News from October 2005

To Merced!

Occurred October 01, 2005 (Permalink)

Early Saturday morning, Jason and I got in a plane and flew up to Sacramento. We went to his parents' house, relieved them of their camping gear, and several sets of wheels. We then toured around his old stomping grounds for a bit before swinging south on CA-99 towards Merced with the intent of camping in Yosemite for two days and getting to see Steph's new digs. Unfortunately, due to slowness on our part, we didn't get to Merced until shortly after six. That gave us enough time to get lost enough to notice that the town had distinct sections: old grid on one side of a river, and curvy new nonsense on the other side.

Once there, we drove to Steph's apartment, unloaded our stuff in her living room, and scouted about for a place to have dinner with her. She suggested a Chinese restaurant in the old part of town, so the three of us went there. The restaurant is located a block or two off the main drag of the town in a fairly old-looking building. The food was pleasant, though I've had better noodles (in San Francisco :P). Steph took us on a quick walking tour of downtown Merced: an old movie theater in the process of being renovated, various small shops, coffee houses, a few historical landmarks, and more than a few old looking buildings. I was quite impressed by the cozy feel of the downtown area: not only did it only cover a few square blocks, but it felt quite odd to think that one could reasonably cover the entire area on foot! I liked it a lot, though I wonder what sort of effect the (coming) onslaught of new students is going to do.

After dinner, the three of us piled into Jason's car and drove out to the hilly countryside to the east. Steph showed us a lighted blob in the middle of farmland; this, she proclaimed, was the entirety of UC Merced. Next, we drove out to Lake Yosemite, only to be shooed out by a park ranger, and decided to head straight out of town on G Street into the foothills. After some time, I said that it was dark enough to engage in some stargazing! I must say that the area is quite good for looking at space--with few sources of light, it's even easier to see the stars than it is in outer Hillsboro (Oregon). Jason brought a tripod, so I was able to capture long-exposures with relative ease. Among the more interesting photographs: a long exposure while a car sped past the camera (aa010009) and the view back to Merced (aa010005).

A quick word about the pictures from this trip: Any photo ending in 'a.jpg' was taken on Jason's camera; all others were taken on mine.

Ascent to Yosemite

Occurred October 02, 2005 (Permalink)

The next day (Sunday), we were lazy and got up late enough to have a wonderful Sunday brunch at McDonalds. The plan for the day was to drive to Yosemite, set up some semblance of camp and go biking around the valley with Steph. Regrettably, we didn't depart from Merced until about 13:00, and it turned out that the road from Merced to Yosemite (CA-140) was a lot longer and curvier than I remembered it being. The road was fraught with peril, though Steph and I got up there just fine. Jason, however, was starting to feel funny in his car o' loot, so we stopped just inside the park.

The first rest stop in miles, coincidentally, is just inside the park, and that is where we shall begin the biking in Yosemite album. There is a pullout off the road and a bathroom consisting of a stone edifice containing a toilet and a big pit underneath the toilets. This gave Jason and I the chance to hop out of the cars, relieve our pent up road anxiety, and take some pictures of the surrounding ridges (aa020011a - 15) and of our cars (aa020013a, 16). A little further into the park, Jason got some awesome shots of Half Dome enshrouded in clouds (aa020017a - 18a) and the North Dome (aa020019a).

After checking into our campsite at Upper Pines, the three of us unloaded the car, set up enough of a camp to make it easy to come back and crash in the evening, and got the bikes ready. Yosemite Valley is covered with paved bike trails, which makes getting around the park quite easy. We three rode around the eastern edge of the valley before heading back westward towards the less secluded parts of the area. Along the way, we stopped in a meadow to take a nearly 360 degree panorama of the valley (aa020022a - 30a). Eventually, I will stitch together the panoramas from this trip, but that will take a while.

