As soon as we got service when we were leaving McCarthy our friends called and asked if we wanting to go camping in Homer. We figured we could kill two birds with one stone. We had promised our little friend, Silas, when we were in Ajo, AZ visiting them that we would walk along the beach in Homer with him while he was visiting his father. So we got home on Sunday and left again on Friday for Homer.Continue reading “Camping on the Spit”
We left our hotel in Brookings, Oregon at 8:20 and headed to Harris Beach.
Harris Beach was named after the Scottish pioneer George Harris who settled here in the late 1880s to raise sheep and cattle. The park boasts the largest island off the Oregon coast. Bird Island (also called Goat Island) is a National Wildlife Sanctuary and breeding site for such rare birds as the tufted puffin.
Find out more about it here:
To see my photos follow the link below.Continue reading “Beaches, Lighthouses, Rocks and Food!”
We left our hotel at 8 but we had to gas up first. The gas is definitely more expensive in California than any where else we have been including Alaska. We also found out that it is cheaper if you pay cash, with a card it was $4.29Continue reading “Highway 33 to the Pacific Coast Highway”
We decided to go look at the south coast of Iceland. Of course, we didn’t get to do the whole thing because of time. We headed out on this beautiful sunny day, our first, to find a nice sandy beach to walk on. We didn’t find any sandy beaches but we found volcanic beaches which were still just as amazing.
First stop before we even got into the car I wanted to get photos of these pretty flowers. I had been looking at them and today I took the time to smell the flowers.
Then off we went on our next road trip. If you haven’t notice we try to take all the back roads.
Our first stop was a nice lake. I had to take photos of some the hills that surrounded us because lines in the rocks are amazing.
We went looking for a lighthouse which meant driving down this old dirt road and never found it. What we did find though was well worth the trip because I had never seen so many sea birds nesting in the cliffs before. Iceland claim to have more birds nesting in their cliffs than anywhere else.
Off we went to find another lighthouse. This one we did find and a church, which are all over this country. Most of them seem to be built pretty much the same and a lot are on people’s farms. Also, I just could not get over how such tiny flowers can grow in all the lava rocks.
Our next stop was at the end point of the greatest lava flow on earth since the end of the last Ice Age.
Then we found another lighthouse and a road to the beach.
We saw all these white birds in a field, which we think are some kind of goose due to all the honking. I also finally got a couple photos of the Icelandic horses, which are the size of a pony.
We decided we should probably start heading back. So we stopped to take a picture of one last river flowing into the ocean and off we went home.
We of course found a road we had not been on yet. We were following along the bottom of Lake Pringvallavatn.
Before we hit the main road we found a dirt road we had not taken. As we rounded a bend we saw in the distance steam coming up from a valley. As we got closer we noticed it was a geothermal plant. It was pumping hot water down to the cities and towns. The pipeline was quite interesting compared to the one in Alaska that we are used to. We followed the pipeline most of the way back to town.
On our way back to town the traffic was the worst we had seen. Everyone must have had our idea and left town for the day or the weekend and were going home.
We decided to leave the car at the apartment and walk downtown to find something to eat. We came upon a huge screen showing the world cup and people were sitting or standing watching it. I guess they are really into soccer over here.
We then headed to the Micro Bar because we had met the manager at one of the breweries we visited. It was well worth the stop. They have 14 taps and had about 5 pages of fine print bottle beers.
We also made a new friend there named Tobias from Sweden. Hopefully, he will bring his family to Alaska some time. He did say it was on his bucket list.
Then off to dinner. I wanted to eat something truly Icelandic, Tobias recommended a tapa bar right by us. They had Icelandic food tapas, puffin, whale, lamb, lobster, blue ling, and char. Some of the food looked so good when it came to the table we started eating before I got a photo. Sorry about that. I do think that the food was probably a little more fancy than the normal Icelander would cook it but it was delicious.
After we ate we started our walk home. I took a photo of this building across the street because I just thought it was cute. Then along came a mother and her two kids crossing the street. They walked with us a way.
We stopped at a store because I still had not had any dried fish. I am wondering how it compares to our squaw candy. I will let you know when I have tried it.
There was this interesting van we kept walking by, so we decided to take some photos of it.
Another wonderful day in Iceland has come to an end now. Wonder what our adventures will bring tomorrow.
