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Hawaii Day 5: Honu Adventure

overcast 81 °F

Today we have very few pictures because our main adventure was not documentable with our phones. In the morning we drove to Honolua Bay, north of Kapalua. We parked in a small parking lot, and then walked through the jungle to reach the rocky beach. There were "falling tree" and "falling coconut" warnings everywhere, but thankfully we did not encounter either. We did, however, encounter countless chickens, including hens with baby chicks. They made a great deal of noise, but mostly got off the path when people walked by. Though the path through the jungle seemed somewhat deserted, the actual beach was full of people, and there were three snorkeling/ scuba diving catamarans in the bay. We got our snorkel gear on and started snorkeling. There were beautiful, colorful reefs there, and there were tons of fish. We snorkeled for about an hour and a half to two hours. At one point we heard someone yell "turtle" and we went to where she was. There was a green sea turtle (honu in Hawaiian) eating algae on the reef. We kept snorkeling, and saw three more turtles. They would come up for air very briefly, then go back down for more algae. As we were looking at one turtle, we saw a giant eel swim by. Afterwards, we swam back to the shore and started to get ready to go. Daniel noticed a stand where a man was selling fresh coconuts and papayas. We didn't have any cash, so Daniel went back to the car to get his wallet and we bought a coconut. First we drank the coconut juice/ water, then the seller broke it and we ate the meat. We all liked it except for Katie, who felt that it tasted too different from the "coconut" flavor she was used to.

We went to the Times Supermarket to get lunch, and had the pineapple that Steve gave us yesterday in the field for dessert. It was Catherine's parents' wedding anniversary, so we had reservations at Duke's, which is within walking distance of our hotel.

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We saw a plumeria tree on our way, and there were a lot of flowers on the ground, probably due to the aforementioned fiercely-blowing trade winds.
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We picked up some flowers for Catherine and Katie to wear in their hair.
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Anniversary dinner.
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Some pictures from our dinner. The restaurant is right by the ocean and we were there for sunset, which was beautiful.
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The food was delicious: taro rolls before the main course, then our dinner: chicken and mashed potatoes, and Maui onion soup (suspiciously similar to French onion soup, but made with Maui onions).
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The famous "hula pie" which we had for dessert.
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We went for a walk on the boardwalk after dinner. The stars were coming out and it was a beautiful night. It started raining as we were walking back.
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Pictures with the statues in the lobby of the hotel.
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We stopped at the gift shop and picked up this souvenir. We got a metal sign in Ireland last year, and this year we bought this one. We can add them to the same area in our garage to decorate.

Despite the lack of pictures, today was a wonderful day and we loved everything that we did. Seeing the turtles was spectacular, and we had a pleasant and happy day overall.

Posted by danielcatherine 02:34 Archived in USA Tagged fish rain adventure reef snorkel coral stars turtle honolua eel honu duke's Comments (0)

