Saturday, July 28, 2012

Oregon Coast

We were away from home July 9-12 on a trip we had intended to make for a long time and which was a trip we will never forget.  We left home early Monday morning and headed for the Oregon coast.  After traveling through western Washington on Interstate 5, we left the Interstate at Longview, crossed the Columbia River there and headed west for Astoria and the coast following Highway 101.  The weather was a bit cloudy the first day but that did not interfere with our enjoyment of the trip

We only made it as far down the coast as Pacific City on Monday, taking a lot of detours for pictures, stopping for a lunch of grilled razor clams at a small seafood place in Seaside where we also stopped at the local tourist information service.  We went there to find out about some have-to-see places we needed not to miss.  We took our time to see whatever sounded interesting, to take a lot of pictures, and to make sure the trip was enjoyable and not rushed.

That first day we stopped at Hog Point and Cape Falcon as well as many of the beautiful  beaches to photograph the scenery, especially the seastacks along the shore.  We ended the day exploring Cape Meares and the area south of the cape and watched the sunset at Cape Lookout before finding a place to park our van, put up the curtains, and prepare our self-inflating pads and sleeping bags for the night.

The second day we got an early start but spent the day as before, stopping often, taking pictures whenever we fancied, and enjoying the fantastic scenery.  We stopped at Depoe Bay, touted as the world's smallest seaport, at the Devil's Punchbowl and spent a great deal of time at Yaquina Head photographing its lighthouse, the seals on the rocks below the light, the thousands of waterbirds, and watching a whale feeding just off the coast.

Our last stop in Oregon was near the town of Florence.  Driving down Highway 101 and away from the coast we saw a sign that said, "Darlingtonia Wayside."  Recognizing the name, Darlingtonia, as that of the Cobra Lily, we left the main road and found a small picnic area with a short walk that lead to a bog filled with Cobra Lilies, our first sight of this unique plant.  The walk ended on a viewing platform that made photography somewhat difficult, but we took plenty of pictures anyway.

That second day brought us the rest of the way down the coast into northern California and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, but that is the subject of another post.  We had good weather for our trip, especially the second day, but in any weather the Oregon coast is one of the most scenic areas we have ever visited and we fully intend to make the trip again and even take more time to visit some of the places we missed on this visit.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chihuly Garden and Glass

For our anniversary we decided to go to Seattle to see the new Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition near the Space Needle.  Tickets were around $20 and we are usually not inclined to spend that kind of money on museums and exhibits, but we had seen pictures a friend had taken and decided to go, figuring that if the exhibition were a disappointment there were other things we could do in Seattle.  We went prepared to be disappointed in spite of the pictures we had seen but were certainly not disappointed.

The indoor exhibits were found in a number of different rooms beginning with the Glass Forest.  From there one moved to the Northwest Room, the Sealife Room, the Persian Ceiling, Mille Fiori, the Ikebana and Float Boats, the Chandeliers and  Macchia Forest.  The exhibits were all incredible but the Persian Ceiling and Mille Fiori were my favorites.  Outdoors the gardens surrounded the Glasshouse with its enormous hanging sculptures. and glimpses of the Space Needle and outdoors sculptures.

Glass Forest

Northwest Room

Sealife Room

Persian Ceiling

Mille Fiori (Thousand Flowers)

Ikebana and Float Boats


Macchia Forest


The outdoor gardens and exhibits featured a mix of living plants and glass objects and sculptures.  We enjoyed this part of the exhibition the most though the day was hot and sunny and photography somewhat difficult (this was the only sunny day we had for several weeks).  One nice thing about the outdoor exhibit was its location with the Space Needle looming overhead.  The central sculpture of the outdoor exhibit was the huge "Sun," though there were other larger sculptures as well.