Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Friday, May 30, 2014

Silver Falls State Park - Thurs., May 29

At 10:00 a.m. my sister, Jan, arrived to spend the day with us. Our first stop was Sweet Story Bakery in Sherwood, Oregon. All of us got a coconut bon-bon bar. In addition, Mom ordered a strawberry-rhubarb bar, I got a slice of chocolate chip coffee cake, and Jan took home a slice of lemon ricotta cake with sliced almonds on top.

Then we whooshed down I-5 and U.S. 22 east to Hwy 214 which took us to Silver Falls State Park. The day started out cloudy and it threatened to rain. But Mother Nature was kind - no rain, a nice breeze, temperature of 59 degrees - perfect for hiking. 

Trail of Ten Falls - map of Silver Falls State Park
On our first pass by the Day Use Area, we did not stop to buy a Day Use Pass, thinking because we weren't in the picnic area we wouldn't need the $5 pass yet. Wrong! Our first viewpoint at Winter Falls had a sign saying "Day Use Permit Required." We retraced our route two miles to the machine where we could buy our Day Use Pass for the windshield and headed back.

The decision was made to hike to Upper North Falls first. What an easy, gorgeous hike! It was 2/10 mile one way to the falls on a fairly level trail. 

Mom and Jan
Susan and Jan
Beautiful rapids.
Trail to Upper North Falls
Upper North Falls
Mom and Jan at Upper North Falls
Mom and I at Upper North Falls
Trees were covered in moss, giving the forest an otherworldly look and feel. Douglas fir trees gave off the most delicious butterscotch scent that made the woods smell wonderful. Salmonberries were blooming, along with bleeding heart, monkeyflowers, wild iris, wild rose, and wild rhododendrons. A few salmonberries were growing on the plants and it looked like a few had ripened and been eaten already. 

From Upper North Falls, we hiked a short distance in the other direction to an overlook for North Falls. Some intrepid hikers were down at river level balance-beaming it across a fallen log. We didn't hike to the bottom since we could see the waterfall from the upper trail.

Trail to North Falls
Adventurers at river level.
North Falls.
Wild rose
Rapids on the river
Once we were back in the car, we headed to the Day Use Area to have our picnic lunch. On the way, we stopped at the overlook for North Falls, took some photos, then stopped at Winter Falls trailhead. We started down the trail, looked back and saw Winter Falls, then decided we didn't need to hike to the bottom of that trail either.

North Falls from viewpoint.
A primer on waterfall/canyon formation
Trail at Winter Falls
For our picnic lunch, Mom wanted a picnic table overlooking the water. We chose a table overlooking the swimming area, but it was too cold for swimming today. It was a great place to eat lunch, though.
Jan and Mom picnicking

View from our picnic table.
We took off hiking after lunch. Our route was the South Falls Loop Trail. On Memorial Day Mom and I did not go behind South Falls, but today all of us went. There's a natural grotto behind the falls and the trail follows all the way around behind the waterfall, you can then continue on to Lower South Falls or cross the bridge and go back up to the top. We chose the latter path. 

Bridge in picnic area near lodge
Stellar's jay
South Falls from trail behind falls.
Mom and I
Mom and Jan on trail behind South Falls.
South Falls
I'm behind again...too much picture taking!
Salmonberry blossom
A rest on the uphill trail.
The park was nowhere near as crowded as Memorial Day! We saw a few families and solitary photographers. What an awesome day. 

On the way home from Silver Falls, we decided to return to Sweet Story Bakery for three more strawberry-rhubarb bars, since those were the hands-down favorite. (Mom shared her bar with us at lunch and it was very tasty.)

We made it home at dinner time. Dinner was easy tonight...pop a chicken and rice casserole from Costco into the oven, steam some asparagus and, voila, dinner! Strawberry-rhubarb bars for dessert.

Friday, I headed to the Tigard Library to get online. Now my past four days have photos. Yay!

Travel Bug out.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Two Days, Two Movie Reviews - Wed., May 28


Had a good workout this morning at the 50-minute aerobic exercise class my mom goes to. It was mild to moderate in intensity. I enjoy exercise routines and loved moving to the music. 

After class, mom took me to Enterprise so I could pick up my rental car. The agent showed me three cars from which I could choose. I picked the 2014 Chevy Cruze with leather interior and only 2,900 miles on it. When we went back into the office she couldn't find the keys, then asked her co-workers if they had the keys. One of the guys in the office said he had the keys and was taking the car for the day. To her credit, my agent asked him if he could take a different car. He did. (I'm glad because my other choice for standard-size car was full of scratches. I didn't want to rent that car and have them hold me responsible for the scratches!) 

