Feb 19 2009

Lewis & Clark

Today – yes, I’m actually posting on the same day for once – we left Seaside and drove up to Fort Clatsop. This is the area where Lewis & Clark finally came to the Pacific Ocean and stayed the winter of 1805-1806. We learned a lot about the expedition and found some new respect for the men and their journey.

Fort Clatsop

We went on to Astoria, Oregon where we tried to climb the Astoria Column only to find it was closed for maintenance. The tower itself was quite interesting, though. After the tower, we visited the Maritime Museum and learned much about the history of sailing and the coast guard – we even got to tour an old light ship that was used to help ships find the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.

Light Ship Columbia

With the long Astoria-Megler Bridge in sight, the decision was clear that we’d be driving into Washington and taking the northern route to Christine’s parent’s home. This also happened to be the reported general route of the Lewis & Clark expedition. Wouldn’t they be astounded by how easy it is now to cross the country now?

Check out the trip photo set.

This entry probably isn’t rugged enough to have made the journey on foot.

Feb 19 2009

Three Nights in Seaside

Seaside is a sleepy little town in winter. Our arrival on President’s Day deceived us, as there were still plenty of people about town. The next morning, as we walked the downtown area, the town seemed almost deserted – not that we minded. After our first restful night, we visited with Christine’s family who had rented a house a few blocks from where we were staying. We checked out the local aquarium and fed the sea lions there.

Feeding the sea lions

Most of our trips don’t allow for Sam & Rece to have much time to pursue their own adventures. We felt that Seaside would be a good place to let them roam freely. They enjoyed spending time away from our watchful eyes and to do whatever they felt they wanted without having to worry about them getting into trouble. They seemed to enjoy their freedom and looked like they were enjoying the vacation even more.

Seaside, Oregon

One morning we rented some beach cycles and had fun riding them around on the beach. Christine’s nephew hadn’t much experience riding a bike, but took to these without any problem.

Beach Cycles - Traffic Jam

Christine and I checked out Cannon Beach to take some photos and to watch the sunset. With the large rocks on the coast and a setting sun, it wasn’t difficult to take a lot of great pictures and enjoy the view.

Cannon Beach - Near Haystack Rock

We spent 3 nights in Seaside and left feeling rested and ready to move on to more adventures.

Check out the trip photo set.

This entry would love a cabin at the beach.

Feb 18 2009

The road to Seaside

The drive between Newport and Seaside is only around 3 hours, if one were to drive straight through. In our ordinary fashion, we nearly doubled that time by stopping at a few places along the way. The first of these stops was the Tillamook Air Museum in Tillamook, Oregon.


Within this emense wooden structure you can find a large collection of vintage aircraft. The history of the place is intriguing and the building itself is incredible (the world’s largest wooden structure). This is definitely worth a stop for anybody traveling through the area.

Our second stop was the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We’d all driven by this place before on various trips of our own – and we all really liked yummy, delicious cheese – so we planned to go on the tour of the place. We enjoyed a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese and broccoli soup at their cafe. If you’re like us, and like good cheese, this is a great place to check out!


We arrived in Seaside, Oregon and checked in to the Tradewinds Motel, our home for the next 3 nights. As daylight faded, the colors of the sky shifted from blue to orange, then warmed up to red. I grabbed my camera and ran out on to the beach to take some shots. The peaceful feeling that came over me warmed me, even in the brisk evening air.


Check out the trip photo set.

Memorable quote: “My lips feel like lizards!” – Gabe

This entry will never get tired of watching an ocean sunset.

Feb 18 2009

<- Big Tree

The magic hour of photography refers to the hour after sunrise and hour before sunset, when natural light appears warmer and more diffuse. It was for this reason that I decided to wake up at the early hour of 5:45 am on Sunday morning. What I didn’t know was that sunrise this far north wouldn’t occur until shortly after 7:00 am. So fully awake, I looked out of our cabin door into darkness.


What was nice about the darkness was that it allowed me to see the moon – which meant that the sky was clear and that it wouldn’t be raining this morning. This was good news after yesterday’s dark and wet drive.

We went down to the Seascape restaurant for breakfast, which had an excellent view of Trinidad bay. Breakfast was excellent and very filling, thanks to some very generous portions. The morning sun rose and literally brightened our day.


Due to the hour that we had arrived the night before, we were unable to take pictures of our cabin, so we made a point of doing that when we checked out.


Christine has talked about elk and Elk Radio – “All elk, all the time” – often enough that I had planned to stop at a couple of locations along the way where they were known to graze. We happened upon a group of them and managed to get out of the car and snap some pictures before scaring the herd away.


The next stop on our list was the last bit of the redwood forest. The weather was perfect for a short walk through the giant trees and the lighting was good for some pictures, even in the shaded groves of redwoods. The 9-mile drive through Prairie Creek Redwood State Park is a great way to check out the redwoods if you’re driving along highway 101, but don’t have the time for an extended excursion into the forest.


Another quick stop was just as we were driving into Klamath, California, where we got to drive the car through a redwood tree.


With the redwoods behind us our next destination was Newport, Oregon. The drive along the coast was beautiful, with the improved weather conditions. We made good time and still got to stop at a few places along the way that we found interesting.


Arriving in Newport, late Sunday afternoon, we checked into our hotel and got in touch with my friends, Melanie & Brian. We decided on a place to eat and met them there for dinner. We decided to send the kids back to the hotel to watch a movie while the 4 of us went out for a few drinks. Melanie had it in her mind to get me to sing karaoke, which I only agreed to do after having a couple of beers. We had a lot of fun watching Brian and others sing, and enjoyed some good conversation before it was time to call it a night. It was good to finally meet them in person.


