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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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!

1st weekend of Summer: 630′

Summer arrived yesterday morning at 5AM central time (or thereabouts).  Yesterday we set out for a raftup to mark the occassion.  Marty & Sue joined us on Nirvana.  We met up with Dancer, Kalliopi, Voodoo, Solace, Sapphire and Karma.   It’s been a very long time since we enjoyed a raftup with that many other crazies.  We had a fun evening, and a nice, relaxed day today.   Fair winds and non-stifling temps.   All is well.

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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.

 

 

 

Paddling around.

My mom’s sister is here visting, another is arriving this week.   Today they’re spending the morning together catching up.  So, I headed out to go kayaking near Hood Canal with Noreen, her friend Tammy and her son, Matt.  I think I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but it was a BEAUTIFUL day.   The water was flat and calm, and the tide wasn’t fighting us too badly.

My front row seat:

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This area is full of bald eagles.  Here’s a pair that were watching us as we went by:

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And yes, the obligatory panorama :)

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Checking out the Falls.

Today I had the chance to go for a small road trip.  Just a 90 minute drive, each way, up to Snoqualmie Falls.   I went for it.  I packed mom along with me, with her wheel chair for maximum ease of checking out each nook and cranny of this naturally beautiful place.  And we were off…headed east to visit one of the most popular scenic places in Washington State.  It turned out that Noreen and David were coming west over the pass from Eastern Washington from a wedding, and we were able to time it so that we met for lunch at the beautiful Salish Lodge at the falls.  The flow was high, due to snow melt… swelling the falls to a thunderous level.  You could feel the water falling, you could hear it beating the rocks below, and you could feel the spray 300′ up from the bottom.

I can’t tell you how pretty it was, so i’ll just share 2 shots:

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and a panorama:

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An awesomely beautiful day.

Extendo holiday weekend.

I took the day after Memorial Day off, turning a 3-day weekend into 4-day.  Yahooty!
I took mom to a doctor appointment this afternoon.  And then Fran joined us at the golf course for a round.  It was another gift sunny day!

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Afterwards we teamed up at trivia night at a local pub – Team Muggs  (Mom, Noreen, David, Neil, Lucille, Fran, Monte & me).   And we won > $200 !!

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!!

Saturday!

I spent the night at Noreen’s last night.  This morning, she finished another glass window / work of art.   This one is for her own house.  She does beautiful work!

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Then I toodled back over to mom’s.  This afternoon, I introduced her to geo-caching, and she enjoyed it.  We found 3 out of 4 “park and grab” caches that we searched for on the way to the Harbor Fest downtown.   She stayed in the car and pointed me to where the GPS said to look, and then we opened up the cache’s together in the car.

Then we headed downtown to take in the Harbor Fest.  This is a shot of the boardwalk downtown along the waterfront.

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Then, later, I headed for the airport to pick up my sweetie, who is joining me here for the last week of the month.  It was fitting that my favorite mountain was poking above every horizon on my drive to the airport tonight.

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Good day.

Today was a pretty full day.   The weather was supposed to be colder and drizzly, but it turned out to be another lovely day with blue skies.   Keep ‘em coming.

Mom and I went to the Armed Forces Day parade, one of the oldest and longest in the country.

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I squeezed in a little geo-caching during the afternoon, and then headed over to Seattle to meet my sisters and spent a few hours on the waterfront.    We ducked into this little corner o’heaven to watch the Sounders game (win!).

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And then caught the ferry home.   Pretty views from the stern.

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