Finding Hovenweep

Waking, I knew today was going to be a much better day! My day started by taking Geb out for a walk. I hadn’t gotten to take him for a walk the evening before because it was totally dark by the time we finally made it to the RV Park. He reminded me right away that I had promised him the night before that I’d take him in the morning. It was such a nice relaxing way to start the day. There was a sagebrush & juniper field just beyond the RV Park that we walked through. I just love watching him explore. Then, when I got cold I told him it was time to go home & he just turned around & took us back to Sofia. Wow! He had done that a couple days earlier when we walked at Nizhoni campground & then this morning too. Really, at the risk of sounding like a crazy cat lady… I believe he really does understand what I say!

After our walk I used lots of soap & hot water & cleaned up all the olive oil & soy sauce mess from the day before. You know, I don’t really like staying in RV Parks – I’d much rather stay in the middle of nowhere by myself – but I have come to realize while owning Sofia that RV Parks really do have a place. They’re super convenient. They have water, power, sewer, showers (Sofia only has an 8 gallon hot water heater), laundry facilities, and often even propane. Sometimes its nice to quit “roughing” it & use the amenities. Its certainly easier to clean up a mess having unlimited water rather than worrying about running out.

Work went well that morning; I got quite a bit done which always feels great. I was to check-out of the RV Park by noon, so my plan was to take my “lunch break” exploring Edge of the Cedars State Park & work the rest of the afternoon in their parking lot.

Edge of the Cedars is actually a really cool little museum. It has some Azasazi ruins outside, built from AD 825 – 1125. You can climb down a ladder & go into the kiva (ceremonial space). I found it interesting that they chose to build on this small hill. It was a great view with the mountains in the background & the valley down below. Pretty much the same view I had the previous day as I was working.

Ruins at Edge of the Cedars State Park

Ruins at Edge of the Cedars State Park

But the really fascinating thing there to me was their museum. They have the largest collection of Ancestral Puebloan pottery on display in the Four Corners area, as well as all kinds of artifacts – aprons from yucca fiber, turkey feather blankets (who knew they made turkey feather blankets!), sandals, arrowheads, digging sticks, etc. Such old cool stuff! And, they had all these informational signs about all the different ruins in the area and the stories of those who had discovered them.

It was fascinating… especially for someone who has ALWAYS dreamed of finding just ONE arrowhead (I never have been that lucky!). I can only imagine stumbling upon an entire ruin that no one has previously ever cataloged. I was blow away with really how many sites there were – all over the area! I guess I just had never thought about it before, but really there were ancients all over this area; not just at a well-known place like Mesa Verde. Perhaps that’s showing my ignorance, but I was happy to learn an overview of so many local sites. While I was there, I saw an informational board on Hovenweep. I was instantly drawn to it & knew that was the next place I was going.

I finished up work & conference calls that afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get on the road & drive toward Hovenweep! Even just the name seemed magical to me in a tragic sort of way…

Even though I had seen a brief informational sign about Hovenweep, I didn’t really know what to expect. Again, arriving late in the day, there were only 2 cars in the parking lot other than Sofia & the visitor’s center was closed. I found a trail that pointed toward ruins & walked out. I arrived at a smallish (comparatively) canyon cut in the middle of the Cajon Mesa & saw not only one tower, but a lot of them! Oh, how fascinating!

There are towers on top of huge boulders, on the sides of cliffs, under overhanging rocks, & at the canyon bottom all made out of stone. There were little windows & doors even! Its difficult to get multiple ruins in one picture as they’re spaced out all along the canyon.

Some of the towers at Hovenweep

Some of the towers at Hovenweep

They’ve determined that the village was constructed during the thirteenth century. Towers here are D-shaped, round, square, rectangular or the shape of the boulder top upon which they were constructed.

Tower on top of a boulder, Hovenweep National Monument

Tower on top of a boulder, Hovenweep National Monument

Researchers have even discovered that the windows & door locations in the Hovenweep Castle create a solar calendar indicating the dates of summer & winter solstices and the spring & fall equinox sunset. Amazing.

Hovenweep Castle

Hovenweep Castle

Hovenweep is a Paiute and Ute word that means deserted valley. This place was given that name by a pioneer photographer, William H. Jackson in 1874. In 1923 it was established as a National Monument. It is what archeologists consider to be the finest examples of ancestral Puebloan masonry found anywhere. It was once a vibrant community of hundreds.

