Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

As a way to celebrate our wedding anniversary last Saturday, Mr. Wonderful and I decided to stop at the Yachats State Park in Yachats, on our way for an overnight stay at Lincoln City, both of which are coastal towns. Yachats is a favorite spot for us. This particular rest area overlooks the ocean and is adjacent to the mouth of a river.

When we got out of the car, we split up with me going south to check out the river’s tide while hubby went straight for the lookout deck. I have this weird obsession with tides, ever since I took a navigational class to improve kayaking skills. On my way to the path leading close to the river, I vaguely noticed a lone seagull.

As it was a bit blustery, overcast and high tide, we didn’t stay too long to explore down the rocks. Went back to the car and when the car doors closed, the lone seagull approached us. It stopped about 3-4 feet and just stared. That could mean one thing. It wanted handouts.

Hubby and I discussed this development a bit; mentioned to him I had popcorn. However, the popcorn bag was in the trunk and I was feeling lazy to get out and get it. Finally, after what seemed like a minute or two, decided to get the bag of that precious goodie. Trunk popped. I stepped out and as I did, noticed that several feet away, say about 50 feet, in a grassy area sat about 30-40 seagulls and other little black birds. Nonchalant and napping most probably.

Once the trunk opened and I started searching, that lone bird in slow motion opened its beak. A second delay later, came out the AHHHRRRRK! AHHHRRRK! sounds. Mind you, I don’t think it even saw what I was getting. But when those sounds came out of that bird, from my peripheral vision flickered a movement from the 30-40 seagulls and little black birds. Grabbed the bag, slammed the trunk shut, ran to the passenger side of the car. Trunk to passenger side only takes a few steps, but those birds beat me to it. Barely.

As I closed the door, hubby asked, “What did you do? I heard its cry.” I said, “I did nothing! Go, Go, Go!” We must have looked like criminals trying to drive away with a loot, away from all sorts of cops pursuing us.

The funny thing is, I figured to distract them from us I cracked open the window a bit and started throwing out popcorn. Some birds were right at the window, collided with other birds in pursuit of the loot. As we looked out the back window, there was chaos of birds and feathers. I must have emptied out a ziploc-full of CHEESY, DELICIOUS POPCORN…popcorn meant to be eaten at a movie theater we were planning to see later on.

1) I believe that flying is incredible. It’s a faster means of traveling.
2) Birds are no idiots! Don’t look them in the eye as they can read minds and body language.
3) I was not meant to have popcorn. Incentive to see a movie forgotten.


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Oh boy! I totally forgot about sending the next write-up on the Hood River Scenic Drive. So here’s Part 2.


The surprise stop in the fruit loop was the alpaca farm called Foothills Yarn & Fiber. A stop there meant yarns had to be bought, of course.

But the alpacas were deliciously cute and cuddly. In residence were a cat and a dog. And here they are:


Yes, this gentle giant, I found out, was quite heavy. He stepped on me when the cat crossed his path where my foot was. And he was the mystery nose I blogged earlier.

Back in the town of Hood River are quaint little stores that can all be visited by foot. Great restaurants and great views, I tell ‘ya. But what my hubby and I discovered was the trip up 2nd Street and Montello Avenue on a stairway beside the Big Horse Brew Pub. As you go up those steps is Winans Park on the right side. Keep going as the end of the steep stairway stops at Montello. On Montello, look down towards how beautiful the town of Hood River and Columbia River are, and you will be amazed that you have climbed up over 250 feet of over a steep 45° angle in no time. That was the best workout we had while there! Mind you, even with marathon training, I had to stop a few times to take my breath, while the hubby kept going.



We had a great time and will take My Precious next summer or fall. He was not too happy we left him out.

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More Apples! These ones called Winter Bananas!     Mr. Wonderful's Faves: Red Pears!

