2019, Travel/Vacation

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.

~ THE END ~

2019, Travel/Vacation

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 another 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 …

2019, Travel/Vacation

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 …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 2: From Weed, California To Vancouver, Washington

June 2, 2019

Sunday morning we left Weed, California and made our way up on US 97 to Crater Lake National Park. US 97 is also named Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, because it runs east of Interstate 5 along all the volcano/mountain chains up in the Pacific Northwest. Our morning started with a big treat for us. The Sun was shining, the sky was clear, and Mount Shasta looked stunning with its snow-covered top(s). Most mountains have no caps anymore, because they were blown away from a volcanic eruption or weathering in this region. It leaves these mountains with two or more tops, which is sometimes hard to tell, which one is the highest point, the summit.

Once we’ve made it to Crater National Park, we’ve noticed lots of snow along the roadway. I said to Kevin to take a break and let the kids play in the snow for a little bit. The girls had so much fun sticking their fingers in the frozen white and having a small snowball fight. The fun was over, when Sara threw snow in Katelynn’s mouth. It was time to move on. Sara got some Karma later, when I threw a small snowball on the back of her head at the lake. It didn’t hurt her, because the snow was soft. But it made her think twice being a stinker to her older sibling.

When we saw the lake, we were mesmerized by its blue mirror reflecting water; the size of the caldera,; the big cone “Witch Cauldron” on Wizard Island; and the snow, which was still on the ground in the beginning of June. I’m happy, that the true love of my life took me to this lake. About 25 years ago, my son’s father supposed to take me to this lake. As a matter of fact, he lives in Oregon. But it didn’t work out. So here we go. Kevin made it possible for me to see this beautiful work of nature.

Crater Lake is with a depth of 1,949 feet (594 meters) the deepest lake in the United States of America. The caldera was formed when the Mount Mazama volcano collapsed approximately 7,700 years ago. It is filled with water due to heavy rain and snowfalls. Therefore the water is crystal clear and reflects blue due to the BIV (blue, indigo, violet) in the solar radiation interaction. The lake has two islands: Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. There is also a great chance that the volcano will erupt again, in the future. 

From Crater Lake National Park, we drove past Mount Thielsen, which has a very interesting looking summit. While capturing photos of it, I ran into a guy from Oklahoma. We had a little conversation about Oregon and Washington, before our ways separated again. It’s nice seeing people from home or a neighboring state. We always have something in common.

Soon, we’ve made it to Eugene. There we went back on Interstate 5 to drive to Portland. Our motel was on the other side of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. My long-time friend, David, was waiting for us, so we all could have dinner together. It was wonderful to see him after over 26 years, again. We had a lot of years to catch up. Kevin and David talked about Seattle and the Army. I’ve never have seen David talking so much, when he was younger. But it was fantastic. He’s back home and in his environment. We’ve all enjoyed the conversations. After guiding us to the motel, David said, we should visit on our way back from Seattle. That way, we could also meet his wife. So, Kevin and I planned a lunch in Vancouver for Wednesday.  There is always some room on our trips for being spontaneous. Especially with kids, we have to be flexible.

… to be continued …

2019, In The Garden

Travel Journal, Day 1: From Dallas, Texas To Weed, California

June 1, 2019

At 8:45 a.m. our plane took off from Dallas Love Field. We were on our way to San Jose in California within 3 ½ hours. Arriving in San Jose we found out that Kevin and my luggage (we usually share one bag) wasn’t at the airport. After some back and forth in the Baggage Claim Office, we decided to go get our rental car and move on as planned. Southwest Airlines called us back later that day, letting us know, the luggage never made out of Dallas, and asked how they could accommodate us. I told Kevin to let the Baggage Claim know to send our bag to Seattle by Monday. I was in a bad mood and didn’t want to talk to the guy on the other end of the phone. It was bad enough, I didn’t have my hiking shoes with me and had to purchase some toiletries, clothes and shoes to hold us over until two days into the trip. But at least they found our luggage. It could have been much worse. At least I had my camera gear and our passports in my carry-on, in case we wanted to go to Vancouver, British Colombia in Canada for a day.