Our new friends have taken us to Scotland with them. They took us everywhere they had gone. They even had us spend time with their friends there. We got to go to all over the highlands and see many new things. We went to a distillery, brewery, beach and even a castle. We even ate fish and chips, went for hikes in the woods, drove heavy equipment and hung out with Sam. We went to this really strange place where there were socks and other clothing hanging all over the trees. We got to spend David’s 69th birthday with him and toasted him with whiskey. We have to make this a short one because we are heading to Iceland with our friends, after saying goodbye to our new friends.
I hope you enjoy the photos. Off to Iceland now.
Armed with a piece of paper that M wrote down all the places she had planned for us to go see today we headed out.
First stop was Glen Ord distillery where we planned to go on a tour but the next one was a tasting one which was 18 quid. We thought that a little pricey, we just went through the museum which was just our price, FREE.
Glen Ord is a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands and is the only remaining single malt scotch whisky distillery on the Black Isle. Its principal product is an eponymous 12-year-old single malt whisky. The distillery won awards for the best single malt at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 1994 and 1996
The distillery is off the A832 at Muir of Ord, 15 miles west of Inverness.
Our next stop was Rogie Falls. I really enjoyed the nice, easy walk to the falls. We walked across the suspension bridge. There was a couple with a small dog, who was scared to death on the bridge. The poor dog just laid there shaking. I thought the bridge was way cool.
I read that you can see the salmon leaping up the falls in August and September. Just like at home in Alaska. The falls flows from slopes of Ben Wyvis. The falls are really worth seeing if you are in the area.
Here I also discovered that the men stopped talking as much when they are walking and enjoying the nature. I hope M plans more trips with a little walking in nature, so I can get some peace.
Next stop was Ullapool where you can get the best fish and chips. Ullapool is a small, quaint fishing village which has many things going for it; like hillwalking, nature, and beautiful views. You can also take the ferry to Stornoway.
Seaforth Bar & Restaurant is the place to go for fish and chips. Don’t go into the fancy bar and restaurant just go to the chippy that is on one side of it. They are always busy, but the make the fish fresh and it is wonderful. There is nothing like chips from a chippy shop. The chippy has won all kinds of awards. Sit at the picnic tables outside and enjoy the sea air.
After stuffing ourselves on the great fish and chips we started off to Achmelvich beach. Now is time for taking pictures out of a moving car. Fred did actually stop once for a photo op.
Achmelvich Beach is a stunning, white sandy beach with a popular caravan and camping spot nearby. A popular spot with water skiers, windsurfers and kayakers, Achmelvich is a bustling beach during the summer months. Dogs are not permitted on the beach during the peak tourist season and neither of the camping and caravan sites allow dogs. The unique morphology of the area, means there are many nearby walks and climbs, including the famous Suilven, for those interested in hiking. The beach is popular with fishers with cod, haddock, whiting, pollack, saithe and mackerel being common catches.
The sand reminded me of where we I grew up on Padre Island in Texas. I just love the sea and beach. I think they are so peaceful. We went early enough in the season that there was not many people there which was really nice.
We did make one more stop on our way back to the Byre. We stopped at Ardvreck Castle and Calda House.
Ardvreck Castle was built by the Macleod Clan in the fifteenth century on a promontory of land that juts into Loch Assynt. It witnessed regular local clan warfare throughout its history but it became infamous for its role in national events in 1650 when James Graham, Marquis of Montrose was betrayed there and handed over to his Covenanter enemies.
The second MacKenzie of Assynt , Kenneth, was persuaded by his wife to abandon the austerity and discomfort of Ardvrek in favor a new house at nearby Calda. Begun in 1726 it was the first classical style house in the northwest highlands and at that time would have been very grand indeed.
Amid mounting debts the luxury loving Mackenzies were forced to put their grand house up for sale and a struggle for control of Assynt now ensued between the MacKenzie Earl of Seaforth and the Earl of Sutherland. In 1736 some MacKenzie supporters deliberately torched Calda House to prevent it ever being used by the Sutherlands!
Now it was getting late, so it was a fast trip back to the Byre. M says she has to stay home for the business and Sam, the great dane, but I believe it is because she wants peace and quiet. David and Fred have not stopped talking since the have met. Good thing I raised 5 kids because I can tune them out.