Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home Sweet Home

After driving 3,000 miles on our tour of the Pacific Northwest we were definitely ready to be home. We loved every minute of our trip and were really blessed with safe travel, beautiful weather, and fantastic scenery. Upon arriving home, this was our scene in the garden! We were a little fearful of what might be growing while we were gone. You can guess what I will be doing for the next week or so.

Vacation Day 19

Day 19... July 23

Today's road led us back into California with a view of Mt. Shasta. We originally planned on camping up in Northern California, but we were getting ready to be home and see our dog again. We pushed on and did another one of those 10 hour day until we reached Watsonville where my parents were. It was great to be in a familar place with family and of course Cali! We really owe my parents for taking in our dog for three weeks.

Vacation Day 18

Day 18... July 22

We hit the road for Crater Lake today. The lake was beautiful! It gets its really blue color from the snow melt. This is the deepest lake in the US formed from a volcano. When we arrived, there was no wind and you could see the reflections of the clouds in the water. There is a 1 mile hike down to the lake that is super steep. This is the only place all the way around to access the lake. There are only 2 tour boats that they operate in the lake and they had to helicopter them in. The mosquitos here were out of control!!! We made it down the trail to touch the icy water and then headed back up in record time (due to the mosquitos) We camped in the park and of course got in the tent early for fear of more bites. The weather was really warm (about 90) and it was really weird to see snow covering the ground in places still. The 4 Runner his 90,000 miles here! We also noticed that our front license plate was missing! We couldn't exactly remember if we ever had one in the first place or if it was stolen in Eugene. (They really don't like Californians there)

Vacation Day 17

Day 17... July 21

This morning we headed to Astoria to see Fort Clatsop. (Lewis and Clark) I took lots of pictures of the fort so that I could share them with my students. We listened to a guide dressed up in timepiece clothing and doing demonstrations at the fort. I remember coming here when I was little with my family and waiting forever for my dad to read about everything in the museum. This time it was not much different bringing Tim for the first time. (History buffs!) From there we made the long drive up the Columbia River to Euguene, Oregon to see friends Corey and Donna Templeton. They gave us the quick driving tour around town and showed us the University of Oregon (Track City USA) where Corey is working on his masters in Architecture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation Day 16

Day 16... July 20

We reluctantly decided to cut short our stay in Victoria due to ferry schedules. Before we left we visited Butchart Gardens. There were over 55 acres of phenomenal gardens that we toured! We have never seen anything like it. There were rose gardens, Japanese gardens, Italian gardens, etc. They have 50 gardners working round the clock keeping this place beautiful. When we boarded the ferry we then traveled to Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula. This is one of the few rainforests in the US (over 10 ft of rain a year) The weather was super nice, sunny and hot! Not what we were expecting. We anticipated staying the night in Forks, Washington but when we got there we realized the town was booked because it is where the author of Twilight based all of the novels. Crazy! Everyone was there to see the town so we had to camp outside of town. The campsite proved to be better. It had a really nice creek running beside it and it was perfect warm camping weather. Couldn't help but think there might be vampires lurking...

Vacation Day 15

Day 15... July 19

This morning we arrived back in Vancouver and bid barewell to the cruise ship (not before eating one last breakfast buffet) We boarded our car onto the ferry and headed for Victoria. Victoria was beautiful. It is known as the garden city, and for good reason, they have flower baskets hanging from every lamp post. We toured downtown, ate some of the best Chinese food in China town, and hopped on our bikes again and rode for about 10 miles. They have this great bike path all through the city (kind of like the Bob Jones Trail in Avila) We really got to explore a lot by having our bikes.

Vacation Day 14

Day 14... July 18

Today was our second full day at sea. The sea got a little rougher as we were no longer cruising the inside passage but were out on the Pacific. We are both looking forward to being on land again and also seeing the sun. However, Tim will miss the all you can eat ice cream bar and I will miss Pakashur. (The waffle maker from India who had my order and toppings memorized by the end of the week)

Vacation Day 13

Day 13... July 17

We spent today at sea. The highlight of the day was the "white hot party" at night. The cruise ship had everyone dress in white and then it basically amounted to a big dance party with black lights. Watching Tim's mom and dad dress in white bath robes and towels made for quite a scene.

Vacation Day 12

Day 12... July 16

Today we arrived in Skagway. Population 800 (plus 3 cruiseships of 2,000-3,000 people each) We took a train into the wilderness that was the historic passage to the Yukon God Rush. We got off and were set to hike to the Laughton Glacier. I was a little scared of getting off the train by our lonesome in the wilderness (train stops are exactly populated, you just step off into the wilderness) We were trying to save some money by not booking the hike with a group of people and doing it on our own. The hike was supposed to be 8 miles round trip. Fortunately when we got off the train there was another group of people also getting off with a guide to do the hike. We scooted up to the back of their group and pretended like we were one of the group. I was more than relieved as we began to hike and the trail stopped shortly and we climbed next to stage 6 rapids (unnavigable water) and out onto the icy glacier. (The guide had rescue gear) I learned a lot about glacier safety. There are things called crevasses (basically deep openings in the ice) that you can fall into if you are not careful. The guide also had bear spray. I stayed within 10 feet of the guide the entire time. The hike, although difficult (hiking up steep slopes of loose boulders) was very rewarding in the end with great views of the glacier. I was exhausted by the time we returned to the boat. The highlight of the evening was the chocoholic buffet on the ship! You would not believe the amount of chocolate sculptures, fountains, cakes, etc. that were set out in front of you to eat. I do not even like chocolate and my plate was full by the end of the buffet line.

Vacation Day 11

Day 11... July 15

This morning we arrived in Juneau. We got off the boat and got on a smaller catarmaran style boat for whale watching. This was the coolest experience! We set out on the boat and came up to a group of humpback whales (about 16) travelling together. This is extremely rare because they do not travel in groups and are unrelated. It was spectatular to watch them in the water. We also saw three of them breach! This is also very rare because they usually only breach in Hawaii when they are mating in warmer waters. After whalewatching we got on a bus and they drove us to the Mendenhall Glacier. It was also spectacular! The amount of rushing water from the run off was incredible. The different colors of blue in the ice were beautiful. After we got back on the cruise ship, we maneuvered up the Tracy Arm Fjord. We travelled really slow and pushed ice caps out of our way in the narrow Fjord. (Visions of Titanic kept coming to mind) We made it all the way up the Fjord and saw Sawyer Glacier at the end. It took the cruise ship 45 minutes just to turn around once we got there. It was so tight and narrow. The emerald color of the water was also a sight to see here!

Vacation Day 10

Day 10... July 14

This morning we arrived in Ketchikan. We got off the boat early and headed for the fishing tackle store to buy fishing licenses. Tim and his dad brought their poles and tackle boxes so they were pretty much set. We headed up the street into town and fished off a bridge. I tagged along giving my expert advice on fishing and then jaunting off every now and then to shop in the town. I could not believe the amount of salmon running down the creek. It seemed next to impossible not to catch these 4 ft fish swarming their lures. (Tim almost had one on his line at one point but it pulled away, and they didn't catch a thing) There were also bald eagles everywhere diving down to the water to catch the huge amount of fish just jumping out of the water. Back on the boat we headed for the hot tub. It was pretty cold in Alaska! It was also a very weird feeling to wait for the sun to set later and later each night. (About 9:30 tonight)