Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pacific Northwest

August 11, 2005

The Last Day in Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay Sock I finally finished Vanese's socks! Now I can go home and wash them and send them on to their permanent home. They turned out well, except for the hopefully minor errors. I have yet to make a pair of error-free socks, but they wear well, so I guess they're okay.

Earlier today we went to the Happy Valley Alpaca Farm. It's a small mom and pop farm. I saw three alpacas and 3 llamas. There were two alpacas off being bred now. Of course, I bought a little fiber from an alpaca named Lucinda, one of the ones being bred. With 5 oz of fiber I guess I can make a nice scarf or hat. We'll see if this every gets done!

It's been a nice trip. Now there will be two days of driving... with a stop in Carlton, OR, and some shopping at Woodland Woolworks :-)

August 10, 2005

Bainbridge Island, Bloedel Reserve

We drove over to Bainbridge Island to visit the Bloedel Reserve. It's a beautiful estate containing woods and formal gardens as well. It took us a couple of hours to saunter through it.

Afterwords we had lunch at a diner in Winslow. Winslow is a very pretentious little town. The yarn shop I found was too good to carry plain old Regia sock yarn. Indeed....

Here are the pictures from the visit to Bloedel:

Bloedel BarnThey were very organized, suggested we stay on the path, etc. This is the beginning. They had his and hers barns. This was hers - used for sheep. His was used to store lumber. The grass and tree show that the flowering season is just about over, so we didn't expect to find many flowers.

Bloedel Hydrangea Bloedel morning glory But there were some flowers... Hydrangeas and morning glories to name two.

Bloedel boardwalk Bloedel Pitcher Plant Bloedel coral-root orchid One of the pathways was a boardwalk over a boggy area. The Pitcher Plants shown here are carnivorous plants that eat insects to "beef up" their diet. The orchid, on the right, is a rare coral-root orchid. There are several of them here, but the environment (tree growth, etc.) is changing so there are fewer of them each year.

Bloedel Japanese Garden Bloedel pool In the formal section of the estate are the Japanese Gardens. And the pool is one I fantasize about doing laps in.

It was a beautiful way to spend a couple of hours. If we had come in late spring the rhododendrons and azaleas would have been blooming. Maybe next time....

August 09, 2005

Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

Hoh Rain Forest Hoh Rain Forest We went to the Olympic National Park's Hoh Rain Forest today. We were expecting a wet, drippy environment; however, they have had a dry summer (for them). Our rain coats were overkill, but we were taking no chances.

The trees are HUGE Lichen on a tree trunk The sky was blue when we got away from the coast and we had a couple of very nice short walks. The mosquitoes were active, but Jan (a real Girl Scout) was prepared with some Cutters.

Hoh Rain Forest I took my tripod and stopped every three feet to take another picture. It took us about 3 hours driving time, each way. We left in the morning, had lunch at the rain forest, and then drove back to Discovery Bay. The day started out *very* foggy but was clear and sunny by the time we got back.

August 08, 2005

Olympic National Park

Olympic Mountains and Glaciers

ONP Road Olympic Lupin We went to the Olympic National Park's to Hurricane Ridge today. This was our first stop in the park, and the drive up the road was wonderful. At the top we took a little walk to see flowers at the sub-alpine level.

Olympic short old tree The conditions are so harsh up there that the glaciers are still there and 200 year old trees are only twice as tall as the average person - about 12 feet tall.

Madison Falls Marymere Falls Our next stop as at the Elwha River Valley where we had a picnic. After lunch we took a quick walk to a Madison Falls. It was a nice little falls and an easy, paved path. Then it was on to Lake Crescent, and a longer "hike" to Marymere Falls. It was easy most of the way and steep for the last 1/8th of a mile. The trail was crowded with adults and children, but it wasn't so bad, and the falls were very pretty. I took pictures everywhere and used the tripod most of the time. My old hands are getting a little shaky for free hand camera use.

Finally, we stopped for iced tea at the Lake Crescent Lodge. They have a nice sun room where we sat and watched the kids swim in the lake. It was a good day.

August 07, 2005

Sequim, Washington

We visited Sequim, WA, today (pronounced skwim like swim with a 'k').

This morning started out very foggy... so foggy we couldn't see the other side of Discovery Bay. Right away Jan was thinking of canceling the whale watching trip on Thursday, because she will spend the entire trip sea sick if she can't see the horizon. We'll see. We have until Tues morn to cancel.