Hawaii Day 4: Pineapple Princess and the House of the Sun

sunny 86 °F

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This morning we got ready (with delicious banana bread from the luau for breakfast) and drove to Hali'imaile for the Maui Pineapple Tour. The Maui Gold Pineapple is grown on Maui, and the growers are the last pineapple plantation in Hawaii, and thus the United States (since pineapples aren't grown commercially in other states). While people often associate Dole with Hawaii, in fact Dole pineapples come from Dole's plantation in Costa Rica. The company that is currently growing Maui Gold mostly supplies the market in Hawaii (in fact, we've hardly seen any pineapples that aren't Maui Gold), but they do send twenty percent of their pineapples to the mainland, especially the West Coast.
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The tour guide (one of the two best pineapple plantation tour guides in America, as he pointed out...they have two guides...) drove us over from the distillery (more on that later) to the pineapple packing house. These two pineapples were the first harvested pineapples we saw, although many more were to come.
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Crates of pineapples. These are shipped by boat to the mainland or to other islands, or by truck around Maui.
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Putting on our hairnets to tour the packing house, which was made harder by the fiercly-blowing trade winds.
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Pineapples rolling down the line to be washed and inspected. It was amazing to see the process.
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Fashionable hairnets!
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They sort the pineapples by size and by color. Fully golden pineapples are too ripe for transportation, so they go to the distillery and the winery to make wine, vodka, and gin. Small ones are separated from the crowns and softened in the sun to feed to livestock. The crowns are used to plant new pineapples! The fully green ones that are large enough go to the mainland, and the half-green half-gold ones stay in Hawaii (they are the ripest and best tasting, but are too ripe to make it to the mainland). The company only wastes a tiny percentage of pineapples: they don't harvest unless they already have a buyer for the batch they are harvesting.
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The sorting chart that they use to determine where each pineapple ends up.
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Every person on the tour received a box of carryon luggage-approved pineapples. They last a week, so we will have to eat ours before we leave. We'll buy more to take home with us.
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The cold storage room where the pineapples are kept. The different labels show where they are bound. There is even some pineapple mash fermenting for use in the distillery across the street (the tour guide said a person with a straw could have "a good time" in the cold storage area.)
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Daniel in the cold storage area.
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The tour guide, Steve, drove us through the pineapple fields. The pineapple did not originate in Hawaii, but rather in Brazil. It's natural pollinator is the hummingbird, but there are no hummingbirds in Hawaii which allows the plants to develop seedless fruit. It takes eighteen months to two years for one pineapple to grow. They have fields at all levels of ripeness, to keep up supply for year-round demand. However, he did mention that there are upswings in demand around holidays, especially summer holidays like Fourth of July. Sometimes weather conditions result in the early or late ripening of some pineapples: it is typically not worth re-harvesting a field to look for these, although he said that they sometimes have volunteers glean for leftover pineapples for shelters and other care facilities. The fields are beautiful and unique-looking: they look like absolute chaos, but Steve insisted that they are in perfect rows when planted, and that it is the subsequent growth that leads to the chaos. He also said that the workers can plant thousands in a day and get paid a piece rate. Most of the workers are Filipino-American, and are rather elderly. However, he did say that with the piece rate they are some of the best-paid agricultural workers, so it is conceivable that they will be able to replace these workers when they retire.
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As we drove through the fields Steve taught us this song, and had us sing it along with the CD he had. Catherine loved it.
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Pineapple Princess (pineapple shirt, earrings, and necklace, and holding a pineapple.)
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Steve showed us how pineapples are picked and cut a few to show us what the different ripeness levels taste like. He described the riper ones that are sold in the Hawaii market as tasting a little bit like coconut, and having a "piña colada" flavor. He kept opening pineapples and letting us taste a wide variety. Eventually he started back to the bus. We still wanted to taste pineapples, and he handed us the one he was holding.
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Preparing pineapples...
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...and enjoying them!
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Among the pineapples.
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The tour guide suggested a restaurant...the restaurant affiliated with the company! It was actually delicious, and a beautiful setting across from our next tour. The restaurant is in what was once the general store for the area. It is still called the general store, but is a restaurant.
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We split a kalua pork enchilada pie with mole sauce. It was absolutely delicious.
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Next, we visited Hali'imaile Distilling Company. Their most famous product is Pau Vodka, which is made from Maui Gold pineapples but doesn't have any pineapple flavor (it is not a flavored vodka--although they do sell those--but a pure vodka made from fermented pineapples. These barrels are full of their Paniolo Whiskey (a paniolo is a cowboy, thus the elaborate cowboy-style mustaches on the barrels).
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The Quonset hut where the distilling takes place.
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Some of the operations inside of the distillery.
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The glass stills where they are distilling the fermented pineapple into pure alcohol to make the vodka. They water it down to 40% before bottling.
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More of the distillery. The second picture shows the fermenting pineapple juice.
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The tanks of Pau Vodka and Sammy's Beach Bar Rum (which is owned by Sammy Hagar and made from Maui sugarcane. The only problem is that the only company still making sugarcane on Maui just closed down their operations). After the tour we had a tasting. Because the distillery was not a bar they were only allowed to give us each three small taste. They had many options: oak-aged vodka, flavored vodka, vodka mixed with cognac, gin, whiskey, various rums, etc. We each tried a variety. After the tour, we drove up to the town of Makawao, which is famous for its cowboy history. Catherine's dad wondered how far we were from the road to the top of Haleakala. As it happened, we were quite near, and so we started up the mountain.
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Some views as we drove up the mountain.
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The drive up the mountain is somewhat nerve-wracking for the driver. The passengers can see how the mountain slopes down into the clouds, but from the driver's perspective it looks like a sheer drop from the side of the cliff. Also, as we got higher and higher the air became noticeably thinner. We stopped at this pull-out to look at the view and feel the cool air. It was almost cold, and extremely windy.
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Some pictures of us at the pullout.
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The top of Haleakala. This structure is at the summit and provides amazing views and shelter from the wind. It is a beautiful place to see the crater and over the water.
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There is an observatory near the summit that is operated by the military in conjunction with the University of Hawaii. The top of Haleakala is one of the best places for astronomical observation in the world.
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Can you believe we were all the way up there?
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From the summit you can see the Island of Hawaii, the Big Island. If you measure from the bottom of the ocean, Haleakala itself is larger than Mt. Everest, and Mauna Kea on the Big Island is the largest mountain in the world.
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The crater of the volcano. Haleakala means "house of the sun" and there are legends about the sun living or being imprisoned in this crater.
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More views from the summit.
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Anthony and Daniel on top of the mountain.
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We then drove down. The top of the mountain seemed so far away. We headed back to the hotel and had dinner by the poolside, played cards with Katie and Anthony. It was a wonderful day.

