The Drive to Portland

Wednesday was a sad day. We said goodbye to Holly and her family. We hope to see them all again soon, sometime, somewhere and of course they’ll always be welcome to visit us in Manchester when we’re back home!

As soon as Liesel started the car today, the audio system started playing music from my phone. Without asking, the Bluetooth connected and turned on my music-playing app. I’ll never understand this technology. A few days ago, the car and my phone didn’t want to talk to each other at all. Today, they couldn’t wait to rush into each other’s arms.

Also, it started to rain again more or less straightaway. So again, we didn’t see much from the I-5. Cascades? Over there somewhere, through the murk.

Liesel requested shuffle mode on the music, so we had quite a variety. Neil Diamond was the first artiste to give us two tracks while Seth Lakeman was the first to 3 and to 4. Not that I was counting. But the view from the car was disappointing. We’d not seen anything on the drive north the other night because it was dark. Today, it was raining. Raining so hard that Liesel was being hypnotised by the windscreen wipers.

Most of Washington state looks like this, apparently

We stopped at the first Panera Bread we found for coffee and a loaf of cheesey bread. The assistant apologised for cutting it thin instead of thick, but we didn’t mind, it wouldn’t last long! Like a good novel, it was unputdownable.

What a strange juxtaposition: Elbow followed by Slim Dusty.

I was quite happy that there were no duplicates played and no MP3 radio programmes being played. At least, not for a very long time. Much later, I had to hastily turn off episode 9 of the latest series of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

I commented on the absense of songs by Björk but of course, Liesel was quite happy about that. She said at one point, pretty soon you’re gonna have to start taking notes! I told her I already was. Liesel rolled her eyes.

Before Seattle, we were able to use the HOV lane. That’s for buses and cars with 2 or more occupants. We found out that HOV just means Heavily Occupied Vehicle. As we passed dozens, scores, hundreds of almost stationary cars in the other lanes, I said “so long, suckers”. Well, karma came up and bit us on the ass: we turned off the road by mistake, towards the Park & Ride car park, and lost a lot of time trying to rejoin the interstate.

Jyoti sent a message to say that she was already in Portland, it was sunny and she was cooking. It was hard to believe the weather would change that much during the next 80-odd miles. All we could see was black clouds and rain.

I wondered why the Highway numbers on the GPS and on road signs had a mushroom cloud as a background image. But on close inspection, I realised it’s a profile of George Washington!

Nuclear explosion or George Washington?

I chuckled at an Ian Dury song that came on: Razzle in my Pocket. I thought I should create a playlist from our music collection consisting of funny songs: that would certainly lift the mood on a long drive like this.

Because I’m a wimp, I’d decided I wouldn’t drive this car on (to me) the wrong side of the road, but I did feel a little bit bad that Liesel was doing all the hard work, especially in such conditions.

Just as I was thinking how well the roads were constructed and how good they were at dealing with all this water falling from the sky, the spray from the other carriageway swept over the central reservation: we had our own little Niagara Falls.

It was a long drive and the music was varied, but even so, we were now hearing several songs from the same artistes and I realised that I should have copied over an even more extensive subset of our music collection. The other problem was, some tracks were a lot quieter than others, and not just because some are downloaded MP3 while others are copied from CDs. Plus, I do miss hearing new (to me) music from time to time such as you’d get from Cerys Matthews on 6 Music.

And as I was thinking that, along came Ruarri Joseph. Yes, we have the CD, but we’re not that familiar with it, yet. Good stuff!

As I was looking out of the right side of the car, Liesel told me Mount St Helens, the volcano, was on the left side. Somewhere. Through the murk! We’ll just add it to our list of places to go back to sometime.

Lo and behold! The Sun came out just as we heard sunshine from the car’s speakers: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole singing Panini Pua Kea in Hawaiian!

We passed close by Vancouver but this was a different, smaller one, in Washington. In fact, it’s a suburb of Portland, Oregon. One city divided across two states by the Columbia river. When we drove over the bridge, we felt we were nearly there.

At one place, two lines of traffic merge. The lights quickly flip from green to red to green, letting just one car at a time from each lane move forward. That’s strange, but it seems to work and you’re not relying on other drivers being courteous.

One of many Meccano bridges

The first stop was Beaverton, the location of our Airbnb. It’s just along the road from Nike’s world headquarters and they’ve been in the news recently for using Colin Kaepernick in their adverts.

