Neat program I need to look into (just posting a link here so I do look into it later).
Michele and Dean came for a visit. They were here for a few days and then drove to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman.
While they were here, we headed to the northern part of the coast to drop them off for a bike ride. We got a late start, so they ended up only riding for a few hours, but they said it was a completely beautiful ride. They went over the passes on Hwy 101! They took the ride that I always say “wow, these are brave and crazy people to climb this mountain on a bike.”
Dean said the only really scary part was going through the tunnel, despite the fact that you can hit a button as you enter it that causes a light to flash and indicate “Bikes in the tunnel” “Bikes in the tunnel!” This is supposed to tell car drivers to go 30 mph, but I’ll be honest and say that this is the first time I noticed that I was supposed to go 30 when the light flashes, so someone might want to make that a little clearer. I wonder if I will ever be a person on a bike who sees a hill and says “Oh neat!” instead of “oh shit!”?
We picked them up just south of Tillamook and drove into Lincoln City just before sunset. We ended up eating at Fathoms and watching the sunset.
We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, which was alright. The restaurant is closed now, and it sounds like the hotel is undergoing a change of management. We stayed on the headland side, right up front. Very beautiful, and we had a few colonies of harbor seals in front of us, which were great to watch and listen to the next morning. We also watched the fog roll in and out as we waited for low tide.
Wandered down to the Devil’s Punchbowl tidepools, where we saw more hermit crabs than I’ve ever seen in a tidepool, and some spider crabs, and a ton of anemone. No urchins this time, although we did find bits of their tests. Given that urchins are often signs of an unhealthy tidal pool, that was great.
We wandered into the punchbowl during low tide (I’m so overly cautious about this due a number of people getting trapped there) and then up to Mo’s for some clam chowder, the reward of tidepoolers in Oregon. We saw some whales too – but I didn’t get a good enough look to identify. I’ll say greys, but I think they were smaller than that.
Finished up the day by going to the Oregon Aquarium and watching all the fish. They’ve raised the rates to $15/person, ouch! Maybe buying a membership again makes sense. We’ll see. I told Brian that maybe some marine biology or oceanography classes would be a nice birthday or Christmas present for me. I also think I should go volunteer at the Aquarium, it’d make me pretty happy. We’ll see, I’d have to pay for a hotel or camp, so that will have to wait until I have a job, and if I have a job, I’ll not have too much time to do it.
Then, off to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman – I’ll post some pictures of that later. It was strange to be there without saying hello to Wilma, but fun to wander downtown.
Great time at the coast with Gretchen and the kids. We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, and while we really think with the exception of the bellhop and one other guy, the service is completely lousy (making me think twice about buying a unit), the room was quite nice and I love being able to walk down to the Devil’s Punchbowl.
We played frisby on the beach. I tried to do cartwheels and discovered I am no longer able (I think I’m a bit more top-heavy than the last time I tried. I know. I’m working on it.) so I will stretch much more and watch my diet closer and hopefully be able to do it this time next year.
We went swimming, even Brian. I don’t remember the last time he went swimming with me, it was sooooo much fun. Maggie ask him to throw her, and she went sailing halfway across the pool, it was soooooo awesome!! Matt asked for the same, but I think Brian realized his strength at that point, so he didn’t throw as far. I hope I can continue to talk him into at least occasionally swimming with me / us, it was really neat to see him swimming again. Even if he could standing in the deepend unlike the rest of us.
We ate at the Flying Dutchman, which was good. The next day we ate Mo’s (of course) and then went to Rogue for pizza and beer (root beer in the case of Maggie and Matt). Mmmmm. Otherwise we really just read, listened to the ocean, wrote in journals, swam and walked on the beach.
O! We did make it to some terrific tidepools on Devil’s Punchbowl’s beach (the marine garden side, not the surfer side). It was a negative tide and even though we were a little late to it, we got waaay out. The highlights were seeing a new anenome (pictured above, I usually see the light green ones on the coast, and the pink tipped ones just in aquariums) and an octopus!! I was so excited by the latter, I haven’t seen an octopus in a tidepool since I was a kid.
It was also nice to see these tidepools recover – the last time we had done any serious tidepooling there, they had been overcome by urchins, which is usually a sign of an unhealthy tidepool. Also saw two new crabs, which I took pictures of for my flickr pool so that I could identify them.
That’s the coast update. Maggie and Matt realized that other than family, I love the Oregon coast best.
While we were on the coast, we bought a membership to the Oregon Aquarium. It means that we can go to it for the next year any time we fancy.
I’m pretty excited about it, I love going and learning about all the animals, and each time Brian and I go tidepooling, I know a little more about what I am looking at and what they are doing.
Tidepooling, if you haven’t done it or looked at my flickr pictures, is climbing around on rocks that are exposed by low tide and looking at the creatures who are in the remaining pools of water, or attached to the rocks. It’s a hobby that rewards patience, the longer and deeper you stare at a pool, the more likely you will see something interesting. A chiton, a sea star, octopus, fish, all sorts of things to find.
You do it carefully too, with an eye on the ocean so that you don’t end up being torn off the rocks by a rogue wave, and an eye on the time so that you leave before the tide starts coming back (and potentially trapping you).
It’s one of my favorite things to do. I am going to get an underwater casing for my camera at some point so that I can try to capture on film some of the more interesting things I see out there.