Camping & Taking Photos in E. California and the SouthWest

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Water pockets

We took our friend, Kristy, to White Pocket and found that the pockets were full of water! It was such fun to see the area in such a new way, and really fun to take Kristy. We also went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes ~ Kristy showed us a whole line of dinosaur tracks there…from at least 3 different kinds of dinosaurs. It’s such fun when she is in town, and especially great when her husband, Brian, gets to come.

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Visitors!

Doug’s high school English teacher, Jerry, and his wife, Cathie came to visit. We had such a blast! Doug took them to Paria townsite, Buckskin Gulch and White Pocket. Then we all drove to Boulder, stopped for coffee at the Kiva Koffeehouse, dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill and spent the night. The next day we drove to Capitol Reef. We hiked in Cohab Canyon and had a picnic lunch in Fruita. The leaves were beautiful and we had great weather. Crisp and cold, but sunny. After spending the night in Capitol Reef, they drove on to Scottsdale to visit their granddaughter and we drove back to Kanab. We sure hated to see them leave.

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Heading “home”, Day 2

After a very long day driving (most of the time with no A/C), I finally made it to Salt Lake City. My motel was about 8 blocks from Temple Square, so it was an easy walk.

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Temple Square is quite impressive. There are many buildings including the Salt Lake Temple, the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, Joseph Smith Memorial Building,  the Beehive House and the Lion House. The 35 acre garden is full of blooming flowers. I enjoyed watching  couples having wedding photos taken, and lots of people enjoying the sunshine. The temple itself is so tall I could barely get far enough away to photograph the whole structure. A reflecting pool in front of it adds to the feeling of serenity. There are several historic buildings, including  the Beehive House where Brigham Young lived between 1850 and 1856 when he was Territorial Governor of Utah and President of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and the Lion House next door where he moved his family in 1856.

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Assembly Hall
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Salt Lake Tabernacle
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The Lion House

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The Bee-Hive House

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Heading “Home”

It was hard to leave Seattle, my friends, my clients, my family. One of the last evenings in town, my friend Becky and I went to Anthony’s at Shilshole for happy hour. It was another gorgeous day. We enjoyed the views, the food and the drinks.

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My first stop on the way to Kanab was Baker City, OR. We’ve stopped there before, so I knew there was a good coffee shop (imperative when driving along cross-country). The town has a lot of charm and many historic buildings.

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I heard from several people about the Oregon Trail museum in Baker City, and arrived early enough to check it out. It is impressive. I’ve always been intrigued by the Oregon Trail and the people who traveled it. It’s hard to imagine walking all that way and suffering everything they did. They were a strong lot. I can’t imagine leaving everyone I knew and knowing that I’d never see them again.

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Whidbey Wanderings

One of the highlights of my time in Seattle was visiting Whidbey Island with my friends Barb and Ann. Barbara and her husband, Don, have a lovely place on the Island with glorious views of Camano Island, Mt. Baker and the water. The tides were pretty extreme, so we had a great long beach walk when the tide was out. The stairway down to the beach provided some good cardio! Barb fixed a fantastic fish dinner for us. Unfortunately, she had to leave the next morning, but Ann and I stayed another night. We spent the next afternoon in Coupeville – the site of many of our past PEPS retreats. The town has changed, but fortunately not too much!

Here’s the view from Barb & Don’s…doesn’t get much better than this!

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Low tide in Coupeville:

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At the edge of town, we came upon a store with lots of nautical decor…including this amazing bodice, made by the owner’s daughter:

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While looking around Coupeville, we found a new (to us) lavender shop with all things lavender, even lavender cookies and ice cream! They directed us to their lavender farm on the other side of the highway. We stopped by the farm the next day, on our way back to Seattle. They had a lavender fair going on with a few vendors and lots of lavender. The farm is lovely; apparently it all started with 5 lavender bushes! Whidbey’s frequent sunshine helps!

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A quick stop at Deception Pass to check out the rapids and look longingly at the San Juans. One of my favorite places in the Pacific NW:

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Final move & more travel

After returning from my travels to NH, CT and GA, I met Doug in Las Vegas and returned to Kanab for a couple of weeks. It was very hot, so we woke early, hiked, did some yard work and then retreated to work indoors. Our garden went wild while we were gone, so we returned to lots of flowers! The Mexican primrose and Honeysuckle had spread like wildfire and the birds were very happy to have us back. They went through birdseed like crazy.

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After a couple of weeks, we drove to Seattle for a 3 week visit. We connected with a lot of our friends and had a lot of fun. One of the highlights was seeing so many salmon in the locks! It’s been years since I’ve seen such a run!