Posted by danielcatherine 02:14 Archived in USA Tagged sun pineapples vodka observatory rum princess distillery whiskey haleakala hali'imaile makawao Comments (1)

Hawaii Day 3: Bug Free's the Way to Be

sunny 86 °F

This morning, Catherine called to "battle" with the rental car company. They said at first that we would have to bring the car all the way back to Kahului to exchange it for another car. There was a sister company in Lahaina which had cars they could give us, but a variety of paperwork problems prevented it. So in the end, Catherine's parents drove all the way around the north-west side of the island to exchange cars. Thankfully, the new car appears to be bug-free.
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While they journeyed around the island in search of a new car, we had a relaxing lunch of pizza from the poolside restaurant. We sat at a table overlooking the ocean.
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After lunch, we went for a walk and sat by the beach. These pictures show the view of Lanai and Molokai. We also saw some land in the distance that might be a faint view of Oahu. It is a beautiful view.
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After our walk, we had a ukulele lesson! The class was interesting, and we learned how to play several songs. We are interested in obtaining a ukulele so that we can continue to learn.
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Afterwards, we went to Lahaina for the Old Lahaina Luau. These pictures are us at the beginning, before dinner or the show. It's in a beautiful setting near the ocean.
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Catherine at the luau.
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The table at the luau, including taro and sweet potato chips.
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Views from our table.
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Catherine has been very excited to try poi. She read Hawaii by James Michener and felt like poi sounded like an interesting and potentially good food. This picture shows her very first taste of poi. "It tastes like nothing!" was her immediate reaction. It ended up being rather good with the kalua pork.
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Our plates of food. Everything was delicious. Daniel especially liked the laulau and the taro leaf stew, and Catherine loved the sweet potatoes and the kalua pork.
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The desserts. Brownies with hot pepper, lavender cookies, passion fruit bars, and haupia (a coconut-milk based custard that was delicious.)
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A toast.
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The dancers who performed, as well as a view of the stage towards the end of the night. The chanting, singing, and dancing were spectacular.
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Catherine and her dad with the waitress for our table. She was very helpful and gave us extra banana bread to take with us at the end! We had a great time at the luau. Afterwards, we went back to the room and re-taught Catherine's parents how to play 500. This was fun, except that some of us were having trouble staying awake.

Tomorrow we are visiting a pineapple plantation, where Maui Gold pineapples are grown. It is one of the last pineapple growers operating in Hawaii, and we are excited to learn more about it!

Posted by danielcatherine 02:28 Archived in USA Tagged car pizza lahaina hula luau chanting haupia laulau kalua_pork mai_tai Comments (2)

Hawaii Day 2: Our Car is Bugged!

all seasons in one day 86 °F

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Our flight was at 10:20, so we had to get up early to get to San Francisco and get through security on time. Daniel's mom drove us to the airport, and we made it just in time to get a couple of coffees and get on the plane. Hawaiian Airlines names its planes after stars or constellations that were important to ancient Polynesian navigators. Ours was called Keali'iokonaikalewa, which is the star Canopus. Daniel appreciated the astronomical connection.
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Catherine arranged for the lei greeting at the airport. Kahului Airport is interesting: very open and outdoor-feeling. It was very hot and humid and extremely windy. The palm trees were bending in the wind, and everything looked like the quintessential tropical destination.
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We landed at about lunch time, Hawaii time. Catherine's parents had not yet eaten, and we had only had a little food on the plane. Catherine used Yelp to find a parking lot with several food trucks and a place to eat, very close to the airport. We all found food to eat from the various trucks, and enjoyed a delicious first meal in Hawaii.
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We were especially excited about "Thai Mee Up," a Thai food truck. The spiciness scale went from 1 to 10. We asked for a seven. It was spicy but edible, and delicious. Both of us thought it was some of the best Thai food we've had. After we finished, we headed to our hotel in Kaanapali.
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Catherine's dad thought he had found such a good, empty parking space. At first he couldn't see why we all objected to him parking there.
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Some pictures of the hotel where we're staying. It has a similar open design to Kahului airport, and seems very comfortable. Currently, only Catherine has spotted lizards. Her current count is two.
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The view from our room. No ocean view, but the side of the mountains and a beautiful double rainbow (which isn't technically permanent, but was present for most of the day today.
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Catherine and her mom with matching leis and matching hats on the balcony.
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We went to the beach to wade into the water, and saw a lot of people snorkeling. Since we had, courtesy of Daniel's parents, all of our snorkel equipment in the room, we went back to the room and got it, then went snorkeling. We hadn't expected to do so much on our first day, but it was a fantastic experience. Catherine's dad went with us, and we saw (judging by the "Snorkel Bob's" fish guide available in the room), a couple coronetfish, many varieties of butterflyfish, a humuhumunukunukuapua'a, a few redlip parrotfish, some unicorn surgeonfish, and some others that don't seem to appear on the card. And this was in the later part of the day, when the hotel staff said there would be lower quality snorkeling.

