Day One and Two of Libilou and Treetop’s Most Excellent San Diego Adventure!

Day one started at 1 a.m. (that’s one O’Dark in the morning). It was dark. Very dark. Not much to see, except for this lovely moon.

20160219_042804Now what you can’t see is what this moon did to the snow on the mountains as we drove through. There is a line in “Twas the Night Before Christmas” that came to mind. “The Moon on the breast of the new fallen snow/Gave the lust of midday to the objects below”. This really was true. The glow was lovely. What I saw of it. I mainly slept while Keith drove. 

We drove through to Mesquite before we had to fill up. Keith kept driving until we were past Vegas, then we switched. I took over. Just outside of Vegas, we got off I-15 and took “Bob’s Road” (Twister reference for those who don’t speak Movie) to head to Joshua Tree National Monument. People, this road was a blast to drive. Didn’t really get pictures because I was driving (and driving and picture taking means death, so don’t do it!) and Keith was trying to sleep. The trying to sleep soon ended because this road…oh my! It was curving. It was hilly. Not so much bumpy as hilly. Like, you zoom up one small hill, down the other side really fast then zoom up the other side even faster. Roller coaster in road form. It was 2.5 hours of pure fun! I was laughing and giggling and had the butterflies you get from swinging on a swing and then laying back (you know what I mean!) all the way. (see the smile below).


On a side note, according to Keith, I single-handedly keep the Wheat Thin company in business.

What is a Joshua Tree, you ask? It’s this.


There were millions of them. Our first stop, though, was at the Mara Oasis. Not much of a oasis anymore, as no natural ground water has come up in recent memory, so they add water artificially. But here’s a picture of where the water should be. 

You can’t see it, but there is water there. There was a lovely nature walk we took around the oasis. And one very loud bird. He sat and yelled for a while, but the moment I tried to take his picture, he moved. So much for his 15 minutes of fame!

We then got in the car and drove to San Diego. Since we came in about 1:30 and we couldn’t check in the hotel until 4 p.m. (egads, that’s late!), we decided to go over to San Diego Old Town Park. Great place. I didn’t really get any pictures. I’m sorry, people, I’m a bad picture taker. But, honestly, I’d rather live in the moment then behind a camera. Keri, I did get your treat here. And I’m not telling what it is until Tuesday!

We left there and went to check into our hotel. Small Google snafu, we were led to the wrong hotel. For which I’m grateful. The first one, no in a nice place. Lots of strip clubs, nude clubs and divorce lawyers (I’m not kidding!). They helped direct us to the correct place, which is the Days Inn in Hotel Circle. Lovely place. We showered (oh, that felt good!) and got all gussied up and went out to eat at the Oceanic Coastal Kitchen. If you follow that link, the table in the back corner there? That’s where we sat. I had the Scallops, which was heavenly! And I’m not kidding. It was an, um, (insert inappropriate adult word here) experience! Keith had the Duck. Oh, I also had a lovely mojito. Here we are, all gussied up, out on the pier. 


Bad picture, but it’s what you get.

Next morning, we were up by 6:30 am. Yes, I slept till 6:30 am, which is 7:30 am Utah time. I was tired! Today! Whale Watching! I was so, so excited. First we went to eat at the Waffle Spot. Excellent food. If you have a chance, eat breakfast there. They’re only open till 2pm. 

Once breakfast was done, it was time to get down to the harbor to catch our boat. We went out with Hornblower Cruises. (On a side note, why was the theme to Gillian’s Island going through my head?) Again, excellent. One thing, though, when they tell you to not get sick in the bathroom and use the bags they provide, please pay attention. It’s not for your comfort, but for all of ours. Once someone’s been sick in the bathroom, it’s hard to get that smell out!

No fears about being seasick for me. It felt like a fun roller coaster. Things we saw? Sea lions, dolphins, a fin whale and a grey whale. Pictures below. Met a few really great people. Had a blast. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.


What you can’t see is the grey whale breaching. No picture, but the sight was everything I had always hoped for. That’s the Vincent, a USS Carrier up there. We don’t know the name of the stealth ship (kind of the point, right?), but it took a while to figure out what it was. So, stealth works! I couldn’t believe the little boats people were going out in. Keith was fascinated by the submarine dry dock. That structure actually submerges, the sub floats in, then it resurfaces to put the boat into dry dock. 

