Tag Archive | girls trip

Weekend Musings: August 7, 2021

I know, I know, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been around!  But guys!  I got to go on vacation!  I got home Thursday night from a week at the Oregon Coast with my friend Jena, and it was amazing.

We did a ton of beachcombing, looking for agates, beach glass, seashells and fossils.  We visited multiple beaches, checking out what was at each one.  The weather was pretty cold and windy the whole week, so we got sandblasted each day and ended up washing sand out of our hair with every shower, but we were happy!  We dug in the gravel beds until our nails had dirt and sand embedded underneath.  We poked around in tide pools and flipped over rocks to see what was underneath.

We tried out a number of different breweries and one cidery, and sampled all the delicious food. Seafood, burgers, fish and carne asada tacos, nachos, totchos; we had so much good grub!

We watched the sea lions on the docks, saw a seal bobbing in the surf, and found pelicans on the sandbars.

We visited a couple of the historic coastal lighthouses.  The Yaquina Bay and Yaquina Head lighthouses were both built in the 1870s, and although they are in Newport, Oregon, now, back then they were very remote!

 

We shopped in the local shops and got started on our Christmas shopping…  And of course I got gifts for myself too!

I practiced my photography and played around with the photoball that my dad got me the Christmas before he died.

It was sooooo much fun!

Of course, Cora and Yellow are happy that I’m home, and enjoying lap time and pets.  And I’ve been enjoying a lazy day at home after 8 straight days of constantly being on the go.  I mean, how can you relax when there are more agates to be found?

 

COVID Diaries: Day 207

Last weekend I got to have what was probably the last the last hurrah of mountain hiking before the pass closes, the snow falls and I am confined to the lowlands until next year’s season.

Audrey, Jena and I spent a fabulous day hike at Blue Lake, a spectacular out and back hike with views of the larches. Larches are one of the only types of conifers that lose their needles in the winter, so they give a beautiful fall color show. Blue Lake did not disappoint – it certainly deserves its own post!

We stayed the night in Winthrop, one of Washington’s small mountain theme towns. We poked around and enjoyed the warm, sunny weather, and laughed more than I have in a while. Good girlfriends soothe the soul.

This weekend has been quiet – just yard work and housework. There’s always a project or two at home that I should be doing!

Arizona Getaway 2019: Endings

Day 3 & 4, Saturday & Sunday, March 16 & 17, 2019

After Mom and I left Chiracahua National Monument, we still had some hours in the day left, so why waste them in a hotel room?  I wanted to try some local wines, so we found the Arizona Wine Collective in Tucson.  It is a wine bar that features and serves an assortment of Arizona wines.

Arizona Wine Collective

I chose to taste through a flight of five and told my server what I typically like; crisp, dry whites and lighter, less oakey reds.  She explained what she would recommend based on my palate and I went with her recommendations.  I enjoyed four of the five wines she selected for me, so I feel like she did pretty well!  Sadly, I didn’t end up recording the wines I had, so I’ll just have to go back again!  I do wish they had bottles to take with you, but unfortunately, they did not.  I see an Arizona wine tour in my future.  It has been a while…

Arizona Wine Collective

The Arizona Wine Collective doesn’t serve food, but there are a couple of restaurants in the complex where they are located and you can get takeout delivered without charge.  Mom and I split a delicious order of nachos from the restaurant next door and it was more than enough for dinner for two.

The next morning it was time to head home…  We drove over to the Tucson airport and deposited our hamster car (Kia Soul) back at the rental place.  Then we sat outside for a while soaking up the Arizona sunshine before it was time to make our way through security.  I can never get enough of feeling the warm sun on my face!  Especially since as I am writing this I’m looking outside at an inch of snow, a temperature of 19 degrees and a windchill of 6, with a high temperature today of 26 degrees.  I need some warm sun!

Sculpture at the Tucson Airport

 

A Pegasus!

 

Until my next escape!