I could just feel the presence of the ancient people here. It felt like a reverent place to me. I wandered all around, all alone in this amazing place. Such history!! I sat on a rock ledge at the top of the canyon. I can only imagine what it would have been like 1,000 years ago. There were people living there who were probably not that much different that we are today. People, who laughed & smiled. Who had hardships & difficulties. Who loved & lived. Of course, their hardships were different than ours today, but the fundamentals I’m sure are similar.

As I sat looking down at the relics of this ancient community, there were two ravens circling above back & forth, up and down, the canyon. I bet they too could tell this is a special place…

The canyon is “Y” shaped. The tops of the canyons just abruptly start; cliff-faces down to the canyon below. Not terribly high, but strangely abrupt. I bet it would be amazing during a rain storm or flash flood to see the water from the mesa cascading down the cliff to the canyon below.

There is a spring at the top of the left canyon. There are trees growing up gracefully. I realized that those trees obviously weren’t there 1,000 years ago, but I bet other trees were. How lovely it would have been to relax in the hot summer day down in the shade of those trees. There were not any buildings at the top of the right canyon. I wonder if that was where they used to go for special outdoor ceremonies. At least that’s what I imagined. My mind just wandered, making up little stories of those who used to live here… It was a lovely way to spend the evening as I watched the sun begin to set.

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A Not-Quite-Relaxing Meander through Valley of the Gods

Mom & I just had the morning together before she was leaving to drive back to Prescott. Since we had seen so much of Monument Valley already, we decided to venture out a little farther. We drove both Sofia & mom’s rig to Goosenecks State Park. Goosenecks provides a vantage point of the San Juan River winding its way 1,000 feet below. It meanders over six miles in just a mile and a half.

Goosenecks State Park

Goosenecks State Park

After snapping a few pictures of the river below, I convinced mom to go with me up the Moki Dugway. I had heard that the view of Valley of the Gods from the top of the dugway was beautiful & shouldn’t be missed. The road is said to be a crazy unpaved series of switchbacks carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa that climbs 1,200 feet in less than 3 miles. There are big warning signs leading up to it stating 11% grade, not recommended for RV’s, etc. I knew it wasn’t a road I wanted to take Sofia on!

The road was actually in pretty good condition; I’ve been on worse switchbacks in my life. And, the view from the top was beautiful. Although, it was just about mid-day, so a poor time of day for photos. I decided to try to make it back later in my trip for a sunset view. (There is back way to the top of Moki Dugway that I could take Sofia on.)

Looking down at Moki Dugway

Looking down at Moki Dugway

Back down the grade and to Goosenecks, we gave each other a big hug. So happy we got to share this quick weekend together! Mom headed home & my next plan was to take Zeta & explore Valley of the Gods.

It was a little cool outside & I realized that riding a scooter would most likely be much colder with the wind factor. So, I layered up – leggings under jeans, a warm sweatshirt over a t-shirt, and my warm wool coat. I only had knit gloves with me, as I forgot my leather ones at home. I added my helmet & felt like I was as ready as I was ever going to be…I managed to manhandle Zeta down the ramp again, all by myself! Then, pushed the start button & vroom! She started right up! Thank goodness.

“Well, here goes nothing” was the thought that went through my head as I headed out on my first real ride on Zeta. I guess its not too difficult to ride a scooter; much easier than a motorcycle I imagine. But at this point, I was kind of wishing it hadn’t been such a snowy winter so I could have possibly had a few practice rides under my belt! The first several miles were paved getting from Goosenecks to the Valley of the Gods turn-off road. As I drove, I realized that anything above 35-40 mph was just too fast for one thing, but also too windy & cold! I also wondered, as I drove, why I thought it was a good idea to leave Sofia at Goosenecks?! Why hadn’t I drove Sofia to the Valley of the Gods road? Silly me! Oh well, onward I went!

As I drove along, I realized that this whole riding a Vespa thing wasn’t quite the romantic notion I had imagined when I bought her… Below is the image I had in mind. LOL! In reality, it wasn’t like this at all!

My romantic notion of what Vespa riding would be like...

My romantic notion of what Vespa riding would be like…

I was very cold by the time I reached Valley of the Gods, but I knew once I was driving slower on the gravel road I wouldn’t have nearly as much wind & wouldn’t be nearly as cold. I was actually pretty grateful to get off the paved road so I could feel OK slowing down.

