinner tonight will be triscuits and cheese (from the can) and chocolate chip cookies. No one said I couldn’t serve up an tasty dinner!

(Will have to download pictures tomorrow. It was taking too long and my computer is almost out of battery power!)

update: Pictures are loaded! You can see more pictures on Flickr - click HERE.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Adventure Day 32 (Utah)

We made it to Zion National Park but I didn’t realize that we weren’t at the part with the free shuttle. We drove down the scenic road and did some hiking. The rocks were beautiful and so was the weather. We talked to some people who lived above Salt Lake City and then some others who lived in northern California. After hiking we drove up the road to Cedar Breaks National Monument but the road was closed due to lots of snow. As we drove up the road, the scenery was awesome and it was fun to watch the snow accumulation grow as we headed up the mountain. When we reached the part where the road was closed, we were able to watch this guy on his snowmobile. When we returned to Cedar City (where our hotel was), we stopped at an antique store and Walmart (to replenish some supplies). Tomorrow we will head south to the southern part of Zion National Park. For more pictures on Flickr – click HERE.

Adventure Day 31 (Nevada and Utah)

We left Wendover early this morning and headed to Grand Basin National Park. The scenery was beautiful but flat. We arrived at the park at 10:00 and was told to head up to get the cave tickets before they sold out because there was only 12 places left. We bought tickets for the 1:00 tour which was 90 minutes long. After we bought the tickets we met this nice guy, Larry who scouted out film locations and he was Moab. After talking with him we decided that we would head to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks next before heading to Moab and Arches National Park. Since the café wasn’t open we went back to Baker and found only one restaurant open so we had a hamburger at T&D’s restaurant. Then we drove and looked at some of the park before our tour began.

At 1:00 we were led on the tour by Lindsay the park ranger, who did a fantastic job. She took her time, spoke clearly, and was very interesting too. There was a large group with a couple of children who were very well behaved. It was exciting to see all the cave formations and I was surprised how different this was compared to Mammoth Cave and Carlsbad Caverns. “Lehman Caves is a beautiful marble cave ornately decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, flowstone, popcorn,” I love the part where we are in total darkness imagining how it was in the early days when they used candles to see in the cave. The tour was only $10 per person for the 90 minute tour and well worth every penny. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who thinks about visiting the park. But I think we were lucky to get a spot on the tour because I hear they fill up quickly so they do offer advanced reservations if you know when you will be there. Our problem is that we never know where we will be any given time so we can’t make advanced reservations.

Our next stop is going to be Zion. We were there many years ago but really didn’t have enough time to spend there. I’m really looking forward to going back there.

See more pictures on Flickr – click HERE.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Heritage and Adventure Day 30

Blog prompt: Today is Ellis Island Family History Day. Tell about your ancestors and where did they start out from before it led to where you are today.

My father’s parents and my mother’s father came from China. My father said that my grandfathers came to the US and worked on the railroad. I really am sorry that I don’t know more about them and their family history.

My father’s father came over here and left his two wives in China. He worked in restaurants most of his life. Eventually he owned a restaurant in New Jersey. I never met my grandmother because she died in China but my parents lived with her when they first got married and both of my sisters were born in China. Then in 1949, they had to escape China and come back to the US when the Communists arrived. My father was the first to find out that the Communists were coming and saved the village by warning them about it before he escaped with his family.

My mother’s father met my grandmother in Georgia. Then they ran a laundry in Jacksonville, FL and my mother was born there. My grandparents had 7 children and lived most of their lives in Chinatown in New York City.

My father came alone to the US as a young boy (about 13 years old). First he arrived by ship in Vancouver, Canada and then took the train to Boston to meet up with some relatives and then he lived alone above their restaurant for a few years. Later he joined his father in New York City before he enlisted in the US army. My parents were pen pals during WWII and when they met, they fell in love.

Travel Notes:

Today we left Reno (after taking a photo of the courthouse for a friend) and headed towards Wendover. It was a long drive but the scenery was awesome. It was amazing as we headed into snow covered mountains along I-80. We stopped in some of the small towns along the way. Then we arrived in Wendover and after finding a hotel room, we went to Wendover Air Field. There was an air museum that was free of charge and we watched an 8 minute video. Then the man told us that we could go up the big tower and watch a 737 land. That was pretty cool! After that we went to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see where the Speedway is. Because of the storm most of the salt flats were under water. Before we returned to the hotel, we had dinner and I took a picture of Wendover Willie. When we got back to the hotel we walked around the casino and Don even won some money from the slot machine. Tomorrow we will head to the Great Basin National Park.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My High Five Day and Adventure Day 29

Blog prompt: Today National High Five Day. Tell about something you did this month that you feel proud of.

