Sunday, September 14, 2014


I hadn't been on a true vacation since I'd been divorced -- a couple of long weekends with my best friend in order to run a marathon in another state. All of my siblings live on the west coast. They all came in to town in July in order to celebrate my dad's 65th birthday.

One of my sisters drove in with her husband, who flew back alone (she works in the school so has summers off) and the other one flew in.  We decided to drive back together -- my first real road trip!  Of course, I look at her potential itinerary and realize that we will be driving through Utah just as a marathon is taking place!  My sisters were troopers, and we slowed down our trip by half a day or so in order for me to check another state off of my list!

I didn't keep great records of where these were taken, but I believe it's in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I purchased a CD that was supposed to enhance our drive through the mountains -- and it worked!
This Clark's Nutcracker (add another one to the life list!) was begging for food; luckily we all ignored him -- he needs to be wild!
Gorgeous!  I just loved it.  I have tentative plans to go back with one of my close friends.  I can't wait!
We stopped to do a bit of birding -- more for the life list; alas, no pictures! -- my sisters aren't birders, but they were good sports about it.
This translation was in our hotel room in Utah.  It had us all confused.  We tried google translate and posting on facebook.  The next morning, I called the front desk and asked what the second language was.  He claimed that they paid someone to translate it into Spanish but they only recently found out that it wasn't actually Spanish.  We found this so funny.
I showed it to a couple of friends -- one from Colombia and another from Costa Rica and both of them said, "I do not think that is Spanish."  Perfect!

Here is a picture from Dinosaur National Monument.  There were so many dinosaur bones here that they left some in a hill so that we could see what it was like for the archaeologists.  You can touch them and everything.  Highly recommended, and pretty empty of people (especially compared to Rocky Mountain National Park!)
We continued on driving, I ran the marathon (I won an age group award of a loaf of bread!), and we eventually made it to Crater Lake.  The last time I was here, I was married, and we ran the marathon together.  This time, it was with better company and more relaxed.  Once again, so beautiful.  You just look and wonder how this is possibly real.
In Oregon, there was a lava flow that happened a long time ago and created some interesting landscapes.  We trapsed around a bit, and then went to a lava cave.  So happy to visit these places after all the mess died down.
We finally made it to Portland, where my favorite aunt and uncle live.  Among other things, we went to the Chinese garden, where I got this fortune:

Later, back at my sister's condo, we had a great time, which included making pina coladas.
I didn't take many pictures that I can post here.  They'd just adopted a new cat, who was quite skittish and living under my guest bed.  My sister and her husband were in the living room watching TV, but I'd gone to bed since I had an early flight. 

The cat came out from under the bed and I took this picture and texted it to my sister (in the next room) but by the time she arrived, the cat was already under the bed again.  I kind of like being able to keep my parrots in cages since I know where they are at all times!
To wrap up, we had an amazing vacation, and are in preliminary planning for our next one.  I'll be a little busy next year -- running the Boston Marathon, going to France with my mom, possibly doing rim-ro-rim of the Grand Canyon with a close friend -- but someday soon, the three of us will hit the road again!

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