Sea Ranch Chapel

Sea Ranch Chapel

Sea Ranch Chapel

 

About 10 years ago I went on a road trip from where I live in Eugene, Oregon with a friend of mine and we drove down to San Diego, California to visit my niece. We mostly drove down the coast and stopped for the night at whatever town we were close to when we got tired of driving for the day. We ate at a lot of really neat roadside restaurants on the coast and inland and saw some beautiful country. We drove through the giant redwoods in northern California, stopped at Bodega Bay where “The Birds” was filmed, ate one of the best hamburgers I ever had at a little place outside of Santa Rosa and we made a quick stop at a winery for lunch in Napa Valley. We took our bicycles along and got to ride them to dinner from the hotels we stayed at in the evenings and when we got to San Diego we would throw them in the back of the car and ride on the beach bike paths and stop at the bars alongside them and eat and drink some very good stuff. One of the most memorable things I saw on the trip was on the third day just after we had breakfast and checked out of our room where we stayed in Fort Bragg. We were driving along admiring the beautiful scenery, we had the ocean on one side of the road and beautiful forests on the other side. About an hour after we had been traveling I was looking at the forested side of the road when all of sudden I saw an odd little place that looked like it belonged in an “Alice In Wonderland” movie. I did a double take but we were by the place in just a minute. I asked my friend if he just saw what I saw and he didn’t because he was looking at the road in front of him since it was his turn to drive. I suggested we turn around and go see I what I thought I saw was as unusual as I thought it was. So we did turn around and drove up to this really cool place that really didn’t look real it was different. It definitely has a fantasy land appearance about it. There was a parking lot outside the structure and when we got out we discovered it was a chapel built as a memorial to a young man who died too young. It also reminds me of the nursery rhyme of the “Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe” because it almost looked like it came out of a fairy tale looking up the hill at it from the main road. Inside it has beautiful mahogany wood and stained glass windows. If you live anywhere near this place I highly recommend checking it out, it is quite a unique place.

Here is the web address: http://www.thesearanchchapel.org/

Inside the Sea Ranch Chapel

Inside the Sea Ranch Chapel

Advertisements

Traveling In Mexico: Puerto San Blas Is A Beautiful Destination!

In 1984 my boyfriend and I decided we needed to get away from our lives in Eugene, Oregon and rethink our personal life journey. We chose Mexico as our destination and a little fishing village Greg had visited twice before named San Blas. It is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico located between Puerto Vallarta and Matzalan and we decided to drive there. We had an itinerary of driving to San Francisco on to Anaheim, California and from there to Mazatlan until we got to San Blas in about a two week trip. I was aware that once I got there the town had whale watching, deep sea fishing, surfing, waterfalls and hiking in the jungle and beaches that there were NO condos there, NO major resort hotels, NO shopping malls, NO freeways NO golf courses and NO stoplights and a cobblestone street. You don’t need a car to get around although it is handy if you want to go visit surrounding towns or take day trips places with taking the sort of scary Mexican Bus, the drivers go a little faster than I would on these sort of old and winding roads. But they will get you there if you are braver that I was. You can walk around town, and buses run everywhere in Mexico. San Blas is a Mexican town – and traving in Mexico by car all of the way was definitely fraught with a lot of culture shock for me. We went to the beach almost every day and I have to say that as beautiful as it was I did eventually get bored with it, but I guess that is not a bad problem to have. There is a ruins of an old fort that we visited called the “Fort of San Basilio, located on a hill at the northeast side of the city. A cobbled road winds uphill (actually most of the roads here are cobbled) through a banana plantation and past a cemetery and aging mission church, culminating at the fort, which commands a panoramic view of San Blas and the bay. Massive black cannons and crumbling stone walls, a monument to the colonial days. There is a deserted beach with a “wow factor” like no other called Matanchen Beach, just outside San Blas that we drove to several times, when we got “bored” with the long sandy beach we could walk to from our apartment we rented for a month. We took the La Tovara Jungle Cruise, which actually ended up at the end of Matanchen Bay, it was an amazing sight, with the beach going on for what seemed eternity, with not a soul in sight. Our boat was piloted by a young man named Alfredo, he was a nice kid with very large ears, and we went with a couple we had met in town and had a lot of fun together. We saw a lot of turtles on the trip in to the fresh water estuary as well as some very large iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks. When we made it to the small village destination the water became fresh and there was a bar and a restaurant for us tourists to eat and drink at when we got there We drank a lot of beer and we swam in the warm clear water with the “tropical” fish and took in a lot of sun as well. Ir was very cool to see all of the tropical fish, in their natural environment, that were just like the ones that I am used to seeing in my roommate and I’s aquarium that I have back home and then to actually get to swim with them was absoulutely amazing! Our favorite restaurant in San Blas was a place called McDonalds, but it wasn’t like the restaurant with the golden arches. It is located a half block from the plaza on Juarez street, which is one of the three main streets in town. It has a nice atmosphere where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner as you watch the world go by. My favorite meal there quickly became what was called “Brocheta Combinada”, which was a shish-ke-bob with 3 kinds of meat and onions and peppers served with rice. It was always good and was usually prepared fairly quickly. The three meats were pork, beef and chicken, and they did serve fish and shrimp but they never called it “meat”. There was also live music there provided by the “McDonald Brothers”. I do not know if they still perform but since it has been quite a few years since I was there it is not too likely, but I do know that “McDonalds” is still in business as a restaurant in San Blas so I imagine it must be keeping up some kind of quality to still be in business.  This was a beautiful little town with gorgeous beaches when I visited there and I am willing to bet that no matter what has changed it probably still has the beautiful beaches!