Last Saturday, October 10th, with the great sunny weather still hanging around, Mr. Wonderful and I thought to go for an Autumn Foliage Fruit Loop Scenic Drive at Hood River.Two routes of interest: 1) Route 84 that runs from North Portland on the Columbia River Gorge. Columbia River Gorge, a powerful river sandwiched between Washington and Oregon, starts from the mouth of the Pacific Ocean on the west to somewhere close to Idaho on the east; and 2) Route 35, from Columbia River Gorge/Hood River town, goes south to Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood is the highest point in Oregon topping at 11,240 feet of magnificence. It may be lower than Mt. Rainier in Washington or Mt. Shasta of California, each of which tops at 14,000 some feet. Does anyone remember the disaster at Mt. Hood in 2002? So, even at 11k feet, it’s a mountain not to be reckoned with lightly.

Fishing Boats Out Early in the Morning on the Columbia River

Surprise Around the Bend ~ Mt. Hood!

Surprise Around the Bend ~ Mt. Hood!

 We have never gone through the fruit loop before. We had always stopped at Hood River town and to Mt. Hood itself in the summers for long hikes, but never stopping in between. It’s called fruit loop because of all the orchards doting in and out of Route 35. The premise of this autumn drive was just to see the orchards and not to go U-Pick on fruits. One can’t help but get a few fruits from the dozens upon dozens of fruit bins in these farms, though. Plus, the atmosphere and scenery in around the orchards were just something to behold. You just had to get some souvenirs.

 Pumpkins, Hay Stack and Picnic   Rambunctious Goats!

Autumn Is Definitely Here!   Orchard with Mt. Hood in the Background

Part 2 promises more photos.

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When my family and I were in O’ahu a few weeks ago, the top on the list of places to visit was Hanauma Bay. It’s home to so many kinds of tropical fish. When we were in O’ahu fifteen years ago, we discovered how wonderful this place was for snorkeling. The fact that snorkeling was easy to do even for a small child (a child that can swim, of course) made this place family-friendly. Unfortunately when we went for vacation 15 years ago, My Precious wasn’t with us. I always felt sad and guilty for not having him with us then. (Considering that the couple we went with, dominated and dictated where my husband and I should go. And that did not sit well with me. That as much as I enjoyed that trip, it was marred by people who shouldn’t have come with us.)  

Oops! Got sidetracked there for a second. Back to the subject of snorkeling. So, this time around, we made sure that My Precious was with us. We had described to him that the bay held wondrous fish of every exotic kind; that he would love it, etc., etc. We even showed him photos of a Hanauma Bay Book we bought prior to the trip. His only answer was: I’m done with swimming.

Oh, that’s a sad remark. You see, all his young life, My Precious had been swimming competitively. So, he’s had it with water and swimming and chlorine and all. I was much concerned he would not go in and enjoy looking at these fish. But we pushed him.

Going to Hanauma Bay is best if you take the bus. We heard that it gets crowded and parking can be a nightmare. And don’t go on the weekend since even the locals go there on those days. So, on a Friday we got up early; had breakfast; gathered up our towels and extra clothes and took the bus. When we got there, even at an early time there already was a line to enter the preserve for a nominal fee; another line to see a required video-showing of what the Bay is all about: preservation of the reef, fish, environment, etc.

Finally, we walked down the hill; staked out our spot; rented the snorkel gear; and went in the water. I always thought that Hawaiian water is much warmer than, say Oregon Coast’s brrrr 64° water. Well, surprise, surprise! It was cooooold for a brief moment.

Once in the water, My Precious disappeared happily swimming away and checking out the fish. He was gone more than 3 hours, while I would come back ashore every now and then for swallowing I would guess a gallon of sea water. I couldn’t get used to the fins (I was tripping all over the place), which I ditched and replaced with my water sandals.