 

Arizona Getaway 2019: More of Tombstone

Day 2, Friday, March 15, 2019

After we checked out the OK Corral site, we still had plenty to see in Tombstone!  Mom and I had lunch at a BBQ place just off one of the main streets; Puny John’s BBQ – it was delicious!

After lunch we visited the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park to get some of the less sensationalized history of Tombstone. The Cochise County Courthouse was built in 1882, after Cochise County became its own county and needed a county seat.  The Courthouse is filled with some fantastic exhibits, a few on the Earps and the OK Corral, but mostly on the other parts of Tombstone history.

There is old mining equipment, and an antique bar from one of the local saloons from the Old West era.  There is furniture and other artifacts from late 19th century homes to show what life would have been like in Tombstone at the time.  You can see the historic courtroom too!  And then, there is the gallows.  Four men were hanged at the gallows behind the courthouse; this one is a reconstruction.  It is interesting to see it as it looked then though.

We checked out the newspaper printing office where the Tombstone Epitaph as published back in the 1880s.  It was free to visit and you could wander around and look at the old printing press that was used to run the paper.  We picked up our souvenir copy of the paper from the day in 1881 when the story of the OK Corral ran; it was complimentary with our ticket to the corral from earlier.

We also sampled some wine from the Silver Strike Winery, which sadly was a big disappointment and the service was incredibly slow.  Oh well, I guess not everything can be wonderful in life.  I did keep my souvenir tasting glass, and pull it out from time to time when I just want a small glass of wine or juice.

Silver Strike Winery

A short distance down the street we visited the Bird Cage Theatre.  The Bird Cage was opened in 1881 and was intended to be a theatre for the for the “respectable women” of Tombstone, featuring appropriate entertainment and free ladies’ nights.  Unfortunately for the respectable women of Tombstone, “appropriate” doesn’t sell so the owners soon began featuring more bawdy entertainment and gambling for the miners.

The Bird Cage was the home of the longest poker game in history.  It cost $1,000 to buy in, and then it ran for eight years, going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Players included Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, among other famous gamblers of the time.  It is estimated that $10 million dollars changed hands over those eight years, with the Bird Cage getting 10% of the winnings.  Not bad, considering that would have been on top of the drinks that the men bought!

We didn’t take the tour of the Bird Cage, but instead checked out the front room and exhibits.  Perhaps one day!

We enjoyed our day in Tombstone and were both tired by the time we wandered back to the car for the drive back to Tucson.  That evening we found a Pho restaurant for dinner and mom got to try this delicious noodle soup for the first time.  What a good day!

Pho!

Arizona Getaway, March 2019

Day 1, Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tucson, Arizona

I had few weeks in March between when I got my job offer and when I would start working.  Mom and I were still pretty shell-shocked after dad’s death and I casually mentioned that maybe it would be good to get out of town for a few days.  I found a relatively inexpensive direct flight to Tucson, and to my surprise, Mom agreed.

Mom had a few places she wanted to see, and I had a few places I wanted to see, so a weekend trip was born.  On the first day, we had an early flight, so we could make the most of our day.

Mom was interested in checking out some rock shops and bead shops, so after we arrived and got our rental car, we set off to find them.  But lunch first.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant called La Parilla a Suiza that I googled nearby the first rock shop. They say their cuisine is from the Mexico City region and it was good!  The only drawback was the air-conditioning was way too high, and it was freezing in there!

The first rock shop, called Norcross Madagascar, was one Mom had heard about in a beading group she belongs to.  They sell wholesale mostly, but also welcome retail customers.  At first we weren’t sure we were in the right place, because it certainly didn’t appear as if they did any retail traffic.  However, the ladies who showed us around the shop were so warm and friendly.  They explained the properties of various stones, and what healing properties they were known for.  Their specimens range from giant to small and they had things that fit every budget, even if you were just buying single items.  They sold carved animals, hearts, cabochons and huge specimen pieces too.  I enjoyed wandering the rooms of polished rocks and display items and found several things that came home with me.

