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Responses to this rant
Dandy   Thursday, 6/1/2017 8:55 AM
Dandy   Thursday, 6/1/2017 8:55 AM
Bart   Thursday, 6/1/2017 9:09 AM
Older rants
August 10 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
vs.
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Ikariam
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
and
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Flakes
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Marvels
Ruins
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Interworld
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book 6...by Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008   Slacking...as usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
subpoenaed!
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1)

We (the lovely wife and the younger of the lovely daughters) took a road trip a couple of weeks ago from San Diego to Astoria, Oregon - and back, of course. I planned our route in advance to try to keep each day's drive-time relatively short so we would have plenty of time to stop and explore anything and everything that looked interesting along the way.

Day one: Pismo Beach, Ca
I planned for the first stop of our adventure to be Pismo Beach because that's the location of my most memorable anniversary adventure1. We stopped a couple of times on the way there to explore unfamiliar beaches (one of which was accessible from an empty parking lot through a weird under-the-freeway tunnel). It was dark by the time we arrived in Pismo Beach, so we didn't spend much time on the beach or looking around town on day one. We basically just checked into our low-budget motel and then went out hunting for someplace to eat (Five Guys was the winner). We later sought out a Target to obtain the items the girls forgot to bring. It's hard to imagine trying to make this drive without the internet on my phone2.

Day two: Pismo Beach/Half Moon Bay, Ca
The next morning before heading out, we decided to explore Pismo Beach's boardwalk, beach, etc. We wandered around, looking at the many beach-type shops you find on the strip at every beach. We ate breakfast at a delicious French-themed restaurant, the Mon Ami Creperie Cafe. The food was delicious and the ambiance was very French (from the perspective of someone who has never been to France). I recommend The Bako crepe for breakfast if you want real food. They can also make all their stuff gluten-free, which was a big selling point for Emeli. Julie had a Belgian waffle and really liked it a lot. After eating and spending a couple of hours of exploring shops and the beach, we packed up the car and headed to Half Moon Bay, CA, arriving a few hours later. Again, it was getting later in the afternoon, so we checked in to our slightly-less-awful motel and then sought out a place to eat. We found a place called Spicoli Pizza online and headed over3. The restaurant was in a cool inside-out shopping center that was pretty much closed by the time we got there. The pizza took a while to make an appearance (probably because we got a gluten-free pizza for Emeli), but we were fine waiting and watched America's Funniest Home Videos on the restaurant's TV while we waited. It was a tasty pizza (for gluten-free food), so I guess the wait was justified. Emeli said it was the best gluten-free pizza she'd ever had. I found the crust unimpressive, but the toppings were very generous and tasty, so I guess that made up for it. And that's pretty much all that happened on day two, other than seeing some really interesting trees on our drive in the middle of otherwise empty fields of grass. It was interesting to watch the landscape and vegetation shift as we drove from climate zone to climate zone.

On the way to Half Moon Bay, we also stopped to look around a lighthouse: the Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero, CA. Sadly, it's now a decrepit old thing that is barely standing. But it's still worth a quick look on your way up the PCH. Interestingly, there's also a hostel there for vagabonds who shun hotels and privacy.

Day three: San Francisco
We didn't spend a second on the beach in Half Moon Bay, so I don't know if we missed an amazing beach or anything else spectacular in this town. We headed right to San Fransisco the next morning and found parking near Fisherman's Wharf. We parked in an internet-suggested parking lot that cost way more ($45) than we could have paid had we looked a little harder - so lesson learned. We drove and later walked up and down several super-steep streets, explored shops and neighborhoods in the area, marveled at the cool architecture everywhere, had some delicious desserts in the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Ghirardelli Square. We also drove over to Union Square so I could show the girls the sweet mall I'd discovered the month before on my OSI adventure, where we ate lunch (Emeli had a weird vegan fake-chicken thing and I got a pretty-good Philly cheese-steak - opposites!). We really didn't take the time to explore this very impressive mall at all because Emeli wasn't feeling very well (that's what she gets for eating vegan), so we headed back to the (much more affordable) Union Square parking lot and made our very circuitous way toward the Golden Gate Bridge, poorer, sunburned and ready to hit the open road.

