Sunday, July 29, 2007

14 Months

My little baby is not really a baby anymore-she is now a toddler. She has so much energy I can't get anything done when she is awake and she demands my attention or else she gets upset. She loves to have me on the floor so she can stand up against me and read or just crawl all over me. She likes to put her hand in my mouth for some reason and really likes to be held and is finally starting to sit still when I hold her. She comes up when I am on my computer and just starts bangin on it but I can't always stop her becuase she is pretty sly. She loves blueberries and sometimes won't eat anything else and if she doesn't like it, she throws it off the tray. I can't believe she is growing up so fast.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lake Billy Chinook

About a month ago I went on a camping trip with a youth group from my church and here are some of the pics from the trip. We went to Lake Billy Chinook which is supposed to be a great lake for fishing. I thought it was okay but got really frustrated at first because when I go fishing on Detroit lake I catch fish all day long but at Lake Billy Chinook I really only had luck early in the morning. In addition to fishing we hiked to the top of Smith Rock and went boating/tubing/wakeboarding. The fish above are perch which we caught during the day but that was more of a joke becuase as you can see, they are like 3 inches long. The other fish are kokanee which is a landlocked salmon.

Tuna Fishing

Last week I paid $70 to go out on a charter boat salmon fishing thinking that I would at least catch one keeper. I was really excited to get out there but as the day wore on I got more and more frustrated as I wasn't even getting a bite and the guy right next to me reeled in two keepers and was done for the day. The weather turned for the worst and started raining hard. Most of the 16 people that came on the boat to fish went inside the cabin but I was not about to abandon my pole and it finally paid off. I had a bite! I started reeling in and within a few seconds it came off. Dang! The time for the trip to end was quickly approaching and I feared that had been my only chance. I then got another hit and yelled "fish on". I started reeling it in while chanting out loud "please let it be a keeper". We got it on the deck and it was a nice Coho Salmon but alas it was a native fish which meant I could not keep it. The day continued on without any more hits on my pole. The trip ended with very few of the people on the boat actually catching keepers. I ended up driving to town and buying some smoked salmon and some tuna with the idea that if wifey liked the tuna she would let me go on a tuna charter which costs $175. She liked it and said I could go but as I was talking to my friend D he said that wifey's old boss had a boat and had invited him to go fishing. I went to the office and told E that I wanted to go fishing with him.
I didn't expect he would get back to me so quickly but within a few days he called and asked if I wanted to go fishing. We headed out monday at 3:45 am with his boat and 175 pounds of ice. We put in at Tillamook bay and headed out to the ocean. The ocean has been warming due to recent winds and storms and the tuna have come extremely close to land(as close as three miles). They are normally out 20 miles or further. We headed out a few miles and started trolling. Within about at hour we had a hit. I grabbed the pole and started reeling it in. I have never had a fish fight so hard and toward the end I was wondering if I would have the energy to get it in the boat. We got it in and E showed me how to stab it through the brain and then cut it's gills. Man they sure bleed a lot. We got blood everywhere in that boat. We started trolling again but as we headed out to sea the water started cooling so we turned around and within a half hour we got another fish on. D reeled in this fish but he had been getting sick and had a hard time and had to stop to feed the fish. From then on we had quite a bit of luck and by the end of the day we had 12 fish. I brought in most of them becuase D was sick almost the whole time and E didn't really care to bring them in. We could have caught more but D was not feeling good so we headed back in. It was an awesome day and I hope to be able to go again sometime but I doubt E will take me again. Not becuase I did anything wrong but just becuase he has a bunch of other people to take and I don't think he really even goes that often.
Anyway, we drove back and E showed us how to fillet the fish. I was quite suprised to find that most of the fish is actually meat. Their guts take up very little of the fish. E didn't want much of the fish so D and I got a lot of fish. I am in the process of canning some of it right now which is actually pretty cool. I have never canned fish before and it is working quite well. I am going to smoke some of it up here in a few minutes and see how that turns out.
For anyone who does read this and likes to fish, I highly recommend going fishing for tuna. You are almost guaranteed to catch something and they are a great fighting fish.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Journey Begins

