Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There's no place like home.....

We finally made it home very late Sunday night.  What a travel day.  We started out about 6:00 a.m. in fog so heavy it looked like pea soup.   Our speed on I-80 was about 45 miles an hour (regular speed limit 75 mph) and we couldn't see past the hood of our car.  Gradually, the fog cleared but about ten o'clock a light on our dashboard declared our rear passenger side tire was low.  Carl got out with the gauge and checked and sure enough...  So we stopped at a gas station and filled up the tire (can you believe they charge $1.00 for air?) but a few miles down the road it came on again.  A truck stop on the out-skirts of Lincoln, Nebraska called in a mechanic (ka-ching) and he diagnosed faulty valve stem electronics.  He couldn't find the actual part he needed but he managed to make one fit that got us home - a big shout out to Don and Randy Shoemaker's 66 Station at Exit 395 in Lincoln.  They had wifi and a restaurant so I got out the computer and sat in a booth with a Pepsi and one of the best BLTs ever waiting the three hours it took to fix the car.  Total price:  $107.48 with tax.  Back on the road again and ran into a huge rain storm with several rainbows (sorry, no good pics, it was raining way too hard for that) and home by 9:30 p.m.  We rarely travel that late and we were both wiped out.  It's now Wednesday and the laundry is done.  We're starting to pack for our Labor Day week trip to Wisconsin. 

The chair cushion the cat christened was taken to the cleaners and fit in the big industrial washer; it's now home and smelling fresh.  No accidents yet and Sassy is warming up to us.  She's very vocal at 2:00 a.m. and very active at dusk and dawn racing through the house and playing with toys.  We purchased a large wire dog kennel with a tray in the bottom for her trip to Wisconsin.  Carl added a shelf above the cat box and we attached food and water dishes to the cage sides.  We're testing it today when we take her back to the vet to have her left eye checked (it's still leaking badly) and to make sure the intestinal infection is gone.  By the way, I'm here to tell you cats don't like banana flavored medicine.  The cage is large enough for her to move around in (she doesn't like the carrier) and if we do indeed get another cat after Wisconsin, both can travel comfortably in it.  I just hope we can fit our luggage around it, but if anyone can cram it in, it's Carl.  My daughter, SIL and youngest grandson will be making the trip this year.  We will be staying right on a large lake next to the tree the eagles perch in.  Cody (my grandson) will have basketball, tether ball, volleyball, badminton, baseball, miniature golf, mallet pool, bicycles to just take and go, swimming, kayaks and fishing to keep him occupied.  Mom wants to sleep, not sure what SIL will do.  They will have a two bedroom cabin and maid service, my daughter will think she died and went to heaven

There's no place like home.....

To celebrate the conclusion of the Pacific Northwest trip and to announce the beginning of the Wisconsin trip, I offer a new set of digital sentiments for your cards or scrapbooks.  I hope if you don't know all the famous people, you will be tempted to look them up and learn a little more about them.  I will be introducing the whole set - enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25, 2012...

We were up this morning early and on the road by 5:15am.  We'll be home late tomorrow if we push as hard as we did today.
Can you see how far that road runs straight?  Still no green, looking very much like Wyoming which is where we'll be in a few hours.
Back over the mountains again.  When I opened my suntan lotion, it blew up.  So will any sealed bags you have like chips or tampons.
Wyoming has the longest trains I've ever seen.  Usually pulled by two or three locomotives and sometimes having one in the middle and one at the end.
Wyoming also has hundreds of snow fences along the highway.
And many many miles of this.  All the way into North Platte, Nebraska where we stopped for the night tonight.  At a Hampton Inn.  With REAL high speed internet, a sink in the bathroom where it's supposed to be, comfy beds and pillows, a Ruby Tuesday right down the street, big screen TV, fluffy towels, soft water and a real computer desk with a light, a plug-in and an adjustable chair.  Am I in heaven or what?  And since I didn't sleep well last night, maybe I will tonight.  Home tomorrow, lots to do before we leave for Wisconsin on Saturday.

