Sekiu Halibut Trip 2015

Well, it wasn’t the best halibut trip, but it wasn’t the worst either. We certainly didn’t come home empty handed, the weather was great, and the company fantastic! I managed to sprain my pinky tossing a football around on the last evening…. besides natural clumsiness, my dear friend Sailor Jerry was also involved in this debacle. Suffice to say, it hurts to type. I think we’ll just do pictures and captions today, sound good? Ok!

The water was consistently rough most of the trip. Here’s where it got to be to chaotic to fish….

Here’s me hanging on for dear life!

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Our sweet sweet ride for most of the trip.

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Aptly named… This is Bob, owner of the Bobber and Mountain Man’s dad.

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Sadly, the only halibut we caught all weekend.

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But we were happy to be catching cod too. This is Mr. Awesome enjoying bringing in his catch.

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Oh my Cod!

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So many boats!!

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One of my highlights was driving the big boat!

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After halibut closed, we did a quick run for sea bass off “The Caves”. It’s like fish in a barrel. We caught 12 in a little over an hour. Easy peasy. A great morale boost for the less fruitful trips.

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The main cave of “The Caves”

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These are also considered part of the “The Caves” but I think they should be called “The Toes.”

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He is so cool! Love my MM ❤

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When we weren’t on the boat, we were here, at Van Ripers.

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Me and Mrs. Stout cutting loose. They brought this fantastic redneck board game. Hilarious!

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The fat sea lions come strickly for halibut season. They eat all the carcasses, mate, and are gone with fishermen once halibut season closes.

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Excuse me, I think someone broke the dock… lol

Astoria Revisited

Astoria, Oregon. If it’s known for anything, it’s the setting for the classic 80’s movie The Goonies. Apparently this summer it it’s 30th anniversary! Where does the time go?

For me, Astoria has always been a dumpy town that my family drove through, and never stopped in, but quickly passed on our way to the resort towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach. So when Caliente invited me out to spend the weekend with her and her boyfriend, Handro, I snarkily replied “Why would I want to go there??” Her big push was to go play at the beach. Since I couldn’t imagine we’d want to spend anytime in a town full of decrepit buildings and sketchy individuals, I immediately pushed for driving out to Cannon Beach to play there. I was promptly shut down by Handro and the rest of our party on account it would be an additional hour drive after already driving for 3 hours to get to his home. I could see the logic but just could not imagine why we would want to hang out in Astoria. What could this shady, dying town possibly have to offer?

A lot, actually. But first a brief historic review: Astoria is located at the mouth of the Columbia River as it flows into the Pacific Ocean which, one hundred years ago, would have been a pretty great place to set up shop. The river was easy access to the interior of the Oregon and Washington and became a popular port town in the late 1800’s. Commercial fishing, fish processing, and lumber, made this an invaluable keystone of the Pacific Northwest for over a century. Eventually the town was eclipsed by the rise of metropolises like Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle. In the 1980’s the canneries, saw mills, and eventually railroad service closed their doors and turned their backs on Astoria. Like so many towns deemed obsolete as technological advances improve, little thought was given to the future welfare of the city. This would explain the dilapidation and disarray that was Astoria when I was a kid cruising through on my way to a  beachy vacation. What I did not know was that in the late 1990’s there began a renaissance of art and reclamation of the town as a whole. This renaissance has continued to grow over the years turning this home of industry into a historic monument and fun tourist stop for several cruise ships. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised to enter downtown for the first time in eons, greeted by novelty shops, art galleries, and historic buildings with fresh coats of paint granting them the chance to once again shine as they had during the town’s hay day.

A quick round of hugs and bag dropping at our host’s home and we were off like a shot! Handro’s first destination on our tour was to Fort Stevens State Park. This park is seriously HUGE! A long stretch of beach where you can walk or drive next to the surf for miles and miles, big grassy dunes riddled with bike paths and a campground that boasts tent sites, cabins, and yerts. BTW, yerts are weird looking! But back to beach.

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Seriously, how gorgeous is that??

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I couldn’t believe how blue the water was here. It almost looked tropical.

My favorite part of the park was the shipwreck. The Peter Iredale was a four masted sail boat cruising in from Mexico when it was run aground due to high winds during a storm in 1906. The boat was supposed to be repaired and returned to the water. However, in typical Northwest fashion, the weather would not cooperate and by the time it did, the ship had sunk into the sand beyond the point of retrieving. So there it remained, most of it getting sold for scrap.