We went back to mom's house, changed out of our workout clothes into something a bit nicer. From there, we headed to Wilsonville to pick up our "adopted" family member, Kimmie, to have lunch at a Thai restaurant. It had been about seven months since I last saw Kimmie, so we were able to catch up on all that has happened. Kimmie will go with us to Silver Falls State Park on Sunday so we can spend more time together.

Kimmie at Thai Village Restaurant in Wilsonville, Oregon
Tuesday afternoon was mellow and I read more of "Allegiant," the third book in the Divergent trilogy. At 5:45 p.m. my son Michael came over after work. He took me to dinner at Village Inn at Bridgeport Village, then we went to see "X-Men: Days of Future Past." 

"X-Men" is a great movie but, as with any movie involving "time travel," you have to keep up with what is happening. Time travel in this movie is done through consciousness with the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), not physical movement of the person. Once again, the young Professor Xavier is played by James McAvoy, this time as a lost soul immersed in his own angst. Wolverine plays a major role as he tries to convince young Professor Xavier and a young Magneto that they must work together to stop Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Dr. Bolivar Trask. Dr. Trask is the mastermind behind the Sentinels, killing machines developed in the 1970s from Mystique's DNA, who can change and adapt to any weapon used on them. The Sentinels are used to hunt down and destroy mutants along with any humans who help mutants.

"X-Men" has a tight story with excellent acting and viewer immersion into the future and into the past. Look for the original Star Trek TV series playing on a screen in the background during the 1970s portion of the movie. The president is a parody on Richard Nixon. 


Mom and I went grocery shopping at New Seasons and Costco this morning. When we returned home we called my sister, Jan, to see if she wanted to go with us to see "Blended." We didn't hear back from her right away, but she eventually called, then came right over. We made it to the 1:45 p.m. showing of "Blended" with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. We almost didn't go because the critic ratings ranged from 25-60 out of 100. However, the fans gave it 4-1/2 out of 5 stars. 

Wow, the fans are right on! The movie is funny and touching. We laughed and laughed. Plus, part of the movie takes place in Africa so there are big game animals and a beautiful resort. The resort is having a "blended families" week and, by default, the two families end up sharing a table and events. I really like the way Adam Sandler had three girls and Drew Barrymore had two boys to raise. Each of them weren't quite sure how to relate to their own off-spring of the opposite sex. But inroads were made when they teamed up and helped each other. It's quite heart-warming (and did I mention funny?).

While we were in the movie, we could hear rain pounding on the theater roof and thunder. When we exited the theater, the rain cleared and we had a beautiful evening. Watching the news later, we heard there was hail mixed in with that rainstorm. 

After the movie, we went to mom's house, had dinner, and played Rummikub.

Tomorrow, Mom, Jan and I are going to Silver Falls State Park for a picnic and to see waterfalls we couldn't see on Monday. It shouldn't be nearly as crowded as Memorial Day.

Travel Bug out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You really know you're on vacation when... - Mon., May 26 don't know what day it is!

This morning Frank called and said it was a good thing we didn't go visit yesterday because they really got the rain. I also saw Betty and Joe's Facebook post with photos of Sunday's rainstorm on I-5 in Washington.

Today we headed to Goodwill, bought four cheap vases and brought them to Mom's house where she cut enough peonies to make four bouquets. At lunchtime, we took the bouquets to a nursing home close by and put the bouquets at four tables with people eating lunch. 

Mom asked what we were going to do today. I said, "How long has it been since you've been to Silver Falls State Park?"

She replied, "About 20 years." 

Decision made, we're going to Silver Falls. Mom packed a picnic lunch of veggie salad, vinegar and oil dressing, my sister's homemade banana bread, and two apples. An hour and 15 minutes later we pulled into the parking lot at Silver Falls State Park, known for its Trail of Ten Waterfalls.

Silver Falls State Park, at 9,000 acres, is Oregon's largest state park. In eight miles, it is possible to hike to all ten main waterfalls. The park is a temperate rainforest of Douglas fir and western hemlock trees, meadows, creeks, and a great array of plants and wildlife.

We parked, found a picnic table, had lunch, used the facilities, then hiked to South Falls and Frenchie Falls (about a mile roundtrip from our parking place).

Lunch - eight-veggie salad and banana bread
View from our picnic table.
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
South Falls (enlarge to see trail behind falls)
Me at South Falls bridge
Monkeyflowers in bloom.
Moss-draped trees
Frenchie Falls - one of the small waterfalls.
Maidenhair ferns.
Silver Falls State Park was the busiest I've ever seen it in my life. A nice day, and lots of people with a day off, equaled a trail that rivaled rush hour on I-5. It looked like busloads of people were hiking today. Crazy. I think we're going back on Thursday if it's not pouring rain.
Trails were extremely crowded.
Looked like a tour bus just disgorged
people (not!); the park was just crowded.
We were going to stop at the viewpoint for Winter Falls, but all the parking spots were taken. Then we were going to park and hike to North Falls and Upper North Falls, but that parking lot was full as well. 

