Boise, Rock Springs, Laramie.

Leaving Washougal, we headed to Boise we arrived into town at about 4:30 pm and I went out for a run along a beautiful greenway in Boise. It was shaded and the run was delightful even though it was 85 or 90 degrees outside. I came back to the hotel room to find the rest of our party and we walked to Whole Foods and had dinner from the salad bar. Jeremy was a little bit hangry, so I declined taking a shower before heading out to dinner and on the way back, he took a photo which shows that really, I’ve had ice cream every day for 5 weeks. I’m a little bit round now. It’s OK. I’ll take care of it when I get home, I hope. It’s harder to shed a few ice cream pounds after menopause, so fingers crossed. Haha, I’ve been enjoying the ice cream. No regrets.

Boise was a pleasant surprise of a town …beautiful and lots of nice public green spaces.

The next morning, Jeremy biked up Bogus Basin, a ski resort mountain. And then we headed out of town towards Estes Park, Colorado.

A quick overnight stop at Rock Springs, Wy. Less than $85 for a roadside motel – including the dog fee. They had a dog run out back and also we had Jimmy Johns for dinner. I walked to the Walmart down the street to buy fingernail clippers. In the morning, we went to the local dog park and did a morning Edda lap around a pond. Our dog park adventures really depend on the presence of other dogs as Elka is very social. There was one other dog here where the owner tried to get us to drive south instead of east for better scenery (we did not take his suggested route – it would have added 3 hours to the already 5 hour drive). The owner and dog and Elka played fetch for a while – Elka was thrilled.

Then we stopped for lunch in Laramie, WY. First a stop at another dog park and this is the best dog park that we’ve been to – maybe except for the one near Berkeley. Lush grass, shade and other nice doggies. Also, the people were very friendly including a lady who worked at a group home managed by the ARC in Laramie.

A beautiful lunch in Laramie – I was very pleased with this meal. The internet is wonderful for finding this little local gems.

Bend, noodles and free birthday cake.

Wed morning, we left Seth and Emy in Klamath Falls and headed towards Bend. We wanted to make it there by 11 am because Jeremy had a conference call that he needed to attend. We found a nice dog park with some water for Elka and hung out there while Jeremy made his work call. Elka had a blast.

I tried to encourage her to swim, but no dice yet. Lots of interest, but she did not get in. Everyone was very friendly at the dog park and Elka got to run off some energy. When we made long trips with little kids, I remember centering our stops at playgrounds for Vince. This time, we stop at dog parks. Sometimes it’s a dud, we arrive at mid day with full sun and no other doggies to play with an a dusty patch of nothing. Other times, we can play for hours.

We ate downtown and ordered a meal for Elka off their pup menu. And we played Pokemon Go.

We arrived at my parents’ house in Washougal on Wed evening. Thursday, my birthday, we basically ate all day. I got in a run in the morning and we toured my mother’s amazing garden.

I ate a lot of figs from her fig tree. Edda enjoyed these figs as well. Jeremy is not a fig fan.

My mother also tends to bury chicken bones in her garden – she thinks it’s good for her plants and Elka enjoyed spending the morning finding them. She tends to hold them in her mouth and trot around the garden, so we were, for the most part, able to take them from her before she chomped down on them.

We went out to lunch to have noodles for long life.

Me and my sweetie.

My long life noodles.

And then like 4 hours later, we went out to Salty’s for dinner where it was very nice and I got a free cake for my birthday which was delicious and nothing tastes better than free. Then we capped off my birthday by driving to Costco where we saved a dollar a gallon on gas and looked at the diamond jewelry and contemplated buying a smart TV for my parents.

We left early Friday morning to head to Boise Idaho. A nice birthday with my parents.

Quaker, hiking, Shasta.

