Glorious Tulips at Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival!

Happy, happy to have stopped by the Wooden ShoeTulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon last month, on the way home from our road trip! That’s Mt. Hood in the background in case you wondered.

It was our first time at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm but it won’t be the last! It’s my new favorite place to celebrate tulips!

Sharing with Lens-Artist Photo Challenge and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

~ Susanne

Road Trip – Part 4 San Francisco!

In my last post on our Road Trip I left you in the tunnel where San Francisco loomed large!

We’d already traveled the Oregon Coast, through the Redwoods and California’s Coast to get here. I honestly had my doubts about stopping in San Francisco; it was Bob’s idea.

“Remember we’re in a pandemic dear and it’s only just reopening after a year in lockdown. It’s not easy to drive in either.”

But all my worries were in vain – they usually are. We arrived fresh off Highway 1 on a Friday afternoon with light traffic, and easily found our hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf. The streets were mostly empty and those who were out were masked up. We walked to Pier 39 as the sun began to set and I remembered why I love visiting this city!

The cable cars and trolleys weren’t running so the next day we settled for the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (on top open air) to get around town. Our first stop was the Ferry Building where we had coffee and pastries – not mushrooms in case you wondered.

From there we walked to Union Square when our bus failed to appear in a timely manner. Fortunately we know the city and enjoyed the walk.

But after lunch we rode through the remaining stops so we weren’t forgotten again! Here are some highlights of our tour.

Eventually we were back where we started. We still had plenty of daylight so we explored more of Pier 39, then walked over to Municipal Pier for another look at the skyline and bridge.

We had dinner at McCormicks at Ghiradelli Square where they even took our temperature upon entry. The lobster bisque was wonderful.

Afterwards we returned to our hotel to relax for the evening. That is, until I realized it was almost time for sunset, and ran back over to catch it. I’m glad I did.

And that mostly concludes this road trip – after San Francisco we took I-5 and were back home in two days.

I say ‘mostly concludes’ because there was a stop at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival outside of Portland, which was quite wonderful.

Stay tuned for that! 🙂

~ Susanne

Close Up on Raindrops

After a warm and dry spring the rain has returned to Seattle like an old friend and the raindrops were welcomed all over my garden.

Captured by Lady’s Mantle
Adorning Strawberries like Jewels
Resting on Golden Spirea

Inspired by Sunday Stills, Water in the Details and Cee’s Midweek Madness, May Close Up.

~ Susanne

Bloom Where You’re Planted – Or Not!

They say you should bloom where you are planted. My Clematis thinks otherwise and is climbing up, up, up and over to escape the confines of my yard, fence or whatever else is in the way.

I think it has the better idea.

~ Susanne

Road Trip Part 3 – Highlights of the California Coast -Lighthouses, Wildlife, History and Other gems!

Sorry, I left you dangling back in the Redwoods ( here ) so it’s time to move on to the California Coast! We turned off 101 at Leggett and took the (very) winding road from the Redwoods down to Highway 1 – remember this map?

It turns out the road from Leggett is winding indeed and we had to stop a few times to ward off motion sickness. Still it was only an hour before we were hugging the wild and rugged California Coast and I saw huge birds soaring everywhere! I thought (hoped?) they were California Condors, which were reintroduced after being on the brink of extinction. Maybe. But more likely these were Turkey Vultures, not quite as romantic a name but still beautiful, don’t you think?

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

We spent the night at Fort Bragg as a base for exploring the Mendocino Coast, and made our trek to Glass Beach – famous for the colorful sea glass in its sand.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

Just south of Fort Bragg we walked to the Light Station at Point Cabrillo.

I thought the lighthouse was cute, but I enjoyed the wildflowers and wildlife even more.

Mendocino Town and Headlands

We went to Mendocino for lunch and shopping but the best part was a walk on the bluff to see the beach and wildflowers.

Point Arena Lighthouse

The next day we continued south on Highway 1 stopping at Point Arena for a look at the 115 ft. Lighthouse, the tallest on the Pacific Coast. In a non-covid world we could have climbed to the top for a tour – not saying I would have, but anyway, isn’t it a beauty?

Next up – Fort Ross – get ready for some history!

Fort Ross

The fort was established by the Russians in 1812 to provide food to support their settlements in Alaska and fur to enrich the Russian-American Company. Many of the buildings are reconstructions but the Rotchev House, built in 1836 is original.

After exploring the fort we stopped for lunch in Bodega Bay and I remembered to watch out for the birds – you can’t be too careful!

We continued south along the scenic coast highway – where there were very few guardrails I might add – and ‘hug the center dear” became my mantra.

Occasionally we stopped so the driver could (safely) enjoy the views and once we were surprised by dozens of resting sea lions below!

But San Francisco was our final destination for the night and it wasn’t long before signs of civilization appeared.

I’ll save that for Part 4.

~ Susanne

Photography Shenanigans – Fun with Watercolors and Moon Shots

Even though I remembered last night’s super pink moon I wasn’t really ready for it.

