Wednesday, June 10, 2009

California Dreamin'

After three days home, we had the itch to travel again, so we threw our tent and sandals into my tiny two-seater hybrid car and headed for California.  Actually, Grant's union requires him to get a yearly physical at their clinic in Oakland.  Either way, a road trip was in order.

It was fun driving down the fast interstate after the slow roads of New Zealand.  Even though I didn't drive in New Zealand, there were moments of vertigo when I couldn't figure out what lane to drive in.  "Stay right, stay right, stay right"  We had people to see and places to go, so couldn't drive down the entire Oregon coast on Highway 1 like we wanted, but we cut over north of the California border as our friends live in Humboldt County on the Coast.  It was hard to pull over for pictures at highway speeds, but I tell you, the Oregon and California coasts were really giving NZ a run for her money with the views.  We will really have to hit the Oregon Coast soon, because if I remember right, it is even more scenic.

Our friends took us and their new kids on a local hike called something like "fern gully".  It is where they filmed much of Jurassic Park.  At the beach there were elk, or "elk goats" as our little buddy called them.  I had no idea elk lived at the beach.  I assumed they were all toughing it out in the cold snowy mountains like in Jackson Hole.  If I were those JH elk, I would extend my migration to the warmer California climate.

                     Watch for Dinasours!


We also got to go see the end of the famous Kinetic Sculpture Races, where Burning Man types build man-powered vehicles that must peddle down the road then become waterborne and peddle/paddle down the bay a ways, then back to land again to cross the finish line, more than 30 miles all together! It makes for a very long weekend.  More effort goes into the artistic aspect of the vehicles versus the mechanics, but all together a very cool artistic/engineering/athletic feat, and a well deserved beer was had by all at the the finish line.  Here are a few of our favorite competitors...

                  Octomom!!!!  If you don't know who she is, leave a comment and I'll explain.

Down to the Bay Area.  We had a great time with our college buddies and their new family, but Oakland isn't that exciting, so no pictures.  Plus, we don't put pictures of our little buddies on the internet!  Sorry for you because all three new little buddies are very cute.

North bound we cut over East towards Bend, OR to visit Grant's sister and brother-in-law a.k.a. our friends.  In Bend we went on a hike near Mt. Bachelor, but despite the 90 degree weather, the amount of snow left on the trail stopped us in our tracks.

Along the way to Bend, and further north to Seattle, we saw all of our resident volcanos, or Mountains as most people call them, and even got a few pictures.  The Cascades are pretty impressive.  One thing about people from the Pacific Northwest is that at any moment they can point out at least five volcanos, whether you can see them or not!

                   Mt. Shasta?

                          Mt. Shasta from the north

                       Elk Lake and Mt. Bachelor, Bend, OR

                       Mt. Saint Helens, a confirmed volcano!

That's it for now.  Grant shipped out today on the domestic Alaska run.  I'm hoping to find a ship in July despite the gorgeous weather in Seattle.  It's a small world and a small industry, so you won't be getting any juicy gossip from us concerning work, but we may be able to show you some ship pictures and tell you some very vague sea stories.  Stay tuned.


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