Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

It's so hot here, we're melting!!!

Well, not quite, but almost.............

Yesterday, was 105. Which tied the hottest day ever on record back in 1918. And of course, that doesn't include the heat index with the humidity.

Today is slightly cooler, though. So far at noon, it's only at 101.

The AC is working overtime, for sure. Except for when we turn it off for half hour at a time to run the washing machine.... Laundry is slow-going today.

Yep, we have window unit AC, and when we run the washing machine and the AC at the same time, we blow a circuit when the washer switches from rinse to spin.

But there is this annoying need for clean underwear, and it's too hot to just go out and buy more, so off the AC goes every now and then to wash the skivvies....

Hope you all are staying cool!

Monday, July 19, 2010

PNW Trip - Day 5, Part 2

No, I didn't forget that I promised a second part of Day 5, I just decided to enjoy the weekend....

Also while in Fremont on Sunday, we found the Fremont Sunday Market. This market blocks off about 6 city blocks and has vendors lining both sides of the road.

Selling everything from cherries, to glasswork, to jewelry, to antiques, to fish and more!

This was one particular sign I enjoyed along the way...

But best of all was the crepe stand. Now I have to confess that at my age, I don't recall every having a fresh made crepe. And here was this young gal making them to order.....

They had a variety of toppings that you could choose, including sweet options, and savory options. Items from bananas, chocolate, cheese, basil, and much more....

We opted to try out a Cinnamon/Sugar crepe as a snack, and it was DELICIOUS!

As you can see, it was just about as fresh as you can get....

An enjoyable treat to watch and to eat.

Oh how I wish our town or even anywhere in the metro area had a market like this. I could easily spend the better part of most Sundays at a great market....


Friday, July 16, 2010

PNW Trip - Day 5, Part 1

Today was our last full day in the PNW, as day 6 meant that we got up O'Dark Thirty to get to the airport. So we decided to make the best of it!

We attended another event, this time in the Freemont section, north of Seattle. Today was 4th of July, so we knew it would be busy everywhere! We passed a park on the water that had people lined up outside of the gates waiting to get in. At 9:30 in the morning!

Freemont was a LOT of fun! This is a really quirky section of Seattle. AND, the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE! Just look at the sign below!

Ok, so I almost cut it off, but this is the "Center of the Universe" sign. Quite comical, and had distances to many sporadic locations like... Atlantis-663 Fathoms; Bermuda Triangle-37,553 miles; Milky Way-69 light years; Guggenheim-2,653 miles; Troll-2 blocks; Timbuktu-10,021 Km; Noogie-Top of head. And many more! It really was a fun sign!!

Here is a picture of the event we attended, taken from a draw bridge nearby.

And here is the draw bridge opening for a sailboat. This bridge is famous for a neon sign of Rapunzel in the bridge house tower.

This building was in the middle of town, and I just thought the design was very artful. Artful Architecture, if you will.

And then there was the Troll. The Troll is a local landmark, built under the George Washington Bridge. He has one eye (a hubcap) and is crushing an actual VW Bug in his left hand. As you can tell from the picture, he is HUGE, interactive, and he had a boogie.........
You can read all about him here if you so desire.

We had a great time exploring, and tomorrow, you will see Part 2 of our day in Freemont.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

PNW Trip - Day 4

Ok, so this day is the least interesting for all you blog readers, but was a ton of fun for us. GeoWoodstock is basically a gathering of geocachers from all over the world. We like to call it a party for 5000-8000 of our closest friend. A family reunion, of sorts....

We got to see people that we sometimes only get to see once a year. We swap stories, and hugs, and laughs, and pathtags.

We spent the entire day doing this, and it was a TON of fun....

But don't worry... Day 5 was exciting enough to warrant 2 separate posts!!

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

PNW Trip - Day 3

Today was our date with an APE. Let me explain... APE, or Mission 9, is a historic geocache. From the cache page:

This cache is a Project APE cache, a cache hidden with permission for the Planet of the Apes Promotion in 2001.

You can click the link above if you really want the full back story. But it's an old cache, and one of only two left in the world. Originally, it was a 4 mile hike, mostly flat, but walking through a one and a half mile former train tunnel. All accounts I heard, was that the tunnel was dark, and once you got in it, all you could really see was.... the light at the other end of the tunnel. That starts as a small dot, and slowly grows as you get close to the end.

But, alas, the tunnel was closed last year due to safety issues. BUMMER!

Now, the only way to access the APE cache is to hike up a mountain. The first mile is uphill, with an elevation gain of about 750 feet. Being from one of the flattest parts of the country, this was a bit daunting....

But we were rewarded with great stops along the way, like this waterfall above, that flowed under this bridge below.

Although there were about 300-400 people making the hike that day, I wouldn't have picked anyone other than these three other women to do it with! We all really helped each other get up there! So much fun!

This sign greeted us when we got to the top of the trail that marked the flat part of walk for about a mile.

You can see from this pic, that there were a lot of people up there, but at least this part of the trail was flat, flat, flat. It was very welcome!

The organizers arranged to have some mascots there when we arrived, so we took the opportunity to take some pics, too.

The best part was the hike and the camaraderie throughout the day. One of us gals had bronchitis, but trucked along. One of us had a bum knee, but trucked along....

And coming down the mountain was just as rough as going up. BUT, we all DID, and Conquered the APE!

