Scenic Roadtrip VS Get there as fast as possible

14 01 2014

We decided to celebrate the holidays by heading back to the road.  Early mornings, road trip playlists, scenic overlooks and hundreds and hundreds of miles under our belts.

But, I think we may have gotten confused with the purpose of our trip.  It’s like when people tell you that there’s a difference between traveling and vacationing.  Yes – BIG difference.  Our intention was to head out on this scenic byway road trip heading south and driving the seaside roads along the Oregon Coast, through the Red Wood Forest and along highway 101 and Highway 1 along the coastal cliffs in California.  But, we found ourselves falling into old habits – early mornings, needing to make time on the road and with almost no time to stop and eat.

I had big plans on all the scenery we could take in – Oregon sand dunes, the sea stacks in Bandon, OR (plus enjoying a crab or two dipped in melted drawn butter….), taking in the impressive sight of the ancient Red Woods and leisurely days enjoying good food along the coast.

Well, the weather wasn’t the most cooperative and we started our road trip in snow and as we drove further and further south, the clouds never seemed to lift and we took in rain, fog and grey dreary sights.  And, although we did decide that maybe a summer trip along the Oregon Coast to actually enjoy the coastal sights would be a better idea, we did take in views of the Umpqua River Lighthouse and I did enjoy a half a crab in that tasty tasty butter in Winchester Bay, OR.

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Umpqua River Lighthouse

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Home of Delicious Fresh Crab!

As I mentioned before, our road trip goals got confused and we made dinner plans in San Francisco our second day on the road which put us in a mad dash down the coast.  Waking up in Grants Pass, OR (close to the OR/CA border) meant that we were waking up at 4:30am to head out for the day and had 10 hours to drive 400 miles, sightsee and drive one of the windiest roads down the coast.  And those glorious Red Wood forest views – well, we found ourselves parked on the side of the road in the middle of the forest waiting for the sun to rise.

Our patience wore out pretty quick so we ended up in Crescent City, CA for sunrise to take in a few misty morning photos.  But don’t worry – we found those trees that you can drive through!

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Misty Sunrise in Crescent City, CA

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Marine Layers

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Moonrise Morning

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And we found TWO trees to drive through!

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After our detour in Leggett, CA to drive through our second tree, we took to highway 1, the windy windy road through the forest – up and down, side to side – it definitely gave our brakes a work out.

And finally, finally, we broke through the trees to be rewarded with sunshine, blue skies, and crashing waves along the cliffs of the California Coast.  It’s everything you would picture it to be if it was your first time to the CA Pacific Coast.

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It may look like nothing, but it’s a migrating grey whale. Frustratingly our camera was acting up, but you can see a little breach and a mist of water in its tracks.

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It took us 15 hours, but we finally left the grey of the Pacific Northwest to find ourselves in sunny California.  And it was wonderful!

 

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Jax Beach @ Sunrise

7 04 2013

Our last morning at Jax Beach I was tempted to sleep in, but when I saw the whispers of pink peeking into our room through the patio door, well it was enough for me to throw on some clothes and grab the camera.  With Nathan gone to pick up the rental car, and mistakenly taking both room keys, I was momentarily swayed….will I be able to get back into the room if I leave……or should I just take my chances?  With the pink creeping in further and now with touches of orange…..screw it…..let’s go.  Hopefully the front desk will understand I just couldn’t miss this sunrise.

I apologize in advance for including so many photos but…there were just too many to choose from!

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Tired of Being a Raisin

16 01 2013

As tough as it is to leave the constant (and guaranteed) sunshine of the desert in Parker, Arizona, I’m a little bit excited to have a little moisture in the air.  To be honest, I’m a little weary of drying up like a raisin in the desert air.  And surprisingly I miss falling asleep to the raindrops falling outside my window.  I don’t know how long that will last, but fingers crossed the clear skys and high pressure system that’s hanging out in Seattle will stick around for a little while, or at least the skies don’t try to drown me out too quickly.

A couple last images of the clear desert skies, sun-kissed mountains and the Bill Williams River.

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Brrrr…It’s Cold in Here….

14 01 2013

Here I thought we were heading to the warmth of the desert in Parker (Lake Havasu City), AZ.  Well there’s definitely sunshine, but where’s the warm kiss of the sunshine on my face?  Highs of 45 degrees and Lows of 25 degrees?  What is that all about????

The orange tree that we just planted is struggling.  It may actually be holding onto dear life as it shivers in the wind at night.  We’ve done our best by putting blankets over it and taping cardboard around its trunk when the sun goes down – hey it’s definitely not pretty, but hopefully it’s providing some protection.

And with all the buzz about the flu epidemic?  Well, this part of the desert has not been exempt.  I think everyone I have come in contact with the last few weeks has been hacking away and by some miracle, despite the fact that the three other people in my household have taken their turn as a self-designated ‘sickie’,  (Well, maybe not so much as self designated, but that’s what I’ve been calling them), I have still remained unscathed.  I like to think it’s because of my superhuman immune system and strength of mind, but who we kidding, I’m usually the first one sick and give in to it like a little baby. So, I guess I have to thank the round of immunizations that I had to have during the process of getting my green card.  I resisted them at first, but looks like I won out in the end.

Well I can’t say I have any advice for dealing with the cold temperatures (besides looking at the views from inside the cocoon of warm blankets while sitting by the fire) or battling the germs in the area other than unexpectantly planning ahead with a full round of vaccinations.  But I do recommend healthy doses of Vitamin C and if you’re ever in the area of Mesa, AZ, you’ve got to stop by B & B Citrus Farm, because they have got some tasty fruit on their trees!