Further down the bike paths, Jason encountered a brightly lit canopy of tree parts. The different overlapping shades of green had attracted his attention a few months earlier at Rock Creek Park near Georgetown; Yosemite's trees captured his attention in a similar manner (aa020031a - 33a). We continued our westward trek to the base of Yosemite falls, only to discover that it was not flowing and there was nary a trickle of water to be seen coming out of it (aa020034a), only waterstains (aa020036a). By then I was getting a bit sleepy, so we stopped to rest and photograph ourselves to prove that we had been there. On the way out, Jason pondered how a squirrel could race vertically up a tree and took (aa020044a) to study the effect. I snapped a few more pictures of the scenery and snuck in one of Steph and Jason in profile.

Sadly, that was pretty much all the sightseeing that we got to do that afternoon. Though there was at least a few more hours of daylight left, Steph announced that she wanted to get going home early to avoid driving down the curves at night. We rode over to Yosemite Lodge, only to receive the shock of a lifetime--not only has Delaware North taken over the management of the park, but now the eateries really suck! I ended up eating a plate of pasta rolled in pesto. No, not pesto pasta, but pasta rolled in pesto sauce! The only alternative was a spendy restaurant. Stupid concessionaires. Old Town San Diego is going to suck. (Heck, it already does since they threw out everything worth seeing there...)

It turns out that the Yosemite deer come out to feed around 18:00 each evening. Jason had the camera after dinner, and he came up with a few snapshots of the animals eating (aa020050a - 54a). I was some ways down the road, stuck between two families of deer and not really knowing how to get out of it. I figured that if I simply watched them, they'd eventually go back to eating and wander away at some point. They did, at which point Steph and Jason rode up and asked if I'd seen the deer. I merely pointed at their retreating behinds.

The sun had set and it was getting very cold very quickly. Jason built a fire, I set up more of camp, and the three of us enjoyed the sudden warmth until Steph decided to go home (well after dark, no less). I took out the tripod and took a few pictures... but I'll save the discussion thereof for later. Eventually I started to feel rather cold and decided to hit the sack.

Morning Serenity

Occurred October 03, 2005 (Permalink)

Late the next morning, I groggily crawled out of a nice warm sleeping bag into some shockingly cold morning air! It was nearly 8:30am, and Jason grumpily explained that he'd been up long enough to get yelled at by a park ranger for trying to light a morning fire. Apparently, campfires are only allowed between 17:00 and 22:00. Thus cold, we hastily got up, grilled ourselves a quick hot breakfast (sausage and cheese wrapped in tortillas) and got ready. Since it was still quite cold, we decided that the time was ripe for a morning drive around the valley with the heater on full blast.

The first place we came to was the meadow in which I had captured a panorama the previous afternoon. Since the lighting was way better in the morning, I decided that it would be interesting to take another panorama from essentially the same spot (aa030056a - 62a). From this spot, there were some great vistas of many of the main geological features of the park: Yosemite Falls (aa030066a), North Dome (aa030067a), and lots of trees (aa030068a). Regrettably, the sun was near enough Half Dome that I didn't even try for a picture. Apparently, the meadow that we were standing in (aa030069a) was one of the park's campgrounds before a 1997 flood that washed everything out.

Continuing on our westward trek, we drove from Upper Pines out to another meadow in the vicinity of Yosemite Lodge. Jason and I decided to grab shots of the lone yellow tree among a whole forest of evergreens; this sight proved so strange that I saw fit to photograph it myself! (aa030089a, aa030071a). Like so many of the other flatlands at the bottom of the Yosemite Valley, this spot revealed spectacular views up and down the valley, including Sentinel Rock (aa030075a, 79a), dead milkweed and other plants (aa030077a). Jason and I were still sharing a camera at that point, so many of the pictures from (aa030078a - aa030090a) are the same as before. Before leaving, however, Jason zoomed way in the flowering cotton of a couple of milkweed plants (aa030091a - 92a).

A short distance down the road, we found a rest stop with a good view of El Capitan (aa030093a). It was still fairly cool outside, so Jason and I decided that it would be a good day to strike out for Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the other side of the park. Meanwhile, there were some nifty views to be had while we were stopped for a rest: gnarled, weathered rock points (aa030094a), a daytime silhouette of a tree (aa030097a) and a few more shots of El Capitan (aa030099a).

