Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break, Part 2 (Entering Yosemite)

I took a LOT of pictures in Yosemite.  Actually, I took a photography class while there so I took a lot of pictures of the same thing while I experimented with light and movement.  So of all the pictures, not many are actually very good or even very interesting.  But I will share some that might give you a sense of the journey. (Hopefully!)

Last year there was a wild fire around Yosemite.  Driving in was rather disheartening, as the forest was charred.

It was interesting to see how in some areas trees that were killed by the fire stood next to trees that appear untouched.  Perhaps the dead ones were killed by heat rather than actual fire?

At this point I was beginning to worry that all of Yosemite would be a wasteland.

Thankfully, the devastation ended before we arrived inside the park.  Along the side of the road there was something that looked like snow.  I believe it was actually remnants of the chemical retardant the Forest Service uses to help put out wild fires.

Finally we were arriving at the park.  It was an absolutely perfect day, weather wise.  Look at that blue sky!

Our first peak at the grandeur of Yosemite was Bridal Veil Falls cascading down from the sheer granite...mountain? cliff?  I don't know what you should properly call these massive granite rocks.

Yosemite is a huge national park.  761,268 acres to be exact.  (3,081 sq. km for my European readers.) Considering that we spent just 3 nights there (not to mention that I am extremely out-of-shape and getting old!) we did not see much.  We SHOULD have hiked in closer to Bridal Veil Falls. At this point I thought we would get back to it.  However, once we got to our campsite and started planning our days we realized we weren't going to get more than a cursory overview of this enormous park.

That's all I have time for today...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break, Part 1

Spring break happened a few weeks ago; finally a chance to take a planned trip in our "new" RV.  So anxious to get on the road were we that we picked Ethan up from school IN THE RV and hit the road.

The first night we drove to some little town in Nevada.  The second day we drove from Nevada to Yosemite National Park in California.  Today's pictures were taken along the way to Yosemite.

We stopped at a scenic pull off at what I thought was Lake Tahoe.  It was actually Donner Lake which is much smaller than Lake Tahoe.  Oh well, a very pretty spot nonetheless.

The kids took off up the hill where they found some pinecones.

Huge pine cones, actually.  We gathered up a bunch of them and brought them home with us.

Prior to this trip I had only been to the main tourist parts of California:  San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.  This trip took us through some beautiful agricultural areas.  We saw acres and acres of vineyards and orchards.  After driving by several produce stands we decided it would probably be wrong not to stop and sample some of the local produce, so we just stopped at the next one we came to.

Denise's Farmer's Market in Ripon, California was a great find.  We picked up strawberries, blackberries, apples, pears, almonds, flavored olive oil, homemade salsa and...firewood! The food was all great.  The firewood was awful.  I believe it was from almond trees and apparently almond trees don't burn well.  

I had never seen almond trees before, but the Farmer's Market was set in a grove of the trees.  Initially Eric went into the market while I wandered outside and took pictures.

Here is a close-up of the almonds:

And here is a picture of part of the grove:

I would enjoy spending more time in this part of California.  It was a different world from their famous cities and one that I found much more pleasant.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boring routine

I was just reading a blog that I enjoy and thought I would leave a comment. But this particular blogger has a huge number of followers and there are always many, many comments. So I clicked the box to leave a comment but then decided against it. I would be lost in the sea of voices. I like leaving comments for bloggers who have a more modest audience, where I know they'll be appreciated.

I'm sorry I haven't posted any new pictures in awhile. Seems I'm in the boring routine of life again! Just to give you something visual, I'll post a picture of the valentine cards I made for my family, including a couple of little ones that my son gave to classmates (one of which is upside down. Oops!)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Foggy Beauty

While much of the U.S. is suffering through bitter cold and snow and my friends in the U.K. are experiencing high winds and waves, here in Boise we have fog.  Weeks upon weeks of fog.  I'm not complaining.  I'll take fog over cold and snow any day.