Sequim Lighthouse Model Our first stop in Sequim was the Visitor Info center where we picked up several brochures from the very helpful and chatty volunteer greeters. I took a picture of the model lighthouse because it looked like the fog wasn't going to burn off so I could see the real Dungeness lighthouse 5 miles out on the Dungeness Spit.

Sequim Lavender Next we visited a lavender farm. This time of year the lavender is beautiful, but the locals said it was REALLY beautiful a few weeks ago. The reason lavender grows so well here is because the climate is mild - on the same latitude as Provence, France. Sequim is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and gets 299(!) days of sunshine per year.

Sequim Forest Sequim RR Bridge Next we took a walk through a forest to an overlook, where we could have seen the lighthouse if it had been clear :-)

The picture on the right is of an old train trestle that is now a walk through the trees in the Railroad Bridge Park. There is an Audubon Center in this park where the volunteer staff is very helpful. Neither one of us saw any of the hundreds of different kinds of birds that live here, but the walk was nice.

Sequim Native Daisy After a picnic lunch at the Railroad Br. Pk, we did some chores and headed back - in gloriously clear afternoon sunshine.

Tomorrow we visit the Olympic Nat'l Pk.

August 06, 2005

Port Townsend, Washington

Discovery Bay Resort We woke this morning to light fog - a nice change from the Chico heat. On our way to Port Townsend we could see our Discovery Bay resort from the other side of the bay. Our unit is the one on the very top in the back... the one that sticks up higher than all the others. It is lovely.

Pt. Townsend Victorian Pt. Townsend Victorian Pt. Townsend Victorian Port Townsend is one of the largest Victorian towns north of San Francisco. They have lots of 1800's Victorian houses that have been restored. Many are B&Bs now, like the one in the center.

Pt. Townsend Condos for sale Pt. Townsend Farmers' Market There is a sign on the under-construction deck next to this derelict old brick building in the photo on the left... "Condos for Sale". I was going to see how much they wanted, but never got around to it :-) A condo here on the waterfront would be spectacular with a view of the harbor!

We got to town early enough to find a good parking spot (parking more limited than Capitola, but FREE). We trudged up, way up the hill to the Farmer's Market, held every Saturday. It's a smaller market than Chico or Santa Cruz, but good. We found some green onions and a poster to go next to the London Tube poster in the living room.

Pt. Townsend Hanging Basket Pt. Townsend Tiger Lily Then off we went to one of the city parks... Beautiful flowers and views. There was a group of people doing Tai Chi on the hill above the bay. On the way down the hill we found the Whale Watching excursion outfit we wanted and made reservations for Thursday. ... We also found the local ice cream and candy shop :-) Water Street, the main drag is populated by old buildings with up to date shops (book stores, food, art, etc.). Jan found a wonderful Northwest carved face, made from whale bone, little bits of baleen and antler. It's quite striking.

Pt. Townsend Dancing Fish Back at the condo, I went for my first swim after shoulder surgery!! It was only 15 minutes, but it hurts less now than it did before the surgery, and I expect it to get only better :-)

August 05, 2005

Arrived in Discovery Bay, Washington

Toasting on arrival This picture is Jan and I toasting all vacationers out there... from our balcony at Discovery Bay. I took it with my phone camera, so the quality is stinky, but you get the idea.

We traveled from Salem to the Olympic Peninsula, about 250-ish miles. First we poked around Salem and Keisar looking at houses under $300K - nothing that must be had, but Kaisar does have an OK development on a private lake. Lakefair Dr?

Rocky Brook Falls, near Brinnin, WA Along the way we stopped and looked at a couple of water falls. First was Cushman Falls. We had a hard time seeing it on the side of the gravel road. We found a small runoff and thought that was the falls -- not impressive. When we turned around and headed back we saw the real falls, which was much nicer, but I didn't get a picture of it. Next stop was Rocky Brook Falls (Forest Road 261 off Hwy 101 near Brinnon). This was a nice falls and worth taking a picture.

The drive up here was beautiful! We visited the town of Sequim for grocery shopping... Cute little touristy town.

August 04, 2005

First Day in the Northwest

Here we are in Salem, OR, 460 miles north of Chico, CA. We left home at 8:00 this morning after Jan explained to the cats that Michelle would be feeding them and giving them their parasite meds. I'm sure they were starving by the time she got there for dinner feeding!

Apple Cellar, Ashland, OR Driving North on I-5, we stopped for lunch in Ashland, OR, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. One of my favorite traveling lunch spots is the Apple Cellar.

Jan found this quote in the Oregonian (Portland Daily Newspaper) - for Geo Bush: What lies in our power to do lies in our power Not to do.

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