Okay, we have been slacking lately with our blog posts.
Last, last weekend Justin and I went camping in the northern part of WA just near the Canadian boarder, Oak Harbor to be exact, in Deception Pass (which is said to be WA’s favorite state park). You might be wondering why we traveled 5 hours to go camping when there are perfectly good camping spots practically in our back yard. Well…Justin was psyched to go to the kite festival that was being held in that area, we hadn’t explored that part of WA yet, Justin’s boss was in that area AND it was my last weekend before I started work. All great excuses to go on a road trip.
We left Thursday evening and set up in a wonderful “walk-in” campsite. Get this; on the WA campsite website they rate the campsites: poor or good, let you know how much people traffic it will get and they even show you an actual picture. Isn’t that neat!? Our campsite was one of the few rated “good” with little traffic
Friday Justin and I spent the day at the San Juan Islands (Beka, I did find out that it IS in fact IslandS ) with Justin’s boss, his wife and parents. The island we went to had such a nice relaxed island feel to it. The ocean around the islands were so calm and beautiful with the periodic seal or two on the shoreline. I guess it seemed so serene because when I think of ocean waters I think of crashing white caped waves and this was nothing like that. It looked more like a huge lake. Taking the ferry over to the island was super fun too!
That night the scariest thing happened!! It all started when Justin and I went on a short walk down to the beach with a lovely block of cheese and some wine. We were having a great time watching the itty bitty cars cross the distant bridge and listening to the water slosh into shore….when all of a sudden……..WE WERE almost ATTACKED!!!! From the corner of my eye I saw a big shadow crawling up next to Justin on the log we were sitting on. When I started screaming, jumping up and down and violently pointing at the unknown shadow, Justin turned on his light and we saw…A HONKIN COON!!! Not just ONE honkin coon but FIVE coons within a an arms length from us!!! What the heck! Since when do they travel in coon gangs?? It was SO scary! Those little mongrels must have smelled our cheese! That was it for us that night. We went straight back to the tent with me mistaking almost every tree, shadow, you name it for a pack of coons. Yipes!
On Saturday we got up “early,” as in “camping early,” and headed off about 45 minutes southwest to the where the kite festival was held. Where the kite festival was held LAST WEEK that is. Yup, that’s right…Justin pulled a ‘Sarah!’ The shoe was momentarily on the other foot people! We had a great time regardless. Just around the corner from the “kite festival” was Fort Casey, an amazing old fort that I don’t remember any details about Justin and I took some great pictures, explored and yes, Justin even got to fly his kites at his own personal kite festival.
Oh, I almost forgot! On the way home from the Islands Justin and I stopped in Seattle for the afternoon. We went to Pikes Market down by the water and Oh My Gracious did we see some neat things!? They had the biggest fruit I have ever seen! The pictures below don’t do them justice. We also found this AMAZING metal working artist who sold the most phenomenal jewelry! I’ve been looking at any metal working artists work I can find and his is incredible! He was able to work with all different kinds of metals while retaining his own style, elegance and detail. So nice!Read More
Over the past few months I’ve been picking up a new
obsession hobby. It all started on a weekend back in May, when we were travelling up the coast and stopped at the Rockaway Beach Kite Festival. There I picked the Prism Nexus two string kite, which I flew a number of times both on the beach in parks around Portland. Somehow, something that I once thought was completely boring and only for kids had suddenly become exciting to me!
Here’s a short list to try to rationalize why I’m having so much fun flying kites:
- It’s relaxing
- Things that fly fascinate me
- It’s actually quite challenging, and it takes a lot of practice to refine the skill
- It gives me something to do on the beach besides just sun bathing
- There’s an element of high-tech, as the materials that go into kites need to be strong and light
- There’s a do-it-yourself aspect, as even the most high end kites can be made at home with very little in the way of tools
Two weekends ago we drove down to Brookings, OR (near the California border) and went to the Southern Oregon Kite Festival, and there I picked up a Revolution Kite. The first kite I bought was a 2-string kite. Pull the left string and the kite turns left, pull the right string and the kite turns right. Pretty simple. It’s easy to do loop-de-loops, and with a little practice you can stall the kite at the edge of the wind window, or land and take off again … but there is a limit to how much control you can have over a two string (although some of the pros can do some pretty cool things with them). The Revolution kite is a 4-string kite, which has more dimensions of control than a 2-string– forward/backward, slide left/right, turn left/right. My first attempts to fly the thing were pretty pitiful, but I’m starting to improve.
One of the challenges is finding good wind. Gusty wind is pretty terrible. Sarah and I hiked to one of the highest points in Washington Park where the wind seemed strong, but it was fluctuating between high gusts and dead still air. In those conditions, I really couldn’t fly at all. The best kite flying seems to be on the coast (plus it’s just nice being next to the ocean). I’ve been hunting around Portland trying to find open fields that have good winds, but most inner-city parks have too many tall buildings around to have steady breezes. The best two places seem to be West Delta Park, which is up in North Portland, close to Vancouver WA, and the beaches on Sauvie Island (one of which is ‘clothing-optional’, so if I ever decide to get into naked kite flying, that’s an option ).
My latest adventure in kites is an attempt to build one with Sarah. I’ve ordered some parts online, and we’ve found a cool fabric store nearby that sells high tech fabrics like ripstop nylon, goretex, etc. If we can succeed in building one using plans from the internet, then perhaps I will try to design one myself. I’m no aerospace engineer like some of my friends, but I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to make something that will fly!Read More
As we explored the Oregon coast this past weekend, we noticed some large objects flying in the sky. Having just come from the McMinnville UFO Festival we initially thought aliens were coming to abduct us.. but, as it turned out (probably for the better), it was actually a kite festival!
The best part of the festival was the professional kite flying performances. Now you’re probably thinking the same thing I was thinking— professional kite flying?? I thought kites were for kids. I mean, don’t you just sit there and hold a string? In fact, because I thought kites were so boring, I just recently gave a kite I had for years and never flew to Beka. Well, let me tell you, these guys were pros. The best performances were by Team iQuad, which includes John Baressi, a Portlander who is now my kite hero.
They fly these kites like Tom Cruise flies jets in Top Gun (or in real life, take your pick). They made the kites dance, fly, soar, and spin. They made me laugh, they made me cry. Sarah put her hand out, and Baressi landed his kite on her finger tip, from 100ft away, and balanced it there. Incredible! Needless to say, seeing this excited me enough to open my wallet and immediately buy a kite (this was an even better impulse buy than the time that a magician at Universal Studios sold me a flaming wallet).
Now I hadn’t previously thought of kites as expensive pieces of equipment, but now that I see how expensive they can be, how many accessories are sold for them, and all the high tech materials that go in to them (can you say ‘carbon fiber’??) I’m all the more excited! I purchased a starter kite from a nice women named Theresa who operates a kite shop in Vancouver. Now this kite is nothing as fancy as those four-string kites that the pros were flying, but for $50 it has been a heck of a lot of fun. There’s a park in Portland called West Delta Park that Theresa pointed me towards, and I have been practicing in the park. Those of you who will see me in the Dominican Republic tomorrow, prepare to be blown away by my kiting skills!