Sunday, May 25, 2014

Redwood Forest

All I can say is go. Just go see this for yourself. You really can't get a sense of how BIG these trees are and how very tiny you feel surrounded by them. This is Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in CA.

jedediah smith redwoods
Redwood forest

jedediah smith redwoods
Even Rock looks small!

jedediah smith redwoods
Trillium growing in the shade of the redwoods.
Next up...Sleepless in Seattle

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Other Coast

After a week on the road we went over the mountains and into Northern California. Then on to Oregon. The other coast. I spent a lot of time saying, 'We're from Portland. The other one.' (Somewhere in there we stopped in Chico, CA, but only for the night. No photos. Looked like a really nice college town but we were moving on!)

We stopped in Bandon, OR to stretch our legs and Florence, OR for the night. Then on to Cannon Beach and the final push to Seattle.

No, this is not the only shirt I own, it just seems that way. (Actually, I'm wearing it right now, too!)

Oregon coast

Rock/rocks on the coast

Roosevelt elk
Roosevelt elk

OK, the elk are an interesting story. You know I love taking photos of 'wildlife' like birds and animals. So, we're driving along Rt 101 in Trinidad, CA and lo and behold there is this herd of elk by the side of the road in someone's yard! It seems they live there. So, yeah, had to stop the car and take pix. Notice how I got the old pickup truck in the photo, too.

Next up - Redwood Forest.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Monday, May 19, 2014

Virginia City Home of the Ponderosa

OK, you know how old we are, right? If not you soon will! We HAD to go to Virginia City. Yes, home of the Ponderosa and the Cartwrights. Just about every place in town had the map from the opening credits. What not a lot of people know, though is that Mark Twain, then known as Samuel Clemens, got his newspaper start here.

The main street of town, C Street, still has the old boardwalk style planks. (Didn't see too many places to hitch horses.) The town is partly on top of the Comstock Lode. Most of the town burned to the ground in less than 2 hours in the 1870's. The local businesses built it back up in less than 2 years.

C Street Virginia City, NV
C Street Virginia City, Nevada

The first flight of stairs to our room at the saloon.

The Millionaires' Club met here.
Stinky & Bernice
Mine tailings down the road. An idea how steep the side streets are!
Stinky & Bernice C Street Virginia City, NV
Stinky and Bernice
 I do have to say this was not my favorite place on the trip. So much history here but just not my kind of town. If you're ever here, do stop into one of the saloons for a drink. Double the size of anything here and half the price. We paid $12 (including tip) for 3 drinks and snacks.

Oh, and DO take the trolley around town. It's a great way to see where everything is so you can explore the things you really want to see. (Without having to go up and down all the side streets like the one above in 90 degree weather!)

If we ever find ourselves driving through here again, I do want to go into one of the mines on a tour.

Another great motorcycle route... Rt 341 and Rt 342. Take a look on a map, it's all S turns.

Next up - we reach the other coast.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mono Lake

This unbelievably eerie place is right on Rt 395 along the eastern edge of California. It's all 'normal' at the visitor center until you realize you haven't seen water this blue outside the Caribbean. After parking the car at the South Tufa Area and walking a short way on a boardwalk you start to feel like you're leaving Earth behind and standing on an alien planet.

Mono Lake, CA
Hm, did I turn off the water at the inn or not?

Mono Lake, CA
Hurry up already, there are sticky bits on these shrubs!

Mono Lake, CA
South tufa grove trail

Mono Lake, CA
'Pirate ship' formation at Mono Lake

Mono Lake, CA
More tufa towers with Sierras in background

Mono Lake, CA
So alien!

Mono Lake, CA
Mono Lake tufa towers

Mono Lake, CA
Tell me this doesn't look like a scene from Star Trek!
OK, I took this right from the Mono Lake website to explain what tufa is: Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium mix with lake water rich in carbonates. As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate--limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941.

Next up - Virginia City, home of the Ponderosa!

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

High Sierra

After Death Valley, we drove to Bishop, CA on the eastern slopes of the Sierras. So gorgeous! This weather and climate agreed with me, Rock not so much. No allergies for me, no asthma symptoms even tho we spent most of our 2 weeks at elevations over 3000 feet. Something out there did not like Rock, he was sneezing and his eyes were watering. Dang. Thought maybe we could find a place that agrees with both of us!

You're going to assume I've never seen snow before. Not true! It's the juxtaposition of the snow and the high plains that surprised me. 

Rt 168 Bishop, CA
Rt 168 in Bishop, CA
9000 feet up. The road was closed due to snow.
Rt 168 Bishop, CA
That's the road running thru the center of the photo.