That lasted until 1pm. We then walked over to the USS Midway Museum. What an incredible ship. We watched a short about the Battle of Midway, which the USS Midway was named for but did not participate in. I didn’t take a picture, but we got to meet and shake the hand of a WWII Veteran Pilot. The tour was tight, cramped and up and down many things that I guess were ladders, but to me were torture devices. Oi, my knees! Below is the hanger deck. That’s the only picture I took. Again, I was too wrapped up in the moment, reading everything, looking everywhere. 



Next, we walked down to the Maritime Museum (do you see a theme of walking here?) There were many ships there to investigate, but we really wanted to get onto the Star of India and the Dophin. the Russian sub was closed for refitting. Dang! The Dophin is the deepest diving sub ever. Still holds the record. Problem is, the depth of that dive is classified, so no one knows what the record is! I couldn’t believe how cramped that was or that Keith spent 3 months at a time underwater in one of these things! He looks at home, though, doesn’t he?


The sun was setting and I caught a few really pretty photos through the rigging of the tall ships. 


The Star of India was once a passenger ship. Below are the first class and second class cabins. No thanks, I’ll fly.

At this point, we were exhausted. Time for getting back to the hotel, ordering dinner in and rest. We both were passed out by 9pm.


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On the weight loss front

I have been fairly discouraged on the weight loss front. I’ve only lost 35 pounds in the last year. Granted, I feel off the exercise and healthy eating wagon many times, but one would think I’d lose more. Then I went on a hike this last Sunday and a good friend took my picture. I remembered I’d had my picture taken in the same pose and in almost the same clothes last year. I was very surprised.


It’s not a huge difference, but I just look better all around.

Incentive to keep going.


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Day Eight, Meeting an old friend for the first time.

I know, how can she be an old friend if I’ve never met her? I’ll explain later.

Today, I was going to the Saturday Market. I was told I could not leave Portland until I’d attended. So, since I want to leave Portland (I am really ready to go home), I went this morning! It was fun. Great place for more people watching. I’ve decided that the Hipsters roam in packs. It was packed today. I spun most of the time, mainly as a way to get people to give me my space. There was one man, though, who really didn’t care. He took one look at me and rammed into me hard on my left shoulder. His hand also went to my butt. No luck, dude, I’m not that stupid. Cash was not in my back pocket, but nice try. 



Story time! I met Susan when Sam was 9, so 13 years ago. I was homeschooling my children and I met her in the AOL chatrooms for homeschoolers. Homeschooling your children is not for the faint of heart. There were days I didn’t think I was going to make it. There were days I didn’t think my children were going to make it (out alive, that is). Susan got me through it. She is an incredible person and if you look back in the archives of my blog, you’ll find a post telling you how I feel about her. Anyway, here are the two of us.


We have never met until today. But she knows my kids. I know hers. We’ve shared a lot. She’s a great friend. 

The market was great. Lots of things to look at. I did love this lady and her puppets.


I didn’t buy much, but here’s my haul. A lovely little bowl, a little ceramic flute and a cat toy. Now, you ask, why a cat toy? I don’t have a cat. Ah, but Bob has two. I can’t get Bob anything, for reasons he knows, so instead, I’m going to spoil Mr. Whiskers and Gary. 


Tomorrow I’m going to start back early. My goal is to be in my car driving by 7am. I’m going to grab the Historic 30 on the way out for a little detour and try for Multnomah (Mahnahmanah) Falls. Hopefully, that early it will be much less crowded. I’m going to go back by way of Boise. I’d like to be home by 10pm tomorrow. I will not be posting until Monday, though, so don’t hold your breath!

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Day Seven, Train Day!

I decided to get going early for Train day, but not to early. I wanted to avoid the crowds. I packed my bag and got ready to go. No lunch today, since I knew I was meeting Tasha for lunch downtown. My bag was lovely and light. This is important later on.

I grabbed the yellow line, near my hotel, and rode it to the very end. Here are some train pictures for you Trent.



I then grabbed the street car to go to the Tram. A lovely young gentleman on the car showed me the stop and the way to the Tram.


There it is, coming in to park. And I’m going to get into that thing. Really, I did. One thing I got a kick out of, was the Bike Valet Parking.


So, up the tram I went. Lovely views. If you look closely at the skyline, you can see Mt. St. Helens. 


