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Clamming )

We spent all day Tuesday at SeaWorld in San Diego after leaving our friends in Los Angeles. We would have liked to have stayed longer in L.A. but SeaWorld was amazing. When we arrived, we went to the otters, then the ray feeding tank, then the sea turtles, shore birds and tide pools near the grill where we ate lunch; then we took the Penguin Experience tour, where in a group of 10, we got to go into the penguin feeding area with an aviculturist and a Macaroni penguin whom we got to pet and examine, then we got to go into the very cold indoor penguin facility where there were King and Adelie penguins within touching distance had we been allowed to do so; the Emperor penguins were isolated on the other side of the exhibit because it's their breeding season and they were pairing off, and it's Antarctic "winter" meaning that the facility is kept very cold and dark, but it's still entirely awesome to be so close to the birds.

We saw several performances in the afternoon, including the Orca show Believe (younger son dislikes Shamu as a matter of principle because killer whales eat penguins, but older son liked it a lot); the dolphin and pilot whale show, with lots of jumping and spinning and splashing; the "Pets Rule" show in which rescued dogs and cats demonstrate some of the tricks they have learned while the keepers make a pitch for adoption of companion animals; and Sea Lions Tonite, in which various less-glamorous animals help the trainers poke fun at all the other shows in the park (their sense of humor about the Shamu-worship promoted all over the rest of SeaWorld is really delightful). We also visited the Arctic zone with belugas and polar bears, the sharks, the manatees, the fresh-water aquarium and most of the smaller exhibits, though we never managed to go on any of the rides. It was a really fabulous day and I could easily go back for another full day there!


SeaWorld San Diego )


Next up: the Maritime Museum and HMS Surprise!
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In Otto's Basement )

We spent Monday mostly at the beach with my friend Lynda and her son Jonathan, plus my brother-in-law David and his wife and kids, though I barely saw the latter on the beach because I went with my kids and Jonathan to climb over Point Dume to see the tide pools and although it's probably a quarter mile if you could walk on the shore, it's about a mile climbing up the path and steps to the boardwalk over the dunes and then down the other side! Despite wearing 70 SPF, I managed to get sunburned again (as did Lynda, which made me feel marginally better since I'd been thinking I must be too stupid to live in Southern California). And we saw dolphins diving over the waves, seals out on a rock and various sea birds and mole crabs!


Point Dume State Park )


After we got back from hiking, we went out to lunch at Follow Your Heart, a vegetarian food store and restaurant in the Valley. It's been two days since I've had any meat, poultry, eggs or fish and all I can say is that if someone would cook vegan for me all the time like the food I've eaten this weekend, I'd be vegan -- yesterday we had about 10 appetizers, then I had "chicken-fried" saitan and potatoes with some kind of awesome gravy and we had chocolate souffle and some kind of creme caramel except of course not really creme for dessert, today I had red pepper soup followed by chicken-style tandoori and basmati rice. We came back to Lynda's house for swimming and showers, then the kids had pizza...I was still too full from the late lunch!
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A Story About Chicken Soup )

We had a lovely relaxed Sunday first with my uncle Mickey and his family in Castaic, then with our friends the Foleys in Northridge who also have a swimming pool, and dogs (three Keeshonds) plus cats (two) and a parrot and snake, all of which are extremely popular with our kids. Plus they have an older teenage son who has Halo for the Xbox, which is equally popular. We had lunch and hung out at their house in the afternoon, then went to my brother-in-law David's vegan restaurant, Madeleine Bistro, where he fed us every appetizer on the menu, wonderful main courses and every dessert. *g* His four kids are vegan but neither my uncle's family nor our friends are even vegetarian, and everyone loved the food!


In and Around Northridge )


We are going to the beach on Monday, hopefully one with tide pools and waves that aren't too big to swim in (if the Pacific is not too cold to swim in near L.A. as it was in San Simeon). We are all looking forward to this!
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In the Suburbs )

We spent all day Saturday with my relatives in Castaic, riding their horse and swimming in their pool, in a house surrounded by hummingbirds and finches, with two parakeets and two dogs. In the morning after Lesley made us pancakes, we took the kids to a Game Stop to replace younger son's Nintendo DS which died a couple of days ago -- there's no way we're driving home without two working game systems -- and had excellent frozen yogurt. Then we came back to Uncle Mickey's house, where my cousin Felicia and her sister Allison's husband Justin had just arrived with their three little boys (Allison, who is six months pregnant, arrived later after a baby shower, and, Felicia's husband Jason, an ER doctor, got stuck at the hospital so we didn't get to see him).

