Greetings friends and family!
The second most frequent question we get asked is “Where the heck are you guys now?” As 2017 starts, we are nestled on a bluff above the Pacific just 10 miles south of San Francisco, “camped” in what is essentially an RV parking lot, which is marvelously situated to visit our sons in SF and other friends and family in the Bay Area. We have another month here before we take off for 2017 adventures, so we thought we’d update folks on the highlights of 2016 and plans for 2017.
First, the bad. We lost my brother Ron this year at 81 and spent a few days in Utah in June for the funeral. We also lost our dear neice Julie to cancer several decades before her time. They will be sorely missed.
Top ten 2016 travel highlights (in no particular order):
1. The Watershed Music Festival on the Columbia Gorge in Washington. Keith Urban and many other country acts in one of the most spectacular music venues in the country. Also lots of drunk 20-somethings partying all night.
|View of the stage at the Watershed Festival, Columbia River Gorge in the background|
2. The many waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge in Oregon.
|Multnoma Falls in the Columbia Gorge|
3. Mt. Ranier National Park. We only had a day to tour this beautiful park, but we will definitely return.
|Mt Ranier from Ledge Lake|
|Christine Falls in Mt Ranier National Park|
4. Crater Lake National Park. A scenic wonder! Denis did a night photography workshop here and we camped on beautiful Diamond Lake.
|Ancient white pine on the shore of Crater Lake...and a galaxy|
5. Lava Beds National Monument near Mt. Lassen. Exploring lava caves and hiking through the rugged flows.
|Exploring a lava cave at Lava Beds National Monument|
6. Bend, Oregon and the eastern Cascades. Wonderful alpine lakes and snow-covered peaks. Lynnae made good use of her Oregon fishing license here.
|South Sister from Sparks Lake|
7. Mt. St. Helens. We spent a week exploring this amazing place and seeing exhibits of first-hand accounts from the time of the eruption.
|Mt. St. Helens|
8. The Lakes Basin area of the northern Sierras. This wonderful mountain area lacks the crowds of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite and feels like the Sierras of 50 years ago.
9. Jalama Beach and Morro Bay. Two of our favorite places on the central California coast. Jeff came down to visit us at Jalama.
|Morro Bay Harbor by kayak|
|The campground at Jalama Beach|
10. Last, but certainly not least, the Oregon coast. We dedicated two full months to wandering down the coast from Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border. It was a marvelous experience with lots of hiking on the scenic coast and exploring coastal towns and lighthouses. Tucker really learned to understand what "let's go to the beach" means! Andrew, our long lost nephew, spent a few days with us here.
|The wreck of the Peter Iredale near Astoria|
|Crabbing on Winchester Bay|
|Solitude on the Oregon coast|
For lots more photos from our 2016 travels, visit our 2016 Travel Highlights Album on Google Photos.
Oh, yeah. We also bought a condo in Scotts Valley, California, near Santa Cruz, with an eye to perhaps settling down there some year. In the meantime we are renting it out.
Jeff and Lucas both have significant others and live (for now) in San Francisco. One of the absolute highlights of the year was Jeff’s surprise proposal and engagement party for Katie. We are thrilled to have her as part of our family. Lucas and his sweetie, Jenna, have big plans to travel internationally this year and then start a unique real estate and media company in Tampa, Florida. (Jenna's current website: Jenna Sue Design)
Our 2017 plan is to spend the spring in Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, Arizona and Utah, then summer and fall in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho exploring Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks as well as many lesser-traveled mountain areas. We plan to be back in the Bay Area by Thanksgiving.
We always love getting visitors, so check out our travel calendar and come stay with us: LeBlanc Itinerary