Look close, you can see the mountain there.Image

See way down there, that’s where I’m going! EEEK!Image

Pretty view and you can see me too! (hey, I’m a poet)



I then headed back into town and to Pioneer Square. I got my crack in a cup (Iced Chai Latte) and a lovely orange cranberry scone and sat in the shade and relaxed. I then went and found a spot to people watch. I spun and watched for about an hour. It was interested and relaxing and fun. 

Tasha called, looking for me. We met up and then watched the Weather Machine, which she had never seen, even though she lives there! We then walked over to her work and got lunch at the carts right outside. I got a grilled cheese sandwich. Anyone surprised? Anyone? She took me into her office and we had lunch and I met her co-workers. Marshall, her cube-mate, was fascinated by my spinning. He crochets and is cool. I said good-bye to Tasha and walked to Powell’s books, about 10 blocks or so away.

I don’t know if I can find words to describe Powell’s Books. Wow, awesome, fantastic. These words do not do it justice. I wandered and looked. They had 3 shelves of spinning books! Three!!! And lots and lots of tea books. Floors of books. 


One small look of one small floor. Here is my haul today.


The blue bag I won at Pioneer Square. It’s a banner bag, made from  the banners hung around the square. A lovely way to recycle and, um, Free! I also won that CD, which is filled with songs from local artists. 

While at the bookstore, I had a pretty bad asthma attack. People crowded around and I kind of freaked out. I got my inhaler in me and started to breathe and got out of there. Fortunately, Pearl Fiber Arts and Cindy were not far away. I needed somewhere where I could sit and be quiet and feel safe. Thank heavens for Cindy! I calmed down and was able to continue on. 

I made my way to the City center via street car and Max and then got on the Green line for a long ride. I took it all the way out to Clakamas (love saying that name!). I sat and spun and watched. People and the views. It was relaxing and fun. 

Instead of coming all the way back in to get onto the yellow line to back to the hotel, I transferred at the Rose Quarter. Rode back and trudged back to the hotel. This is where all those books come into play. Egads! My backpack had gotten quite heavy by then and I was exhausted by the time I got back to the hotel room. I laid down “for a few minutes” at about 5:30 pm. I woke up briefly at 11, took my pills and went back to bed. I slept till about 4:30 this morning. I must have been really tired!

Today is my last day in Portland. I’m going to the Saturday Market and am meeting an old friend. I’m glad it’s my last day. I’m getting homesick. Tomorrow, I drive home. Straight through. 


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Day Six of the Epic Adventure

I am an early riser. Everyone knows this about me. A morning person…One of THOSE people. I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 am each morning, which is between 5 and 6 am Utah time, so I’ve not been to worried about it. It’s a good time to wake up in Utah. Thursday morning, I was up and decided to get up and check Facebook and the like. I then decided to lay back down for a bit and woke up at 7:30 am. I just don’t do that! It felt good, though, I must say. I must really be getting comfortable.

So, I got a late start. I didn’t get on the train until close to 10am. I took a quick break at Pioneer Square for an Ice Chai Latte (crack in a cup) and a view.


I saw this sign when I got off the train. I love the whimsy of it all.


I made my way to the Japanese gardens by way of two trains and one bus. The bus driver, who I’ll tell you more about later, was a hoot!

The gardens were incredible. I’m just going to share the following pictures without much comment.


I sat in this little spot for a while, spinning. I tried to capture the sound of the running water, but unfortunately, people would just not be quiet.

I met three lovely ladies who asked me about my spinning, then asked me to take their picture. I asked them to take mine, so I had proof that it really is me here, and not someone else.


See, me!

I continued to walk through the garden, which was really incredible. I would have enjoyed it more if there hadn’t been a group of older adults going through who felt the need to be loud and obnoxious. They weren’t there to enjoy the garden, but to share a story that involved them all yelling “Perfect” at the top of their longs many times. Very, very rude. I finally got away from them by going very deep into the park and hiding for a bit. I took time at many of these spots to spin and reflect.



From the Japanese Garden I walked across the street and followed my nose to the International Rose Test Garden. I sat by the yellow roses and ate my lunch. The view was gorgeous, but the smell was incredible.

Some of my favorites follow.


You’ll notice not a red rose in the bunch. I really do not like red roses. I couldn’t tell you why, but I don’t. Yellow and pink are lovely, though.