This is all that’s left 109 years later.IMG_1210

It’s amazing to walk around this hunk of extremely sturdy metal and ponder it existing for as long as it has in the salty sea air and tides.

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I love old stuff….

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And the people who hang out with me near old stuff.

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L to R: Caliente, Bestie, Mr. T, and Handro

IMG_1245Feeling thoroughly windswept and hungry we decided to venture into downtown for drinks and snacks. Our first stop was the Buoy Taproom. The restaurant building was once a cannery 90 years ago and sits atop restored (Thank God) pilings. It was a beautiful space and made me thankful that there are still individuals in this world who appreciate historic buildings and are willing to restore and preserve their story. Beyond the incredible ambiance, the food and beer was damn good as well! Oysters were the talk of the day. When in a port town, chances are you will find it’s quality of seafood unparalleled. I, for one, was completely uninterested in trying oysters, gross! Nor was Caliente. But with sufficient pressure from our peers we gave in and tried a few. I was certain it would be salty, chewy, rubbery, yuck! I was pleasently surprised to find them tender, mild, and delicious! They came served with goat cheese and pepper jelly. Yummy!! We also enjoyed their deep fried cheese curds and spinach dip. Mmmmm snacks 🙂

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 Another charming feature of The Buoy is their plexiglass section of the floor in the middle of the restaurant. Why? Well if there’s one thing Astoria has in spades, it’s sea lions. Big, fat, loud, sea lions.  Furthermore they love to hangout and bask on the piling and connecting planks all along the pier. I’m sure it was on purpose that a large inviting plank was located just under the plexiglas. Sprawled atop said plank laid a fine and rather imposing specimen. It almost felt like I was in a zoo, for a moment, looking through glass at a giant animal I would hope to never come face to face with. But there he slept and jerked in his dreams just below my feet. It was daunting to stand on the glass even when logic tells you it will be fine. I didn’t even realize I was avoiding it until Hando laughed at the four of us as we cautiously stood on the precipice of the view. IMG_1243

Our stroll continued in and out of a town that has painstakingly preserved it’s history and heritage.

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When did the Roebuck get dropped I wonder….

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Each trash can uniquely made to look like a product one of the local canneries used to produce. Seriously, this place is cool.

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They also had real working pay phones which I found hilarious!IMG_1262

After a fantastic evening stroll we decided to head back to Handro’s house for a board game and some giggles amid a pristine sunset.

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The next morning, we strolled past some fantastic historic buildings.

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Mr. T remarked how amusing it was that the old jail still looked like a jail. Upon consideration, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a historic jail look so much like its former self.

Caliente thought this one looked like the Addam’s Family mansion.

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A coat of black paint would do the trick.

Breakfast was served at The Labor Temple Diner. Delicious food, huge portions, and a fantastically friendly staff. Their menu had a great story about the building so rather than me rattle off to you about it, I’ll let you read it from the horses mouth. IMG_1270

To walk off our gut-bomb breakfast we visited some of the local art galleries and shops.

Riversea Art Gallery was truly impressive. A large gallery with artists spanning every medium and genre imaginable. There was something for everyone! If you’re an art lover like me, you’d be daydreaming about being rich enough to have on piece from each artist adorning your soon to be extremely eclectic home.

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I really enjoyed Stacy Polson’s needle felted/Japanese inspired wall hangings.

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Roger McKay’s use of classic paintings with modern childhood heroes was certainly intriguing to say the least!

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And Jud Turner’s bio-mechanical art was sensational!

Last on the tour was Phog Bounder’s Antique Mall. What a fantastic place! The top floor (and ceiling) adorned with great finds for all likes. The downstairs was more of an upcycled artisans mecca, I was in heaven. The had a whole corner practically dedicated to Ball mason jars lol. Loved it!!

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I could have bought everything!!! Alas, I was frugal and only got two rectangular medicine bottles to use for flower vases and a couple of small glass buoys to put in my larger planters. I am so coming back here with more money!!

As you can see, my tune has changed dramatically about the little port town of Astoria. I highly recommend visitation to anyone traveling through. This town has so much to offer! I can’t wait to go back again.

