Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Boston Proud

Have I mentioned, I am so loving the 2013 Red Sox and Manager John Farrell.

From The Boston Globe today:
Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman threw out a first pitch before tonight’s game at Fenway Park, along with Carlos Arredondo, who is credited with saving Bauman’s life after the attacks. Then they went past the Red Sox dugout, where players waited to shake their hands.

Very much prefer to keep this image in my head, rather than the one where these two men first encountered each other. 

Sun Break in Margaritaville

It's been raining pretty much nonstop since we got back from Austin. Not that I am complaining...all my little vegetables and sprouting radishes and spinach are happy and weren't dried out when I got home. But it has been more like 'almost' Junuary. I'm still in my fleece sweater as I type...

This afternoon, the sun peaked out. Mt. Hood appeared. Hurray, it's still there!!!

And Lloyd came home from town with a couple of pints of fresh strawberries that his buddy Steve had picked up in Portland today. You know the kind...they don't look like much but boy do they taste good! I haven't tasted strawberries this sweet since Ponchatoula...

So, what to do with those less attractive but totally delicious gems? Jimmy Buffett would be proud.

Thanks, Steve. Cheers!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Eyes of Texas Were Upon Us

We are now the proud parents of a Texas Ex, a Master of Education, Higher Ed Administration.

We didn't quite get enough Austin in March, so we flew back down for Keara's graduation. To her great relief, we did not camp in the driveway this time, rather, we arranged a stay via Airbnb with a wonderful couple about 4 miles across town. We had comfy beds, and were able to come and go with use of the Kia.

In our 5 days there we managed to
  • dine very well, with great eats at El Chile, Magnolia Cafe, Buenos Aires Cafe (sangria below), The White Horse (ahhh, brews), Kirby Lane, Eastside Cafe, Red's Roof, Amy's Ice Cream, Uchiko, and Flat Top Burger Shop.
  • walk from our bnb to the trail around Lady Bird Lake, to Barton Springs and back
  •  See some lovely blooming cacti (that I didn't see in Death Valley!), and other wildflowers

  • enjoy meeting the people in Keara's department, her partner in crime, Bianca, and the lovely Dean Lilly, in whose Dean of Students office they both worked the last 2 years
  • survive both the early morning Masters Convocation in the concert hall, and the main graduation event at the Tower that night. Not having my morning coffee for the former was almost a disaster. But seeing Keara dance happily across the stage was worth it. 
  • get plenty of exercise walking back and forth to Campus from Keara's house, and along S. Congress Street, including this fabulous candy store...when was the last time you saw Turkish Taffy????
  • get in a nice hike at Hamilton Pool before going to the airport. This time we got to take the trail to the Pedernales River (it was closed last time Keara took me there).
Letting the credit card cool off for a bit...but not too long...the next adventure is coming up the end of the week, when I head to Seattle to meet Karen for our adventure to ALASKA! Stay tuned.

UPDATE: I forgot one BIG thing:
  • seeing the new Star Trek movie at the IMAX in stunning 3D. Don't miss it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Day 20: Burns, OR to White Salmon, WA via John Day Fossil Beds
312 miles

Our last day on the road. Of course, we did not go straight home. We had two more stops to make. The first was at the Visitor Center at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We'd been there before, but it's such a great Visitor Center, we couldn't help ourselves. Then we detoured to the Clarno Unit , which we missed on our last trip here. When you see these palisades, you know you're in the right place!

"The Clarno Unit is located 18 miles west of the town of Fossil. The Palisades are the most prominent landform. 44 million years ago a series of volcanic mudflows, swept up and perserved a diverse assortment of plants and animals that inhabited a near-tropical forest. Tiny four-toed horses, huge rhino-like brontotheres, crocodilians, and meat-eating creodonts that once roamed ancient jungles are now found in the rocks of the Clarno Unit, as well as an incredibly diverse range of plant life. Leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds, and petrified wood from 173 species of trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants have been found here thus far."
Here's my personal geologist pointing out some fossils for me to see.