Some time back wifey approached me about going to Utah to visit her family. Due to work related issues I was not able to go with her but she went anyway so I was left with an incredibly tough decision-What will I do with 4 days off? As you can see the answer was go on a motorcycle trip. I debated the various locations I could go but in the end opted for the unorginal yet action packed highway 101 trip. For those that aren't familiar(which for those that read this blog-yes all two of you-you likely are familiar but just in case someone else should trip on my blog...)that route closely follows the coastline in Washington all the way down to California. As I was preparing for my trip I found myself debating whether or not I should go at all as I had(and still have) a great deal of homework to finish for my graduate school class. In the end I took one day off my trip to work on homework.
The trip started at 12:30 pm on Tuesday the 3rd of July. I ride a Honda Sabre and this is my story(yes that's cheesy but so am I). I bought a new pair of saddle bags for this trip hopeing that I would be able to fit enough for three days into the bags which might not be difficult for some but my wife has dubbed me "the great overpacker". I decided I would try to save money and sleep in campgrounds along the way so I had to find room for a tarp and some blankets. In the end I fit everything I needed. Or did I?
I went to Lincoln City and from there headed south on 101. Traveling down 101 up until Newport was something I have done quite often and was nothing new. When I got to the coast I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the weather was. The sun was shining with very few clouds in the sky but just to make sure it wasn't too perfect, the wind was blowing. I stopped in Lincoln City and Depot to rest for a few minutes and then continued South to Waldport where I made my first stop for gas. I then continued South stopping periodically at information points, lookouts, and state parks when I felt the need for a break(which is much more often than in a car as riding a motorcycle can be quite tiring).
At one of the stops I obtained a copy of a map with the location of all the Oregon State Park campgrounds and decided that I was going to go to Shore Acres which is located SouthWest of Coos Bay near Charleston. I arrived at the campground hopeing that they would have vacancies which they did. I pulled my motorcycle in to park and no sooner had I gotten off my bike then Doug came over and said, "is that the 1300 or the 1800" referring to the size of my motorcycle. I explained to him that it was the 11oo Sabre and he rambled on for a few minutes about motorcycles. He ended up being an incredibly friendly man who was staying at the park with his wfie Jan. They are retired and live in Redmond during the summer and Arizona in the winter.
I talked to him for a bit and then went to grab a bite to eat in Charleston. I went to the local market and asked about restaurants in town and she mentioned a few names including Captian Johns(I think). It turns out that I had stayed there my junior and senior year during the state wrestling tournament. It made me laugh becuase that was 12 or 13 years ago.

Day one comes to an end

In my opinion you couldn't ask for much more than this. The tide was low and going out so I was able to make my way out to the tidepools where I saw more marine life than I have seen in any other tide pools I have been to. From the spot in this picture I was able to see this shot as well as the cliffs and a lighthouse. It was a great way to end the waking part of day one. I will count sleeping as part of day two so I can say at least this day was perfect.

The journey continutes-sleepily

I can't remember sleeping so bad in my whole life. I have been winter camping on several occasions but this was the worst I can ever remember feeling at night while camping. I put my tarp down and used two thin blankets thinking that would be enough. I put on my sweatshirt and even a pair of gloves. While the fire was going it was toasty but after that went out I was done and I had no more wood and no way of getting more in the middle of the night. I put on pretty much all the clothing I had and nothing helped. I tried to pull the tarp around me and that made little differece. At 5:30 I was up and went and took a nice hot shower for probably 30-45 minutes. I came back and was finally able to sleep for a couple hours. I woke up and Doug invited me over for coffee. I told him I didn't drink coffee but would join him and I ended up getting a boiled egg, pastry, and a cup of applesauce out of it. Not too shabby since I had nothing. After that I packed up and headed out of camp around 10 or 10:30 am.

