Wednesday, August 23, 2017

TOTALITY Worth It - Solar Eclipse of the Heart

I think it's pretty obvious that when I tell people I'm going to take a vacation, I never actually take a real vacation. My vacation days are spent on doing races, hiking crazy hikes, or jam-packing events in so that every minute feels like I'm making it worthwhile.

When B suggested we take a long-overdue soul-seeking journey, my first thought was, "yes! more time with B!" - and we made plans to... well, make plans. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to think about it!  Why not take an actual vacation? Stop thinking about everything and just enjoy the view?

So we did.

Day 1: Thursday

I left for SF bright and early Thursday morning with absolutely no plans. B was working, so I called my brother up to see if he was up for lunch - not knowing that he worked roughly 30 miles OUT of the city and that I'd have to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge (awesome) and have to pay the toll (not as awesome) on the way back! After lunch, I decided to go hike Mount Tamalpais since I needed to kill a few hours while everyone was still on the clock - gorgeous, but at 100 degrees in the afternoon, it was a little toasty.

I made my way to the top of the mountain, only to find that there was a lookout point! I met a man named Steven (with a V - he made sure I knew), who let me into his little lookout tower to walk the catwalk. In retrospect, this was probably something I shouldn't have done - especially because I was hiking alone. But he was in the lookout, and I was positive that I could get a better view from 15 feet above summit.

Steven let me walk around the whole lookout - the views were spectacular, as expected. He also showed me a wonderful contraption - the Osborne Fire Finder. You use the pinholes and the crosshairs on the O.F.F. to locate fires in case there are any. As there were no fires at that time, he used the O.F.F. to find a castle for me instead :)

I timed my hike to coincide with K getting off work, and we went to Sol Food for dinner. Due to their community seating format, we ended up against the windows, which worked out for us - there was a band that had set up on the sidewalk and played as guests queued up to order. We barely missed the rush - The line backed up so far that we finished our food before some people got to order!

The sunset drive across the bridge was gorgeous. I know that I never take the time to appreciate beauty as much as I should, but jeez - San Francisco is gorgeous. K and I took a walk to Lands End to see the Sutro Baths and catch the sunset a little more.

Eventually I made my way back to B's. Day 1 was amazing. 

Day 2: Friday

Initially we had planned to leave early, but given that our Thursdays had been so packed, we delayed leaving by a little. Breakfast at Plow awaited! In the 45 minute line that we had to sit in, I randomly called the Havasupai Reservation.. and I got in! :) Havasupai, I'm coming for you - again!

At first, I was a little concerned about not making it to Oregon on time, but B made a good point - we had nothing planned! What difference would it make if we hit up all or none of our targets? With lemon ricotta pancakes in our tummies, we started on our journey. There was a bit of traffic getting out of the city, but as we continued to drive, the view got better and better.

Miles and miles of empty road. We stopped at a gas station, and at the convenience store, I saw a box that was clearly labeled with "FOR HIKERS ONLY" - I asked what that meant, and the associate who worked there told me that PCT hikers used the convenience store as a stop because there was a post office nearby. THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL?!

PCT hiking as always been a dream of mine. When I get older, the goal is to take enough time off to hike the 2,000+ mile path from Mexico to Canada. Visions of Cheryl Strayed came to mind at that point - my goal is probably going to be a little delayed, but a goal is a goal! We kissed the trail a little because I wanted to see it, but turned around as we wanted to see as much as possible before the sun set.

Next stop? Mt. Shasta.

Shasta is gorgeous. It hasn't erupted since the 1700s, but it's still massive, and it comes in at over 14k feet in elevation. We had hoped to do the Old Ski Bowl hike at Mt. Shasta, but the sunset was so appropriate for pictures and the view was so spectacular when we arrived that everything took precedent and the hike fell to the wayside. We still managed to get a few miles in, but ultimately sat down to enjoy the view instead.

We stopped in Weed, California on the way up to Oregon. Not much left to say there except that they are still trying to capitalize on the whole novel aspect of it. 

Day 3: Saturday

As if Shasta couldn't be prettier, we made Crater Lake our next stop! Oregon, without a doubt, is one of the prettiest states I've ever been to. We parked at the Annie Creek restaurant and gift shop and had breakfast there. The architecture in the building was so nice - high ceilings, rustic furniture, and a home-y feel that warmly welcomed us into the state.

