Ferrys, Trains and Automobiles

Living on the road isn’t a living vacation. All the normal tasks everyone has, when not on vacation, fall upon us as well. So we decided to take a vacation last weekend. Oh what fun it was!

The Journey to and from

I’ve always had a fascination with trains, not Sheldon level, but still I am drawn to them. In my fifties you would think I would have managed to actually take a ride on one, but nay nay. Turned out a Ferry can drop you off a twenty minute train ride north of the city. I have no point of comparison, but I rather enjoyed it. Two stories with comfortable seating and tremendously civilized behavior. I hope to do something a bit longer than twenty minutes in the future.

Seattle

I don’t think I would want to live here, but boy was it fun to visit. I’d describe it as a cross between New York City and Portland. The amount of construction was mind boggling. They had at least eight new apartment buildings in the works. Not little five story places, massive sky scraper apartments. There was so much close to our hotel we averaged over five miles of walking a day and had two things remaining on our want to do list when we ran out of time.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Friday night we went to a local jazz club for dinner and a live performance from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy If you don’t know who that is click the link I put on the name for a recording of one of my favorites. I’ve listened to them for years and when Kendra saw them performing so close she made it happen. The sound I made when I found out would best be described as a squee. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a manly version of that sound.

Temple of Meditation for our Consumer Overlords

I had seen an image of the Amazon domes, but honestly didn’t even realize they were in Seattle. I’m not sure what Amazon does is good for the world, and I’m sure the way they treat some workers I disapprove of; but damn they can pay for a pretty building. They only allow us lowly serfs in a couple days a month, but it was amazing from the outside.

Pike Place

If you know me you know I am passionate about coffee. Starbucks isn’t my favorite, but it is a reliable location for a cup of joe, so if I am just passing through an area I often end up with an overly sweet cup of warm delicious drugs. Kendra said we must visit their very first store since we were right there. It was at least a twenty minute wait, but it was also the best peppermint mocha I have ever had.

REI Mothership

We had both been wanting new shoes for months, but put it off to check out the first REI store. The store blew my mind. The entrance was a little slice of nature with areas to try out gear. Waterfalls, biking path and a feel like you were entering a mountain resort. If you need any outdoor gear and are in Seattle I would highly recommend visiting.

Pacific Science Center

She blinded me with science. I’ve been to a few different science centers and always enjoyed them, but Seattle’s is especially good. I wanted to bring that big globe home with me.

May peace find you.

Forty Days and Forty Nights


As you may have gathered from the title, it rains in Washington during the winter. Since most of the people who may read this warned me over and over about rain in the area this is surely not a surprise. I am not currently building an arc, and I am not certain it has rained every day, but I cannot recall a day without some rain, which can get tedious even for a pluviophile.

We pulled into the Port Townsend area on January first and have fallen a little in love with it. Winter weather is mostly mild, if wet and windy, and the area satisfies both our cravings for culture and natural beauty. We did have three days that dropped below freezing at night and one snow storm. That is just about the perfect amount of winter for me. Some pristine white snow to walk in and then it melted the next day. I did end up shoveling out the clubhouse as I figure I am the youngest person currently staying here.

So what does the area offer? Within walking distance is a nine hole disc golf course that gave me the opportunity to try out my disc set. About a fifteen minute drive away is an eighteen hole course that looks like it would be a destination for a PGA tournament if it had holes instead of baskets. There are three very close health food stores with a ton of local produce. There is a tiny hole in the wall bakery with insanely good pastries and great bread. Kendra has found several places to take exercise classes and has loved every instructor. There are so many good places to eat it will take years to try them all. There is a wide selection of local music available nearly any night of the week. Last Friday we went to a local cidery that had wood fired pizza, live music and eight different ciders on tap. Interestingly the wind was gusting well over 30 mph and we lost power. They did an acoustic set in the dark and we finished our food and drink while listening to the performers attempt to compete with the sound of the wind. Was very enjoyable.

Oh, and there is an adorable theater. The Rose theater has three locations you can watch movies from. The first we attended was the Starlight room. You go to the top floor of the building, it has two walls of windows with a nice view of the ocean, comfy couches with tables for food and drinks. Restaurant quality food and alcohol at restaurant prices instead of the crazy theater markup. About ten minutes before the movie they pull blackout curtains, the chandelier lighting comes up and a person walks out and tells you a little about the movie you are going to watch and why it was chosen to show. It is just a delightful experience. On a side note, Knives Out is well worth seeing.

My next post should include my thoughts on Seattle and the local Ferry system. May peace find you.

Into the breath of the ocean

I have visited the Pacific Northwest many times in the last few decades, and explored as extensively as my aging legs possibly could. However; most of my time was spent in Oregon, barely venturing into Washington. I anticipated it being very much the same as Oregon, and in many ways it is. Washington is gorgeous, it has mountains and ocean and big trees, but the mountains aren’t quiet as tall, the trees aren’t quiet as big, and the ocean extends deeply into the land mass. It is this last trait that I never considered and has surprised me existentially.

My past experiences of being surrounded by the ocean have been in Florida and the Bahama’s. Being surrounded by ocean this far north is a very different experience. The air contains ocean moisture and controls the temperatures allowing little variance. Our days so far have all been a high of 48 F and a low of 42 F. It is cool, but at the same time comforting and amazing. We are parked right next to the water. If I didn’t know it was ocean I would think it was a slow river or lake, but it is salt water, it has significant tides, and it is so crystal clear you can see right through to the bottom like looking through glass. How did I not already know about such pristine waters?

