Just got back from a two-day road trip with the manfriend last night. We drove down to Northern California to the redwoods and hiked around the unreasonable large foliage. I got some good ideas for a novella my evil conjoined erotica-writing twin is percolating, ooh'd and ahh'd over the massive trees, and didn't twist an ankle in my Chucks, contrary to my hiking boot elitist manfriend's prediction. The Smith River is crazy pretty—a fascinating shade of clear green-blue, with very gradually sloped banks comprised of smooth rocks, way different than the granite drop-offs and coarse sand I'm used to in New England. Also saw an interesting dark blue jay which I've yet to identify in the bird guide.
After the hike we headed to Crescent City, walked down a cement jetty we probably weren't supposed to, and I got to bag a few new bird sightings…though I haven't ID'd them with my Peterson's guide yet. One was definitely an oystercatcher of some kind—can't mistake that beak. It took off with a call that sounded a lot like a rape whistle…I must have looked ill-intentioned. Also saw some little cousins of my local coast's ruddy turnstones, or maybe purple sandpipers. Bigger than the sandpipers I'm used to though, with a dark purplish back and a pale belly. Down on the sand we saw a tiny gull-like bird, like if a plover and a seagull made fruitful love.
That night we stayed in Klamath at the ReQua Inn, a super neat historical hotel overlooking the river. No TVs in the rooms, very few outlets, but an awesome staff, amazing local food and wine, and a big old cozy lounge full of board games and books.
The next morning we did a quick hike down from the outlook near the inn then hit the road for some scenic driving. Twisty, rugged roads run along the mountains with a sea breeze like nature's AC—a godsend, given it was in the 90s there. I got my vacation wish and spotted not only one quail, but three! You would have thought there was a baby in the road, the way our car skidded to a halt for a better look. We then headed back into Oregon to Ashland, my manfriend's erstwhile stomping grounds, and stayed outside the city at his old professor's house. Well, farm. They keep goats, chickens, and pigs. They built their house and it's indescribably cool, so I won't even attempt to describe it. We had pork chops, chutney, corn, tomato salad and potatoes for dinner, every last bit of it (minus the vinegar) from the premises. Hot damn, best pork chop ever. The next morning we had veggie omelets and bacon, also 100% über-local. Oh and goat milk in my non-local coffee. My manfriend was an old hand at milking the goats, but I hadn't milked anything in a couple decades. I was a bit slow. But I was an ace at gathering eggs, even from beneath one grumpy chicken who refused to move as I rummaged around under her feathery butt.
After we left the farm we drove to Mount Ashland and enjoyed an excellent six-mile hike. Mount Shasta loomed in the hazy distance, all purple and majestic. Mount Ashland's trails are very nice, well worn and not nearly as craggy as I'm used to. Got a little bit too much sun, so my dreams of ditching my farmer's tan before the next time I have occasion to wear a sleeveless dress may fail.
After that we drove four hours back north for dinner with the assorted parents-in-law and their partners. Today should be nice and lazy, and I may even manage to bang out a couple thousand words on my work-in-progress. Hope everyone has a stellar start to their weekend. See you for the Sunday Puzzle tomorrow.