Sunday, I tried to go the to Quaker service down the street, and I did go in and sit in a pew, but I’ve been having weird coughing spells that can last for a few minutes, but can be quite loud and violent and then nothing for the rest of the day (except at night, when I do cough a bit as well). So, of course, once I sat down, I could feel the coughing coming on and there were only like 15 people in the service and the service is silent – so I walked out after only a few minutes and I tried to calm it down and I did get it to calm down, but then I went back into the lobby of the sanctuary and I started coughing again because the more I think about it, the more I can’t stop the coughing. Oh well. I hope God forgives me.

On Monday, Emy was kind enough to mind Edda for the afternoon and Jeremy and I went on a hike together! We are each often outside, but we are very rarely on an outdoor adventure with each other. Elka got to come on this adventure and she happily spent the 2 hour hike chasing little lizards that dotted the trail.

Jeremy and Emy went to Mt. Shasta today (Tuesday) and Jeremy biked while Emy hiked. The weather was gorgeous. I had a lot of meetings this morning (4 of them starting at 7 am) and then set all of the out of the office messages on my email and voicemail and closed my computer and declared no more working until we are back home in about 10 days.

Around crater lake.

Saturday, Seth and Jeremy went back to Crater Lake and biked the entire loop around the lake, about 40 miles. Emy, Edda and I hung out in the morning, heading out the the Klamath Falls farmers market and eating lunch together. Jeremy had suggested that we find something for dinner at the farmers market and I was prepared to pay $15-18 dollars for a chicken, but there was only one meat vendor and they charged a whopping $35 dollars for a chicken. We passed on that…yikes.

The boys got back while we were pulling out of the driveway to see Barbie – so I handed Edda over to Jeremy and Emy and I went to a completely empty theater to watch Barbie. I enjoyed it more than Emy, it was very clever and was entertaining. Then we had a delicious dinner together at Emy’s house with much cheaper chicken – though probably less well treated during its life.

Mountain biking birthday and cake.

Bob and Katherine flew home to the east coast on Thursday – the airport is about 1.5 hours away and they had a very early flight, so Jeremy and Emy drove them to Medford the day before and they had a nice afternoon together and Bob and Katherine stayed at a hotel overnight. We are here for about another week.

Thursday, Jeremy turned 55 and he spent the morning working while I got a nice long-ish run in and then in the afternoon, he and Emy went mountain biking. Jeremy rented a mountain bike for a day and experimented with this other type of biking.

Go Emy!

We’ve mostly been having dinners at home, either at Emy’s place or our airbnb. We celebrated with a lemon cake that night.

Friday morning, Jeremy and Seth (who works 4-10 hour days and generally has Fridays off) went mountain biking again – it was a success, no injuries.

Emy was kind enough to mind Edda and Elka during the morning so I could scout downtown Klamath Falls and look at the bookstore, plant shop and consignment stores.

The great pacific northwest.

Monday, we all walked around Moore Park which is in the town of Klamath and is beautiful.

We played one hole of disc golf.

Jeremy biked Tuesday morning and I worked.

I managed to tuck a run in between Jeremy’s morning ride and the afternoon family adventure.

We all went to crater lake and walked the paved paths. It was lively, but not crowded and the weather was perfect.

In nature.

Saturday was travel day and we ordered pizza for dinner and hung out at Emy and Seth’s. On Sunday we drove about an hour from their house to have a picnic lunch and enjoy the outdoors. It’s beautiful here, crisp temperatures at night and sunshine and temperate during the days. We are enjoying spending time with each other.

Napa, Davis, Dorris.

On Friday in the Napa Valley, Jeremy went on an early morning bike ride. Up another mountain – again now the details are fuzzy. Very foggy and slightly damp.

We had a late breakfast at a diner in the town of Calistoga and then headed to the town of Napa to do some sightseeing and shopping. One of our goals was to get a good family photo. Edda can be fickle and gives side eye to our attempts.

So we joined in on the grump fest for a few photos.

In the town of Napa, we went walking and went into a few stores. Honestly, the tasting rooms were a bit intimidating and though we were there to buy some wine, we hesitated to walk into them. Edda had a nice time. We played Pokemon Go as a family.