Mom found quite a few things too, including one carnelian orb that she bought.  Carnelian is believed to help people move through feelings of depression, worry and grief.  This one did something more.  We placed it on the table several times, on different sides of the round orb, and each time it wobbled back and forth instead of simply rolling to one side like you would expect from a ball.  I have no idea what it means, but it was oddly comforting.  Maybe it was a message from Dad.

After that we went to Bead Holiday, a traditional bead shop.  I’m not into beading like my mom is, but I did get a few pairs of beads that she made into earrings for me.  I have such a sweet mom!

We checked out the historic downtown area and spent some time at Old Town Artisans.  This block of shops and a few restaurants was once the stables section of El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, the fort constructed beginning in 1775.  It was fun wandering around in the maze of shops, filled with a combination of tourist souvenir items, antiques and items created by local craftspeople.  We shared some nachos for dinner; another delicious meal!

Our early morning flight made for an early evening after we got checked into the hotel.  It was a good first day!

 

Mimosa Me Crazy 5K

April 13 and 14, 2019, Everett, Snohomish and Seattle, Washington

Katy and I met our other friend Katie at her house after the Tulip Festival – the next morning we were going to do the Mimosa 5K down in north Seattle.  We wanted a bit of girl time the evening before, so we headed over to Snohomish to try out a haunted historic tavern called the Oxford Saloon.  The Oxford was originally built in the 1890s as a dry goods store and then became a saloon in 1910.  There are also rumors that the upstairs rooms were home to a brothel.  At least two people are known to have died in the Oxford, one was a police officer named Henry, who history says was a bouncer at the Oxford during his off time.  He was stabbed while trying to break up a fight.

The other was supposedly a prostitute named Amelia, who was found curled up in the closet of her room, dead.  It is not known if she committed suicide or was murdered.  Ghost hunters have investigated the Oxford; you can read about it here.  Henry, Amelia and Kathleen (or Katherine), the woman who ran the brothel, are all believed to haunt this historic saloon, whispering to patrons, touching people on the shoulder and moving through the saloon, especially in the basement and in the upstairs rooms. We didn’t see any ghosts, but our server told us that strange occurrences are common late at night after things shut down.  Maybe next time!

 

The next morning, we got up early and braved the cold for a non-competitive fun-run around Green Lake in Seattle.  I jogged a little bit but wasn’t that concerned with getting to the finish line fast.  It was fun to enjoy the mimosas and medal at the end though!  I’m a sucker for a race medal!  There was also some good live music and several great costumes.  We all had a good time and were able to stop off at one of my favorite restaurants in Everett, the New Mexicans, for brunch and a mimosa afterward!

 

I always love spending some time with my friends.

London 2018: Afternoon Tea

Day 13, Friday, July 6, 2018

After our visit to the museums, Taryn and I went back to the hotel and got freshened up for our afternoon tea.  We had been on the hunt for an afternoon tea to try while we were in London, and had asked around.  A few places that had been advertised were considered by the people we asked to be quite touristy, and some of the others were quite expensive.  We decided to go have a simple afternoon tea at the K&K Hotel George, which was reasonably priced and only a few minutes walk from our hotel.

We got a little dressed up and walked over for our tea.  We sat out on the back patio, and enjoyed our tea.  Finger sandwiches, scones, cookies and sweets, and tea.  For a small additional cost, you could add sparkling wine, so of course I did!

Our afternoon tea!

The day was a little hot for sitting outside, but we had fun chatting and catching up, and enjoying sampling the goodies that came with our tea.  It was good to have some girl time!

Pinkies Out!

After our tea we took a walk and enjoyed seeing a bit more of the neighborhood.  We went to a few of the neighborhood shops to use the last of our British pounds before we had to depart for the airport in the morning.  I got some postcards and Taryn got some chocolates and candies for her kids.  It was a nice ending for our London vacation.

Tube Stations:  None.  We walked to the tea and back, as it was only a few blocks from the hotel.
Costs: 15.50 pounds (I don’t think they charged me for my sparkling wine…)
FitBit Steps: I forgot to write it down!