Our next stop up the road: Garberville, Ca. We arrived at our hotel, the Best Western Plus Humboldt House Inn just as it was getting dark. This hotel was a million times better in every way than every other place we stayed on our adventure. To be fair, I was targeting more affordable accommodations.

Day four: Redwood adventure day
We explored Garberville the next morning, primarily in pursuit of a pair of socks for me because I hadn't brought any that were adventure appropriate, and made some fun local discoveries. We found a used bookstore that had a lot of books for the girls to look through (I didn't find any that I found interesting that I didn't already own). Emeli found a book worth reading and spent a good part of the trip reading it. We also found another notable Garberville shop - The Stonery, a really cool gem and jewelry store. Surprisingly, I got out of there without having to buy any expensive gifts for either of the girls. Emeli was going to buy some little stone-carved animals, but the owner of the shop, who was full of information about things to see on our trip through the redwoods, gave her a couple of things free (she was planning to buy one of them, but he just gave it to her), which made her morning. With a new map from the shop owner and a whole bunch of information, we left the shop for our last stop - a sporting goods store that had the socks I needed.

We drove north from our hotel to The Avenue of Giants, stopping on the first of many a pull-outs very soon after exiting Highway 101 onto the Avenue. The lush, foliage of the trees, the ferns growing everywhere, and the gigantic trunks of the ancient trees all around us were breathtaking. It felt like a Velociraptor could come tearing out of the primordial forest and eat us up at any moment. After we parked the car, we wandered deeper into the undergrowth, awestruck by the ancient-feeling foliage. We crossed small streams atop mossy redwoods that had fallen across the gaps. Looking up and downstream, we saw many other trees had fallen the same way, which made me wonder if the logs had been dragged here and dropped intentionally to form bridges or if it really was just random chance that these trees had formed perfect bridges across the streams. There was no obvious reason anyone would take the time and effort to create bridges with these huge trees in this given area, so I'm sticking with random chance theory.

After taking a million photos and wandering in every direction as far as we dared, we made our way back to the car and drove until we spotted something else we wanted to explore. We found too many amazing things to mention them all. Among these were a giant hollowed out Redwood I could walk through upright, many Redwoods that were at least partially hollowed out and could be stood within (most showing evidence of past fire damage), lots of streams to explore, thick, green ferns everywhere...and just so much nature.

As with the failure to show just how steep the super-steep streets of San Francisco were, these photos fail to show how amazingly ginormous the redwoods are.

We also stopped at a tourist-y thing along the Avenue (there are a few of these and small towns right inside the forest) and paid to drive the car through the long-dead and barely-standing Shrine redwood (I recall driving through a larger redwood years ago, but that was probably the tree that feel over from the heavy rainfall earlier this year). There were also treehouses made from hollowed out Redwoods that were fun to check out. And there were also a couple of other things to see a little further north along the Avenue of Giants.

It took us a few hours to traverse the 30 or so miles of The Avenue of Giants, and then we continued on to our second stop of the day: Ferndale.

Ferndale is pretty much just a tiny farming community northwest of the north of The Avenue of Giants. It's not on the coast, it's not very near any redwoods, but it is picturesque. The main street is filled with a lot of Victorian-style architecture. There are even buildings off the main street that were very impressive - one of these was the Gingerbread Mansion Inn. We really wanted to stay there, but couldn't work into the drive timeline. One of the most impressive shops on Main street was actually vacant, (at least the bottom floor was - the top floor was occupied with residents). We ate lunch at The Ferndale Pie Company which wasn't one of the super-cool Victorian buildings, but was a very quaint small-town cafe that had the best chicken pot pie I've ever had. It must have risen a half-inch above the lip of the pie tin and was filled with every vegetable imaginable. They also had a large assortment of homemade pies and other desserts - we shared a gigantic brownie and cinnamon roll. This was the kind of food you seem to only find in small towns - freshly made with real ingredients and delicious. Sadly, we were so overwhelmed by the sights (that's my excuse, anyway) that didn't take a single photo of anything in Ferndale. I recommend stopping by if you drive through The Avenue of Giants. I still wish we'd been able to stay at the Gingerbread Mansion Inn. The photos online make the interior look just as cool as the exterior.