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A Difference in Surroundings

3 01 2013

It’s funny what a difference a change in scenery has on your mentality.

While trying to stay dry during a very soggy November and December in Seattle, you get used to constant cloud cover.  It’s expected really.  You start to make distinctions between heavy clouds, light cloud cover, and of course, rain clouds.  It could be misting outside, or it could be drizzling, sprinkling, light rain, and this Fall we saw constant consecutive downpour days.  This winter I was introduced to ‘Lumpy Rain’ as well, as the temperature fell and the rain clouds rolled in, it was just not cold enough to snow and instead produced raindrops with just a little bit of ice, making those raindrops fall just that much heavier.

Anyway, my point is that with so much weather that you’re trying to dodge throughout the day, it makes it difficult to get outside for that vitamin D your body craves, especially if you hate to walk around in the rain.  You become obsessive about the hourly weather forecast, trying to time your outdoor activities in between the 1 – 2 hour breaks from the rain during the day.  A glimpse of blue sky makes you giddy, and full out sunshine, well you barely have time to get your shoes on before your body is jumping outside and heading to the waterfront.  In Seattle, you take advantage of any non-rainy weather.  Period.

But what do you do when you find yourself in constant sunshine?  A place where the norm is sunshine and when a couple clouds find their way in the horizon, it’s a hot topic of conversation.  You find yourself indoors, that’s what!  You take that sunshine for granted and when you look outside and see bright sunshine and moonscape views, you think, ‘oh – another sunny day. It looks a little cool and breezy out though.  Maybe an inside day….’.  And when there are a couple clouds in the sky and surprisingly a few raindrops, well, it’s a HIBERNATION DAY.  Turn the fire on, grab the blankets and let’s watch a movie.  Where in one place the raindrops are the norm and their absence is an opportunity you take advantage of, in the desert, a few drops are cause for hibernation.

Well, today we made a trek out into the desert in the front yard.  A path of crumbling rock, sprouting cacti (and their skeletons) and the panoramic views from up above.

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Winter in San Diego

13 02 2012

As I bundled myself up with layer upon layer of clothes (tank top, dress, sweatshirt, scarf, winter coat, leather gloves, tights, socks, second pair of socks, shearling lined winter boots), preparing for a Sunday in New York in 19F (-7C), I wistfully remembered that just one month ago I knew what the warm sun felt shining on my face.

Even though there was a chill in the air during a trip to San Diego in January, it was still sunny, it was still flip flop weather, and it was still San Diego.

I’ve been procrastinating to write this post and put up some photos from our week in San Diego, but I just found my inspiration – COLD COLD COLD weather.

Welcome to Winter in San Diego:

Longest Pier on the West Coast

A boardwalk and beach still filled with flip flop wearing crowds (wearing a light sweater and a scarf for decoration), surfers challenging the waves and playing chicken with the pier pillars, dogs and their owners playing on the beach, skirting the waves, and then giving up and just committing to frolicking in the water, and a laidback breezy California attitude.

Even during a cold spell, the sun still shines and the water still sparkles.  It’s hard to imagine what the rest of the country is experiencing with snow storms, ice pellets, and a grey cloud cover that can’t help but make you feel a little grey and lackluster.

You can imagine my delight and surprise, when a walk along the downtown harbour, unearths this discovery.

The Times Square Kiss

A Vintage "Bob Hope" Scene

I’ve heard that people say, “wherever you are, whatever the weather, the weather’s always better in San Diego”.

I can’t say that I disagree.





Looking for Winter

19 12 2011

It’s hard to get into the holiday/Christmasy mood when the sun is shining, the streets are lined with palm trees, the beach is filled with volleyball players, boogie boarders and paddle boarders, and you’re wearing flip flops.  It just doesn’t scream ‘Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland’ or ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…’ does it?

Well you can imagine how excited I was when we planned a trip away from the beach and into the mountains to Big Bear Lake, Southern California’s skiing destination.  WINTER WONDERLAND here we come!!  So for the trip I packed my Canadian snow boots (to mark my territory and leave Canadian maple leaf foot prints everywhere I went), a heavy poncho, my leather coat, my leather gloves, a wool wintercoat (just in case), and my cool winter hat that I wear about 1 week a year.   You can imagine the looks we got as we left the hotel lobby, which was full of flip flop wearing families on their way to Disneyland.  To give you a fair comparison, Nathan was wearing a sweatshirt.

We started the road trip with some Christmas music to get us in the holiday spirit.  As we passed people with the top down on their convertible, it just seemed wrong to be listening to Silver Bells on the radio.  So we decided that we wouldn’t turn on the Christmas music until we saw snow.

So I waited as we wound up the California mountains, and waited some more, and waited a little more.  ‘Is that snow?  No, wait, it’s just the way the sun is hitting those rocks…’  Finally!  We found snow, but only in the areas that the sun couldn’t get to.  One side of the street some snow and ice, and on the other side, dry grass and desert looking dirt.

Coming from Vancouver, Canada I think I expected a snow-covered winter village (like Whistler).  As I was shedding layer after layer of clothing, I realized that perhaps my expectations were too high, but what can you expect 90 minutes from the beach?

We did finally find some snow and a lake with a layer of ice.  I didn’t realize that ice could make so much noise, but it rivaled the quacking ducks.

Icy Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake Photo Op

Enjoying the View

And, although I didn’t get to trudge along snow covered trails, marking my territory with maple leaves, we did take advantage of a little lighthearted snow play (no snow angels though).

Snow Ball Fight...Kind Of

Taking Advantage of the Snow

A Little Fun in the Snow