Summer Sunday (2)

This Sunday, Kevin, the girls and I went for a hike to Tyler State Park. I always wanted to check that place out. Due to “Barry” about an hour east of us, it was a bit cooler but very humid today. Here and there, we had a little sprinkle. But it was worth getting out and doing something with the family.

Tyler State Park, Texas

Travel Journal, Day 7: From Willits, California To Dallas, Texas

June 7, 2019

Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I had so much fun on our trip in the Pacific Northwest. But we all had to admit, we were ready to go back home. The night before, we’ve sorted and packed our items in the luggage, making sure, what we want to take on board as a carry-on and what will be checked in. Everything was in the car, and we were ready to drive to San Jose the next morning. In San Jose, we had to bring back the rental car. In the airport, we’ve still had time for another hour to print out our tickets and check in our luggage. Sara saw a piano and played some tunes for a few minutes. This girl needs piano lessons. She needs to learn to read keys and play by sheets, and she will do great at the instrument.

Once we could check-in, we all had lunch in the airport. At 2 p.m. Kevin gets a message on his phone, we didn’t like at all. The flight was delayed from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. I got frustrated and said, that the company sucks. Kevin got even more frustrated, that I had to calm him down. He was tired, and he just wanted to get home. The girls were well-behaved, played games on their phones, watched a movie and had snacks. At least that helped the situation. We also had to make plans, where we would eat for dinner in the airport. When we were in the airplane, the pilot took the shortest, but safest airline route to get us to Dallas. The jet stream did its part as well. We’ve arrived in Dallas at about 1 a.m. (CDT). The flight was about 30 to 45 minutes shorter, than planned in first place. That night, we didn’t care about unpacking. We went straight to bed and worried about everything else the next morning.

Tired and frustrated, I wasn’t sure, if I’d fly with Southwest Airlines again. But after we were rested for a couple of days, I said to Kevin, that the company was always friendly and even when they screwed up, they did their best to accommodate us. They kept their word and still delivered. So, it wasn’t that bad after all. I’d give them another chance. But I would prepare for any lost luggage and delay in the future.


Travel Journal, Day 6 (Part II): From Redwoods National & State Park To Willits, California

June 6, 2019

We back tracked from the beach to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. There we parked at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Kevin, the girls, and I hiked at the Prairie Creek Trail, where we saw lots of Redwoods, ferns, wildflowers, a jay bird, a few ground squirrels, and a daddy long-legs. When we came back to the parking lot, we could see some wild elks on the meadow. I guess, the park staff guides those elks to a certain area, so the vegetation has enough time to recover, grows back; and the elks can feed again. It seemed like a controlled area.

After our hike, we had dinner in Trinidad. Kevin and I debated how far we still want to go. I looked at the map and suggested Willits, which was about three hours down the road. That way, we would have only anotherย three hours to San Jose. We didn’t have to get up too early and rush to get to the airport. Kevin booked a motel room, and we were on our way to Willits.

…to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 6 (Part I): From Grants Pass, Oregon To Redwoods National & State Parks, California

June 6, 2019

On Thursday, we’ve made our way from Grants Pass, Oregon to the Redwoods National & State Parks. First we drove through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. A little bit into the ride, there was a huge pot hole filled with water and not enough space on the road to get around it, without having the passenger wheels over the hill’s edge. And the edge was to brittle. With the little Ford Fusion we’ve used as a rental car, we really didn’t want to try anything stupid (at this moment, we wished we still had our Jeep Grand Cherokee). I told Kevin to screw it; we’ll turn around. I’ve got enough photos of the park. And it was just not worth to risk getting stuck in that hole or falling several hundred feet upside down into the gorge.

We’ve rather decided to get out of that State Park and drive long the beach into the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park on US 101. Katelynn and Sara could walk barefoot at the Crescent Beach, until the tide came in. We’ve found some sand dollars, Dungeness crabs, sea stars and some broken shells along the beach.