To get to Hetch Hetchy Valley from Yosemite, one goes westward out of the latter valley, turns northward on a road that skirts the western edge of the park, follows CA-120 in a northwesterly direction, and finally turns onto the one and only road that goes to the reservoir. (aa030100a - 125) were taken along the first expanse of Big Oak Flat Road that climbs out of the Yosemite valley twoards a place aptly named Foresta.

Foresta Out to Hetch Hetchy

Occurred October 03, 2005 (Permalink)

As I might've mentioned earlier, to get to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir from Yosemite, one heads westward out of the valley onto the road that goes to CA-120. Around the first bend on this road is Foresta, a place (probably) named for what it once used to be: trees. Many years ago, however, a huge fire must have come ripping through this area, for there were numerous blackened leafless trunks all over the place. At the same time, however, there were many smaller trees and shrubs growing on the ground, suggesting that the the fire was not any time recent. Most likely, they simply let the fire burn until it burned itself out and left what we see in the pictures (aa030126a - 27a).

We stopped at the trailhead to Tamarack Flat, just above Crane Creek for some pictures of the trees (aa030128a) and the rocks (aa030129a). The area was rather intriguing visually, for the lack of trees gave it a certain eerie quality--everything below shrub-line was green and lush, yet everything above it was certifiably dead. In any case, the remnants of the dead trees (aa030137) were quite spectacular bony things to look at, and the panoramic view was awesome (aa030138a - 57a)! I particularly liked the y-shape of (aa030159a). For some reason, the most intriguing tree forms are always in the strangest and remote places...

Behind the trees were outcroppings of granite rocks (aa030161 - 64) and a recently toppled tree. I'd gotten accustomed to seeing the same sort of volcanic ash that's all over the Portland area, and granite was a welcome break from that. It seems odd to me that granite would seem so unusual, but I suppose I've been in Oregon for quite a while now. Near the granite was a big 180-year old pine tree that had been cut into several pieces (aa030165 - 74), perhaps by the same thunderstorms that had torn through the area two weeks previously and touched off numerous fires around the park? Before leaving, I captured one of the signs explaining the geological processes underway in the area (aa030175).

From there, we basically headed right up CA-120 towards the western edge of the park. Amusingly, the path to Hetch Hetchy took us out of the park and we had to re-enter! The road back into the park, Evergreen Road, branches off CA-120 just over the border. We noticed that there were a lot of shot-out road signs (aa030176), but that the treelines following the road were quite wonderful out here (aa030177 - 78). Not quite like Oregon where they log up to 15 feet away from the highways.

Cows (aa030179)! Since the road cut through private land, we went through a cattle ranch which had cows lazily grazing away next to the road (aa030180 - 2). The road also went over the property of a guy who had sprayed "SPEED 20MPH" on the asphalt. Finally, we started to head back to the signs of civilization: bridges (aa030183), signage (aa030184 - 5) and a day camp. Apparently, the city of San Francisco has a summer camp for children way out here (aa030186)-- Camp Mather. The place had been closed up, so we simply drove through it, laughed at the sign (aa030187) and pressed on back into the park. The pretty young ranger in the park looked somewhat cramped in her booth, and Jason and I wondered how many people she got to see in a day. Probably no more than fifty. After a few more miles of twists and turns, we arrived at the intended destination--Hetch Hetchy Reservoir!

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Occurred October 03, 2005 (Permalink)

We made it to O'Shaughnessy Dam! In the early 1910s, the city of San Francisco deemed that they needed a reservoir high in the mountains to supply them with drinking water. After much cantankerous debate about whether or not to build in Hetch Hetchy or Yosemite Valley, the Tuolumne River was cut off, flooding Hetch Hetchy Valley into what we have today (pa030198 - 201a). For the price of admission into the park, one can drive up to the dam, walk around on the top (pa030355), and hike the trails around the reservoir for some awesome views!

Jason parked and, after a quick lunch, we went exploring. It seems that the downspout of the dam is aimed at a rock formation (pa030205a - 06a, 239a, 255, 366a). Above the dam, there's also a spillway (pa030208, 200) for excess water to run off. Smack in the middle of the dam are brass plates identifying when, who, and why the various sections of dam were built (pa030218a - 22), and a rectangular structure with a water depth gauge tacked to the side (pa030216a). Oddly enough, there was also a USGS marker on the north end of the dam (pa030356).