Tyler met us at the door, showed us round. There is a white noise machine in our room, in case we need help getting to sleep: some noisy neighbours, apparently! What we didn’t realise was that the only noise would come from our hosts, Tyler and David, doing their laundry late at night!

We set off for Gita’s place in the centre of town. Not far away, but really awkward to get to. In the end, Gita and Jyoti came out on to the street to jump about and wave so we could see where we were trying to get to!

In the apartment, Jyoti gave us donuts and a coffee that she’d bought for me earlier.

It was good to meet Gita again after all this time. We’d last seen her in Italy a couple of years ago.

Gita’s partner Josh returned from work: this is the first time Liesel and I had met him although we’d heard a lot about him from Jyoti!

Over the course of the evening, Jyoti’s brother-in-law Eric arrived with his wife Laurie as did some of Gita’s friends from Portland State University. I think there were 13 people in the apartment at one point, plus a dog. Again, Jyoti’s food was the main attraction and brilliant it was too. And so much of it…

Gita’s Uncle Eric was chatting and as he moved back, he stood on the dog’s squeaky toy. This made eveyone laugh, but outside, there was an immediate and very loud clap of thunder. Eric won’t be standing on any squeaky toys for a little while! It rains a lot here, but apparently it’s very rare to have a thunderstorm.

Liesel drove us home and I think we were both asleep very quickly. Liesel was obviously worn out from all the driving but I’d had limited exercise all day and somehow still felt exhausted. Sympathetic fatigue, probably.

Tennant Lake

Pat, Liesel and I went for a walk to Tennant Lake. There’s a nice boardwalk there, so it shouldn’t be too muddy, we thought.

What we didn’t anticipate was that the boardwalk would be closed because it’s now hunting season.

Duck hunts

But not to be deterred, we had a nice walk anyway, just not as far.

Gooses telling us to go away

We climbed the tower from where we had a good view of the water-lily covered lake.

Look-out tower
Looking out from the look-out tower

The Fragrance Garden was very pleasant. Lots of aromatic plants and some suitable for handling, a great place for visually impaired people to enjoy plantlife.

Variegated leaf, not changing for Autumn

My favourite tree is of course the sequoia, as it contains all five vowels. And I’m pleased to report they had one here!

Sequoia
Sequoia

We walked back to where we’d parked the car, and saw the river. What’s it called? The Nooksack. I won’t repeat what I thought Pat said. There were more gardens to see too, lots of vegetables and fruit as well as colourful flowers.

Pat and her new fella
Mick and Liesel in the dahlias

We stopped at Woods for a coffee (hooray!) before going back home.

The Sun was still out, and my legs were itchy for more exercise, so, in the afternoon, I went for a walk with Penny. We covered over three miles, or 21 dog miles since her legs are much shorter than mine.

Penny

We could hear thunder rumbling from the dark clouds over the mountains in the east, but Penny wasn’t bothered, she just kept on pulling slightly at the lead, always wanting to go just a little faster than me. Until, that is, she got tired as we were reaching home.

Some of us non-canines went to OnRice for a Thai meal in the evening. And what a result that was! While Liesel and I were passing time waiting to meet up with Holly, Felix and Malin, I finally took some photos of a dragonfly! Yes, really! Sadly, not outside, in its natural habitat. Instead, it was caught in the window of an arty shop and there was so much clutter, you couldn’t get to the window to help the poor thing escape. Clutter? I mean valuable works of art, of course.

My dragonfly
How much is that dragonfly in the window?

The menu at OnRice provded some humour too. But my ‘medium’ spicy pad thai could have been a little spicier.

OnRice menu

PS we have started a list of places that we need to return to and spend more time in. Vancouver. Even Stanley Park has much more to offer than we saw in one day. Everyone says we should visit Victoria, BC too. And Tennant Lake of course, we’ll come back when it’s not the hunting season. It’s named after David Tennant, who played the tenth Doctor in the long-running TV series Doctor Who. Either that or John Tennant, an early settler in the area.

Canada

Monday morning saw a return to school for those who go to learn or to teach. Liesel and I stayed indoors chatting with Pat for longer than intended before we set off for Canada.

The I-5 in Washington becomes the BC-99 at the border, just 15 miles or so north of Ferndale.

The first moment of excitement was when I managed to connect my phone to the car’s audio system via Bluetooth. So we had music: our own music.

