Monday, January 23, 2012

Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona

Well hello readers! That is, if there are any of you left after my five month break (at least there's Mom, HI MOM!)

I just finished up a breakfast burrito for dinner. I'll tell you the ingredients and you guess where in the country I am:
-The best tortillas ever made by humans (can't say for certain about aliens, dinosaurs, nor the Little Red Hen, I hear she's quite the baker), eggs (from this plot of land), onion, garlic (from this plot of land), kale, green chile (from this plot of land), green chile, green chile.
That's right, readers, I'm back in New Mexico! But first, I must catch you up.

The last I wrote was while in Montana. I worked on the farm in Livingston for two months (farming, walking in hills, camping, fly fishing-sort of, watching the rodeo and demolition derby, thrift shopping, learning about dandelion greens from a man convinced he'll sustain himself on them when food runs out, working farmer's markets, eating ice cream, blowing up fireworks, blowing up fireworks in marshmallows, blowing up fireworks in kiwifruits, eating popsicles, driving tractors and old trucks, light saber battling with a five year old, you get the picture). I then met Seth in Bozeman, MT, and we visited Yellowstone, of which I believe I added photographs already. Next, I drove over to Seattle, WA, where I stayed with the Pipers (our neighbor's daughter and her lovely family who treated me to an excellent birthday dinner/cupcakes!), I took a train down to Portland, OR, for a couple days to visit my friend Rachel (and make some new ones) in Corvallis, OR.

The next leg of my journey was from the middle of August to the beginning of September in Vaughn, WA, which is on the Key Peninsula, southwest of Seattle. I stayed on Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch with the Sikoras. They raise animals: sheep, goats, cows, chickens. They also have horses and we got to trail-ride a few times, which was awesome since I haven't ridden in quite a while. They had a green draft horse named Quest (for those non-horse people, green means young and untrained, and a draft horse? think Budweiser Clydesdales, the ones that play football) that I rode a bit, not nearly enough, but we made good progress considering he hadn't ever walked without being led by someone walking on the ground.

 This is me feeding Molly while she gets milked

This is me learning how to butcher mutton

This is a goat eating my underwear

Chopping down and moving trees

Moving more trees

 Riding Quest!

After Washington, I drove down to San Francisco where I stayed with the Larkins. They tolerated me for an entire 2 1/2 months, and were kind enough to show me around, recommend sights, feed me, and be the most amazing people ever. Emily and Lindsay came to visit, and it was really great to spend time with everyone together. Toward the end of my stay, my friend Rochelle facilitated a volunteering/interning opportunity at a photography lab called Rayko Photo Center, which was a really great time.
Buster reacquainting with the ocean, hasn't seen it in a year

Visiting Ocean Beach with Tom and Gabrielle
I made Gabrielle reenact the scene from Vertigo. I was in Hitchcock heaven the entire time (if you didn't know, it was one of his favorite cities, so just walking around makes you feel like you're in his films)

The view from our (hehe) roof deck, Alcatraz and the bay in the distance

Big Sur hike

Lindsay in Big Sur

Lindsay and Emily collecting jade

Gabrielle, Tom, and I visited Yosemite, too!

Yosemite: Half Dome on the left (also saw it from 30,000 ft up in an airplane, so beautiful). See those two waterfalls on the right bottom corner? Those are the Vernal and Nevada falls, we hiked from the bottom of the lower to the top of the upper one (or I think it's reverse, because the higher one is actually the "lower" fall. oh who knows). Also, fun fact, those are the falls where the three hikers fell and died last summer (they finally recovered the last two bodies a month or so after we visited).

Sequoia at Yosemite

Rochelle at Fort Cronkhite

I was sad to leave San Francisco, but I decided to fly home for Thanksgiving through mid-January.  Upon returning, I stayed one night in San Francisco (where my rear window was smashed in, nothing stolen- I'm sure they were really disappointed with my lame stash of thrifted sweaters and dirty pants), and drove to San Diego. I stayed in San Diego (Point Loma, actually) with Jon, who I had worked with on the farm in Montana. He and his girlfriend and roommates were really cool and I wish I could have spent more time there. In the morning I visited Fort Rosecrans at Jon's suggestion. If you've never visited a California military fort, you really should, I would love to make a trip of visiting all of them sometime. They basically combine all of my favorite things, managing to preserve wild open land, old buildings (sometimes complete with historical furnishings), and serve as national historical landmarks with plenty of room for education!! Fort Cronkhite (above) in San Francisco is within the huge Marin headlands, across the bridge from the city where you can hike around and check out dizzying cliffs, old weapon fortresses, maybe mountain lions, and collect pretty rocks on the beach! It's heaven. Fort Rosecrans in Point Loma (below) has a fully preserved lighthouse complete with bedroom and kitchen sets and little stories about the keeper's family. PLUS an entire separate building just housing the educational information about the history of lighthouses! Did you know that the job of Lighthouse Keeper was the first non-clerical government job available to women?!?! It's my new past-fantasy to have been a Lighthouse Keeper in a previous life.

Fort Rosecrans Lighthouse
View from inside the lighthouse

Fort Rosecrans military graveyard. As if I couldn't love it anymore they throw in a graveyard! These Californian military historians really know me.
After visiting the fort and having an Acai bowl (oh my goodness, whatever it actually all is, it's the best breakfast treat ever), I drove on to Tempe, AZ to visit my friend Rachel. She's in graduate school at ASU, and we played, ate, drank, snuggled, and walked around for a few days before I left.
On our way to Tempe with Buster's broken window

Arizona landscapes are quite different from anywhere else I've been
Which leaves us here, in Chimayo again. It's great to be back, especially since there's a human baby-addition to the family since I was here last. I've also already gotten bit by a baby goat, pricked by cactus spines, smashed numerous fingers in numerous doors, learned how not to build a fire in a woodstove, and forewent showering for five days. If you made it to the end, bless your soul, I hope it's been worthwhile, thanks for reading!

** OH MY GOSH! I can't believe I forgot to thank Julia and Ted and Rose and Ann for keeping my car at their house for the time I went home. I am so glad I got to visit with them, meet both girls, and see all the Bethels upon returning!
And for that matter, I should probably just throw a huge Thank You out there to everyone who has housed, fed, met up with, hung out with, or showed me around. People have been more than generous on this whole trip, and it really wouldn't be possible without everyone's kindness.