After this, we decided to go to the store to pick up some supplies. We went to the parking garage and got in the car. As Daniel was about to sit down on the seat, he noticed what he thought were flower petals from the leis. He went to pick them up, and they moved! As it turns out, they were small, flying cockroaches. Catherine was especially disgusted, and screamed when she saw how many there were. We decided not to go to the store tonight, and we will call tomorrow and hopefully get a new rental car. Rather than going to the store, we walked to the hotel bar/restaurant for dessert and drinks, then back up to the room to write our blog for today. Hopefully tomorrow we will have a non-bugged car!

Posted by danielcatherine 01:08 Archived in USA Tagged fish ocean mountain car maui rainbow bugs reef snorkel hats kaanapali thai_food leis kahului lizard_count:2 Comments (0)

Day 21 - Home Again, Home Again

sunny 92 °F

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As we packed the car, we encountered the hosts' fearsome dog.

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Two packs of Sour Patch gum. Catherine had seen this gum mentioned on Facebook. When we stopped for gas in Redding, the gas station had some!

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Some views as we drove from Shasta into the Central Valley. I believe the small mountain range in the distance is the Sutter Buttes.

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We stopped at a Greek restaurant in Sacramento. It was very good. Daniel got the dolmades as an appetizer, then we both had chicken pita sandwiches. They put fries in the sandwich, which is interesting.

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Back on Orange Avenue.

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Our car in the garage again. It looks rather similar to how it looked before, it just has more souvenirs.

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The vineyard across the street, with the mountains in the distance.

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Our house, a beautiful place to come home to. We joked about what a nice Airbnb it was and how much room we have all to ourselves. It is nice to be back home, but we had an amazing trip. We talked about it, and realized we didn't have a single bad experience with Airbnb, and we didn't go to any city or area that we couldn't happily go to again for a longer amount of time. We would love to take this trip, or similar trips, again.

Posted by danielcatherine 16:06 Archived in USA Tagged vineyard orange sacramento selma shasta redding sutter_buttes central_valley Comments (1)

Day 20 - Forbidden Fruit

(They didn't make us throw away our apples at the California border)

semi-overcast 80 °F

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Some views from the balcony in Redmond.

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Inside the room at the timeshare.

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View of the mountains during our drive.

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The Pumice Desert, which Mt. Mazama covered in volcanic rock during eruptions millennia ago. Nothing has grown well there since.

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Our first up-close look at snow during this trip!

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Mt. Mazama as it looks today. It is now called Crater Lake. An eruption about eight millennia ago resulted in the entire top of the mountain blowing off. Over time, the caldera that was left behind filled with rain and snow. The water in Crater Lake is incredibly clear and clean, as it is still fed exclusively by rain and snow. No rivers or streams flow out either. The lake holds the world record for clarity, as a person can see a hundred and fifty feet under the water.

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Us in front of the lake.

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A little creature enjoying the side of the caldera.

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The island in Crater Lake is called Wizard Island. Wizard Island is a large volcano in its own right, and emerged after the caldera was already full of water.

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The pristine clarity of the lake makes it incredibly blue.

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We went to Crater Lake with Catherine's parents, then parted ways afterwards so we could head home and they could go back to Bend. We had a great time. An avalanche/ road work resulted in a lengthy road closure, during which time we had a "car picnic" in their car. The traffic delay gave us almost enough time to eat. Then, the official said it was time to go and the road was open, sending the two of us rushing back to our car so as not to hold up traffic. It was an extremely fun day.

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Seen near the rim of the caldera...but it is actually just someone's dog.

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Some first views of Mt. Shasta as we enter California. Mt. Shasta is part of the Cascades (not even the southernmost cascade: that is Lassen Peak), and it dominates the sky and the landscape all around the area.

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Our studio in Mt. Shasta. It's very cozy and comfortable, and seems to be the perfect stopping off point on our way home.

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The interior of our Mt. Shasta studio.

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The view from the window of the studio.

Tonight is the last night away on our trip. Tomorrow we will take the longest section of our drive thus far, and go all the way home to Selma. It has been a wonderful trip so far, and tomorrow will surely bring the same fun and adventure that we have had all along.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:09 Archived in USA Tagged california fun clear picnic crater_lake cascades selma mt.mazama mt.shasta Comments (1)

Day 19 - Around the Bend

76 °F

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Some pictures from the town of Hood River, which is very nice and fun. The downtown area is very small, but has quite a variety of businesses and restaurants.

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After that, we went to Catherine's uncle Dooley and aunt Greta's house. They recently built it, and it is very similar to their previous house in Porterville, California.

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The fire pit at their house.

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One of their horses. Put a bird on it! (Note the bird on the horse's back).

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After this, we went to lunch at Full Sail Brewing Company. Michael, Dooley, and Greta all recommended it. We went with Catherine's parents, her mom's cousin Pam and Pam's husband Robert, and their daughters, the aforementioned Kendra and Kaitlyn. It was a very nice lunch: we had great food and great conversations.

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Catherine's parents are staying in Oregon for the next week, at a timeshare in Redmond (near Bend). We were able to stay with them in Redmond for the night.

