Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer Vacacay p5: Drift Creek Falls

Just in case you doubted...
Good grief, apparently I never actually wrote an entry for our last activity during summer vacacay. My apologies, dear reader, for this ridiculous oversight. As usual, I have no sensible defense. I accept full responsibility for the lateness of this post. Leave comments if you feel remediation of some sort is in order, and I'll sincerely take them under advisement. :-)

Note also that I am NOT including an entry for our down day. I'll sum it up to say that we went for a walk on the beach, trying to get to Seal Rock. After two miles north, we came to a spot where it looked like we had at least another couple of miles to go, and decided to turn around. Garrett actually went with us; as it turns out, the cell signal was better on the beach than it was in the house! We played Pokemon Go the entire time. :-D

Our final hike during the vacation was to Drift Creek Falls. This one was unique in that it featured a suspension bridge that was really only wide enough for a single person to cross at a time.

The walk itself was really easy, which is a good thing since neither boy was all that enthusiastic about yet another hike. The trail was wide and well-worn; the trees were fairly dense but the canopy was high and thin, resulting in soft yellow sunlight with a faint hint of green tinge in places.

Least challenging limbo game ahead...
There were actually several trees that looked like they had fallen over ages ago. This almost made me feel as if the forest was experiencing infighting between its generations -- old versus new. Casualties on both sides were encountered.

Luckily, we dodged most of those fights. Before too long we found the construct we sought!

"Yes, I'll cross first, scaredy-cat!" says our fearless leader.
The bridge and the falls were worth the trip. Have a look at these shots from the middle of the bridge.

Falls from the bridge

Tiny people below!
For more perspective, we made the trip down to the river bed to become like the tiny people.

Tiny people above!
That slab of rock lying there fell off of the rock wall under the falls within the past few (50?) years. I wonder if it made a sound when it fell?

We wrapped up this day with a dinner at our favorite restaurant in Newport. Can you guess which one it was? If you said "Local Ocean Seafoods," then congratulations for paying attention to the other blog entries! :-) We discovered something VERY interesting at the restaurant -- Gabriel, the finickiest of the finicky eaters, actually thinks that calamari is OK to eat. It's not as good as chicken, but better than poorly done fish and chips.

As mentioned earlier, this was the last of our hikes. This entry will also be the last of our vacation entries, as travel days are generally uninteresting. I hope that you've been entertained at least, and perhaps even inspired to get out and about a little. Nature really is pretty fantastic, and you should enjoy opportunities to experience it as often as you can.

The next post will probably be back to book reviews, game dev, or other nerdy pursuits. Thanks for playing along with vacacay entries!  :-D

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Vacacay p4: Sweet Creek Falls

It's getting to be that part of vacacay where I lose track of the days.  I think this was day 4, so I'm going to move forward with that assumption.  Remind me to check before I publish this post, OK?  Thanks.

Today's trek took us to Sweet Creek Falls, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive from the house.  Before I get into today's adventure, I wanted to take a moment to tip my hat to Nature in general.  It constantly continues to impress me.  There's not a moment when we're in this house that the roar of the ocean isn't audible in the background.

I can hear the ocean, but I can't see it!
Now, about today's outing...  The drive itself was incredible.
An operational lighthouse, whose utility is on display today!

Siuslaw River on the way to the trailhead

The walk through the woods along the creek was surprisingly populated.  The end of the drive seemed to lead us to the middle of nowhere, and yet when we arrived at the trailhead there were about 10 cars overfilling the parking area.  Not only that, as we walked along, there were campgrounds on the other side of the creek that were all full.

There were so many little falls that I lost count.  Luckily, I think we took pictures of each one.

First falls

Second falls -- more impressive during the run-off season

Third falls

Fourth falls

Dad, do the falls ever end?

Nope! :-D

A pool from the upper viewing area

Our fearless leader!

We even ran into some locals on the trail, which means it's either a really good trail, or really convenient, or really easy, or some combination of all of those.  We choose to believe it was mostly #1.

And then, on returning to the beach house, this sunset...

I just can't even!
Despite all of this natural wonder, I think the boys might be tiring of our "outdoor" shenanigans.  Their faces lit up a bit when I said that tomorrow was an off day, where we're only planning to hang out, play games, watch a movie, and read.  I'm not sure what to think about that.

Given the above, I might not catalog tomorrow.  Tanya and I were considering walking up to Seal Rock as our only activity.  If we do, and it generates good content, I'll probably post something short.

