Category Archives: Summer 2013 – Pacific NW


We crossed the Nevada border yesterday on I-80 East, about 25 miles from Reno. It was a hot day out west, as most of you know, and the temperatures, according to the little gauge on the car clock, hovered between 100 and 103 degrees. Shoo-ee!

So there we were, motoring along, excited to get to one of our favorite cities to play. Chatting, laughing, then … uh-oh. All traffic came to a dead stop. At first, we joked about the dreaded “phantom bottleneck” (a term that, for years, I thought I authored; imagine my sad face when I learned I didn’t make up the phrase after all), but soon we were concerned that there might have been an accident. Well, there had been. I got on Twitter and learned that a truck had caught fire up ahead. An hour later, when we were allowed to pass the accident site in single file, it appeared that the fire department had it under control. I hope the driver wasn’t hurt.

After that, it was smooth sailing, and we arrived in “The Biggest Little City in the World.” We always stay at a Caesar’s property (Caesar’s Palace, Horseshoe, Bally’s, Harrah’s) because the Thriller is a member of their Players’ Club, so we get discounts. This time around, the discount was 100%. And a first for us: a corner suite!

It was a mini-suite, actually, but the view was nice, and for $0 and comp credits (including the awesome Harrah’s buffet), it was great.

They say a good day at the casino is when you leave with more — or the same number of — shekels than what you brought. Such was the case for us and our egg of money. Yay, viva la relaxación! We loved it.

We’re still in Nevada tonight, staying at the Peppermill in Wendover. Never been there; should be fun as well, as we continue to make our way back home. *XOXO*

Happy Tunesday, luvs!

California II

What a fun stop for us, after a long, long, long day of driving through the redwood trees. (Are we bad people if we said that we were ready to leave the forests?)

Last night, we stayed at the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast in Nice, California. We were delighted from the minute we drove in the driveway and saw about eight cabooses — real ones — on the property by the lake. Each of the train cars have names that go with their particular themes of decor; ours was the “Wild, Wild West.” Hilarious! It was fantastic.

Purchased when the caboose cars were retired from service by the railroads, the owners refurbished each one into a unique little world. Our car, with the Old West theme, had antique furniture, a bar with a mirror, a brass headboard on the bed, old fashioned wallpaper, a toilet with a chain flush handle, and a cool little upper compartment that you could actually sit in.

You can click through the photos (clicking on a shadowboxed picture loads the next one) and see for yourself. Awesome place!

Exterior ~ View from Bathroom ~ The Bar ~ The Crow’s Nest ~ View from Door ~ Clawfoot Tub ~ Sink ~ Chain-flush Commode

There was a porcelain water pitcher inside a bowl on the antique dresser, and the bathroom even had a spittoon! So kitschy and fun. We enjoyed hanging out in it all evening. Truthfully, it was so hot (93 degrees at 7 p.m.), and the midges were so bad, we didn’t feel much like walking along the lakeshore, so we didn’t. We went out for salads, came back and stayed in, stayed cool, and enjoyed the personality of the place.

Today it’s off to Reno, and you know what that means — casino fun at Harrah’s. We will let fly with our little egg of gambling money, and hopefully it’ll last. On the road we go, and it’s important to note that this morning marks the beginning of the drive eastward; homeward. Yay!


Trees, trees and more trees. Big trees. Reeeeallly big trees. I think that on this journey, I’ve seen a trillion trees, no lie, but none so lovely as the mighty Coastal Redwoods.

The Thriller with his Gandalf walking stick, next to a fallen redwood fragment

The Thriller with his Gandalf walking stick, next to a fallen redwood fragment

Jedidiah Smith State Park is just six miles up the road from our hotel, so we spent several hours yesterday hiking the groves of these magnificent giants. We took so many photos, it’s hard to narrow them down to four or five to show you here.

We learned from a ranger that the state and national park services combined a while back to save the redwoods, when California was in its most dire financial straits. It’s a very nice setup now, and we took advantage of the well-maintained trails.

I'd hate to have been around when this one fell

I’d hate to have been nearby when this one fell

The Thriller has uploaded many different pictures to Facebook, but here are some from my phone. It’s hard to wrap your brain around the sheer size of these monsters, so having bodies in front of them helps with perspective.

We didn’t see any wildlife along the trails, except for one species, and from what we learned, it’s among the most important in the forest. I got up-close and personal with the banana slug, who has reached an agreement with the redwoods: you give me the moisture my skin needs to thrive, and I won’t eat any redwood seedlings, but rather forage for stuff that competes with the redwoods’ survival. How cool is that? Mmm, slimy…

C'mere, you. Give us a hug.

C’mere, you. Give us a squeeze.

