Thursday, October 18, 2012

Road Trip Part 12: GIANTS

There was no doubt we had crossed the line.  
We‘d gone all the way down the Oregon Coast 
and had wandered into California.

We were planning on visiting Redwood National Park, but when we saw the California price of gasoline was fifty cents a gallon more and the big redwood trees had been turned into a tacky, expensive roadside attraction for crowds of tourists; we made a quick turn-around in the parking lot of Trees of Mystery theme park.  Of course we had to take a photo or two of life-sized Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  By the way I always thought Babe was a girl.  Nope.  I had to walk all over the place to get a decent photo angle on him.  The adolescent boys in the lower left were going for the opposite view and loving it.

Another sure sign we were in California.

So instead of Redwood National Park we went through Jedediah Smith State Park, still on the California side of the border, but not nearly as crowded.  The redwood groves there are considered, “the most scenic in existence.”

According to“The park isn't known for the height of its trees, but it does have many of the world's largest redwoods by volume, and on the best trails trees of truly stupendous size are set among smaller redwoods.”

BIG Trees.

REALLY big trees.

Yet their branches carry the most delicate boughs of lacy needles.

We were running way short on vacation time 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Road Trip Part Eleven: FOOD

Salmon creole soup, spring greens salad and savory muffins---

---stir-fried red potatoes, grilled salmon with lemon wedges, foccacia with rosemary---

---fresh fruit trays (note the little apple swan), three berry tarts, flank steak with wild rice, ---

---warm croissants and pan au chocolate, 
various kinds of cookies and sour dough bread hot from the oven---

---this oven, in Christine Smith’s kitchen.  Assistant chef, Juliette, is featured in this photo.

After five days of meals like this on the MV David B, 
it was quite a let-down to return to the cold world of road food.

We discovered for some reason most eateries were closed for lunch on Mondays in Port Townsend.  We finally gave in and had hot dogs with everything and drag-it-through-the-garden at a little outdoor diner near the waterfront.

Then there were two days of Stuff from the Cooler in the Subaru such as: Tillamook yogurt, (very good) cheese sticks, Fiber One bars, apples; plus my favorite--Cherry pull-and-peel Twizzlers and DH’s preference, corn nuts.

So after we had played find Waldo the Sculpin ---

--got up close and personal with the octopus (those eyes!), watched them feed the seals and played with the crabs and sea anemones at the Seaside Aquarium; we washed our hands and asked the lady at the gift shop to recommend a good place to eat.

She sent us two blocks down the street to Norma’s.

I had the combo platter:  battered and fried salmon, cod and halibut with slaw and fries dipped in malt vinegar.  The only thing that could make the meal better was—

Mocha mud pie.

I wanted to lick the plate.

A short video of Christine at work in her kitchen by another passenger: 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Road Trip Part Ten: FRESH CRABS

When you live a thousand miles from the ocean like we do, fresh seafood is almost impossible to come by.  Sure, we can get the frozen stuff and we pay ridiculous prices for it.  So when Jeffrey got out their crab pot and prepared to catch the entrĂ©e for dinner we were delighted.

He used canned cat food for bait.  He opened holes in the aluminum can with a triangle punch, put the can in the trap with a weight and tossed it overboard.

The next morning we were right there to see what would be in the crab pot.

One big guy had taken the bait.

He’d used his claws to rip open the can and had helped himself to the cat chow.  Big mistake.

He was full of fight.  He was ready to take the fingers off anyone who came near.

Too bad for him.  Jeffrey cleaned out their cooking pot.

Christine put the best part of him on top of her tasty tomato bisque.  
(Not an actual photo of the dish.  We ate it long before I thought to bring out my camera so I stole this picture from the internet)

Fast forward a few days.  We were in Bandon, Oregon going for yet another photo of another lighthouse.
Crab country

We happened to be on the dock just as some non-commercial crab fishermen were bringing in their pots.

This lady had only one, but it looked good to me.

Just a few yards away a guy had made quite a haul. He brought in five Dungeness Crabs in one trap and they were all pretty big.

He was using a salmon head for bait and these crabs still wanted to continue with their feast, not knowing they were next on the menu.  Note the shocked look in their beady eyes. I kinda felt sad for them.

Using a special crab ruler (there’s probably a logical name for the thing) the successful fisherman said these crabs certainly measured up.

To keep them from escaping when they were out of the crab traps they were turned on their backs and left to flail their legs until they were stashed in a cooler and invited home for dinner.

Although crabs are on my list of delicacies, I also consider them food for thought.  They are fascinating creatures.  In a "petting zoo" at the Seaside Aquarium I was given the opportunity to hold this little guy. It decided it would prefer to hide away from the light and under my hand.