Our next stop let us to the Redwoods National Park. In the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center we asked for more information. I found out, that the Park Ranger spoke German due to his German parents, who originated from the Sudetenland. He said, he brushes up his language from all the German tourists, who are the main visitors of the Redwood Parks. He also mentioned, his two sisters moved back to Germany, while he rather stays here in the US. The world is small. Well, after this little chit-chat, the Park Ranger explained to us, the best place to visit is actually Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, while driving on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy. Dangit! we’ve bypassed it on US 101. So, we had to backtrack a little bit …

…to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 5: From Everett, Washington To Grants Pass, Oregon

June 5, 2019

Gosh, we all were sore from walking around in Seattle. Kevin and I decided, we would take it easy that Wednesday. David and his wife had lunch plans with us. So, we made our way back down to Vancouver. After lunch, David and Karen did show us a little bit of Vancouver along the northern shore of the Columbia River. Walking around felt good, since we needed to get the soreness out of our bodies, anyway. Later that day, we still had a long “hike” to get to Grants Pass in Oregon. That night, we had a room with a king-sized bed. I didn’t sleep so well, since I left home. We all needed that rest.

.. to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part VI): The Seattle Aquarium (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

The Seattle Aquarium is only a few piers north from the Argosy Cruises. Kevin and I decided, we would go to the aquarium first, because it closes at 5 pm. And then we would have dinner at Ivar’s. At the Seattle Aquarium, we saw a lot of cool sea critters. Most of their families live either right in the Elliot Bay, Puget Sound or in the Northwestern Pacific. Of course, there were also some species from Hawai’i and across the ocean all the way down to Great Barrier Reef. But mainly we learned quite a few facts about the sea creatures close by. First we wanted to the feeding of a Great Pacific Octopus. But our girls rather had other ideas, and wanted to play with sea urchins, sea cucumbers. sea anemones, “Mr. Krabs”, some of “Patrick’s” family and a hermit crab at the “Life on the Edge” exhibit. The girls were so busy and fascinated touching and playing with spongy and stingy animals, they forgot almost about the rest of the aquarium.

The Seattle Aquarium has two big sections. One is with the fish tanks and sea critter interactions; and then there is the second part with the sea bird, sea mammals and the Underwater Dome. This was my first experience, with fish and mammals swimming above my head. At the harbor seal tank, I would hold my hand against the glass. And the harbor seal came as close to me as it could in the water. The sea otters snoozed until it was dinner time for them at 5 pm. The entrance of the aquarium closes at that time. But there is still plenty of time for the visitors to watch the feeding of the otters, and look around for a little bit. It is encouraged slowly making the way to the exit.

Once, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I made our way to the sidewalk at the Waterfront, we got hungry. Our dentist’s receptionist gave me a tip at our last cleaning visit. Since she lived in Seattle, she was telling me about all the little side places. Oh boy, I definitely have to go back to Seattle …. Anyway, she mentioned Ivar’s at Pier 54. Since Katelynn and I love seafood, we had to go there. Even Kevin ordered a dish with shrimp. Sara was more satisfied with having a burger. The “Acres of Clams” was huge and so good. We had berry lemonade with our food. While we ate, we watched the seagulls fighting over some fresh caught fish between two piers. Darn “sea rats” with wings! ๐Ÿ˜€


“Acres of Clam” – Ivar’s at Pier 54

After dinner, we walked back to the monorail, rode to the Seattle Center to get to the parking garage. When we were in our motel in Everett, we weren’t quite ready to rest. So, we went to Denny’s next door. There we all had a milk shake and talked about the adventures we’ve had in Seattle. Katelynn and Sara talked about what they liked best. There are too many “liked best” moments to mention them all in this blog. But we made it possible to see all the CityPASS attractions hassle free in one day. If you being as a tourist with children in Seattle for the first time, I would always recommend the pass. We saved tons of money and we had a plan. Therefore we were not walking around clueless in the city. I know, next time I will get the CityPASS for New York City as well. But this will take longer than one day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part V): Argosy Cruises -Harbor Cruise (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

When Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I walked from the Pike Place Market to the Waterfront, we had to weave our way through some construction zones. The Alaskan Way Viaduct is in the middle of a demolition to make place for a much nicer street with a pedestrian bridge and to pretty up the Emerald City’s Waterfront. On a good note, when we finally made it to the Waterfront, we were standing right in front the Argosy Cruise at Pier 55. What a coincidence?! We just wanted to go there, and we were were lucky with the boat as well. Five minutes after our arrival, the vessel was setting for nice one-hour cruise around the Elliot Bay, where we had a nice panoramic view of the Seattle Skyline, Puget Sound, the shipping port, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

… to be continued …