Monday, July 9, 2018

On Friday, July 6, I went to Seattle via Amtrak.  I drove to the Vancouver (WA) Train Depot where I parked my car for free.  I boarded Coach at 8:40am.  I brought along a bottle of apple juice and purchased a slice of banana nut bread and a banana at the club car.  It was a lovely 3+ hour ride to the King Street Station.

I have a Business Class seat on my return so I went to the ticket window at the King Street Station to get seat assignment and club car $3.00 coupon.  I took the elevator to the 2nd floor and walked across the street to the bus stop.  I got on the first bus that was going north on 3rd to the stop between University and Union.  I walked downhill to the Geocaching Event at Starbucks.  Almost all of the attendees were Lackeys from Groundspeak.

Afterwards I caught a bus on 3rd Street to 34th Street in the Fremont District.  I walked a block to Groundspeak HQ.   I met two Lackeys: OnCloudDevine and B14ckH4wkGER.  I was sorry to miss Annie who was vacationing in Scotland. I have been to all of the Groundspeak Headquarters many times except I never went to the first one which I was told was a garage. I met all three founders in July 2008 when HQ was under the monorail.

I caught the bus back to downtown Seattle where I went to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).  It was free day for Seniors.  Special Exhibitions were half price so I purchased a ticket for "Double Exposure".   It was several rooms of photos mostly taken by Edward S. Curtis around 1900.

I went back to Starbucks to purchase a snack box of cheese, crackers and fruit.  Starbucks was closing so I ate my snack at a bench in the lobby, watching people pass by.  

I caught the bus to the King Street Amtrak Station.  The train was about 15 - 20 minutes late leaving the station.  Soon the train engine ran into trouble.  We had to backtrack to the station.  The train conductor came by to turn all of our seats around.  We finally got underway.  We were about 45 minutes late getting into Vancouver.  

Great Seattle trip!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

At the Oregon Beach

Yesterday I went to Seaside, Oregon with the Marshall Center Senior Group.  The vans parked near the new Seaside Convention Center.  I walked five blocks to the Seaside Visitor Center to find the Geocache. 

I walked across the street to have lunch at Seaside Brewing. I had a green salad, cup of clam chowder with oyster crackers and three samplers of their beer: Vanilla Cream (my favorite), Marionberry Hefe and IPA.  Great ambiance.  Mighty tasty food.  I wandered west down Broadway.

I bought a book at Rust & Dust Vintage called "Duel in the Sun" by Niven Busch c. 1944 for $3.00.  It was made into a 1946 Western film starring Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, and Joseph Cotten. 

I bought a cup of Marionberry icecream.  A single scoop but very large.  I sat on the black and white cow bench at the front of the store and people watched.   I saw a woman walk by carrying a young hysterical girl.

I continued walking west on Broadway.  I briefly watched the bumper cars.  Great fun.  I walked to the turnaround to watch the ocean.  It would have been lovely except for the family drama taking place at the end of the bench.  About 20 minutes after I sat down the woman with the young hysterical girl showed up.  What are the odds.  Hundreds and hundreds of people were at Seaside and I get the one bench with the young hysterical girl.  Family made a fuss over her.  I wandered off shortly to look at the colorful front yard flower gardens and return to the vans.

Marshall Center Senior Group left at 3:00pm, returning to Vancouver via Astoria and the Longview Bridge.  Great trip!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The evil that men do...

I watched the AG quote the bible as justification for ripping children from their parents.  How dare he use the bible as justification for the evil that this administration is doing! The last straw came yesterday when I heard about a 15 day old baby taken from a mother's arms after she crossed the border. I woke up this morning at 4:00 am really really upset!  And I am still upset!!

Monday, May 7, 2018

May 2008 Weekend

Day before yesterday, May 5, I went to Albertina Kerr in Portland for a Kentucky Derby Luncheon. I had a lovely table in the corner where I could see the garden with vibrant red rhodys and the ladies in the room with their lovely hats.  I wore a wide brimmed black hat that I had purchased at Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC. I plan to attend Albertina Kerr Garden Party in mid July.
Yesterday, May 6, I drove an hour and half north to Centralia to see a play at the Evergreen Playhouse - "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie.  Great fun.  Afterwards I got three passport stamps at McMenamins in Centralia, Washington and all five passport stamps at the new McMenamins in Kalama, Washington on the way home.  I won a thermos decorated with their signature artwork.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Visit to Seattle May 4, 2018

