Tag Archive | vacation

Nostalgia

It’s been a long week, and I am thankful that tomorrow is Friday.  And payday at that!  I also hope to have a relaxing weekend.  Last weekend a friend came to town, so the weekend was full of getting together with various friends and socializing.  It was great!  But I am also looking forward to a quiet weekend with not much planned.

Meanwhile, until I have a chance to do some writing, I hope you enjoy this photograph.  I took it at Paint Mines Interpretive Park, in eastern Colorado.  The colored layers were stunning, and it was amazing to hike and explore the rock formations.

I miss my trip, and now that the weather is warm and sunny again, I find myself itching to be back on the road.  My new job means I have to be stationary for now, so I’m feeling nostalgic.

One day…

San Francisco 2018: 4 Chicks and a Little Bitch

March 26 – April 1, 2018

So, I went out to dinner with my girlfriend Lelani and her daughter Laura sometime in February, and the topic of a spring break road trip came up (Laura was in college).  Lelani, Laura and Laura’s friend Brenna were already committed, so they had room for one more adventurous soul-searcher.  It seemed intriguing, but I had so much going on in March, and I had just booked my trip to London for late June, so doing another week long vacation seemed like a bit much.  Plus, one of my employees was going to be out of the office that same week, so it seemed like a lot of burden for my other two employees.

But the idea kept coming up, and I wouldn’t even have to plan anything – I could just show up and go along for the ride!  So, a few weeks later I talked to my two employees and they assured me that they would be happy to have me skedaddle for spring break so they could have a quiet week.  A road trip was born!

Lelani and Laura had planned a route that included heading down I-5 to Eugene, then cutting over to the Oregon Coast and taking the coastal route through Santa Rosa into San Francisco.  We would spend 3 nights in San Francisco, and then take the same coastal route back up through Oregon and Washington.  The trip would commence on Monday (Lelani couldn’t leave until then), and return home on Sunday.  Accommodations would be camping on the Oregon coast the first night, 3 nights in an AirBnB in San Francisco, another night camping on the Oregon Coast, and one night spent in Portland, Oregon before heading home.

Camping on the coast in late March seemed risky, but hey, if worse came to worst we could always find lodging with a solid roof over our heads to shelter from the rain – surely everything wouldn’t be booked on the coast in March.  And if things were really bad, there were four of us, and we could always drive in shifts until we got to somewhere we thought we wanted to be – right!  This is sounding ominous, and I assure you, it never turned out like that – we never even stumbled upon the Bates Motel, or the Hotel California…

My next posts will be telling you about the 4 Chicks and a Little Bitch Road Trip 2018 – yes, we named our road trip – and in case you were wondering, the little bitch was Lelani’s 5 month old puppy Shaka, who came along for the ride.  What an adventure this would turn out to be!

 

 

Atlanta 2018: Flying

Day 1, Sunday, January 21, 2018

It was January, and it was stormy…  As a result, I didn’t sleep well for the few hours of sleep I got before my flight.  It was very windy at my house, and I don’t sleep well in the wind.  Add to that the fact that I had to be on the 2:10 am shuttle!  Wow.  My flight out was at 6:30 in the morning, and it was a bumpy ride until I was over the Rockies.

I got to Atlanta, grabbed a late lunch/early dinner while still at the airport and then managed to navigate the subway downtown.  My hotel was right downtown, but about two blocks away from Peachtree Street so it was less expensive than some of the others.  They upgraded me to a suite, so I had a bedroom and living room, with two flat screen TVs!  I am not much of a TV watcher though, so that isn’t such a draw for me.  It was a historic hotel with a quirky inner courtyard with windows looking down on it, so it was a pretty cool place!

I got some snacks and a bottle of wine from a shop close to my hotel, and that was that.  That first evening was a very quiet and early night, since I was tired from being awake most of the night before!