I got back on the 83 bus, with the same bus driver. Old friends. I rode the entire loop, because it was just lovely, back to the Oregon Zoo. Bus driver was pointing things out and I was asking him questions about driving. I then asked him if he felt like he was just going around in circle, to which I got a 10 minute rant on his life as a driver. (funny, not crazy). A ride and a show!

From there, I headed back downtown. I rode the train from the Robertson Tunnel, under the Oregon Zoo. Seriously, it is under it! I love tunnels. I wonder if I really am a Hobbit?

I made my way back, eventually, to my hotel room to freshen up and repack my bag. I then drove Daisy over to the train station (because I was not going to walk under those to bridges at night, thank you very much. Mama didn’t raise no fool) and took the train back into town. I got off at Union Station and walked 6 blocks into the Pearl District, looking for Pearl Fiber Arts.

Found it!


Oh my, but it is a lovely store. I should tell you, though, that if you see this lady in there, you should protect your wallet. She is a fiber pusher, enabler and fanatic all in one!


I had a ball last night. It was nice to be able to talk out loud about my politics and not fear for my life. To be around people who understood my fiber obsession.

Duffy (crazy lady above) snuck this lovely hank of yarn into my bag.Image

This picture does not do the color justice. It is so, so lovely.

Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying some spinning fiber. The brown is an alpaca/milk fiber blend. Locally sourced, of course. The cream is hemp! I’ve never spun hemp before, so I thought I’d give it a try.


Duffy insisted on giving me a ride back to my car. She said that the Max can get “strange” at night. After being in this city for a few days, wandering around, I wonder how much stranger it could get. But, one should listen to the locals when traveling. After the ride she gave me, I begin to wonder if I wouldn’t have been safer on the Max! She is nuts! But my kind of nuts. And egads, she has the most contagious laugh I have ever heard. I was in hysterics for most the ride.

Seepagers, if you come to Portland, you must visit Pearl Fiber Arts and you must meet Duffy!

I got back to the hotel about 9, but I was really exhausted, which is why this is being posted today, instead of last night. I wouldn’t have done this post justice if I’d tried to write it last night.

Today is train day! I’m going to ride the train, the street cars, the tram. I’m going to make it to the Powell Books on Burnside (now that I understand the city a bit more). I’ve been told I need to be a Pioneer square just before noon. It’s going to be a fun, fun day.

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Libi’s Excellent Portland Adventure, Day 5

Today I decided to try out Portland’s Public Transportation. I’m within .5 miles of a Max Station (the Yellow line). It was a bit rainy when I started out, but it never really poured today. Just a drizzle here and there. 

I’d downloaded the TriMet app and purchased my ticket, which lived on my phone. I walked over to the station and waited. It didn’t take very long. I got on the train and ended up sitting next to a lovely young lady who complimented my hair (I have it braided from the side and in a bun). I chatted with her until I was supposed to get off. At least, I thought when I was supposed to get off. I was trying to get to the Powell’s on Burnside, but egads, did I get lost.

I ended up doing a lot of walking today. Here are some things I saw along the way.


Oh yeah, I’m in Portland! 

I met a man walking three dogs. 2 pit bulls (lovely and very well behaved) and a great dane. The dane let me know that he needed his ears scratched. The fun part? I didn’t have to lean down. He was so large, he was face level with me. Then a kitty walked by and I was amazed that the dogs didn’t go nuts. That is, until I learned that he was walking 3 dogs and 1 cat. Made me smile.

I’m not even going to try and explain the next picture. So many things are running through my brain, but I’m trying to be good, as this is a family blog.


I ended up on Hawthorne, at the Powell’s there. I sat and had an iced chai while I charged my phone and relaxed. I pulled out my spinning and relaxed. No one even batted an eye. I wandered around a bit, and then decided to head into town. I walked out the door and saw this.


I can’t comment on the veracity of the statement, but do enjoy the sentiment. 

I got on a bus and went into Portland downtown easily enough. I found Waterfront Park and sat and ate lunch. Again, I packed my lunch, rather than buy. 


There was a school group there. When they left, I was completely surprised at how clean they left the scene. 

I then set out for to find Mill End’s Park. There is construction going on, so it’s looking a bit sad at the moment.


