Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beaches and Puppies

After San Francisco, we stayed with Jarrett’s friends Matt and Jess in Ventura, California.  The city of Ventura felt a lot like Boise to me but with palm trees.  The weather there is always fairly warm and windy from being so close to the ocean.  The beaches were beautiful, we visited one by Oxnard and one up in Carpinteria. 
The mountains close to the beach at Carpentaria.
This town has beautiful views all around!
While Matt and Jess were at work during the day, we had time to catch up on relaxing, blogging, walking Pepper (their energetic Boarder Collie mix), and organizing the car better.  It was some much needed down time.  During the evenings Matt and Jess entertained us by cooking up yummy dinners (some amazing garlic potatoes!) and showing us around the town.  We spent one night bowling.  If you have ever bowled with me, you know that I’m guaranteed to have the lowest score, sometimes so low it is embarrassing.  The first two games we played were no exception, but the third game was different.  After a spare and strike next to each other and another spare a couple rounds later, I won the game!  My score wasn’t super high, but was my personal best J Friday night, we met Jess and Matt, after their work days, at The Island Brewery in Carpinteria. This was a wonderful bar with great beers and became packed as the town got off work.  It was also close to a beautiful beachfront, totally picturesque of California.  Matt then took us to downtown Ventura, his old stomping grounds.  We hit up a pretty nice beer bar with a live band then checked out the harbor. 
Matt and Jess with Green Bay Packer bowling balls in the background.

Saturday Matt drove with us down to Santa Monica Beach.  After we found parking we walked along the beach, up the Pier, and back along the sidewalk.  The beach was just beautiful we got our feet wet in the ocean and hot in the sand.  Santa Monica Beach is very touristy and we got quite a taste of it on the Pier.  Quite a few fishermen were catching and cleaning their fish on the pier.  On the sidewalk we passed a guy who was singing “who’s your baby’s daddy, I’m your baby’s daddy” (change of hat to long blond wing) “who’s your baby’s mama, I’m your baby’s mama.” 

The Ventura area is the first time we ate at In N Out Burger on this trip.  We are loving the chain, it makes good late night meals, as well as good late-lunches-that-it's-really-dinner-time lunches.  The double double protein style hamburger got a few looks from the servers one night, but yum is it good, and perfect when I'm hungry.  (Which is all the time, by the way!).  

The view from Santa Monica beach looking toward the Pier.
A Memorial Day tribute at Santa Monica beach for the soldiers lost
in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
We had a great time in Ventura.  We got some much needed relaxation in, got lots of play time in with Pepper, and had fun checking out the area.  Thanks to Matt and Jess for treating us so well in lovely central California!

Friday, May 27, 2011

More than just Rice A Roni

Word up everybody! Just keeping ya in the loop. Kristina and I spent 2 nights and a day in San Fran. My good friend for life Bob and his girlfriend Lindsay put us up right in the heart of the city. Tuesday was the big day for seeing the city.

We started by getting a feel for "The Haight", but there's a lot of love there too! This area in fact sponsored the Summer of Love back in 1967.

Here is a tribute to some of my favorite artists from my favorite era.

We weaved our way through the incense to find Golden Gate Park. After grabbing some eats @ the Haight Street Market, we huffed and then puffed up on Hippie Hill. Enjoyed some rays and then slunk out before the drum circle got too big.

San Francisco is very walkable, so our feet eventually got us to the de Young Museum. From there we took in some views from the observatory, then walked around the majestic garden with a huge fountain and dozens of statues. This must be what Rome feels like.

 Francis Scott Key gets the biggest statue.
 For the working man and his kin too (hidden behind wine press).
 de Young Museum from observatory tower.
The de Young Museum Observatory in the background.

Of course paradise isn't paradise without a smooth drink. Parched, we shuffled our way over to a great pub with an equally great happy hour, the Toronado Pub. Many excellent beers on tap and white wine for Kristina. Something reminded me of Portland, OR.
Don Younger ~ Publican, Founder of the Horse Brass Pub

After a few pints and good conversation, we road a zero-emission electric bus to the Mission District and met up with Lindsay. Had an amazing meal at the Gratitude, 100% gluten-free, we ate grain-free, and it was all vegan to boot. And by the way one of the most amazingly unique and delicious meals I've ever ate in my life.
Onion sunflower crust pizza, with Brazil nut Parmesan.
 Zucchini noodles, sun-dried tomatoes in a cashew cheese sauce.
So good, we had to get the book!