Hotel: Hampton Inn and Suites, Atlanta Downtown

Yellowstone Road Trip 2017: On the Water

Day 12-14, Friday, August 4-6, 2017

I headed out from Portland towards home on Friday morning.  Along the way, I stopped off at the Tacoma Marina to meet my friend David, who had a boat moored there.  We had talked about just meeting for lunch, but the timing turned out well, as my only commitment was getting back to work the next Monday.  The weather was spectacular, so we ended up taking the boat out for a couple of days of relaxation and decompressing.

On our way

 

Our getaway

The good thing about a boat on the water is that you are a captive to the concept of relaxing.  We anchored off of Vashon Island and had almost no interruptions, except for the occasional boat going by.  For two days, I read my book, napped on the bow of the boat, sunned myself, fished and crabbed (both rather unsuccessfully, as an octopus kept stealing the bait from the crab pots), ate, drank red wine (Redhead Red blend – yummy!), and swam in the Sound.  It was glorious!  We ate well, with shish-ka bobs, strawberries, peaches, plums, assorted snacks, and Greek yogurt for breakfast.  Corn on the cob and roasted potatoes were salted with sea water and cooked on the BBQ.

We jumped in the water whenever we got too hot, and bobbed on pool noodles and watched the jellyfish float by, drinking canned beer until we got too cold.  Well, let’s get real, I always got too cold first.  I learned that full beer cans float – I have no idea how I made it into my 40s while living right next door to the ocean without knowing this.  The weekend cycle – get hot, jump in, bob, drink beer, climb out, warm up on the bow, repeat.

Jellyfish floating by

David knows I hate Modest Mouse – so every time Modest Mouse came on the Spotify station, he would skip over the song, even if it meant getting up to do it.  Bless his sweet heart.  We talked about life; all those deep conversations that happen with close quarters, people you cherish, and wine after dark.

The sunset from the water

These were some of the most peaceful, enjoyable days I have experienced in a long time, and the perfect end to a great vacation.

Getting Back Into the Swing…

Saturday night late, I arrived home from my cross country flight from Atlanta.  I kicked off my 2018 travels by spending a week there and had a wonderful time. The flight home was good; I watched three movies (hey, that’s a long flight!) and got up at least a half a dozen times to let my row mates out to go to the bathroom, over and over and over…  Note to travelers: if other people are already getting up, go to the bathroom.  Just go.  Don’t wait until 30 minutes later!

My favorite moment was after we landed, when Ms. Window Seat informed Mr. Middle Seat that we had a smooth non-turbulent flight because the captain diverted us south to avoid the Rockies…  I laughed out loud!  But I held my tongue and refrained from pointing out that there was not a cost effective flight path from Atlanta to the Pacific Northwest that could go far enough south to avoid the Rockies…  Me thinks that Ms. Window Seat failed Geography…

Of course, with the time change, I was awake at 6:45 Sunday after not going to bed until close to 1 am Saturday night.  Can I go back to sleep or take a nap though?  NO!  I am the world’s worst sleeper…  Until my body decides I have had enough and then I can sleep through a 777 taking off, a home invasion of the house next door (with shots fired and police searching my yard with dogs and floodlights), or The Ramones in an outdoor amphitheater concert (all true stories by the way…)

So instead of napping, I went for a 5 mile walk with a girlfriend, walked to the grocery store for some basics (read: wine – and totally other stuff too!) and did enough yard work to get me 20,000 steps for the day, along with a complete and utter exhaustion…

I need to get my next vacation planned!

 

Hawaiʻi 2017!

I got an offer I couldn’t refuse for May, 2017.  A chance to go to Hawaiʻi with friends!  My friend Brent’s father Rich owns a condo and they were going, and I was welcome to tag along!  Even better, our friend Brandon was going to join us! I certainly couldn’t pass that up, so I booked a plane ticket and set about doing a bit of research on what I wanted to do when I was there.  Specifically, I was headed to the big island of Hawaiʻi, and staying in the town of Kailua-Kona (although most people seem to just call it Kona). I had never been to the Big Island, and my last trip to Hawaiʻi was in 1992, to Maui, when I was 16 years old.  It was high time for another visit!

