Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 10, 2014, Sunday - central valley family spots & home

Last day of the trip, we left Mountain View early and drove through Gilroy, past the dangerously low San Luis Reservoir, and into the Central Valley of California. 
 We stopped in Grangeville for a cemetery visit, bringing flowers to 3G, then found a park for a picnic.

There are lots of old family headstones between Randy and the van.

 On to Hanford, where we were too busy getting milk shakes from Superior Dairy to remember to take any pictures. The Hanford cemetery was next, where GG received flowers.  Finally we brought flowers to Aunt Frankie in Visalia and had a nice visit with her, talking about her favorite SF Giants and other things.

We rolled on home around 6 p.m. to face the reality of loads of dirty laundry, piles of mail, and a really messy car. 

The end of another great road trip, with more state stickers added to the map in the back of the van.  It's going to be tricky to get the rest of the country - N Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Maine, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana...and then there's Canada and Alaska....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 9, 2014 - Moe's, USS Hornet, Sulphur Creek

We filled the day with East Bay friends and activities and never made it to San Francisco.  We started out at one of Randy's favorite places, Moe's Bookstore in Berkeley.
Down the street the boys played Mario Kart while we waited for our sandwiches at Montegue's.

At 2 p.m. we were in Alameda meeting Lisa, Anna and Colin for a visit to the USS Hornet aircraft carrier.
 Here we are in the Navy yard before going on board the Hornet.

We toured the "island" with a veteran and learned a lot about the ship's workings and history.

On deck, Bret was living dangerously.

Anna and Bret are standing at the Quarantine Station where astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin spent some time after returning from the moon. The USS Hornet retrieved the landing capsule from the Pacific.
 Later we caught up chatting a bit at a Mexican restaurant. All too soon we had to say goodbye and go to the next activity.

We traveled to Hayward to attend the Sulphur Creek Nature Center's campfire program given by our friends Sam the Naturalist, and Tamar the Volunteer.
Sam showed us a skunk, newt, Townsend big-eared bat, and a great horned owl. Then Reed and Bret helped light and tend the campfire while everyone made s'mores. It was a fun and educational evening activity. Due to the drought Sulphur Creek is dry, so there was no problem with mosquitoes.
Following this, we crossed the Dumbarton Bridge and are staying in Mountain View tonight.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August 8, 2014 Redding and San Rafael

We had a long driving day with treats at lunch and dinner - family and friends!

Our trip back from Cody has been governed by the need to get back in time for Reed to register for school. We had wanted to have more time, but it was not available. We are often making plans a day before they are executed, which makes it tough. So far in every case when we've called someone and said, "we'll be in your area on this day, can you meet for lunch/dinner?" the answer has been yes. Lucky us!

Today we took the long drive from Medford to the Bay Area.  Our lunch stop was in Redding, where we met Bryn's cousin Jay and his wife Lillian.  It was a great visit but much too short!

The dramatic need to conserve water was also seen by the dangerously low water level of the Shasta Reservoir. Throughout this area, it seems about a quarter of the trees are dead. Jay told us about their water rationing, which is more severe than that required in Los Angeles.  Let's all hope for more rain.
This is the Shasta Reservoir as seen from a bridge on I-5.  You see all that brown along the edges? That should be covered with water.
The next leg of our journey was Redding to the Bay Area. We arrived at San Rafael to see our friends Joanie, Sam & Tamar.   We had a great evening seeing Joanie's new home, then walking in downtown San Rafael to a dim sum dinner and crepe dessert.  It was fun catching up with them!  Later we drove across the Richmond Bridge to San Pablo. The full moon over the water with Bay Area lights twinkling was a lovely site.
An unattentive Bret gets some of his s'mores crepe swiped.

Reed makes modern art with utensils while Joanie critiques it.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 7, 2014 - Corvallis and Bigfoot?

Today we began our southward trek towards home and drove nearly the length of the state, from Portland to Medford.  Happily, we were able to break up the drive with a visit to Corvallis. First we went through Oregon State University and nearby neighborhoods.  Then we went downtown and met our friends Arne and Fumiko. We had a few hours together chatting, lunching, and walking along the Willamette River. We also picked and ate some very delicious blackberries along the river.
We were through the forests of Oregon's Cascade Mountains for a few hours after that. This is Bigfoot Country, Bret is reading a Bigfoot book, and maybe we saw something in the trees?

August 6, 2014 - Wednesday in Portland

Tues Aug 6 - we had an early start getting to Reed College for a tour. It's a beautiful small liberal arts college in Portland, yet it has a strong science program. They have their own nuclear reactor, and freshman can take a class and get licensed to work with it, very intriguing.  Here is Reed on the Reed Bridge over Reed Creek in Reed Canyon at Reed College.
We had lunch at a nearby German Deli highly recommended by Guy Fieri, then we headed downtown to one of Randy's favorite places in the world - Powell's Books. We were there a few hours and everyone went home with a couple of nice finds. As Bret reports, "a total of six stories of book-filled rooms the size of a city black. It should be one of the 7 wonders of the bookstore world, in my opinion."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August 5, 2014 - Pendelton to Portland

First stop this morning was the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, the Museum of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation,  https://www.tamastslikt.org/ 
A beautiful building with lovely objects and many culture bearers presenting information. However, little if any information was on the object labels, which made it frustrating for me.  And no photos allowed.  But there was an interesting traveling wolf exhibit there which we enjoyed. It is still worth a visit if you are in the area. 

 Reed had a nice time driving through the incredibly long entrance road and huge parking lot.

