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Summer Family Vacation [Aug. 22nd, 2015|01:14 pm]
This past week we did our semi-regular summer trip. We all piled into the minivan (the Family Truckster, if you please) and drove down to Santa Clara, CA with a stop in Portland, OR on the way back up.

On the trip down we also stopped at Ape Cave, a lava tube near Mt St Helens.

Saw some local wildlife in the park:

Then went into the cave itself. Here's the entrance:

We traversed the lower part of the lava tube (easier hiking, with a smoother mud flow floor). The kids had their own flashlights:

Lottie and Kit made it most of the way down the one mile passage. Tim and I pushed along to the end... And I mean the very end, where you have to belly crawl to reach one final burrow bubble deep within the earth.

California took our cherries! I mean they seized our produce. At the border inspection station. The grapes, however, were fine and dandy. It depends on what crops are threatened that season, evidently.

Then we continued south for another day to reach the Bay Area and beloved Uncle Brian's house (and even-more-beloved Uncle Brian's swimming pool). Here's a lunch stop at the ever-popular Black Bear Diner:

While in the Bay Area, we went to the Winchester Mystery House!

This place has always fascinated me. It was Timothy's first visit and he was entirely entertained by it, too. It also happened to be Brian's first daytime visit as he'd previously only done their flashlight tour.

I've been there more than a half dozen times but always enjoy seeing it. Here are the back gardens:

Here's a view looking out through the daisy windows at the front gardens:

And finally, the bell tower:

While in the Bay Area I made a stop at Bob's Foam Factory over in Fremont. The guys there still remember me! Yes, I do stop on family vacations to buy fursuit materials and there's nothing wrong with that. :P

On the way up, we stopped outside Sacramento to meet up with my cousins. My paternal grandparents passed away, with grandma dying earlier this year. My grandpa's woodworking was among the items being distributed to family. I received grandma's recipe box (with recipe cards!), a shelf for Lottie's room, and this lovely bowl he made:

After a pleasant visit, we resumed heading northwards. Stopped in Yreka at a classic no-frills motor lodge. Fine if rather unremarkable. But quite accommodating about a 1:15am arrival.

Visited with family in Portland. Enjoyed some blueberries from my father-in-law's garden:

And got a chance to cook at my mom's house. (Chicken limonatta, pasta, and green beans with peppers, in case you're wondering.)

Very early Monday morning, Kit drove me over to the Max light rail. I was heading back early while Kit and kids stayed for a few extra days of family visiting. (I was going back to work. Ah well.)

From there I got to the Portland train station:

A beautiful old building with marble interior and high windows:

Hopped on Amtrak Cascades:

And enjoyed a pleasant ride through Washington:


Then I walked to work -- taking the trolley there and then ferry boat home, just to maximize the number of different mass transit options. :)

A very nice summer trip!

[User Picture]From: sabercat
2015-08-23 06:10 am (UTC)

Fun trip!

The Ape Cave is awesome. I remember doing the exact same thing about 12 years ago! Late Season Blueberries too, ours in CA finished up about 2 months ago.
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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2015-08-23 03:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, that bowl is gorgeous! I hope you'll find some way of keeping it on view. ^_^

Yay, Bob's Foam Factory! I still have happy memories of that place. One time, I picked up a block I was intending to use for a head (well, enough for two heads, to allow for possible cockups) - 20x20x40", wrapped in black plastic. I was amused by the looks I got, hefting this clearly very heavy object so ably toward the bus stop. =:)

Green peppers as an addition to beans? Interesting.. any herbing or such as well, or simply cooked as is?

The City Center has a power supply unit too?

Trains can be a glorious means of getting around. ^_^ I always enjoy the mainline between London and Bath, swiftly passing through some beautiful scenery. And the Coast Starlight, once it's past Monterey (before then, its view of the Bay is all industrial backlots and the like), similarly goes trundling through some memorable vistas, later passing very close to the coast.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2015-08-23 09:56 pm (UTC)
The bowl is quite nice. (Not quite as yellow as in that photo.) I have a few other pieces by him as well. He was pretty skilled at woodworking.

The green beans were sauteed with bell peppers in a little oil and butter. A bit of garlic, thyme, celery seed, and dill were used, I think.

I've not taken Amtrak other than this run. I'd like to do a longer trip. Down through more of California does sound nice!
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[User Picture]From: tilt_longtail
2015-08-24 02:52 am (UTC)
This is the best LJ post I have seen in a long time. I love the family vacation,, and I love those old little motels. Tim ,,, nice to see pix of ya! I think I first met ya when you were like 1 year old!
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2015-08-24 05:24 am (UTC)
Thanks and glad you liked the vacation recap. :)

Yeah, you did meet him when he was just a little tyke.

This is just after the first time you met him... Unfortunately the actual photo was blurred. But that tail is proof, right?

And this one!

He's been around fursuits and furries since the beginning! (Poor kid! ;))
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[User Picture]From: allaboutweather
2016-01-09 03:24 pm (UTC)
Haha, my name's also Tim but i've never encountered a furry as far as i know.

Not that i'm complaining. XD
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[User Picture]From: allaboutweather
2016-01-09 03:22 pm (UTC)
I thought you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the winchester house because one of those pictures suggest that you did. Rebel......

At least the public transit you were on was much nicer than the train i was on in san jose! Someone had scratched "f cops" in one of the windows. DX
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2016-01-23 06:20 pm (UTC)
I thought it was no flash photography... Or I misheard the announcement, which is also possible. Lovely interior but hard to photograph for the most part because of light levels.

Transit worked out fine but I didn't take any while in San Jose. Used to live in that area. Transit's not quite as cool. Ah well.
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[User Picture]From: allaboutweather
2016-01-23 09:39 pm (UTC)
That's ok, i won't tell. ;)
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