Since I was traveling with friends, I couldn’t plan the whole itinerary – there were going to be joint decisions about what we were going to do.  So I made a commitment that this trip would be more relaxed, more ‘go with the flow’ than my usual fast-paced road trip.  What better place is there than Hawaiʻi to “endure” a bit of forced relaxation?  It didn’t disappoint! Of course, in characteristic style, I did manage to find plenty to keep me occupied during my trip, so I will hope that you enjoy my series of posts.

Day 1, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My first day was mostly a travel day.  I flew out on an early flight and and met Rich and Brent on my layover, between my first and second flights.  I had booked onto the same flight as they were on, but had no idea where they were seated, and I happened to choose a seat right behind them!  So great snacks! – win for me!

This happy girl is going to Hawaii!

We landed in Kailua-Kona at about 3:30 – we had arrived in paradise!   We were picked up by a family friend and headed out immediately for an early dinner.  At dinner, I had the breaded Ahi Poke (I had no idea it sometimes comes breaded), pickled cucumbers, salted cabbage, corn and other goodies.  We spent a long time at dinner, with Brent and Rich chatting and catching up, and me meeting friends for the first time.  It was dark by the time we got to the condo, so Brent and I spent a little time in the dark exploring the grounds, the sea wall and the lava rocks in the ocean.  We headed to bed about 11:30 pm.

I was ready for the next day’s adventure!

Yellowstone NP History

Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park – it was established on March 1, 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant.  Yellowstone is a unique environment, with features that are really rare in other areas of the United States.  Early advocates knew that it should be protected for generations to come.

Yellowstone is 2,219,789 acres, and about 96 percent of the land area of the park is within the state of Wyoming.  Three percent is within Montana and about one percent is in Idaho. The park is 63 miles from north to south, and 54 miles from west to east, as the crow flies.  In 2016, 4,257,177 people visited Yellowstone.  That’s a lot of people!  It is also designated as a Unesco World Heritage site, a designation by the United Nations for sites which have cultural, historical or scientific significance.

The park contains the Yellowstone Caldera, which is the largest volcanic system in America – it has been termed a “super-volcano” due to its size.  The current caldera was created by an eruption 640,000 years ago, and was 1,000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State.  Which, if you were around for it, you know Mount St. Helens felt like a pretty big eruption.  That wasn’t the only eruption though, and each of the several that have occurred over millions of years at Yellowstone have created the rock formations, the depressions where the lakes sit and have coated large portions of the Americas with ash.  Thousands of small earthquakes occur each year within the park, most of which are unnoticed by human visitors.

Yellowstone is know for it’s thermals and geysers – hot springs of liquid that often contain brilliant colors due to the bacteria that make their home there, and erupting fountains of water.  The park contains over 10,000 geothermal features – and 1,283 of those are geysers that have erupted.  About 465 are active geysers on average in a given year.  Yellowstone is named for the Yellowstone River; the headwaters of the river are within the park, and the Continental Divide runs diagonally through the southwest section of the park.

Human habitation has existed in the park for approximately 11,000 years; evidence has shown that Native Americans began to hunt and fish in the area then.  Clovis points have been discovered in the area, and obsidian found in the park was used to make cutting tools and weapons.  Arrowheads from Yellowstone obsidian has been found as far away as the Mississippi Valley, indicating there was a rich trade among the Native Americans in this area with other tribes.

About 60 species of mammals make their home in the park, including bison, elk, moose, deer, mountain goats, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, gray wolf, coyote, lynx, and grizzly bears.  About 3,000 bison are in the park; their numbers fluctuate depending on how harsh the winter is.  Wolves thrive there now, after being hunted almost to extinction in the early 1900s and eliminated from the park.  However, since the next largest predator, the coyote, cannot bring down large mammals, there was a big increase in the number of lame bison and elk, as well as an overall increase in their numbers, which throws the ecosystem out of balance.  A healthy ecosystem needs the apex predator.  Wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s, and are estimated to number at slightly more than 100 animals within the park.

Me – Sign posing – As usual!

I visited Yellowstone as a child, but it had been a long, long time and I was so excited to go back!  Next up will be Yellowstone posts!