8. Exploring the Pacific Northwest…5.2008

we drove east, towards the coast and the drive was beautiful.  the mist still hung in the air and we passed several rivers throughout the rolling hills

we stopped for breakfast in florence and ate at the "Bay Street Grille"...it was good food and the town was really cute


this really neat bridge spanned the river in florence

the oregon dunes were really cool and as always, the ocean was magnificent


our next stop was this lighthouse and whale watching station



back on the road and driving over more cool bridges


 the photo in the center is of two different groups of seals....lots and lots of them


 more great views



 another lighthouse in the distance

 we stopped in the little town of Bandon...cute little buildings in their "downtown", but I think all they sell is junk-touristy stuff.  this is supposedly the "cranberry capitol"....but all we bought was coffee....we were needing the caffeine!


 as we rounded the corner to leave the town, I noticed this sign painted in huge letters on the street....

so we followed the arrow, topped the hill and saw this.....it was pretty incredible and beautiful


101 south hugged the ocean and around almost every turn, the views were BIG, the waves were crashing into the rocks and the wind blew fierce

we stopped at Whales Head Beach...but wind about blew us away...and it was pretty cold here too


Whales Head beach from the viewpoint above

we still had a few miles to log, so off we went.  we crossed into california, through the huge redwoods and neared arcata 

it was definitely a happy mothers day.....I hugged and hugged luke and pete and of course, blue too.  they look so good!  (I wish sara and danny could have been here too)

we met them at shannon's house, then soon took off for dinner.  we stopped at Six Rivers Brewery to have a toast and I could indulge in one of my favorite beers:  chile beer, made with jalapenos....umm ummm good.  sherri and I were then "treated" to a wonderful meal at Larapin Cafe, an very upscale cafe in Trinidad.  the atomosphere is funky and nice, and our food was very good.


these are shannon's dogs

pete and luke demonstrating how video games have changed over the past few years


they may be california residents, but they're still jayhawk fans...


and I couldn't bring the guys presents without bringing one for blue too


I'm going to cut it short tonight...it's 1:15 am here, and I haven't had alot/a lot of sleep in the past couple of days.  today was a great day, filled with so much beauty from nature.

but, as you can probably guess, I'm most thankful to get to see and visit with pete and luke

check back tomorrow night and see what's happening in arcata

day ten             monday, may 12, 2008

sherri and I slept in, but still woke before everyone else so we left and went to starbucks for some morning coffee.  the sun was out and the day looked beautiful, so we drank our coffee on the porch outside and had a great visit.  we met luke, pete and shannon in downtown arcata at "Great Harvest Bakery" one of our favorite places to eat breakfast in arcata.  sherri's heard about the raspberry pancakes for a long time now, she we both ordered some....they were yummy!

the boys just "begged us" to go shopping....we sooo not really...but we visited a few shops: a really nice gift and furniture store that has wonderful jewelry, the shoe store, the used clothing store and an import store....we had a great time.  shannon bought this silver/blue glass ring, and these really cool blue boots; I found this really colorfulf scarf ....really cheap....sherri had to twist my arm and threaten me so I would buy the scarf!


 outside sitting in the square on the plaza

 after our shopping trip, we drove up to the Redwood forest near the boys apartment 

there were musicians playing music in the field at the park

cornball photo #1   (me and the boys)


we took a long hike in the forest and I really enjoyed every minute of it....it's/its such a peaceful and quiet place....I could walk there all day!  and blue is full of endless energy


luke and blue headed back to the their apartment, and the rest of us headed towards shannon

these are photos of the Humboldt State University campus....luke will get to say goodbye for good after thursday....he will graduate at the end of June!   I know he's really glad to be finished and we're really proud of him.  HSU has a gorgeous campus, all the flowers were blooming today and students were still everywhere


we just hung out at shannon's house for a little while........

luke, sherri and I drove to Lufenholtz beach, hiked down and were rewared with super-amazing views.  the tide was coming in and it was so neat to watch the big waves getting bigger and the water getting deeper



luke was playing around on the "edge sand" and see how close he could get to the edge before the sand "avalanched"


the little black dot in the photos below are of seal lions and their pups;


and the two gray dots in the photo below are of seal lions with their pups...way cool!

photo ops on the beach


cool split in the rock; kayakers on the after

sherri found this cool starfish on the beach at Tinidad...

