Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and other treats

11-09-11-18-21-39H 11-09-11-18-21-11H A room with a view, Oakridge Covered Bridge

11-10-18-15-57-45H Mt. St. Helens on a recent drive 11-10-18-12-07-11H 11-10-18-12-07-55H 11-10-18-12-08-27HYacolt, Washington

11-10-12-12-37-42H 11-10-12-12-38-11H   11-10-12-12-40-48H

11-10-12-12-36-06H 11-10-12-12-36-22H  11-10-12-12-37-09HDiane’s Grapes11-10-29-14-37-25H  11-10-29-14-37-54H

In Estacada, Oregon for a weekend retreat (just us chickens)


Last of the season dahlias going to the retreat

Hope your Halloween is filled with treats!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens employs about 500 people to keep its pristine condition.  There was not a weed or a fallen leaf in sight.  We spoke to a neighbor of the gardens who has a yearly pass and comes every 2 weeks because new plantings and seasonal displays are always occurring.  In the evenings there are fireworks but we had worn out our feet by then and didn’t care to stay.





So we went home and made supper in our Penthouse which they had moved us into while we were gone. (Yes, the second night I found available was in the penthouse, so we had to suffer.  But we packed our stuff up in the morning and it was in our new room that night.  Nice!)


Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

From Leavenworth we drove northwest to Anacortes, Washington to catch the ferry to Victoria.  I have always loved ferry rides and ones through these San Juan Islands are a favorite. 

trimmed16 While we were in Victoria we  walked everywhere, but one time we rode in one of these darling little taxis we had seen bobbing in the water.  I put the 2 mosaics together just for nautical flavor!


After we arrived in the city and found our place, first we enjoyed our room with a view: 11-08-11-18-29-19R 11-08-11-18-32-49R 11-08-11-18-37-17D 11-08-11-19-12-34D Then we went to find some delectable fish and chips at the famous “Barb’s” which happened to be on the wharf near our unit.11-08-11-19-16-04HThen began several days of walking and talking and enjoying the beautiful city of Victoria.  The sun shone every day and it was even the week of full moon, so life was grand!

Houseboats on the wharf:   11-08-11-19-42-19D 11-08-11-20-21-33D



From our unit it was a lovely stroll around the harbor to the Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel.  (Will and Kate had just stayed there a week or so before.)

11-08-11-20-24-11R 11-08-11-20-26-30D Parliament Building is outlined with white lights year round, making a beautiful sight (which is improved by a tripod, sorry).

11-08-11-20-44-15D   Victoria has flowers and hanging baskets everywhere!11-08-11-20-37-29D

The Empress: 11-08-11-20-43-09R 11-08-11-20-43-52R

11-08-11-20-54-16D 11-08-11-20-54-31H 11-08-11-20-50-03D 11-08-11-20-51-01H 11-08-11-20-51-06D

11-08-11-20-56-23H Ron took this one:11-08-11-20-46-11R 11-08-11-20-53-14D

But tomorrow is another day and we have big plans for it!  So our tired feet took us back to our rooms where we hated to shut our eyes to the views outside…but we did.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And another thing…


This was a sign I saw and liked in a shop in Leavenworth.  I didn’t buy it probably because it was too much money and I am trying to train myself that I don’t have to buy everything I like (I’m not there yet.)  But I really liked it.

Please don’t copy it and sell it, etc.,because of copyright laws.  I don’t want to be responsible for you falling off the straight and narrow path.  While you are thinking these beautiful thoughts.

Here is something else I was attracted to, but it was nailed down so I couldn’t bring it home either: 11-08-09-13-38-46H 11-08-09-13-39-01H 11-08-09-13-39-20H Yes, it is a darling mailbox.  The detail is quite astonishing.  It even has a ‘flag’ you pull down for outgoing mail. The grill pulls down for the mail deposit.  Apparently the folks up here in the country haven’t heard about the horrible fad  kids have of hitting mailboxes with baseball bats.  Or maybe they take it in at night.  It is a work of art.  11-08-09-13-41-29D

Suddenly Last Summer

Dear friends,

I didn’t mean to leave you with a tease for so long—you will have forgotten by now that you last saw me in a sea plane.  But no, not really; the planes were just taking off and landing from right in front of our time share unit on the inner harbor of Victoria, BC!

I will start at the beginning.  Tech Guy had 2 weeks of vacation together (and 3 others scattered through out the year), the first of which we spent camping.  I like camping to a point but I thought knew I’d be ready for a real bed–not-in-a-tent for the second week.  So I got to work looking for a vacancy in our pool of time share units.  We had been wait listed for a couple months to no avail, but then, it was the first 2 weeks in August.  The reservation system is different than the bonus time system: if you are diligent you can snap up cancellations in the last 2 weeks before your desired arrival date.  The key is diligence.  You can check online every 15 minutes and the picture will have changed, but you want consecutive nights in the same place, not Tuesday in Idaho, Wednesday in BC, and Thursday at the Oregon Coast. 

We were willing to go anywhere with our week, anywhere within driving distance.  I was delighted when Leavenworth, Washington opened up for Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and then Victoria for Thursday and a few days later, Victoria for Friday.  Yay!  Not the smoothest way to plan a vacation but it was in the nature of an adventure.

