Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just about Washington.

My time here in WA has flown by. I only have 3and a half weeks of work left. Then my parents are coming out here for a week (July 8th-17th) and we are going to travel around Mt Rainer, Mt Saint Helen's, the Olympic coast and National Park, and Seattle. That is going to be a blast! After that my sister will come and we are going to travel from here to Nevada where my next assignment will be. The plan is to drive along the coast line for as long as possible and stop at Redwood National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite National Park and anywhere else that looks interesting along the way. I am searching for a car top carrier right now so I can actually fit another person in my car cause you know how full I pack it! Pretty sure those are going to be the best two weeks of my life!

I thought I would finally take some time to write about the day to day stuff.
My apartment is right in the middle of downtown Redmond which is really nice since everything is super close.
mine is the middle one. Love that I have a garage!
Storm rising over my neighborhood.
I am within walking distance of a beautiful trail, the library, Trader Joes (a grocery store that sells organic foods), and to the music store where I am taking guitar lessons. Right now, I am learning "Blackbird" by the Beatles and "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons.

Below, is my work station (my coffee table). Its funny, because I always have two computers and two cell phones (my work and personal) sitting on my coffee table...along with whatever else lands there.
I am settling in to a good routine with work where I see all my patients, run errands for the rest of the day (while places are still open), and then do paperwork all evening. I love the flexibility, even if it is crazy that I am working till 9pm sometimes. I figure, I can't be doing much else at 9 so why not be typing notes up?

Recently, when I have been driving around I have noticed all these little white fluffs floating in the air. It almost looked like it was snowing. There was so much of this stuff blowing around that I would have to pick it out of my hair before walking into my patients homes. There were actual drifts of it on the side of the road. Finally, I asked one of my patients who is a gardener what is was and she said it is from the cottonwood trees. I feel bad for people with allergies around here...

The weather has been relatively nice and we have had some super clear days where I can actually see Mt. Rainer off in the distance... If you enlarge this pic you might be able to see it too.

So this weekend, Jess' parents came into town. I went to Seattle with them on Saturday. We had a good time doing the touristy things with them. We also celebrated Jess' birthday yesterday. We went to Cheesecake Factory... YUM!


So I got some more pics from Hawaii that other people took and they are so  good I had to post them even if they are a little late. :) Better late then never..



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Finding Sasquatch

video
Just to make you a little jealous …I'm beginning to write this post as I sit looking out on to Crescent Lake in Olympic National Park. :)  But more on that later.
Last weekend Jess and I went over to Eastern Washington for a music festival called the "Sasquatch festival". This annual concert features all kinds of various artists; mostly rock bands. I can’t say I am very knowledgeable about that kinda stuff. I had only heard of one of the bands playing. However, the coolest part of the festival was not the music, but the venue. It was held at “The Gorge Amphitheater.”  The stage is set with the backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge! It was incredible! I learned that Mumford and Sons played there back in 2010… why wasn’t I there for that??!!


The music was not the only entertainment either. If there were ever a place for people watching this was it... there were some crazy people! It was very much a hippe, "woodstock wannabe" crowd. It kept Jess and I laughing all day. Of course, maybe the laughter was from all the second hand smoke... if you know what I mean.
Hint: Make this video full screen and take notice of the crazy dancing guy...
video

Side Note: Driving to the festival required us to go over “the pass” on I-90 which takes you over the Cascade Mountains. (The same place I got stuck on the way over here.)This was the first time I have been back there. It is actually really pretty and not scary at all when it is daytime and there is not 15 ft of snow.
The festival runs all weekend and people just camp on the grounds since it is literally in the middle of nowhere. We only had tickets for Saturday so we camped there that night, and headed out on Sunday. Since it was Memorial Day weekend we decided we couldn’t just go home so we ventured further north to Wenatachee State Park. We went for a little walk to the lake, which was gorgeous, and then built ourselves a campfire, cooked our dinner and roasted marshmallows. Camping is so nostalgic for me. I love the smell of campfires.  Except it doesn't come out of your hair for days no matter how much you wash it.




Now on to this weekend...
My friend and traveling buddy, Sue, who you all know from my Maine adventures, is doing an assignment here in WA right now too!! I am so excited I get to see her again so soon.  She is living in Port Townsend, a quaint, little town near Olympic National Park. It is also a US National Historic Landmark District. This weekend I went to visit her and see a bit of the area. 
Friday, when I got in we went out to dinner and walked around downtown. We did a lot of catching up. It was great!

