Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heceta Head Lighthouse Part II


The next morning we woke up early so we'd have time to get ready for delicious breakfast.  We had our own private bathroom across the hall with a clawfoot tub we wanted to try out.  I went first cause I needed time to braid my hair afterwards.  It was pretty early, around 5:30-6:00, and I tried to be extra quiet because I couldn't help feeling like I was in someone else's house.  I guess I kinda was.  In any case I quietly wrapped myself in one of the provided terry cloth robes and went across the hall to the shiny bathroom.

The bathroom was preeeetty.  It had hardwood floors and a little window right next to the tub so you could look out and stare at the seagulls.  It also had one of those slopey ceilings that you sometimes see in places like attics.  I bonked my head a couple of times.  Stupid tall genes.  Timothy didn't join me for bath time.  Hedgehogs only take sun baths you know.  So I filled up the tub and had a nice soak before washing all my hair.  


Clawfoot tubs are fun.  The tall back is much better for reclining than your usual tub.  Skeeve and I stopped at a Rite Aid the day before for bath bubbles, but they didn't work very well.  Next time I bring some from home ^.^


I went back to the room to braid my hair and take my meds while Skeeve took her turn in the bath.  We were ready by 8:15 or so and went downstairs to wait for breakfast.  Breakfast was scheduled for 8:30 so by this time pretty much everyone was downstairs hanging out in the parlor.  At 8:30 this nice lady came in and rang a bell and told us all to take a seat.


We all sat down and everyone at the table took turns introducing themselves while coffee was served.  Most everyone was from Oregon or Washington.  This one couple was from Utah and they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary.  Awwww.  Skeeve and I sat next to this lovely older couple from Washington.  She got to ask them a bunch of questions about the area since she'll be moving there pretty soon. There was one couple, however, that never showed up for breakfast.  Why on earth would you stay at a Bed & Breakfast and then not...have breakfast?  Especially when it's a seven course gourmet breakfast.  The entire table just boggled over that.  Skeeve said later that she saw them sneaking out the back door, which just added to the confusion.  Oh well.  Their loss.

Lets see if I can recall everything we had for breakfast.  We had delicious coffee (or tea) and decadent berries with cream for the first course.  Next was a platter of Oregon cheeses and sliced white peaches.  After that came bagels with a choice of cream cheese, lox, onion, butter or jam.  We also had a mango lassi that was absolutely delightful.  The main course was eggs benedict with asparagus followed by nummy almond pound cake.  I guess that makes six courses.  I think there was toast in there somewhere cause I remember this interesting cocoa-hazelnut spread that I had on something.  Who cares how many courses it was, it was all numful...and now I have a sudden craving for lox and bagels.  Curses!

After breakfast Skeeve and I waddled up stairs and packed up the rest of our stuff so we could go see the lighthouse and the sea lions before leaving for the airport.  We put our stuff in the car and walked up to the lighthouse so we could take a tour of the inside.  This was now the second lighthouse I'd ever been inside and the third I've visited, the other two being of course Pt. Fermin and Pt. Vicente.  


After we had our tour I spent approximately 20 minutes taking 50 million pictures of everything while my camera had a charge.  We got to meet the lighthouse cats before we left.  I crouched down to take a picture of the tabby and she (?) trotted right over with an expression of "Oo!  Free pettin's!"  She was very friendly and got plenty of ear rubs before we left.  I found her friend the black kitty curled up under some big green leafy vegetable in the gardens.  Before we knew it, it was time to go.  So we said goodbye to Heceta and the kitties and got back on the 101 for the short drive to The Sea Lion Caves.


And now for a bit of trivia.  The Oregon Sea Lion Cave is the largest sea cave in the world.  It was discovered in 1880 by William Cox and is home to the Stellar (or Northern) Sea Lion, which is bigger, blonder, and in my opinion "poofier" than the California Sea Lion that I'm used to seeing.  We parked across the street, got our tickets, and started our walk down to the elevator.  Once we got there we were greeted by this lovely plaque.  It basically says "Hey folks, watch your step.  Geology happens!"  I'm sure it's not what some people want to see right before they descend 200 feet underground but Timmy didn't mind, he is a small burrowing mammal after all.