Springtime on the River

IMG_7935Yesterday was my first time back on the boat since September. It was wonderful. Cold! But wonderful. We met MM’s parents at the Cowlitz River in search of steelhead. Fall and Winter are certainly more prosperous ventures for these tasty salmonids but Spring can be surprising. Yesterday was not one of those surprising day. Drifting in and out of countless others vying for a bite can be frustrating. Even more infuriating are the crystal clear waters displaying the fish practically within grabbing distance. If that IMG_7911weren’t enough, watching your lure go right past their pointy snouts without the slightest reaction of interest, will certainly have you tearing your hair out. Patience is key… beer helps too.

 

After several hours of this, I lost interest and turned my attention to the scenery. The Spring green of the trees and shrubs seemed to almost glow in their newness and brightness.

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The homes and cabins of the lucky few who can afford such embellishments turned on my internal “When I have a house of my own” button on and kept it running most of the afternoon with décor and DIY projects dancing in my head.

IMG_7916Why yes, I would love to stay in your matching guest shanty on the river!

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Undoubtedly the highlight of my day was the birds. Large and small, they were out in force. Several Canadian geese couples were cosseting their newly hatched goslings along the banks. Bright orange and yellow finches took bathes in the shallows. Hordes of sparrows circled and swooped continuously hunting for insects along the surface of the water.

IMG_7982Oh but the big ones were, by far, the show stoppers of the day. A family of bald eagles took turns orbiting the river and the bomb diving into the depths with a large splashy crash and then quickly soaring off with their meal.  Their great wings majestic and proud as the country they signify. As symbolic as these animals are, it was refreshing to watch them play and bicker just as all of God’s flawed creatures do.

IMG_7992     My kingdom for a long lens. I think I will ask for one this Christmas!IMG_7990Several blue heron’s soared up and down the rivers like commuter flights of the ecosystem. Their long lines remnant of ancient ancestors that once ruled the world for far longer than we can claim. From fierce, carnivorous, predators to graceful, elegant, hunters they glide in silence that demands appreciation.

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The river in Springtime is such an ethereal and vibrant place.

How was your weekend? What do you love about springtime?

Favorite Pics of 2014

I took a lot of pictures this year… I mean, A LOT! It’s been an interesting adventure moving from camera to camera. I love my Cannon Rebel though. There are so many pictures that I never got to enter in a post because they had nothing to do with what I was writing about … I keep thinking about joining the ranks of Wordless Wednesday. The problem is, I remember this on Thursday usually lol. Oh well. Here are some gems from me to you. Happy New Year, and Happy picture taking 🙂

August

Just Hangin Out

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Gone Fishin

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Carbon River

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Fuzzy Friend

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Knapweed

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Icicles

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Wild Tiger Lily

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Herbs ready for drying

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Puerto Vallarta Sunset

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Sunset in the Hills

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Fall

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Dahlia

July

 Blanket Flower

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Log Show

November

Mt. Rainier

October

Mogwai

September

Mutant Tomato

Fall in Portlandia

Last weekend I went to Portland to see my dear friend Caliente’s new house! This is such a huge deal among our circle of friends since she has always been an extremely transient person. Now she is a home owner in the most perfect corner of the universe for her needs and likes. Best of all, it’s only a couple hours away, which beats the hell out of the other side of the world (after meeting in college, she moved to Europe for 8 years.) So here’s her home:

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Saturday morning we went to one of our favorite breakfast spots. Only 5 blocks from her home, we walked and enjoyed the neighborhood foliage. People in Portland really take pride in their landscaping, it’s eye candy for gardeners.

The Arugularium is everything you’d expect from Portland; health conscious, slightly pretentious, and aesthetically earthy.

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Have you ever had a savory crepe? Its fantastic! I highly recommend the Savory Peach. This time I tried their seasonal special: Apples, bacon, gruyere, and a little maple syrup, holy yum!! (The red onions are left over from a bite of Caliente’s savory peach)

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Next on the docket was to find bone meal for the daffodils and crocus Miss C got to plant for spring. We initially were going to just go to Home Depot or something when we passed this cute little shop.

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Not only did the Birds and the Bees Nursery still have pretty blooming flowers, they also had chickens and a resident kitty cat that followed us everywhere meowing for attention.

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The coolest was their “create your own terrarium” corner. They had a fantastic array of succulents, air , and carnivourus plants! So cool! They also carried little porcelin figurines, rocks, mosses, and soil! Everything in one place! Brilliant! Caliente made one with venus fly traps and honey dew. I can’t wait to go back and make my own next time!

