And….again!

Oh so pretty. I didn’t have a window seat today. It’s just as well, though, because I would have been hogging/blocking the view the whole time. :)
So I asked my seat-neighbor to snap one for me, instead.

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Simply the best.

Monte and I have just returned from Panama City Beach – a week-long celebration of Gene & Jo’s 50th wedding anniversary with their entire family.  I am grateful to have been included in the celebration.  It was simply awesome. The location.  The beach.  The silliness.  The catching up.  The family.  The celebrating.   Thank you Gene & Jo!

I’ll share just a few pictures of the beautiful setting:

We arrived in Panama City Beach at sunset last Saturday, after an extra long drive, due to I-10 shutdowns.
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One morning we were treated to a view from our back deck of an amazing double rainbow.

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The sea was different every day.  This was from one morning after overnight rainshowers.

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A week of amazing sunsets.

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Surf-side fireworks one night.

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One of the few pelican shots I captured.

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From a distance.

Julie flew home Wednesday to join her dad and brothers on a long-planned climb to the top of the 14K+ foot peak that is Mount Rainier.  I can only aspire to do something like this one day.  For now, I am watching their ascent via satellite-based location technology.  Amazing.

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Points 1 – 4 on the map are the last 4 pings they’ve sent on their way up.   I will watch all night and all day tomorrow.  Can’t wait to see the pics!

Three day weekend!

We celebrated the long 4th of July weekend on the lake.  On Friday, Julie joined us for the day for a sail and a float in Arky South.   Kalliopi tied up to us for the afternoon.   And we whipped up an All-American grill-ful of burgers and dogs for dinner.

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We took Julie back to the marina at sunset.

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We had a nice view of a nearby fireworks show from the bow.

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Saturday morning we took care of some chores on the boat before setting off for a long sail, ending up with anchoring off Starne’s Island to watch the Volente (day-after) 4th of July fireworks show.  Voodoo, Sapphire, Dancer and Karma also showed up and we anchored nearby eachother.

The lights in this shot show the great many boats that turned out for the show.  And the dark hump in the middle of the shot is Starne’s Island, from where the fireworks would be shot off.

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We had a great spot!

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After the show, nearly all the other boats left, and the water calmed down enough to stay overnight.  Sunday morning, before we left, I kayaked from the boat to Starne’s Island to hunt for a lone geocache hidden there.

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This tree on the island is home to 4 giant blue heron nests.  None of them were home during my visit.IMG_5023

We made it back to the slip Sunday afternoon and wrapped things up.

Another great 3 day weekend spent on the lake!

Same hiker, different woods.

I took a walk through a nearby park today. Different scenery than the shaded, lush, tall forest paths up north. But nice to be here.

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Lots of gaillardia (aka Indian blanket) around. Another one of my favorites.

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A look through the window, on my way home.

I’m headed home today, after a nice, long visit in the Pacific Northwest.   I’ll share a few of the sights I took in along the way…

Roadsters on the way to the airport:

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On the plane I chose a starboard window seat, expecting the normal fly by with Mount Rainier on my right.   It turns out we flew south of Mount Rainier, so instead I had a view of its neighboring Cascade peaks Mount Adams (in the foreground) and Mount Hood (beyond and to the left).

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The Columbia River gorge, with the Miller Island to the left, where the Deschutes River joins the Columbia, and beyond it, the Dalles, and then Mt Hood in the distance.

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It rained a bit while I’ve been gone, and I could see the 630.5′ high Lake Travis through the steamy haze.IMG_4749

We flew over my neighborhood, and I got a shot of our house!  Funny.

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And Big Blue’s Austin offices… quickly being swallowed up by the Domain and other new development.  Looks like noone works weekends anymore.

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Home sweet home.

 

 

 

Tacoma.

On the way back from taking Monte to the airport today, i stopped in Tacoma to go to the Museum of Glass.

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IMG_4363I enjoyed this interactive exhibit with dozens of lighted letters, just waiting to spell something.

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On the way home I checked out a few different vantage points.  This is a shot of the old (left) and new (right) Tacoma Narrows bridges.  Mt Rainier is lurking behind the old bridge.

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Friday evening on the Sound.

This afternoon we hit the Sound, again, with Fran, Art, Rebecca and Aaron.   We hopped onto their boat at this beach.IMG_4174

Then motored over to watch a local marina’s Friday night regatta up close.

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Then toodled around to see what we could see.  On the left, a sea lion sunning himself on a buoy.  In the background, Mt. Rainier, Blake Island and a Seattle-bound ferry.

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It was beautiful out, but not necessarily warm.

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And, a lovely sunset.

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Memorial Day.

Wow!  The weekend has zoomed by!

Today we headed over to Noreen’s to celebrate Memorial Day.   On the way we stopped by the cemetery to put a flag and flowers on Dad’s grave.  Cheers, Dad!

We spent the day together:  Noreen, Jared & Kelsey; Fran, Art, Rebecca, & Aaron (& Jojo); Colleen & Jake; Monte, Mom & me.  Brian was down with the flu, so he and Gail will have to join us another time.  It was another amazingly beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest when it was really supposed to be raining.

Jared and Kelsey cooked up the burgers & dogs, and we put out all the fixings;  we also had halibut that Art caught just a day ago off the Washington coast.  Delicious.   Afterwards most of us headed down the road for a hike to the beach.   Wow, that sure was steep!   We found one of the 2 geocaches we searched for along the way.

This is a panarama, looking west to the Olympics, of the beautiful beach along Hood Canal at the bottom of our 1 mile, downhill, switchback-y hike. Becca and Aaron are skipping stones and Jojo is splashing around.

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Then we turned around and slogged up the way we came down and were all extremely happy when we made it back to the upper trail head.  Whew-ie!!