It took a while for the elevator to arrive, it did have 200 feet to go.  Once it reached the top Skeeve and I crammed in with everyone else and took the relatively short trip down into the caves.  The doors opened and we were greeted by the familiar smell of fish and ocean accompanied by the signature "art art art!" sound of pinnipeds everywhere.

The sea lions were viewable from a balcony type area behind a chain link fence.  Most of them were lounging around on the rocks as sea lions are wont to do.  Some of them were lounging quite close to the fence and could have walked...er...waddled right up to it if they were so inclined.  Some of the younger sea lions were bouncing around and splashing in and out of the water, much to the annoyance of a few of their elders.  I took some video while we were down there but for now I'll just post pictures.  



I'm guessing there were maybe 50 sea lions total that we could see.  It's supposed to be really packed in there during mating season.  There's also grey whales (and sometimes orcas) that can be seen outside the caves during migration.  We also saw sea lion skellingtons and other interesting artifacts.






Pinnipedia!


Fossilized remains of a Stellar Sea Lion


Skeleton of a 3 year old female Stellar Sea Lion, found near Newport OR with a fatal gunshot wound.  Specimen prepared by the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport OR and is on permanent loan to the Sea Lion Caves.

We finished looking around the caves and waited in line to go back up the elevator.  Everyone crowded in again and we were starting on our way up when an infant decided he did not.  like.  the elevator.  Uh oh, everybody cover your ears  >.<  The mom was starting to panic and tried to bounce the kid a bit to get him to relax.  Everyone else in the elevator was making happy faces in an effort to get the kid to calm down when suddenly, just as the kid was about to scream, he looks up at this one guy who was maybe 6' 6" tall and just goes "Holy shit, you're big!"  There was instant silence and everybody laughed.  It was pretty cute.


Once we got out of the elevator we walked back up to the gift shop to see if there were any books or videos I could bring home to mom.  It was pretty disappointing in that regard.  The gift shop was mostly full of jewelry, Oregon jams and honey, and things that had "Sea Lion Caves" written on them.  I got some postcards a little pamphlet about the caves.  


I was kinda hoping there'd be a picture book or some kind of video I could take home for God's class, but nope.  It wasn't a total loss though.  We did find these guys ^.^  And yes, I'm pretty sure that statue is to scale.  These were some huge sea lions.  Pretty soon it was time to get on the road again.  I'll continue the rest of our last day in Oregon in a separate post since this one is now relatively picture heavy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pictures from Heceta Head Lighthouse

Front view of the Bed & Breakfast (keepers house)


Close up of the cliffs across from the keepers house


Local seagull convention. We could hear these guys from our room


View from the front of the keeper's house


Some of the lovely gardens behind the house.


Mmm, vegebles.


*gasp!* Surprise Kitty!



Parlor area, 1st floor.


Bridge from that beachy area I was talking about.




Timmy reclines on the piano


Skeeve at the window seat in our room.



Antique organ from the sitting room (me in the mirror)


Timothy and Skeeve demonstrate their balancing act



Alternate view from the bedroom window



Nope, no signal.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Update!

Update on some news from Faerieworlds. The pictures from this years event are up on the website and Skeeve and I can be seen in one of them. I don't have a paint application on this computer (oddly enough) otherwise I'd draw a little arrow or something. Skeeve and I are the pink and blue faeries in the inner circle on the right hand side. My hair is up in a bun if that helps and Skeeve is wearing her pink tutu. You can always try for a better look at the website here.
This photo is copyright Kyer Wiltshire 2008

I've just found another that features us. This one has me in the exact center of the shot in the inner circle. Again, I'm the one in blue with my hair in a bun. Skeeve is to the left (my right) in pink partially hidden behind the Greenman. This one's actually up on the homepage which is pretty neat. If you go to the Faerieworlds website and stare at it for a while this one will come up. Here's the link for this particular picture: link!