The landscape in Valley of the Gods is quite a bit different I think than Monument Valley. There are more features that look to me like eroded mesas, with cliffs up above, then the terraced layers below, where Monument Valley seems to have quite a few features that are sheer-type cliff-faces. Still quite spectacular.

Valley of the Gods Panorama

Valley of the Gods Panorama

I was cruising along at about 15 mph (much more my speed!) and feeling very proud of myself. This wasn’t so bad! The gravel road I was on is a 17-mile drive through the valley. Coming up a little hill, I saw the perfect spot for a photo shoot to document my 1st real ride on Zeta. Cliffs in the background, red dirt & some sagebrush in the foreground, it was great!

Zeta photo shoot!

Zeta photo shoot!

Not quite the romantic notion, but smiling nonetheless...

Not quite the romantic notion, but smiling nonetheless…

Wouldn’t you know, not ½ mile later, there was a really steep (albeit short) hill with the road kind of washed out at the bottom. It was VERY uneven & rocky down there. Of course I slowed down going down the hill, but perhaps that wasn’t the right thing to do either. LOL! I totally psyched myself out! Arriving at the wash, I promptly tipped Zeta over… right on to my right foot. Damn, she’s a heavy scooter! I was like, really?! That’s what I get for over-thinking things. Probably would have totally been OK if I would have trusted both Zeta & myself & just sped on over. The good news is that I was pretty sure I hadn’t actually broken or sprained anything. I was going SUPER slow, so it all kind of happened in slow-motion anyway. And, Zeta only had just the slightest scratch on her front fender. “Thank goodness I already did Zeta’s photo shoot”!

I tipped Zeta back up & hobbled as I pushed her out of the worst part of the wash. Thank goodness, she started right back up. I was afraid the carburetor or whatever was going to be flooded after being on her side. Well, there I was, only about 3 miles or so in on the drive… As I learned as a kid with my horse, what do you do when you get bucked off? You get right back on. And so I did.

I’m very happy to report that the rest of the drive along the gravel road through the beautiful Valley of the Gods was pretty uneventful. There were several times when I was white-knuckling it down some (IMO) steep hills. But, I managed. I stopped several times along the way, hobbling around to take pictures. The road about ½ way through is very close to the cliffs & very spectacular.

Castle Butte, Valley of the Gods

Castle Butte, Valley of the Gods

The funny thing, though, is, I kept wondering to myself why I hadn’t just taken Sofia on this road?! She totally would have made it. Although, of course, I didn’t know that the road was passable in Sofia until I had driven it on Zeta. And, I definitely didn’t want to repeat my mistake from last summer in the Redwoods & take Sofia somewhere where she shouldn’t be. That was REALLY scary!

I moseyed along… definitely enjoying the view. There are not a lot of people this time of year in Valley of the Gods… I probably only had 5 vehicles pass me on the whole road & only saw one campsite occupied.

Cottonwood Tree,  Battleship Rock & Rooster Butte, Valley of the Gods

Cottonwood Tree, Battleship Rock & Rooster Butte, Valley of the Gods

There were so many awesome places I could just imagine pulling Sofia over & camping for the night! I resolved to camp at least one night in Valley of the Gods during this trip. I think it would be especially magical to watch both the sun set & rise within this valley.

17 miles later, I finally arrive at the highway; the end of the gravel road. I was faced with a dilemma. Do I go back 17 miles on the gravel road that I had just survived or do I attempt at riding on the highway? Highway 191 is a much busier road than the side road I originally drove on between Goosenecks & Valley of the Gods. I weighted my options. I was pretty tired. Who knew riding a Vespa would be so tiring! I just couldn’t imagine driving back down all those hills I had come up. And, so, to the highway I went.

“Let’s do this!” is the pep-talk I was giving myself as I pulled out on to the highway. Of course, I ensured there were no vehicles around, but just a few yards down the road, an SUV roared up behind me, swung around me (I still am only going 40 mph) & left me in a wind gust. Whew! Not only did the passing vehicles leave wind gusts, but the wind was really gusting too. Yikes! I really DO NOT like riding in wind gusts. I felt myself getting more & more tense and realized that I needed to relax. I had seen this happen so many times with inexperienced riders on horses. The more tense they got, the more difficult the ride. But, I tell you… riding horses is BY FAR easier!!