Day 4 - GeoWoodstock


Friday, July 9, 2010

PNW Trip - Day 2

We had decided that today we would drive up to Canada (about 2+ hours away) just so we could go, get a cache, get our passport stamped, and head back. Having done some research ahead of time, I found out there is a park that is half in the US and half in Canada. Peace Arch Park. And was further told that we could walk through the border to the new welcome center that was built just for the Vancouver Olympics.

So, here I am at the park next to the concrete country border.

And the other sides of the marker showing at an international boundary. How cool??

The Peace Arch Park was beautifully maintained and landscaped. A great collaboration between the two countries.

The standard cheesy picture that everyone was doing here...

A full view of the Peace Arch. The Arch is truly in both countries as it was built on the actual boundary line.

As we were walking to the customs building to get into Canada, we saw this line of cars returning to the US. This line ended up being miles and miles long. I'd say 6-8 miles easily.

So let me pause here in the pictures to tell you all about our experience into Canada...

We get to the custom station to "check in" to Canada with our passports. It's designed for cars, and it set up like a toll both, with probably 20 lanes, but no clearly defined spot for pedestrians. There is a door to the far left of all the lanes, attached to a building, but right along the travel lanes.

We go in the door, and a border guard leerily asks if he can help us. We explained that we just wanted to walk to the new visitors welcome center (which, by the way, was in sight of us about 1000 feet away). The conversation went something like this:

BG (Border Guard): You want to walk to the visitor's center?
US: Yes Sir
BG: Where are you parked?
US: In the park parking lot
BG: So let me get this straight. You parked on the US side, and now you want to walk to the visitors center.
US: Ummm. Yes?
BG: What's in your bag?
US: Uh, batteries, a camera...
BG: Is anyone waiting for you back at your car?
US: No sir.
BG: Is anyone waiting for you in Canada?
US: Um, No sir.
BG: Are you carrying more than $10,000 in cash on you?
US:Uh, No sir.
BG: Are you going any further than the visitors center?
US: No sir.

He let us through. Mind you, it wasn't quite as quick as that, and I'm sure I've forgotten part of the interrogation as I was quite flustered by this time. But we were in!

And were welcomed by this:

We found the visitors center, and wandered around and enjoyed it. Met a couple of other geocachers there, and then headed back.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, we walked back through the door that we exited, expecting to find our friendly border crossing agent again, but alas, he wasn't there. In his place was a woman, who was actually quite pleasant. But told us that we needed to check in on the US side. HUH? Where is that???

It turns out, it was at the front of the line of cars. Problem was, there was no sidewalk, no pedestrian way to get there. There was construction all around. AND, we were technically already in the US, and within sight of our car where we could just get in and drive away.

However, this poses a problem, because our passports showed us "checked in" to Canada.

We wandered around the park for a little while pondering what we should do. We asked some folks, and they didn't know either.

One of our party has a security clearance that we were worried about, so it was tough pondering for a bit.

We ultimately decided to make a break for it, and walk to the car. Up in the park parking lot, there was a truck that had US Border Control on it. Was he there to bust people like us? Did we look guilty? Was he going to stop us from leaving the park?

Nah, he was just hanging out in his truck talking to other officials who stopped by.

We stopped and asked him. He kinda scoffed and said we were fine. Hmmmm... Who knew?

So to celebrate being back in the US, here is a couple more pics...

This US Flag topiary was HUGE and beautiful. There was a matching Canadain Maple Leaf one on the opposite side of the park.

And this little guy was tucked right near the bottom of it. So many pictures taken of the topiary that day, I wonder how many people missed this little fellow.

And this sign sums up the end of our Canada trip!

Oh yeah - And did you know that they don't actually stamp your passport??? I was extremely disappointed!!!

Day 3 - A date with an APE!


PNW Trip - Day 1

Today, we flew from the East Coast to the West Coast. The flights were comfortable and uneventful, even though we had to get up at the un-godly hour of 3:30am. But this early flight allowed us to get into SEA at 11:17 am. So we still had a better part of the day to explore. We weren't meeting up with some of our friends until thursday evening...

So we drove out west on Hwy 90 to Snoqualmie. There was a neat Casino there, and this was the view from the parking lot!

But the main attraction was the Snoqualmie Falls in town.

The raging falls turn into this docile river in mere feet from the bottom.

The falls are undergoing construction right now, to upgrade the hydroelectric power. In three years, the falls will generate electric power to 40,000 homes!

Even from where this picture was taken, we were still getting wet from the mist flying. It was a loud, powerful roar the entire time we were there, as well!

I'm so glad we took the time to go by here. Although we found out later that on Saturdays (we were there on Wednesday) there is a train that goes down to the bottom and along side the falls that provide even more amazing views. So sorry we missed that!

Stay tuned for Day 2 - A short trip to Canada to get my passport stamped. Or not.....


Trip Report

Last week was our trip out to the Pacific Northwest to Seattle area. Ironically, the week before, D was sent out there for work, and had to do a "Trip Report" upon returning to work!

So the next several posts will by my trip report(s).

Of course most of my reports will be told through pictures, only so I don't bore you to death. Oh wait... Blog pictures of trips have kind of replaced the old "slide-shows" that we all had to sit through, haven't they???? Ooops... At least you can skip the "narration" if you don't want to read them!

Ah well.... enjoy...