Check out the trip photo set.

Memorable quote: “Look, ponies … oh, they’re elk!” – Christine

This entry is gonna love you forever and ever, amen.

Feb 14 2009

Entering the Redwoods

After a rocky start, we managed to get on the road last night and made some progress north and then checked into a motel. With a fresh start in the morning we progressed through central California and then into Oakland, before crossing the bay into San Raphel to catch the 101.

As with most of our trips, we front-loaded the driving on the first day. Our goal was to get up to the Redwood Forest with enough daylight left to be able to enjoy them. Mother Nature decided to dampen our plans, literally, but we did still manage to get a good look at some mighty redwoods along The Avenue of the Giants.

Fallen RedwoodOh, how the mighty have fallen!

The clouds hung over the mountains, dropping sporadic showers on us as we traveled. The dark sky and drops of rain did not deter me from trying to take some pictures! Late in the afternoon, we stopped as a shower broke a bit and walked amongst the giants – and even encountered a couple of deer!

“Damn paparazzi!”

With a cloudy sky and progressively fading daylight, I snapped one more picture of the gang to help show the scale of these mighty redwoods.

Big Redwood
Are we done giggling yet?

Our adventure in the redwoods isn’t over just yet. We’re staying in a cute little cabin at the Emerald Forest of Trinidad (they even offer free Wi-Fi!), with a good chunk of the redwood forest left to explore! Hopefully the weather will be a little better for pictures tomorrow.

Check out the trip photo set.

Memorable quote: “Barstow is the gateway to fun!” – Christine

This entry likes to wander the forest primeval.

Feb 12 2009

Half-packed and ready to go

Tomorrow we’ll be taking off on another road trip. This time we’ll be driving up the northern California coast and almost all of the Oregon coast (we may skip Astoria, but who knows?).

I have to say that it’s been difficult for me to focus this week. My thoughts often wander into daydreams of walking in the Redwood Forests or staring out to sea from some lush-green vista.

Without a doubt, I’ll be snapping a lot of pictures along the way. I’ve added a few things to my camera bag – which is also new. So I’ll be better prepared to take a wider variety of shots this time around.

Here’s the basic itinerary for our trip:

Friday afternoon/evening: leave work early and drive north as far as we can along the I-5 and find some place to stay once we start to get tired

Saturday: get off to an early start and drive through the Bay Area, continue north along the 101 – drive to the redwood forest and stay in a cabin

Sunday: morning drive through the redwoods and into Oregon – meet with some friends near Newport, Oregon for dinner and drinks, then stay in a hotel

Monday: drive north to Seaside, Oregon – stopping at a few places of interest along the way, check in to our suite for the next few nights

Tuesday & Wednesday: check out Seaside and find something interesting and/or relaxing to do around the area

Thursday & Friday: drive up to the Vancouver, Washington area and visit with Christine’s family – check out Portland

Saturday & Sunday: drive back home along the I-5 at a comfortable pace, stay some place along the way, check out anything we find interesting along the way

One thing that has bothered me on all of our trips so far is that I don’t take the time to write about it along the way. By the time I get back home I can’t remember all the small details and the feelings I felt are diminished from when I was actually in the moment – and I end up typing up an incredibly long post that is probably not as interesting to read. This trip I’ll have my laptop with me and I’ll do my best to try and blog, or at least prepare a blog post (when I don’t have Internet access) each day of the trip. Since I’m already in the habit of backing up my pictures to the laptop as I go, I’ll even try to post some pictures, too. We’ll see how it goes this time around.

This entry just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Feb 5 2009

Okinawa Bug Invasion!

I don’t know why this hasn’t made the news, but it appears that Okinawa, Japan is being overrun by giant insects!


I have a rotating webcam gadget on my iGoogle page that loads a random webcam shot from around the world every 30 seconds. This popped up some time last week. It was so odd that I decided to grab a quick screenshot of it.

This entry just came down with a case of the creepy crawlies.

Jan 14 2009

Worst apartment rental ad – EVER

I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of this Craigslist ad. Here’s an excerpt:

WAKE-UP: Wake up will be at 5:30am each morning. All ceiling lights in the suite will be turned on automatically.

LIGHTS OUT: Ceiling lights in the suite will be turned off at 11:30pm.

The ad has apparently been removed from Craigslist a few times and the poster just doesn’t get it.

This entry was considering some sexually deviant behavior.

Jan 8 2009

Tilt Shifted Monster Trucks

This video was processed in a way that made the real monster truck rally look like it was a bunch of toys:

I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the parts.

This entry wants to go play with its Tonkas in the dirt!

Jan 4 2009

Better late than never

The last week of 2008 was a busy one for me. I was getting new carpet in my apartment and I was going to paint the walls before the carpet was installed. I did still take photos each day, but just never got around to posting them. So here they are:

December 31, 2008

Took this about an hour before midnight. It took me a few tries to get it in focus while holding the camera in one hand and waving a lit sparkler in the other. My main concern was to not get sparks on my camera!

December 30, 2008

Remember how fun it was as a kid to open the medicine cabinet in your bathroom in a way that made your reflection multiply when you looked into it? Yeah, that’s how I did this one. I wish the focus was better, but I think it’s a cool shot anyhow.

December 29, 2008

The after shot. (see below for the before shot)

December 28, 2008

Christine helped me paint. She really got into it.

December 27, 2008

Hot pink. Not very masculine. This color was chosen by my ex. I should have painted it years ago, but I tend to procrastinate and it took me almost 4 years after she moved out to finally do it.

This entry doesn’t understand what’s wrong with hot pink.