There’s nothing like a road trip to chase away the covid blues and there’s no better way to start than with donuts and coffee.
It would be our first real vacation in over a year – at least the first vacation more than a few days long and farther afield. We would drive down the Oregon Coast, through the Redwoods, to San Francisco via California’s Highway 1, then come back up through the middle.
We wished the kitties well and hit the road, crossing into Oregon at Astoria, then found 101 under blue skies and sunshine, more than we could have hoped for in early spring.
A stop at the overlook in Oswald West State Park showed us what was ahead; we’d have views like this the whole trip. We had Oswald West to thank for that, at least in Oregon. He was the governor who established Oregon’s beach highway law declaring that the entire Pacific coastline up to the high tide line would be a public highway, ensuring public access for all future generations. Squint and you’ll see the tiny cars high up on the left.
We spent our first night in Lincoln City arriving just in time for sunset, at the only hotel we booked in advance. Risky perhaps, but we weren’t exactly sure where we’d end up each day. As the rhythm of the trip took shape, I started booking hotels the day before we needed them.
The next day we stopped to watch the wild action of the waves at Devil’s Churn, Cook’s Chasm and Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua (click on the pictures to enlarge them.)
Further up the road we stopped for a look at Heceta Head Lighhouse, the most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast and perhaps in the country. I added a few more pictures to my collection.
Next was Old Town Florence on the Siuslaw River for lunch and shopping – though I did most of the shopping.
The Siuslaw Bridge opened in 1936 and is one of many funded by the Public Works Administration during the 1930’s. You can see the Oregon Sand Dunes in the distance.
We spent our second night in Bandon, one of my favorite towns on the Coast. Surprisingly Bandon was under stricter covid restrictions than previous stops so no indoor dining was allowed. Dinner came from a drive-thru burger joint and I think the whole town was in line. Social distancing was easy as we mainly shared the beaches with birds, seals and sea lions.
Our last day on the Oregon Coast we enjoyed beautiful vistas along the Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor including, Natural Bridges.
I’ve forgotten the name of our final stop but I do remember a walk through the woods on a trail that emerged near the edge of a cliff. Uh-huh. Still the views were good (click to enlarge.)
California and the Redwoods are next. Stay tuned for that.
You may have noticed I was off the grid for the last week or so – then again, maybe you didn’t as I tried to stop by occasionally when internet was available. (You wouldn’t think there’d be a problem with cell service in the wilds of California, but you’d be wrong.)
Anyway, it’s good to be back home after our first real vacation of the covid era. It was done safely and according to the rules – Bob’s fully vaccinated and I figure I’m at 80% after my first Moderna shot. So off we went, equipped with plenty of masks and sanitizers and common sense too – for a nine day road trip down the West Coast, through the Redwoods and to recently opened San Francisco.
Oh what a great time we had! The weather was perfect – blue skies and sunshine and temperatures climbing every day. We enjoyed ocean beaches, giant trees, wildflowers, lighthouses and wildlife along with a fun weekend exploring San Francisco. I’ll be sharing more about it in the coming days after I settle back into ordinary life at home. In the meantime here’s a foretaste.
This is Coquille Point in Bandon, one of my favorite coastal towns. There were seals and sea lions resting on the rocky ledges in the distance but I’ll save that for later.
No matter how many times I see these magnificent trees I’m impressed just the same.
There’s so much to show you from the California Coast but for now you’ll have to settle with Mendocino, a charming town that rests on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Finally there’s San Francisco, a city I could visit again and again and probably will, where the natives were happily out in the sunshine after being cooped up for months. We carefully joined them on Fisherman’s Wharf.
There’s lots more to tell but that will do for now.
I love this time of year when color brightens up the garden, starting with the azaleas.
The birds love it too as they woo a mate and look for nesting places. Wrens and chickadees visit the tiny houses, and the choices are endless.
“How about one of these, Midge? Do you prefer stationary or swinging?”
‘A little too close to the neighbors, Bill. And I was hoping for something more traditional, perhaps in stone. What about this one?”
“Perfect,” he said. “Let’s get to work.”
I discovered a new shrub this spring – or should I say I discovered its name?
I’d seen it many times on my walks in the woods, always stopping to admire its growth in the dead of winter and its blossoms in early spring. But it was only recently I learned its name – Indian Plum – and since then I have a new appreciation tor this native shrub, one of the first to bloom in the Pacific Northwest.
I saw it growing abundantly on recent walks in filtered sunlight under the canopy of trees and also under bright sunshine near the edges of the trail.
‘We should get one,’ I told my husband! ‘See how beautiful they are and how easily they grow!’
Little did I know, for as I scrolled through pictures I’d taken earlier in my yard I found one – yes, an Indian Plum I didn’t know I had. It was growing in an unkempt area near the driveway, alongside some blackberry bushes where it got no attention or respect. I could transplant it but since it sprang up where it chose why should I interfere?
