Archive for July, 2013

Road Trip to Alaska!

We will soon be leaving to explore Alaska and visit 2 of my nieces [Fairbanks and Anchorage]. We’ll be driving – 50 hours one way, and going thru the Land Of giant gold fish crackers, Tim Hortons and poutine! I know… nothing healthy, but tasty!

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Counter Steering

I now have a new respect for motorcyclists when they are making a turn:
If you want to turn right, press the right handlebar [which makes NO logical sense], lean in [which is scary], speed up [which is the exact opposite of what I want to do], and oh yeah, instead of looking in front of you, look over yonder to where you want to end up after the turn! This, to me, doesn’t make sense, but it works. Who Knew?

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Scooter Lessons!

Over the weekend I learned to ride a scooter! I took the motorcycle/scooter safety course, which is mandatory here in Oregon to get the motorcycle endorsement on your license. 6 pm on Friday I had never been on one and by 3 pm on Sunday I passed the written test and the road test. All due to the great instructors. If anyone is interested in learning to ride, I highly recommend

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Thick Books

To ex Enroners, I just read that Vince Kaminski recently wrote a 960 pg book explaining the fundamentals of energy markets. That prompted me to amazon and found out that about a decade ago he wrote a 700 pg turner on managing energy price risk…on sale for $185. I yawned just thinking about these books!

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My thoughts on the San Juan Islands

* Lopez Island – do this island as a day trip.

* Orcas Island – Moran State Park was very nice. Eat bfast at the Island Skillet. Skip the steep 1 mile hike to lame Cascades Falls. Do hike the steeper .3 mile path to Sunrise Rock. However, the sun came up around 4 am, so me getting up in time to hike up on the rock to see the sunrise, wasn’t likely to happen.

* Friday Harbor (on San Jun Island) – this would be a great place to bring my MIL.

I was concerned about being able to get on the ferries (NO reservations, and they leave every 3 hours or so), but had zero probs getting on with lots of availability. We paid up for reservations at the campgrounds, which weren’t needed. I was told several times that summer in Wash starts July 5th. A waitress on Lopez said that people on the island goes from 4,000 to 10,000 in July and August.

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My thoughts on Olympic National Park

* Marymere Falls (near Crescent Lake) – the waterfall was just ok. Very muddy trail.

* Sol Duc Falls – now this is a waterfall! Very nice hike to the falls, with all the moss on the trees in the dense forest. Very misty…you are wet after being here for a bit.

* Mink Lake (Sol Duc) – should be renamed Mosquito Marsh. The 1500′ 2.6 mile hike was NOT worth the effort. The only reason to do this hike is to get in better hiking condition.

* Sol Duc Hot Springs – I don’t get the whole hot springs enjoyment. It’s like sitting in a bathtub with a bunch of strangers. However, if you must go, go after 7 pm when the price is reduced.

* Cape Flattery – NW most point of the Lower 48. Impressive. This was the highlight of the trip.

* Sand Point (part of Ozette Loop) – 3 mile one way hike on a boardwalk to beach with monoliths. Recommend, except that there was lots of ocean plant debris, along with the smell and flies. Plan this trip for low tide and you can walk 3 mi on the beach and come back on another boardwalk (hike a triangle shape).

* Hoh (rain forest. 142″ of rain/yr) – this came highly recomm from several people, but I couldn’t tell how it was any different from what we had already seen.

* Hall of Mosses Trail – seemed to have less moss than other places, but the moss did hang down more/was longer.

* Rialto Beach – highly recommend. Monoliths with NO ocean debris besides lots of deadwood. “Beach” was small rocks.

* Ruby Beach – highly recommend – more so than Rialto. Monoliths with NO ocean debris (with lots of deadwood), but this has a long sand beach. I want to come back here and walk the beach for hours.

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San Juan Islands / Olympic National Park

I am really digging our camper van. It is just the right size. We packed just the essentials and had room to spare, so added more stuff. The bed is very comfy (after I added 3″ of foam) and was great to hang out in on days when it rained most of the day. Looking forward to our next trip.

I read 8 books. That is what happens when you have NO wifi, TV, kids…and it rains each day.

We are off on our first camper van adventure!

We are off on our first camper van adventure!

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Hungry Bear Cafe [Olympic National Park]

Sign on the men's room door.

Sign on the men’s room door.

The reason for the sign.

The reason for the sign.

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Hoh’s Hall of mosses [Olympic National Park]

Moss hanging down. Water is so clear you can see what's growing under water.

Moss hanging down. Water is so clear you can see what’s growing under water.

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Mink Lake at Sol Duc [Olympic National Park]

Don’t let the photo fool you! You can’t see the 20 mosquitoes buzzing around you and that you are standing in mud.
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