I decided to make my way back to the hotel. I said earlier that I downloaded the TriMet app. It’s a good app. Great for trip planning, but it doesn’t save your information. If you move away from the app, you have to put it all back in again. So, I learned pretty fast to figure out my trip and write it all down! I already have my trip planned for tomorrow and written into my little notebook.

On the train back I met a lovely lady who was crocheting. We talked about my spinning, about her crochet, about things to do and how to get around in the city. I invited her to the knit night I’m going to tomorrow night at Pearl Fiber Arts

Tomorrow I’m going to do public transit to the Japanese Gardens and the Rose Test Gardens in Washington Park. I may go back downtown afterwards. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do public transport to go to the knit night or drive.

Stay tuned!

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Day Four, the Epic Road Trip!

The weather was holding this morning, so I decided that I would do my Epic Road Trip today. The itinerary? Over to Tillamook, up to Seaside (with a stop in Bay City for some Jerky for Shelley and Debbie), then on to Astoria. Over the bridge to Desolation Nitch, back over the bridge and home through Washington. 

First off, no issues with the car. She behaved splendidly. 

I got on the freeway and hit traffic immediately. It didn’t last long. By the time I got on the 26, it had cleared out. I then got on the 6 and there just wasn’t really anyone else on the road. Sure, the occasional car, but it was just a lovely drive. I love that kind of driving. Windy roads through small towns, forest and fields. The only thing lacking was Bigfoot. I mean, really. I gave him lots of chances today. He could have just stepped out and said hi to me and made my vacation, but no, I guess he had plans elsewhere.

I didn’t really get any pictures of the drive. One, I didn’t want to keep stopping and two, taking pictures while I’m driving is unsafe and stupid. I haven’t given my 90 day notice of death at work, so I can’t do anything stupid. Matt says. 

I made great time to Tillamook. Got to the cheese factory and went in for my tour. 


This lady was lovely. She kept smiling up at us.Image





And? Free Samples! Love that part of the tour.

I did buy a few things. Swan, I got you a key chain and someone needs to tell Ell at the gym that I got her a shot glass. I also purchased and mailed off postcards. A few people will know they are getting them, but I’ll let the last one be a surprise. 

I did make a very quick stop to buy Jerky in Bay City. Shelley has publicly declared her love for me. 🙂 You’re welcome.


I stopped along the way to eat my lunch (I packed today). Just a lovely view.


I then went on to Seaside. I paid $8 to get into the Seaside Aquarium. I’m not sure it was worth the price, but they did have some great exhibits. Feeding the seals was fun. They slap the water if you’re too slow to throw them the fish. There was a new baby there.

I then went and stared at the sea. Such a gorgeous view.   


I then tooled my way up to Astoria. I had to go over the bridge, you know. 


You can’t really see it, but that bridge is really, really high. Freaky going up there. But fun. 

I came back and went to a River Viewing Tower. 


Where I met Ann and Angie. This is Ann.


Isn’t she beautiful? We got talking and discussing living in Astoria. I didn’t find out till quite a bit into the conversation that she is living on the streets (she doesn’t like the term homeless, she has a home, it’s the streets). She knew a lot of the history of Astoria and wasn’t afraid to share it. I asked her about these ships, and why they were all just sitting there.


She explained that they were waiting for their turn to go up river to Longview or Portland to get their shipments. Logs at Longview (I went through that town and wow, lots and lots of lumber waiting to be shipped) and grain from Portland. They have to wait to go up until there’s a parking place for them, because there’s no room to stand off further up the river. It’s amazing to me that the Columbia is wide and deep enough to accommodate a ship this large! 

Ann wasn’t afraid to answer any questions. I asked her how cold it got in Astoria during the winter and did she live on the streets then. 17 degrees last winter and yes she did. She said living on the streets was not for the faint of heart, but it was her way of life and she wasn’t ashamed of it. Amazing woman. Just amazing. 

I then got back on the 30 and started driving back to Portland. I took a small side trip over to see some wetlands. And just stand and listen. No traffic, no humans, just animals. And no Bigfoot. Darn him!


My return trip took me up into Washington and down through Vancouver, to Portland. 

I haven’t quite decided what I’m doing tomorrow. My life is so organized, mainly due to my job, that I’m enjoying living in the moment on my vacation. Any suggestions? Leave a comment and tell me where to go…(yes, Steve, do it. I expect it!)

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