I had to give a presentation to about 60 people at our national conference and I was really worried about it. I always volunteer to do stuff like this and then when it comes time to do it, I’m kicking myself for agreeing to do this. I’m always nervous and worried and wonder why I put myself through this. My presentation was about using technology to reach our organization’s members. I explained about using Skype, wikis, and Flash meeting (which I use to hold my online meetings). When I planned it, I was worried that this would be boring for the audience so I tried to make it interesting. Imagine my surprise when the audience was engaged and asking questions and seemed really interested! When it was over, I was even asked to come to their state meetings and present to individual boards. I felt proud that I followed through with the presentation (even though I wanted to pass out!) and that everyone seemed like they got something out of it.

Travel Notes:

Today was mostly a travel day. We traveled across California on Hwy 20 and I-80 into Nevada. It was really interesting to get back into the snow after the wonderful sunny coast. We reached Reno, NV by this afternoon and decided to spend the afternoon and night here. Tomorrow we will continue our trip east but we haven’t decided if we will go to Wendover, UT or Grand Basin National Park first.

See more pictures on Flickr – click HERE.

Erasers and Adventure Day 28

Blog prompt: Today is Rubber Eraser Day. If you could use a rubber eraser, what would you like to erase from your life?

I would love to erase all the stupid things I’ve done in my life, and believe me, there are many. In fact there are so many, I wouldn’t dream of boring you with all the stupid details. I haven’t done anything malicious but many things I have done in my younger years were because I was self-centered, naïve, or just didn’t think. I’m not saying that I still don’t do stupid things now but I hope that I think more about others and I pay attention to what I’m doing and think about the consequences. I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now and maybe I would have acted differently. Of course if I acted differently then, would I still be the person I am today?

Travel Notes:

We left Brookings, OR this morning and headed down the coast into California. We drove through the Redwoods National Park and did some hiking. The trees were enormous! It was really lovely to hike in the woods and hear the quiet of the trees and the singing of the birds. We finally decided to stop in Willets, CA to decide where we would go next. The weather is looking bad between here and Wendover, UT so we aren’t sure yet what our plans are going to be.

You can see more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pecans and Adventure Day 27

Blog prompt: Today is National Pecan Day. Do you like pecans? Why or why not? If you do, do you eat it in a pie or do you eat it plain?

I like pecans but I like them roasted and salted which are hard to find. I don’t like pecan pie that much but I love pecans in my banana bread. Since we were home in February, I decided to pick up the pecans out of my back yard and I can’t tell you how many 5 gallon buckets of pecans that I picked up. I guess I will spend my summer cracking them in order to use them for baking.

Travel Notes:

We left Coos Bay this morning and headed south along the coast. We stopped at lots of lighthouses and overlooks and really enjoyed looking at the views along the beach. We stopped in one small town and Don bought lots of post cards from an antique store while I sat in the car and knitted (and listened to podcasts). Then we finally arrived in Gold Beach where my friends from California have another house. Steve happened to be there today working on it so we called him. It is so cool that we have been able to cross paths as much as we have. If you get a chance, you might to read about how we crossed paths a couple of months ago in Barbados. We went to see their beautiful house along the river and it was absolutely awesome! The huge glass windows look out onto the river and while we were watching, this hawk landing on a branch of a tree across the river about eye level from where we were standing. I think this would be a fantastic place to live and I know we will have to come back to visit them again. After we left Steve, we drove along the coast some more and stopped at lots of overlooks along the way. By the time we got to Brookings, it was starting to get dark so we had to get a hotel. We decided to stay at the Wild River Motor Lodge which was nice and we had a wonderful dinner at Panchos (good Mexican food at reasonable prices).

We are still trying to decide how we will get to Wendover UT. We have three different routes we can take but Don is concerned about going over the mountains and the snow. We might end up taking the interstate down to Sacramento and then the interstate east to Utah. Of course all this is up in the air until tomorrow when we check the weather.

See more pictures on Flickr – click HERE.

Spring Traditions and Adventure Day 26 (Oregon)

Blog prompt: April 12 was Easter. For me, Easter is also a big celebration of spring, a time of rebirth. How does the spring season make you feel? Do you have any spring traditions that you do?