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The town of Redmond is small, but has a very cute downtown. We had a delicious meal at Diego's, a local restaurant, and then got to bed early so we would be ready for our adventure at Crater Lake tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 21:08 Archived in USA Tagged house lunch bend cascades hood_river full_sail redmond high_desert Comments (0)

Day 18 - In the Shadow of Mt. Adams

sunny 77 °F

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We drove from Hood River, which is in northern Oregon, to the ceremony, which was held in Trout Lake, Washington. Catherine's cousins Kendra and Kaitlyn came with us.

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From left: Catherine, Kendra, Kaitlyn.

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The seating was on hay bales, and there was an arbor that beautifully framed the mountain. Catherine's cousin Elise rode in on one of her family's horses.

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People milling about after the ceremony and before the reception.

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View of the mountain as the sun began to go down on the summer solstice.

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People with heart-shaped sparklers.

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Catherine with a heart-shaped sparkler.

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Mt. Adams, framed by a burnt-out sparklers.

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The female Hein cousins. From left: Julianna, Joanna, Catherine, Kendra, Kaitlyn, Elise, Jess.

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A picture of us with some of Catherine's cousins. From left: Kendra, Joanna, Kaitlyn, Catherine, Daniel.

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Some pictures of people enjoying the reception.

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The mountain as we were leaving the reception. Daniel was driving back to Hood River. Catherine, Kendra, and Kaitlyn...weren't. As we drove past one farm, they asked Daniel to stop so they could take pictures with the llama. Daniel agreed (after a chant of "turn a-round, turn a-round" from Catherine, Kendra, and Kaitlyn), but requested that everyone stay inside the car. As soon as the car stopped, the doors opened. No one even listened to Daniel's brief "primer on camelid behavior" before approaching the creature. Catherine and Kaitlyn were especially bold in approaching the llama (Kendra turned around and returned to the car with some choice words when the beast rose to its feet.)
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To quote Daniel (and to sum up the night) "what is it about being sober that makes a person not want to harass farm animals?"

Posted by danielcatherine 19:00 Archived in USA Tagged family ceremony llamas heart cousins sparkler hay mt_adams bales designated_driving Comments (1)

Day 17 - Northern Exposure

sunny 66 °F

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Leaving Spokane. A picture of us with Daniel's Aunt Barb.

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The countryside between Spokane and Roslyn. Most of it is desert, but there are some very pretty areas.

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Cicely's Gift Shop in Roslyn. Notice the "Dr. Joe (l) Fleischman" sign in the window.

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Some pictures of the KBHR station in Roslyn. In fact, it is now a visitor's center. The volunteer at the visitor's center took our picture in the window where "Chris in the Morning" had his show.

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Roslyn (s) Cafe. Of course, we didn't eat here. We ate at...

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The Brick!!! The exterior looks exactly like the show. Apparently the interior scenes were filmed on a Seattle soundstage, so the interior of the bar looks a bit different. However, it was still amazing to eat at The Brick.

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The building that was the set for Dr. Fleischman's office is now a gift shop. The owner was an extra on several seasons of the show, and told us a lot about the actors and the history of the show. We even got to see Marilyn's desk, which is still in it's place, though turned around the other way.

Correction: the second picture is the Roslyn Grocery Store, which was Ruth Anne's store on the show. It is across the street from Northwest Mining Company/ Cicely's Gift Shop/ Dr. Fleischman's office.
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Another view of the Brick, and telephone pole that is a totem pole. Catherine has been saying all along on this trip that telephone poles should look like totem poles in the Northwest.

In all seriousness, Roslyn was a great place to visit. It has an intriguing history as a Washington coal mining town, and it looks exactly like it must have when Northern Exposure was filmed there. The gift shop owner told us that he sees the actors from the show fairly regularly when they come back to the town for various events. It was hard to not feel like we were in the show (and very hard not to hum the theme song the whole time we walked around). After we finished touring Roslyn, it was off to Hood River for Catherine's cousin Elise's wedding.

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When we got to Hood River, we went to dinner/ drinks with Catherine's cousin Kaitlyn. We ran in to Catherine's uncle Dooley, and her cousins Thomas, Gregory, and Julianna. We had a great time. Tomorrow, we have the wedding and will certainly have a good time again!

Posted by danielcatherine 01:22 Archived in USA Tagged fun hood_river northern_exposure roslyn cicely the_brick Comments (0)

Day 16 - Quilts, Jam, and Margaritas

sunny 76 °F

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Three very generous gifts from Daniel's Aunt Barb: jam (hot pepper, sour cherry, and huckleberry), some books, and a beautiful handmade quilt! We were given our pick of a number of quilts, and chose this star patterned one.

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We then went to Manito Park and toured the beautiful rose garden. It was interesting to hear about all the different types of roses, especially the "old roses" that are more open and more fragrant than more familiar roses.

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A beautiful blue-green tree in Manito Park.

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The Japanese Garden at Manito Park is also beautiful and very serene.