sherri climbing the 326 steps UP from the bottom of the beach

this was a hoot!  I've been looking at a webcam daily, now for about a year...it's/its down on the pier in trinidad harbour.  a good friend of mine called me while we were walking on the beach.  I returned the call and I asked her if she would pull up the webcam and BINGO!....she did.....I waved and she snapped a picture of me!  how cool is that?  from web cam in trinidad to computer in olathe to cell phone in trinidad...I just love technology!  the webcam is mounted on this pole

these calla lilies were in bloom next to the pier....so beautiful!

after walking on the beaches and on the pier; we were wind blown but so contented...the beaches here are magnificent!  we drove the few blocks to the casino where luke and pete work.  sherri (claiming she's such an unlucky girl) won $7 on her first attempt on a penny slot machine....then she won $10 dollars (claiming "this never happens").  I took only $10 into the casino with me...and lost it in about 3 seconds on a penny slot.  we made sure not to interrupt the boys while they were dealing, toured the casino and quietly left

shannon had skipped the beach walks to go for a run, so we drove back to her house, picked her up, and the three of us, went to "Six Rivers Brewery", where we'd been yesterday.  sherri and I ordered the chile beer again, and all three of us ordered the halibut tacos and salad....the food was really good, but the chile beer was great! we drove back to the house, where blue was waiting, and soon after, pete arrived at the house! he'd gotten off work early.  we ended the evening by just hanging out in the livingroom and chattting

it was another big day today, but such a nice one.  the weather was perfect, the activities varied and the company wonderful! 

tomorrow is our last day full day both here in arcata and on our vacation....what will we be doing?

day eleven             tuesday, may 13, 2008

sherri and I got up, packed up and drove down the street to Starbucks.  the sun was out again, warming us up and we enjoyed some time on their patio.  we had a couple of errands to run; one was to get gas...uhhh!  this was the most I've paid for gasoline so far...but I figured it would be the highest here.  we were in mckinleyville, so we also stopped to shop at the Plaza Design store (we'd already been to the one in arcata...it's a store I always visit...really neat stuff and the largest retailer for one of my favorite jewelry designers...holly yashi).  sherri purchased a couple of pair of earrings and I bought a necklace!


by then the cell was ringing, and everyone was getting up and around.  we went back to shannon's where they were making their breakfast smoothies...which tasted pretty good...a concoction of spinach, oranges, and I'm not sure what else, but it definitely healthy (yes, I'm talking about pete eating vegetables!)  pete and shannon ran a 1/2 marathon two weekends ago through "avenue of the giants"; a super cool drive through these amazing tall redwoods.  the two of them are really in shape; eating great, working out and loving life....I think they plan to do another 1/2 marathon in the fall

luke and blue drove up to shannons and we all drove up to trinidad to eat at the "Catch Cafe".  we've heard so many wonderful things about this tiny little eatery, but they were never open when we visited in december.  luke and pete have made friends with owners, who are also players at their poker tables.  so I was excited to finally be trying some of their food...and it was great!  I had a fallafel burger with some wonderful hand cut fries and sherri had the fish and chips.  everyone really enjoyed their lunch and it's/its a fun atmosphere....I'll definitely be back to eat here again


it was pete's idea that we all go to Patrick's Point State Park...and it was a perfect way to spend our last day with them.  the weather was just sunny, a good temp and light breeze.  Patrick's Point is a great place to view whales....and we did!!!!!!!  of course, you don't get to see them....my camera couldn't capture the whale's spouts or their rolling up above the water....but we got to see them.  we were there for about 20 minutes, just enjoying the beautiful views, and watching the whales.  here is some of what we did see....just magnificent


the boys climbing up and around on the rocks....and blue trying to follow them up!



sherri taking in all the views; luke throwing rocks for blue to chase into the water


whenever I come out to california to see the boys, I realize what a nice life they've made here.  they really like their jobs,  they've made so many friends (they seem to know about everyone), and they are no longer (and haven't been for quite awhile) my "little boys"....they are grown men, just as sara is a grown woman, living their lives and enjoying them...what more could a mom want?

but every once in awhile, the little boys come back out to play and it's/its usually always as some sort of competitive game they've just made up.  this game happened to be running on the tops of these posts and to see how many you could jump on before falling off....I treasure these little moments....but soon it all came to an abrupt end....as luke  crashed hard after slipping off the last one.  ouch!

