Monday, August 31, 2009

This was our sunset view from our Oregon cabin south a few miles from Gold Beach. The coast was fairly well socked in with fog when we first arrived and it was lovely to come home from our fabulous day jetboating with Jerry's Jetboats to this view. I highly recommend the jetboats if you are ever in the area. We did the 100ish mile tour - noon to 7 p.m. or so. They take you up the river which progressively gets wilder with a bit more rapids. The boats can pretty much race over smallish rapids and the drivers delight in giving you a thrill ride and doing 360's. We saw quite a few Osprey and Bald Eagles as well as 3 River Otters, a Beaver and a few Deer. Once you leave the coast the weather warms up quickly so you enjoy getting soaked by the driver. They stop off and you have dinner out at a family style restaurant late afternoon and then the ride back in is still fun and you still do spins but the driver keeps you dry. Our cabin was quite rustic and all alone up a steep drive 3/4 of a mile or so but it worked out quite well for us.

Unfortunately we forgot that we were in bear country. Uncle C. spotted a bear ambling down the hill away from our car in the a.m. - oops! We had left our camping tub out on the ground. There really wasn't much in it besides some tea bags, mosquito repellant, dish soap, and of course things like this aluminum foil and dishes. The bear destroyed the box and punctured the repellant and dish soap but we got out of it with minimal damage all told. Guess we should have taken those bear warnings seriously! We went to a long (but good) ranger talk about bears just 2 nights before at Jedediah Smith Park. Doh.

After Gold Beach we headed up for our last night of camping. We stayed at Eel Creek Campground if I recall correctly. We had actually stayed there on a previous visit. It doesn't have terribly much to recommend it other than lack of RVs and proximity to the dunes at Oregon Sand Dune National Rec Area . You can see in the photo above the whipping wind we encountered once we crested our first dune a few short meters from our campsite in the evening. The dunes reach for well over a mile at this location before you hit the ocean.

Here you get a little sense of just how far off the ocean is. We have never been brave enough (or foolhardy enough?) to try to make it all the way out to the ocean. You'd need to be fairly fit too - some of the sand is pretty hard work to cross! Some dunes reach 500' in height.

Here is a pic snapped on the beach near the ocean - but it could easily be on the dunes.

The next day we took a dune buggy ride. This really is a must. It was one of the funnest things I have done - a half-hour of action packed adventure. We thought we might try renting our own little ATVs afterwards but decided against it - it would have just been so tame in comparison!

A last look at the Oregon coast line before we headed inland to Portland to spend time visiting with Nanma and cousins.
I asked my 4th grader today if he has learned much so far this year (this is the start of the 2nd week of school). Quite excitedly he answered "I've learned more so far with Mrs E. than I did all last year with Ms Gordon!" although he followed that up after a pause "well except about Indians". Yup. I thought Mrs E was going to be a teacher he really liked.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