Lately our tradition for spring and Easter has been to travel across the country. When my girls were little, we used to dye Easter eggs and eat chocolate bunnies. When I was a little girl, we used to dye eggs but I was allergic to chocolate and had to eat those yucky white bunnies. Now I just plan on itching and eat the chocolate ones!

Travel Notes:

Today we left Newport and headed south along Hwy. 101 along the coast of Oregon. We stopped along the way to see lighthouses and the coast. We took a hike to a giant spruce tree. We just enjoyed the drive and the views today.

See more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Adventure Day 25 (Oregon)

I don’t know where to begin other than to say, “I love Oregon!”

Backpackers on the Appalachian Trail meet people they call “Trail Angels” who do nice things for others just to be nice. Well, today in Oregon, we met Trail Angels who absolutely made us feel loved! We spent a long time in an Antique and Collectibles Mall where I met Peggy Sabanskas, who is the owner. Don was in heaven because they had such great treasures here and spent a long time browsing. Peggy and I sat in comfortable chairs to visit while Don shopped and I had a wonderful talk with her. Finally it came time to leave and we paid for our treasures when Don mentioned it was getting late and I said it was time to hunt for a hotel. Peggy quickly told us that she had the perfect thing for us! She had a gift certificate at this really nice place, called The Landing at Newport and she couldn’t use it so she called her husband at home and had him bring the certificate to us in the pouring rain. Not only did she give us this certificate, but she called the place to see if they had room for us and told them that she was sending us there. What wonderful hospitality she showed us and she didn’t even know us! I am so thankful that there are people like her in this world!

We are now at The Landing at Newport in this fantastic condominium. I feel like I died and went to heaven! There is a full kitchen with a real refrigerator (after being on the road for 25 days and staying in hotel rooms without any refrigerator, please forgive my excitement!). We have this really comfortable living room with a gas fireplace and a balcony overlooking the marina and all of the beautiful boats! It doesn’t matter a bit that it is pouring down rain because it still looks beautiful! There is also a washer and dryer in this condo which is extremely convenient. There is cable TV in the bedroom and the living room as well as wifi throughout the place. It will be so nice to get up in the morning and be able to get on the computer without worrying about waking up Don! If we didn’t travel so much, this would be a really cool place to have.

This morning we headed south to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. We got there about the time the interpretive center opened and met this nice girl at the desk named Kelly. She was so personable and gave us lots of information. When she told us that the tide was low and that this would be a good time to check out the tidepools, we left for Cobble Beach which was right below the lighthouse to see what neat stuff we could find. It was awesome! We saw starfish, anemones, urchins, and even harbor seals! After spending time at the tidepools, we went back to the interpretive center to ask Kelly where we should eat lunch and she recommended the Local Ocean. We had wonderful roasted garlic and crab soup. Then we went back to the lighthouse so we could climb the 114 steps to see the top. After that we went down to another area to look for more harbor seals. By then we were ready to move south. Of course, we didn’t get far before we found the Antique Mall and the rest was history.

See more pictures on Flickr – click HERE.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Adventure Day 24 (Oregon)

We had a wonderful night at the Comfort Inn in Lincoln City, OR. After breakfast, we headed south along the coast t meet my friend Meg. We’ve talked on line for a couple of years so I was really excited to finally meet her. We were going to go to the outlet mall on the way there, but decided to skip it until another time. We thought we left with plenty of time but we kept pulling over to look at the scenery that we decided we needed to just go on with plans of visiting at another time. We arrived about 11am and then we drove to the beach to see what treasures we could find. The big treasure was this crab. Emma and George got wet but you could tell they really enjoyed exploring and searching. It’s amazing when you view the world through a child’s eyes. After that we returned back to the house so the kids could change clothes and then we went to Mo’s for lunch. I ate clam chowder with shrimp in it and it was really good! We really enjoyed being around the two kids and they were so well behaved and a lot of fun. After lunch it was time to leave them and head out for more adventures.

Then we headed back north so we could go to the places we drove by this morning. We thought we would stay at the same hotel as we did last night since it was so comfortable. Then we can mosey down the coast and stop at all the lighthouses and beach overlooks. There were a few interpretive centers we want to stop at and do a few hikes along the way. We stopped by the Tanger Outlet Mall to get our giftcards because of our AAA membership but the office wasn’t open this weekend. We found another Mo’s for dinner which we really enjoyed. I think all that fresh air wore me out though so we will have an early night.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Sister and Adventure Day 23 (Oregon)

Blog prompt: Today is National Sibling Day. If you have a sibling, describe your relationship. If you don’t, write about someone else’s relationship with a sibling.

