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 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 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 …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part IV): Seattle’s Famous Pike Place Market

June 4, 2019

Next to the MoPOP is the Seattle Center Monorail Station. Kevin got round trip tickets, and we rode to the Westlake Station, where the Pike Place Market is only a few blocks away. Once, we arrived at the Public Market Center, I was fascinated from the fresh fruits, vegetables and all kinds of sea foods. At one corner we saw a crowd of people and heard  loud noises. When we came closer, we’ve noticed, it was the place, where they throw the fish over the counter. Pike Place Market/Pure Food Fish Market is famous for that “Fish Throw” all around the world. Kevin and I wanted to witness it. And we didn’t come short. One sales person shouted the order, and the rest of the crew repeated the order in sync several times. Nobody can say, they didn’t hear the order. People come from all over to buy fresh fish from Pure Food Fish Market. Katelynn wanted to throw a fish, too. I said, she needs to apply for a job at the fish market, then she can practice throwing fish, before she can go do it like the big guys behind those counters. “It’s hard work, throwing a good fish over the counter in a famous place”, I replied. We also looked at these small, nifty little stores on several floors, before we moved on to the Water Front. Card readings, Buddhist supplies, Pagan/Wiccan supplies, clothes, second hand books, .. just to name some of the stores, we’ve seen in a small area. Now, I wish we’ve stayed longer at the Pike Place Market. It’s a good reason to come back to Seattle.

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part III): The Museum of Pop Cuture – MoPOP (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

After lunch our next stop was at the Museum of Pop Culture also called MoPOP, formerly EMP Museum. The Museum has a lot to offer. Tons of exhibits, instruments, recordings, etc. Katelynn and Sara spent some time in the Indie Game Revolution room, playing some older video games. In the meantime, I enjoyed photographing the Guitar Sculpture, which I also call “The Guitar Tornado”. It sure does look like a big instrumental tornado. It also includes other instruments, like keyboards, trumpets, clarinets, drums, …

Upstairs, Katelynn, Sara and I played some instruments. Wow, I had some serious fun playing drums to a Rolling Stone song. First the video did show me, how to play the drums, which made me play out rhythm a little bit. But once, I “played with the band”, it was fun. I guess, I had to hear all instruments coming together. It made it easier sticking with the rhythm .

But we’ve also visited some of the exhibits. it was very interesting to look at some original instruments, clothes, journals, and other items, Nirvana, Prince and Jimi Hendrix used in the recording studios and on tour. UGH! May they all rest in peace!

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Nirvana – Taking Punk to the Masses

The exhibition features instruments like Kurt Cobain’s Fender Stratocaster, Krist Novoselić’s Hiwatt DR103 bass amplifier head, and Dave Grohl’s Tama Rockstar-Pro drum kit. In addition, a diverse set of objects like the Cobain-created Fecal Matter shirt and the casting call flier for the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video will be on display.

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Prince From Minneapolis

From the very beginning of his career, Prince worked to create a unique and dynamic professional image. He reached out to photographers in Minneapolis to construct and disseminate what is now his legendarily theatrical image and identity. Four of those photographers—Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen, and Robert Whitman—are showcased in this exhibition. With nearly 50 artifacts, including 25 photos of Prince, 15 Prince-inspired artworks, a Prince guitar, and 2 outfits from the film Purple Rain, this comprehensive gallery allows guests to experience Prince’s unrivaled artistry at key moments in his career.

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Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966 – 1970

From his arrival in London to his untimely death on September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix was rarely in one place for more than a month. Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970 offers a contemplative look at the period of Hendrix’s life spent on the road as he catapulted to fame.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

Explore the lives and legacies of the genre’s greatest in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors science fiction and fantasy’s leading creators and most impactful creations.

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Texts of the exhibits are not from me, but from the official website: https://www.mopop.org/exhibitions-plus-events/

… to be continued …

2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part II): The Pacific Science Center (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

Originally, I really wanted to go to the Chihuly Garden & Glass. But when I asked my family, which place we want to visit next, I’ve got outvoted. The Seattle CityPASS gives a choice: the Chihuly Garden & Glass or the Pacific Science Center. I had to agree, that the Science Center would be much more fun for the girls. What we didn’t know, the Seattle schools are not on Summer Break, yet. A lot of Elementary Schools use the warmer days for Field Trips. As soon as we entered the Courtyard, we heard a whole bunch of kids. We looked back. And sure enough, there was a “herd” of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders entering the gates. I said: “Oh boy, this might be a short stay here in the Science Center! RUUUNNN!”

Entering the Building, Katelynn and Sara had so much fun touching, playing, exercising, etc. We didn’t go through the whole place. But the girls enjoyed running around in the buildings for over two hours, before we went to lunch. That got the excessive energy out of their system and made them hungry.

… 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

January Winter Weather

The temperatures stay in the mid-30s (1°C) in North Texas, today. Since it is close to the freezing point and raining outside, the girls and I stay cozy by the fire. Since, I started the fire in the fireplace, Luis hasn’t moved a muscle on the ottoman. He really and enjoys the heat. What a lucky pup?! Lexi and the cats are snoozing on soft blankets. Katelynn and Sara have Winter Break until Monday. They still have to do their daily school work, which includes reading books and practice clarinet. Their brains need to stay in sharp, when they go back to school. But homework and riding out the cooler weather is so much more fun with hot chocolate for them, and cappuccino for me. 😉