Welcome to a windy Canada

Crossing the border was OK: my electronic visa worked even though I had a minor panic when I read the confirmation email and it said I could enter Canada by air.

The Canadian border official asked if we were carrying any firearms.

With a totally different set of priorities, the US border official, on our return later in the day, asked whether we were carrying any clothing.

Very soon, we were welcomed to Surrey, followed soon after for signs to Westminster and Richmond. You know, just in case we were getting homesick.

Welcome to a wet and rainy Surrey

We drove to Vancouver and specifically, to Stanley Park, as recommended by Holly and her family. The weather was a bit dodgy, so we thought we’d hang out in a location where we could take cover if necessary.

The Vancouver skyline

The aquarium suited us very well, some interesting animals there, including a dolphin named Helen.

Looking up at a turtle
A very small tree frog
Helen the acrobatic dolphin
Am emerald tree boa (real, I think)

Hmm, we were in two minds but I think on balance, we’re glad the only killer whale we saw was this bronze sculpture by Bill Reid.

Killer Whale by Bill Reid

There were many large ships in the sea, and just one little kayak making slow progress towrds the beach.

Ships ahoy

We attempted a selfie with a nice background and this is as good as it gets. Selfies is for young people, obvs.

Selfie, Mick and Liesel and a pretty background

In the city, there were many flags telling us about Vancouver Pride, but we still don’t know when that takes place. We did like the rainbow pedestrian crossings: almost as cool as the pedestrian crossing lights at Trafalgar Square!

Rainbow pedestrian crossing

Yes, it rained on and off, but we missed it, either being in the car, or inside at the aquarium. Mission accomplished. The drive home was easy (for me).

Later in the evening, Kira was in her own little world playing Minecraft. She showed me her chickens and her cat, a skeleton horse and a zombie horse. She navigated the world that she’d built herself: Kira’s fingers were a blur on the controller.

One thing I thought I’d never say out loud: “You can’t feed raw fish to a horse”. Kira did ride a real horse: well, real in the Minecraft world! And she confirmed that yes, the donkey is stuck inside the wall.

Meanwhile, the grown-ups were watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, catching up on events in the real world. It’s a tough call, but I think I know which world is safer and more peaceful.

Ferndale and Bellingham

It was a dark and stormy night.

The first thing you learn at a writing class is never to start a story with that particular cliché. The second thing you’re told is to write what you know. Well, I know, it really was dark as we drove north on the I-5 from Seattle and the rain became harder and heavier as we drove on. The windscreen wipers could barely keep up.

I say ‘we’, but it was Liesel driving a strange rental car in a strange place in these horrible conditions. The GPS in the car was fairly intuitive but its first instruction always seems to be ‘drive to the highlighted route’. Well, if we knew how to get there, we wouldn’t need a GPS, would we?

We wanted to stop for something to eat but every time I tracked down a nearby branch of Panera Bread, we’d already passed it. So, 5 Guys it was. Nothing special, but we hadn’t eaten since the surprisingly decent snack on the flight.

We finally got phone reception as we passed through Everett. I’m on T-Mobile, even though when I’d tried to connect to this provider earlier, they’d blown a raspberry.

We arrived at Ferndale to be greeted by our old friend Holly, her Mom Pat, and her four children Felix, Kira, Jaxon and Malin.

Holly
Kira

The sleeping arrangements were fun but complicated. When the music stopped, Malin moved to join Holly, Pat moved to Malin’s bed in the room with Kira and so Liesel and I ended up in Pat’s room. What a big house. I was worried I’d get lost on one of my nighttime walks.

The following day, we explored Bellingham, especially the Farmers’ Market where some edible purchases were made.

Very colourful Farmers Market

Pat showed us round the city, showing us some of her old haunts.

A mural in Bellingham
Pat’s old house is behind the bushes, somewhere
Another mural

Later on in the day, Holly and I went for a walk around the local neighbourhood in Ferndale, seeing the school where she works and a rainbow.

Electric pylon free with every rainbow

On the way back, we walked across a field where Penny chased a couple of bunnies. The bear poop by the gate to their back garden had cherry stones in it. Yes, there’s a bear round here too.

Back at their house, Kira proudly showed us the house she’d made from 1,050 Lego bricks! She gave Liesel and me an ice pop each, which was unexpected and delightful!