Our kids, Felicia's older son Benny, and Mickey and Lesley's son Garrett wanted only to swim, so Paul and I went with Felicia's son Aidan and Allison's son Zach to ride Lesley's horse, Bill. This is the first time I have been on a horse in more years than I can remember -- I had on a skirt and sandals, so it wasn't exactly a workout, but it was a lot of fun! We walked around the stables to see some of the other horses, then came back, went swimming and had barbecue with all the cousins and the daughter of one of Mickey's oldest friends, who is living in Los Angeles now. Afterward the kids played some more and I tried to read Lindsay's Tarot cards.


In and Around Castaic )


On Sunday we are going to stay with my friend Lynda and her husband Dan, and to have dinner at my brother-and-sister-in-law David and Molly's restaurant, Madeleine Bistro, with my uncle's family and Lynda's family. So we're not doing much sightseeing in L.A. but I am getting to see lots of people I get to see far too rarely, which is much better than Disneyland -- we saw Magic Mountain from the road today and even younger son, who loves roller coasters, was more interested in getting back to hang out at the pool than in looking at the rides.
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Woman on Twenty-Second Eating Berries )

We woke up very early Friday morning so we would have time for a walk on the beach in San Simeon before our 9:20 a.m. tour of Hearst Castle. It was worth it: there were dolphins, a seal, shore birds and sand crabs just offshore and we were the only people around. We packed up and went to Hearst's ranch, accessible only by tour bus up the hills past his former private zoo (there are still zebras and other animals), which I last visited when I was in my early teens. The swimming pools were as spectacular as I had remembered, as were the tapestries and medieval art in the main house. We also saw the film, new since I was last there, where I learned a lot about Julia Morgan, who designed both the houses and the landscape.

We ate a picnic lunch at the state park on the beach across the highway, where there were dozens of elephant seals sunning themselves and playing in the surf. Then we drove to Solvang, the Danish town with windmills and a Hans Christian Andersen museum above a bookstore, where we bought pastries and presents for my cousins' children. We also stopped to see the Santa Ines Mission. In the car we watched the end of the Second Doctor "Mind Robber" episodes, which we started the night before -- Jasper Fforde definitely saw these!


Hearst Castle and San Simeon )


Tonight and tomorrow we're staying with my father's brother and his wife near L.A. They have a horse and a pool in addition to a son between my sons' ages, so the kids are quite pleased -- they went swimming this evening after dark in the lit pool and toasted marshmallows over the outdoor wood stove. We had a big spaghetti dinner and watched the hummingbirds and finches flit through the backyard. It's cool and gorgeous here right now!
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To Boredom )

Our big stop for Thursday was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which we drove to directly from San Francisco after concluding that traffic into Santa Cruz made stopping there too long a diversion if we also wanted to have time to go to the beach in San Simeon before dark. We could see smoky haze nearly all day, briefly interrupted by fog off the water, though even the sea air smelled faintly of wood fires in the distance. The aquarium is fantastic; in addition to a large African penguin colony, which made it a must-see attraction for younger son, it has an enormous tank of local animals including schools of tuna and anchovies, sharks and sunfish, plus a big exhibit on jellyfish with Chihuly glass seaform sculptures for comparison, plus a bigger exhibit on otters which were playful and adorable, plus a wave tank creating a shoreline along which rescued seabirds live in an open-air cage like the one we saw in Torquay at Living Coasts, and just offshore in Monterey Bay we saw dozens of seabirds, kayakers, tide pools, sailboats and a colony of seals.


Monterey Bay and Pacific Ocean )


After the aquarium we drove to San Simeon mostly along the 101, since Route 1 is closed between Monterey and here because of the wildfires which turned the late afternoon sun sunset-red and made the air thick and unpleasant all through the wine country we traversed to reach the coastal highway. We arrived in San Simeon in full fog, barely 60 degrees compared to about 80 in Monterey at lunchtime and already heading into the 90s in Concord. We took a walk on the beach, but [livejournal.com profile] apaulled had not felt well all day which made dinner a rather chaotic affair and bedtime even more chaotic. So I am going to post this and get to bed in the hope that everyone feels well enough in the morning to go see Hearst Castle before heading to Los Angeles and my relatives for dinner.
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The Star Market )

We spent all day Wednesday in San Francisco, which I last visited when I was two years old. We drove up the Embarcadero to Pier 39, where we went first to the Aquarium of the Bay, which has two large see-through tunnels through which one can see lots of fish and animals like anemones, starfish, anchovies, bass, sharks, rays and shovel-nosed guitarfish. It's a small but lovely aquarium that we got into half price because they swap with the National Zoo.