 This little guy was just trying to blend in.

 The trail was quite nice, as we walked from the parking area over to the palisades.

 At the top of the trail was this great arch. Personal

Geologist for scale. Petrified logs stick out fo the rock walls.

 It looked like we were going to get stormed on, but mercifully, it held off until we were on our way.

 A few hours later, we pulled in to 1440 Brislawn Loop Rd. The daffodils greeted us.

As did our flowering plum tree. Ahhhhhh. Home at Last!

Grand Total: 5,274 miles, give or take a few!!

Liquid Sunshine

Day 19: Bridgeport, CA to Burns, OR

476 miles north on 395

Another long day of driving driving driving. And it started to rain. First rain of the entire trip. How lucky are we???? Many miles of open spaces, with little towns barely alive. We worried at one point if we'd have enough gas to make Lakeview. We did. Ended up at a motel in Burns with winds and weather swirling about. Thought for a minute I was back in Texas!

Sub-Total: 4,962 miles

Out of the Valley of Death

Day 18: Texas Springs Campground to Bridgeport, CA
254 miles

It's about time I finished up this travelogue. Too many things getting in the way since the last post!

We left off in Death Valley. I didn't want to leave you there, but it's in the 80s here in the Gorge, actually warmer here than there lately, so you're okay.

Driving out of the park takes several hours. We made a stop at the Sand Dunes, and spent a little time roaming while it was still cool, checking out all the animal tracks imprinted in the sand. Looks like there was a party here last night!

 The drive through Panamint Springs was lovely, and the narrow road through the pass had some construction stops so it wasn't a speedy transit. We got to the Father Crowley Memorial lookout and took a picture looking back from where we came.

We picked up good old Rt. 395 in the Owens Valley, and enjoyed views of salty lakes and Sierras along the west side of the highway.

We made a stop at the Manzanar National Historical Site. You know me and National Parks, Historic Sites, Monuments, Scenic Area...I have to stop and stamp my passport. Manzanar was one of camps where Japanese American citizens were held during WWII.

Not a particularly proud time for our country. The Visitor Center is fantastic, with a documentary film, interactive exhibits, photographs, personal stories, a model of the camp and some reconstructed barracks. If you are ever even close to this place, make it a stop on your itinerary.

We picked up some ice and gas in Bishop, but it was still early to stop. So on we went to the beautiful June Lake. We would loved to have camped here, but no campgrounds were open yet.

On we went to Lee Vining, near Mono Lake.

Side story: Way back in August 1985, when Lloyd and I (pregnant with Keara), Zack the cocker spaniel, and Groucho the cat drove from Houston to Danville, CA when Lloyd's job was transferred. We had a long day's drive from Grand Canyon area across Nevada. I remember getting to Lee Vining. It was late. There were no camping spots, and no hotel rooms. We went on to June Lake, where we found a welcome mat out at a pet friendly motel. A miracle I'll never forget.

This time, everything was pretty closed up. There was a private campground. Lloyd was so excited to find that for $5 he could have wi-fi. Then he told me, the showers aren't connected yet. No big. Then he told me neither were the toilets. HUH? Our little camper is NOT self-contained. The campground was very tidy, and I was not going to use the pet area or the Chevron Station down the street. So one we went to a motel that had a room, but before we plunked down our plastic, we were told there was NO DINING anywhere in town on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In between seasons, you see. So on we went to Bridgeport, sadly unable to find a place so we could explore Mono Lake.

Bridgeport had places to stay. People come there to fish and to see the ghost town Bodie. We chose the Bridgeport Inn, which had a 50s era motel (where we could park the car with camper by the door) next to an 1870's gold rush era inn. And a resident ghost. And one place to eat across the street, as their cook was off that night. And that place to eat had many TVs showing baseball games. Including Red Sox/Yankees. And the Red Sox won. All was finally right with the world.

Total miles: 4,486