“Relax, calm-down, relax”, I kept repeating this mantra as I (in my mind) fought the wind gusts trying to stay upright. Its funny how hard it really is to try to relax yourself in the middle of a really stressful situation. Thankfully, it really wasn’t too far… probably only about 6 miles to the turn off to the paved road back to Goosenecks, then only about 4 more miles or so. But at only 40 mph it seemed forever!

Seeing Sofia parked in the distance was such a happy site to see! I felt completely drained by the time I arrived, both physically & mentally. And my foot still really hurt. All I wanted to do was to find a good spot to overnight in & go to sleep! I couldn’t stay at Goosenecks as I had to work the next day & there was no internet connection. But before I could leave, I had to get Zeta back up on her rack. I tried a couple of times, exhausted, to push her up. I couldn’t quite do it. I was so frustrated as I had managed to do so before. Thankfully a nice man from across the parking lot came over & offered to help. He said no sense in trying to do it myself when he could help me. I was so grateful. The good news is that I’ve finally figured out the tie-down straps, so those aren’t a problem anymore! Zeta secured, I started Sofia up & headed back up toward Blanching as I remembered having pretty good reception there. I also remembered there was a state park I thought I could camp at.

Arriving at Edge of the Cedars State Park, I saw it was just a very small state park with no overnight camping. Good lord… all I wanted to do was call it a day! I consulted my map & saw there was a National Forest campground between Blanching & Monticello.  Back on to the highway I went. But, then I saw a sign. Another national forest campground. Perhaps I had missed it on the map, but “obviously” it was closer. Why not? Turning on to the road, I saw a sign that said 12 miles to Nizhoni Campground. I didn’t really think about what it meant by driving 12 miles up into the national forest at this point. And, so I drove and drove… you can’t really go that fast on a winding uphill gravel road in a big RV. Finally, as I’m passing snow bank after snow bank & suddenly start driving over residual snow banks over the road, I’m wondering, what am I getting myself into AGAIN?! I turn a corner & see this sign…

Not the sign I wanted to see...

Not the sign I wanted to see…

Of course, that’s the road I’d find myself on. The road is probably delayed due to snow banks that need melting! But then I saw the sign for the campground. Yippeee! I had made it! I parked Sofia right at the entrance & walked in. All the camping spots still were covered in snow. I knew I definitely wasn’t going to make the mistake of getting stuck in a snow bank. I saw just down from the main entrance, the parking area for the picnic section and knew that would be the perfect spot for the night. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t level. At least it was off the road & safe. I backed Sofia down to the spot, not wanting to get down there & not be able to get turned around. See, all the past experiences are making me wiser!

As soon as I parked, Geb was asking to go out for a walk. I had promised him in the morning I would take him for a walk that evening. I poured myself a glass of wine, put his harness on & we went out to explore the campground. Of course we were the ONLY people there. LOL! I didn’t even pay, because who would ever know I was up in the middle of nowhere… My foot was starting to feel a little better, but still hurt to walk on it. I saw that there was a trail to some Indian ruins about a mile from the campground, but I wasn’t in any condition to walk that far. And so, Geb & I just wandered around. It was so fun to just be outside, in the forest, in the middle of nowhere watching Geb explore. I love letting Geb lead the way on our walks. Its amazing to get a tiny glimpse into his brain and see how he goes about investigating the world around him. Quite fascinating to see the paths he takes, the bushes he stops to sniff.

Mr. Investigator, Geb

Master Investigator, Geb

Which way do I go?

Which way do we go?

On our walk...

On our walk…

Finally, for the first time all afternoon I felt like I was able to relax. The forest to me is always comforting. I love listening to the wind in the trees & the birds. Seeing the fading sunlight flickering through the branches. Smelling the pine, juniper, sage & humus. Such a calm & peaceful place to be.

Its not called “Adventure” for Nothing

A heavy fog greeted me when I woke up on Sunday. Ah, yes! Now, this was the Oregon coast I knew so well. I knew I had been spoiled the last few days of simply gorgeous weather. I had gotten up early as I planned to drive all the way from Pacific City to Crescent City, CA to the redwoods. That’s quite a stretch down the coastline. I was planning to stop at all the lighthouses & any other interesting spot along the way.

Before I left the RV park, I took Geb & Nyssa to the dunes right behind my camp site. Geb had fun playing in the grass & digging in the sand; it was adorable! Nyssa is even getting more accustomed to her harness & started looking around rather than just playing dead, so cute!