And I double-checked -- today is day 4.  I haven't lost track of the days yet.  I'm tempted to say "yay," but I also feel like I might not be vacationing hard enough... :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer Vacacay p3: Interlude 1

Beach house!
The forecast for today said it was going to be cloudy all day with a good chance of rain. Combine that with some slight muscle soreness from yesterday, and we decided it would be wise to take it kind of easy today.  As such, we opted to stroll up and down the beach a bit.

This was the first time in our two-and-a-half days that we actually made it down to the beach, and it was pretty nice.  The breeze coming in off of the Pacific was refreshing, even invigorating.  The sand itself was very fine near the foliage, but fairly packed nearer the water, making the strolling pretty easy once we got away from the house.

Turning right, we made our way northward, keeping the ocean on our left and the treeline on our right.  There were a few spots where the surf was still running up the beach pretty well, making our trip almost adventurous.
Graceful as a lame gazelle!

Luckily for me, the boys were there to keep me grounded.

Srsly dad... are we there yet?
Dad, we need to talk about all this walking...

The sky gave us glimpses of blue, so we had hopes that there would be some sunshine today.

Tide pools and blue sky!

Unfortunately, that was the most blue we saw today.  Shortly after we got back to the house, it started sprinkling, and turned into an almost-honest rain.

The only solution was a board game.  We had purchased a game called "Cash n' Guns" a couple of weeks ago but hadn't had a chance to play it.  The boys thought it would be a good idea to pack it with us.  Their forethought gave us a pretty fun half-hour.

Nobody saw nothin', see?
It's a game where each player takes on the role of a robber, and they've (collectively) scored a huge heist.  The robbers go through the process of splitting up the loot over 8 rounds, only they manage to pull guns on each other every round.  You get to choose whether or not you actually shoot or just fake shoot someone every round, except that you *have* to shoot at least 3 of 8 rounds.  You can also choose whether or not to dodge the potential gunshots, in which case you can't grab any loot that round.  People that don't get shot and don't dodge get to share the loot.  The person with the most loot after 8 rounds wins.  Any guesses on the final scores?  Or at least who won?

If you guessed Tanya, then Gabriel slightly edging out Garrett, with me bringing up the rear in a distant 4th, then you should buy some lottery tickets tonight as well. :-)

Tanya and I wanted to have dinner in town at another well-rated seafood place.  However, neither boy could be convinced to join us, so... Mac 'n Cheese round 2 for them!  Meanwhile, Tanya and I went to Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport.  Tanya had the Fishwives Stew, and I had the Seared King Salmon.  Both were very good, but most importantly, we had two desserts: a homemade Lemon Cookie Ice Cream and a Shortbread Parfait.  If you are in the area and *don't* try the Lemon Cookie Ice Cream, YOU ARE A FOOL!  That ice cream makes me want to buy an ice cream maker and grow a Meyer lemon tree.

The other thing I spent a bunch of time doing today was trying to wrap my head around the Firefly RPG rules so that the boys and I can do an Episode sometime this week.  Nerdy adventures await, people!  However, tomorrow we'll be back to the active schedule, so you'll probably have to wait until Thursday for outer space adventures...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Vacacay p2: Cape Perpetua

Our original plan for today was to get up bright and early and get to the park (not the chopper) before the crowds did.  As it turns out, nature had a slightly different plan for us.  Despite telling us there was only a 10% chance of rain this week, the morning broke soggily.  It rained, drizzled, and sprinkled for the better part of the morning.  Tanya and I decided to take that opportunity to make a Walmart run for the rest of the supplies we figured we needed for the next few days.  Yes, we just went to the grocery store last night.  Did you not see the mac and cheese banquet from yesterday's picture?  Clearly we needed more of that!

After lunch, we finally headed out to the park.  Our destination was the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.  Arriving when we did, we had about two hours to kill until high tide (which is the best time to see Thor's Well and Devil's Churn).  We decided to take the walk out to see the Silent Sentinel of the Suislaw, a 600-year-old spruce.
No Gabe -- climbing is a bad idea
I like trees!
To think -- that tree was alive before Columbus "discovered" America!

We then made our way out to Thor's Well, just before high tide.  There was a great churn further south of the Well, which had an interesting geyser-like spout when the ocean hit it properly.  (I hope the video works...)

