Nicodemus (nicodemusrat) wrote,

Summer Family Vacation

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!

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