My sister and I are pretty close. I think the internet has helped bring us closer since we live about 800 miles apart. As a small child, we were very close even after she got married. She used to tuck me in bed before she left to go home and I loved to go visit her on weekends. When I went away to college she would send me care packages. Later when I first got married and was a new teacher, I was too exhausted to keep up a relationship with anyone including my sister. I also went through some pretty big family problems which tended to isolate us from others. Now that my daughters are married and independent, I have time to rebuild those relationships that I let fall to the wayside. When I am not traveling, I usually talk to my sister by phone at least three times a week and more often by computer. She is a wealth of information and advice, not to mention a great support system. I’m so glad that we have had a chance to get closer again. She tells me stories about my family heritage that I never knew about. I think we had some misconceptions about our younger years and are able to talk about them with each other. We are able to clear them up and realize that the past isn’t important as much as the present. We talk about our lives and are connecting again and this makes me feel so close to her even though we don’t live close. While I’ve been traveling, I haven’t been able to talk to her and I really miss her! My husband keeps reminding me that it is only for 6 more weeks and then I can go back to talking to her regularly.

Travel Notes:

This morning we headed down the coast of Oregon on Hwy 101. We stopped at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park at Fort Clatsop. There were 24 students there learning skills that Lewis and Clark had to use so we got to watch too. Then we took a 2 mile round trip hike to the landing which was a beautiful hike. It had been drizzling when we got there but then the sun came out and it was a wonderful hike. Then we stopped at antique stores in different towns along the way as well as stopping to see the beaches. There were beautiful rock formations in the ocean. When we got to Tillamook and went on a tour of the cheese factory which was pretty cool. We ended up staying in Lincoln City which also has a Tanger Outlet Mall. I’m trying to arrange to meet up with Meg, my scrapbooking friend, tomorrow in Florence.

See more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

An Antique and Adventure Day 22 (Oregon)

Blog prompt: Today is National Cherish an Antique Day. What is something you own that you think will someday be considered a valuable antique? Describe it.

I have my parents dining room table that they had in China when they first got married. Now it is in my kitchen and it means a lot to me. There is a sliding drawer that goes both ways and it holds silverware my parent reupholstered the seats. It is a small table with a removable leaf and has four chairs.

Travel Notes:

This morning we were going to go to Mt. Saint Helens but most everything was con one side and napkins on the other. I'm not sure what kind of wood it is but I know losed because of the snow. So, we headed south into Oregon. Our first stop was Astoria; not because we knew what was there, but because it was the biggest name on the map after Portland.

When we arrived in town, the Columbia River Maritime Museum was the first thing we saw and I immediately got on the internet to find out the cost and what exhibits they had. It only cost $9 per person (which included the $1 off with AAA discount). The museum was really interesting with lots of artifacts. Our admission let us come and go all day so that worked out well since we left for lunch. The girl at the desk recommended that we go to The Ship Inn which was wonderful for lunch. It was a British type of restaurant so Don had fish and chips and I had a chicken pasty. From our table, we were able to see the Astoria-Megler Bridge which has been used in a lot of commercials. This town has also been in a lot of films like Free Willy, Kindergarden Cop, and the Guardian plus lots of other movies. After lunch we stopped by the Chamber of Commerce and met the nicest people. One lady spent a lot of time with us and made us feel like we were special and didn’t act like we were interrupting her from something else. I loved getting all the information about what to do in Astoria and surrounding areas. Then we went on the trolley ride which was the best deal we found on this trip. For $1 per person we had a 1 hour tour along the trolley route. After the tour we took a tour of the Lightship Columbia which was included in our museum admission.

After that we found a neat motel called the Lamplighter which is located downtown Astoria. I called different motels (so we didn’t have a repeat of last night!) and this person sounded pleasant and the price was just right. When we checked in, the lady who checked us in was not the one on the phone but she was really welcoming too! Only the downstairs rooms have internet access with an Ethernet cable so I’m glad I chose downstairs. They also served soup at 5pm in the lobby and a free continental breakfast in the morning. There was a Pig N’Blanket restaurant right next door which is where we ate dinner. Our room was comfortable and I felt safe so I would highly recommend that people come here if they stay the night.