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Us in the Japanese Garden.

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The sunken Duncan Garden, which is more formal and is very warm, due to the shelter from the wind.

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The perennial garden has some amazingly strange flowers and plants, all of which are very intriguing and seem like they would be interesting to plant.

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Flowering onion in the perennial garden. It was incredibly weird looking but also very pretty and interesting.

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The clock tower in Riverfront Park, which inspired the clock tower in the game Myst, which was one of Daniel's favorite computer games and which was made in Mead, just north of Spokane.

Correction: this is the county courthouse. The clock tower is also beautiful, but we didn't get any good pictures of it.

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Some views of the falls on the Spokane River. The restaurant where we ate lunch overlooked the river.

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Margaritas at Clinkerdagger Restaurant. We split one margarita, but they gave us two glasses. We had never really had margaritas before, and they were enjoyable.

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Oil, oil, oil...vinegar, vinegar, vinegar.

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The beautiful Davenport Hotel, which is really an incredible thing to see. It is amazing how similar it looks to the photographs of its early days, but it has certainly been restored and renovated over the years, keeping the original beauty.

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Inside the church at Gonzaga University. Gonzaga has a beautiful campus, and the church is incredibly beautiful. We both felt like the interiors of the buildings were very similar to those of Santa Clara, though of course the exteriors were all grey and gothic as opposed to beige and Mission-style. Daniel was wearing his Santa Clara shirt today, but no one at Gonzaga said anything about it.

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Another building at Gonzaga.

After touring Gonzaga, we finished our tour of Spokane and went back to the house. We had a nice dinner and conversation. Tomorrow we make for Hood River for Catherine's cousin Elise's wedding on Saturday!

Posted by danielcatherine 00:05 Archived in USA Tagged church river books quilts margaritas jam conversation must spokane gonzaga Comments (0)

Day 15 - A Dam Good Day

semi-overcast 75 °F

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Our suite in Keremeos. It was a very comfortable place to stay, and it provided a nice spot for us to stop on the way between Vancouver and Spokane.

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The frame shop where our hosts have their framing business.

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Our delicious breakfast. The ingredients were already prepared, and all we had to do was take them out, toast the bread, and eat.

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The view from outside the room. The mountains are very beautiful.

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When we first checked in, our host said "let me show you the room" and walked into this woodshed. In fact, he was only grabbing the key, but it looked like that was going to be the room at first.

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The actual entrance to the room. Much nicer.

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About to leave. Today we begin driving in the opposite direction, getting ever closer to home.

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The bridge in Keremeos. The suite was called the "over the bridge" suite.

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Apparently, someone in Keremeos lives in a van down by the river.

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The crops and scenery of the Okanagan Valley. We were reminded of the San Joaquin valley by the stonefruit and grapes that are grown here. The mountains are a lot closer together though.

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Forbidden Fruit winery, a winery specializing in non-grape wines. We tried a few of their cherry, apricot, peach, and pear wines. The tasting room was very pleasant, and we had a nice conversation with the employee at the counter. We ended up buying a bottle of peach wine called "Speachless."

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Beautiful Lake Osoyoos. Also, the last picture we took in Canada before crossing the border at Osoyoos.

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On our way to Spokane, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Omak, Washington. This was our first Mexican food since leaving on this trip. It was wonderful.

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The Grand Coulee Dam. We had wanted to see it, but we weren't sure if it would be along our route. It is impressively large, and the little town nearby seems very well cared for. We wondered what the people who live there do for a living, figuring that they can't all work on the dam.

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Finally we arrived at Daniel's great aunt Barb and great uncle Merle's house in Spokane. The terraced garden and the house are very pleasant. We had a nice dinner with Barb, her son Tim, Tim's wife Abby and their kids. It was a nice visit, and we are looking forward to touring Spokane tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:54 Archived in USA Tagged lake breakfast dam border grand_coulee_dam spokane mexican_food osoyoos Comments (1)

Day 9 - Orcas and Orcas

sunny 70 °F

First of all, a note about checking in on Day 8: Our host had mentioned that, despite the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington, there were no legal distributors of it on the island. Catherine said "we were wondering about that" since we had been talking about the law and how it would work. However, our host seemed to think that we meant that we were interested in purchasing marijuana (to be clear, we were not). It was difficult to convince the host that we weren't interested, however. She repeatedly apologized that she didn't know any dealers, but encouraged us to go in to one of the pubs and ask around if we really needed to find one. But, she cautioned, we shouldn't smoke anything at all in the house. Despite Catherine's repeated assurances that we weren't interested in buying or smoking marijuana, and that we certainly wouldn't be smoking anything in the house, the host seemed to genuinely feel bad that she couldn't help us find any marijuana.

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We went for a walk on the beach in the morning. The tide was out, and it was amazing how much larger the beach has gotten. Also, where it had previously been just pebbles, the beach now had quite a bit of sand. It was interesting to see the change, especially since the waves are basically non-existent and the tide is thus extremely evident (the waves are probably much bigger outside of the very sheltered sounds and bays around the island.)