2 faced lamb
Just plain weird - a 2-faced lamb. Yes, another face on the other side of the head.

Laws Railway Museum Bishop, CA
Brands, branding irons and a barbed wire display.

Laws Railway Museum Bishop, CA
The old post office with the Sierras in the background

Laws Railway Museum Bishop, CA
Old railyard
 We drove up, up, up Rt 168 looking for a war monument. Missed it completely, drove right past it and kept going. 9000 feet up the road was closed due to snow and falling rocks. Should have had Rock lie down next to the falling rocks sign, why is it always too late when you think of these things? (BTW, there is a word for that - esprit d'escalier. Literal translation is 'stair wit' as in coming up with a witty comeback as you head down the stairs.)

60 degrees in town, 35 on the car thermometer when I took the snowball photo. 

Sorry about the Ripley's-style photo of the lamb. It was just too strange to ignore. That someone would stuff it after it died was kind of strange as well. 

What's truly amazing about driving out here is knowing not that long ago wagons loaded with settlers were making their way thru this same scrub land and over these mountains. How? It boggles the mind. We walked just a little bit out on these high plains and the brush is thorny and unforgiving and it grows so close together!

Next up - Mono Lake.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Liberty Tool Company for Sale!

We went to Liberty Tool Co a few years back. (Chronicled here in the Tool Time Tour blog post.) It's an amazing sight to see! And now it's for sale. I know nothing about tools but I love this place. Maybe you want to buy it. I'll stop in and visit!

Check out the story and video here.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Death Valley Days

After leaving Vegas, we took Rt 160 to Death Valley, stopping off at Ash Meadows Natural Wildlife Refuge. We were just 'driving thru' but you really need days to explore these wonderful national parks. Just the idea that these are preserved places for us to enjoy is almost unbelievable. We hear this from guests from overseas all the time, they are amazed at how many parks and conservation areas we have to enjoy. These things don't exist everywhere. Go out and explore!

Rt 160 Nevada
Along Rt 160 out of Vegas
Rt 160 Nevada
Rt 160

Ash Meadows Natural Wildlife Preserve Nevada
Water in the desert Ash Meadows

Andrew Jackson Longstreet Amargosa Valley NV
Gunslinger cabin at Ash Meadows

Andrew Jackson Longstreet poem
Gunslinger poem

Death Valley
Heading into Death Valley on Rt 190

Zabriskie Point (hanging on for dear life!)
Zabriskie Point Death Valley
Zabriskie Point Death Valley National Park, CA
Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point Death Valley National Park, CA
Zabriskie Point Death Valley National Park, CA

Leaving Death Valley

snowstorm in the Eastern Sierras
Eastern Sierras snowstorm

It doesn't look like much from here but the snow on those mountains is up to 50' deep! Roads from east to west in CA are closed in April because they haven't been plowed yet. Road signs let you know what's open and closed. Chains are required unexpectedly so you have to be flexible on where you're traveling.

It's not really easy to see how incredibly twisty and turny the roads thru Death Valley are. Suffice it to say I tried to do a video to show everyone and I had to stop, I was getting dizzy sitting in the car just trying to film! You are going from 190 feet below sea level to 8000 feet above sea level and back down to 3000 feet above sea level in the space of 30 minutes. UNBELIEVABLE! Great ride on a motorcycle, but not in the summer. Go in the spring or late fall!

But, seriously, go. Even if you've 'BTDT' this is a gorgeous country we've got here and you really should take a look.

Next up - High Sierras.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Winthrop Fogg Gets a Makeover

We've finished our last makeover room! Take a look...the Winthrop Fogg Room, now known simply as the Fogg, is looking bright and cheery with a calming gray on the walls and a pop of color on the bed.

bed and breakfast rooms
Winthrop Fogg before

bed and breakfast rooms
Fogg Room after
White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Vegas, Baby

Just a couple of pix from our Vegas vacation. We were there for 2 days and really crammed a lot in! Including an hour or so throwing quarters at a mechanical horse racing table game. But, we got 'free' drinks!

Pawn stars location in Vegas
Waiting in line for 'Pawn Stars'

Artomat at Cosmopolitan in Vegas
Old time cigarette machine redone to dispense tiny art works!

Me and #1 son at Cosmopolitan.
wild burros red rocks
Wild burros at Red Rocks Park


Just hanging around at Red Rocks

red rocks park vegas
Red Rocks vista

The lads looking over the rocks

Desert tortoise
Road Kill Grill, John Mull's Meats Vegas
Road Kill Grill Vegas

Next up - we head to Bishop, CA via Death Valley

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032