 We crossed over to Washington and drove along the north side of the Columbia River until we arrived at Stonehenge. Identical in size and layout to the one on the Salisbury Plain, this one was made by Sam Hill as the U.S.'s first WWI memorial for local war heroes, and it's made of concrete. The views of Mt Hood and the Columbia River Gorge were spectacular from this hillside vantage point.

Bret planking on the altar stone as Reed looks on.

Our next stop was Bonneville Dam for a tour and a look at the fish ladders.

 Later we stopped at 620' Multnohmah Falls, finally arriving in Portland for the night.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014 - Monday through Idaho to Oregon

We woke to a rain-covered van and tent, so packing up took a bit more time than anticipated. But there was still time for a driving lesson on the streets of Picabo. Reed has his learner's permit and this morning he drove all over town. Luckily Randy survived!

 Today's Idaho journey was a beautiful trip through a remote and sparesely populated section of the U.S. The Sawtooth Mountains were on our right as we left Picabo, then we continued through high desert ranchland until we reached our destination in Meridian, ID - Dottie's house. Dottie is another of Bryn's former Santa Monica Mountains co-workers, and it was wonderful to catch up during the short visit during which she served us a delicious Thai chicken salad lunch. We also were able to spread out the tarp and tent in her driveway to dry. The time was way too short!
 We spent the rest of the day following parts of the Oregon Trail into Pendelton, Oregon. A new state for the Sportsmobile, we'll add the sticker soon. Dinner at Joe's Fiesta, a great little Mexican restaurant in the downtown area. We also saw the Seth Thomas clock tower at the Pendleton Courthouse. Randy is dwarfed by it. It has glassed-in clockworks at ground level so you can see, unsurprisingly, how the clock works.

August 3, 2014 - Craters of the Moon & Picabo

Craters of the Moon National Monument is out of this world. Actually, it is in the high desert of south-central Idaho. It contains, among other things, a huge rift zone and lots of black lava. The surface of this ancient dried lava can be 150 degrees F when the air is 100 degrees; the hottest recorded temp was 178.

Randy visited here 28 years ago, not in July. Summer is not the best time for hiking around here! It was hot when we arrived at the Visitor Center, and we enjoyed cooling off in the air-conditioned theater while watching the 2 short movies about the Monument and its history. Then we headed off for our first stop - the picnic table at  Devil's Orchard for lunch, then the hike through this interesting terrain.

Right - some of the lava rocks and limber pines on the Devil's Orchard hike.

Below - giant Bret measures Reed & Randy in the distance.

 We took a short hike up the splatter cones - try to spot Bret on the trail. We were beginning to think we were on 150 degree hot lava.

Later we joined Ranger Holly and other visitors on the Cave Hike, in which we climbed down into "Indian Tunnel Cave." During that hike, the wind picked up and beautiful clouds came over us, providing a comforting block from the sun and making the air much more agreeable.
After the boys were awarded their Junior Ranger badges, we drove westward out of Craters to the small hamlet of Picabo, where we were treated to a fabulous feast by Rose & Ted, Bryn's former co-workers from the Santa Monica Mountains. Benjamin & Mariah did a nice job of entertaining the boys. After dinner, we walked all around seeing the sites of Picabo. It was a very enjoyable evening. We stayed in the RV park right down the street from their house.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2, 2014 Saturday - through Yellowstone to Idaho

The boys were eager to share some spots they found in Yellowstone with Bryn. After entering the Park, we stopped at Fishing Bridge to get their NPS Passports stamped.  Next a slow drive through the Hayden Valley, slow due to the plethora of buffalo on both side of the road - and on the road.  Cars stopped in both directions, and lots of buffalo close-up photos were taken.

 Then back to Bridge Bay campground to see site #49, their home-away-from-home for the week.  Taking the advice of Randy's dad, who says 'life is uncertain, eat dessert first, ' we had a short stop at
the Marina to enjoy a favorite treat, huckleberry ice cream sandwiches -yum! 

Then on to a beautiful lunch stop along Gull Point Drive. This is a spot with gorgeous views of Lake Yellowstone.  Following this, we drove through the Old Faithful area and up to Firehole Lake, where some of the road melted a couple of weeks ago. The quickly-fixed road was partially gravel and very bumpy, but added to the excitement of thinking we might see a big eruption. We exited the Park through Madison. In West Yellowstone, Montana, we visited the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. The boys visited last year, but this was Bryn's first visit. Here is one of the wolves through one of the observation windows.

Tonight we're in Idaho Falls. We ate at a 50s diner (serving 5 types of potatoes) and the boys had fun using the tabletop juke box. Their choices of the Who, Jethro Tull, and Queen didn't fit the decor but made for nice listening.

August 1, 2014 - good-bye Cody and Yellowstone

We finished analyzing and re-cataloging all of the baskets in the Plains Indian Museum - it took the full week. Maybe we will have a "next time," in which we can piece together some of the collection history and find out more about the objects. It was great to be able to spend time with Ann Marie and Juniper in the basket storage area, uncovering so many wonderful pieces.

The boys had an easy morning packing up camp and leaving Yellowstone. They checked into the Yellowstone Valley Inn in Wapiti and took luxurious showers. Later they enjoyed the thunder and lightning, secure in the hotel.

After work, Ann Marie drove Bryn out to Wapiti. We all had a nice dinner together, sharing stories of the week.

July 31, 2014 - Thursday - Plains Indian Museum baskets & Yellowstone

An exciting day with rare sightings for everyone. More baskets for Bryn, including this unique Plains gambling tray.
Yellowstone report coming soon from the boys - they spotted 3 wolves from the Canyon Pack!