Seagulls on the beach at Bandon, OR

Seagulls on the beach at Bandon, OR

The final stretch of our road trip took us along the Oregon Coast from Bandon to Astoria.  Every Pacific coast beach seems unique in some way — different from its neighbors near or far away.  Part of our drive took us through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, giving us a taste of a landscape with high, wind-sculpted dunes.

Here are some photos from our drive along Highway 101 in Oregon:

Evening arrival in Bandon, Oregon -- fog banks and gray

Evening arrival in Bandon, Oregon — fog banks and gray

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Sunrise in Bandon, OR

Sunrise in Bandon, OR

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Coquille River Lighthouse

Coquille River Lighthouse

Bandon, Oregon mural

Bandon, Oregon mural

Logging country (One day we counted 24 logging trucks during our drive)

Logging country (One day we counted 24 logging trucks during our drive)

Reedsport, Oregon

Reedsport, Oregon

Conde B McCullough Memorial Bridge north of Coos Bay

Conde B McCullough Memorial Bridge north of Coos Bay

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Landscape near Dean Elk Viewing Station in Reedsport

Landscape near Dean Elk Viewing Station in Reedsport

Queen Anne's Lace along roadside

Queen Anne’s Lace along roadside

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

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Biker at viewpoint along Hwy 101

Biker at viewpoint along Hwy 101

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Old House Dahlia Farm in the Tillamook Valley

Old House Dahlia Farm in the Tillamook Valley

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On the scenic Train des Pignes

On the scenic Train des Pignes

After almost two weeks together, my sister and I parted ways.  She returned to the kibbutz in Israel, and I flew to Nice, France for the next leg of my journey, a five-day guided hiking expedition along the trails in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence that featured several land art installations by the artist Andy Goldsworthy.   I had long wanted to see some of Goldsworthy’s work, especially after seeing the movie Rivers and Tides about his unique vision.  When I ran across some newspaper articles (here and here) about the Refuges d’Art and Goldsworthy sculptures along a trail in France, I added this experience to my wish list of things to do before I die.

So I was very much looking forward to the France part of my vacation, although I did not have many details about the hike itself.  I did not know who else might have signed up and I knew little about the area.  My guide, Jean-Pierre Brovelli of etoile-rando.com, was taking care of all meals, lodging, transportation and logistics.  All I had to do was to show up in Digne on the morning of our first hike.

I took the little scenic train, the Train des Pignes, from Nice to Digne, enjoying the warmer Mediterranean weather, the blooming lilacs and wisteria, the green grassy pastures, orchards of white blossoms, and villages (Entrevaux and Puget-Theniers looked especially interesting) from the train windows.  I arrived in Digne in the late afternoon, and had time for a short walk around the town before turning in early.  I wanted to sleep well before the hiking started the next day.

In the morning, I was met at the hotel by Jean-Pierre and then the rest of our group made introductions.  There were five other hikers, all French, four women and one man, and I was heartened to see that they were all roughly my age.  We would be lead by Jean-Pierre and his fellow guide, Eric.  I felt we were in good hands.

Old shuttered buildings, Digne

Old shuttered buildings, Digne

The Boulevard Gassendi in Digne, lined by trees with their branches lopped off

The Boulevard Gassendi in Digne, lined by trees with their branches lopped off

Trees were in bud

Trees were in bud

I loved the rustic, weathered shutters

I loved the rustic, weathered shutters

Weathered blue doors

Weathered blue doors

Wall mural in the breakfast room at my hotel, the Hotel de Provence, Digne

Wall mural in the breakfast room at my hotel, the Hotel de Provence, Digne

The mighty Columbia River from Hwy 97 approaching Chelan, WA

“Travel alerts the eye and humbles the hand.  Its final destination is radiance: to be transported . . .”
— Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

“The hunger for wonder is appeased by nothing as it is satisfied by travel.”
— Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

I spent the first few days of this week in eastern Washington (east of the Cascade Mountains) in Chelan at a work conference.  I was able to arrive early, on Saturday, and spend two days there with my husband before settling in to work.  Other than a long-ago boat trip down Lake Chelan to Stehekin many years ago, I had not spent any time in Chelan.  So it was fun to explore.  We drove along the lake shore on both sides of the lake until the roads dead ended.  The area is surrounded by dry hills and mountains, yet water is a central feature of the landscape — both Lake Chelan and the Columbia River dominate the views.  We drove along rural roads dotted with vineyards and orchards.  And even though it was cloudy and rainy at times, we did find plenty of radiance in the fall colors.  My hunger for wonder was appeased.