On Sunday, we went to Fairhaven. I enjoyed a walk along the boardwalk to Boulevard Park and beyond. Liesel, Holly and Pat stayed in town to do some window shopping.

Yet another mural, this time in Fairhaven
Pat, Holly and Liesel

On the wander back to meet them, I supported the local coffee shop, Woods Coffee. Of course.

Old industry
Fairhaven railroad and sea
The boardwalk
Well-marked boundaries with a story

And apologies to the happy couple couple whose wedding I may have photobombed as I reached the end of the boardwalk!

Taking shelter from the drizzle

Back in town, we had a late lunch at Colophon Café.

In the evening, Kira proudly showed me her collection of coral and told me all about how it had broken off in the strong sea currents.

The house is full of animals too: four cats, Penny the dog and two guinea pigs.. Liesel decided she wants a guinea pig, mainly because we can speak their language, something between a chirp and a whistle. And yes, they are cute!

Anchorage to Seattle

Liesel and I both had a long lie-in. Neither of us wanted to be the first to get up. Our goal was to be in Anchorage at midday. But a few more minutes reading in bed wouldn’t hurt. We managed to time our visit perfectly.

We met up with Monica for a lunchtime walk. Or, we met Monica for a lunchtime walk. It was another pleasant day and we were limited only by the fact that Monica had to get back to work, at the museum. We’re still planning to visit the museum of course, but we’re waiting for a cold or wet or otherwise unpleasant day outside. But today, we had a nice wander around the park.

The Inlet from the City
On the way back to the car, Liesel and I walked through the Federal Court. A little intimidating, to me. A little bit scary, even. Yes, we were security-checked but the officers were very friendly. This art work inside was intiguing: trompe-l’œil, it really is flat.
Tlingit – Robert Hudson 1980
In the evening, we went round to Monica’s house for a home-made pizza. Liesel pointed out the peacock outside the front door. Neha was doing some homework, Gregg arrived home from work and a work-out. The pizza was great and the broccoli salad that Liesel made was terrific too!

In the evening, I received a message from Jyoti. She’d captured a picture of a dragonfly that landed on the book she was reading. I’m still hoping to see such a thing myself, but meanwhile, I’ll enjoy other people’s photos of dragonflies.

Jyoti’s dragonfly
On Friday, while Liesel was back at the physio for another dry needling session, I packed for our trip. I left a shoe-box full of stuff behind, to be sorted more thoroughly later, but we both took our backpacks with us, with approximately a week’s worth of clothing.

So far, neither of us have bought enough new stuff to warrant taking an extra bag with us on our travels. Liesel has started a collection of things to take back to Manchester, but whether this is posted, couriered, or we come back to Alaska to take it back in person, we’ll have to see. The items include new clothes, old clothes that have been replaced by new ones coming with us and some of Liesel’s old stuff from her parents’ house. Things such as the big brown donut we’re still thinking about!

Klaus took us all to the airport, me, Liesel and her sore derrière. She didn’t fancy sitting for too long so of course, we boarded the plane on time, sat, waited, and finally took off more than half an hour late.

The third seat in our little row was occupied by a sportsman. I didn’t recognise him, of course. He texted his wife, though. I know that becaue the name that came up on his phone was ‘Wife’. He asked the attendant for a scotch and water and she asked to see his id. She obviously recognised his name and asked if he’d played this weekend. He had. He didn’t look big enough to be an American football player, nor tall enough to be a basketball player so I wonder if his game is baseball? I didn’t ask. I guess I’ll never know.

Seattle was a little cooler than Anchorage and a little damper. We had checked no bags, so nothing to pick up and no customs to go through. To me, it felt weird being allowed to walk out of an airport withough having somebody give us permission.

It was a bus ride to the car hire place. While Liesel sorted that out, I tried to get my phone to work. None of the providers wanted to give me service. In fact, two of them said that my phone wasn’t suitable for their service. So again I recalled the definition of ‘technology’: stuff that doesn’t work properly yet.

Because neither of our phones were working, we couldn’t use Google Maps. So, we needed a GPS in the car. We could hire a stand-alone GPS at an extortionate rate, or, we could hire a car with a built-in GPS. One that is much larger than we’d planned for and more expensive, of course.

We’d started out with a notional daily budget when we left home, and I think we’re a few weeks ahead already. Oh well!