After checking in, we went to a few antique stores down town and then drove down to see the sea lions that we saw when we were on the trolley ride. After that we drove to Fort Stevens State Park to see the Columbia River Bar, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It is a really dangerous place for ships and they have to have a Columbia River Bar Pilot to guide them in and out of this area. In fact, we went to see the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale which wrecked in 1906.

See more pictures on Flickr – click HERE.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

8 accomplishments and Adventure Day 21 (Washington)

Blog prompt: Name eight things that you want to accomplish in the month of April.

1. Visit Olympic National Park.
2. Visit Mr. Ranier National Park.
3. Visit Mt. Saint Helens.
4. Travel along the coast of Oregon.
5. Turn in textbook order for summer classes.
6. Complete at least 5 scrapbook pages.
7. Work on knitted tank top for myself.
8. Meet some of my plurk/twitter friends face to face.

Travel Notes:

This morning we woke up early and decided to do a load of wash while we waited for the museum to open. Even though we killed time, we still got to the museum an hour early. We spent the morning at the Museum of Flight and got to tour a Concorde, Air Force One, and sit in the cockpit of a Blackbird. They had a nice selection of exhibits to look at too. It cost $12 because we had a AAA discount so I gave the $2 off coupons to the family behind us to use (and they appreciated it too!). After eating lunch, we finished looking around and then left for Mt. Rainier.

We saw lots of snow at Mt. Rainier and actually saw the mountain in the sunlight. The guy who worked there told me that we were lucky to see it so clearly and that we needed to head up to Paradise immediately because they were expecting snow tomorrow. If it snowed, more than likely, we wouldn’t be able to get up there. The views were awesome when we got up there but it was scary driving through the walls of snow (because I was wondering what we would do if there was an avalanche). They said if we went out on snow shoes we needed to have locator beacons in case of avalanches but there was no danger of us doing this activity! I took tons of photos and we went on our way.

Then we found this little local place called the Highlander for dinner. Of course after we went in, we realized that it was more of a locals bar than restaurant. I really hoped we would finish dinner because the locals got too liquored up and wanted to take it out on some strangers. We finished dinner and were on our way. The problem is that we were in the middle of nowhere, it was getting dark, and there were no hotels in sight. As we traveled down the road, a herd of Elk ran in front of our car which was pretty cool! We finally arrived in Kelso, WA after 9pm and found a Best Western (which has been usually pretty good) but this one was on the iffy side. As soon as we got here, some car pulled up beside our car and then sat there for about 15 minutes before finally letting 2 young guys out. We also have a sliding window in our room that barely locks so we jammed a door jam (that I always bring with me) in the window and hopes it will keep bad people out. Now I’m so paranoid, I probably won’t get any sleep.

To see more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cleaning Bathrooms and Adventure Day 20 (Washington)

Blog prompt: Today is No Housework Day. What is one household chore would you love never having to do again and why?

The one thing I despise doing is cleaning the bathrooms and we have three of them. It is not that it is hard but I just hate to do it. I think because that was my job since I was old enough to do chores. It isn’t fair that I have to clean bathrooms my whole life! Of course, if I waited for my husband to clean them, they would never get clean. I’m glad he isn’t a picky husband and complains about how often I clean the house. I think it bothers me a lot more than it does him.

Travel Notes:

We ate a really cute restaurant for breakfast called The Coffee Pot. This is the restaurant mentioned in the movie Twilight (only the lady told me that it is called the café in the movie). The picture of the place is in the Directors notes from the movie but none of the movie was filmed in town. The director came to Forks to get an idea of what the town was like for the movie. It was really foggy and mysterious this morning which made me think it was a great setting for a vampire story. After breakfast, Don checked the tires and said we were getting a flat so we had to get it fixed. Within an hour, we were on our way again.

Then we headed to the Hoh rainforest and did some hiking there. Along the trail we came across this big elk. I don’t think it was afraid of us but did watch us as it ate. The trees were covered in hanging moss and looked beautiful! After that, we headed to the Quinault rainforest and did some more hiking. The weather has been beautiful today. It was sunny and warm for what I imagined Washington would be like.

We went to the Cabela’s store in Lacey, WA so I could buy another pair of zip-off pants and they were only $29! Don couldn’t find any in the right length so he didn’t get any. Then we headed to Seatac to find a hotel. We are staying in Best Western and it seems pretty nice.

To see more pictures on Flickr – Click HERE.