pete, shannon and luke all had to work this evening so we went back to the house to finish packing, load up the car and say our goodbyes....always super hard for me and I dread the leaving part

  you see I have this medical problem:  the technical term is "eye-leakage".  it's/its always been a problem, but even more so since I've gotten older and the kids have moved away.  and it happens at the worst times and very uncontrollable...the cause AND cure are unknown and it can be really embarrassing at times...actually all the time.  my family has always been understanding (or at least the appearance of understanding).....oh well anyway, the leakage started up again as I hugged luke and blue goodbye first, as they took off back to arcata.  luke still has one final left this week, then he will graduate from HSU, but will  continue dealing poker at the casino...he really likes it

we gave shannon a hug too and many thanks for hosting us for the last two days.  it was really fun to get to hang out with her and get to know her better....she's just great and I can understand why pete is just crazy about her (and I've always known why she's crazy about him....he's a very special guy).  then it was time for my last big hug to pete....he probably thought I wasn't going to let go...and part of me didn't want to.  he's my baby, but only by birth order.  he's grown into quite a man and I'm very proud of him.  eventually I quit hugging him, said another goodbye, got in car and drove away (eyes leaking all the way) 

it was going to be a long drive back to seattle through the night.  luke told us to be sure to check out the smith river as we drove by it.  it's/its one of his favorite places to play...a couple of hours north of arcata, but he's gone there swimming, camping and hiking a few times before.  he told us it's/its the third cleanest river in the US; the other two being in alaska

the narrow two lane road between crescent city and grant's pass, followed this beautiful river.  we stopped a couple of times to take some photos and just to look at how cool it is.  the photo on the right is take from on top of a bridge looking way, way down...and you can see the details of all the rocks that sit on the bottom of these deep section of river.....mind blowing!



we got to grant's pass about 8:30 pm and wanted something light to eat, knowing if we didn't get it now, everything would be closed in eugene, the next big town we went through.  the place that looked the best was this really nice mexican restaurant.  we both ordered food that was not what you would consider "light", but it tasted wonderful.   our wait person was really cool and visited with us about the area and what it's/its like to live there...he just loves living in grant's pass


 we drove off into the night; heading north through oregon and all the way back to seattle.  (note:  this is the second time I've driven this stretch of road from grant's pass to portland....IN THE DARK!  someday, I would really enjoy seeing the views in the daylight, from grant's pass to eugene...the road is constantly going way, way up, and up, and up, and then down, down, down; with little mountain summit signs along the way.  I needed a break, so sherri took over the driving for awhile.  stopping, starting, sleeping, swapping the drivers & passengers seats and then doing it all over again, tag-teaming all the way, we eventually made it to seattle

day twelve             wednesday, may 14, 2008

I figured that if the whole drive went right, we'd be in seattle several hours before our flight...if things didn't go quite right, we'd have extra time.  so I guess it was good that nothing unforseen happened...but to say we had spare time at the airport is an understatement.  we turned in the rental car, took the shuttle to airport, checked our bags and went through security.  the main concourse is really beautiful with a beautiful glass wall that looks out onto the runways; restaurants and a few cool shops.  we found the fireworks store, and killed some time in there (but thankfully, neither one of us spent any more money!)


we walked over all the flying fish again, and pushed the button on the talking water fountain (really, don't miss this if you get there)

our flight was 45 minutes late departing seattle, full to the brink with passengers, but sherri and I both slept part of the flight so it made it go by quickly.  we landed in kc about 6:45 pm and was greeted by danny....with big hug....boy he looks GOOD!  we thought it would be a good way to end such a wonderful trip, so we met larry (sherri's husband) in lawrence at Freestate for dinner.  it's now about 10:45 pm...and it's/its been a long day.  I'm back at work tomorrow by 7:00....but not before some final thoughts:


girlfriends trips are always so much fun and filled with laughter and adventure....this was no exception


some people complain about the weather in the northwest, and maybe I would complain if I lived there...(I'd be glad to personally test that theory), but the beauty and diversity of the area is just amazing...snowcapped mountains, clear rivers, rain forests, islands, beaches, redwood forests....I think the only thing missing was a desert....just incredible how cool this area is....so I don't care if it rains or is cloudy or chilly....it's/its one spectacular place!


sherri and I spent a total of 48 hours in arcata.....and drove 1400 miles to get there....and it was worth every sleepless minute and every drop of overpriced gasoline...pete and luke are great...and they always tell me that in our phone conversations...but sometimes a mom just has to see it for herself and I'm so grateful I took the opportunity....it was a super mother's day


cherry twizzlers and off-brand licorice ARE NOT THE SAME as strawberry twizzlers


by the time I write my next webpage, I'm going to learn the proper usage for it's and its (I thought I already knew it!)


so what's next?  this one is a biggie....it begins in July 2008

thanks for traveling with me!  


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