August is Vacation Month over here and we kicked it off with a lightning trip up to Glacier National Park for our friend’s 40th birthday. Yes, we spent two out of four vacation days driving there and back, but it was worth it to get a taste of the park. This place is ridiculous, it’s so beautiful. We’ll be back.
Doc and I took a long weekend to head south, to Zion National Park at the bottom of the state. That area’s closer to Arizona than anything else, so it was 60 degrees and sunny for most of the trip. We saw the sights in the park and then went looking for “secret” petroglyphs.
Of course, we hit the storm that had come through northern Utah on the drive back (which took two extra hours due to terrible road conditions), but we saw sunshine and blue skies. We’ll be able to keep going through the last bit of winer.
We went to Moab for the weekend to celebrate my friend’s birthday, just like last year. The light and clouds weren’t quite as incredible this year, but that’s really splitting hairs in a place like this. It was a grand time in a grand place that continues to fascinate, as Ed Abbey puts it so well:
“Even after years of years of intimate contact and search this quality of strangeness in the desert remains undiminished. Transparent and intangible as sunlight, yet always and everywhere present, it lures a man on and on, from the red-walled canyons to the smoke-blue ranges beyond, in a futile but fascinating quest for the great, unimaginable treasure which the desert seems to promise.”
My oldest friend (we met in math class in junior high!) had a birthday over the weekend and wanted to celebrate in Moab. So I hopped in the car with my other friends and had an epic 72 hours.
One of our group is a landscape photographer, so I actually got out of bed to catch the sunrise. Turned out it was too cloudy for good color, but I got to hear the desert birds waking up.
(This was by The Windows in Arches National Park)
And yesterday, before we headed out, my friends used their backpacking forum notes and GPS skills to get us to something called “Magic Mystery Arch” (in the Sand Dune Arch area, but no trail).
(The arch is back against the wall, but it looks almost solid until you see light through it.
The sun and the light were just incredible, all weekend long. The long views and the rocks made me think of this Paul Bowles quote I’ve posted before:
Once [someone] has been under the spell of the vast, luminous, silent country, no other place is quite strong enough for him, no other surroundings can provide the supremely satisfying sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute.
The only shopping I did on this trip was for fabric (my friend is a sewist, too) and items at the Japanese dollar store. That’s my kind of vacation!
I flew into Oakland, so we started first thing with Stone Mountain & Daughter in Berkeley, which…well done, hippies of Berkeley. Fantastic prices and selection! We spent three hours shopping and I was too excited to even take pictures. I kind of want to move to the Bay Area to be able to visit this store more often. Here’s the spoils from Stone Mountain:
From left to right, there’s a cotton print, linen digital print, striped heavy knit, cotton “ikat”, and some stretch cotton shirting. (Not pictured: some fabric for pajamas for the nephew and some fabric for another friend.)
The next day, it was on to Britex:
I’d never been to a “serious” city fabric store before, so I was gawking. Every floor–and there were 4–was floor-to-ceiling fabric, ranging from expensive to “please ask for assistance with the couture laces.”
Again, I was so overwhelmed I didn’t take a lot of pictures. But I did visit the button wall (!) on the third floor and come come with some Italian brass domes for my cape (yes, I’m still making it):
Oh, San Francisco. I left my heart in your fabric stores.
The trip I talked about Monday happened last week and it was glorious. I got my damp redwoods and cold sand and tour of the best fabric stores ever (more on that tomorrow), plus magnolias in February, delicious meals, ocean views, and some catharsis.
Oh, San Francisco. As I head into work today, I have this song in my head…
I go back to work today after two weeks of vacation (this will be me). Sigh. Let’s look back at the good times of the last couple weeks:
But now, back to work. As my dad says, “Got to earn more fun tickets” for the next vacation.
Oh hai, I was on vacation all last week! Could you tell? Northern California is cold but it’s really pretty. And I always like to see the ocean.
The other half of the week’s pictures got captured on film, since someone forgot to bring her digital camera charger, but there was more Big Sur and camping and San Fransisco (oh my), too.
I’m back from the beach and, while it was a little chilly and I was fighting a head cold, it was nice to be by the ocean.
It was especially nice to hear it at night. One of my favorite chapters of The Gastronomical Me describes MFK Fisher’s visit to the coast of Mexico, and she has this to say about the ocean:
“I slept like a cat all night, dreaming good dreams in my well-being, but hearing the waves when I wanted to through the dreams.”
(I brought some vacation knitting, so I’ll put up a Project Roundup tomorrow.)
So I was in Las Vegas most of last week (which you may not have realized due to the magic of scheduled posts) but it just wasn’t how I thought it would be: I’ve been twice in the last ten years and I guess enough time lapses between trips that I think it’s a glamorous, exciting place complete with Elvis and Danny Ocean, when in reality it’s a glorified miniature golf course.
There wasn’t a lot of sunshine, I don’t gamble, vast seas of humanity are not my idea of a good time, I missed Toby…I could go on and on (and on. Ask me about the cleanliness of the rooms in the Monte Carlo sometime.). But instead, I will choose to look at it as my oldest friend suggested: I got out of my comfort zone and pushed my limits, so really it was a trip of growth and self-discovery.
And I will remember this discovery when Vegas starts sounding exciting again in about five years.