We came back to the hotel in the afternoon and I camped out at the pool and enjoyed people watching. There was the girls weekend, the young family with the dad and the 2nd wife, the honeymooning couple. I don’t spend time at the pool usually and the world has moved without me and everyone wears a bikini from the 12 year old to the 65 year old (except me!). For dinner, we went to Lovina, which is a tip-free restaurant, where the price on the menu includes health insurance, 401K, and vacation for the staff. We sat down and started in on the meal, and we started going down a TiK tok rabbit hole of funny animal videos and so we agreed to put all our phones on the table and talk to each other as if we liked each other (which we do).

The food was good, but again, Jeremy’s cooking has kind of ruined this kind of restaurant for me, but we enjoyed ordering all different dishes and passing the plates among us to try the different meals. The servings were generous, we were able to box them to eat for breakfast the next morning.

Another attempt at a family photo.

The next morning, we packed up relatively early and dropped Vince back off at Davis and then drove to Klamath Falls to visit Emy and Seth. Bob and Katherine were flying in that day as well from New Mexico. On the way to Klamath, we stopped at the town of Dorris and took a few photos and I was able to thrift some sweatshirts from the side of the road which have been lifesavers because I forgot to pack enough warm clothing and we were heading towards a place that gets to be 40 or 50 degrees at night.

Berkeley, Davis, Napa.

Wed was our last full day in Berkeley. I’m not sure what we did – Jeremy biked up another hill which now I’ve forgotten the details.

I hung out at home and worked a bit, but really, I did not do very much. In the afternoon, Jeremy started packing our stuff (which takes a few hours at least) and I went to a laundromat and did some laundry. That evening, Jeremy made the most delicious salmon dinner – really comparable to any high end restaurant entree. We had the sourdough from the Cheese Board and I think I’ve never had a more delicious dinner. We still hung out in our backyard and enjoyed the beautiful evening outdoor weather.

The next morning, we did some last minute packing and were getting ready to send a very apologetic email to the airbnb host telling her that we accidentally broke a light fixture and that the replacement was slated to be delivered to the house that afternoon (I couldn’t bear to pay the extra $50 for next day shipping, but had paid the extra $15 for 3 day shipping, but I counted the three business days wrong because…I’m lame that way), but about 30 minutes before we left, the FedEx truck pulled up with the package and we were able to hush hush replace the fixture without anyone knowing (hopefully – fingers crossed) and did not send any email to our host. I asked that we go to the amazing dog park again and let Elka run around in her happy place.

Then we drove to Davis to pick Vince up to do the very short and fancy part of the trip, our couple of days in Napa. Vince took us to an Indian food place for lunch which was very delicious. Because Jeremy is such an excellent cook of many classic dishes, my main desire for eating out is cheap hole in the wall ethnic foods which this lunch was a prime example of.

We drove about 90 minutes to Napa using winding roads and areas which had been through forest fires a few years ago. We drove through lots of vineyards to our hotel in Calistoga. I know that vacations, even very beautiful and expensive ones, can be stressful and fraught with expectations and timing and competing desires, so I’m always trying to be gentle with me and all my fellow travelers. There are lots of needs to look out for so we don’t get too grumpy with each other. The first one is that Vince gets his own room which took me a long time to get used to because, all four of us could technically fit into one room and I can be cheap in certain ways which include spending money on “unnecessary” hotel rooms. But it’s hard with all of us essentially having different sleep (Edda first at 8 pm, us next at 10 pm and Vince last at who knows what time) and wake up times (Edda first or second at 5 am or 7 am, Jeremy next at 6 am, me next at 6:30 am and Vince at 10 am?) and different habits (Jeremy out at 6:30 am for a bike ride, Edda having breakfast at 7 am, Doris on a work call at 8 am, etc, etc.). So Vince got his own room (which we booked with an accessible shower which Edda has already enjoyed) and Edda shares with us.

