Tuesday, December 30, 2014

English Bay

We haven't stayed at the Sylvia Hotel since our last fireworks trip in 2008, but it's still a favorite hangout in Vancouver. After Lynn Canyon, we headed back into the city and camped out for an hour and half in the bar with some appetizers and a beer, reading, and enjoying the wonderful sun break over English Bay.

A few years ago, I ran into Cheryl Wheeler's song about the Sylvia Hotel. It's not exactly a happy song, but any song about a place we've come to know well can't exactly be sad.

Lynn Canyon

Fueled up on waffles, we drove around Stanley Park. The rain kept us in the car except for my brief exploration of Third Beach, but by the time we looped through downtown and then back through the Park and over the bridge, the rain had ended.

We drove over to North Vancouver and found our way through suburbia to Lynn Canyon, a smaller, less touristy version of Capilano. The suspension bridge over the creek disappears into the forest at each end.  The trail down to the lower falls was nicely improved with steps and boardwalks, so we barely got our feet muddy, despite the conditions.

This is a neat spot. It's easy to forget that there are homes nearby and that a large city lies just a few kilometers to the south.


We often talk about getting away to Vancouver for a weekend, but the two of us haven't done this since before D was born. For years, the three of us came up regularly for a weekend in early August, organized around the fireworks, but that routine ended in 2008.  It's not like we haven't visited many other times, but this was the first real weekend in a long time.

It was a cool, gray, damp couple of days (except for two sunny hours on Saturday afternoon). Most of the visit revolved around food - surprise! - but we also explored a little both by car and by foot.

We had a good deal on a room in a downtown hotel, overlooking the Hotel Vancouver and Burrard. We had dinner at Banana Leaf (Asian) on Robson and Absinthe (French) on Commercial Drive. We had breakfast at Cafe Medina (waffles) on Richards and Fortune City Seafood (Dim Sum) on Renfrew.  We visited Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park, Jericho Beach, Lynn Canyon, and English Bay (the last couple may get their own posts). And we wandered around MEC and Chapters (and bought nothing at either).

Thursday, December 04, 2014


For the 24th year in a row, we hosted Thanksgiving in Wallingford. Pretty much the same cast of characters showed up - although every year is a little different. A and B find us too loud and boisterous and have chosen to celebrate in a less draining setting. Some of the others must alternate between us and their own families and don't show up every year. But 12 seemed like a good number - enough to fill the place up, but not so many as to overwhelm the kitchen crew. Fortunately, everyone contributes food, so the workload isn't too bad. And the last three years or so, we've actually had one of those new-fangled dishwasher things.

I would like to note that most of this year's pictures were taken by M. She took more photos, better photos, and more photos of the food.

This year the crowd was split pretty sharply in the evening. We normally try not to let football dominate Thanksgiving, but with the Seahawks playing the 49ers, there was little choice, although a few of the more civilized members of our group (mainly female, I noticed) opted to play their own games instead. Funny, they were making more noise than those of us watching the football game! The Seahawks won 19-3, by the way.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sun Mountain

I had a neat opportunity to spend two and half days on the hill above Winthrop last week. The weather was mixed with alternating rain and sun. They arrived together at sunrise on Monday morning with a spectacular double rainbow that lasted for fifteen minutes.

The drive over, and the Monday field trip, offered some impressive views of the areas burned through by the big fire this summer.

Most of our time was reserved for work, but I managed to get in a bike ride late Tuesday afternoon.

Lake Chelan

As far as I can recall, I had never been to Lake Chelan, except perhaps on a quick drive through the town years ago. I guess my vision of the south end of the lake was a kind of development we don't really relate to - waterfront homes, jet skis, and flammable hillsides.  The north end has always been more appealing, but we've never managed to arrange the boat trip.

I had several hours of pretty nice weather to explore the lake shore as far up each side as I could reasonable access by car.  For me, it was a chance to collect some new beaches, albeit on a lake whose geology and shorelines I don't understand well.

Lincoln Rock

I didn't get out of town until 3:00 on Saturday afternoon and traffic was slow until Issaquah, but I made it to Wenatchee by 6:00 or had enough light to set up camp at Lincoln Rock State Park. The loop was almost empty, but I still had to shell out the weekend rate for a premium site. On the other hand, my room had a nice view up the river and the weather stayed dry. My campsite even had its own beach.

Getting over here Saturday night was a good way to assure a full day of exploring on Sunday.  The photo below was taken the next morning from the other (west) side of the river - the campground is on the left (east) bank.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Normally, we return from the Olympic Peninsula via the Kingston ferry, but Sunday we decided that we should take advantage of the gorgeous afternoon and come back into Elliott Bay from Bainbridge Island. Which was a great choice. Enough to even make long-timers like us feel like tourists.

Hurricane Ridge

Sunday was a spectacular day, and not just because it began with Eggs Benedict and berry cobbler french toast.  I don't know when we were last up to Hurricane Ridge, but it had been a long time (more than a decade) and I can't recall ever being up here when it was so perfect. I guess this is why people always bring out of town guests up here. We stuck pretty close to the parking lot, since I'm still nursing a sore foot (and because we were still so stuffed from breakfast, I suppose).

Afterwards, we headed back down the hill and out to the west side of the Elwha River Delta - a delta that's growing by leaps and bounds now that the dams are both gone. I guess that will deserve a post over on the other blog.

Port Angeles

We weren't really sure what we were going to do this past weekend, but we were pretty sure we wanted to do something. We figured it out Saturday morning and headed off for the Peninsula around noon.  We spent Saturday night in Port Angeles, which was just enough time to have a great Thai dinner at Sabai and a great breakfast at the Chestnut Cottage.

We spent a little time at the waterfront before dinner on Saturday, then I came back down very early Sunday morning in time to catch the sun soon after it rose (not all that early this time of year).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Coeur d'Alene

We stopped here going both ways - Saturday, the 6th, and Monday, the 15th.  The main motivation in both directions was coffee, although on the way out we ended up having the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner (I can't recall if we ever got coffee). On the return trip, I picked up coffee at Calypsos (Java on Sherman has been our regular stop on previous trips but I wanted to try something new), before going down to the lake to check out the beach (the only beach of the trip, as far as I can remember).

We were home by dinner time.  Now I get to start planning the road trip back to Minnesota next June for graduation.