Then we met [livejournal.com profile] ribby and [livejournal.com profile] mrkinch at Pier 39, which is kind of like a big, all-outdoor Harborplace with sea lions, cormorants and pelicans! We ate crepes and chocolate and stopped in a magic shop, an Irish store and some other little shops. There was live entertainment and music, and did I mention the big lazy sea lions off one of the docks?

[livejournal.com profile] ribby walked with us to the Maritime National Park which has many historic ships from tugboats and trawlers to the grand Scottish-built Balclutha. Then she rode with us to Haight-Ashbury, where we saw the house where Jerry Garcia lived when the Grateful Dead lived in San Francisco and dragged our kids into Tibetan spirit and hookah stores. From there we headed to Golden Gate Park to see the flowers and bison -- the de Young museum's tower was closed, sadly.


San Francisco )


We had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] ribby and her husband at Pacific Catch, a very good and not at all expensive seafood restaurant near the park. The kids were getting rambunctious by the end, so we took them back to the hotel to swim before we had to start packing up to head south in the morning...route may depend on the Big Sur fire, though will certainly include the Monterey Aquarium.
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Carp Poem )

It has been a long, good but tiring day so I will briefly outline the highlights. We got up early, ate a quick breakfast and took a walk from the lodge to Lower Yosemite Falls, about a mile-long easy hike to the boulders that lead to the falls and across the stream to the pine forest nearby, where we saw lots of white-shouldered California ground squirrels, crested Steller's jays and assorted other birds and little rodents. It's a short walk from the end of the trail to the Yosemite Valley visitor's center, so we stopped there to visit the exhibit on Yosemite geology and to watch the film about how the land became a national park. Then we took a shuttle bus back to the area near the lodge and drove to the picnic area beneath El Capitan for lunch, where we were joined by several more birds hoping for a bite.


Yosemite Valley )


After lunch we drove a bit through to Bridalveil Fall, which is on the opposite side of the valley from El Capitan. Then we headed toward Half Dome, which along with El Capitan is probably the best-known feature of the Sierra Nevada; you can see it on the California quarter. Soon after, we began the long drive out of the park toward San Francisco, which heads down winding mountain roads through dense forest to scrubby hills and almond trees. We had a small crisis when we checked into our hotel -- our room's air conditioner wasn't working, which in this heat was intolerable -- but we changed rooms and the kids had a bit of time to swim before we met Paul's aunt Sandra and cousin Jared for dinner at a Guadalajara Grill. We hadn't seen them since our wedding!
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The Blue Terrance )

Monday was mostly a driving day, leaving Ashland early and getting to the lodge at Yosemite at dinnertime. We got to experience the long-distance effects of the California wildfires, and they were not pleasant; the particles in the air created thick haze on top of what would have been caused anyway by the dust and dryness in 100-degree heat, and between that and my immune system acting up from erratic sleep and travel, I had a migraine lingering from yesterday that didn't let up till evening at Yosemite in the cooler air of the mountains. Even so, I'm pretty exhausted and am hoping to see more of Yosemite tomorrow than I could manage tonight!


California Mountains )
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At Pegasus )

We've left Salem, where Brooke and Jon made us a huge breakfast with sausages, eggs, cinnamon crumb cake and fried potatoes, then took us to Minto-Brown Island Park, a nearly 1000-acre park along the Willamette River with lots of birds and wildflowers. After a walk, we stopped at a local mall to exchange for a larger size an Oregon t-shirt they had gotten Adam for his birthday. Then we walked across the street to a nearby Thai restaurant for a late lunch. The food seemed very good, but I was so blinded by a migraine that I barely ate anything. I'm afraid I was a pretty dull guest, having had trouble keeping my eyes open for the past two days.