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Mountain Range somewhere in southern California close to the Mexican Border

Our first destination was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Kevin, the girls and I couldn’t wait to see the huge bridge stretching one mile over the entrance of the San Francisco Bay. The bay and the top Golden Gate Bridge were covered in fog. A cool wind blew from the Pacific into the bay. It was perfect weather for sailing, surfing, parasailing, and many other water sport activities. There were a lot of people having fun in the bay that Saturday afternoon, while many tourists were just in “Awww” seeing the San Francisco Designated Landmark. Since it was very misty, we could only get a climbs of Alcatraz Island. But it was all what we needed. I’ve got some pictures of the former prison out in the distance.

Here is a video of us crossing the Golden Gate Bridge: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132943299@N07/48034613211/in/album-72157705230883495/

The first night we made it to Weed, which is a stone throw north of the town of Mt. Shasta. On our way there, we had a good look at the mountain. But it got too dark for capturing good photos.  The next day, we were in for a treat.

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Mount Shasta at dusk

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Our Trip To The American Northwest

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Another destination, I can cross off on my Bucket List

What a beautiful trip it was to California, Oregon, and Washington. Kevin, the girls and I flew to San Jose, CA last Saturday. From there we went to our journey up to Seattle, Washington, before we drove back to San Jose and flew back to Dallas last night. Just to name a few places: we saw the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Crater Lake in Oregon, Mount Saint Helen in Washington, etc. Once I’m not as jet lagged anymore, I will blog about this wonderful trip to the American Northwest.

2019, Travel/Vacation

Last Minute Preparations For The Trip To Seattle, Washington

Between taking care of some errands and all the tornado warnings, I had to make some last minute preparations for our trip to Seattle. While sitting with Sara and our fur babies in a fort build from mattresses, pillows, blankets, and plush animals (they need to be safe too), I had some time pondering about the Seattle City Pass, what other destinations are surrounded on the way from San Jose, California to Seattle, Washington, and how far the distances are between these points of interest.

Meanwhile the storm was brewing outside, and there were also a few tornado touchdowns in the Metroplex. While Sara and I sat together in her little fort, we talked about the upcoming trip, and how she feels about being in an airplane for the first time. Trust me, it kept us from getting nuts with all these sirens going off in the neighborhood. Soon, the sky cleared, the Sun came out, and I could finish my research on the computer.

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We will fly with Southwest Airlines to San Jose in California , and drive from there to Seattle, Washington.
2018

Our 16 Year Anniversary

Sixteen years ago, on April 18th, 2002, Kevin and I said “I do” to one another back in my hometown in Germany. Another year is accomplished. Many more anniversaries to us. 😉

Happy 16th Anniversary! ❤

2018, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 5: From California To Arizona

December 28, 2017

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Viva Las Vegas! Sin City looks like an average city by daylight.

On that Thursday, I didn’t feel well when I woke up with a neck ache. I took an Ibuprofen and made sure I stayed hydrated throughout the day. But I still could not get rid of it. Later in the day it turned into a headache. We think, the higher elevation driving through California and Nevada played a part in it. Hoover Dam was planned in. I told Kevin, I can’t make it all the way up the stairs to stand on the bridge and look down Hoover Dam. “How about we cross it and find a parking spot on the other side? I don’t mind seeing it from the backside. It still will be impressive”, I suggested. Said, done. After looking at the Hoover Dam and parts of Lake Mead/Colorado River, capturing some photos and a potty break, we found out we had to cross the dam again. The road to the dam in Arizona was closed. So, we had back track to get to Highway 93. Driving through Arizona, I grabbed my neck pillow and took a nap for most of the way to Williams, AZ. I was glad, when I could stretch out and sleep in the motel bed. Kevin, Katelynn and Sara went for a walk and had dinner in that small Western-style town.

… to be continued …