We had planned to take my Mom-in-law but that fell through, so we kidnapped willing victims so as not to waste the 2 bedroom units. And for fun.

First stop: Leavenworth.  Very first stop: ice cream cones at a ‘sort-of famous’ place in Cascade Locks. 11-08-08-10-29-28H Can you believe it?  Ice cream cones at 10 o’clock in the morning on a Monday?  Decadent!  Our friends made us do it.  You have to keep your kidnapees happy, you know11-08-08-10-29-31D Then we moseyed along the Columbia River and stopped to observe the wind surfers who ‘hang out’ there.11-08-08-11-12-49R


How can so many people be out surfing on a Monday morning?  Don’t they know it’s a work day?  Apparently not.  The wind is good. 

We headed up the road east along the mighty Columbia: 11-08-08-12-40-35H 11-08-08-12-12-40Rand then north into Washington’s fruit valley.  First a little reconnoitering in Toppenish, the town of murals.  The visitor’s center has a miniature replica of all 82 murals which tell the area’s history:11-08-08-15-02-28D

11-08-08-15-18-19D11-08-08-15-16-27D 11-08-08-15-18-08D

11-08-08-14-42-28R 11-08-08-15-09-20H 11-08-08-15-09-27H


From Toppenish we headed further north, looking for a fruit stand to get fresh veggies for the week: 11-08-08-15-40-24H 11-08-08-15-45-48D

We continued in the spirit of adventuring.  My husband saw on the map a town that was “named after him” so we went slightly off course to check it out.  Ronald, Washington: not a booming metropolis:11-08-08-17-21-54H 11-08-08-17-18-05H On the way to Ronald we went through Roslyn which was just a wide spot in the road except for this amazing home and garden.  We pulled to the curb to snap a picture and before you know it, my friend is up on their front porch knocking on the door and becoming BFFs with the lady there.  No kidding, Diane is fearless about opening conversations with people.  (We had already observed this with the wind surfers, the ice cream makers, and the fruit stand people.)11-08-08-17-10-08D 11-08-08-16-33-22R  11-08-08-17-02-34H 11-08-08-17-04-18D 11-08-08-17-06-55HThe lady was delighted to discuss watering systems and fertilizing schedules ^

Now we headed directly to Leavenworth and our lodging.11-08-09-07-16-34H 11-08-09-07-17-02H This was the view from our dining table and deck. 

Leavenworth is a town that historically was a spot for Indian hunters and fur traders.  When the Great Northern Railroad opened the way to the west, it became a logging and saw mill town, but in the mid 1900’s the mill closed and the train station was rerouted and the town gradually was dying.  In an effort to save it, the townspeople came together in 1964 with a plan to make it a tourism center, capitalizing on the nearby mountains they called “Alps”.  Everyone in town got on board with this plan and created a Bavarian Village out of Leavenworth.  The shops are painted and shuttered and half-timbered with window boxes overflowing.  11-08-09-17-23-15H 11-08-09-05-59-05D 11-08-09-06-01-22D 11-08-09-17-19-53H 11-08-09-17-20-38H Their festival Center:

11-08-09-17-59-15H  11-08-09-17-33-18H11-08-10-13-40-20H11-08-09-17-33-54D 11-08-09-17-41-27H

11-08-09-18-22-57H 11-08-09-18-02-24H 11-08-09-18-06-56H  11-08-10-12-54-35H11-08-09-18-22-45H We didn’t spend too much time in the shops, actually, which turned out to be too expensive or not the type of stuff we like to shop for.  We did make it to a fabulous fudge shop “The Alps”:11-08-09-13-09-47D 11-08-09-11-53-38H 11-08-09-11-55-32H 11-08-09-12-14-57R

and went exploring 11-08-09-13-54-12R 11-08-09-13-19-45R 11-08-09-13-21-31R 



11-08-09-13-51-47Rand went swimming or hot tubbing every day11-08-09-06-29-34R  put a puzzle together (nearly finished)11-08-10-11-08-44HBut the best part, we all agreed, was going to an outdoor theater production up in the “Alps” of The Sound of Music.  Diane got wind of the shortage of tickets and went to stand in line, returning home victorious with 4.  Our last night in Leavenworth we sat in the amphitheater as the sun was setting and watched the hills become alive again for Maria.

Marta led us to our seats and visited a while:    11-08-10-19-40-00H 11-08-10-19-28-26H 11-08-10-19-28-57H 11-08-10-19-37-32H The Baroness and Mother Superior visiting before the program began. The set was fascinating, opening up and closing and spinning around to become different structures or rooms.  (No photos during performance)

All the next day I found myself singing “The hills are alive..with the sound of music…with songs they have sung..for a thousand years”.   It was the best part of Leavenworth for us, although we all agreed that it would be fun to go again in wintertime, with the sleigh rides and snowmobiling and caroling and skiing and cheeriness of the season.  And today I read about Octoberfest in Leavenworth, and am thinking that would be a lot of fun, polka-ing in the streets…

Next stop:  Victoria, B.C., Canada (Make sure the folks you kidnap have their passports )