About Ali

I'm a gardener, cook, and DIYer living in an 1880s Cape in mid-coast Maine. With chickens.

There’s no place like HOME

The past week has been a blur. The Black Hills of South Dakota were beautiful and we really enjoyed our time there. Interject connection was sketchy and only got worse as we headed East, but the good news is that we rolled into our driveway at about 6 pm this evening, with Mom awaiting us eagerly.

We had a fantastic summer and have more stories and photos to share, but for right now I’m going to sign off by saying while its great to be home, I miss the arid climes of the west–this eastern humidity is for the birds!

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Alice in chains

We’re in Rapid City SD this afternoon visiting the Museum of Geology at USD School of Mines. Looking for a place to get lunch, we realized there are almost no locally owned sandwich shops around. It took a bit of sleuthing to find one, and from the looks of the sandwiches on the plates of the other diners, it was worth the effort.

People, support your local businesses! I just had a bite of my sandwich and believe me, Subway’s got nothing to match this delicious sandwich. Break the chains!!

A wild farewell

This morning we backtracked to Yellowstone to head east to South Dakota’s many wonders. We were awake early and on the road before 7 am. The sun was lighting the tops of the Tetons as rain began on the mountains. We pulled over to a turnout to gasp as a rainbow, then a double rainbow, glimmered in the distance. We stayed until the rainbows faded then resumed our journey. 20120801-173458.jpg
Continuing northward, we were astonished when later along the shore of Yellowstone Lake, Dan spotted two buck elk sparring. Several cars zoomed by while we watched in amazement, snapping photos.

Eventually other cars stopped and we moved on, only to come to a traffic jam — a certain wildlife indicator, and sure enough, a grizzly bear soon wandered into view after an apparently unsuccessful visit to the picnic area. As he turned toward the road Dan hopped into the car but we watched, incredulous, as others moved still closer in search of the perfect photo! We, alas did not get the photo, but we do still have all limbs intact.

We moved on past the grizzly only to again be stopped by the cars whose occupants were viewing a black bear wandering into the woods. The remainder of the drive was mostly small rodents, a few marmots and several pronghorn antelope, interspersed with jaw-dropping views of the east side of Yellowstone NP and the Buffalo Bill Scenic Highway into Cody, WY.

Ended the day at Keyhole State Park near Gillette, Wyoming with Pronghorn Antelope grazing out along the field.

As always more photos will follow on Flickr when we have better connection; these are from the iPhones.
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The Tetons are indeed Grand

We had a whirlwind day through Yellowstone NP (bison! antelope! pika!) before hitting Grand Tetons NP, where we were lucky enough to find a campsite in the park on Lake Jackson. We had dinner by the lake and today have been exploring the park. At the top of a Signal Mountain in addition to glorious views, there is a cell tower so we are taking advantage of it to post and make a few phone calls.

Jenny Lake beautifully frames the largest peaks in the Teton range, and the Snake River winds through the flats providing water for bison and elk. It is stunning. The clouds are gathering now over the mountains and we are hoping we might be able to view a thunderstorm from afar here atop Signal Mountain.As always we’ll upload more photos to Flickr when we can, but for now I’ll post a few here.

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Seattle: Make It Stop!

Hoo Boy! Seattle is a great place. When I say, “Make it stop!” I mean that in a good way!

The people here are a nice bunch, public transport is great, especially the ferry rides. Riding from Bainbridge (BI) to Seattle is free. Heading back to BI you pay a fare ($7.70). Car with passenger is less than $15. Not bad. The ferry is huge (carries hundreds of people) and very comfortable. The seats are way better than movie theater seats and many folks take advantage of that by snoozing on the 35 minute trip. Triple deckers, you can walk around mid-deck inside, climb up to the upper deck for some sun and wind, or hang out in your car on the lower deck. There’s a cavernous snack bar on board and weary commuters can even buy a pint of great local craft beer (Pike Brewing’s Golden Ale is… Nirvana [reference intended] ) to smooth the waters. Bicycling here is big and it’s always fun to watch the cyclists, both young and old, get first dibs leaving the ramp. Motorcycles are next and then autos.

After leaving the ferry, we hopped on a bus to the Olympic Sculpture Garden along the waterfront. The Sculpture Garden starts with a boardwalk along the harbor. It was a pleasant day to be out and the walk heightened the experience. We enjoyed viewing the permanent installations as we continued to meander our way to an outdoor amphitheater adjacent to a large building that served as a gathering place for artists. While there, a number of folks, under the watchful eye of an instructor, were working with charcoal. Expression in action, it sums up not only the Olympic Sculpture Garden, but the city of Seattle itself.

We headed uphill to Westlake Station and traveled the 1962 World’s Fair Monorail to Seattle Center where the Chihuly exhibit is located as well as the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project, as well as a few other venues. The trip up the elevators of the Space Needle was a bit eye-opening for me. One second you’re in a dark elevator and the next you’re flooded with light and rocketing skyward. The view from the observation area was awesome. Not a perfectly clear day, but the sky was indeed blue; a rare treat for Seattle. I heard one local refer to the previous day’s overcast gray as “Seattle blue.” :- )

We spent some time at the Experience Music Project learning about and listening to the lives and music of such greats as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, and others. There was a lot to take in and even more to experience. I dabbled in the interactive Sound Lab, but Ali jumped in a bit more than me. Seattle rocks, but it was obvious to me that Ali rocked a bit more on this day.

We ended day two in Seattle a bit weary but upbeat. The trip back to BI started with jumping on the Monorail, walking 6 blocks to Pike’s Brewing near Pike St. and 1st. There we had a wonderful Pike’s Anniversary Golden Ale from the tap. Another 4 block walk to the Ferry Terminal, the trip across Elliott Bay, a walk to the parking lot, and then a three minute ride to the hotel.

Can’t wait to come back. – Dan

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Seattle by storm

We left our campsite early this morning aiming the Mazda at Bainbridge Island where we’d booked a hotel for a couple of nights, at a rate that only raised my eyebrows slightly.

We checked in, dumped our bags and headed to the ferry terminal for the ride to Seattle. We enjoyed a nice view of the city as we approached, but were denied views of the mountains by the grey, overcast skies. Once in Seattle we headed for Pike Market, then on to the Seattle Library to see the cool building that houses the library. It was amazing.

After that, a trip up to the top of the Columbia Tower for views of the city from the building’s observation deck on the 73 rd floor. It was a great way to orient ourselves to the city, although it made distance places appear deceptively nearby.

We ended the day with a trip to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit. it was stunning. We went late in the day to take advantage of the exhibits lighting as the sun set. It was fabulous. The sculptures look animate, as if when you aren’t looking they might just move. It was a busy day we are now sitting on the ferry on what should be called the pooped deck, heading to the hotel for the night.  A few photos from the iPhones are below, check out the Flicker site for more and better shots.

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