My first stop down the highway was Boiler Bay. I had gone there in high school with my Marine Biology class for tide pooling. The tide was in, but I still had a lot of fun looking at what I could see… anemones, limpets, little orange crabs, start fish, muscles, barnacles, snails, and sea urchins. I even found a whole sea urchin shell!

Boiler Bay

As I drove past Depoe Bay I saw they had a sign stating it’s the “World’s Smallest Harbor”. I stopped to take a look & beg to differ. The harbors that my sister, Beth, & I saw in Cinque Terre were definitely smaller than that! However, it is definitely a small harbor by Oregon standards.

I meandered down Otter Crest Loop, loving the rocky shoreline, and stopped to see Devil’s Punchbowl. The punchbowl was formed when the roof of two sea caves collapsed, creating an open topped cavern full of churning & foaming water with tunnels leading out to the sea.

Devil’s Punchbowl

Just north of Newport is Yaquina Head Lighthouse. It was fun to stop there & hike around a bit. I remember going there in high school with Beth one year. We stopped by on our way to Newport to buy school clothes. We had so much fun that day just the two of us. I stood in line for about 10 minutes waiting to go into the lighthouse, but the line was very long & the wait just didn’t seem worth it to me. I still had miles & miles of coastline to drive to make it to California.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Of course I couldn’t resist trying to take the “perfect” fireweed picture on my way back to Sofia!

And, I couldn’t help but laughing when I saw this sign on the walkway as well. Wildlife! Only in Oregon… LOL!

Rather than burning off, the fog kept getting worse the later in the day it got and the further south I drove. By the time I got to Newport, the fog was downright interfering with my view! The Waldport Bridge was completely hidden from site and I couldn’t get a picture of it.

Foggy Newport Bridge

Onward, stopping to take in the sites at Cape Perpetua, Devil’s Churn, & Hector Head Lighthouse, I finally arrived down at the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area. There are lots of areas to stop at, most are geared toward ATV riders. I decided to try the Siltcoos area. Not a great option to see a bunch of big dunes, but this little waterway was beautiful.

Siltcoos Waterway

I had been having so much fun throughout the day just meandering along and stopping wherever I was drawn. But now, it was getting later in the afternoon and I was still a ways away from my goal of spending the night in the Redwoods. I decided I better not stop anymore along the way, of course, except for lighthouses and a quick stop along the highway shoulder to take a pretty picture of a swampy areas & dune.

I did get detoured for a minute at the Coquille Lighthouse outside of Bandon. I walked down to the beach & found a great driftwood sculpture; I think it’s a cute little bug. There were also two little boys about 7 or 8 who were building a fort out of driftwood. “This is going to be the BEST fort ever!” one boy exclaimed to his playmate. It made me smile… They were utterly engrossed in their project, with a beautiful zest for life, so alive in that very moment. It was precious.

Driftwood Bug Sculpture

There are so many beautiful & historic bridges along the Hwy 101 route. I couldn’t help but stop again when I saw the bridge over the Rogue River outside of Gold Beach.

Wild sweet pea & Rogue River bridge

The coastline between Gold Beach & Brookings was so beautiful… I just couldn’t get enough of all the rock formations sprinkling the coastline. I watched the sun setting over these beautiful formations as I continued my journey south.

Oregon doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas. It was interesting to me that along Hwy 101 as I stopped in Newport for gas as well as Brookings, both attendants noticed I was alone & asked me about my adventures. The guy in Newport was fascinated. He said he too wanted to go to the redwoods, but didn’t have anyone to go with him. I encouraged him to just go do it by himself! In Brookings, the woman attendant I talked to also was intrigued. She said that someday she hoped to “get a wild hair” & go adventuring. Of course I encouraged her to do it… sooner rather than later! I really enjoyed my conversation with her & got out of Sofia to give her a hug as I was about to drive away. One of the last things she said, was “I hope you find what you’re looking for on this adventure.” It really made me stop & think as I continued my drive south… what is it that I am looking for out here? Adventure? To see the world? To meet new people? To experience different things? To find myself? To push myself out of my comfort zone? Maybe all of these things… it’s a question I’ve had on my mind since she asked it and I continue to reflect on it.