This photo is copyright Byron Dazey 2008

Edit: these pictures are from the spiral dance, by the way. In case anyone was wondering.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Part I

Thanks to everyone for waiting for the next installment of the Oregon trip.  I know it's been a while since I posted.  So here's the scoop, on the last day of Faerieworlds I got a call from Dad telling me that the Heceta Head Lighthouse had a sudden cancellation and there was a room available if we wanted it.  Of course we said yes and I made arrangements with the front desk to check out a day early.  

We woke up early and grabbed free breakfast again because it was going to be a fairly long drive.  We packed, got the directions, got gas, and were on our way.  It took about two full hours to get there from Eugene so I guess you could compare it to driving to San Diego only waaaaay prettier.  The lighthouse is on the 101 freeway according to its address so we spent about an hour and a half on the 126 and then maybe half an hour on the 101.  The 101 is as beautiful as everyone says it is (the 126 was quite verdant as well) but now I know why some people are wary.  The 101 twists and winds about like many of the roads in Palos Verdes, except it's a freeway so everyone's going fast in addition to making all these crazy turns.  It's not that awful as long as you're alert, and it is an absolutely gorgeous drive, but I wouldn't jump at the chance to go drive it at night.

We drove about for almost two hours until we made it to Florence so we knew we were getting close.  All I had in the car at the time was celtic music because I'd forgotten to raid my car before we left for the airport.  It wasn't bad but I could have done with some Blues Brothers or Copland to mix things up a bit.  We got on the 101 and I couldn't shut up about how beautiful everything was.  Mom would have absolutely loved it.  We passed by the Sea Lion Caves and knew we were getting really close.  We got so close in fact that we passed it by entirely.

Somehow I missed the part on the directions where it said to exit on "Private Drive" so we turned down an exit that said "Lighthouse" in an attempt to figure out how to get to the Bed & Breakfast.  We wound up on this rocky beach with a trail leading up to the lighthouse.  
I
 tried to take some pictures but I'd forgotten to charge my camera the night before and it was out of juice :(  But I did manage to get some pictures of the area from the lighthouse the next day (see right).  We walked up the trail to the lighthouse and found a nice lady in the gift shop to give us directions.  We were about an hour early for check in time but she said to go ahead and check with the keeper's house because sometimes they're ready early.  So we took the nice lady's directions and found the appropriate parking area for the bed and breakfast.  



It was still early, but I wanted to make sure the people who ran the inn knew we were here.  So we walked around to the back door and rang the bell.  The keepers were out grocery shopping but the other nice lady in charge let us in and showed us where everything was.  We were in the Lightkeeper's Room which included our own private bathroom with a clawfoot tub across the hall.  That picture of the lighthouse up there was taken from the window in our room.  Yes, seriously.  The nice lady gave us our key and we went off to kill an hour before check in time.


We decided to wander around in the gift shop for a bit and then walk up to the lighthouse. The gift shop was mostly filled with...well, lighthouse stuff.  Lighthouse sweaters, lighthouse t-shirts, lighthouse coffee mugs, lighthouse earrings etc.  The list goes on.  We took sketchbooks up to the lighthouse and just sat and enjoyed the view for a while.  Everything was just so damn pretty.  I can't stress that enough.  The trees went all the way down to the waterline, everything was lush and green, and the whole time there was this beautiful mist just rolling through the trees.  Very elf friendly.  I called Dad to let him know we'd arrived and I called God to let her know where we were.  We had no signal on the coast except for the hill where the lighthouse was perched and even then it was faint.  But we got through and managed to kill an hour in the process.  

We walked back down to the keeper's house, where the B&B was situated, unlocked the back door and took our bags up to our room.  Skeeve took out Ulla (her laptop) to see if she had internet access in case we needed to look anything up.  She had a faint signal, but not much.   

By this time the two of us were getting pretty hungry so we went down to the kitchen to look through the menu book for some of the surrounding restaurants.  We couldn't decide on what we wanted (there were a lot of menus) so we thought we'd drive into town and see if anything struck our fancy.  We drove back into Florence and found this area called Old Town that had a lot of neat stuff.   We had dinner there at Bridgewater restaurant.  They had some of the best crab cakes ever.  Skeeve had scallops and I had cioppino.  We even got a complementary shrimp cocktail!  Num.