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Northward

Day 5, Friday, March 30, 2018

We had such a good time in San Francisco, but it was time to head northward towards home.  We got showered, packed up, tetrised the car, and got on our way…

Me with the Golden Gate Bridge

We stopped in Sausalito to poke around in some shops and walk along the water.  What a cute, peaceful little town!  Then we met up with Lelani’s friend Susi for lunch in Tiburon at Sam’s Café.  It is dog friendly and we sat outside on the patio to enjoy our meal.  I had fish and chips and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, but I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo.  The weather was amazing once again, sunny and much warmer than a typical March day!

Me after lunch in Tiburon

Our next destination was Santa Rosa for some wine tasting.  We stopped at Matanzas Creek Winery.  I did a tasting while the rest of the girls bought a bottle and sat out on the patio to share; I joined them when I was finished with my tasting.  They had some really good wine, but it was pricey.  It was really nice hanging out on the patio soaking up the sunshine!

Sharing a bottle

 

Selfie at Matanzas Creek!

Next we headed over to Muscardini.  They had some really good wines but I felt like the service could have been better…  They were dog friendly both inside and out though so Shaka loved it; she found a bone that another dog had left behind and was in heaven.

Muscardini

Our last stop in Santa Rosa was at Palooza for dinner.  There was a bit of a wait, but they had a waiting area where you could play a giant game of Jenga, so we didn’t mind the wait!  The girls shared pizza, but I wasn’t in the mood for more pizza so I had a Mushroom Alfredo that was to die for!  Another of Lelani’s friends had dinner with us, and she enjoyed catching up with him!

Concentration…

My mushroom alfredo and calamari appetizer at Palooza

By the time we left Santa Rosa the sun was setting, and we weren’t sure how far north we were going to get.  We had originally planned on camping on the Oregon Coast again, but after the misjudged distance on the way down earlier in the week, we decided that it would be better to just head back up I-5.  Laura and Brenna drove, and they are able to stay up way later than Lelani and me, so we made it all the way to Redding before deciding to turn in for the night.

We stayed at the Super 8 there; it was supposed to be dog friendly but they didn’t have any dog friendly rooms available for the night.  We were bad; we snuck Shaka in instead of making her sleep in the car.  She let out one big woof and a few quiet ones when some guys walked past the room on the way to theirs, but after that she was quiet.  Whew!

What a long, fun day!

 

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Sutro Baths

Day 3, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Despite being up so late the night before, we got up at about 8 am the next day, and were all ready and out about 9 am.  I guess that’s the thing about getting old – there is no sleeping in!

We headed down to the Presidio, and although it took a bit of wandering, we found the Sutro Baths, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  I got my passport stamps at the Visitor’s Center and we headed down to check out the site.

Sutro Baths below

The Sutro Baths were built in the late 1800s along the cliffs of the Land’s End area of San Francisco, intended to be a European style bath house for the residents of San Francisco.  They were huge, 500 by 255 feet, with 6 saltwater pools and one freshwater pool, 7 slides, 30 swinging rings and a spring diving board.

At high tide, water would flow directly into the pool from the ocean, and at low tide, pumps would fill the water into the baths.

The complex also had a 2700 seat amphitheater and 517 private dressing rooms.  Ultimately, the high cost of operation drove the baths out of business, and it was converted into an ice skating rink, which closed in 1964.  In 1966, as it was being demolished for make way for a high rise apartment complex, it was destroyed by an arson fire.  It is unclear why the apartments weren’t built after that, but it has been a ruin ever since.

Rocks at the Sutro Baths

The cave near the baths

The site also has a path that goes above the ruins, leading to an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was so sunny and warm for March – the view was spectacular!

The Sutro Baths are ruins are free and open to the public.  It was so pretty there, being right on the ocean wandering among the ruins!