Just outside of Crescent City. I drove through an area of fields & along the tree line I saw a big redwood tree! It was just there, along with the other trees, seemingly nothing special. But I knew immediately that I had just seen my first redwood tree of the trip. Wahoo! I was almost there, my long fun-filled day of adventure was almost over. I couldn’t wait to find a camping spot. I was planning to eat the crab I had bought for dinner the day before & I was getting hungry!

It was twilight by the time I rolled into Crescent City. Yippee! I had made it! My mapquest directions showed that the address for Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park was right downtown Crescent City. I thought that perhaps there was a small section of redwood trees they had saved right there. But no, after driving the 12 blocks down to the beach, not seeing any redwoods (like they would be hard to miss!), finding another lighthouse, & then driving back into town, I realized that the address was actually just an administrative building, which of course, was closed for the night. I pulled out my trusty iphone again & used my RV Park finder app. Sure enough, there was an RV park in the JSRSP and it looked to be only 6 miles away. The app forwards to google maps, so I had directions to follow. I was good to go!

Crescent City is a fairly small town & pretty rural after you get off the highway. I drove by a casino that had a nice two lane road in front of it. At that point, I felt like I was still pretty much in society. Just about 1/2 mile past the casino, the road curved sharply. So sharp in fact that I had to drop my phone I was holding to view the directions & use both hands to turn the wheel! All of a sudden the road got really narrow & really curvy & promptly turned to gravel! There was no place to go but forward & up into the ever darkening mists.

I was shaking a little at this point. Felt like I wasn’t getting myself into a good situation. But what does one do at that point? Go on, I guess, there was absolutely no way to turn around there & I couldn’t imagine trying to back down those horrible curves in the dark! Then I saw that the road ahead narrowed even more. But thankfully right before that there was a “wide” spot in the road. I got out & surveyed the situation. It “looked” like it probably was wide enough to turn around. It was my only option as I was up in the middle of the woods in the pitch dark!

Was dark & scary up there!

Thank goodness for my trusty flashlight. So I left the flashlight at the widest part so I’d have something to aim for & started to turn the tires as much as possible, then backed up. Then, turn the tires the other way as much as possible and go forward. There was a ditch on the side of the road in front of me, so I found a big muddy log I could barely move, but somehow managed to manhandle it & got it positioned in the ditch just in case I went too far forward. I thought it might save me in case that happened. The last thing I needed was to end up stuck in a ditch! I ended up having to take off my bike rack after I backed it into the roots of a huge tree. Little by little I made my way out. When I was about 1/2 out, Sofia completely diagonal to the road, I got out & saw that really there was probably only about 34-35′ available. Sofia is 31′ plus about 3’ for the bike rack. Scary!! At the end I counted my pivots – 15 point turn around. Whew – I had made it!

My heart was beating super rapidly & I was shaking quite a bit from the adrenaline, as I drove slowly down the twisty road out of the forest. I would try visiting the redwoods again tomorrow. I was happy to make it out safely & back to civilization with just a minor casualty to the bike rack. I guess it just has personality now.

I still needed a place to camp for the night, and especially by this point, I really wanted a glass of wine to drink, too! I remembered the beach area with the lighthouse I found when looking for the redwoods in Crescent City just a little while earlier. Arriving there, ready to be done with my day, I saw a sign “No Overnight Parking”. Damn! This day just wouldn’t end!

Again I referenced my RV Park finder app, hoping that I wouldn’t steer me wrong again. I found a campground a few miles away at the edge of Crescent City. I drove over there, but as I drove in I didn’t see any signs for an office or registration. Nothing, except a little circle road with picnic tables that appeared to be a tent camping spot. I drove onto the circle, barely making it around the tight corner. Thankfully no one was there. I decided that was it; I had had enough. I wasn’t going any further looking for a camping spot or for the office or anything. Right there in the middle of the circle was good enough for me! I would just get up at 5am, drive away & hopefully no one would know the wiser. That plan worked!

It was about 10:30pm by the time I arrived at the circle. Exhausted, but hungry, I decided to go ahead & relax by eating my nice fresh crab for dinner & enjoying some Nehalem Bay Riesling. Every time I eat Dungeness crab, I am reminded of my Aunt Julie. For a special treat, she used to take me & my sisters to get crab. Laughing & just enjoying each other as we always did when we were together, we’d go to the beach or to a park and savor each bite of our scrumptious meal.  My meal this night was perfect to celebrate surviving such an adventure-filled day!

Dinner in remembrance of my Aunt Julie