I caught the 8:38am Amtrak from Vancouver, WA for Seattle. I attended the Seattle Meet and Greet at Starbucks.  I was late as I was a bit confused how to find the place. I did the Virtual Geocache at Seattle Market (Pike Place Market). I met my sister Jeanette at Rachel the Pig. We had lunch at the Athenian - "Sleepless in Seattle". We visited the Seattle Center - Space Needle where I did a Virtual Geocache, Armory, International Fountain and McCaw Hall. I told her about the Book-It Theatre at the Armory.  She dropped me off at 2nd and Virginia where I immediately caught Bus #178 for Jackson/King Street Station.  I returned on the 6:10pm Amtrak to Vancouver.  Very enjoyable day.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Historic Homes and Gardens of Georgia and South Carolina April 1 - 8, 2018

Saturday, March 31 - I took a Vancouver Cab at 2:30am from home to PDX.  I checked in at Alaska counter at 3:00.  I took a short flight to Seattle upgraded to First Class and a flight to ATL in Premium Class. I enjoyed the Cheese and Fruit plate during the flight.  I took a shuttle from the terminal to Hyatt Place Atlanta/Buckhead.  I photographed NGS Benchmark: DG2683 GA State Cap Arm Holding Torch as we drove by.  The 1889 building is modeled after the U.S. Capital. 

The hotel room was not ready so I sat on the lobby sofa and promptly fell asleep.  Check-in was 3:00pm but I did not get the room until 5:35.  I was on the second floor but it was fairly quiet.  I walked to nearby Kroger Market to buy a Chefs salad etc. for dinner and snacks.  I slept soundly.

Sunday, April 1 - Easter and April Fool's Day.  After a quick breakfast I took the hotel shuttle to nearby Caribou Coffee where I hosted a Geocaching Event from 8:30 to 10:00am. About a dozen Cachers attended.  Afterwards I found the nearby cache "The Buckhead Dragon".   Very clever. The silver trains were not working so I had to take the Magic Tube.

I walked to the MARTA Station where I purchased a BREEZE Card.  I got off at the Peachtree Center Station.  I photographed the station for an Earthcache.  I got back on MARTA, exited at Five Points and followed the signs to the Eastbound platform.  I took the train to E2 King Memorial Station.  At the street level I turned right.  I photographed the tall brick stacks (Benchmarks) and water tower.  I turned and walked to Hillard/Grant Street toward the tunnel.  I walked to Oakland Cemetery, a historic oasis at the highest point of the city. 

It was really hot so I was soon tired.  I photographed the huge marble lion dedicated to the Unknown Confederate Dead, a Virtual.  I returned to the station and rode back to the Buckhead N7 Station.  The hotel shuttle picked up me and several others at the Buckhead Station. 

I checked in with the Road Scholar program after 4:00pm.  We had Orientation at 5:00.  And buffet dinner at 6:00.  There are only 18 in the group.  We introduced ourselves.  And then it was off to bed.

I attended my Event, found a Multi Cache, an Earthcache, a Virtual (Monument was carved from a single block of Georgia marble) and three Benchmarks today.

Monday, April 2 - I had breakfast in the Conference Room with the group.  I went into the Dining Room though to get raisin bread toast.  We went to the Carter Presidential Museum at 9:00.  I saw The (Bill and Melinda) Gates Award for Global Health, President Jimmy Carter's Peace Prize, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's Presidential Medals of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, and an exact replica of the Oval Office.  The gifts given to President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter were quite impressive.  There was not enough time to really see everything.  I saw the gardens briefly.  I photographed "Sightless Among Miracles," a striking sculpture.  I wanted to spend more time wandering through the Presidential Museum instead.

We went to the Swan Coach House in Buckhead for lunch.  It was quite lovely.  Great place for Afternoon Tea.  We toured the Swan Mansion (1928) and Gardens.  A recurring motif are sculpted or painted swans throughout the house and grounds.  Most impressive were the 18th-century swan tables purchased in England.  I copied the Beaten Biscuits recipe displayed in the kitchen.  While the rest of the group walked through the quarry gardens I explored the Tullie Smith House (1840), a plantation-plain style house and the Farm.  We left for the hotel at 4:30.  After dinner at Gordon Biersch of Atlanta Buckhead we had an interesting lecture back at the hotel conference room on "Gone with the Wind" and author Margaret Mitchell.  I did not geocache today. 

