Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holidays on Whidbey -- 2008

We took our annual trip to visit with the family over the holidays. Kitty pushed for the lowest-carbon-footprint form of transportation--Amrak. Even though our past experience is that Amtrak runs *very* late, has generally poor service and is expensive, we got reservations and showed up at the San Jose train terminal for the 9pm Coast Starlight to Seattle. 24 hour trip when it runs on schedule. It is a nice way to travel when the train is moving.

Frances in the Parlor Car

Cold stop at Klamath Falls

We had two of the little sleeper cars

The trip actually went pretty well till mid-Oregon. We arrived there at the same time as the biggest snow/ice storm of the last 50 years. To make a long story short, we ended up in the Seattle Amtrak station at around 4:30am. Seattle was pretty much shut down by the same storm, but after 3 hours, we managed to catch a ride to Whidbey Island.

The view for 3 hours waiting for a frozen drawbridge to be lowered

The kids at the Seattle King's Station

The view from my folks house

It was cold! Snow flurries off and on for the first few days. Brother John, Anne and Chris could not get up I-5 from Corvalis and arrived two days later than planned. Zach got in from a trip to Mexico and made it up Christmas eve.

We played cards, hit the Everitt climbing gym, exchanged gifts and visited.

Everyone was doing well and it was a great visit.
Too short a trip and we were back on the train for Santa Cruz.

These photos all taken with a Nikon d40 plus Nikkor 16-85 VR

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Elkhorn Slough November 2008

Paul Doherty came down on a beautiful Saturday after Thanksgiving. We loaded up the boats and headed for Elkhorn Slough. Reports of a giant swell coming in from Alaska and a pretty strong offshore wind as we were driving down had us imagining wild conditions, but it was perfect. Light breeze and warm and sunny.

Had not seen PD forever and it was great to have a chance to get caught up on the way down. He is off to Terra Del Fuego for some serious paddling in January.

We poked around in the canals looking for leopard sharks.

Did not see any, but the seals, sea lions, otters and birds were out in force. Western grebes, merganzers, willets, curlews, brown pelicans, loons, least grebes and cormorants we identified for sure.

There is a new parking lot/boat launch facility with a nice dock that seems to be appreciated by a certain crowd you don't want to be downwind of.

Paul had his usual great store of science and adventure stories. From first ascents of 20,000ft peaks in Chile to the first westerner televising via satellite link from a remote part of China covering the 2008 total solar eclipse Paul doesn't waste any time being bored. It was a pleasure to see him as always.

These photos all shot with a Canon S2

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Every year for the last many, we have gone for a Thanksgiving hike at the Pescadero Marsh up the coast a bit. This year it was overcast and 60F. We stopped at Swanton's for one of their Ollaberry pies.

Then, on to the marsh. This is a nice wetland with some shallow lakes and the Pescadero River meandering its way through.

Lots of birds and the goal was to get some great shots with my new Nikon 70-300mm lense (hmm, see below, house finches, buffleheads and a great white heron, but just OK shots).

There is a nice beach there where the river meets the sea. Building these little driftwood houses is a local tradition.

Those kids had a good time.

These extra Johns keep showing up...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bigtime Biff

John showed up at the door limping and dripping blood. Dad: "What happened?" John: "Skateboard. Going down the hill and developed speed wobbles. Decided to jump off and cratered". Dad thinks "speed wobbles?"

At Urgent Care they say oral antibiotics, maybe a skin graft for the worst of the missing flesh on his hand and comment that about 1/2 of the broken bones and scrapes they see are from skateboard accidents.

John argues for a week off of school.

Two weeks later he is healing up nicely, no skin grafts required.