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!

Life lessons.

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We went for a sail today on Lake Travis.  It is almost the end of June and temps haven’t hit 100 yet (!*!*!)   Lori and Doray went out on Camelot, we sailed along on Nirvana.  We had a great day, with steady winds around 20 knots past Anderson Bend.   We coasted back and made it to our marina’s cove about 5 o’clock.   But at that point, Camelot radioed in that they couldn’t get the main down.

Ruh. Roh.

We sat a spell, and then talked them over to side tie on one of the far docks at the marina, which allowed them to come in pointed windward.   We tied them off and then hoisted Doray to the top of the mast to loose the main.  She wasn’t able to free the halyard, but we secured it below with a tether line that she attached and then got her and the mainsail safely back on deck.

Just another day on B-dock.  :)

Fair winds, friends…

SoCo birthday night.

I went downtown tonight to celebrate Laura’s birthday.  We ate at Perla’s, and strolled up and down South Congress til it was time to call it a night.

champers night cap at Hotel San Jose

IMG_4899the (blurryish) soco view towards downtown… IMG_4921A reflection of the Frost Bank Tower on the building next door… IMG_4926Happy Birthday, Laura!

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 pair of old boys.

Drove by a house today that has a pair of majestic century plants going into bloom, one on either side of their driveway.

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They say these agaves bloom, and then die, after 100 years.  Google sez it takes more like 20-40 years.  Either way, it’s a sight to see.

Both of these must have been planted when the home was first built about 35 years ago.

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.

 

 

 

Shrinky dinkies.

The afternoon was filled with family stopping by to see mom and aunt Ellen.  Rebecca and Aaron brought some shrinky dink paper… an arts and crafty kind that you decorate and then put in the oven to shrink and harden.  We made lots of doodads.  These that I made are destined to become keychains…

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How?
You can buy the sheets of paper.  Google sez #6 recyclable plastic can also work, but I haven’t tried that.  Make sure to use permanent markers, and allow for 3x or 4x shrinkage.  Punch a hole before shrinking, if you want to make into a keychain.  Bake at 325-350 degrees for less than a minute.  They will ball up and then flatten out again as they shrink.  I put them in the oven on foil with a little flour or cornstarch to keep from sticking to the foil.

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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