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We emptied our Seattle storage locker and drove back to Kanab to unpack and get the house set up, then we left again.

I took a shuttle from St. George to the Las Vegas airport – it was a great way to get there – only $35 for a 2 hour ride! Of course, my flight was late, but I had a good book and the time went by pretty fast. Doug drove to Bishop, CA and started his yearly camping/hiking/climbing month.

I had a wonderful time in Seattle, staying with my friend Ann, seeing friends and clients. The weather was spectacular – one of the best Seattle summers ever. My friend Mary, from CT, came to Seattle to visit. WeI took the Clipper to Victoria for a couple of days. It was fun seeing Butchart Gardens, thoughtit was very crowded (a cruise ship was in town and I think everyone from the ship went to Butchart) and hot.

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We had a hilarious voyage on the Clipper – we met a group of people who get together several times a year for an adventure; we all talked and laughed the whole way…in fact, one lady near us came over and asked “are you going to laugh the whole way? If so I’m going to move” (and she did).

After visiting Butchart and walking around the tourist areas, we rented bikes and explored the “real” Victoria. We found a great little pub for beer and nachos (an old tradition of ours), a great diner where we had breakfast, and a super outdoor restaurant with the best fish & chips!

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We rode our bikes to Oak Bay – the water views were incredible:

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After our return from Victoria, we had great fun touring around Seattle – the weather was beautiful and so many flowers were in bloom. We went to the locks (Mary’s first time seeing it from land) and saw the Chinook (much larger than the silvers, shown above). The Chinook are so large they rarely jump. The fish ladder has holes at the bottom where the Chinook can swim in rather than jumping up the ladder.

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We went to the Chihuly Garden, recently opened at the Seattle Center. What an incredible exhibit. As we entered each room, we thought “this is the best” – but the next room was even better! I want to return when it gets dark earlier to see the exterior lit up.

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me and mare at chihuly

Showing Mary around allowed me to revisit my favorite Seattle places. It is such a beautiful city! I never imagined living anywhere else. I look forward to visiting often!


Down South

After having a wonderful time with Mary (it was over way too soon), I flew to Jacksonville, FL and then drove to McIntosh, GA. My sister, Holly, and her family have a vacation home on an island there. We spent 2 nights on the island, went out on the boat to a beach on another island, drove into “town” and cruised the few shops and stopped at the wine bar. It was wonderful and so relaxing! The marsh is so amazing – it’s always changing. The tides were extra high and extra low – it was incredible seeing the differences. One night the full moon was amazingly big…rising over and shining on the water.

McIntosh house

McIntosh house

A glimpse of the marsh

A glimpse of the marsh

Beautiful oaks with Spanish moss

Beautiful oaks with Spanish moss

Marsh grass

Marsh grass

They built this dock to the water!

They built this dock to the water!

Huge horseshoe crab

Huge horseshoe crab

Seabird party!

Seabird party!

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A Wonderful Reunion

Doug and I left New Hampshire on Tuesday, after the graduation. Doug flew back and I planned to take the train to Connecticut. The day before we left, a train was derailed and the route I was going to take was shut down! Fortunately, I got a ticket to fly to NYC about the same time Doug was scheduled to leave. When I got to the gate at the airport, I found out that my flight was delayed. After the second delay, I got on to another flight to a different airport in NYC, getting there about the same time as the first one was scheduled! I took a shuttle to Norwalk, CT where my friend, Mary, picked me up.

We met and worked together on the NOAA Ship Rainier in 1981-82. We became great friends the minute we met and had a blast on the ship and in port (Homer and Anchorage, AK; Seattle; Hilo and Kona, HI and Lahaina, Maui). We rode in small planes and helicopters; kayaks, canoes, small and large boats. We went dancing, biking, hiking, boating. We created a newsletter for the ship…I wrote and edited the paper; Mary did the artwork. It was a wonderful year. I still can’t believe that we hadn’t seen each other since I left the ship in 1982!!! We’ve kept in touch, but never gotten together. Well, that’s the end of that craziness! As soon as we saw each other, it felt like we’d been together all these years. We had tons to catch up on, but our friendship and closeness hadn’t changed a bit!

Mary is in the middle of remodeling her home in Rowayton, a beautiful community on the coast of Connecticut…I’m so lucky I got to see the near-completion of the first phase and hear about her plans for the next phase. Mary’s such a talented artist and decorator (she does graphic design and staging). And she looks the same…still petite, in great shape, beautiful and always so much fun!!!