Anyway, My Precious would have not come back had the lifeguard not announced that the waves were getting too high and the wind had started to whip up. He wanted everyone out. This man-child came out of that water beaming with smile. Remember, this young man always makes sure his precious smile is not to be dispensed unnecessarily. Well…….HE WAS ACTUALLY HAPPY! And as guarded as he is with conversation, he started talking about the fish, the rocks, the reef, the lone turtle that he had encountered. He swam further and deeper from the shore and found even more exotic fish than the ones I did.

Here are the ones I encountered. Please note that the camera I used was a disposable water-proof camera. Wasn’t sure what kind of photos would come out of it. But I was pleasantly surprised. The photos may look murky, but I assure you, IT’S AMAZING down there in the water.

 006_20a3      022_4a2      017_9a1

007_19a2      008_18a2      003_23a1

One other note about the disposable camera, it went through the x-ray conveyor at the airport accidentally. I was afraid the x-ray machine had erased the negatives. How sweet it didn’t!

Ain't That Gorgeous!

And above it all, no sand shark was ever encountered on that trip.

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To blogging? Definitely Y-E-S!

From vacation? A big NOOOOOOOO!

But life goes on. And nowadays, money is ever sooo important to have in order to take a vacation. There’s always a need for it….in big chunks if it may. heehee! So back to work to replenish the near-empty tiny coffer that now only have a few nickels and dimes but lots of pennies. Alas!

Vacation was absolutely great! To find the time and excuse to stay away from THE JOB is totally a necessity. A break is always needed.

Anyway, I won’t talk much about vacation in one lump. However, one of the few reasons in going to O’ahu, and Waikiki to be exact, was to meet a group of local knitters. So before the trip, I hooked up in emails with MK. She responded quickly and was wonderfully informative about the Aloha Knitters, a group of fiber lovers who meet every Thursday nights at a local shopping mall. MK Carrollalso provided significant information on the LYS (local yarn shops).

Unfortunately, I only spend an hour with the Aloha Knitters. There were about 9 of them. I can name them here since no one will know (except themselves) who they are. I wanna make sure that I respect their privacy, which I forgot to ask about. So, I won’t even link to their websites. There were: Dorothy, Opal, Megan, Angela, Barbara, another Angela, Lisa, Kayla and Paula. They were all very friendly. Their knit projects were in various stages of finishing. I’m amazed that in a place where the weather is almost constantly in the 80’s, people are very inspired to knit. And that’s a good thing!

I wanted to take a photo of the group, but my stoopid, crappy camera (it’s a digital KODAK!) decided to retire that evening when all day long I had to fight with it to take photos. Hopefully, the group will at least remember me as the person who left them goodies from Oregon.

Another unfortunate thing on my part was not being able to go check out even one LYS. ‘Tis sad! I did call one place, which was as close I as could feel to going to the LYS. There just wasn’t enough time to cover all of O’ahu in such a short time. Everything was interesting.

So, I have been home a solid week 10 days. What have I done since I came back? Work, of course. Gotta earn back what I had easily spent on this vacation. And knit, what else. Oh yes, I forgot……marathon training.

  • About work: all week long, I had too many scary moments when I would nod to sleep and drift to the oncoming lane or the right shoulder or driving slowly. These all happened on going home from work. My body or brain for that matter, could not adjust quickly enough with the time change, the night work schedule adjustment. The weekend took care of the sleep deprivation.
  • As for the knitting part: I have started a Noro baby-doll top upon coming home from vacation late in the week last week. There were about 4 false starts and had to frog on this project. This setback should tell me, maybe it’s back luck to continue it. But I persevered. I will write another blog entry for the knitting project.
  • The walk training part is all screwed up. I hurt my right knee as I walked the 3-mile mark of a 6-mile walk. Bummer! A setback! Gotta nurse it back ASAP!

Here’s a teaser photo of Waikiki:

Diamond Head

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Sahalie Falls…

…is Seraphim Falls, the movie. See Register-Guard article about it. I saw the movie, but it was quite violent. Gorgeous, gorgeous scenery though.