After dinner we walked around a bit and found this cute little coffee shop that had the best.  Coffee.  Evar!  We checked out some of the shops that were still open.  It was only 6 or 7 o'clock but most of the shops seemed to close early.  There was a bookstore I wanted to go into that was closed but some touristy shops were still open so wandered around in there for a bit.  We also found a little occult shop.  I'd been wondering when we'd run into one of those.  Skeeve got a new ring for Jerome and then we went back to the lighthouse.  We thought we'd go downstairs and doodle for a bit so we grabbed Timothy and Jeb and our sketchbooks and went to explore the rest of the house.  We found a nice place in the parlor to sit and draw. 

After that we looked at some of the board games available in the kitchen.  Skeeve wanted to play Lighthouse-opoly, though I'm pretty sure it's illegal to have a monopoly on lighthouses.  We were at it for at least a couple of hours.  We didn't know if there was a light's out policy regarding the common rooms otherwise we might have kept going.  It's was around 11:00 when we decided to call it quits.  Most of the board was bought up by then.  

One of the selling points for the Bed & Breakfast is that you can walk up to the lighthouse after dark when no one else is around.  They give you your own flashlight and everything.  Dad seemed to think this was really neat and I wanted to do it mostly so I could say that I did.  Skeeve didn't seem too excited though.  We went upstairs to retrieve our jackets and flashlight and steeled ourselves to go out into the night.  

It was dark!  Holy cow, it was dark!  Dark and scary.  Did I mention scary?  Growing up in San Pedro you're kinda discouraged from wandering around certain areas of the beach after dark and with good reason.  There's bums out there.  Scary bums.  Also muggers and people with drugs.  Logically, this
was the first thing that came to mind until I went, wait a minute...we're in Oregon.  They don't have bums on the coast here.  So that made me feel better.  But then I realized that we were surrounded by forest.  There was always the chance of running across some kind of rabid badger and I didn't think Timmy would be any good in a fight.  Nonetheless, we trudged onward and made it up to the lighthouse and saw....black.  Well, except for the light in the tower, that was pretty bright.  By down on the ground it was still dark.  The ocean is a pretty intimidating thing at night when the only thing there to light up the coastline in a couple of lighthouses.  In fact, if we looked down the coast we could see the next lighthouse down flashing away.  We took a picture (see how dark it is? you can't even see the lighthouse behind us!) and went back to the safety of the keeper's house.  See, Dad?  We did it.  So there.

After that daring adventure we thought maybe we should finish up the bottle of wine from Secret House.  Luckily they had a corkscrew and wineglasses in the kitchen.  Skeeve and I poured some wine, got into our pajamas, and goofed around with the camera.  This is when Rue decided to show up.  A lot of lighthouses seem to 
be haunted (I think it's a requirement).  Rue is the reported resident ghost at Heceta Head, supposedly the wife of one of the lightkeepers, and we happened to be staying in one of the rooms she's most active in.  What happened wasn't all that exciting, but it was pretty 
interesting.  Skeeve was holding the camera preparing to take a picture of me when all of a sudden it flashed and took a picture all by itself.  The picture was one big blur of course, so I didn't save it but Skeeve and I just kinda looked at each other and then looked around the room.  I guess she just wanted to let us know she was there.

We got some snacks from the kitchen (they had candy bars for $1) and rinsed out the wineglasses in the sink.  I would have washed them if I'd been able to find a sponge and some dish soap or even a drying rack.  But as it was I just left them nicely in the sink.  I found the recyclables container to dispose of the wine bottle properly and then went back upstairs to bed.  We had to get up early the next morning for breakfast (No way, this place has breakfast?  Yeah, dude.  It's awesome!) so we went to sleep with the world's biggest night light
 outside our window.  Surprisingly, it didn't bother us at all.  The tower must have been too high to shine directly into our window so we just got to watch it go round and round.  The gulls outside were soothing rather than bothersome and it was all very peaceful.  Thanks a lot, Dad :)



Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Selkie Goes to Disneyland

We're going to take a brief interlude from the Oregon trip to talk about Timothy's 2nd trip to Disneyland, which happened on Tuesday August 12th.  My cousin Evan was planning to stay with our grandparents for a few days and asked if we could go to Disneyland while he was here.  So of course I said yes (being an annual passholder rocks).  Evan tried to convince his sister Kyra to come but I guess she was feeling kinda funny so she decided to stay home.  So I picked Evan up from my grandparents house around 9:30 and we were off to Anaheim.