We got very spoiled in SF and can't thank Bob and Lindsay enough! They were so good at treating us well we almost forgot to take a picture of them when we rolled out on Wednesday.
Bob and Lindsay. (Sorry to catch ya 2 minutes out of bed Bob!)

Big Trees and Big Coastline

The first leg of our trip was Portland to San Francisco.  We took the scenic route, and then the scenic route off the scenic route. Meaning that we drove on State Route 1 on the Pacific coast for a while.
Our first view of the Pacific Ocean at Crescent City, California.
 In Grants Pass, we parted ways with I-5 to make our way to 101 and to check out the Redwood National Forest.  Driving through the redwoods was an amazing experience.  We drove through the forest with these gigantic species rising up above us and the road was curvy with switch backs and would get narrow to fit between the trees.  Then we came around a curve and the trees opened up into a vast coastline.  Redwoods continued on our left side and the coast ran along our right.  I can not fully describe the feeling of this moment; it made me realize the grandness of this earth.  Just before sunset we drove through Elk country and saw two sets of Elk grazing in meadows next to the freeway.

Kristina with the friendly kitty
 at Anderson Valley Brewery.
That night we stayed in a hotel in Eureka. We felt a little spoiled since we had originally planned to camp.  The weather was dry, but cool and very windy on the coast so camping would have been difficult. The hotel worked out nicely since we were able to get more driving time in. 

Jarrett by the Anderson
 Valley Brewery hops.
After a ways on Highway 101, Jarrett and I decided to take State Route 1 to the 128 to drive through Anderson Valley.  Highway 101 had a few narrow moments, but was mostly a freeway.  State Route 1 was very narrow, with many switch-backs.  It got pretty nerve racking at times and we drove about 25 mph or less most of the way.  I have to say, with all of that I am very glad we took this route.  The views of the coastline were spectacular!  We were able to drive through more of the Redwood forest and see lots of wine country.  The 128 had so many wineries, names I recognized, and a couple of breweries.  Jarrett’s very favorite brewery is Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville, the main reason we took this detour.  We walked around the property and Jarrett got to try some great beer.  It was a nice break from the crazy driving. 

After the brewery, we continued on the 128, which met up with the 101 and took us across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco!  We did have 1 set-back on this part of the drive.  The driver’s window in the Prius decided to no longer roll up.  This had been fixed last November, but decided to break on day 2 of our 2 month road trip.  Now we were in quite a pickle, we could not park the car (full of camping supplies) with a window down in San Francisco.  After many calls, and a random stop at the Kendall Jackson winery (my favorite winery – but we didn’t stop with so much going on), we worked the window into the up position in time to park on a hilly street in San Francisco.  We tried to take the Prius to a Toyota dealer in San Francisco, but they were too busy to look at it.  We are now in Ventura, where a dealer replaced the window belt.  We are back on track without a whistling window and ready to head further South tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Packin Up

The journey is finally about to begin.  We haven't been working these last two weeks in the sense of getting paid, but we have done a lot of work organizing our stuff.  We have also taken a trip to Boise to drop off some of that stuff for storage for the next couple months while we are on the road trip.  This got us in the driving mode, and also gave us a taste of what will come when we move all the way to Des Moines (2,000 miles).  Oh boy, do we have a lot ahead of us.  I'm so excited!

I don't have a whole lot to say, packing up is the same for everyone.  I did get a couple nice pics on the I-84 heading back to Portland that I wanted to share.  Of course the camera did not do justice to the amazing scenery of Oregon.

This was taken heading down the pass towards Pendleton.  Eastern Oregon was a beautiful soft green instead of the normal brown.  The sun was shining on the fields yet the clouds overhead were dramatic.

Of course the Gorge by The Dalles, shot while the car was moving.   I wonder if we will see anything quite as amazing as this area.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Closing a Chapter

Today is our last day of work!
I want to say thank you to everyone for such a great 3 years.  I'm going to miss all of my co-workers!

A couple events this weekend:
Come out Saturday (tomorrow) to the Gluten Free Food Fair!  It is at All Saints Church on 39th and Glisan from 11 to 2.  There will be 40+ vendors with tasty gltuen free goodies. The cost is $5 per person and $10 per family - and you are entered into a raffle.  Jarrett and I will be volunteering, so you will likely see us somewhere.

Saturday night we are having a "quitting work party" at the Green Dragon on SE 9th.  We have reserved a couple tables starting at 8PM.  Come out and celebrate with us!

Next week the real work of packing and prepping for the road trip begins!