I went to the pool in the afternoon on Thursday while everyone else took a nap and/or researched bike routes or whatever they do (maybe watch TikTok). Then we went to the restaurant at the hotel where we, tyros at wine appreciation, ordered a flight of white wine. We promptly forgot which one was which after the server carefully placed them in order and explained to us each type and then we decided that all of them pretty much taste exactly the same. We tried all the different ways of tasting the difference including clearing our palates, we tried closing our eyes and really concentrated on the taste. Haha, nonetheless, they were enjoyable and tasty. Wine appreciation is lost on us – maybe tonight we’ll try a red flight. We won’t try the real kicker which is that blindfolded even true wine connoisseurs can’t really tell red from white.

Don’t lick your sister.

Katherine asked for a family photo which we are attempting to do during the few days that we are together. We are not very good at this. The first time I mentioned this at dinner, Vince was like ummm, I have only this t-shirt to wear and didn’t bring any nice clothes. But no matter. We tried! We’ll keep trying. This was a not very good first attempt. That chair does nothing for Edda and it looks like I’m strangling the dog, but other than that, it’s perfect.

We walked to town which is about a half mile down the road to go looking for some ice cream (which we found) and we also found the beautiful labyrinth on the way. Vince and I both reached nirvana, but Elka, she broke all the rules and crossed the lines, I’m not sure it counted for her.

Starlight, 25 years and a fruit tart.

On Monday, we both worked essentially a full day at work. Jeremy went into the Berkeley office, I worked from our rented airbnb. Vince, in the meantime, after spending the weekend with Dani (who had commuted from Livermore back to Irvine), made his way via train towards us in Berkeley. We were able to book him a seat on the Coast Starlight so he could see the California coastline and we could get photos of his train ride (we’ve never been).

We did not know that they had meal service, but Vince found out and got himself a dinner reservation.

Who knew you could get steak on a train?

We had initially booked him the ticket to drop him off at Davis because we had rented only a two bedroom house and thought we wouldn’t make the trip to Davis until we needed to leave Berkeley on Thursday, but it turned out that Vince kind of really wanted the stuff that we carted from SoCal and then logically that would be easier to get off earlier from the train near Berkeley at 9:30 ish Monday night and stay with us that night and have us drop him off at Davis later the next day. So we moved Edda into our room (damn, she makes a lot of noise at night and the entire room was filled with bed and she tipped herself off the side of her bed so she ended up being wedged between her bed and the dresser. Jeremy and I unwedged her as she remained asleep and unaware our sleepy girl) and gave Vince Edda’s old room.

The next day was our 25th wedding anniversary and I had the best day of doing bits of what we do everyday and enjoying having everyone around. I worked a few hours Tuesday morning. Vince and Jeremy went out on a morning walk to get fancy coffee. Jeremy got a muffin with a soft boiled egg in the middle of it. Vince got some sort of weird seasonal coffee with two shots and watermelon juice.

They got me some flowers on the way home and had bought me an almond blueberry muffin which I ate after my meetings concluded.

Then I got to spend midday with Vince. We went to downtown Berkeley where we went to three independent bookstores and bought books and had a nice lunch at a little outdoor bistro. We went to see the outside of Chez Panisse and also bought a loaf of bread at the Cheese Board. Then after Jeremy finished his early afternoon meeting, he came to pick us up and then all of us drove to Davis to drop Vince and his stuff off at his apartment.

Then we came back to Berkeley. We had contemplated making a dinner reservation somewhere, but we decided to have grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches, a salad and nice dessert and enjoy the backyard of the rental.

Edda was very excited about this plan.

Jeremy made the most perfect sandwiches.

I had some bubbly kombucha which was…odd, but celebratory.

The three of us enjoyed an entire fruit tart and it was a very nice celebration. I’m the luckiest, really. I do not know how I got so lucky to have met Jeremy and have this wonderful life together. I’m so lucky that I had my whole family together on our anniversary and that we had a very nice day together doing all the things we like doing with and for each other. 25 years is a long time, here’s to another 25 years.