August 24, 2012...

You can't judge a book by its cover.  It's travelin' time.  We got up in the wee hours of the morning and headed out.  This was a new territory day for us, we drove the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway.  Half awesome, half awful.

After we left the trees and gorgeous rocks behind, we headed into country that looked very much like the badlands.

Then it started to look like desert.  Where did all the trees go?

Then it looked like Wyoming although we were in Idaho.

And then back into the hills again.  We finally stopped for the night at Burley, Idaho at a Best Western and this is the book and cover thing...This Best Western was gorgeous, the landscaping was the best we'd ever seen in a hotel, the lobby looked like the Vanderbilt's drawing room.  But...and this was a big but...the room was really uncomfortable.  First, and for me the worst, the desk didn't have a plug for the computer or a light.  In fact, there wasn't a light anywhere near the computer desk.  I had to move a floor lamp from the corner to the desk and find a plug under the entertainment center for both the lamp and computer.  When you put the chair under the desk, you couldn't walk past it.  There were two easy chairs stuffed in the corner but no place to put suitcases.  The sink was in the room and you know how I feel about that.  We gave points for a comfortable bed and pillows but the sink didn't have any towels or washrags and the bathroom was only as deep as the width of the door.  The door cleared the toilet by .5" and just missed the tub by .5".  No place to put your clothes or your toiletries. But the very worst part is just because a hotel announces free WIFI doesn't mean it's high speed.  I couldn't even download pictures that were part of my e-mail so no blog update and I went from 2 bars to 4 bars and back to 2 bars again.  I also woke up at 2:00am and couldn't go back to sleep - bummer. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012...

Today was a short travel day without pictures.  We stopped by Staples early this morning to pick up some large manila tags so I could take them to Wisconsin to make Christmas tags.  I also found some great Sharpie pens in silver, gold and copper which looked fantastic on the black paper they placed for testing.  We left Newport about 10:30 this morning after spending some time at the local scrapping store, Paper Mermaid.  I picked up a couple of stamps but this shop was really geared toward scrappers, not card makers.  Lots of Oregon and Washington related embellishments and paper.  The owner directed us to a shop in Corvallis called Creative Crafts and Framing which is located by the Fred Meyer.  I picked up some stamps by a manufacturer I've never seen before and some white Sculpey clay (I know, I could have picked that up at home) but I didn't want to have to run into Peoria for it.

We made a stop at Silver Springs State Park which is chock full of waterfalls.  The hike to them is all  down and miles long.  Not a cloud in the sky and a gazillion cars with lots of kids (school doesn't start until next week here).  Not a chance that Carl could take any decent pictures so we hopped back in the car and headed to Salem.  We're at the Shiloh Inn which is at least a B.  Tiny TV with barely any sound, sink is not only not in the bathroom but it's right next to Carl's bed.  I automatically take off a point for a sink that isn't in the bathroom.  There is no place in the bathroom to place clothes except on the toilet.  And I'd rather my husband doesn't watch me plucking the occasional stray hair,  you need some mystery in a marriage.  Tomorrow we head east, there won't be many more sight-seeing stops and none after Friday when we will spend eleven hours heading home every day we travel.

I understand from our cat sitter, that our rescue cat has again decided my very expensive plush corduroy chair is her cat box.  She did that the second day we had her home but we contributed that to her dislike of the corn cat litter we used.  We changed the litter to what she was used to at the animal shelter and she was fine.  Until yesterday.  I will have to have the chair professionally cleaned and we don't know if she's ill or lonely.  We only had her four days before we left.  If anybody has any suggestions, I'd appreciate them.  Her cat box is clean so that's not a problem and she used it for three weeks so she knows where it is.  I'll do some Internet research and hope to resolve the problem before we have to put plastic on all the furniture.  Hope you're having a great day where ever you are.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22, 2012...