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Upon returning her her home, I set her to work planting the crocus in random areas around her tulip tree in the front sidewalk.

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While she did that I made a daffodil ring around the base of the tree.

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Afterwards we picked up J and wandered over to the local pumpkin patch and corn maze.

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Complete with silly cut out photo ops.

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The maze was quite large, 2.6 miles of pathways total! We soon discovered that the object of the maze was to find all of the scarecrows.

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Fortunately, they gave us a map. At one point I recall asking Caliente where we were and her response was “I think we’re in an eyebrow!” Interesting, I can honestly say I’ve never been in an eyebrow before.

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By the third scarecrow it was becoming very apparent that some of us did not wear the correct foot attire for this venture.

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So we called it a day and, after picking up Bestie, headed to the bars on Belmont. First stop was the Sweet Hearafter. A cute pub that was very dark inside but had a lovely bright back patio. I was really impressed by the service. Caliente had ordered me a beer while I ran to the restroom. When I returned the bartender told me to try it first. It was way to hoppy for my taste and even though he poured a full beer, he was happy to let me pic another one. I didn’t even have to ask!

Just down the block was the Circa 33, a prohibition themed bar with a wall of liquor so tall it needed a ladder to reach to top shelf!

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The really cool part was that their cocktail list included the approximate date of each drinks invention. Sorry for the blur, but you get the idea.

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Next was the Triple Nickle which I guess people often humorously refer to as the Triple Nipple. They had this HUGE Jenga set! I really wanted to play but another group beat us to it!

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We giggled and laughed a lot over the next few hours.

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The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur, naturally, but it was a great day in Portlandia with great friends!

Chasing the Dream

The dream being that perfect picture of Mount Rainier. When living near such a wonderful testimony to the beauty of mother nature, it’s hard not to get swept up and want to click away almost daily. My Friday evening began in one of my favorite ways, having a couple of beers with my distinguished and somewhat disheveled middle school teacher buddies. After filling up on brews and laughter, I headed home. Making my way through the usual cow pastures and winding roads, I turned the corner and saw this:

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I immediately pulled over, grabbed my phone and started shooting. Kicking myself the whole time for not having my nice camera with me. As I lamented over my dilemma, a gentleman pulled up and parked right behind me. He burst out of his car, camera in hand, with the same mindset as I. After a few polite words, I hopped back into my car to head home. A little way down the road, I saw a couple taking their picture with the mountain in the background when it dawned on me, this is a special night for mountain pictures. I called my Mountain Man and implored him to chase me up the foothill roads before it got dark. I could hear the eye roll through the phone but, of course, he complied.

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We raced up the Carbonado roads through the clear cut and replanted forests with a frenzy that I’m fairly sure was amplified by the beer sloshing around in my belly. I was grinning ear to ear as we rounded onto the gravel roads that signified we were getting close.

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When we arrived at our first stop, I jump out of the truck, climbed into the tailgate and began to play with the various settings, trying to find that perfect exposure.

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This was the best one, I really need to remember a tripod lol. I really love the clouds and how bright the moon is though. It was truly a sight. I was so focused on the mountain, I forgot to turn and look at the sun setting, fortunately MM was there to reel me in.

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Sadly, it had gotten too dark at this point to travel up to better vantages, so we headed back. But I still managed to get some pretty nifty pics.

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Oddly, I was on a mission for that great nature shot, but this one turned out to me my favorite of the bunch!

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Great Friday Night!

Party in Puerto Vallarta!

The bride and groom to be, excited on the plane.

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Beers in the bus that took us to the hotel…score!IMG_3131

Vendors on the edge of the beach showing off their wares and calling to us: “Senorita, Senorita, spend your money here!!” They were relentless!!

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But they had pretty things, some of which I purchased.

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Me and my favorite ladies

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Fiesta night

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Complete with mariachi band. They were fantastic!IMG_3165 IMG_3169

Come down and play!!IMG_3176

To the pool!! Every day was a party at the pool!

Me with Aunt Kathleen, Uncle Doug, and Grandpa John

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Margaritas!

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Micheladas

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Pina Coladas

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Strawberry Daquri

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Beer

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And Fernando brings it all! Oh how we loved Fernando…. I really miss him!!IMG_3207

Fun in the sunIMG_3142

And a lovely wedding 🙂

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