Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back Home...

And getting ready for work!

My last days in Seattle were quite pleasant. I didn't know I was going to be so busy. I just wanted to revisit a few spots from the first visit and maybe check out some more on the ceramics scene.

My first stop was back into the International District where I met Binko and John. They were so nice and turned a simple store visit into an historical experience. And while I could blog all about, this tour i'm going to leave in my head. It was a simple visit made simply into a greater personal experience. Thank you Binko and John.

Funny thing about airport security...
They had to check my bags because I was bringing home some glass. They said that they had a hard time seeing through it. Now, in the world of X-rays and what not, i'm sure there would be issues...but having a hard time seeing through glass(?)...well that got me.

Now I'm back in Pasadena breathing smoke. The Angeles Crest NP is on fire!! Got a few pictures on my way to work. Check it out here. There's talk about canceling the first day of school depending on how bad it gets...and at only 10% contained...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oregon Trip: Returning to Seattle

Today I left Portland...I was a bit sad to do so too.
and on the way up, I decided that I wanted to cruise up the Washington coastline and so returned to Astoria, OR. It felt nice to go back to Astoria...because I ended taking the same road back, it felt like i was starting my trip again!

The Southern coastline of WA is not as nice as any part of the OR coastline. And that's all I have to say about that.

Driving back inland from the coastline I saw something terribly sad...
It's real...deforestation...and in our own backyard. See for yourself

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oregon Trip: Portland

I got to Portland yesterday evening, but before I did, I made a stop at Silver Falls State Park (a bit east of Salem). They have a trail that goes around which boasts 10 waterfalls! of course, the weather and time did not permit me to see all the falls. i did see many of the falls though.

Today, I wondered about Portland. It's a mini big city...kinda reminded me of south pasadena if south pasadena was a bit bigger. and boy i have never seen some many pierced and tattoo'd folks in one spot. interesting.

I made a stop at the Portland Art Museum where they had a MC Escher and a history of tattoos. It was a most interesting combination of exhibits. The tatto exhibit was most impressive at it was intermingled with the permanent collection of native american art and asian art.

I then made my way down to waterfront park which is a park along the Willamette River. Some guys from Best Buy were there demoing electric bikes...and man are these things awesome. They had the more expensive electric bikes and the pedal assist bikes which were cheaper. Something to consider if you have a short commute to work like I do.

All that walking made me hungry so I stopped at Andina Restaurant (Peruvian Tapas!) and had one of the best meals of my trip here! I had the Empanadas Caseras De Carne (flaky pastry filled with slow-cooked beef, raisins, and Botija olives), Mixta Nikkei Causa (a traditional preparation of freshly mashed potatoes, infused with key lime juice and pressed into a cake with spicy tuna, crab salad, and crispy shrimp), and to top it off Chocolate, Vanilla and Orange Crème Brûlée. (Pictures are posted here)

I will sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow: Seattle

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oregon Trip: Up to Bend

I was tired as $h!t this morning and drudged up for the drive up to Bend. Totally wasn't feeling it so I took it easy.

I did stop up at Crater Lake for one last look...and, yes, a few more pictures. Don't worry, my 10+ panoramic shots were even enough for me and so i held off a bit.

Since I detoured out of Lava Beds NP in California, I had to stop by and see some lava beds on the way up to Bend. So I stopped at Lava Cast Forest. This site is only accessible by driving on a 10 mile unpaved road (thank you again Budget!) I started to wonder if there really was anything at the end of the road. Thinking that very few took this road, I secretly hoped that it was more of a local thing and that perhaps there would be a nice hot springs for me to soak in. Well...there wasn't.

Lava Cast Forest features a 1 mile loop trail where you can sample a bit of what the lava flows did to the forest of yester-eons ago. The lava basically pasted through the forest and encased the trees which killed them (of course). After the tree decayed over time, they left a lava casting in their place. The terrain is something out of some sci-fi movie, as it is covered with sharp pumice. Hard to imagine anything would live here, but surprise. Aside from the few trees and other small plants, on the pumice grows lichen which will eventually break down the pumice into dirt and sand. This area will be rich with tress again...but probably not in the same time in which humans existence.

Tomorrow: Portland

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oregon Trip: Crater Lake

Today I drove from Brookings to Ashland, which is a short drive (2hrs). Of course it took longer because of all the sights I stopped to see. I drove to California and back into Oregon and through the Oregon Redwood Forest.

The coastline was nice and cool (about 68F), but as I moved inland the weather got to a scorchin' 90F! oi! But it was nice to head into the forest. I stopped along the Smith River to take a little dip.