Here are some photos:

Historic mural in the town of Chelan

Rows of blueberry bushes, Blueberry Hills Farm, Manson, WA

Old farm implements, Blueberry Hills Farm

Radiance in a row of yellow trees at the top of a distant hill, Manson, WA

Small lakes nestled in the hills around Manson, WA

Fall reflections in Dry Lake near Manson

Further along Dry Lake’s shoreline

Grape vines covered with netting

At Atam Vineyard near Manson, WA

Grapes, Atam Vineyard

Golden color in a ravine across Lake Chelan

Picnic tables at Lake Chelan State Park — very quiet this time of year

Lake Chelan with clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellingham waterfront

Bellingham is about 90 minutes north of Seattle, and it makes a nice destination for a day trip.  I left the I-5 freeway just north of the Anacortes exit and drove leisurely through the countryside and along Chuckanut Drive.

Old barn on Hwy 11 near Bow, WA

Self-service farmer’s stand on Hwy 11 near Bow

The curvy Chuckanut Drive along Puget Sound

View of the sound from Chuckanut Drive

Bellingham itself has a welcoming, small-town feel.  I like the look of the weathered, old buildings near the waterfront and the small, independent cafes and coffeeshops.  I strolled along the waterfront paths of Boulevard Park, and  because I like to check out libraries on my travels, I stopped by the Bellingham Library.  Serendipitously, the library was hosting its Friends of the Library booksale.  I couldn’t resist buying five books from the gardening table at $1 each.  I will get far more than $1 worth of pleasure from each of these books.

Tansy (I think) — a spot of yellow along the path at Boulevard Park

Mural in downtown Bellingham

Sculpture outside Whatcom Museum

Old weathered building along waterfront

Table on the sidewalk outside the Mount Bakery Cafe, Bellingham

The five books I bought at the Friends of the Bellingham Library sale — a bargain at $1 each

The art alone will give me far more than $1 worth of pleasure.

Pages from My Garden by Mary Russell Mitford

Knitted Trees art installation, Pioneer Square

The Pioneer Square neighborhood of downtown Seattle is vibrating with color.  An art installation called Knitted Trees by Suzanne Tidwell brightens the square.  They complement the colorful street murals in the area.

Knitted lamp post, Pioneer Square

Looking toward the sports stadiums, Pioneer Square

Colorful mural, Pioneer Square

Door in mural

View of Mount Baker across Puget Sound from the Port Townsend waterfront

Port Townsend, with its many well-preserved Victorian homes and buildings, is one of the most picturesque towns in the Pacific Northwest.  It is a delightful destination for a day trip from Seattle.  The easiest way to get there is via the Edmonds-Kingston ferry to the Olympic Peninsula.  Here are some photos from a recent visit:

Mural at the Port Townsend marina

Another mural on one of the old brick buildings in the historic district of downtown Port Townsend

Another lovely mural seen while driving into town

Victorian architecture

Architectural detail on building

Seagull on the Port Townsend waterfront

Don't miss the Saturday market

Sunset over Puget Sound

Seattle Street Mural

November 30, 2010

Temporary mural on Metropole Building, Seattle

Mural of underwater forms, 2nd and Yesler, Seattle

 A large mural by artist Jeff Jacobson (known as Weirdo) brightens a typical Seattle Street scene this dark winter season.  This is a temporary mural, painted on plywood, on display while the Metropole Building at 2nd and Yesler Streets is under construction.  The eye-catching colors and underwater forms are delightful.  I love the idea of art in the city, which brings such enjoyment to residents and visitors to Seattle.