At the Park )


Now we're in Ashland, sadly without time to see anything at the excellent Oregon Shakespeare Festival so we can get to Yosemite by Monday evening. The weather is gorgeous and my head is somewhat better. We had a lovely drive past Mount McLoughlin with wild deer and domesticated sheep at roadside in various places, and since no one was very hungry after lunch out, we had sandwiches in our room while watching The Simpsons movie.
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Talk )

We are still in Salem visiting Paul's youngest brother and his family, including twin five-year-old boys, a part lab, part pit bull named Sam, and a mostly shy cat named Edmund occasionally called "Vicious Bastard" by his tenants, since he has been known to claw people at random. I was awoken insanely early by a neighbor using an electric saw in the yard after being kept awake most of the night by repeated Union Pacific trains whistling very near the house, so I am a bit unfocused and blathering even more than usual. We had a nice morning, walking to the state capitol and Willamette University, then to the Salem Saturday Market for lunch (teriyaki noodles and water ices, plus blueberry pie for after dinner) and browsing the craft tents. In the evening we had enchiladas and watched The Search for John Gissing which my in-laws had not seen.


Salem, Oregon )


My great accomplishment of the day was managing to download Doctor Who's "Journey's End," which I liked though did not love (like much of the season, the promise exceeded the execution) yet was very pleased to be able to see nonetheless, as my entire family was most anxious to learn the fate of the Doctor and everyone else. Spoilers, some squee, some squick. )
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Husband, Not at Home )

We left Boise early on Friday morning, crossing the state line into Oregon shortly before turning the clock back an hour to Pacific Time. Our route was beautiful, following the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark's route, passing through the Umatilla Indian Reservation as the scrubby hills gave way to Oregon pines. At lunchtime we stopped at a roadside rest area where we had to sit at an uncovered picnic table, because the covered ones had barn swallow nests full of adorable fluffy chicks whose mothers made known their displeasure about visitors! We followed the Columbia River Gorge, first paralleling the border with Washington, then crossing over to see the Maryhill Stonehenge monument -- a World War I monument built to resemble Wiltshire's Stonehenge when it was new, under the mistaken impression that the Druids used the latter for human sacrifice. The one in Washington is also astronomically aligned, has fantastic views of the river and is really neat, though of course not as awesome as the real thing.

We went from Maryhill to the Bonneville Dam, which in addition to tours of the hydroelectric facility by the Army Corps of Engineers has windows on the Columbia River fish ladders built to aid the salmon migration. Then we visited Multnomah Falls, a spectacular waterfall that drops over 600 feet to the river. We drove through the outskirts of Portland on the way to Salem, where Paul's brother Jon lives with his wife Brooke and their five-year-old twins, Holden and Noah. Since it was the Fourth of July, we had barbecued hot dogs, corn and macaroni salad, then took a walk to a park near the center of Salem to watch fireworks after the sun went down at 10 p.m.


Driving Through Oregon )
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The Long Love )

Our day in Boise started at Zoo Boise, where we saw many animals including tigers, bobcats, llamas, foxes, meerkats and of course penguins. From there we went to the World Center for Birds of Prey, originally created for peregrine conservation, now the home of nearly 50 California condors in temporary residence for breeding before they'll be released and several rare falcons and eagles too injured to be released into the wild, many of which are also participating in breeding programs. A small number of live birds are on display along with exhibits on the threats to birds of prey and ways conservationists are trying to help protect them.

We had a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant near our hotel, then took the kids swimming for a couple of hours before going to the Boise Hawks game against the Vancouver Canadians at Memorial Stadium. Paul's cousin Todd is the team's GM, so we got box seats overlooking third base and sat with Todd's parents. Todd's wife and older son work at the stadium and his younger kids were running around, so most of the family was present, though we never had everyone in one place at a time! Sadly, the Hawks lost 7-4 after tying the game in the bottom of the 8th, though we had left before the Hawks' last time at bat to get ready to travel early.


Boise Birds & Baseball )


Have a lovely Fourth of July, fellow US celebrants!
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A Poet Named Open )

We spent all day Wednesday driving through southern Idaho along the Oregon Trail, crossing and recrossing the Snake River, surrounded by lava formations nearby and white-capped mountains in the distance, with pronghorn antelope and a marmot at the side of the road. We stopped at EBR-1, the world's first nuclear reactor, built in the middle of nowhere in the desert, now decommissioned and turned into a museum. Then we went to Craters of the Moon National Park, so named because it passes through a volcanic field of cinder cones and lava flows. We had lunch under a tree near huge volcanic boulders and walked around paths where little chipmunks and birds darted into the crevices formed by the dried lava.

