Wednesday, July 8, 2015

RUBY BEACH - Just off the Road

Our first camping trip involved doing some exploring in new parts of Olympic National Park.  Jim did the research of places to go, and included a short drive to Ruby Beach.  I'm so glad he did!  This is really a beautiful, serene place, especially early in the morning.  It features sea stacks, those monoliths of rock which seem to rise from the ocean for no particular reason.

This one has a peep-hole carved into it - a strange phenomenon and makes me wonder how the water was able to carve such a cute opening in such a big rock.  I'm more than happy to tote the tripod down the beach on such a beautiful summer day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

HIKING IN THE HOH - Just off the Road

 The 4th of July was the shake-down cruise for our new (used) 21' Class B+ motor home.  We've been thinking about getting one, and the more we talked about how convenient it would be for my honey and me to take short and sometimes long photo trips, the more it made sense.  We selected the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park as our first destination. The Hoh is filled with huge trees, some of them 300' tall, hanging moss, sword ferns and simple peace.
In my job as tripod-carrier, I often get to stand back and watch while my husband dedicates his entire being to getting the shot.  The Hoh River is running rather low this year, since we're entering a period of serious drought on the Olympic Peninsula, but it is still photo-worthy

My husband's artistic eye led to this shot, from his knees, while I stood back and just listened.  The sound of water over rocks is soothing somehow, but it can also get you excited to continue exploring..

And explore we did.  There are the most magnificent maple trees in the Hoh Forest, each one higher and more grand than the others.  We really did have a great weekend, and our motor home proved that it will be a great home base for our adventures.

ST. JOHN USVI - Just off the Road

We went far off the road for this picture.  To St. Thomas and St. John in the US Virgin Island.  My honey qualified for the trip through his work, and to my delight, it included ME.  We've been there once before, and all I really remembered was the amazing underwater trail at the USVI National Park in St. John.  In our short time there the first time, we never encountered the skeleton of a snorkeler, but now here it was, right beside the boat launch.  After giving the whole affair some consideration, we boarded and set out to St. John.

 Snorkeling in water this warm and clear is a true delight.  Not so much the weather which was in the 80's and 90's and with what felt like 100% humidity but one must make sacrifices.  As someone once said, "it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it."

Trunk Bay is really an idyllic spot, and makes one appreciate the serenity of island life.  While it's a bit different from our little piece of heaven in Sequim, it's not bad.

GOLF IN WASHINGTON - Just off the Road

"It's the US OPEN and it's going to be in WASHINGTON!!!"  When I heard my spouse exclaiming at the top of his lungs sometime last winter, I had no idea that this event would become a family reunion of his 3 brothers, their families, and a bunch of golf bags and cameras.  The Chambers Bay course is located about 1 1/2 hours south of us, so we made plans to go and ordered our tickets early.

Not surprisingly as the event neared, our packing included not only his golf clubs but every camera, lens, filter, and other photography accoutrement in his possession.  Sadly, my shoulder is acting up right now, so when I took a practice swing in the backyard and ended up on my knees, clutching my arm, I decided that I'd be content to carry the tripod and extra camera for this trip.

There's another benefit to attending a PGA tournament.  Our nephew, John Wood, caddies for Hunter Mahan on the tour, and since the closest we normally get to him is seeing his arm on TV, this would be a chance to actually see him in person.  Happily, one of our brothers lives near Chambers Bay and he and his wife offered the use of their lovely home on a golf course, no less, so we had a place to stay and dine.  The rest of this story involves the acquisition of a 21' motor home, but that's for another time.

Our first day at the tournament was practice day, and since this was our first PGA event, we didn't know what to expect.  Turns out that practice is cool, since the players don't really care about a score, so they actually toss the ball to different locations to see how it runs, and do all sorts of other pro things.  Even Tiger Woods looked relaxed, and we had our first chance to chat with John - the nephew.  As we walked around the course, it was apparent that this would be no easy task for the players.  I'm no expert, but Chambers Bay looked like a killer to me - I won't be playing it anytime soon, even with two good arms.

Friday's play was amazing - I'll never know how those guys actually get the ball from tee to green in par.  Of course, some of them didn't, but it was still pretty impressive, watching the beautiful swings and putts.  The best part, though, was the family reunion, and the time spent sharing something that the four brothers have in common.  They love this game!