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Waiting to go out. We went with Outer Islands Charters, which guarantees whale sightings. If you don't see a whale they will take you out again. However, not all whales are orcas, and we really wanted to see orcas, so we were encouraged that the company seems to advertise exclusively with orcas.

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We wish we could include more pictures of the whales, but the pictures could never do the experience justice. We found a pod of transient orcas in between Orcas and Jones island, and travelled with them up Presidents Channel for about two hours. At times they were close enough to the boat to hear them breathing. It was a small family of five orcas. The matriarch, T-65A (nicknamed Lumpy) had four of her children. Orcas have babies about once every four years (Lumpy has more children than average) and one was a tiny baby. When
they would surface to breath, each whale would arch out of the water. The larger whales would take some time to do this, but the little baby would arch over in a second. It was truly amazing to see these creatures and hear about their intelligence. We both feel that we picked the right charter company, and that the experience was a dream come true.

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Us on the boat after seeing whales!

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The White Horse Irish pub in Eastsound. Beautiful views of the sound and the neighboring islands. Daniel felt like this was a very authentic Irish pub. On a remote island, simple food, a real menu item called "toasted cheese and chips," and a perfect ocean view.

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The beer recommended by the waitress is called Irish Death. It sounds dangerous.

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SummerTime plums from Reedley, California at the store on Orcas Island (for any readers that don't know, we get all our summer stone fruit from a SummerTime grower between Kingsburg and Reedley.

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Some views of the Tiny House from outside and inside. It was cozy and interesting, and it was great having our own private beach.

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To any of our botanically-inclined readers, what is this flower? (Present-time spoiler: it looks a lot like what Butchart Gardens calls foxglove. However, when we described it to the people there they said it was more likely bluebell. Looking at pictures, we think it's foxglove.

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The log on the beach where we were able to get phone service. We referred to it as "logging on."

Next entry, our journey to Anacortes and Victoria.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:31 Archived in USA Tagged boats plants whales botany dreams bluebell orcas whale_watching orcas_island irish_pubs authenticity foxglove tiny_house Comments (2)

Day 8 - So Long Seattle, Hello Orcas

semi-overcast 66 °F

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Our night in Seattle was rather difficult for Catherine. The bed was already tall, and was on risers. Since Catherine is short, she had to jump and fling herself up to the bed. Despite the challenge presented by the bed, the room was cozy and we both slept well. Our host for the night even had fresh baked goods from a local bakery for us.

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When we got up, we headed to Pike's Place Market, which was very busy and interesting. We had both thought that it was going to be mostly fish focused, but in fact they had everything, and it was fascinating to walk around and see all the goods for sale. The one thing couldn't find, at first, was people throwing fish.

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Then, we found it! If you look closely at this picture, you can see a fish flying over the man's head.

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We seem to find a lot of interestingly named car washes.

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The line for the ferry to Orcas Island from Anacortes is rather long and frustrating. We were on "standby one." We weren't sure what that meant, so we were very unsure as to whether we would get on the ferry or have to take the next one, which was hours later.

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Apparently, other people have found the line equally frustrating, and the State of Washington has seen fit to protect their employees.

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But, we made it on! Off to Orcas!

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On the ferry. The views of all the islands are spectacular. This area is incredibly beautiful.

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Arrival on Orcas Island. Interestingly, Orcas Island is not named after orca whales (which are common in the area), but rather after Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo. Orcas is a shortened form of Horcasitas. Nevertheless, if you look at a map of the island it is sort of shaped like an orca, and it seems like too much of a coincidence.

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The farmland on Orcas Island is beautiful. Everything is so green and clean-looking.

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Some views from the Tiny House on the beach, which was a very cozy and pleasant place to stay, but very rustic. Despite the electricity, Catherine called this the "camping" part of the trip. We had our own private beach, with a nice log to sit on and a great view of Obstruction Pass.

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We made our own dinner. We didn't have any beverages with us besides water and Capri Sun, but it all tasted wonderful.

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Orcas Island is full of deer. The deer have no predators on the island, and they apparently swam there from the mainland generations ago. They have been getting smaller and smaller each generation, beginning the process of insular dwarfism. They are also very fearless of humans, and are willing to walk right up to houses, cars, etc. They don't run away, even when you make noise or walk towards them. Catherine believed that they would move if she clapped, and she approached one fairly closely, clapping all the way. She retreated and went the other way when the deer only looked angry. She says that it growled at her.

The next day, whale watching!

