Thursday, August 26, 2010

Held Hostage

Current Location: Chester, CA

This morning I woke up at 6 am and decided to get up instead of laying there and drifting back to sleep. We're trying to retrain our bodies back to the schedule we had before this summer, when staying in bed until 7 am was considered sleeping in. Nowadays, we're lucky to be awake by 7!
But I digress. I thought I would get up and take my book outside. But when I looked out the window, there was a doe in our front yard having breakfast. (forgive the picture was still somewhat dark and was taken through a dirty window)

After munching for a bit, she decided to lay down for a siesta. She layed right next to our deck for over an hour. I'm surprised she didn't climb up on the deck and settle down the dog blanket we have out there for Hunter. :)

She must have finally decided that she was hungry again because she started nibbling on Tracy's artwork! There were several branches with moss that must have looked tasty. So much for that sculpture!

Finally, after a couple of hours, I was able to exit. But I didn't really mind. What a great way to start the day. I never tire of observing nature.
Have I mentioned lately that I love this life?!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Catching Up

Current Location: Chester, CA

I owe you a bit of catching up. I can't believe my last post was 2 weeks ago. Where does the time go??

Let me start by thanking you all for the many birthday wishes. It was a good, and uneventful, birthday. We both had to work so that was the excitement for the day. I was granted a reprieve of my security rounds that night. The owners graciously offered to do it for me so that we could at least enjoy a glass of wine before falling into bed. It was a nice gesture and greatly appreciated. Thanks D & K!

I had decided that what I wanted for my birthday was a short get away. We had both been feeling the need to explore the area a little bit and it seemed like a travesty to spend the summer in California and never make it to the ocean. So we headed to the coast early Monday morning. We had no particular destination in mind, although we decided we'd head toward the Mendecino area. We most certainly did not take the direct route, which would have involved an interstate. We took all back roads which probably about doubled our driving time, but we enjoyed it. We saw the variety of the landscape - the windy mountain roads, several beautiful lakes, the grasslands and valleys, the orchard areas, the redwood forests, and the coastline.

We arrived in Fort Bragg around 3:00 to fog and cold. Yep, we must be on the coast! After finding a room for the night, we headed to the beach. This area is very dog friendly and most beaches allow dogs. Hunter has only been to the ocean a couple of times and doesn't really know what do make of it. He provides lots of entertainment for us. He doesn't know what to make of the surf and most definitely doesn't like the taste of the water. He is used to lakes that he can wade in and drink from. After doing a short jaunt on the beach we headed for dinner, at the North Coast Brewery. A good meal was one thing we were really looking forward to. We haven't found many good restaurants around Chester, so now we really appreciate good food.

Here's Tracy and Hunter chillin' on the beach...literally. It was quite chilly. We didn't think very clearly when we packed and didn't even bring a pair of pants with us. Good thing we at least had sweatshirts.

The next morning we woke up to more fog. We hoped that it would burn off as the sun came out, but it never really did. We did have a few moments where the fog was out far enough that we could see the coastline, but just as quickly as it rolled out, it came back in. Here's the fog bank we contended with most of the day. Before heading north toward home, we took a short detour south to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. There was a nice half mile walking trail to the lighthouse and dogs were allowed. We probably spent close to 2 hours walking and wandering around. We were practically the only ones out there and it was really peaceful.
From there we headed north up Highway 1 along the coast. We knew we had a long drive back but we didn't really care, so we just took our time.

Hwy 1 eventually turned inland and joined up with Hwy 101. We continued to head north, taking another detour on the Avenue of the Giants. This is the old 101 which goes through a large grove of redwoods. It's about 30 miles long and slow, but far more scenic.

Those are some tall trees! At this point we knew we better start heading for home. We still had a long ways eastward. One of the problems with getting to the coast from Chester is that there are no direct routes. There are only a few east-west roads to the coast and they're all full of curves, narrow and slow. But it is all beautiful. In total we drove about 650 miles in 2 days. It was a lot of driving but we really enjoyed our time away.

Just like most vacations, it was quickly forgotten as we fell right back into work. We had another busy week which was made busier by trying to squeeze in the chores we normally do on the weekends. But we needed to get it all done during the week because we were expecting visitors again.

Our friends, Jolie and Renee, from Colorado drove out to spend a few days with us. We are honored that they, and all of our previous visitors, made the effort to come here specifically to see us. We are especially honored that Renee, who does not particularly like camping, was willing to spend 3 nights sleeping in a tent. And she handled it like a pro. Maybe camping isn't so bad after all?
They arrived Sunday afternoon just as we were winding down our work week. Perfect timing! They got their tent set up while I wrapped up my final hour and we spent the rest of the evening catching up. Monday, we headed out to explore the New Clairvaux winery, which is located on the grounds of a monastery. Selling wine is one of the ways they support themselves. We did a little wine tasting and explored the grounds a bit and then headed a few miles down the road to Chico for lunch and beer tastings at the Sierra Nevada brewery. Hmm, are you seeing a theme here? We wrapped up the afternoon with a brief shopping trip at Target and then headed back to the cool of the mountains. Chico is at a much lower elevation and was in the upper 90s. We ended the day sitting around a campfire and making smores. A very enjoyable evening with good friends.
I think we were all ready for a more relaxing day on Tuesday so that's exactly what we did. We just hung around, played cards, talked, drank, and the hours passed quickly. Before we knew it, the day was coming to an end. We had a farewell breakfast on Wednesday and then they were off and we were back to work. How those days off fly by! J & R - I hope you enjoyed your visit as much as we enjoyed having you here!
The last few days have been back to the same old grind. And now you're caught up with our lives! I am behind in reading blogs from the last couple of weeks too. We seem to go through periods where we don't even turn on the computer, except for maybe a quick peek at email. It's nice to be disconnected once in a while.
It's hard to believe that we're already in mid-August and our time here is winding down. There are so many things that we said we wanted to do while we were here and now we only a few more weeks left. I suppose that's the way it will always be though. So I'm sure we'll keep busy over the next month or so. But for now, I better get this posted. It's just about time for security rounds. Hey, only a few more weeks of those too!