It’s a comfortable car though, and easy to drive. While Liesel drove, I tried to get the GPS to work, the radio and connect my phone by bluetooth. Two out of three ain’t bad. We knew where we were going, and we listened to jazz on NPR. But the music on my phone stayed there.

It was very noticeable how much earlier and quicker the Sun set here, fourteen degrees south of Anchorage.

Oh, here’s a good idea from Anchorage: if the bin’s full, tell someone. Not like Kingston: if the bin’s full, just leave your rubbish on the ground nearby.

Bear Bells

Monday was Labor Day, the first of three relatively quiet days. We did go for a walk in Kincaid Park, it’s the closest place to home and there are many trails there. The sky was blue, the Sun was out, the temperature was perfect.

Jyoti performs all her own stunts

On one of our walks, I was encouraged, nay, forced, to wear bear bells. The consensus is that I don’t talk enough and the others have to keep talking to let the bears know we’re here and to stay away. Maybe bears stay away because they don’t like GBH of the ear’ole any more than I do! On the other hand, I need bells to act as a deterrent. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but if it makes you happy… Well, as time and the miles passed, I got used to the dinging and donging and clanging that accompanied my every move. In the end, I liked it so much that I decided to take up morris dancing when I get back home.

This is the lake where we got married. It was great to see it being enjoyed by so many people on their day off work.

Little Campbell Lake aka Beercan Lake

One very popular dish in this group of family and friends is sauerbraten, a German meat stew. Liesel made a batch to take to Jyoti’s for our evening meal. Well, not mine. Jyoti made me more dahl! Which went very well with the roast potatoes that Monica brought. There were eleven people altogether and yes, they all talked more than I did. Monica’s husband Gregg came along too, it was the first time we’d seen him on this trip.

Wednesday, we went into the city centre with Jyoti and Morgan (Mo) (whom we met briefly in Talkeetna) and we went for a walk on the coastal trail with Una. The Sun was out, the sky was blue, the temperature was perfect. Given that we had a couple of weeks of really horrible weather, I think we’re all happy to get out whenever the weather is this good. Some roadside signs give you the temperature and it varies a lot: 64° on one side of the road and 69° on the other side! Degrees Fahrenheit of course, we’re in America, after all.

And you can tell we’re in a different country by some of the unusal street signs.

Sign of the times

And by the totem poles outside the courthouse where Una works.

Totem poles

The coastal path is separated from the water by a wide beach, mud flats.

Sign of the times

The view of the mountains to the north is stunning. They look snow-covered to me, real postcard imagery.

Not sure what mountain range this is

A train passed by so I decided to take a quick video. Quick? I thought it would never end! I counted 75 cars being pulled and pushed by a pair of diesel engines.

We saw more evidence of Autumn coming in fast.

Autumn colours

I didn’t have my bear-bells on today. Which is probably why we were accosted by this chap.

Bear. Brown, black or fibreglass?

In the evening, we met up with another friend from many years ago: Amrit. We met at a Thai restaurant but not the one originally planned becsue that one was being refurbished!

It was lovely to see Liesel and Amrit chatting away: they just picked up from where they left off all those years ago. The restaurant officially closed at 9pm but we were still sitting at our table for a good half hour afterwards. Maybe we should have offered to help with the washing up.

Liesel and Amrit

On Tuesday, both Mick and Liesel visited medics. Viewers of a nervous disposition should look away now.

You were warned.

Liesel went back to the physical therapist and because there had been no significant change in her condition, she received some treatment: dry needling. This entailed a couple of needles being thrust into her bottom and moved around until they hit the trigger points. This triggered loud screams of agony, I believe. She’s going back on Friday for a follow-up. But as I write, I can report that she has been pain-free at times but in some discomfort on our walk earlier.

Meanwhile, I had a session with the oral hygienist recommended by Leslie. Shannon was very friendly and chatty and she did a good job as far as I can tell. She pointed out my worst areas, the same ones that my hygienist at home draws my attention to, but on the whole, she was happy with my homecare. I held the hose that sucks out water and blood, doing the nurses’s job! I took painkillers afterwards, walked a short distance and realised that I wouldn’t manage a long walk at all, so went home and had a short nap which turned into a long nap. My evening meal consisted of soup kindly made by Una and a pouch of apple sauce. My teeth said I could go back to real food the next day.

OK, not as bloody and gory as I’d anticipated. Sorry if your expectations were not met!