Note to Readers: we are behind on blogging due to the lack of internet on Orcas Island. We are in Victoria now, and have full internet access, but it is getting late and we don't have time to update for both days. Hopefully we can get caught up tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:25 Archived in USA Tagged ferry seattle deer pasta orcas anacortes pikes_place tall_bed capri_sun insular_dwarfism Comments (2)

Day 7 - Escape to the Space Needle?

semi-overcast 66 °F

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Our breakfast, a cake doughnut and one of Voodoo Doughnuts's famous bacon maple bars. They were delicious.
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Succulent garden outside our door in Portland.
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Powell's City of Books. A great way to spend several hours. We left with four of their million books (bringing them to a paltry 999,996), including one two hundred and two year old history book.
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We didn't purchase this, but it would have fit in with Catherine's troll collection. How many readers knew about Catherine's troll collection? Please answer in the comments below.
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Portlandia Activities book. Bird stencils to help "put a bird on it," conversation starters and stoppers, and many useful quizzes.
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Kenny and Zuke's deli. We got latkes for today, and bagels for breakfast tomorrow.
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The beautiful city of Portland. Not pictured here, but worth blogging about, was our trip to the Dr. Marten's store. Daniel got shoes for school, since it is important that his shoes be both sturdy and comfortable. The ones we got have a lifetime warranty, staying that the company will replace them whenever they wear out for the rest of the purchaser's life.
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On the way from Portland to Seattle, we stopped in Olympia/ Tumwater. The houseboat that Daniel has been going to all his life is named the Olympia. The former brewery is large and abandoned. It's sort of sad to see something that was so clearly a huge part of the community and town completely gone.
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Totem pole...?
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A view of Seattle as we entered the city, and the house where we are staying.
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We wanted to ride the Great Wheel, a Ferris wheel on the end of a pier. It was recommended to us for the great views of the city it provides. We put it in the GPS, and were directed to this container ship, near the corner of Diagonal and Marginal.
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We found the wheel...
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...got on...
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...and enjoyed the views.
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For some reason, Seattle seems to prefer "backwards diagonal parking." Catherine will not drive in Seattle for fear of having to park. She figures if she can't handle parallel parking, she doesn't even want to attempt this.
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After trying a few places that had already closed their kitchens, we found Fadó Irish Pub. We were happy to have somewhere to eat. The picture shows a boxty quesadilla. (Boxty is an Irish potato pancake).
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Seattle is a very beautiful city at night.
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Before heading back to our room, we decided to go see the Space Needle. We called first, and found that the observation deck was open until midnight. It was eleven thirty when we parked across the street from the Space Needle. As we left our car, Catherine noticed a man standing near our car and looking in. We discussed it and decided that there was little we could do about it. However, rather than breaking in to our car, the man started following us ( or just walking towards the building like we were, but it seemed creepy in the dark). We walked quickly, hoping to take refuge in the Space Needle. Thankfully we soon noticed that he was not actually following us. Unfortunately, though the observation deck was still open, the ticket window closed at 11:30, making it impossible to go up. We have not decided yet whether we shall return tomorrow. Tomorrow we will explore Pikes Market, then head to Anacortes/ Orcas Island.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:44 Archived in USA Tagged seattle wheel olympia escape space_needle portland latkes boxty totem_pole Comments (3)

Day 6

sunny 75 °F

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Catherine has always called small car washes "buggy washes." In Jacksonville, there is a true buggy wash. Catherine was using the right name after all.
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Jacksonville, Oregon. A beautiful "old west" town in the midst of the forest. We came through here on our way to I-5 after a wonderful weekend at Sturm Ranch/ 5 Aces Farms. We even got to take home a jar of honey from the bee hives mentioned earlier. We had a great time, and are now moving on to the next leg of our trip.
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An old Levi add in Jacksonville.
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On our way to Portland we stopped for a picnic lunch at the little town of Myrtle Creek. Myrtle Creek is one area known for covered bridges. The first bridge pictured is a driving bridge, but the second is for pedestrians only. We had a nice lunch, but while we were eating two police cars arrived, and the officers spoke to a man who was in the park. No arrest was made, and we both wonder what happened, though we will probably never know. It did make lunch a bit more interesting. Unfortunately, we have no pictures of the incident.
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Stopped at Dutch Brothers' Coffee, which is ubiquitous in Southern Oregon. Catherine got a "children's" size smoothie, only wanting a small treat. She didn't realize that it would come in a giant crayon cup.
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Before arriving in Portland, we stopped at Mt. Angel Abbey/ Seminary. This is where Catherine's brother Michael went to college, and which we hadn't visited since Michael's graduation. The picture above is a view of the seminary on the mountain from afar.
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Some views of Mt. Angel Abbey and Seminary. It is a beautiful place; very peaceful and beautiful.
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St. Mary's church in Mt. Angel. Unfortunately it was closed, but it is beautiful from the outside.
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A song comes to mind...
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Appetizers and samples at Hopworks Urban Brewery, an organic brewery/ restaurant that was recommended to us. Everything was excellent.
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We've heard a lot about this place. It has been featured on Food Network, etc. we bought doughnuts to try tomorrow morning.
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A cozy room at the end of a fun day.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:56 Archived in USA Tagged coffee jacksonville portland cozy brewery pudding voodoo doughnuts myrtle_creek dutch_brothers mt._angel Comments (2)

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