Tuesday, April 3 - I had breakfast in the conference room.  I took my luggage down to the tour bus.  We headed for Charleston, SC this afternoon.  We left at 8:00am for Field Trip.  We drove past the red brick house where Margaret Mitchell wrote most of her novel "Gone with the Wind" in her small apartment.  We stopped at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  I saw two really large pieces of Chihuly art glass.  The orchids at the Orchid Center were amazing.  We had lunch at the garden's Longleaf Restaurant.  The Tour Bus left at noon for Charleston, SC.  We watched "Gone with the Wind".  Two bus tires had to be repaired at a crossroads just south of McDonough.  We had dinner at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Pooler.  We checked into the Francis Marion Hotel about 10:30.  I had Room 716.  I was exhausted!  I found a benchmark: DF2500 Forsyth N Mun Tank, and a geocache while the tires were repaired.

Wednesday, April 4 - Following breakfast buffet we left for a Charleston Field Trip.  We strolled through Washington Square, a quiet park in downtown Charleston in the Historic District.  The location of Washington Square once was the site of Corbett's Thatched Tavern. The city square was opened in 1818.  In the center of the park is a memorial (1891) to the Washington Light Infantry (Virtual).  The memorial is made of Carolina gray granite and is a miniature version of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

We did not get a chance to visit nearby French Huguenot Church.  Very disappointing. 

We briefly toured St. Michael's Church Charleston (1761), the oldest church edifice in the city.  The steeple is 186 feet tall; the weather vane is 7 1/2 feet long.  The entire steeple sank eight inches as a result of the earthquake in 1886.  (Benchmark: CJ0908)

We visited the Citadel which was established in 1842 and was originally located on Marion Square right across the street from our hotel.  It was moved in 1922 to the bank of the Ashley River.  Author Pat Conroy graduated from the Citadel and later wrote the controversial novel "The Lords of Discipline".  I photographed the Citadel Water Tower on Indian Hill, a sand bluff along the Ashley River (Benchmark: CJ1024)

We walked alongside the White Point Gardens.  We saw the dentist's pink mansion - how could you miss it.  I photographed the historical statue for a Virtual.

We had lunch at the hotel in the Parkview Room.  I left at 1:45 as I had reservations for Spirit Line Cruises for Fort Sumter.  The cruise departed from the Fort Sumter Visitor Center at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston: 2:30 pm Ended: 4:45 pm.  I started walking.  SLC sent an Uber to pick me up. He arranged for me to board ahead of the crowd and told me where to sit on the boat.  There was a relaxing 30 minute narrated cruise to the historic fort.  I could clearly see the dentist's pink house among the Battery homes.  I had a great visit at Fort Sumter, the site of the first shots fired in April 1861 in the War Between the States.  I found the Virtual "Night Attack" and photographed the flag (Benchmark: CJ0864).  I saw several playful dolphins.  I could have easily spent another hour exploring.  We had dinner at the hotel.  I found three Virtuals and three Benchmarks today.

Thursday, April 5 - After breakfast we visited Middleton Place (1741), a National Historic Landmark situated on the Ashley River. This carefully preserved 18th-century plantation has survived revolution, Civil War, and earthquake.  It was the home of four important generations of Middletons, beginning with Henry Middleton (1717-1784), President of the First Continental Congress; Arthur Middleton (1742-1787), a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Henry Middleton (1770-1846), Governor of South Carolina and an American Minister to Russia; and William Middleton (1809-1883), a signer of the Ordinance of Secession.  Middleton Place is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States. 

We had Lowcountry buffet lunch in the Middleton Place restaurant.

We toured Magnolia Plantation founded in 1679 by the Drayton family.  It is the oldest public site open to visitors in the Lowcountry, with the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1872.  It is informal English style gardening away from the very formal design earlier borrowed from the French style which I very much dislike.  We rode through the landscape on a tram.  We saw sights that evoked the plantation’s past such as a Native American ceremonial mound.  We had a buffet dinner in the Parkview Room at our hotel.  I skipped the lecture on Gullah Culture. I found two bottled waters compliments of the hotel in my room.  I prepared for morning check-out and then went to bed early instead.  I did not geocache today.

