Thursday, May 31, 2012

On to Alpine Texas

We got an late start in Spokane, but we weren't concerned.  We had the whole day to make up the time. We rolled through the day, first through the middle of California agriculture and then for miles along the Pacific coast.  

By mid-afternoon, we knew we were going to be late into LA.  I explained to the conductor that I absolutely had to make my connection in LA in order to be at Allyson's graduation.  She assured me that we would be there in time and sure enough, we arrived in LA with five minutes to spare.  The Texas Eagle conductors were already singing out, "All aboard" when we stepped on the train.   A glass of wine and we were ready for bed.  

The next day, we met several very interesting people and before we knew it, we were in El Paso.  Delayed slightly by the DEA making a search of the train, we were concerned about making it to Alpine on schedule, but by some miracle, we made it right on time - in spite of the hail storm between Marfa and Alpine.
The picture doesn't come close to illustrating the amount of hail that fell in a very short time.

We were glad to be on the new Alpine platform with the hail behind us.
The top photo is one of my favorite views in Alpine, Twin Peaks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Highlights of Sacramento Visit

Breakfast at the Hungry Hollow Cafe on Memorial Day.  Don could not have chosen a more perfect place for beginning the day.  Decorated year-round to honor America and her military, I had a leap of patriotism the minute I walked through the door.  The delicious chili-cheese omelet may have intensified those feelings.

A new plant for us:  Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  Over the three day period, blooms turn from purple to lavender to white so all three colors are present all the time.  

Lamb dinner on the patio.  

Now, that's a breakfast.  Don style.

Lunch on Tuesday at High Hand.  We have visited the nursery before, but this was the first time for the restaurant.  What a beautiful place.

To the Loomis Brewery for beer for the boys.  Water for the girls.

To Trader Joe's for sausage.  

Deb and Nathan came for dinner on the patio.  This was their last evening in Sacramento.  They are off to New Mexico on 5/30.

Another great visit to California.  Thanks to Trish and Don for all their sweet hospitality.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Todd Taylor and Good-bye to Jim and Rori

We have become so spoiled, a trip to Sacramento isn't complete without a visit to Todd Taylor's winery in the old sugar mill at Clarksburg.  Unfortunately, Todd was very busy when we visited on Sunday afternoon, but we grabbed enough of his time to say hello and for Stanley to ask a few questions.  He is so generous with his talent!  Thanks, Todd!

Later, we treated ourselves to pulled pork sandwiches at the new restaurant in the building.  Delicious!

Pictures by Trish!  Thank you!
After tasting Todd's wine and beer for the guys at the Rubicon we were all ready for a 'lay-me-down.'  Dinner was a feast at one of Don and Trish's favorite restaurants.  

Back to the house for some play time with Spencer.  We've all gotten attached to this little guy.  He's going to make a fabulous addition to their family!

And then it was good-bye to Jim, Rori, and Spencer. They were leaving early the next morning to visit Jim's family in Pleasanton.  

Don's Filter

Last night's party would have been perfect if the fountain had been bubbling, but alas it was in need of a good cleaning.  We didn't realize what a job the roots had done to it until Stanley pulled it out and started the extraction process.

Party Time

We arrived in Sacramento just in time to help with the finishing touches for a big going away party for Nathan and Debbie, two of Don and Patricia's closest friends.  We had met them several times at different functions on previous visits.  We wish them much joy in their new home in New Mexico.  

The following are some pictures I made with my phone.  They certainly don't do justice to the festive occasion - especially the many many strings of origami cranes in honor of the birding Nathan and Debbie love to do.

From upper left hand corner clockwise:  Debbie; Patricia, Jim, Rori, Debbie, Nathan; Sheila; Diane; lots of paper cranes.

More paper cranes and pictures; Still more; Debbie and Molly; Denise; Chris

Sam and Rori; Patricia; Nathan and Stanley; Don, Sheila, and Molly.

Patricia, Debbie, Denise, Diane, Molly, Chris, Sheila, and Rori are among some of my favorite women.

Redding to Sacramento

First Stop:  Breakfast before we ever left Redding

Second Stop:  The Olive Pit in Corning CA

Third Stop:  Our California home.  It's always so good to be here.
Don and Trish always make us feel like family!