It was a beautiful day for hiking (and hugging). Sixty-seven degrees outside, and no end to the sunshine — unlike the weather I heard we have back home, yikes! (BalloonFest getting rained on? Terrible.) My tree pictures suggest an overcast day, but that just shows how much light these 300-foot-tall drinks of water filter out when they stand together. Amazing experience.

After the trees, we headed back to Crescent City to take in the seaside.

Crescent City is a working harbor town, right on the Pacific shore. There is a functioning lighthouse, which we visited at low tide. Really pretty, and of course, on a hill, so by the time we made the huge climb, we both felt like we were walking on our tongues. But worth the effort. What wasn’t worth it was waiting for the next group tour through the lighthouse, where no photographs were allowed. Psh. Take that.

PeacefulThe beautiful blue of the Pacific was mesmerizing, and we stood for a long time on a jetty and admired it. But since it was low tide, and all sorts of slimy sea life and dead things barnacled to rocks were smelling up the shoreline, we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked.

After the day of hiking and hiking, we both had worked up quite the appetite. So we had a late picnic lunch back in the park, inside one of these weird looking tipi things that actually provided decent shade.

The evening was filled with laundry and relaxing. I watched Love in the Time of Cholera, with Javier Bardem. It was…well, nice. Anyway, it was good to just hang out for the night. The Thriller got on Facebook, read up about our next stop, and took care of some business from home.

Today, more California fun as we make our way to the Featherbed Railroad Bed and Breakfast, in Nice. What a cool name for a city: Nice. Nice!

See you tomorrow — Monday, already??

Oregon II

What a day yesterday! We finished out our stay in Oregon in fine style, seeing some of the most beautiful sights we’ve ever visited.

It was a bit of a long drive (378 miles, about 7 hours of drive time), getting from Government Camp to Crescent City, California. We added several hours to that by seeing some awesome places: Crooked River Gorge, and the amazing Crater Lake.

The Ogden Scenic Viewpoint at the Crooked River High Bridge (in rural Jefferson County, OR) is named after Peter Ogden, an Oregon pioneer, and strangely, the namesake of the city of Ogden, Utah.

We happened upon this fantastic park quite by accident. It was a bit unsettling to see that the concrete barriers were only waist-high, and that one over-balanced camera shot posture could send someone 300 feet over the edge, on the way to meet Jesus. In fact, pets are not allowed at the viewing wall; signs warned that many dogs had died — presumably by having paws up on the wall and seeing something just on the other side, and jumping after it. *shudder*

But wow, what a view. And speaking of views…

Crater Lake is a picture waiting to be made. I told someone on Facebook yesterday that it appeared to want its photo taken. My only regret was not having the wherewithal to creep down that steep hill and put my feet in the lake (and by “wherewithal,” I mean the ability to get back up the mountain afterwards).

No matter the vantage point of your shot, you were photographing likely the most gorgeous body of clean water in the world. We stood for a long time and just tried to take it all in. And while I was standing there, a visitor showed up on the rock barrier right in front of me. I wish I’d been fast enough to shoot the picture while he was looking right at me.

After leaving Crater Lake, we were already tired, but faced another 3+ hours on the road. We dragged into the Lighthouse Inn here in coastal Crescent City, CA, around dinnertime. We got some food, took showers, got PJs on, and called it a night.

Today — the Redwood Forest! Back at ya tomorrow, fiends, and happy Saturday!


It was nice that the only state remaining on my “never visited” list (in the lower 48) was such a pleasure to roam over the last two days.

Using our nice room in the ski village of Government Camp as a home base, we spent our time enjoying waterfalls, mountains and the beautiful Columbia River.

The most enjoyable part was traveling along historic US 30, along the river gorge. Unfortunately, our views of Mt. Hood were obscured mostly by clouds, and when we got up near the summit, where the skiers were playing, the snow was dirty and ugly, and there weren’t many photo ops. I guess, after St. Helens and Rainier, it was a bit of a letdown. Still beautiful, though, wow.

I got another picture later, from the highway, and that was our best Hood photo.

The biggest thrill for us was the Columbia River. Of course, after eating a spectacular lunch at the Multnomah Falls Restaurant, we walked up to the falls and took some photos. (I also took a couple of videos for the grandsons.)

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

The sun was directly in my eyes for this photo, so it isn’t the best resolution, but this particular bridge is the most photographed piece of architecture in all of Oregon. No surprise there, right? The view downward from the bridge made me kind of woozy. It was all fantastic.

The Columbia River, from Vista House

The Columbia River, from Vista House

We stood on the top balcony of Vista House, and as it was a clear day, we saw forever. Breathtaking view.

And now we’re off to sunny California, to walk along the chilly shores of the Pacific, and see some tall trees. Check ya later, fiends — and happy Finkday!