Want To Visit Spain? Hostal Mini Golf is recommended.

I went to Spain for w weeks and I wish I could go back and revisit several of the places I went to. One of them is a nice little coastal motel called Hostal Mini Golf in a town called Los Canos de Meca. It would be over run with tourists if it was in a town at any coast we have here in United States, especially if the town had a climate like San Diego, California like this one does, if not nicer. The rooms are a bit sparse but, when you are staying in a place on a beautiful warm beach and ocean like this place is located, maybe you shouldn’t spend very much time in your room. There are so many restaurants and beautiful locations within walking, or bicycling distance that you shouldn’t really spend any more time in your room more than to sleep.

Hostal Mini Golf - The Courtyard

Hostal Mini Golf – The Courtyard

There is an attractive bar and restaurant on the grounds, it used to be run by the owner of the Hostal and he was a very good cook, but that was enough years ago that I am sure he is retired. But given the perfectionist characteristics of the owner I bet he has someone who knows what they are doing running the place, although I would love to hear from someone who has been there recently.

At the bar at Mini Golf

At the bar at Mini Golf

There are a lot of places you can stay in this beautiful coastal paradise I just find this one more in touch with the character of the town, along with the reason you go on vacation in the first place, which is why I would rather go there again than to stay at one of the “fancier” places you can stay at. Some of those other places have really good bars and restaurants that I encourage you to visit, but they are more like any other nice place to stay – which isn’t bad but it isn’t as charming as the Mini Golf is.

Within a days’ drive are many really cool places to visit in Spain. My reccomendation is to fly into the beautiful city of Sevilla and spend at least a couple of days checking out the wonderful historic buildings, eating the wonderful “sevillain” food and take a horse drawn carraige sighseeing trip through the center of the city. It is only a day from there to Los Canos and along the way Jerez de la frontera and Cadiz. Once you are in canos de meca you can drive to Tarifa which is across from the Rock of Gibraltor  and once there have wonderful Moorish Spanish food.  We found a huge “tapas” bar right at the southernmost tip of the city which had an amazingly huge assortment of local Spanish appetizers and Moorish influenced ones as well. It was the most beautiful 10 foot assortment of wonderful buffet food I have ever seen in my life, platters of fresh cooked beautiful plates of seafood, grilled meats, fresh marinated vegetables. It still makes my moth water, it was like the deli of my dreams so to speak.  Farther down the road you can go see La Alhambra10 Alhambra

which is a majestic combination of a Moorish palace and an old Spanish Fortress that deserves to be ranked as one the “wonders of the world”. This is not including all of the wonderful lovely warm beaches there are in Southern Spain.

Canos Beach in front of La Pirata

This photo was taken from one of the restaurants on the beach of Canos de meca, of which there are a great many. There are beautiful olive trees everywhere and beautiful Andalusian horses grazing in the fields around the area.

If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in Spain I highly recommend flying into Sevilla and visiting the places between it and Granada for about 10 days, I guaranty you will love it. I hope I will be able to go back there again but if I don’t get to I will always remember this beautiful area of this beautiful country.

I Had A Blast At Expo ’86 in Vancouver, Canada!

