We’ve been busy lately – and very non-communicative. Before we step onto a plane at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning (shouldn’t I be packing?!) we wanted to let anyone that cares to know, what we’ve been up to.
Our two weeks in Oregon were spent split between family and friends in Salem, and friends that are like family in Portland. We spent a few solid days simply sleeping and eating in Salem, with an attempt at jogging on my part. We got to catch up with dear friends (hay-bales anyone?) and spent some quality time together. In Portland, we explored different neighborhoods, ate a lot of tacos, got to experience a Timbers game, finally had the maple bacon doughnut at Voodoo, and had one epic night out that included Powell’s, poutine, pool, darts, and chicken ‘n’ waffles. I got to see my lovely friend Hannah, newly arrived at Linfield college in McMinnville, twice, and we saw almost all of the waterfalls at Silver Creek State Park on a gorgeous 9.5 mile hike. And, we went to a fantastic birthday party that will never be forgotten, and finally got to use our coupon for free cookie dough.
More recently, around September 15 we left for our epic road trip (from which we just returned late Sunday night). First stop included Crater Lake, where I realized we forgot our tent, therefore we had to sleep in the car. After one night there and a quick hike up Watchmen Tower for a nice view, we continued on to Sacramento, taking a back-route around Mt. Shasta. In Sacramento, our gracious friends Moira and Sean arranged for almost all my best friends to come over for a game night, cooked dinner for everyone, lent us a tent, and gave us a bed to sleep on. We also got to see my Dad, and I almost, got to see my brother.
Then we were off to the central California coast: a deserted Santa Cruz on a sunny day, the beautiful Capitola where, of course, we went to Pizza my Heart; we had an amazing anniversary dinner on the Wharf in Monterrey, went to the aquarium, and went on a scenic drive to Big Sur. Mishaps included every campground in the area being booked, and having to get a hotel room – but, at least we got to shower, there was a pool and a hot tub to play in, free cookies, free breakfast, and free internet. Sidenote: since when are campgrounds so expensive?! We did get lucky and found a site right near the beach the second night, complete with a scraggle of wild kittens in the bushes!
Next we drove to our now-reserved-in-advance-online campsite just outside Yosemite. Along the way we stopped at Moaning Caverns – I wanted to do the rappel, but just couldn’t justify the money when I could rappel for free rock climbing, so we settled for a hike down the old spiral staircase to endure poor jokes from a jaded guide. Still, the caverns are an amazing site to see at least once. Finally, we headed for our next campsite, and this is where Garmin-wife, the GPS thingy we borrowed, led us astray by a few hours to the wrong campsite. But, using the last of my cell phone battery to call the number on the reservation, we got the correct address. That “campsite” was a riot – we camped where an RV normally parks, the ground once again too hard to stake in the tent, so we had to once again use my climbing gear to secure the tent. But, once again, we had free showers, free internet, and I think there was even free mini-golf.
Finally, we arrived at the gem of the trip: Yosemite. We reserved a campground right in the valley months in advance, and Tyler finally got to experience one of my favorite places in the world. The first day we hiked Vernal and Nevada Falls for fun, then, we before dawn the second day to tackle Half Dome; a life-long goal of mine. After 11 hours, 17.5 miles, and a 8842 foot summit, and a bear sighting, we made it there and back, having survived the slippery and unnerving cables and the hundreds of stairs, and rewarded ourselves with pizza and beer in Curry Village. Day three in Yosemite we took it easy, wandering the Mariposa Grove of the Sequoias, stopped at the vistas along highway 41, soaking in the majesty of the place. On the fourth day we finally left, talking about hiking Bridal Veil Falls but missing the turn-off. I made my “next time” vows to myself: go when Yosemite Falls is still flowing and hike to the top, and for the love of God, climb a rock!
Our next stop was Lake Tahoe, via Tioga pass, Mono Lake, and Carson City Nevada. Garmin-wife led us to an In ‘n’ Out in Carson City, the second visit of our trip. We arrived at a beautiful campsite right on the lake, mostly empty. Setting up the tent for the final time, we soaked up some sun on the beach, made our final S’mores and a grilled a great dinner to go with a bottle of wine we’d been saving for our anniversary but never had time to drink, and enjoyed the beauty. The next day bridesmaid-duty reality hit, and I was off trying to turn my blistered, torn up, hiking/backpacking/climbing abused feet into something decent for wedge flip-flops, and wandering my way to the rehearsal and dinner on-time. Tyler camped alone the second night, apparently waking up in the buff in the car, with a bottle of whiskey and the new Esquire magazine. I spent the night with five other amazing ladies, talking until 3 a.m. about the things that matter and finally catching up. Before we could realize it, our fantastic, cherished, beloved friend Michelle was getting married in a dazzling dress with a beautiful ceremony, to the perfect guy. We partied the night away in the hip Tahoe casinos, dancing, doing more catching up with friends, staying out far too late, and making memories that won’t be forgotten. After a final farewell brunch at Heidi’s, we were off to endure the 9-hour drive back to Salem.