It was so nice to be home for few days. We even had some sunshine... I was surprise to see that the leaves had not turned as quickly as I thought they should have. My Mom and I have had little walks and adventures around town and then decided to go to Homer for the weekend. (5hrs from home). Curt and I have been thinking of buying a property there. It is just a dream for now but it doesn't hurt to look. It was the perfect weekend to go there. Still warm and a glorious blinding sunshine was lighting up the Kachemak Bay, the volcanoes, the glaciers and the people too. We walked on the beach, we cruised the Homer Spit, we shopped a little bit, we met with a realtor and looked at few properties. Oh and we ate at Fat Olives, a great Pizzeria + with good wines and at the Land's End resort at the end of the Spit just for the view, the food is just ok there. That is about it. Oh and when we went through Cooper Landing over the bridge the water was turquoise and the fishermen were on their boats rowing and it was just breath taking. There are some days that makes you be more alive than others, those were it.
My Mom was so cute in all her gear. Don't you think? Especially when she surprised me and did the peace sign.... You never know with this lady! Then the sunset gave us a great show of light on clouds.
On Sept. 5th we boarded the Tote Ship: The North Star. It is a cargo roll on roll off ship that sails between the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Anchorage. We were on board by 6pm and sailed around 1am. Nancy and I forced ourselves to stay awake in order to go on deck through confetti and streamers, drink champagne and say goodbye to all the people that came so say farewell.... NOT!!!!! We were on deck but it was to admire the beautiful coastal lines in the darkness and the outline of Seattle in all it's glory, mini lights of every colors. The water was like glass very smooth. In bed I was in the Ocean's big Mother's arms and it was cradling me, rocking me back in forth. So secure in my bunk I fell asleep. The challenge in the next few days was: Do not feel guilty because there is nothing to do and you can relax all your want.... At one point I was about to ask the cooks if they needed any help. That was just for a second. I did found things to do. I read but very little. I drew and painted a little bit. I took a long nap once. I took few pictures. I meditated. Then of course there was breakfast lunch and diner. The highlights of the day!!! The chefs took good care of the Crew and ourselves and I totally indulged in their varied and fresh cuisine. The fresh fruits all cut up for us in the morning, the shell fish steamed in a white wine broth, the prime rib, the cheese cake, the aspic, the peanut butter cookies.... oh and the oriental plum sauce pork tenderloin.... just lovely. We also got treated to two fabulous tours on board. One was of the ship decks and the other one was of the machinery.... Dante's inferno with all the details on how it works. Loved it! At night we selected few movies and had a rude awakening with "Borat" and Nancy agreed to watch "Perfume: the story of a Murderer". We got to watch one of my favorite Pride and Prejudice ( the most recent one). So all has been the most relaxing experience that I have had in a long time. That is until we disembarked...!!!
My car being ready as early as we were of the ship we decided to take it home. When Nancy opened the door she immediately saw that our wine was missing. All of it. The car had been looked over very well and everything in a bottle was gone. So that dampened the end of our trip quite a bit. There has been no news about it and we will never know how and where it was taken for sure. Our guess is that it was taken before the car was put on the ship in Tacoma but nothing is certain. One good think is that we got home safe and sound and I can say for myself that I had a wonderful time so that counts for something.
There are few pictures of the ship. The water stayed pretty calm and with a half Dramamine once in a while I did really well. The last day got rougher but I did well again. I would do that again someday if having the opportunity again.
Up the coast was a breeze. Beautiful rolling hills lacing up and down with windows looking out the ocean once in a while. So gorgeous! Then we were in Monterey and decided to quickly get out of there as the traffic was just terrible. We continued up the coast through Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. Waou! That was fantastic. So wild and untouched. We followed for few hours a couple in a convertible (Nancy made a french song about them.... Don't ask) You will see the picture and understand. The gentleman was seating on the right (hard to tell with that type of hat....) they were precious.
We stopped for a quick look at San Francisco from the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge and continued up to South of Santa Rosa.
Next day we stopped in Glen Ellen at a winery called Imagery. http://www.imagerywinery.com/ They have wonderful Rhone style blend at this winery. Nancy and I love that juice. My Mom had no trouble sampling from 10 to 12 either.... The winery commissions artists to make all their labels. The require for the artist to put the Parthenon building from Athens somewhere in the painting. The original pieces are on the wall of the winery. It is so nice to be able to see them up close. Anyway we ended up buying two cases plus of a nice variety of wines. We were ready for few winters to come... We even managed to have lunch at "the girl and the fig" restaurant downtown Sonoma. http://www.thegirlandthefig.com/html-sonoma/index.html It was such a treat. The walls are adorned by pastel paintings of Julie Higgins. Sensuous painting with Girls, figs and ravens mostly with few exceptions...http://www.artistjuliehiggins.com/html/main.asp Do not hesitate to buy me one of those if you feel that generous.... just kidding! Anyway it was a delightful interlude. We were back on the road by 2pm and I was stopped by a cop by 2:30 in Napa with a speeding ticket... I guess I didn't deserve this one but probably deserved plenty of other ones in all my years of driving. It was my first one and I hope this to be my last. The afternoon and the evening was spent driving and driving and driving until we reached Ashland, Oregon. The road was really pretty most of the way. Nancy ended up finishing the last stretch so I had time to look and relax holding my puppy in my arms. So fun. Thanks Nancy.