After I checked into my hotel, on my drive up to Crater Lake I stopped and checked out the Rogue River Gorge. I continued up the Crater Lake and spent the next 4-5 hrs there. As I drove around the rim, I stopped to take pictures of the lake and each time I thought...yes this is a better picture/site. But finally I found the site, which, well, wasn't the best picture/site, but was definitely the spot where I would watch the sunset. I also did fine what I felt was the best picture/site as well. hehe

Since I was at Crater Lake, I had to go touch the water. Well, the trail down is a 1.1mile switchback trail which descends 700ft. This is the equivalence of descending 75 flights of stairs. Of course, what goes down must come up. And while this wasn't a hugely difficult task, I spent a bit too much time down by the lake. I did want to get back to my sunset spot. I was also wearing my flip-flops ;)

Crater Lake is beautiful...the pictures speak for themselves (as soon as I upload them). Driving down the mountain road at night is pretty exhausting so i'll upload the pictures tomorrow, as I got back to my room at 11PM.

Good night world

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oregon Trip: Brookings, the last city on my coastal tour

From Coos Bay to Brookings is about 1.5-2 hrs of driving. However, The southern coastline is so beautiful that it took me about 6-7 hours. Click this to see the pictures.

On my way down I thought about the top 5 thoughts in my head on this trip so far:

5) I wish I could stay on THIS beach a little bit longer (after chilling on the beach for a few hours)

4) What else is there to eat...typically 1 hour after I've left the restaurant

3) I wish I had my suby

2) I wish I had my suby ;)

1) The Oregon Coastline is so fuckin beautiful. One of the most beautiful I've seen; only 2nd to the Chilean Coastline of Patagonia

I had dinner in Brookings and was talking about my itinerary with the bartender. After talking to her, I came back to the hotel to cancel ALL my hotel reservations and make all new ones. Good thing too, because according to her my second week in Oregon would not have had the luster the first week did. In fact, I would have dreaded it.

On a sidenote, courtesy the helpful bartender: Crescent City, CA; Brookings, OR; Port Orford, OR. These cities are all 27 miles away from eachother (going from South to North). The reason: This is the distance that a team of horses can be led in 1 day.

So after making my adjustments, I quickly drove back up to Cape Sebastien to watch the sunset. I walked up and down the beach looking for the perfect perching spot. I applauded the sun...good job, sun!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oregon Trip: Going to Coos Bay (Oregon Sand Dunes?)

Down to Coos Bay. This mean just a couple of more days on the coast. You'd think you would get your fill of coastline...but it just ain't so.

The Oregon coastline is beautiful. The mountains just drop into the sea and there are lighthouses all along the way. there are numerous bridges crossing over rivers and creeks heading into the sea. and strangely enough, there are sand dunes which stretch down about 50 miles of the coastline.

While driving down 101, I stopped, got out of the car and started to climb up the sandy hillside where I was greeted by empty and vast dunes. It's like walking on the soft sand of the beach...but deep. In fact, while running around on the dunes, my foot got stuck deep and my flip-flop (just one) was sucked into the sand. I thought I lost it but I reached into the sand (about 6"-12" down) and somehow found my Havaiana. The whole time, the coastal breeze is shooting sand everywhere, stinging my face and slowly destroying my sunglasses (had to watch my camera too). Of course, Spy's have lifetime warranties...the catch is that they stop production of their glasses and change designs rapidly so good luck replacing those lenses!

In Coos Bay, I found a Sushi restaurant called Sunmi's 식당 (shik-dang = restaurant) and decided to stop by. I asked what was good and the sushi chef, a korean gent, said Jjang-pong (which is a korean-chinese spicy seafood noodle soup). However, since I had a hankering for gal-bi (Korean BBQ) I had to order that. To top this hodge-podge or asian cuisine off, you got a fortune cookie for dessert. WTF? Anyways, Korean food in Coos Bay is...well, I'm just glad to be supporting my peeps. hehe

Oregon Trip: Animals and Sealife

Went down to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and checked out the fishies. I don’t know what it is about the aquarium that makes me feel like a kid again. Zoos don’t quite do it for me the same way the aquarium does. Funny thing is that I don’t recollect ever really going to aquariums much when I was younger.

After the aquarium, I drove further south to Sea Lion Caves. This is the largest sea cave in the world and home to many mating sea lions. Unfortunately, there were no sea lions in the cave as it’s not the mating season. Just missed it! The cave was, however, very neat…and quite fragrant.