Friday, April 6 - After breakfast buffet, we checked out of the hotel and headed for Beaufort and Savannah.  We visited the Penn Center (1855) near Frogmore SC on Saint Helena Island.  Penn Center works to preserve the Gullah culture and Sea Island history.  We stopped to view the ruins of the Chapel of Ease (1740) which burned in a forest fire February 1886 and a mausoleum built in 1852 for Edgar Fripp and his wife Eliza in the adjacent graveyard.  We stopped at the Red Piano Too Art Gallery where I saw many bottle trees.  I purchased a novel: "The Secret of the Gullah Treasure" by Carl E. Linke.

We had a couple hours to explore Beaufort so I chose to find the Virtual "Hit or Miss?".  We stopped at the Visitor Center.  I walked west to The Parish Church of St. Helena near the corner of North St. and Newcastle. The bell chimed 12:00 noon. I took several photos for the Virtual of the brick wall and The Parish Church of St. Helena.  It was likely divine intervention that the mortar shot hit the brick wall rather than the church.

We stopped briefly at an old railroad depot to use the restrooms.  I photographed the Savannah Flare Stack (Benchmark: CK3991).  The stack is located at an old railroad engine round house and engine repair shop.  We stopped briefly at the Massie Heritage Center and at The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a Roman Catholic cathedral on Lafayette Square. It is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah (two Benchmark Spires).

We checked in at the B Historic hotel.  I did not get a chance to get a snack, shower and relax before dinner.  My room was diagonally across from the elevator.  The room was a nightmare of noise from the elevator.  Another RS couple changed their room also that was directly across from the elevator.  We went to dinner at Chart House.  I finally got Room #534 way at the end of the hall.  Great location.  I found one multi cache and four benchmarks today.

Saturday, April 7 - The buffet breakfast was terrible.  One covered server had a mound of raw bacon.  Very limited food choices.

Our Savannah Trolley field trip was led by a local expert. Of the 24 squares from General Oglethorpe’s original plan, 22 remain, shaded by magnificent live oaks and surrounded by homes, churches, and museums. Each is distinctive with a variety of fountains, memorials, and lovely landscaping.

We toured the 1820 Isaiah Davenport House, one of the oldest brick structures in the city. The two-and-a-half story urban dwelling contains a total of 6,800 square feet with a basement level (which originally housed the kitchen, storage, work space and possibly a sleeping area for the enslaved servants owned by Isaiah Davenport), the first floor containing the public areas, and the second and third floors which were bedrooms and storage space.

We visited the Ships of Sea Museum.  I was exhausted.  We continued on the Savannah Trolley.  We stopped at First Independent Presbyterian Church (Benchmark: CK3975).  In the opening scene of  "Forrest Gump" a white feather floats gently downward from the sky.  The first view of Savannah is not of Chippewa Square, but of Madison Square, the St. John's Episcopal Church in the background.  The film then makes a cut to Chippewa Square.  The white feather is seen floating in front of the steeple of the First Independent Presbyterian Church and then across the street, the First Baptist Church in the background.  It finally lands at the feet of Forrest Gump, seated at a bench beside a bus stop on the north side of Chippewa Square.  

The group walked through Forsyth Park, the largest in the Historic District.  Savannah has many beautiful fountains, but none is so striking nor memorable as the one in Forsyth Park.  The view of Forsyth Park’s fountain – seen at the end of a wide walk lined with moss-hung oaks – is one of the best-known sights in Savannah.  I chose to stay on the trolley.  We had delicious lunch at Elizabeth on 37th situated in a mansion from the early 1900s. 

We returned to the B Historic hotel.  After a shower and nap, I walked to a nearby six-story parking garage where I found a cache.  Great view of the city.  It was lightly raining.  I called a pedicab.  A young woman driver named Shelby dropped me at Starbucks where I had a light dinner.  I walked a couple blocks to the waterfront where I found a Virtual.  I had a rich chocolate and vanilla scoop of ice cream in a cup at Ben & Jerry's.  I called a pedicab from JJ's.  The same young woman showed up much to our surprise.  Back at the hotel I was glad to crawl in bed and get a good night's sleep.  I found one cache, one benchmark and one Virtual today.

Sunday, April 8 - The buffet breakfast was terrible again.  One covered server had a mound of French toast - cold and soggy.  The first plate I picked up was not clean.  Very limited food choices.
We checked out of the hotel and boarded our motor coach at 8:30 am for the ride back to Atlanta.  The drive back to Atlanta is about 250 miles, approximately 3.5 hours.  Along the way, we watched the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good And Evil” based on the book of the same name by John Berendt, an adopted son of Savannah.  During the entire trip when a film was not playing there was often a bouncing ball on the screen which irritated me.