We've been pretty close to the hotel for the last two days.
Monday night's sunset.
Top is a Tufted Puffin and the bottom is a Pigeon Guillemot from the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  Most of the animals at the aquarium were behind glass and so hard to get pictures of, but the aviary is in the open so the birds are accessible.

Today we drove the fifty miles from Newport, Oregon to Florence, Oregon (the home of the famous dynamited whale).  Do not watch this video with liquid in your mouth, it will end up coming out your nose.  The bottom two pictures were taken from the deck of the restaurant in Florence where we had lunch.  There were two seals in the marina that kept us entertained while we were eating.  Nice little shops in Florence but it isn't as picturesque as Cannon Beach.  I also found a great scrapbooking store in Florence - a big shout out to Rosie's Art Carnival on Highway 101.  I walked out with a very expensive small bag of supplies including stamps, stencils, and dies and I got a lead on a store here in Newport which opens at 10:00 am tomorrow (it's closed on Wednesday).  Guess where we're going to be at 10:00 am tomorrow?  After visiting the Paper Mermaid, we're on our way northeast toward Portland in the first leg of working our way back home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012...

Astoria to Newport, Oregon.  We had a short day today.  We left Astoria about 6:30, stopped for breakfast in Cannon Beach, Oregon and got into Newport about 2:15.
Cannon Beach is a lovely little seaside town with historic old buildings.  We plan to stay here on our next trip.  Breakfast was at the Morris Fireside Restaurant and the food was excellent.

As you can see, the coast was fogged in by the time we got close to Newport.  This is the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and this picture was taken about 50 feet away.  Later in the day it cleared up.

This is the view from the balcony of our room at the Hallmark Resort in Newport.  In the bottom picture in the center toward the top of the picture, the tiny dot of white is the Lighthouse.  While we were eating at Georgie's Beachside Grill which is part of the resort, we saw gray whales which spend the year off Newport.  Apparently pods migrate through in the summer and the fall, but these whales are here all the time.  The funny thing is the last time we saw gray whales was in the exact same restaurant eleven years ago.  We're hoping to catch a good sunset from the balcony and if we do, I'll share it tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012...

Port Angeles to Astoria, Oregon is 210.85 miles and it took us from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to travel those 210.85 miles.  We stopped at overlooks and beaches all the way down the coast.  We took a detour through the Quinault Rain Forest and drove for miles on a one lane gravel road.  Found a waterfall or two.  Saw some really pretty rivers and got to the Best Western in Astoria much later than we normally stop.  Ate some really fancy burgers at the Bridgewater Bistro.  Some sights along the way:

Beach 1, not to be confused with First Beach which is further north.

Blackberries which are everywhere and I do mean everywhere.
A picture of the rain forest.
The rain forest is reclaiming this old truck a bit at a time.

Tomorrow we head for Newport, Oregon and a three day stop.  Lots of beaches, lighthouses, the Oregon Coast Aquarium (Willy from the movie Free Willy was held here until they took him north to let him go.  We saw him here years ago) and much kite flying.

Edited to add:  I didn't miss August 18th, honest.  We just did laundry and stocked up on drinks and snacks and ate a last meal at the Downrigger.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 17, 2012...

Today we traveled from Port Angeles to the beaches on the west coast.  This was new territory for us, we had not been this way before.
But first, I wanted to share the sunrise with you.  We were lucky to be up early enough to catch it.
This is the pulp mill on the west edge of Port Angeles.  Freighters pull in here to load the logs that are stacked everywhere.
This is the Madison Creek Falls, just 150 feet from the parking lot and an easy walk on a smooth path, wheelchair accessible.  We had it all to ourselves this morning and it was overcast, just perfect.

For you Twilight fans, I understand the movies take place on the Olympic Peninsula.  My bad, I haven't seen any of the movies.

We finally got back to the hotel about 4:00, just in time for another lovely meal at the Downrigger.  All in all, a really great day.