My goal, on Saturday, was to see the Western most point of the US.
There are two places that claim the "Western most point" title... Cape Alava and Cape Flattery. They both are the same distance west at high tide, but Cape Alava has a slightly more dramatic tide change, so at low tide the land extends further west. Technically, giving it a stronger claim to the title.
However, Cape Flattery boasts the title of "Northwestern most point" with no competition and is on an Indian reservation and I was told there was an amazing Indian cultural center on the way to Cape Flattery by one of the park rangers at the visitors center in Olympic National Park.
So, after much indecision I decided to go to Cape Flattery and consider my goal met.

The drive out there took me on some winding roads, through Olympic National Forest, past Lake Crescent, through ghost towns, onto an Indian reservation, and out to the end of the world... or the country at least :) where my GPS no longer got signal. Not that I needed it since there was only one road and you just drove till it ended. Once the road ended I had to go by foot on a trail. If there was ever a place to spot Sasquach this was it. The trail led me through a forest full of creaking trees and right out to the edge of a cliff. There was a lookout area that was nice and surrounded by railing, but if you walked around the platform there was literally just a cliff. It was beautiful, but in a rugged, dangerous sort of way.




I think I found Sasquatch's home...

The only disappointment... the cultural center that was talked up by the park ranger... it stunk. Oh well. I did learn one interesting fact, though. The indians in that area were expert whale hunters and after they speared a whale one of the men had to jump in the water and sew the whales mouth shut so it would not sink while they were towing it to shore. How do you even do that?! I would not want that job.
Sunday, I took a nice leisurely drive the long way back to my house. Stopping on Whidbey Island along the way. There was a pretty lighthouse and some cute farms with amazing views of the mountains from their backyards. Not a bad place to be a farmer. Humm, maybe a second career? :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hawaii!

 So I made it to my 39th state and, boy, was it a sight for sore eyes. The sun was out the whole time! Believe it or not, I think it actually takes more preparation to go out in the sun then in the cold. Having to put sunscreen on and hats and bring a change of clothes for when you are done swimming, etc. However, it was totally worth it... seeing palm trees again and getting some nice Vitamin D was a wonderful thing.


When I arrived on Wednesday evening (5/18) I thought I had landed in Fort Lauderdale. Then, I saw mountains in the distance and was reminded that the beaches and temperature are about the only thing Florida and Hawaii have in common.
Thursday, Jessica and I went to Pearl Harbor to see the Arizona Memorial and the museum. It has always been a dream of mine to visit Pearl Harbor and it was almost surreal to be walking around on the very spot this early in my travels. Even though I have this goal of seeing all 50 states (so I was definitely going to make it there eventually), I have always felt like Hawaii was this distant land that I would have a hard time working into my plans. I guess I was wrong about that.
It was so fascinating to learn more about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although, it was one of the worse attacks in our nations history; it was also one of the best planned and well executed attacks of that time. The Japanese had thought of everything, and they did it all in complete secrecy. There were videos of people who witnessed the attack first hand. They were very moving. There were also some videos of the Japanese fighter pilots who participated. At first I couldn't believe it, but I guess you have to realize that they were following orders just like our soldiers would have if the roles were reversed. Going to the Memorial sight which was built over the sunken USS Arizona battleship was an interesting experience.

I thought I would get out there and be able to contemplate the whole event and the fact that the ship is the grave of over 900 soldiers whose bodies are still inside; but instead there was a huge crowd of people all talking and trying to get pictures and since we had to take a ferry out to it, and we had to leave with our ferry, we did not get unlimited time. Nonetheless, it was a totally worth while experience!

Friday, we went on a hike up to the top of Diamond Head Crater. From the top was a beautiful view of Waikiki. Then, we spent the rest of the day at the beach.




Saturday, we, again, went to the beach...what did you expect? We always went to different beaches, though. Sometimes, more then one in a day. In the evening, we went to a Luau. It was funny how corny and touristy it was, but you gotta do it when your in Hawaii, right? All the performers and workers called us "cousin" the whole time, and the food was just so-so. The dancing was fun to watch... especially the guy with batons of fire that he would twirl at top speeds!


On our last day there, we went to a cove where there was a beautiful reef. We went snorkeling and saw a billon differnt kinds of fish AND a green sea tutrtle, which are an endangered species!! It was a rare sighting. Really awesome. It was one of the most pleasant snorkeling experiences I have had. No baracuda... :-)
Jess and I caught the red eye back to Washington and I got in on Monday morning at 6 am... I went to work two hours later at 8. As you could probably guess... I was a bit tired that night.
I have recovered now and this last weekend we went to a music festival on the eastern side of WA. I will have to save that story for my next post. Maybe I will get two posts in this week.