One day, because I live on a cliff overlooking the valley, I was able to see blue sky above the fog.  I quickly took a few pictures.

And while the gray skies get tiring, the fog does often create some beautiful scenes if you just look close enough.

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It is not without reason that I call myself "Gypsy Mom".  

As I have stated in the not too distant past, I was getting bored and feeling restless.  If it were possible, I would have moved us again.  I do realize that while there are children living in our home I need to settle down a bit.  I've realized this a little late I suppose, but I have realized it.  Nevertheless, the restlessness was brewing in me.  Alas, I believe we have found a solution that makes everyone happy.  Behold, the Gypsy Van:

A way for me to wander without permanently uprooting the entire family!

We purchased this shortly before Christmas and decided to take it to my mother-in-laws house for our Christmas visit.  We intended to be gone just two nights, during which we would be eating at MIL's house and only sleeping in the RV.  However, my husband shares my Gypsy tendencies and so we got to talking.  We were already practically at the Oregon coast (if you call 2 hours into a 10 hour drive "practically there", which I do - when it's convenient!) so why not just go the rest of the way?  The next thing you know Eric had e-mailed his boss saying he'd be out for awhile and there we were, on the road again.

I'll try not to over narrate.

First stop, Astoria, Oregon.  We visited the remains of a shipwreck.  (The Peter Iredale, in case anyone is curious.)

While in Astoria we visited Fort Clatsop, because my son had studied it in school as part of a unit on the journey of Lewis and Clark.  He had even built a model of the fort.

While not cold by some standards, the dampness made it feel uncomfortably cold.  I cannot imagine living in those conditions without our modern conveniences.  Here, the comforts of home in the days of Lewis and Clark.

This is a close up of the roof at the fort.  Mostly because I like to take close ups of things, but also to illustrate how damp it is.  Moss grows on the roof.  (And this is not the original fort; it is a replica which was built recently - 2006, I think.  So it's not as if this has been building up over generations.)

Next we headed for the beach.  We found a campground at Cape Lookout State Park.  Being winter, it was not warm but beautiful nonetheless.

The campground was so close to the beach that we could hear the waves at night.  Wonderful!

Finally we went to a place that you have no doubt seen far too many times on this blog:  Cannon Beach.  I won't bore you with multiple pictures that you've seen before, just this one of Haystack Rock to prove I was there. (Again!)

We've been home for about 3 weeks and I am itching to get on the road again!  In the meantime, I have renewed my effort to finish unpacking boxes.  We've been in our current house longer than we were in the last house - 9 months!  I swear I'm going to unpack everything and get rid of as much as I can bear to get rid of.  I need to be ready (pared down) for the next move.  That shouldn't happen for at LEAST 14 months, but you never know...

Anyone in the mood for Christmas pictures?  I truly meant to post these BEFORE Christmas, but I was playing with the layout of the blog and, in so doing, completely messed things up so that I could not even get onto the main page to make new entries.  It took me until today to contact my brother for help.  (Thank goodness for tech-savvy younger siblings!)

This year I decided to buy some new decorations.  I have really never had much in the way of seasonal decorations; mostly just small things given to me over the years.  This year I found a picture I liked in a catalog, went to the store and bought everything I thought I could reasonably use.  What fun!

I was limited by the wall color behind our fireplace. It is a burnt orange.  When we looked at the house I thought "that wall has to go!" but as I lived with it, it grew on me and now I really like it.  It is limiting, however.

I went with a jeweled woodland "theme" and I was very pleased with the results.

I experimented with photographing ornaments.  Here, two of my favorites:

This is an ornament I purchased many years ago at a local craft fair, so it is hand painted.  The house reminds me of an aunt and uncle's farmhouse while the boy dragging the tree reminded me of one of my nephews.  I am not entirely sure why, but this is one of my all time favorite ornaments.

This is just a run-of-the-mill ornament from a box of several identical ornaments.  I like the twinkling lights in the background.

Now I shall attempt not to mess anything up on this blog, and to post more updates in rapid succession. Well, one at least.