Liesel’s birthday was celebrated in style. Her Mom made her famous pull-aparts for breakfast! No birthday cake, though. One highlight was a video from lovely Martha wishing her Oma a happy birthday.
Gita took us to see Josh, who was working today in the nearby Nehalem Bay State Park, with plenty of food for his very late breakfast. His commute between here and Portland is quite a long one, so he sometimes kips in the car near the park. Staying in a house with us all for a few days was luxury.
I walked back to our accommodation, not sure whether I should be talking loudly to myself or singing: I didn’t think to ask if there were bears in the area.
But there are elks. I didn’t see one, but I did see the warning sign on our drive to Seaside later in the day.
Gita drove us: it rained a lot on the way. The main attraction for the ladies was the outlets. I didn’t need to see any shopping centres, I’ve seen the mall, as they say.
So after agreeing to meet up with them two hours later, I went for a walk. I was on the search for coffee. What a disaster that was. Number 1 didn’t look very nice. Number 2 looked interesting from a distance but was closed due to refurbishment. Number 3, despite calling itself a café, only sold wine and beer. And Number 4 was a drive-through coffee shop and I would have felt totally stupid queueing behind a huge 4×4. So, no coffee for me, at that time.
But I did enjoy the walk to the actual beach, infinitely more enjoyable than walking round shops when you know you shouldn’t be buying stuff!
It’s halfway through September so I suspect this little front garden cemetary has nothing to do with Hallowe’en:
On my return to the shops, I met Liesel, Gita and Jyoti. Liesel had bought me a couple of shirts (hooray!) and some other bits and pieces for the little people we know back home.
I described my lack-of-coffee experience so Jyoti used her nose and her phone to Google local coffee shops and found one a few blocks away. We drove there and had a great coffee. The barista was very cheerful, happy and smiley, jolly and full of fun and laughter, with red hair and tattoos. I asked for a latte with whatever drugs she was on. (No, of course I didn’t, but I thought about it.)
We’ve noticed that as well as playing Beatles and other British music, many coffee shops support local artists by displaying their works. Most of it is fantastic, some (to me) is nothing special but every now and then, we see a picture that we’d really like to own.
The weather had changed for the better, so on the drive back to Manzanita, we were able to see things. beautiful things, the sea, stacks, so we stopped at a few of the viewpoints and wandered down to a beach.
We didn’t see elk or any other wildlife larger than a seagull and a squirrel. The most unusual creature was a hairy, yellow caterpillar just over an inch long.
It was too cloudy that night to try for more photos of the stars. And the next day, we had to leave this little paradise and return to Anchorage.
Liesel drove along The Pacific Highway, 101, most of the way back to Seattle International Airport.
The music played by my phone was different today. We heard songs from people we hadn’t heard before on this trip. Tom Hingley, Terra Naomi, Bic Runga, Tom Robinson, Pink Floyd, Björk all made a welcome appearance or two. Mary Hopkin’s new recording of Those Were the Days is stunning.
We stopped to have a look at and climb up Astoria Column for a terrific view all round.
I counted 164 steps up the spiral staircase only to find that at the top, every one of those steps was numbered and sponsored by an individual.
We’re planning our 2044 holiday already. We want to be here for the opening of this time capsule:
One surprise was when I looked down at the GPS display and it told us we were at Lake Tahoe. I thought we were driving north to Seattle, not south to California and Nevada. How do you explain this? No prizes, just for fun.
We drove over a really long bridge into Washington state: another fantastic feat of engineering.
Autumn really is coming on, here, the leaves are turning yellow and are just waiting to be blown off the trees.
Our GPS had a couple of hiccups. After we joined the I-5, it tried to take us off on and drive an extra loop before rejoining the highway. Not once, but twice. And as we drove through the Lewis-McChord military base. the GPS displayed no features other than the road itself. Everything else was greyed out.
We dropped the car off, and entered the airport. Good news: the rocking chairs were good fun. Bad news: we sat to eat at a table that was located right by the toilets.
It was nice to see facilities provided for breast-feeding mothers. Or: it was very disappointing to see that breast-feeding mothers are supposed to hide in a cupboard in case somebody takes offence at the sight of a baby with a boob. The hard plastic seat inside didn’t look very comfortable, either.
Well, the flight was OK, I played a couple of games, thrashed the aeroplane at backgammon, I listened to the new album by Florence + the Machine, the one that Felix had played for us the other day. And I read a lot.
Liesel’s long time friend Amy was kind enough to come out at nearly midnight to pick us up from Anchorage airport. Liesel and I are spending a couple of nights at Jyoti’s house as our room at Liesel’s parents is currently occupied by two young German visitors.
I incurred the first serious injury of the trip when the car boot door tried to break my nose. Fortunately, my glasses were not affected.
We’ve had a couple of relatively quiet days based at Jyoti’s. Reading, listening to radio programmes, binge-watching old series of Scandal. I walked up to the bluff for the scenic view, and into the woods a bit.
I would have gone further but I kept hearing animal noises. Scary.
We set out to walk back to the folks’ house, a couple of miles away, but Klaus drove by on his way back from the supermarket and gave us a lift home. On the path, though, I did manage to get a couple of photos of dragonflies. Not the pretty blue ones we’d seen close to water. And not on a nice, green, leafy background either. But it was good to see that they can sit down and have a little rest for me.
After a sandwich at home, Liesel drove to the physio again for more dry needling. I walked to a coffee shop and met Liesel at Carrs for more food shopping. I was pleased to see the full and correct name of a popular time traveller:
Today, we went out for a walk with Una at noon along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. We passed many other walkers, runners and cyclists. In fact, at one point there is a display showing how many cyclists have passed by today, this month, last month and the yearly total.
The photo doesn’t show the display correctly, but there were over 700 today and 58,000 this month. Quite impressive.
Una returned to work at the courthouse and Liesel and I went for a brunch / lunch at The Beartooth.
At Kaladi Brothers Coffee over the road, I confirmed why the world is in such a mess, Bexit, Trump, everything. Someone summed it up in one succinct scrawl:
Liesel dropped me off to buy some apples and I walked the last mile back to Jyoti’s
Jewel Lake is a very pretty lake and there were a few people fishing from the jetty. Close to Jewel Lake, we find Emerald Drive, Jade Street and Topaz Avenue. There’s a theme here, I thought. But I was walking along a big spelling mistake: W Dimond Boulevard. Oops, no. It’s named after Anthony Dimond, a local politician from way back.
Oh: Lake Tahoe. No, we weren’t there, obviously. The screen also displays the name of the song being played at the time and Lake Tahoe is by the fabulous Kate Bush.