Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Last Post

We've started a new family website/blog, which makes this blog a little unnecessary!

Monday, November 09, 2009

2008 Snow Storm

I finally unearthed the pictures I took during our big snow storm before Christmas last year. We got almost two feet of snow in Tualatin with a bit of freezing rain in the middle that created an interesting snow-ice-snow sandwich. The whole area pretty much shut down (we get occasional snow here, but generally not in this quantity). Tualatin doesn't even own a snowplow (though they were very proud of their sanding plan). OMSI shut down for some of the days and on the days I did have to go to work, I took the bus. On the first day I rode it there was one hill we went up where another bus and some trucks hadn't made it. Everyone clapped for the driver at the top. After that day, the bus was on a snow route. We lost several limbs off our trees to the ice and an entire half of our neighbor's tree fell into our driveway. When it was finally time to head to Corvallis for the holiday, ODOT decided to close the I-5 so they could scrape ice off the Boone Bridge. It took about four hours to get to Corvallis on 99W (usually it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes on I-5 or just a little longer on 99W) driving in ice ruts that were several inches deep.

The snowy house:

James pulling giant pieces of ice off the car:

Moving some of the many branches that the ice felled from our trees:

Giant branch in the driveway:

Backyard chairs after the second wave:

More photos in the gallery...

Mexican Adventure

A couple weeks ago we went on a quick trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a friend's wedding. We stayed at a beach resort not too far from the villa where the wedding was held.

We spent almost all of our time relaxing on the beach under thatched umbrellas and swimming. The water was wonderfully warm and some of the waves were quite large.

One of the highlights for me was getting to release baby sea turtles. The resort is one of few in the area with a private beach, so nests from beaches all over Puerto Vallarta are brought to them to be kept protected until the eggs hatch. They then let guests help to release them. The turtles were super cute.

above photo by James Bartholomew

The resort was all-inclusive, which was awesome. We could eat and drink as much as we wanted without worrying at all about money and the food was amazing! We had delicious fish, the best fajitas ever and an incredibly yummy roasted cheese appetizer that our waiter prepared table side.

above photo by James Bartholomew

The wedding was beautiful and made for a wonderful weekend!

More photos in the gallery!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Road Trip

Last month we went on a road trip to Iowa via several national parks and I've finally finished processing my photos!

Our first day we drove to Provo, Utah. It was the longest driving day of the trip and was pretty much just a mad dash, though the gorge was pretty as always and we saw lots of nice wind turbines. I especially liked some that were positioned at the mouth of a little canyon in Utah, though that was actually the second day when we continued on to Arches National Park. I had been to Arches once before, but it was still amazing. The rocks are so red and the formations so impressive (to the geologist and non-geologist alike), it really is astonishing that it all exists in one place.

When we arrived in Arches, we headed straight to the campground to claim a site which we felt lucky to get (we made sure to get there very early, and though there were still a few left when we got there, they filled quickly). The campground is adjacent to the Devil's Garden area of the park and is really beautiful. We were surrounded by red rocks on a little ridge with an amazing view:

The site (above) was nice, though somewhat lacking in shade. The high was about 100 degrees both days we were there and the temperature gets there fast and stays there all day and evening. It was like being in an oven.

Once we'd set up camp, we went and checked out Devil's Garden since we were right next to it. We hiked about a mile in through beautiful rock fins and saw landscape arch, which is the widest in the park:

After Devil's Garden we drove back to the front of the park and saw all of the things we'd driven by quickly in our quest to get a good campsite. Our favorite was Park Avenue, a little canyon between dramatically eroded blades of rock:

above photo by Random Tourist

We also visited Balanced Rock, the Windows and Delicate Arch among other things:

The next day, we headed out of Arches to neighboring Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is quite large and divided into three sections (literally, the Colorado and Green rivers separate the sections and make it impossible to drive to another without leaving the park). We visited the Island in the Sky section, which is the easiest to get to from Arches. It's basically a high plateau that looks down into the canyons that the rivers have cut, which are very dramatic:

It was windy that day, which helped tone down the heat a bit, but it still felt like a furnace! We did one little hike in Canyonlands to see Mesa Arch (yes, there are arches in Canyonlands too), which is a nifty arch right on the edge of a canyon rim:

After that we headed back to Arches and checked out a few more things we hadn't had a chance to see the day before, like the Fiery Furnace and Skyline Arch:

We then headed back to our campsite and found that our tent was one of few still standing in the wind, though it would occasionally deform and become concave then pop back up. After another hot night's sleep (fortunately the wind died down before it was time to go in the tent), we packed up camp and hit the road again, heading into Colorado. We only had a short drive that day, so we decided to add a stop in Colorado National Monument, which was a nifty drive along the rimrock of a valley:

The highway became a nifty feat of engineering as we headed into the mountains:

We found our reserved campsite in the Arapaho National Forest and luxuriated in the cool air:

The next morning we headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. We stopped at a spot with a nice view of a mountain and happened upon three young moose:

The mountain was nice too:

We headed up over the pass and saw lots of other nice mountains and stood on the continental divide:

above photo by James Bartholomew

Just on the other side of the pass we came across some elk with impressive antlers and James got a little creative in finding a good spot to photograph them from:

After a few more mountain views (above) we continued on to Iowa, our main destination, where we spent two nights. We had a nice visit with James' grandfather and picked up a trailer to bring back some beautiful furniture that he had built for James when he was young.

With the trailer in tow, we headed for North Dakota and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The campground in the park was full by the time we got there, so we checked out a nearby state park which turned out to be great, very peaceful and pretty:

The next day we explored the park, which is an area of badlands. There was lots of wildlife to see, including bison and prairie dogs:

The landscape was impressive too:

After finishing the loop of the park, we headed on to Montana. We had hoped to camp in the Deerlodge National Forest, but didn't have a reservation since there was a two night minimum. Reservations proved to be necessary as every site in the part of the forest we headed to was full, so it was on to Missoula where we spent the night in a motel and had a tasty dinner from the Pita Pit, though perhaps not as tasty as our camp cooking would have been.

From there we were homeward bound, arriving at home on a Sunday evening, our ninth day on the road. It was fast paced and a lot of driving, but a truly fabulous trip overall. We saw some amazing places and can't wait to explore more national parks!

As usual, additional photos can be found in our gallery...