On the drive back to the room, I stopped by this sushi spot, which is run by this Japanese guy who lived down in Orange County and was very happy to see me. I asked if this was the only true sushi house on the coastline and he said that that might quite possibly be the case. A lot of people will come visit him; some of them even come in from Salem and Eugene. Suffice to say, the sushi was yummy!
Tomorrow I go down to Coos Bay.

Oregon: The Next Day

The other day I took a nice hike to Drift Creek Falls. It was not too long, but it was nice. The road up to Drift Creek was…well...long. There are two roads that head up to Drift Creek and the directions provided by my hotel took me pass Drift Creek Covered Bridge. I guess a lot of people like to check out the bridge, but it is really something you can pass by in literally a minute…in fact, while I was taking pictures I did see many people pass it…and flip a u-turn to come by to check it out and leave again in seconds (like 30 seconds). The road up was nice, but I started to panic a bit when the road lost it’s pavement. Lucky for me the good people at Budget upgraded my car to an AWD.

The Drift Creek Trail was nice. The weather was perfect for hiking. Not too hot and not too cold. It was actually on the cooler side to be honest…lovely. The forest up here is green and wet. Lots and lots of moss…some of it even looked like sphagnum moss (something I couldn’t live without in Patagonia – wet wipes). Before you get to the falls, though, you have to cross over this suspension bridge. It sways pretty nice when you get towards the middle. Drift Creek Falls on the other side is awesome!
I came back down (the short way!) and was off to the glass foundry to blow some glass, but being the high travel season, I simply went to make reservations for the next day. I just spent the rest of my time strolling along the beach until dinner.

I was really expecting a great dinner, after all, the dining guide expressed that chef so-and-so was presenting his dishes for a fine dining experience. But the food was mediocre and the plates…ouch…they were atrocious. I’ve never such ugly plates…and I’ve seen some ugly plates.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oregon Trip: Leaving Seattle

Welcome Oregon!

the weather has been moderate to drizzly. i can do this weather...better than traveling in the heat!

Stopped by Ecola (pronounced like seriously) State Park and had a mini orgasm checking out the coastline! I had seen pictures, but to see the mountains meeting the ocean with the big boulders on the!

The cottage they hooked me up with at the Ester Lee is awesome! a nice bay window faces the ocean and a short walk to the beach!

But today i'm tired from all the driving and so i'm going to take it easy tonight...or perhaps i might meander my way to the Chinook Casino for some black jack!

hope the weather stays nice...without the drizzle because most of the activities are outdoor ones. of course, there are no REAL plans...just gonna do what i wanna do!

got the pictures here

The Oregon Trip!

So my trip trip started in Seattle and I thought I was just spending one night here, but I guess I booked two! So I got in on monday evening and the weather was nice. it was slightly drizzling...and well...that's nice for seattle. the funny thing was that you were passed an umbrella when getting off the plane (we got off on the tarmac) akin to getting lei'd in hawaii (do they still do that?)

on this trip i get to play with my new toy: a Garmin Nuvi GPS. Budget would let you rent one for like $60/wk and since I was going to have it for 2 (2x$60=$120) i figured i would just go ahead and buy a new one. but since i'm not adjusted to using this GPS I ended going to my hotel completely on a local route! i was so frustrated and worried because the thing kept saying i was going to get to my hotel by midnight! i just hopped on the freeway and got myself there with minimal GPS help.

GPS issues: took me to a dog bakery when I was trying to get breakfast. they also really ought to put in all the different one-way streets...almost got killed (not really). and maybe some of the GPS dudes should meet up with the Google maps people and get really cool looking GPS's...more accurate to.

anyways, first impressions: nice little city. quite diverse (many many asians). the Seattlites seem to like their porn, pho and teriyaki. I might have seen more pho places then coffee places and it seems like the teriyaki places are all in competition for the best in town.

but i enjoyed romping around downtown seattle and going to the waterfront...although i did miss pike's market, although i did drive by. I also went to Wing Luke Asian Museum where they had an art exhibit featuring two ceramic artists Akio Takamori and Patti Warashina and a new artist (to me, anyways) named Joseph Park (great work!) I also went to the Olympic Sculpture Park.

I also reconnected with a friend from Korea that I hadn't seen in years. Catching up over dinner and drinks was fun!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I've been hanging out in Minnesota with my sister and her family. It's been great to get out of Lala-Land and close to family. I probably only get to really come out every other year or so, although I am fortunate to see them all about once a year.

Since I'll be going to Oregon next week I just wanted to stop by and see the kiddos (turning 4 and 7) before their birthday, which I'll be missing. Oh how those two have kept me busy these last few days.

Here are some pictures.