En route, I had poor boxed lunch with a sandwich which I did not eat, salt and vinegar chips (did not like), a frosted cookie (rather have plain sugar cookie or chocolate chip cookie), and bottled water.  The sack lunch was likely made by the B Historic hotel.  Very poor food during our entire stay at the hotel.  And, of course, the room situation was a nightmare.  They really need to get their act together.

We arrived in Atlanta by approximately 1:30 p.m.  I was dropped off at the Atlanta International Airport.  It was confusing where to find the Alaska counter.  I checked my two free pieces of luggage.  I was given the wrong boarding pass from SEA to PDX which later caused a problem.  I had a light lunch.  I boarded the flight to SEA in First Class for a 4:02 flight, landing in Seattle about 6:30.  I took a short flight from SEA to PDX again in First Class.  We landed about 9:00pm.  It seemed like I walked forever from the plane to baggage pickup.

I got my luggage and boarded MAX light rail to Rose Quarter, walked a block and boarded MAX to Delta Park Station.  I caught the C-Tran bus to Evergreen and Broadway where I caught the #37 to Manzanita Street.  The entire ride cost $1.50.  Christopher met the bus and took my luggage.  We walked a couple blocks to our home, arriving about 11:00pm.  I was exhausted.   Great trip but good to be home.

Lessons learned: Request rooms directly with hotels.  Clearly mark luggage with colorful luggage strap.  Take nonstop, direct flights.  Check boarding passes.  Get enough sleep. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Trip to Grays Harbor Cache Machine II, Dec. 29-31

We left Vancouver at 8:30AM on Friday, Dec. 29 for travisl's Cache Machine II in and around Aberdeen, Washington.  It was quite stormy.  We stopped at 9:15 at McDonald's Restaurant in Kelso for breakfast.  Christopher had a big breakfast and I had a hot apple pie.  We traveled north past Centralia to drive westbound on US12.  We stopped at the library in Elma.  I bought a paperback book - "Journey" a novel by James A. Michener, used the restroom and got a long drink of water. I did not realize until later that there was a cache at the library. I had even Bookmarked it.

We checked into the Comfort Inn at Ocean Shores.  We had a very large suite on the 4th floor with a view of the ocean.  We had a delicious lunch nearby at Alec's By The Sea.  Got candy and a bottled water at Ocean Shores Mini Mart.  No fresh baked cookies at this Comfort Inn.  Back at the room Christopher slept.  I curled up on the small sofa with my favorite fuzzy blanket and read a novel listening to the storm shake the building. 

I put earplugs in at 11:30PM so I couldn't hear the storm.  Slept soundly.  I got up at 7:00AM for breakfast.  Bananas but no yogurt.  We headed out for a day of geocaching.  The storm had passed.  The sky was clear with some puffy clouds.  Very cold though.  We saw a large herd of deer.  We loaned our 3 gallon water bottle of warm water at the 2nd cache of the day.  We had already found the water cache at the Interpretive Center.  We found 12 caches and one benchmark.  Actually Christopher found 12 caches and I just found ten caches.  We usually find 3 to 4 caches per hour however there was a lot of driving between caches.  I loved the Gnome House at the beginning of the Gnome Trail.  We attended the Grays Harbor Cache Machine II dinner at 5:00PM.  Good food and good conversation.  We retrieved our 3 gallon water bottle.  Long drive back to Ocean Shores but the Aberdeen area did not have any hotels as nice as the ones at Ocean Shores.

We woke up at 7:00AM for breakfast.  Packed the car and headed home.  We found six caches and did not find one.  We had mighty tasty lunch at Sheila's Country Kitchen in Raymond.  I had a toasted cheese sandwich with split pea and ham soup.  Christopher found a cache at Bush Pacific Pioneer County Park at Bay Center while I took a short nap.  When Hwy101 split I turned left onto US 4 to Longview/Kelso.  We stopped at McDonalds in Longview at 4:15PM for ice cream as the sun was setting.

We got back safely.  It was a very enjoyable trip.  There are four Cache Machines this coming year: Wenatchee III, March 24, Vancouver WA II, June 23, Colville, September 22, and Shelton, December 29.  Tri-Cities Geocoin Challenge is likely June 23 at the same time as Vancouver WA II Cache Machine.  We will likely go to the Shelton Cache machine depending on the weather.