One of the first things we did once we got there
 after...y'know...eating junkfood, was go on the Sailing Ship Columbia.  The Columbia is supposed to be a recreation 
of the first American ship to sail around the world in 1787.  It goes around The Rivers of America (probably on a secret track) until nightfall when it becomes the pirate ship for Fantasmic!  Until then, however, you can ride it on a regular basis, walk around on it, and even go below deck and check out some of the things that would have been on a merchant vessel during the 1700s.  

Here we see Evan posing on the starboard side pondering the hardships of life at sea.  Or more likely thinking about what's for lunch.  Timmy was quite excited to be there.  Just look at the expression on his sweet little face.  "Lookit me, Mom!  I can fly!"
  I also took a couple pictures of Tom Sawyer Island from the ship.  Tom Sawyer Island is now called Pirate's Lair...on Tom Sawyer Island.  I know.  It's sad.  Most kids these days don't even know who the hell Tom Sawyer is anymore.  




So they've got a Jack Sparrow impersonator walking around the island and the sawmill is now LaFitte's Tavern.  Before you ask, no they don't serve drinks there.  If they did it would be a huge improvement.  Come to think of it, I don't think they serve alcohol inside Disneyland Park.  They sure do in California Adventure, but not Disneyland.  But last I heard they were considering it.


 Here's a couple pictures from the inside of the ship while we're at it.

Hey look, weapons!



That stew's been cooking for 58 years but the disembodied hand is a fairly recent addition.

So after the Columbia we ran around and did the usual stuff: Indiana Jones, Pirates, Thunder Mountain, Astro Blasters, etc.  We had lunch at Pizza Port around 3:30 and then hustled back to Splash Mountain to redeem our fastpasses.  We got up there and got seated in the very front >.<  Greeeeeaat.  It was ok though, cause I made Evan take the first seat.  You can do that when you're older ^.^  I haven't been in the front in a long time.  I apologized to Evan in advance in case I screamed in his ear.  Yay for vocal training.  I squealed like a girl on every drop, especially the big one.  All Evan and I can remember is this wall of water coming towards us at the very end.  We were completely soaked through.  I don't think our pants finished drying out until 10:00 that night.  Note to self: gotta get me some board shorts for amusement parks.

So we did some random stuff after getting soaked.  a lot of it involved standing in the sun.  We climbed through Tarzan's Treehouse, which some of you might remember used to be The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  I never saw the movie as a kid but Dad must have loved it because every time we went to Disneyland and I insisted on climbing the treehouse he'd tell me all about it.  I really liked climbing on stuff when I was little.  I'd keep my parents on Tom Sawyer's Island for hours so I could go through caves and climb all over rocks and stuff.  Anyway, not only did Evan remember that the treehouse used to belong to the Swiss Family Robinson, he'd actually seen the movie!  And it turns out it was one of his favorites!  Is it any wonder why I love that kid?

So we walked through the treehouse and took some pictures



I er...think we intruded on something private right there.



Captain Evan takes the helm



Timmy poses with some strange and mysterious artifacts



Look who made a cameo.  Mrs. Potts and Chip were part of the china set in Tarzan for those who haven't already noticed.

After we walked through the treehouse, I showed Evan the secret sausage place and the secret coloring area next to the Princess Fantasy Faire.  Mulan was telling a story, but she hurt our ears so we went away.  We took the train around the park and saw the dinosaurs--rawr!  For Evan, it was the first time he remembered being on the train during the day time.  We went on the Materhorn and I sat in the front, which was scary!  I like the Materhorn and I even like being in the front of the car, but staring at the track on that ride makes you feel like you're going to fly off and die because as far as I can tell there's nothing holding the car to the track.  Oh well, it was fun anyway.  Weeee!