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Oregon to San Francisco

Day 2: Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Our day began at about 6:30 – Lelani is an early riser – curses!  She got up to take the dog for a walk, and I figured that since I was awake, I probably wasn’t going to get any more sleep and might as well get up too.  I grabbed my camera and followed Lelani and Shaka to the beach, where we did a bit of early morning exploring and relaxing.  It was misty and foggy, making for a pretty view down the beach, and a lot of condensation on the lens of my camera…

We headed back to camp and got things packed up and put into the car and were ready about 10 minutes before 9.  Off we went.  Lelani mentioned that she thought we would be pulling into Santa Rosa about 5 for happy hour with a friend of hers, and I checked the GPS and then let her know that if we made no stops at all (there were a couple planned), we would be rolling in about 6…  Oops.  Never mind – we would just play it by ear and see what the day brought!

The day brought a stop at the Devil’s Punchbowl a whirlpool rock formation on the coast where ocean water rushes in and swirls wildly in a rock formation that is shaped like a bowl.  The Heceta Head lighthouse is also there, so I was able to get photos of it as well.  What a cool quick stop – one day I would like to check it out more!

We stopped next at the West Coast Game Park Safari.  I wanted to like this place and was expecting it to be a drive through game farm where the animals have large open habitats.  Not so…  The animals were in cages and looked mostly sad to be there. Some of the animals they had, big cats and chimpanzees, are far too large and are not meant to be in cages like that. I did like the farm animal area, where the domestic animals can interact with visitors (and steal the ice cream cones full of pelleted food you can buy to feed them), but the wild animals were just heartbreaking to see.  I chalk this up to a tourist fail for me – I can’t in good conscience recommend a visit.  Laura, Brenna and I left disheartened…

We got back on the road and continued the journey south.  Our next stop was at Meyers Beach North.  We got out and took Shaka for a walk on the beach, and climbed on the rocks here.  It was so incredibly windy!  It was just a quick stop to stretch our legs and check out the view before continuing into California.

We drove on, stopping next at the Trees of Mystery.  If you don’t know, this is one of those iconic stops along the California Coast. I have been there before, to check out the giant 50 foot tall Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  However, I have yet to go in and check out what is supposed to be a fairly cool boardwalk among the Redwoods.  One day – as we were now aware of how terribly late we were actually going to be, we made this a quick stop to use the restrooms and get some cheesy photos with Paul and Babe.  Onward!

Paul Bunyan and Babe

 

Proof that I have a hard time being appropriate…

 

At this point the drive began to get hard.  We knew that we were going to miss the happy hour wine tasting in Santa Rosa, so we made the decision to just continue on to San Francisco, in order to not miss our first night’s lodgings.  Yet, the road gets long and winding on this stretch between the coast and wine country, and every moment we spent slowing down for all those twists and turns put us into San Francisco later and later.

Shenanigans

 

Lelani and me – front seating

We stopped for dinner in a tiny town with two restaurant options; a bar that looked better left to Hell’s Angels types, and a Mexican restaurant.  The Mexican restaurant had the strangest, most apathetic server I had encountered in a while…  She honestly seemed completely unconcerned that she had customers in the restaurant.  And the food, while good, was not what I had ever experienced from a Mexican restaurant.  Lelani and I split an order of arroz con pollo, which is normally chicken and rice smothered in onions, peppers, cheese and sauce.  Here, it was simply chicken, rice and some finely chopped tomato – good, but not what I know as arroz con pollo.

It took forever to get dinner and then our check.  So long in fact that this is one of the few times that I have not left much of a tip.  Our server perked up as it came time to get paid, and all of a sudden started being really attentive, but it was already too late at that point.

We got back on the road, and more long, winding road stretched out ahead of us…  So much long, winding road…  It was long dark, and we were still driving, and I felt like we were going to drive forever…

We finally got into our AirBnB in San Francisco about 11:15 that night, exhausted.  We unpacked the car as quietly as we could, since we were in the heart of a residential neighborhood.  We got our things situated in our little apartment.  It had two queen beds, a bathroom, and a mini-fridge and microwave.  Our host had stocked it with sodas and some snacks for us too.  Once we had unpacked, we pretty much just brushed our teeth and climbed in bed, glad to not be driving anymore.  That was way too many hours in the car!