happy boy playing in the river

campfire smoke through the redwoods

giant redwood stumps to climb next to our campsite

marshmallows to be roasted - of course

hikes in the redwoods

I am quite bad about posting about our trips. I spend so long getting photos sorted out and uploaded to my fotki account that I am usually not up for a trip report afterwards. So I plan to be better and upload a few photos from each major place we visited in a couple entries. I'll start with the California photos since that was the first 3 days of our trip. 2 nights in Humbolt Redwood SP camping in the Burlington campground. Then a night up at the top of the state at Jedediah Smith SP. Both are great parks and both include redwoods as well as nifty swimming holes in the rivers that run through them. For more photos visit either the long or short album.
Crayfish update. We "set him free" one day. He liked to move backwards away from us. Wasn't heading for the stairs fast enough so we picked him up and moved him over there. He was very able to get down the stairs - which are past vertical as DH pointed out. He used all his little legs/claws to hold on securely to the carpet and headed easily down - face first. One day grainy dark video may come to a YouTube near you...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Have a dust spot. This day was bound to come altho it impacted pretty much all the photos from the trip (24 gb worth). Have to say much as I dislike (sometimes) my adobe software it is also magical how it can mostly get rid of these spots. I originally bought camera and then one "always on my camera" zoom lens to avoid spots. Then realized the whole point - and fun - of DSLR is playing with different lenses. I also invested in some GOOD lenses. But I really do need to figure out how to clean off the spot instead of using the computer to get rid of it after the fact. It is a bit intimidating however as you can really mess up your camera if you do it wrong.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A week without taking a picture (well, almost). My son even asked him to photograph him with the mice on his head and I declined. Maybe I needed time off after the trip. Maybe it is the struggles I've had with processing the darned images I already have. Adobe is far from my favorite software. I inadvertently (apparently) clicked on something and changed my images from 8 bit to 16 bit. Apparently my computer and Adobe won't let me save to jpgs if 16 bit is selected. I had a day of struggles trying to figure out where my jpg option had disappeared to. I even uninstalled and reinstalled. Not a total waste as the program seems to be behaving somewhat better and let me upload close to 1000 RAW images w/out crashing. It has been crashing regularly when I make it download over 50 images or so at a time. But then turns out one of my media cards is perhaps a bit corrupt and I couldn't get the jpg images off the darned thing - and it was crashing Adobe. I eventually was able to download them to my laptop. But then trying to cut a DVD crashed that. Thumb drive from hubbie eventually came to the rescue and I finally have the images. Hours later. I uploaded 7 images a couple days ago to flickr. Just started uploading of first album to fotki. Making very slow progress. This covers about 4 days out of 3 weeks. I also have trouble editing down as I envision different people in my intended family audience - maybe Uncle C would get a kick out of this one, maybe grandma will want a choice of close ups of this kid. So then I start getting a bit random about it - and still have too many images. Deal. You don't have to look at them. And how long do I have to keep the crappy images the kids took? Some are cool - maybe 3 out of 30? In an artistic blurry sort of way.

Been doing some clean up in anticipation of my brother and sister-in-law's visit. She is one of those housewives that actually cleans and has a nice home. I am pretty much the antithesis. I do manage to pick up enough for a cleaner to sweep through once every two weeks. Every now and then I imagine a fire sweeping through so I can start again w/out all the crap. I could be more ruthless about getting rid of stuff... but one day I might want it... And if it was all gone how would my youngest make his recycled crap sculptures (that we are never allowed to get rid of?). Oh - maybe that would be a good thing... I put the kids (willingly) to work yesterday scrubbing down the walls etc. I am always amazed that food stains can end up on the wall above my head. How does that happen?! A. complained today that his arm was sore - from all the scrubbing he figures. My hubbie called it "elbow grease". I just kept thinking "wipe on" "wipe off" from Karate Kid. The trash can he cleaned hasn't looked this clean in 4 or more years. Q. helped me clean off the ladder to their loft bed this morning. Who knew we could get that grime off?! Cool. Then was talking to my brother on the phone this afternoon thinking I was just about done when I happened to gaze up. Darn! Haven't vacuumed the molding and ceilings in a while apparently. Did that this afternoon. Then a little bit more wiping off of finger prints on doors etc. The place isn't actually tidy but it IS cleaner than it used to be. And I have also done something like 10 loads of laundry in 2 days. A. is begging for his own bedroom (which means a different house/city). Q. is begging to not have that happen - unless his brother stays sleeping in the same room and they use the 2nd room for toys - then he is all for it. Hubbie wants a camper. No place for that here either. But I like SF. Mostly.

Back has been bad this week which interfered with sleeping and walking but sitting was mostly OK except when my stomach was bothering me. Didn't help.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our pet crayfish (refugee from 3rd grade class explorations) likes to climb. We were warned (by the Petco guy when I went in to buy him a tank). This morning there was an empty tank sitting on the floor. Doh! Where was crayfish? We all searched. I probably logged a good 1/2 hour peering under furniture with a flashlight. We were wondering if we'd have to wait until we smelled his decaying body before we located him. We were pretty sure he needed to be in the water. How long can they live outside water? No one knew. He had been really active last night so I sort of suspect he made his escape then. Daddy finally headed off to the office. "I found crayfish!" he shouted. Crayfish had made it down all the stairs and was at the bottom. We actually had to get some tweezers to pry his claw out of the carpet fibers - he wasn't interested in being recaptured. He seems to still be alive. You got to admire his fortitude. He fell a good 1' onto a wood floor. Scampered across the wood floor, headed down a long/high flight of carpeted stairs. I am curious enough that maybe some other day I'll put him down on the floor (or have A do it since I am not a big fan of picking him up) and watch him go. Maybe.