Earlier in the day I’d gone outside to take pictures of my backyard stream using long exposures. My Sony RX10 has some cool functions so I also used one that turns the ordinary into a watercolor.

Worked great for the stream I thought (though I should have used a tripod.)

I forgot about the moon till later, expecting a mostly cloudy night. But when I opened the door to let Benji in there it was, a full moon, high and brilliant, overhead in just the right spot for me to capture it. So I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors fiddling with camera settings, not bothering with the tripod once again, instead propping my elbows on top of the hot tub. I took 20 pictures or so, then transferred them to the computer for a look.

Arrgh! A strange and blurry orb greeted me ~ sigh. I had forgotten to turn off the watercolor setting which happens nearly every time I use it.

By the time I discovered my error the moon had mostly disappeared behind the clouds, still I rushed outside hoping to get at a couple decent shots. This was my favorite.

Isn’t photography fun? 🙂

~ Susanne

Celebrating Pets with Tiger and Benji

For this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge it seemed appropriate to share pictures of Tiger and Benji. Granted they might disagree with being labeled ‘pets,’ rightfully believing they’re members of the household.

Tiger came to us from a Cat Hotel. It’s a long story but suffice it to say his well intended previous owner dropped him off and paid the rent till she could find him a home. He was five at the time and is now a mature thirteen years of age. Stories of Tiger inspired this blog – 5 years ago this month in case you wondered – and his handsome face is still my Avatar.

Benji had a rough start too, having been dropped off at Seattle Humane with a cropped ear and a story we’ll never fully know. We brought him home when he was a kitten almost five years ago. What a joy he’s been!

It took a while for them to adjust and I waited patiently for them to become friends and brothers. Like all brothers they still have their differences but mostly are good companions.

(Click on a photo to enlarge it.)

They say that having a cat can reduce stress and cut your risk of heart attack or stroke by a third.

“What do you think Tiger?”

“Sounds about right.”

“Benji?”

“Sure Sue, whatever you say.”

“Well regardless, here’s what I think, boys.”

“Well said, Sue.”

~ Susanne

Saturday Dreaming

I just got my second Moderna shot. Should be time for a cruise, right? 🙂

– Susanne

Dropping by with Wildflowers for Earth Day

I’ve been busy road tripping this month and haven’t had much time for photo challenges. So in between my travel posts I thought I’d share some wildflowers for earth day for Becky’s Squares and Sunday Stills from our road trip.

First are daisies I found growing in the grass in Washington. Ordinary perhaps, but aren’t they pretty?

Next are clusters of thrift or sea pink from the Oregon Coast.

Finally, I found my favorite wildflowers of the trip hugging the cliffs off California’s Coast with the Pacific Ocean providing the perfect backdrop. I don’t know their name, perhaps you do?

Isn’t it wonderful that all of them grow where they wish without being planted by human hands?

~ Susanne

Road Trip Part 2 – The Magnificent Redwoods!

The Coast Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and among the oldest living things on earth but you have to see them to believe it. They’re found on a thin strip of land 450 miles long and 25 miles wide, along the Pacific Ocean, from southern Oregon to Central California. On the third day of our road trip we arrived at this magical part of the earth stopping by the Visitor Center in Crescent City before heading to nearby Jedediah Smith State Park.

We started our walk at Simpson Reed Grove entering almost reverently into the presence of the Giants. For no matter how many times I’ve seen the Redwoods, I’m awed just the same. Whatever ails you – in body, mind, or spirit – all melts away as you enter their domain.

We spent the night in Crescent City and continued our journey south the next day, taking the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

We stopped at Big Tree Wayside for a look at the 286 feet high, 23 feet wide Redwood, estimated to be 1,500 years old.

We continued to the Avenue of the Giants through the largest section of Redwoods in Humboldt County.

A handful of tiny communities and hamlets dot the scenic road including this one at Redcrest and we stopped to peruse the shop for souvenirs.

Next up was our final walk of the day at Founders Grove, dedicated to the founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League, started in 1917 inspired by the trees in this grove. Founders Tree stands a whopping 346 feet tall and has a circumference of 40 feet.

We did our best to capture the full panorama of Founders Tree on my phone.

Founders Grove also includes the Dyerville Giant – 370 feet long and 52 feet in circumference – which toppled in 1991. It’s now one of many nursery logs providing water and nutrients for other trees and plants to grow.

According to the Founders Grove brochure, “The greatest accumulation of plant mass ever recorded on earth was a redwood stand in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This temperate rainforest has seven times the biomass (living and dead organic material) of that found in a tropical rainforest “

Wow. And yet of the original 2,000,000 acres, only 5% of original old-growth forest remains. Can you imagine if the entire Redwood forest had been left undisturbed from logging? Thankfully conservation efforts continue.

After a long day we stopped in Garberville for the night, where I had the best ribs I’ve ever had at Cecil’s New Orleans Bistro (get the Asian Cajun Ribs.) I also found a mural describing where we’d been and where we were going.

Indeed, the next day we took the winding road from Leggett to the coast where we found more wonder and beauty which I will save for a future post.

~ Susanne

P.S. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it! Down the Oregon Coast.

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