Alaska State Fair

“Well, that’s embarrassing.”

Thus spake Leslie when she arrived home from work that night to see the sign and the balloon at the bottom of the drive. But the happy couple were delighted to pose for a photo. Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary, Leslie and Klaus!

Leslie and Klaus, 50 golden years

On the day itself, we were all busy getting stuff ready for the Garage Sale. Liesel took me on an adventure into the crawlspace under the house. She’d left a lot of old things there when she moved to England, 13 years ago, and it’s now time to decide: keep or discard?

Busy, yes, but not too busy to decline the offer of a quick walk in Kincaid Park. One path was blocked by a female moose, but we just turned and went a different way. And, maybe I’m becoming Alaskan, but I didn’t even bother to take a picture of her.

Then, a few minutes later, we found a few people taking pictures of a big bull moose. They were standing a lot closer than I would have found comfortable.

People and a moose

And, no, I’m not too much of an Alaskan to take this picture. He wasn’t bothered by the people, his ears were twitching away flies and he was eating: he was a happy bunny!

What a guy!

We found an old, thankfully unoccupied, wasp nest too. Fascinating.

Wasps’ nest

In the middle of the night, I was woken by Liesel. Preparation for the first day of the Garage Sale and Liesel needed help. 6am. I’d forgotten that such a time even existed.

It was a slow morning’s business. And cold. The coldest I’ve been since we came. I think advertising on Craigslist and one other listings site with just two days notice wasn’t good enough. Plus, it’s Labor Day weekend and many people may have gone camping.

I went with Klaus to buy and set up a couple more signs pointing people in the direction of the sale.

It was good to see some friends drop by, and we made plans to visit the Alaska State Fair. I wanted to go because it’s such a big event. Disappointingly, though, the monkeys dressed as cowboys riding dogs and herding sheep weren’t here this year.

Six of us went in Jyoti’s car with Monica driving. The setting is below Pioneer Peak in the Chugach mountains on a huge site which really becomes a small town for the duration of the Fair.

Floral display
Yesss! This is our philosophy!!

We walked miles and ate loads. It became cooler as the Sun set, but still not as cold as it had been sitting in the garage, first thing in the morning.

We saw some funny sights too:

Mick’s next haircut
Giant pumpkin

I thought, if I can’t get a nice, close-up photo of a dragonfly, I’d borrow somebody else’s! This was one of the prize-winning photographs at the Fair. Thanks to Jonathan Snead.

Dragonfly close-up

Before you ask, it was not me who tampered with this rabbit’s reason for winning…

Prize-winning rabbit
Five lovely ladies in front of the lovely Pioneer Peak

There were fireworks at about 10pm, just as we were leaving. Fireworks, even though it was still fairly light. The girls commented on the fact that they just don’t see fireworks in Anchorage in Summer, it’s just too light.

But the days are getting shorter. When we first arrived at the beginning of August, we had 17 hours of daylight. Now, it’s a mere 14 hours. And we’ll lose another 5 hours or more by the time we leave.

Fireworks

After dropping everyone off, Liesel and I picked up our car from Jyoti’s. By now, it was proper nighttime. I walked to the bluff, away from the city lights and, for the first time since we’ve been here, I saw stars in the sky. Nighttime and no clouds. A dark sky. I would love to have stayed stargazing for longer, but it had been a long, exciting and exhausting day so we went home.

Sunday was day two of the Garage Sale. We decided to put some items up for sale on eBay, so I prepared the descriptions and we’ll do that in a couple of weeks.

Old, old, old National Geographic magazines

Again, very few people showed up. We packed up and when Monica arrived, she, Liesel and I walked up the road to collect our Garage Sale signs. We walked to Kaladi Bros where we met up with Jyoti and Una. They’d been on a long hike while the rest of us were slaving over a not-so-hot Garage Sale.

At Jyoti’s, we sat outside, drank tea or coffee, ate cookies and scones and I nodded off while the ladies talked several hind legs off a donkey.

We walked up to the bluff, looked out over the water, looked for sand cranes and just absorbed as much heat from the Sun as we could.

Another beautiful view
A noisy raven

Postmen in the UK and mailmen in the USA deliver all kinds of crap. And the mooses know where to deliver their crap too:

Moose poop

La Vuelta continues and a Brit, Simon Yates is now in the lead, rule Brittania! He’s leading by one second.