On the other side of the dam sat the trailheads for the trails that wandered around the reservoir--the only good way to see Hetch Hetchy without climbing Smith Peak or needing to engage in strenuous exercise. Oddly enough, one actually needs a parking permit (pa030194) to stop in the area; ours was No. 25. We wondered if the pretty but bored-looking young woman working the entrance saw more than fifty people per day in such a remote location. In any case, this album is perhaps the most massive of all the albums from this trip; to cut a long story short, we walked across the dam and took pictures of the area above (pa030196 - 228) and below (pa03212, pa03232a - 33a), through a tunnel (pa030242a, 46a, 54a, 57 - 61) and out the other side. We then circumnavigated the reservoir for nearly a mile, stopping frequently to photograph the beautiful granite rock formations further east (pa030272a), intriguing displays of the cliffs cut into the rocks by whatever glaciers moved through here eons ago (pa030273a), and westward back at the dam (pa030295). Truthfully, the pictures evoke the vastness and solitude of the area far more adroitly than I could in words.

There are, however, a few pictures that I'm particularly fond of. (pa030320) captures the deep blue hue of the algae-free water, the cloud miles behind the mountains, and the local tree life almost as well as my own eyes. Jason snapped a rather good picture of myself photographing that scene (pa030300a). The clouds hiding behind the granite protrusion beneath Smith Peak reminds me of the Anaheim Angels' team logo (pa030284). Jason happened upon a few tufts of clouds floating over the cliffs on the north side of the valley (pa030273a). (pa030304a) shows the damn in the late afternoon, and (pa030358) is a wonderful reminder of the effects that man-made structures have on an otherwise remote and natural setting. As we drove away, I couldn't help but feel a strong sense of contentment, having spent the afternoon doing nothing but observing nature being ... natural. No hustle, no fuss, no people (other than Jason). It was very, very relaxing.

Also, don't forget to take a look at the individual frames of the panoramas that we took from various points around the reservoir.

Back to the Valley

Occurred October 03, 2005 (Permalink)

Since it was starting to get dark (at 16:00!), Jason and I decided that it would be a really good idea to drive back to Yosemite. Lucky for us, that means that we hit CA-120 entrance to the valley smack in the middle of the sunset, yielding awesome photos! (aa030369) was taken looking eastward from Big Oak Flat Road and (aa030373) was taken looking south. There were plenty of gorgeous vistas, though it was a tad disappointing that there were few places to stop, and they were the same ones we'd stopped at in the morning. I did, however, capture pictures of some rocks (aa030377), cloudscapes (aa030378) and a forest (aa030380).

Once back in the valley (aa030381), we stopped outside Curry Village to take some more pictures to compare the morning with the evening. For some reason, the light meter in my camera didn't seem to be doing a terribly good job here, as the sky was not nearly as bright blue as the camera would have us believe. The evening sky afforded me some wonderful backdrops against the Eastern sky, however--observe the lavender hues around Sentinel Dome (aa030395) and Half Dome (aa030396). I also practiced the art of capturing silhouettes (aa030397, 398, 401 - 03, 09) and experimented with the shutter/aperture settings on the camera (aa0303405 - 408). It should be noted that, despite the blur of the six-second exposure, none of the vehicles in question were moving faster than thirty miles per hour.

After another luxurious dinner, we headed back to camp and I fed my nighttime photography habit. Our campground was in the middle of a clearing, but still surrounded by trees; this inhibited my ability to see the stars. As a result, the star pictures suck, but there are a few good ones, like the ones of a conveniently placed stop sign (aa020414a, aa020420a), the bathroom (aa030424) and a bus (aa030425) driving by.

Packing Out

Occurred October 04, 2005 (Permalink)

Tuesday morning, as we packed up to leave, a dark blue raven flew by our campsite! We'd wisely packed up all our food beforehand, so the bird ignored us and hopped over to the neighbors' campsite. They'd left bits of food and crumbs lying all over the place, thus the opportunistic scavenger ate it all up. I bet the rangers hate it when this happens, but I got some good pictures nonetheless.