I had planned to do more exploring / take some photos of Ferndale before we left, but Emeli's sensitive stomach drove the agenda and we were soon back on the road, headed north. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. From Ferndale, we drove straight up to Coos Bay, Oregon - arrive just as darkness was settling in.

Day five: Oregon Explorations, day 1
The motel room in Coos4 Bay was the low point of the trip (or at least of the trip's accommodations). It was smelly, dark, noisy (feet from a busy road used by huge logging trucks all day and night, apparently) and on the very cramped side. There was a waterfront museum across the street from the motel (within sight of our room - across a busy street), but the stay in this room had us so soured with Coos Bay, we opted to skip anything Coos Bay might have to offer and just get out of town as soon as we were all ready to go. But...on the way out of town, we did stop to eat in a quaint little restaurant, The Pancake Mill5 since we hadn't really had anything since the day before. I had a delicious full breakfast special with eggs, sausage, pancakes, and juice for less than I paid for the Philly cheese-steak I'd gotten in San Francisco. And the girls got delicious Belgian waffles that they really liked (Emeli's was gluten-free, but still delicious, which you'll realize is a major accomplishment if you've sampled gluten-free food).

The drive along the Oregon coast is one of the most scenic you could imaging. Tree-covered mountainsides on one side of the road and driftwood-covered beaches on the other. Streams and rivers fed cold spring water (not the toxic sludge that drains into the ocean in Southern California) to the Pacific Ocean at every beach we visited. There are small rocky islands just off the beach all over the place. And there are moss-covered trees everywhere. Everything was green and we drove over uncountable rivers, lakes, and lily pad-covered ponds. The beaches were chilly, but we stopped and explored several anyway. When I made this same drive years earlier, I remembered seeing Sea Lions sunning themselves on the remote beaches, but the only spot with Sea Lions on this drive was a tourist trap that had taken over a section of beach and charged a lot for access to the Sea Lions. And it charged a lot. So we didn't get to see the Sea Lions up close on the drive.

We did see another lighthouse on our way to Astoria: the Umpqua River Lighthouse. This one was actually a fully-functional lighthouse with a U.S. Coast Guard housing complex between the lighthouse and the lighthouse museum. We paid to take the full tour of the lighthouse. It was very cool. There was also a whale's jawbone display outside the lighthouse and some of those pay-to-view binoculars (there are apparently quite often whales off the coast here, but we didn't see any).

I had every intention of blathering on about the whole vacation at once, but after losing the second half of what I'd already written, I'm now going to just post this bad boy up in installments. (I was unaware of the size limitations of a MYSQL TEXT data field, which is 64KB for the record!)

Consider this the end of installment one - installment two coming soon...ish!6



1 I'm planning to add this to my bio page at some point, but there are a ton of gaps that need to be filled in there, so who knows when or if that will ever happen...
2 How did I survive these long drives before the Internet - or without phones with access to the Internet for that matter! It took a lot more planning and a lot more dependence on the good ol' Thomas Guide, that's fer sure.
3 See, another victory for the Internet. We not only needed food, we needed something that would cater to the gluten-sensitive.
4 What in the world is a "Coo"? Since there's no apostrophe, Coos must be the plural of Coo...but what does it all mean? Am I the only morally outraged grammarian?
5 Go Internet!
6 As if anyone has even read this far...



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