From Craters of the Moon, we went to the Hagerman Fossil Beds, whose visitor center has an intact skeleton of an extinct North American zebra. It also has a little museum about the Minidoka World War II Japanese internment camp. We arrived in Nampa around dinnertime, took the kids for a quick swim in the hotel pool, then went to dinner with [livejournal.com profile] apaulled's aunt and uncle -- recently relocated here in May -- and his cousin Todd and family who have lived here longer, since Todd is the general manager of the minor league baseball team in Boise. It was lots of fun to catch up with them and the kids played with both Todd's kids and Jean and Bob's cat Sterling!


Through Idaho )


Late on Wednesday a local group hosted early Fourth of July fireworks that we could see from our hotel room window. On Thursday, we will visit the Boise Zoo and go to a Boise Hawks game for "Where's the Beef?" night!
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The Dream of the Marsh Wren: Reciprocal Creation )

We spent nearly all of our eighteenth wedding anniversary at Yellowstone National Park, hiking many miles around the Upper Geyser Basin, Black Sand Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Firehole Lake, and Fountain Paint Pots, where (among far too many highlights to list) we saw the huge filigreed cone of Grotto Geyser, the brilliant colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring and Morning Glory Pool, the erratic spitting of Cliff Geyser, the enormous deep blue Excelsior Geyser Basin, the brilliant green Emerald Pool, the well-named Red Spouter and White Cone Geyser, plus bison, elk, chipmunks, woodchucks, ravens, extremophile spiders, and the glory of a park I first saw in 1992 ravaged by fire, now covered in small green pines and brush hiding and living off the remains of fallen trees.


Geysers, Pools and Paint Pots )


As is becoming something of a tradition, we had our romantic anniversary dinner at a fast food restaurant...at least this year it was a Subway in Montana en route to our destination for the evening in Idaho, rather than a McDonalds in Denver because we'd had a flight cancelled. We drove through the Gallatin National Forest and paralleled the Teton Range before entering Idaho's Island Park, one of the largest calderas in the world, which is filled with wetlands, streams and plenty of wildlife, including herons and a weasel. Sadly, the moose were hiding!
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In the Microscope )

We are in Yellowstone at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, having watched the aforementioned geyser erupt after dinner against a pink-orange evening sky. After leaving Devil's Tower in the morning, we drove through the Black Hills where we saw heavy pine forest interspersed with open fields where wild antelope alternated with occasional crowds of cows. Then to my surprise we entered the oil-and-coal part of Wyoming; I hadn't remembered the state being such a big producer of fossil fuels. This unsightliness was mitigated by the spectacular Bighorn Mountains, still covered partway with snow even as July approached. I loved that there were wildflowers and snow often on the same hills at different elevations!

After a brief stop in Cody for gas, we headed first into Shoshone National Forest and then Yellowstone National Park -- the former thick evergreens high above roaring water with occasional fields of horses, the latter still burned in large sections but utterly magnificent nonetheless. Within ten minutes of entering the park, we saw a grizzly bear! There was a ranger instructing people to stay in their vehicles, so we didn't get the world's greatest photos, but still! And ten minutes after that, we saw a coyote, and then mule deer, and a mouse peeking out of a hole at the side of the road, and eventually whitetail deer on a hillside above the Mud Volcano and a bison near the Old Faithful Inn! We also saw the aforementioned Mud Volcano and various thermal phenomena around it -- fumaroles, the Sour Lake and little mud pots -- and after dinner in the lodge, Old Faithful's 8 p.m. performance. Here are photos of many of the animals and sights:


A Perfect Afternoon At Yellowstone )


Tuesday we are going to see the Grand Prismatic Basin, Emerald Pool and various things in the Geyser Basin, then on to Boise and relatives!
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Ode to Joy )

I am typing this at one of my two favorite places in the world -- the other being Glastonbury in the UK -- where we are sitting at a picnic table on the banks of the Belle Fourche river with Devil's Tower rising hundreds of feet above the campground. We set out this morning from Mitchell, crossed the Missouri River, passed at least two dozen road signs advertising Wall Drug, paused at the outskirts of the Badlands to take a few photos and left the Central Time Zone for the Mountain Time Zone. Then we stopped for lunch at the aforementioned Wall Drug, which makes the Corn Palace seem tasteful by comparison, took photos by the Jackalope and Ladies of the Night, bought fudge after considering some lovely knives with handles shaped like wolf heads, rainbow horse t-shirts and other wonderful items, and drank our Free Ice Water.