Shortly thereafter, we finished cramming all our junk into the car, checked out of the campground, and went westward towards Glacier Point. Jason wanted a picture of the Ahwahnee Hotel shield (aa040444 - 45), but after that we drove straight up out of the valley along Wawona Road. We stopped at Tunnel View for some truly fabulous pictures of the Yosemite Valley (aa040446 - 50)--it's truly spectacular how the granite walls tower over the trees and make them seem to be quite tiny! It was at this point that I was finally able to capture a most splended picture of El Capitan (aa040448), and behind us, the view up the south rock face (aa040451 - 52). Further along the road, we turned off yet again for a view of a granite bulge (aa040456, 57) and some pine cones (aa040460). Fearing that Jason was going to deck me for taking too many pictures again, I shut off the camera and decided to hang on for the ride up to Glacier Point.

Like any road that climbs several thousand feet out of a valley (we counted about 3,200 from the campsite up to the Point), CA-41 is quite a twisty, steep drive. We figured that since Glacier Point Road closes in the wintertime, we were probably in for quite a bit of green-faced driving. Surprisingly, this turned out to be untrue: after we turned eastward on Glacier Point road, the road curved for a few more miles until it was atop a ridge; the drive was fairly smooth after that. It followed the ridge through a narrow channel of trees past the Badger Pass ski resort, the Bridalveil Creek trailhead and plenty of spectacular views all the way to Glacier Point.

Glacier Point

Occurred October 04, 2005 (Permalink)

Glacier Point is an outcropping of rocks sitting high atop the southern wall of Yosemite Valley right where the Merced river turns westward to head out of the park. The signs posted (aa040461a, 62a, 69) in the area indicate that we were at an altitude of 7,200 feet. From this point, which actually stretches one quarter of a mile inland from the cliff, one can see nearly everything in the eastern half of the park (aa040478 - 482)--an angle of view spanning nearly 270 degrees! There wasn't much activity to be had here; we simply ran around snapping pictures of practically everything in sight.

Half Dome, it seems, is quite a bit more disc-shaped than I'd ever thought (aa040463a, 64a, 531 - 2, 509, 510a, 474, 513, 518, 528); though it looks perfectly circular from the valley floor, the backside of it is surprisingly flat. The three large waterfalls are also visible: Vernal (aa040471a), Nevada (aa040465a) and Yosemite (aa040496a, 505, 517). Looking eastward, one can see all the way up Yosemite Valley into Tenaya Canyon (aa040476, 520, 489), southeasterly at the Sierras (aa040487, 88), downwards at the valley (aa040497a, 508, 498a, 500a, 512a, 514a) and southeast at ... whatever's out there (aa040534, 536, 537). The domes to the northeast of the valley are plainly visible on a level trajectory, too (486a, 519, 490, 529).

As for the point itself, it looks like this: (aa040501a, 503a, 504a, 511, 516a, 522). A series of precariously positioned edges, this rock seems to be stable enough that several people have climbed out to the edge in the days before liability insurance. In the past, the Point was a major tourist attraction, hosting a full-service hotel, skiing and hiking. The environmental damage wrought by these activities, however, lead the park service to decline to rebuild much more than a gift shop after the hotel burned down decades ago. Though the 10,000 foot summits of the Sierra Nevadas at the end of the park may seem thoroughly impressive, a plaque put up by the park service informed us that at one point there was so much ice on the ground that Half Dome was buried under nearly 1,000 feet of ice! Four thousand, five hundred feet of ice!

I noticed a curious thing, too--there were a lot of youngish looking people wandering around the place, speaking in foreign tongues. One of the languages that I caught was German; evidently, their school systems are on a much different schedule. However, it was getting to be lunchtime, and we were hungry. In addition, we had to be back in Merced by 16:30 to meet Steph. On our way out, I took pictures of the road (aa040538 - 43) and the haze (aa040544 - 46).

