Cram it all in!

4 04 2011

What a week!   We just squeezed every last drop out of last week, like it was the last lemon on earth and all we wanted was some lemonade.  It all started on a dark, rainy night….. Just kidding.  It started running late Saturday morning, in the midst of a rocking hangover from my going-away party Friday night…

walking amongst the coastal redwoods of california

Me and the trees, soaking up the sun!

We packed our gear and headed south, across to Grants Pass and down.  First stop: Jedidiah Smith State Park.  Have you ever stood at the base of a tree, looked up, and couldn’t see the top?  Well you need to.  Don’t shrug your shoulders at me!  Grab your tent and sleeping bag and get in the car!  The Redwoods are a sight that needs to be seen!  I think I still have a crick in my neck from standing there and just staring up.  The magnificence and grandeur is astonishing.  We camped Saturday night and had a wonderful evening propped up by the fire, gourmet dinner of mac and cheese, with a PBR in hand.  The rain on the tent and the sound of the Smith River lulled us to sleep.  So good.  Sunday we hiked around, finding a secret grove containing some of the largest coastal Redwoods alive today.  These gentle giants are a truly humbling sight.  Over 350 ft tall!  The average tree is 500-700 years old!  The oldest ones are over 2000 years old!  Great scott, that’s just wonderful.

After getting totally drenched on our hiking excursion (pics posted soon on Flickr), we followed the Avenue of the Giants south, soon entering wine country.  We stopped for the night in Windsor then struck out Monday morning for Calistoga and a winery called Castello di Amorosa.  Its a castle.  No, literally.  The guy spent 13 years constructing a replica of a 12th century Italian castle.  I expected it to be a little hoaky, just a tourist gimmick, but this dude left no detail out.  Hand-chiseled stones, a 14th-century fireplace imported from Europe, a great hall that took 2 Italian painters a year and a half to paint – you get the point.  The place is incredible.  They have 30 acres of vines and make delicious wine.  Unfortunately, you’ll have to go visit if you want to try it, as they don’t sell it anywhere but on the property!  But its totally worth it.  (And you could potentially have the hot Italian tour guide we had!)

After lunch in Calistoga, a super cute little town, we continued south all the way to the Golden Gate herself.  I’ve been through San Fran but never stopped to play.  What a cool city!  We checked out Fisherman’s Wharf, walked out on the pier, drove down the curviest street, and wandered all over downtown.  Justin managed to get us a hotel right in downtown, so we explored by foot.  We ate dinner at the oldest restaurant in California, Tadich Grill, and did a lot of people watching.

Tuesday brought delicious breakfast (I would love nothing more than to eat my way across San Fran!) and more downtown sight-seeing.  We hit up the Exploratorium Science Museum, then hit the road once more.  This time we went across the bay to Oakland and up to I5 to cruise on home.  We got back late and passed out immediately.

Wednesday came too early.  I took a break from vacation to work, then started the massive job of cleaning our 100+-year-old house.  Nicole and Brea came over, Ashlee brought pizza and beer, and we scrubbed the hell out of that house.  The girls before us didn’t do much at all, so we had our work cut out for us.  We scrubbed baseboards and door frames, wiped out drawers and cabinets, and directed the boys as they did our heavy lifting.  Thursday, Ashlee and I managed to finish the floors, load up the rest of our junk and lock the door.  So Justin and I once again climbed in to the car for more driving!

Thankfully all my crap fit into our two little cars.  It was a long drive, trekking from Bend to Twisp.  I am now a resident of Washington!  We didn’t even bother unloading the cars that night but went straight to bed.  Friday I worked from Justin’s desk while he hauled in all my junk.  I dig the view of the orchard much better than the view of the computer store next door that I had from my Bend office.  But I already miss my office mates.  Justin normally won’t be here to keep me company….

Saturday, we did it yet again – back in the car.  This time we headed west, over the mountains, to the Emerald City.  I have to say, I absolutely loved Seattle.  Beautiful city, beautiful location, even beautiful people.  The only thing not beautiful was the IKEA we went to, but that was the reason for the trip – we need furniture.  We managed to get out pretty quick, and as we headed to the warehouse I found Babs Jr, the lucky bamboo shoot I need to complete the G5 Twisp office.  A couple of Justin’s friends opened their house to us for the night, and we had a ball hanging out with them, watching the Seattle Sounders play soccer, eating amazing Thai food.  Sunday found us at the REI flagship store in downtown, shopping.  Well, wishing is more like it. A few more errands and we were cruising back over the mountains, home-bound.

I already love Washington.  This is such a beautiful state.  The drive over Steven’s Pass was gorgeous.  We already have a list of things we want to go back and do or see.  We stopped in Leavenworth for dinner and laughed at the kooky little tourist trap of a town.  There’s so much biking, climbing, rafting, hiking – you name it.  I can’t wait for all we’re going to do this summer!!

And if we can manage to squeeze a four day road-trip, a major move, and a shopping trip to Seattle all in to one week, imagine what we can do with three months!!

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