Prized by Pacific Coast Native Americans who used the berries, twigs, and bark for food, teas and medicine, it’s also loved by birds and other wildlife.
Hood Canal will always be a special place to me holding childhood memories of fishing and swimming at Pleasant Harbor where my grandma ran the store and my grandpa hauled in fresh shrimp on his boat.
But that was many, many, years ago in Brinnon on the north end of the Canal; I’ve spent very little time at the south end where most of the lodging and services are. So on a beautiful day last month we spent the night at Alderbrook Resort at the bottom of the Canal and oh! what a pleasant surprise!
We took the ferry from Fauntleroy in West Seattle for a 40 minute ride to Southworth on the Kitsap Peninsula.
From there it was a short drive to Belfair at the very end of the ‘fish hook’ of Hood Canal, where we had lunch and visited Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve.
We continued south to Twanoh State Park where Bob fished and I wandered with my camera – this always works well for us. 🙂
The oyster covered beach reminded me so much of those youthful days at Pleasant Harbor, where we fished from the dock using mussels as bait dropping our line next to the piling where the perch liked to feed. I still remember the smell of those mussels and was surprised to learn that people eat them today. They will always be fish bait to me!
It was all so familiar but noticeably different too – at this end, the Olympic Mountains form a backdrop to the Canal; in Brinnon they were behind us.
The same wonderful views greeted us at Alderbrook Resort. We walked the grounds, dined at the recently opened restaurant – limited capacity – no problem for a weekday in winter – and spent a peaceful night.
The next morning we walked in the woods and the thick understory was just as I remembered from taking the trails down to Pleasant Harbor.
We were happy to find a great place to stay on Hood Canal so close to home. During the summer there is even more to do with swimming and boating. We will return.
It’s been a long winter and rainy spring and the cats are getting restless. Though Tiger sleeps the day away Benji demands more action so I thought it was time for a new toy. Not that he doesn’t have 47 others strewn about the house – he does. But he prefers the interactive ones and I misplaced the measuring tape he’d grown to love.
Enter the new mouse on a stick. I keep it in the drawer next to the chair in my office and first thing every morning he comes in ready to play.
“Benji not now,” I say, “I’m trying to drink my coffee,” but who can resist those eyes.
So I open the drawer while he waits patiently as I extract his favorite toy.
I dangle it overhead and he’s all over it – twisting and jumping – attacking till he brings it down with his sharp claws;
Only loosening his grip when he’s ready for more.
We both are entertained.
Shared with Sunday Stills, Respect your Cat.
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I had this conversation with Benji, but it feels like we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
“When’s it gonna end, Sue?”
“What’s that Benji?”
“This confinement. It’s getting on my nerves.”
“It’s only been a week Benji. Besides. You’re not in quarantine.”
“But you are Sue. And it feels longer in cat years.”
“I suppose it does Benji. But it will be over soon. And we’ll have learned something in the meantime. And hopefully appreciate more all the freedoms we really have.”
“Okay Sue. Whatever you say.”
~ Susanne and Benji
Last week I visited the daffodil fields of the Skagit Valley
and got to see the snowbirds too!
Thousands of snowbirds including snow geese from Russia’s Wrangel Island and trumpeter swans from Canada and Alaska migrate south along the Pacific Flyway to spend the winter in the fertile farmlands of the Skagit Valley.
Maybe they come for the views.
It won’t be long till they start their long journey back to the Arctic.
Sharing with Cees’s Fun Foto Challenge, Birds of All Kinds!
When I saw this post earlier I thought it didn’t apply to me since I use the Block Editor. But this morning when I logged into my Dashboard, clicked on All Posts and no longer had the list view I prefer I came back to this post and made the change to Account Settings as suggested, and got my preferred view back. I only hope they don’t eliminate this option anytime soon.
“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first must help the other.” ~ Vera Nazarian.
Not a Challenge and Comments are enabled.
Following on from yesterday’s post regarding the new navigation implemented on some of our sites.
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For this week’s Sunday Stills Challenge I found my best Spring Green from two outings last year in May. The Pandemic was well underway by then and we were finding solace in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.
The first picture is from our walk in the woods at Millersylvania State Park near Olympia. It was our first time there and I’m reminded we need to go back.
The following day we took our little boat to Spring Lake, between Renton and Maple Valley. While Bob fished for trout I watched eagles overhead, and Canada Geese on shore with their chicks – the lumps you see between the pair.
As we trolled around the lake I experimented with some special camera functions for fun – not much else to do if you’re not fishing –
and was happy enough with the results. I have several gifted cousins who could paint these scenes but I didn’t inherit that gene. We do what we can! 🙂