To Merced via Wawona

Occurred October 04, 2005 (Permalink)

I do not recommend taking the southern road out of Yosemite. We saw a curly-queue sign warning about 25mph speed limits (aa040555) soon after turning of Glacier Point Road... and a bunch more just like it. This is never a good sign when driving down a road with a car packed to the gills with camping, biking and other equipment. There was an information sign about the horrors of smog (aa040548), and we noticed a large number of piles of dead foliage by the side of the road (aa040549, 53, 54). The road curved, and curved, and curved, and by the time we made it to a gas station in Wawona, we were both ready to get out of the car and de-scramble our brains.

So we stopped at Wawona, which is a resort / golf course at the very southern edge of Yosemite park. First, we got gas (it was very strange to have to get out to pump our own), and then proceeded to the golf shop at the hotel for some sandwiches. I must say, the sandwiches were pretty good for pre-packaged ones. After lunch, Jason and I proceeded into the restrooms... to be greeted by a beautifully restored turn-of-the century bathroom! They had the waist-high carved panelling, the black and white tiled floor, and the ornate fixtures that I most assuredly wish that I had in my bathroom! Now green with jealousy, I hopped back in the car and we resumed our course southward on the gas station attendant's advice that CA-41/49/140 were of "highway speeds" and not nearly as curvy.

Our course was as follows: CA-41 southwards out of the park for many miles, then westerly as the road curved out to meet CA-49. Turn northwards in some random town (Oakhurst, I'm told) just west of Bass Lake, then north on CA-41 (aa040556) to Mariposa. One sharp turn to the left later, and we were heading west on CA-140 back to Merced (aa040557 - 65). This was truly what I was itching to see one more time: the California countryside. Yellow, dry grass, semi-rusty farming equipment, domestic pickup trucks, and nothingness for miles and miles! The itch had begun in early August when I looked out from the side of Mt. Hood and saw the yellow and brown land of Eastern Oregon, been partially quenched a month later when Jason and I went to Boise, and totally satiated here and now! Huzzah!

UC Merced

Occurred October 04, 2005 (Permalink)

The next stop: UC Merced. This campus, the newest of the UC system, had literally begun operations a month before, on Labor Day! Since Steph was now working as an academic advisor at the school, it seemed only natural that we should go over there and have a look around. I called her on our way back and had the following exchange: "Which building should we meet you at?" "What do you mean, which building? There's only one!" Since we were still thirty miles out of Merced at that point, we had time for a few more hijinks: racing an Amtrak train (aa040566 - 68) and photographing UC Merced's parking receipts (aa040569 - 70). Apparently we bought ours from the very first parking meter! (I wonder if there's a #0000000?)

Turns out, Steph was right on the money: the only finished building on campus is the Chancellor's Compound/Library building (aa040576). There are a bunch of flatter apartments for continuing students... but no freshman dorms. The frosh can live a life of luxury in on-campus apartments that don't have kitchens; as is the norm for the UC system, one must go to the cafeteria (aa040574) or face starvation. Steph met us in the parking lot; the three of us rode the campus shuttle down the campus road, past the student dwellings, and up to the academic buildings. Steph pointed out the the Science and Engineering building (aa040575, 77) which was heavily under construction, and expressed a hope that it will be done before spring semester. We then got to see her office (aa040578 - 80), the library (aa040581 - 86), and the arid, dusty, empty lands all around the school. Apparently this site was a golf course in a former lifetime, which explains the random fountain (aa040573) in the middle of a pond. For certain, it's quite exciting to witness the birth of a brand new university (aa040583, 90, 91); later, I told Steph that this was a fabulous place to learn what many other counselors will never experience for themselves: everything that goes into building a university from scratch!

After showing us the wonderfully plush suede chairs, the noise cancellation device outside the Chancellor's office (aa040592 - 93) and the carpet outside the building (aa040594 - 95), it was getting close to time to go. I snapped a few more pictures of the campus as the sun began to set; I'm particularly impressed with how well picture (aa040598) came out.

Crashing once again at Steph's place for the night, Jason and I cleaned ourselves up a bit and headed out to dinner. This night, she picked a Mexican restaurant in the nearby town of Atwater; I was rather amused that when we walked in, someone had left the TV on the Oxygen network (offsite); within a minute of our arrival, one of the staff deftly flicked it to some sporting match. Since we were the only ones in the place, we giggled about that, told all sorts of weird tales, and generally had ourselves a wonderful time. That night I listened to the trains roaring through the town in the middle of the night and thought about how relaxing it is to hear the occasional train whistle in the distance.