Crater Lake was phenomenal. Life changing, even. We spent so much time there that we lost track of it. The snow had not completely melted yet, and the water was so clear and still that the only thing breaking the current was a small patrol boat in the water. Words can't even begin to describe how beautiful it was.

We walked along the rim of the crater for a while. As it turns out, the Crater Lake Century was taking place at this time! We saw so many cyclists passing by that we finally stopped a few of them to ask them what they were doing. 100 miles on their bikes - around the whole crater and back! Definitely something I want to do next year.

Next Stop? Bend, OR.

Specifically, the Patagonia store in Bend, OR. You see, B has this weird thing for the outdoors. It completes him or something. Bend wasn't about the Deschutes Brewery, which happened to be around the corner - it was about the excitement of being able to walk around Patagonia and look at furry jackets and board shorts. 

The series of events looks something like this:

Me: B - we're going here!



Elk Burger, Pesto Mac and Cheese, and a TOTALITY LAGER. So much good food. Look at that face of happiness!

By now, we're exhausted. We've been on the road for a few days and we haven't really had a good night's sleep. We check in to Pronghorn Resort and it's AMAZING. As in, we got a junior suite with a backyard, a massive room, and access to 2 pools - ONE WITH A SLIDE! 

I'm not going to lie - many of these photos aren't mine. B took some great ones! I tried to resist, but these Pixel photos are so nice! Almost as good as iPhone7+ portrait mode photos. :)

We had dinner at Cascada (2nd dinner, really) and watched the sunset. Lambs, prawns, polenta, yum. 

Day 4: Sunday

We def slept past our alarms. It's a good thing we didn't have anywhere to be! The goal was to head into Portland and get to our hotel - Our friends DC and DH were supposed to arrive later and meet us. So we start the drive... and then realize that we're in the state of Washington. We accidentally crossed the Columbia River!

We made our way toward Portland (whilst in Washington!) and stopped along the way at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. More failed jumping pictures ensued. The tripod we used was amazing but our timing was horrible.

Guys. My legs look so good.

DC lands, so we headed over to pick her up. It was time for Multnomah Falls!


Only a one mile hike, but beautiful regardless. 11 switchbacks that felt like 100 - probably because I'm out of shape :)

We went to the Observatory in Portland for Dinner and ended up in the bar portion of the restaurant, Over and Out. More elk burgers, oysters, fry bread, and andouille mac and cheese! yum. 

We stopped to get ice cream at a nearby creamery - Cold as Ice -

And then went to meet up with J at Fifty Licks! Best believe I had back-to-back ice cream :)

We head back to the hotel and prep for the main reason we chose Oregon as our vacation destination - THE SOLAR ECLIPSE!

Day 5: Monday

Everyone told us we needed to leave by 3am to make it to Madras for a prime viewing spot. When we checked out, the person at the counter told us that we were one of the last ones to leave - every had checked out by 1:30am! But we lucked out in Madras - we met a wonderful family who owned a farm and let us hang out in their yard.

The eclipse was amazing. Totally worth it. TOTALITY worth it, even. I remember telling B that our hotel would give us 99.3% clarity, and he said NO - that he wouldn't take anything less than 100%.

Everything turned so dark so quickly - it got cold, and in the two minutes of darkness, all I could say was HOLY SHIT - DH actually has a video of me just saying "holy shit" for a good 2 minutes.

How amazing is it that we can say we experienced this? It's no wonder that people spend their lives chasing moments like these.

When everything was over, we knew we didn't want to take the trafficky trail back to LA - the 5 freeway was backed up from Eugene to Portland! So we headed west, to the Heceta Head Lighthouse!

We stop for dinner in Coos Bay before heading back down to San Francisco. Day 5, still amazing.

Day 6: Tuesday

So we spent the night making our way back from Oregon. We made such great time that we were back before the sun rose! We dropped DC and DH off, and then went home to nap.

B was craving prime rib, I was craving thai, so we settled on lobster. DH came over and we went to New England Lobster Market for lunch!

We walked over to watch some planes land at the park across the street, and then went to the It's It factory store!


Dinner was special for me - K came over and B & I walked to R & L's house for dinner! R had just gotten some new cycling shoes, we worked on clipping in. It was amazing! We had homemade oxtail soup and hung out for a little bit before I had to head out. Lucky for us, R is celebrating his 30th birthday TODAY! Congrats to you, and I'm so happy I got to see you. :) 

Day 7: Wednesday 

All good things come to an end. Miss you already, B. Til next time.

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