We didn't get to see Ashland much. We arrived too late and too tired to do anything. The next day was another long day of driving with a stop in Lake Oswego where we had lunch in a French restaurant. Nice little town. We were at Bunny's in the afternoon where the Mom Squad rallied again to help find a vet for Gaia who was taking the plane with my Mom the next day. Another Saga Roxane's style doing things at the last minute. All is well at the end though so no problem!!!! Right! Thanks to my wonderful friends and family who can help with patience.... Why do they do it for me....????? I have no clue but I am grateful and thankful to have them in my life. I should also mention that we had champagne and cheese for diner. So nice. Just hit the spot. Mimi came to see us and meet my Mom in the morning and then have lunch at the Boarding house in Gilman Village in Issaquah. There nothing better than that. Then it was time to get to the airport to drop my Mom and Gaia of and then to the port to drop the car of and take the ship... But that is another story...!!!!
After loading on cappuccinos and americanos, Nancy and I were off to California leaving Emily to start her new life as a "Flagstaffian". Five seconds before the trip and I was already missing her. I was to see Paul so that made me pretty happy and my Mom had arrived three days earlier in Los Angeles so more exciting things were ahead. The trip was very hot across the Mojave and not very happening but as soon as we got closer to Ventura the whole valley became green and full of vegetable fields. The fresh air of the sea was coming right into our car and it was intoxicating. The car had wings!!!!!!! So we got lost but a phone call to Gaylene and we were at her house. So good to see everyone! My Mom was already trying out her English and having no problem to be understood by Gaylene. Paul was working when we arrived but I got to pick him up from work and tuck him in bed..... Just like old times. He is very nice to his mother. ahahhah. We did get to spend some family time with my nieces Madison and Delaney and their parents Cynthia and Bob who have the nicest home, cute little dog name Coco. Gaylene's dog Lucy became Gaia best friend and they played and played and still play together in their dreams I am sure as Gaia is running when she sleeps. haaha. Too cute. Here are few pictures that illustrate those few days. I also got to see Curt's Dad. He is doing very well after serious challenges with his health. I got to meet Paul's girl friend Wendy who is very very nice. We visited Patty in Carpenteria just in time because she was flying out the next day to the east coast for a wedding. We got to walk in a street down to the beach and coming back we meandered through the vegetable and fruit stalls of the open market. Those people don't know how spoiled they are to have such produce. It was nice to see that they those still exist somewhere on this planet.... But soon it was time to say goodbye and on the road we were once more...
Emily lives 20 mn away from Sedona. Nancy and I took the back road on our last few hours in Flagstaff to take few more pictures of the red rocks.
We had gone already once to Sedona with Emily and Bunny few days earlier but had taken the road to Phoenix to get there. It was longer and not as scenic so beware when you visit the area. So once again rock formations and good inspirations mix together. The canyon is lovely from start to end. We follow the river and some areas have flat rocks where you can swim and have some wet fun. I hope that I do explore this area some days in more depth. They have little cabins that you can rent and resorts along the way. So here are the photos...Cam you guess who are the faces behind the shadows....hahhahah. One of them is Gaia!
Now that the outside has been described we can take a look at the inside of the Abode Sweet Abode. It is quite cute with hardwood floors. There are two bedrooms, two baths, a living room and a mini kitchen that was probably a bathroom at some point in history. Emily and Britney are going to be comfy with their accomodations. The kitchen was right away put to service to feed the Mom Squad. Emily even made us Apple Pie with McCintosh apples from the area. So there are random pictures of the building of the nest and some after shots. Hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed living those moments.
So the Mom Squad helped Emily organized her house and in 4 days they did it!!!! When we first arrived on San Francisco Street in Flagstaff I must say that I had my doubts.... A run down motel on route 66 with converted apartments and eclectic neighbors... Could all this be good enough for my little Princess???? Well I say now that yes. I this that my little gem is going to fit right into this blend of Americana and more. The Place is right next to a Hostel where I went to borrow a Philips screw driver to built shelves, a bed frame and a futon with the help of the other members of the Mom Squad of course. The other side is occupied by the Flagstaff Train Station with services to Los Angeles and Chicago, right in your backyard. The "fun" siren toots every hour day and night to make sure that you don't forget about those trains...That adds to the decorum!!! The NAU campus is only a block away and the old town is offering small delightful stores of all kinds (Dog friendly mind you), restaurants and cafes. There is a definite energy in that place and it is good energy. The mountains can be seen from town and they are covered with big evergreen pine trees. We experienced good old fashioned thunderstorms with big rain. I liked that. So here are some pictures to illustrate my little saga. I am looking forward to revisit this little town and will enjoy picturing Emily going on with a college life.