Friday, July 28, 2017

Road Trip!

Friday Fave Fives for a catch up of Willow's Wanderings.

We were road tripping for two weeks, so I didn't add any posts here at Willow's Cottage.  Now it's time to catch up!  We did so much!  Celebrating with my brother and sister-in-law.  We share our wedding anniversary, so if we are together on that day, we celebrate!  We hiked.  We reconnected with other family and friends.

1.  Yes, we were in Portland, Oregon, my hometown.

The Willamette River flows through all of my memories.  Crossing the river every day to attend high school.  Riding over the new bridge in my brother's black convertible with the top down when I was sixteen.  This time, we walked the new walking bridge, Tilikum Crossing, over the Willamette and then crossed again on one of the other bridges.  Downtown Portland is ideally designed with walking paths on both sides of the river and the bridges connecting east and west sides.

2.  We also hiked in Forest Park, the eight square mile park in the Tualatin Mountains west of downtown.  I love hiking among the fir trees of my childhood.

3.  On our way back home, we drove through coastal southern Oregon which is where my father was born and lived his childhood.  I still have family there and we enjoyed a short visit with a cousin.  The drive along the Umpqua River and the Pacific Ocean brought back so many memories.

4.  The Professor and I both have roots in Northern Coastal California.  He attended high school in Humboldt County, so of course we stopped there overnight.  And of course we had to hike around the Redwoods Park in Arcata.

5.  On our trip we visited three national parks.  I mentioned Mt. Lassen earlier, but we added Redwood National Park/Forest and Pinnacles National Park to our list of 'parks visited'.  We drove up a narrow windy road to one of the Pacific Ocean view points in the Redwood National Forest thinking we would have a stunning view.  Although it was not what we expected, it was still spectacular.  White cloud bank covering the entire ocean and sweeping up to the tops of the coastal cliffs.

Pinnacles:  very hot and dry in the summer!

But there's no place like home!  A familiar view of the Pacific Ocean along Highway 101 in our county.

Friday, July 21, 2017


I've been largely completely absent from the blog this week.  Still traveling.

Where is Willow?

Here's a hint.  

As Pooh would say, "Bak son."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

California, Here We Are

This post is going to be heavy on the pictures. 
 You've been warned.
It's time for Friday Fave Fives.  This week my faves are going to be a little bit different.

The Professor and I have been traveling this week.  We are wending our way north to Oregon on his first post retirement trip.  Every time we have driven north from Southern California, we have had the goal of getting from one place to the next as quickly as possible.  This time, we chose to take the time to turn off Interstate 5 and explore all those places we didn't feel we had time to visit before.  Here are five of our favorite spots which we visited, and we aren't even out of California yet.

1.  Instead of blasting up the freeway through the Central Valley in blistering 100+ degree heat, we drove up Highway 101.  Its other name is El Camino Real.  The 101 goes past our home (about a mile away) as it moves north along the California coast.  So we left our house, turned north on 101 and just drove.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first day (until we reached the San Francisco Bay area.  Traffic. Yuck.).

Santa Barbara Coastal Mountains with fog hovering above the crest line

You know you're on the El Camino Real when you pass these bells

Many people don't think of California as being rural, but much of the state is.

Our lunch view.  Pismo Beach.

2.  The Professor had never been to Lassen National Park, so it was on our bucket list for this trip. Mt. Lassen is a volcanic mountain in the Cascades Range.  It last erupted in 1915.

You can see the basalt from previous eruptions littered all over the countryside.

Parts of the national park were still closed because of the heavy snowfall we experienced last winter.  So we drove out the southern entrance, around, and back in the northern entrance so we could visit the museum.

Streams!  There were streams filled with WATER!

3.  Then we included Burney Falls (state park) on our itinerary.  I had never heard of Burney Falls, but now that I know, I would recommend it to any and everyone.  There is a 1.5 mile trail on either side of the creek flowing from the falls which also includes crossing above the falls on a bridge.

Water! More water in Burney Creek!

4.  Returning to Interstate 5, we passed Mt. Shasta, approaching from the east for the first time.  I probably have taken at least fifty photos of Mt. Shasta but always from the west.  So this time the view was different and if possible even more stunning.

5.  And since we had time, once we reached Mt. Shasta City, we decided to back track a bit and visit Castle Crags State Park.  Again, we have passed this place so. many. times. and never stopped.  So we drove up to the vista point parking lot and hiked up to the viewing area with our lunch in tow.

The road to the vista point is a very windy one lane road.  In face, trailers aren't allowed.  We met a few cars and had to navigate VERY carefully at the edge of the pavement.  Not for the faint of heart.  But still worth it.

California is a beautiful place and there is so much to see!  I'm thankful for the time and opportunity to see more of this state where I live.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Independence Week

Happy Independence Week at Willow's Cottage!  Here are my Friday Fave Fives.

1. Fourth of July.  Like us, the World's Best Neighbors don't have family living nearby and were home this holiday.  So we got together for an early dinner.  Yum!  And great company.

2. and 3. Fire! That word brings too many memories too close. (2013 was the year a Southern California fire burned within 100 yds of our home).  On the fourth, there was another fire--this time across Highway 101 at our exit, slightly over a mile from our place.  We were in no danger from the blaze because the wind was blowing away from us.  The fire department was right on it and kept the burn area to just under 50 acres.  That was the first fave.  No people or structures were harmed/burned.  The second fave is that we have a great county fire department which is experienced in dealing with wild fires.  The water carrying helicopter would drop its load, swing around, and fly over our house, so we had our own private air show as well.  (I have a couple of photos but haven't uploaded them yet.  I will do that--but wanted to post this and get it out there.)

4.  My brother's birthday was this week.  He is six days younger than The Professor, and yeah, they have fun with that--Old Man, Young Punk, Respect Your Elders, Let Me Help You, Senior being some of the banter that always goes on.  One day this week, he called three times to check in and had to hang up on me--no problem--we just pick up where we leave off.  I am very thankful for a wonderful brother.

Many years ago when we were young

5.  Every summer, our church hosts Wednesday Night Dinners.   Several people in the congregation prepare a meal and we all gather together and enjoy each others' company.  It's a great way to get to know people we only see on Sundays.  This week, the evening included a fun concert by a local band which featured our worship leader on the keyboard.  Fun times!