In the morning, we packed up and went our separate ways: Steph to meet Brian in Las Vegas, and the two of us back to Sacramento. Jason and I sorted our stuff and that afternoon I flew back to Portland.

Jason Visits

Occurred October 22, 2005 (Permalink)

On October 22nd, Jason flew up to Portland for a weekend to see a Blazers/Kings preseason game and to hang out with me. He arrived early Saturday afternoon; because I was a stingy bastard who took the MAX to the airport, we had a few minutes to kill photographing the interiors of the trains (aa220001 - 07). Since I was still sick of photography after the Yosemite trip, Jason took all the pictures... which included this cool mirage of a woman and child trapped in a cage at the airport (aa220008). After grabbing my car, we went down to Hawthorne for a quick lunch at the pizza shop at SE 37th and Hawthorne; after that, we went to Hanna's place for her housewarming party. She has a newly renovated condo right off Hawthorne in the 20s; it seems to be quite a nice place! We marvelled at her new appliances for a while and then went downtown.

Downtown, we met Alexis and her husband James for a quick dinner before the game. For lack of any better ideas, we ended up at Jax (no surly waitress this time!) before catching the MAX to the Rose Garden Arena. Since Jason, Alexis and James are rabid Kings fans, they were allowed to hoot, cheer and make catcalls at the players (aa220012 - 34). The (expected) outcome: Kings win by a wide margin, and the three of them go away happy. I'm no basketball fan, so I didn't particularly care. Most of the Portland fans around us seemed intent upon taunting the Blazers, if that demonstrates anything. Springfield Isotopes suck.

After the game, Alexis and James took off (early morning quading on the coast) and Jason and I went down to Rimsky-Korsakoffee for some after-dinner sweets. The desserts were good and the girls pretty, just like last time. :) I think we went home and slept after that. Though, I did have a more thorough look around the Rimsky-Korsakofee site this time--the building was once a grand old 1890s mansion, though the cafe conversion process seems to have killed off a rather large quantity of open space. In any case, the bathrooms there are terrible. I also showed Jason the abandoned Washington High across the street.

The next day, we struck it out for the coast. We went to Grand Central Bakery on SE 22nd and Hawthorne for quite a delicious brunch; after that, we packed the kite in the trunk and went off to the coast for some flying (aa230035 - 41)! We passed through Seaside and headed up to Astoria, where we crossed the US-101 bridge (aa230046 - 48) into Washington and went up to Cape Disappointment (aa230051). Truly a disappointing site, the Cape consists of a building covered with scaffolding and a lighthouse that we couldn't get into. Good thing that we forgot (aa230052) to pay for the parking (aa230053). Oops.

Jason did see some interesting sights, however: slugs (aa230054, 59 - 60); a particularly pretty picture of the lighthouse (aa230058) and a seascape (aa230055). He fed his sign picture fetish (aa230061, 62) and back to Astoria we went (aa230063). I tried in vain to find Fort Clatsop, where Bonnie and I had gone just a year before, so that I could fly the kite, but alas, the fates were against us: Fort Clatsop burned down two weeks previously and the signs for it had all been removed. Thus disappointed, we drove back to Portland by way of US-30 through Longview, WA, and ended up following the same route that we had taken back in February. Jason turned green with envy when he saw what we were paying at the pump (aa230068), so I quickly diverted his attention away by ducking into a Chinese restaurant (Wong's King at SE 87th and Division) and ordering dinner. That was pretty much the end of his weekend, since he was due to fly out at 6:20 Monday morning.


Occurred October 28, 2005 (Permalink)

This month's Friday Night Supper Club was held at Equinox (offsite) in NoPo. The driver of the bus that I took to get there deliberately drove off with some poor guy's bicycle! What a jerk. Anyway, about the restaurant: I had some extraordinarily tasty flank steak and the most sinful chocolate cream! Yum...

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