At that point, we kept on driving and headed home through the farmland around Silverton. A farm stand was selling fresh strawberries where we stopped and bought two pints. The berries weren't Hoods (our favorite), but I thought they were still pretty good.

On Interstate 5, around the Aurora exit, the freeway traffic came to a halt. We thought there might be an accident ahead, but we never saw one. We had stop-and-go traffic for miles. It finally dawned on us that today is Memorial Day and everyone was headed home. We laughed and laughed because we both thought it was Sunday. 

Tonight, we again had Hawaiian meatballs, wild rice, mashed yams and a spinach salad. We ate dinner on the patio overlooking the golf course.

Tomorrow, I am going with Mom to her exercise class. After that, I will pick up my rental car, then we will meet our wonderful friend, Kimmie, and have lunch at a Thai restaurant in Wilsonville.

When my son, Michael, finishes work tomorrow, he will meet me at Mom's house and we'll go to dinner, then out to see "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Meanwhile, back in San Antonio, Texas, Bob is dealing with huge storms. Our RV site is flooded. He had to pick up our outside Welcome mat, and pick up the plastic chocks from around our tires or they would float away with all the water around our 5er. Thankfully, we know the site floods and we put the 5er up on wooden planks to keep it higher out of the water. He may have to move my Escape. Last year in the Memorial Day flood, the water came up to the bottom of the chassis and I had to move my car to higher ground.

Travel Bug out.

Gardening and Golf Balls - Sun., May 25

Plans are always made in Jell-o when you're a full-time RVer. Seems that's also the case in life. 

Sunday we had plans to travel to Lake Arrowhead in Washington to visit Frank and Gina at their property. Frank called Sunday before we started out to let us know that rain was headed their way and it didn't look good for outside activities. We ended up staying in Oregon.

Mom wanted to plant spring flowers (begonias) in color bowls for her patio and Wave petunias for her front window flower box. After breakfast, we made a trip to Al's Garden Center in Sherwood (along with half the population of Portland, I think), to buy flowers. 

We bought pink, yellow, red and white begonias, and purple and white petunias. We also stopped at Safeway to buy yams to have with dinner.

Back at Mom's house, we started right in on planting flowers. On her back patio she had four empty containers for us to turn into color bowls. 

Begonia color bowls
Purple and white wave petunias.

Cinnabar moth, King City, Oregon
Mom's day lilies are in bloom.
Day lilies.
As we were working at the edge of her patio planting flowers, I heard a thunk and saw a golf ball land a foot way from us. (The golf ball hit the patio support right next to my head. She lives between the 8th and 9th holes of a nine-hole golf course.) Who knew planting flowers could be hazardous to your health?! 

Within ten minutes ANOTHER golf ball went whizzing past my head and landed in her evergreens. Quickly, we finished up the color bowls and went to work on the window box in her front yard. Much safer there.

For dinner, we had Hawaiian meatballs, mashed yams, steamed asparagus and wild rice, with brownies for dessert. So tasty.

Tomorrow Mom wants to go to Goodwill, purchase some vases, and make flower arrangements to take to the local nursing home. She has the most gorgeous peonies in bloom and wants to share them.

Travel Bug out. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beautiful Oregon - Sat., May 24

Bob and  I had lunch at Taco Cabana in San Antonio before he whisked me to the airport for my flight to Portland via Phoenix.

Made it to Portland safe and sound despite really rough descent into Phoenix, Arizona. The rest of the flight was good. Had an amazing view of snow-covered Mt. Hood out the plane window. It looked so close!

Tried to hook up my laptop to Mom's cable. Couldn't get it to work, so no photos. As soon as I figure out how to connect I can add some pics.

My sister and mom picked me up from the airport. Mom had dinner waiting when we got to her house - chicken, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert. The weather was gorgeous so we ate at her patio table overlooking the golf course.

Where we eat overlooking the golf course.
After dinner, all three of us went to Sherwood and did a three-mile walk. 

Mom's peonies - gigantic!
Huge peony flower.
 On our Sherwood walk, we spotted this nutria.

Nutria - large rodent.
Blooming honeysuckle
Pink dogwoods.
Mom and Jan on the trail.
Tomorrow Mom and I are driving to Lake Arrowhead, Washington, to spend the day with Frank and Gina (brother and sis-in-law) at their lot. Looking forward to spending time with everyone. Frank will be making hamburgers for lunch. We're bringing potato chips and dip, a veggie tray and brownies.

I better get some sleep!

Travel Bug out.