Dalles Oregon to Redding CA

The rolling sculptured farmland between Dalles and Madras was lovely to look at and impossible to photograph from the car.

First stop:  Black Bear in Madras Oregon for breakfast
Second stop:  Crooked River Oregon for the spectacular canyon and massive bridges
One for the cars and trucks
One for the trains
And a deep, deep ditch.  Back up, Jim.  
We didn't find much information about the geology of the area, but there is some history of the Crooked River.

Third stop:  Outside Bend Oregon for snow.
Oh, we didn't really stop.  It was toooooo cold.  It is important to note that all the pictures on this page were made on May 25, 2012.  Not to confused with December 25th when they might have been more appropriate.

It started with just a light dusting.
Then a little more
At 1:42PM it was 42 degrees F.

The snow got deeper
And deeper
Stanley drove on.  
The snow got deeper.
By 2:22PM, the temperature was 39 degrees F.  
Actually, the snow was more of an oddity than anything else.  Sheltered in the cocoon of a warm car, the biggest disappointment was that Mt. Shasta was shrouded in clouds.  

Between Weed and Redding, the thermometer started rising, and everything looked a lot more like spring.   Once we got on IH 5, we zipped along with the sun glaring at us through the trees low in the western sky.

Although we didn't have time to do the wine-tasting in Oregon that we had planned, it was a very enjoyable relaxed trip.  At the end of the day, we had appetizers in the motel room and then took our bottle of Terra Blanca Merlot to the Cattleman's Restaurant next door.  Paired it with perfect prime rib.

When we asked the desk clerk about possible dancing opportunities, she told us Redding wasn't really a dancing sort of town.  I don't know about that, but it was a good Saturday night even without the dancing venue.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rice Washington to The Dalles Oregon

First stop:  Hunter Washington for coffee

Second stop:  Davenport Washington for lunch
The sign on the mannequin says:  "Many have eaten here.  Few have died."  I thought that sounded encouraging.

Third stop:  A RR crossing for a long, long train.

Fourth stop:  Preston winery

Fifth stop:  Terra Blanca winery

Outside The Dalles Oregon:
Mt. Hood and views of the bridge

A view across the river.

Crackers, salami, cheese, and wine in the motel room.  Salads later.  To bed.  Good day.  

Goat Feedings

Wednesday was another cold rainy day.  Rori had lots of calls to make and things to do and Stanley and I read most of the day.  Jim was doing real work like splitting wood.
The sun did come out long enough for Rori, Stanley and I to walk to the mailbox.  On the way back, we found a fallen evergreen limb to take to the goats as a special treat.  Oh, my!  They loved it!
Back at the house I made another attempt to photograph their beautiful home.  I never seem to get just the right perspective, but trust me, it is a wonderful place in a fantastic setting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rice Washington

We rolled into Spokane on time, found our hotel, and didn't wake up until about 8:00 the next morning.  Once we had breakfast and the rental car, we were off to find the Drapers.  We knew Rori was in Alaska with her mother, but Jim was waiting for us at the house on Pleasant Valley Road.

We had a very enjoyable afternoon tramping through the fields, but by 7:30 we were ready for more sleep.  The next day found everyone with a little more energy.  Off we went on another hike. This time I had my camera.

Wildflowers everywhere.  

The trees are very interesting.  Huge evergreen trees left long ago by loggers and apple trees planted long ago by forgotten settlers.
Jim and Rori have several families of bluebirds in their yard.  So beautiful!
Company for dinner.  Jim fixed a delicious pasta casserole and friends Rusty and Terry came to share it with us.

The next day it rained almost all day.  Not the kind of day that invites you to go out slogging through the woods again.  We settled into the cozy living room and read.

The next morning was chilly, but much drier.  We drove to Spokane to return the rental car and pick up Rori at the airport.  Breakfast at Frank's Diner, a beautifully restored train car with stained glass windows.  The setting was charming.  The food was delicious.

The first thing Rori wanted to do was check on her treasures.

Within three hours of arriving back at the house, Rori received news that her mother had passed away.  The news was expected and indeed it was a relief to know that June was no longer suffering, but we spent much of the afternoon reflecting on the precious aspects of life.

On a lighter note, Stanley has become enamored with the new puppy at the Draper home. 

 Spencer is quite the puppy.  He already knows a thing or two about posing.
What a cutie!