Thor's Well is hard to wrap your head around.  It looks like there's a giant hole in the rock, and maybe in the ocean itself.  The water that manages to get in there just seems to fall out of the bottom.
Is this where we get onto the Rainbow Bridge?

There are some cool tide pools between Thor's Well and Devil's Churn, as well as some shaded walk through the woods.
Rays of light, courtesy of obscured sun!
Devil's Churn seems like a misnomer -- I didn't catch any signs of Lucifer or any other major or minor demons.  It IS quite thunderous though, and it not the kind of thing you'd like to get caught in without a force field of some sort.
Churn 'n burn!
We made the quick drive up to top of the observation point.  There are some cool pictures, but we neglected to walk another 1/10th of a mile to the actual West Shelter Observation Point building.  Apparently we didn't read the signs correctly.

"What's that?" asks Garrett.

"I think it's the Pacific Ocean." I reply.
We finished the day off at Ona Restaurant.  Neither of the boys seemed all that keen on eating there, having expended all of their energy on the walk itself.  Gabriel deemed the grilled cheese sandwich "too cheesy," and Garrett enjoyed the fish and chips.  I had seafood saffron pasta, while Tanya had an excellent salmon.  Add in two desserts, and we were well-fed!

As we finished eating, a group of guys from the Cool Corvette Convention (CCC) started arriving. No pics, unfortunately, but the first two license plates we read were "AT0M1C" and "1962FULE".  Fearing a movie scene where the elites kicked all the commoners out, we made a hasty exit.

Tomorrow, it looks like it's going to be rainy again.  Again, I have to question what kind of lies has been spreading.  My guess is that they are in collusion with Oregon to get people to come out here near the end of summer with the lure of cool weather sans rain, and then let Oregon dump the sky on them.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer Vacacay p1: Travel Day

Travel day is almost always the hardest for me, and today was no different.  It didn't help that I'd been traveling for work this past week, so I was already a little run down.  I woke up early to make sure my personal machine had all the setup necessary to get some stuff done for work (just in case, dangit).  We left the house on time, which was great, I managed to read about 25% of "The Once and Future King" on the plane, which was greater, and the flight actually landed early, which was greatest!  Baggage claim was relatively prompt.  Tanya set up Alamo "bypass the desk" pick up, so we got off the bus and went straight to our car.  We were on the road to the vacacay house!

As an aside: on the bus to the rental car facility, a FANTASTIC 89-year-old lady sat next to Garrett and gave him some grandmotherly advice about school and career.  I wish I'd gotten her picture.  She and her gal pal were ALSO on a summer vacacay, and she looked and acted like she was already enjoying it.  :-)

The drive was scheduled to take about 3 hours.  The place we're staying is in Waldport, southwest of Portland.  Even taking the big roads, the drive was pretty scenic.  Lots of really woody areas, a few mountains in the distance, pleasing angle of sunlight... We had a slight snafu in that we couldn't connect the phone to the stereo using the cable, so we didn't get to listen to our traveling music.  Pairing via bluetooth is a necessity in this car, apparently.

As the end of the drive approached, Tanya noticed a bunch of red coloring on the map.  There was apparently a traffic accident on the road just outside of the place where our rental was.  As it turned out, they CLOSED THE ROAD, so we had to take a detour.  Getting stuck behind a Winnebago on a 10-mile detour at the end of a long travel session was more than mildly frustrating, but we weathered it with as much grace as we could muster.  We needed to get into town to get a batch of groceries in any case.  Passing the ambulance on our way reminded us about how lucky we actually were and are. :-|

On leaving the grocery store, we approached our rental from the other direction, only to be redirected AGAIN, as the road was still closed.  We were south of our rental, approaching from that direction.  The accident was between us and where we needed to turn into the rental, so we had to go through the detour again.  No Winnebago this time -- count your blessings and all that.  We got back to the main road, turn south (since we're north of the accident now), and about a mile before we get to the turn in for the rental, we noticed a long stream of cars coming up from the south.  The wreck had been cleared!  We finally made it to the house!

About the house -- it's not much to rave about in an of itself.  However, if you've made it this far into the post, thank you for fighting through it as I have to fight through travel days.  Hopefully the view pics are worth the effort.

View from the deck
Mac n' Cheese: Vacacay Dinner of Champions!

Good sunset pic, or BEST sunset pic?! (by me, at least)

I'm going to try to make entries daily so vicarious vacacays can be had by all, but we're also going to be hiking and stuff.  If I'm too tired, you'll have to simply imagine all the fun we're having. :-)