I made Evan go on Casey Jr. because he'd never been.  We had to wait an unusually long time though because they had to go refuel the train.  But we got on and sat in the Monkey cage, much to Evan's dismay, and went around the track.  Evan was kinda surprised at how much speed Casey Jr. actually picks up.  After that we had dinner at the Mexican place in Frontierland, which was better than I remembered it last time.  The beef had a good flavor to it but was still pretty chewy.  Still, not bad for Disneyland.  By then it was around 8:30 so we decided to go park ourselves in Main Street so we would have good seats for the fireworks.  They've been doing the same fireworks show for their 50th celebration for almost four years now and it's so well choreographed that I still haven't gotten tired of it.  Seriously.

I've been trying and trying to upload a video I took of the fireworks but Blogger's just not working with me today.  So here's a link to the upload on Google Video: Star Wars Fireworks.  The quality is pretty crappy in the larger size, so I recommend going to the little google logo in the bottom right hand corner and clicking on either original (which is pretty small but clearer) or double size.  Evan wanted to see Fantasmic! so we hurried over to my favorite spot on the bridge right after the fireworks to wait.  I thought the second showing of Fantasmic! started at 10:00 because the first showing starts at 9:00.  I was wrong, it starts at 10:30.  Oops.  So we had another hour of waiting around, but Evan got to see it so we were happy.  

After Fantasmic!, or as the Spanish announcer likes to say, "FaaaaaaaaanTASmic!" we walked over to The Haunted Mansion, which is a smart thing to do while you're waiting for the crowds to disperse.  Evan was kind enough to take a picture of me and Timmy while we sat in line for the usual short wait.  From November to mid-January the line for The Haunted Mansion is maybe half an hour to an hour long.  But the rest of the year?  Ten minutes.  No lie.


I got these awesome fiber-optic hair barrettes that change color.  Best part is you can replace the batteries, so they can be worn until the fiber-optic strands die.  Sweet!

I think Space Mountain was our last ride of the evening.  Evan and I had a debate over which was better, the old soundtrack or the new one.  But since Evan never got to hear the old soundtrack it was kind of a pointless argument.  Then we got into this discussion over the movie The Last Unicorn.  If you grew up in the 80s you probably remember it.  It was a (albiet, badly animated) cartoon based on the short novel by Peter S. Beagle.  The movie and the book differed from each other slightly but not very much, surprisingly enough.  The biggest difference between the two was the ending.  I saw the movie first as a kid but, as usual, I liked the book better when I got around to reading it.  So Evan thought I was talking about a made for TV movie called Voyage of the Unicorn, which apparently has some version of Medusa in it.  Now, The Last Unicorn does not have Medusa in it.  It has a harpy, but no gorgons.  Well, Evan and I both thought we were talking about different movies.  He kept swearing that The Last Unicorn had a gorgon in it and I kept swearing that it didn't.  He even went so far as to bet money on this fact, which I agreed on.  So Evan whips out his phone and calls Kyra right before we get on the ride and asks her to back him up on this.  Turns out he had the title of the movie wrong and we were talking about two entirely separate films.  I guess technically I won the bet but we called it even due to confusion.  See?  He really is more like a little brother than a cousin.

So we did Space Mountain (I still miss the old soundtrack) and by the time we got off the park was closing.  We headed towards Main Street and stopped to get the usual stuff.  Pretzles for God and Richard, coffee for me, and sugar for Evan.  Every time we go to Disneyland Evan and Kyra get some kind of huge lollipop.  This time he got one of those gianormous unicorn spirals.  I dunno how he eats those things.  I didn't even like em as a kid :P  He did remember to get a lollipop for his sister though, awww.  Granted it wasn't as huge as the one he picked out for himself, but I guess that's what brothers are for.  

It wound up taking us an hour and a half to get out of the park so we got home very late o.o  Evan was crazy enough to go golfing in the morning with Poppy at 6:00 am.  Poppy won though so, um, I guess it wasn't a total loss.  Maybe I'm getting old or something.  Or maybe I just had a lot of fun but the next morning I had what felt like my first ever Disneyland hangover.  This is the state I was in the following morning.  Timothy doesn't look too good either.