When I turned 19 my boyfriend and I drove 8 hours from where we lived in Eugene, Oregon to celebrate my birthday in Vancouver,Canada because he was 21 and we wanted to go out to a fancy bar and restaurant for my birthday, legally since the drinking age is 21 in Oregon and 19 in Canada. We had a great time and we ate at some really good restaurants and visited some awesome regal old Hotels. When I read that the World Fair in 1986 was going to be held there I was determined I was going to go. I figured it was probably the closest the World Fair was going to be held near to where I lived for a long time if not for the rest of my life and I really loved Vancouver when I went and visited there that one time. So I started asked around among my friends as to who might be interested in taking a four or five day trip there to go to EXPO 86. I got a lot of maybe’s but not too many people who would give me a firm commitment and from what I had been reading about how many people were likely to attend I knew that in order to go I needed to make all of the arrangements for Hotel to stay at within walking distance of the Fair several months before we went. I finally got a firm commitment from my sister and her husband and a good friend that I had known for about ten years, my boyfriend wasn’t interested but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from going. I am a very good vacation planner and I had a nice trip planned for the four of us that started on July 1 and we would spend the first evening in Seattle as three of us had to work half a day on the day we left so that would get us into Seattle around 6:00 where we could go out to dinner at our favorite restaurant there and then get a good night sleep and arrive in Vancouver in time to spend a couple of hours scoping out The EXPO site, I read that late afternoon was the least busy time to go there, I had gotten us three day passes that were cheaper that going for two single days admission, before we spent the next two days exploring the whole fair all day. We checked into our hotel that was within walking distance of the fair as was advertised and walked down and spent a few hours looking at the sites and setting aim on the things that looked the most interesting to explore the next day. There had been an advertisement for a service that you could call up and tell them where you were staying and what kind of food you wanted and they would give you the name of a restaurant to walk to so we called them up and told them we wanted steak and seafood and sure enough there was a great restaurant right around the corner. We ended up using the service for the next two nights as well and all the recommended restaurants were great. I had gotten one double bed room for the quick night we spent in Seattle and two rooms for the 3 nights in Vancouver, one with two beds for Terry and I and another room for my sister and her husband. The Hotel we were staying in had a decent bar and restaurant if we wanted to eat or drink something “very convenient”. The four of us walked down to the Fair the next morning after we had breakfast together at the hotel and spent part of the day looking at exhibits together and then went our separate ways to see the exhibits that we each were personally interested in. Terry and I’s plan was to see the really big exhibits we wanted to see first, there were only a few “had to see” of those, like the Egyptian exhibit of things from the tomb of King Ramses II and the Chinese Pavilion was very large and we also wanted to see the huge panoramic theatre and technology center. Those were the ones we noticed had the largest lines also on our two hour quick tour when we first arrived. So Terry and I went to the really popular ones when we saw the lines were short and then stopped at whatever countries pavilions were easy to get into after that. We had snacks and drinks in between. We had arranged to meet my sister and her husband at the

EXPO Theatre for a LoverBoy concert at 6:00 and then walked back to the motel together and ate a restaurant we got another recommendation for. The second restaurant was just as good an Italian place and after we ate we went. When we got done eating we drove to a fireworks celebration at the tallest building in Vancouver that had all glass elevators that kind of freaked my sister and I out when we looked down. The view of the city was amazing and the fireworks were very good. The next day was our last day at the Fair as we would need to get on the road the next morning fairly early to make it back home in one day and pick up my sister and brother-in-laws kids from their grandparents on the way. Once again we had breakfast at the hotel and walked to the fair and went our separate ways again. Terry and I got the big two exhibits we wanted to see done by noon so we spent the rest of the day popping in and out of a lot of the smaller countries offering and ate a bunch of ethnic offerings of foods from several small vendors. We got back to our room about 5 and took a shower and my sister and her husband were still not back by around 6:30 so we called and got a recommendation for an oriental restaurant around the corner and left a note of their hotel room door telling where we were going if they wanted to join us. As we were getting off the elevator in the lobby my sister and her husband were just getting in from the fair. My sister look bedraggled and pissed off. The phrase she looked like something the cat dragged in came to my mind but I didn’t say anything. We told them what we were doing but from the way my sister looked I didn’t expect to see them. Terry and I laughed a little at how much un-fun my sister looked like she was having. Much to my surprise they showed up about half an hour later and we had a fabulous meal and a good time. My sister told us during dinner, when her husband went to the bathroom, that he had tried to make almost every exhibit at the fair for the two days that Terry and only went to the big ones and then just the ones that were not busy after that. She said she wished that they had done that but her husband was on a mission to see everything. My sister was actually fairly pissed off at him for running her ragged for several weeks after that. We went back to our hotel where my sister proceeded to get very drunk to get her hostility worked out I guess. We all got pretty buzzed and started home the next morning with a bit of a hangover but all we had to do was sit in the car and drive 8 hours so it was a pretty non eventful trip home. I had a great time and have very fond memories of the trip, I think if you were to ask my sister I think she is still pissed off at her now ex-husband! Sweet memories!

My sister and brother in law and me

My sister and brother in law and me