When I was young I was a distance runner. I was never very good, but I did enjoy it and the very best running experiences were those rare Ohio days when it would mist. Maybe one or two of those would happen a year, and I would always make my best effort to get out and experience the phenomena. I don’t mind getting wet and something about being in the mist is exhilarating.

I don’t yet understand the science of it but, the location of the Olympic mountains and Pacific ocean and prevailing winds causes this part of the world to have tiny little raindrops just like those Ohio mists for nearly every storm. It has been raining all morning and the drops are so tiny I can barely make out the sound of them striking our roof. Shanti and I coated up and spent the better part of an hour walking along the shore enjoying the tranquility. I don’t imagine many people would enjoy this, but I found it incredibly soothing.

I was nervous planning ahead to spend the first two months of the new decade in Washington state. It is, after all, further north than Ohio where those months are absolutely miserable and depressing. Now that I am here I find myself excited to have new environments to explore. I haven’t gotten to do much hiking yet, but I anticipate my next entry will have pictures from at least one hike.

I hope that you have a wonderful new year and the next decade treats the people of Earth better than the last.

May peace find you.

Stumptown

We love Portland. Being on the road is amazing, but Portland is hands down the best city we have visited. We celebrated Christmas in Portland once before and are pleased to be doing so again.

Yes it is cold and rainy, I know you were wondering. It usually gets into the forties through the day and thirties at night and probably rains two days out of three. On a rare occasion it will get as low as twenty or as high as fifty. The rain is usually not a downpour and if you dress properly you can go out in it comfortably.

If you wonder why I have a gallery of images from a woodland hike in a post about Stumptown, these are pictures of a hike through the city. Early Sunday we hopped on public transit a few minute walk from the rig, stopped at my favorite restaurant for breakfast, The Fireside, then hopped back on public transit to the zoo. From there we hiked several miles to Pittock Mansion which has a wonderful view of the city. This was a serious hike with great views, switch backs across elevation changes and it left both of us a bit sore. There are hundreds of great trails right inside the city of Portland for hiking. This is the only place I have ever been with such great hiking in the city, and such amazing public transportation. When we tire of the road this is where I think we will end up.

With me back at work now we aren’t getting out as much as we did over Thanksgiving, but we still find time to enjoy the city. We eat out a lot, saw one movie, went to a live Christmas Blues show and in general are having a bodacious good time. I hope this city always remains true to it’s weird nature.

May peace find you.

Waterfall Heaven

We now have nearly a year on the road under our belt and are getting better at the lifestyle. We had originally planned to spend the Thanksgiving week in the Valley of the Giants, but toward the end of our week in Fort Bragg Kendra was recovering from a bout of cold symptoms and my mother was in the hospital leaving me concerned my father might need my help. A week off grid in the dark cold damp woods wasn’t sounding like the best plan after all. When we started this journey we likely would have just bulled through, but now we adjusted plans and traveled into Oregon instead.

The plan change turned out to be an all around great idea even though I didn’t need to fly anywhere. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, I don’t think I will ever tire of driving through mountain forests. We came over the pass on I5 from California into Oregon. The conditions were a bit dodgy with some ice and snow, but we came through safely. One day later the storm hit and they closed down that pass.

Kendra, master trip planner, reserved us a full week at Silver Falls Campground which has the nickname The Gem of Oregon. Gorgeous campground with huge trees. It got a little below freezing at night but thawed through the day so we were able to keep the RV systems running properly. My mother is now home resting and I am looking forward to visiting for Christmas.

Our campsite for the week

With vacation and holiday I had the entire week off and we went hiking every day exploring the many waterfalls of the region. One day the path was a bit icy and the hiking went slow. With my massive feet I did pretty well on the ice, but Kendra is almost as tall as me with much smaller feet and a section before the last two falls was just too treacherous for her to traverse. She talked me into going ahead and taking pictures while she started back. Due to an incoming ice storm we did not catch the very last waterfall, Winter Falls, this trip.

South Falls

Lower South Falls

North Falls

Upper North Falls

Lower North Falls

MIDDLE Falls

DOUBLE Falls

May peace find you.

Happy Thanksgiving

We are sitting in Oregon enjoying the crisp air and great hiking. Shortly we will head into Salem for a way too large meal and I wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Last week when we were hiking along the Mendocino bluffs we came across a falcon playing in the wind coming off the ocean. It was one of the most serene things I have ever experienced and I saved that to share with you today.

May peace find you.

Roses and Rainbows

If you have read my past entries, you know that being on the road has it’s own special challenges. However; sometimes the stars align and life is very good indeed.

This week we have spot right on the bluffs, and work has been light affording me time to really enjoy the location. When we wake up I open the front blinds and we are looking at waves rolling in.

A two minute walk from my front door.

There is something powerful and invigorating about being near the ocean. Every walk with the dog was a joy. I watched nearly every sunrise and sunset with either Kendra or Shanti or both. Took a chunk of one day to go hiking in Mendocino and wished I had time to do it again.

The most magical thing about being on the road is the freshness. If I had a home exactly where I am parked this week I would eventually become blase about what awed me this entire week. It isn’t the easiest lifestyle, but it is an existential experience I highly recommend.

May pace find you.