Shore Acres Gardens

I tink the pictures speak for themselves but I will just mention that there is an amazing botanical garden at this park. While I was at the lookout point this guy starts talking about seeing the whale off in the distance and describes to me where it was. Apparantly my day vision isn't as good as my excellent night vision(inside family joke). I finally found the whales but they were far enough off that all I could see was water shooting up every couple minutes. I continued on to the next lookout which was just up the road and found the lookout to be packed with asian tourists and they were all checking out the whales. This lookout was only about 2-300 yards from the whales and you could see them coming up and I saw the tail of one of them come out of the water. It was pretty cool.
From there I headed out on the road again and stopped for lunch in Bandon. It turns out that they have a pretty cool little set up there and I helped myself to a bread chowder bowl(yummy). Well, I had spent plently of time dilly dallying around so I needed to hurry on down the road.

Bathroom Break

I stopped here Hopeing to find a bathroom that I could use but ended up just using nature as they didn't have one that was close. I didn't stay here long becuase the wind was blowing as hard as I have ever seen it blow on the Oregon Coast. You see those white crested waves in the picture. Those aren't from the tide-they are from the wind blowing. Okay that's a lie but it was a strong wind.

Dino Park

While driving South I just happened to pass a place with a huge T-rex in the front of the store. I love a good goofy pic so I though I would take one and found it was a self-guided dinosaur tour through a mini tropical forested area. I took the tour and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was to look at the life-sized dinosaurs. I didn't stay for too long becuase I was starting to get wierd looks from other people-like they have never slid down the tail of a dinosaur and yelled yabba dabba dooo.
I headed back out on the road and made it to Cresent City where I stopped for gas and met Tiny(who was not Tiny) and his wife/gf. They were extremely friendly and had ridden their bike from Colorado. We talked for a few minutes and they mentioned a ride through the redwoods that I had never heard of even through I had once lived in the area. I took the ride and found it to be enjoyable but not as cool as the Avenue of the Giants.
I made my way to Arcata CA where I tried to contact an old friend with no luck so I ended up staying in a Ho Jo's and spent a lot more than I wanted to so I at Carl's Jr for dinner instead of having a nice steak like I wanted. Being that it was the 4th of July I was going to go to the fireworks show but in the end I was too tired from not sleeping the day before and had a bath and a quite night in my hotel room.