We walked, talked, went to great spots to eat, toured around and even bowled, played tennis and danced using her Wii. What a blast! Can’t wait to have her come visit us in Kanab!

Some photos:

Mary

Mary

Rowayton beach

Rowayton beach

Pram on a float

Pram on a float

Mary's dog Lilly with her friends

 

Private beach

Private beach

Not a bad place to be a lifeguard!

Not a bad place to be a lifeguard!

Nice rocks

Nice rocks

Relaxing!

Relaxing!


Graduation

May 18, 2013

Doug’s youngest daughter, Sydney, graduated from Plymouth University in New Hampshire – we flew to NH for the graduation and spent a few days there with her adopted family, “the Bucks”. We had such a great time. The Bucks are the best hosts… they love having guests and made us feel like family.

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Sarah (Doug’s oldest on the left) Sydney, (the graduate) on the right

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Very proud Papa!

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Sydney with Denise and Steve

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Sydney with Eli and Mica

Sydney with Denise

Sydney with Denise

Steve & Mica
Steve & Mica

Sarah (reading) and Sydney

Sarah (reading) and Sydney

Doug playing with Eli and Mica

Doug playing with Eli and Mica

Sydney and her mom, Bev

Sydney and her mom, Bev

Denise is amazing. She even makes her own pasta!

Denise is amazing. She even makes her own pasta!

Salmon & steak for the celebration! Wow, did we eat well. Denise, Bev & Sydney are all great cooks!

Salmon & steak for the celebration! Wow, did we eat well. Denise, Bev & Sydney are all great cooks!

My guy

My guy


Home Buying Experience

I work in real estate…I handle contract management and marketing for real estate agents. I know that no matter how qualified a buyer is, how great a house is, how professional an agent is and how thorough a loan broker is, things can go wrong. There are so many people involved and so many details, it’s amazing how many transactions close – on time.

Doug and I just went through our own closing…and it was tough. We bought a home in Kanab, Utah, a small town in SW Utah. We spent time here over the last 3 years and rented a home here for 3 months this winter. While we were renting, we decided that Kanab is a great place for our base. The vacation rental market here is robust and we plan to rent the home so we can still spend time in Seattle visiting friends, family and clients, and continue to explore and camp. Kanab is located in a premier spot – only 40 miles to Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP; 80 miles to the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell. Loads of trails, buttes, slot canyons close to town.

Our first glitch came with the appraisal report. We expected it come in low, and it did. Almost nothing had sold in the area, particularly at our size and price. As we were about to attempt to re-negotiate our agreement, we found out that an all-cash Buyer had submitted a back-up offer. Yikes! We waited until that offer was in place, and then sent an addendum to the seller to lower the price. Our response was NO and NO (no change in price and no extensions.) Then, a week before closing we were informed that the lender was requiring a review appraisal (we thought the one we got was too low and missed an important comp)! Our broker ordered one on rush and it was done over the weekend. Our financing contingency deadline was Tuesday at 5pm. The lender got the appraisal report on Monday and  didn’t give us an answer until 4:58 pm on Tuesday. Talk about stress! But that’s not all…when we got to signing, I noticed that the social security number on my documents was wrong!!!  Thankfully, it was just on the loan docs and they hadn’t used the wrong one to qualify us. Two days later we were supposed to close. We got a call from the mortgage broker letting us know that the lender would not fund our loan until they had my IRS transcript, which they had been trying to get. OMG, I couldn’t believe they waited until the last minute to mention that…and immediately realized that they were probably using the wrong SSN, again. Next morning I got on the phone to the IRS and got them to fax the transcript to the title company. Title faxed it to the lender and it closed. I believe that the moral of this story is that 1) buyers need to immediately respond and send everything requested and then some, 2) buyers need to be proactive, 3) shit happens, 4) expect a glitch or two, and 5) it’s worth it.

We are thrilled to be in our new home. It’s small (1100 sq ft) and perfect for us. It has an incredible backyard. Since we moved in, the trees have gotten their leaves and the flowers have started to come out. Every day we have more and more…Mexican primrose, day lily, columbine, vinca, honeysuckle, Japanese bamboo, mallow, butterfly bushes and more that haven’t made their appearance yet. We love it. We have views of the mesas from the front and back. It was definitely worth it!

Here are some photos:

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This is the view from our front deck

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We love our backyard! We now have lots of birds eating from our feeders and bathing in the birdbath. I love waking to the sound of them chirping (and occasionally the crowing of the rooster down the street).