From Wall we drove to Mount Rushmore, which the kids had wanted to see again since National Treasure 2 (sadly, we saw no evidence of a city of gold anywhere nearby). Then we headed into the Black Hills to Devil's Tower, which we reached in the late afternoon and immediately went to hike around the boulders that surround the giant cliffs, weaving through a deep, wonderful-smelling pine forest and sunny hillsides. There's a huge prairie dog colony at the entrance to the national park where we stopped to watch the critters play. We checked into the campground at Devil's Tower where Close Encounters of the Third Kind ends, had a weenie roast -- well, actually chicken sausages -- and s'mores, and watched the sun set behind the monument. Glorious.


Sublime and Ridiculous )


I got to see the Milky Way spread out in all its glory, fall asleep to crickets and wake to singing birds, but sadly I had only the crappiest of internet connections and could neither answer mail nor post anything! And of course there's no phone signal. So here's hoping this gets through!
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Heart Transplant )

Saturday was another long travel day broken up by stops at scenic locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota, where we are staying tonight near the only Corn Palace in the world. *g* Some of the highlights I couldn't photograph included herons in standing water in flooded fields, red-winged blackbirds perched on fence posts, huge wind farms with spinning propellers visible for miles and dozens of signs alerting us to our impending arrival at Wall Drug along with all the wonderful things we can do there. Here are some of the highlights I could photograph:


Either Side of Minnesota )


Thanks to the wonders of wi-fi, we were able to download and watch "The Stolen Earth" in between dinner and a quick trip to K-Mart for drinks and mustard. I am too distracted for anything resembling analysis so here is some gratuitous out-of-order squee. Spoilers! ) My mom says my uncle is doing much better, though he still has pneumonia, so that is a relief! Sunday night we will be at Devil's Tower and I have no idea if I will have an internet connection, so this may be all besides Twitters for the weekend!
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Such Sweet Thunder )

Friday was entirely a travel day, with all stops being for meals or to stretch legs; not one sightseeing expedition. We left Ohio early in the morning, stopped for gas at the cleanest and friendliest rest stop I have ever seen (brand new off the turnpike near Newton Falls), then headed into Indiana under threatening skies that never quite turned to a thunderstorm. Had a picnic lunch at an Indiana rest stop that wasn't nearly as nice as the one in Ohio, drove into Chicago under partly sunny skies and admired the skyline from the Skyway. Got stuck in atrocious traffic on the Dan Ryan that reminded me of all the things I don't miss about living in Chicago...and since I couldn't see the lake from where we were, I didn't get to see the principal thing I do miss. Headed north, drove into Wisconsin, checked into a motel in Madison where the kids went swimming for a bit and we used the microwave for dinner.


In the Midwest )


I know I said I was skipping these while on vacation but I glanced at the questions and had to do this week's [livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive: Travel Style. )
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Grief )

We are away! I had a somewhat chaotic morning of packing that was greatly enlivened by a visit from the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] cidercupcakes, who is newly back from Australia and brought me a stuffed kangaroo! I fed her and the kids unexciting sandwiches, stuffed my suitcase full of t-shirts and shorts, and made sure I had all the right camera lenses. We had a beautiful early drive heading into Pennsylvania and saw the beginnings of a colorful sunset in the mountains, but after a Turnpike rest stop dinner, the sky opened and we had dramatic lightning storms for quite a while.


On the Pennsylvania Turnpike )


I was pleased to read Mars' announcement that it will sequence and analyze the cocoa genome with IBM and the Department of Agriculture to breed genetically superior specimens. And very, very pleased to learn that after many delays, Kiss of the Spider Woman is finally coming out on DVD! But once again I have been given a sign from higher powers to Get Out Of Fandom Free. If I had a moment of wavering, thinking, oh, maybe I will go see Daniel Radcliffe in Equus after all, like all the popular girls, now I have a rock-solid excuse for not going: Kate Mulgrew is playing the magistrate on Broadway! I'm wondering if ticket sales haven't been as hot as expected, if they're wasting money on more genre star power instead of hiring someone less famous and more suited for the role.

Friday is a long driving day from here to Madison, Wisconsin, passing through Chicago but not stopping at our onetime home there. I shall wave in the direction of the Hyde Park parrots.

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