The end with reflections

Day 3-I woke up after getting a great nights sleep and filled up on my complimentary continental breakfast while reviewing a "101 things to do in Humboldt county magazine". Having lived in the area I already pretty much knew what I wanted to do in the area but I was trying to decide the best route home as I had decided that I wanted to see my family. I ended up deciding that I would take hwy 299 over to hwy 96(Bigfoot highway) then up to I-5 and home.
I again tried to call my friend in the area but he must have left town for the 4th. I headed into Arcata to check out some of the old places I knew. I drove by my old house and the university and drove by my old church building. I then headed to the town center and drove down the main streets to see what had changed. Their weren't too many major changes but I was disappointed to see a little pizza place I used to really like had closed down. I was planning on eating lunch there but that obviously didn't happen. I parked my bike and sat in the plaza for a little while just to relax and people watch. I had kind of forgotten what the town was like. It is a really small college town full of hippies and the entire city council is in the Green Party and it shows in the town. The square was a mix of younger college age people and some older scruffy looking hippy types sitting on benches sleeping or relaxing. A guy on his bike randomly came up to me and asked me if I wanted to trade my motorcycle for his bicycle and then told me how he wished he could have a motorcycle and that he used to own one.
From there I drove to Eureka over the Samoa bridge to the place where I used to work hoping that some of my old friends were still there. Turns out that Cho still worked there and was excited to see me. She had lost my email address and contact info I we had lost contact. Other than that there weren't too many people left at that job that were my friends. I guess that is what happens after 8 years. I decided to end my Eureka visits by going down old town and then heading over to the jetty. I parked my bike and took a stroll to the end of the jetty where I relaxed for a few minutes watching the waves slam against the jetty and watching a porpoise surface through the high waves. I called wifey and told her that I would be coming home that night as I really wanted to see her and baby E.
I started my trip around 1pm thinking that I would stop somewhere along hwy 96 and get a bigfoot burger. Turns out that the map was kind of decieving as far as showing any development along the route. There were a few towns but none of them were really tourist towns of any sort and didn't have much too offer for food. The entire route was along a river(2 different ones I think) but that didn't do much to help cool the ride down. It was cold on the coast and the fog had rolled in to Eureka making my leather jacket a necessity but a few miles outside town I had to ditch the jacket as it was over 100 and I was sweating like crazy. As I turned onto 96 I saw a bigfoot highway sign and thought "I should take a picture" but then decided I would just take another down the road. Turns out they trick you with that sign making you think the path was developed and fun in some way. The route was longer than I could make it on one tank of gas but I figured someone had to have gas. I picked the name of a town and decided it was a good halfway point and I would get gas there. Unfortunately small towns don't often carry premium gas which is what is required in my bike. I had to backtrack 15 miles to the last town to get premium. On my way back I rode my bike down to the Klamath River to take a small break and decided I need to figure out some way to cool down for my ride. I took off my shirt and soaked it in the water and returned to my riding-much cooler but it didn't take long to dry out.
I hit I-5 low on gas hoping that a station would come up soon. Fortunately I found one and was on my way North along "The 5". I sped north and hit Jack in the box for dinner and then was on the road again. It was getting dark and hard to see so I pushed onward going between 75-85 mph. Turns out your gas mileage isn't as good at those speeds. As I was heading up a mountainside in-between cities the bike started to sputter. I realized I was in trouble but wasn't sure I would have any better luck going back then I would pressing foreward hoping I made it to the next station. A couple miles later my main tank ran out of gas and I switched to the reserve tank praying that I would make it to the next gas station. I crested the mountain and began the 8 mile descent to the bottom. I am not sure how much gas fits into a reserve tank but I knew it wasn't much and doubted I would make it much further than to the bottom of the mountain. I got to the bottom and there just happened to be 2 24 hour stations right there. I was really lucky. I arrived home at 1am-A long day on a motorcycle and I was trashed.
Reflections-The trip was totally worth it. I worked out a few bugs for the next trip like packing warmer sleeping gear or plan on staying at a hotel. I think the state park option is more fun as you get a chance to meet more people and stay closer to the ocean without the high cost of beachfront hotels. I liked riding by myself but I am not sure I would want to take a trip much longer than I did by myself. I probably would have watched the fireworks had I not been by myself. Of course it also could have been only getting a couple hours of sleep the night before and riding all day that made me too tired to go.
The thing that I think I liked most about the trip was that I learned there are two types of men. Those that have bikes and those that want them. I can hardly think of anyplace I stopped where I wasn't approached about my bike or saw people looking at it and commenting. I remember driving down the street in Bandon and this kid waved at me as though I were his hero or part of a parade. Another kid was along the side of the road on the highway with his dad and when he saw me he started waving. A guy at a gas station along hwy 96 came and sat down in front of my bike and started asking me about it and then requested that I burn rubber when I left. I stopped at a rest stop and a guy came up to me asking me where I was heading and started talking about his bike. After I finished eating at Jack in the box I went out to start my motorcycle and just as I was starting it, an older lady got out of her car and jumped when I started my bike. An employee that was outside chuckled with delight as I apologized for startling the elderly lady. As I was leaving the parking lot, I saw a young mother with her toddler in a stroller smile, point, and say something to her toddler about the motorcycle.
Overall I would say the trip was a huge success-now I have to go back to the real world. Bummer!