Let’s continue on with the Fall Drive Through the McKenzie, shall we?

The Sahalie, Koosah and Tamolitch Falls were to be our end point of the trip. One can hike all three falls through a beautiful, meandering trail hugging the edge of the McKenzie River. From either end point of the hike, one needs to go up or down certain degrees of elevation.

Here is a diagram of the three falls. All three are beautiful, each with different characteristics unique of each other.

          Tamolitch          Koosah (middle falls) & Sahalie (top falls)

Usually, the hike we take would start at the top, on Sahalie all the way down to Tamolitch. But that day, since we begun the trip already late in the afternoon, we were only able to hike down to Koosah. Alas, Tamolitch Falls would have to wait.

Sahalie Falls Pictures

Amazing Mist!

That's not fog! This is what one sees from approach from parking lot 

Mr. Wonderful at the top edge of the falls. Check out the rapids behind him to the right. In front of him is a higher rock formation and vantage point to the VERY EDGE of the falls.

Mr. Wonderful on side of the top of falls 

Here’s the vantage point I told you about. That’s my left hand hanging on to the rock, and my right hand focused on taking pictures. I could literally touch the whitewater. Mr. Wonderful was hanging on to my legs.

Right Atop and Edge of Sahalie Falls

Very dangerous location you might say! And here’s why?

What's this?    In memory of.....   In memoriam of someone unlucky to have fallen in   

Once I reached the very top edge of the rock formation on my belly, I was surprised to come face to face with the flowers. My mind raced through thinking what this image meant. All I can think of was that someone (or two) had met an accident atop this very rock I was on. (Later on when I got home, I tried to get some news history about the falls, but the local newspaper just wouldn’t give it out without a fee. Darn! Accident happened in June 2006.)

Do you see those people behind a veil of mist. They were looking up at us, thinking Mr. Wonderful and I were crazy. I guess we were. When we saw them, we realized it must be time to come down.

Taken from Atop the Falls

 And here’s the magnificent Sahalie Falls in Autumn. Imagine what it would be like in Spring!

Sahalie Falls

And on the hike down to Koosah, the scenery can only be described as awesome and gorgeous. But what was Mr. Wonderful thinking as he looked at the icy, clear rapids of the McKenzie River?

McKenzie River Rapids

Oh, don't get in the water, please!

He only wanted to dip his hand and scoop up a drink of the water.

Koosah Falls at a 90 Foot Drop

Koosah Falls in the McKenzie

The End.

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A Fall Drive Through the McKenzie

The Northwest does not follow distinct four seasonal changes. Well, it does and it doesn’t. Let me explain. As much as temperatures change, typically from 80-90 degrees in summer and 30-45 in fall/winter, the dry and wet seasons are far more distinct. Dry Summer is very short, from July through the end of September. Rain, fog, freezing rain, and more foggy rain is typical weather for the rest of the following 8 months. Wet season can even begin as early as mid-September and stay even into mid-June and sometimes till early July. Yes, the Northwest is synonymous to rain. It is as green as Ireland, but as depressing, gloomy and dark as England.  (No offense to the English, it’s just that alot of movies with English plots portray England as dark, gloomy and brooding.)

Since the beginning of November, it had been wet, wet, wet. But today, and for a few more days to come, Eugene is experiencing unusually sunny and warm weather. We even got to see FULL MOON last night. I love the brilliant night light when there’s a full moon. I hope it would be a clear night tonight as well. Most Autumn leaves, however, had fallen.

So, to reminisce about Autumn leaves, let’s go back to the month of October. October this year was pretty dry. On the last Friday of that month, Mr. Wonderful and I decided to take a day drive. It was time to see the Fall Colors. It was time to head east. East towards the McKenzie River Valley, that is.

Scenic Drive Thru Highway 126

Leaburg Dam Rec Area

Fall Colors

Icy Cold McKenzie River

Cascade Mountains in Background

to be continued…….

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