Tag Archives: vacation

Unleash Our Cameras For Spring

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This pic I took from the far right side of the falls, jostling around visitors. Trying to avoid the sun and get an angle. I hadn’t cleaned the water spray off the lens. Did not notice the cross in the water bottom left until I looked at this on the computer.  Water and sun? I don’t change my photos except to crop on occasion; it’s the photojournalist in me. And a surprise appears!

by Kimberly A. Cook

Monday I took a road trip with a friend up the Columbia River Gorge. Haven’t been through since the devastating wildfires last Fall. Wanted to check in with Mother Nature. Glorious weather this week, so the fruit blooms and the mountains were out.


With zoom from the side of the road, fruit blooms in front and Mt. Hood up close.

Kathy volunteered to drive, which is such a treat for me. I gave her photo lessons in return. And lunch too. Excuse to eat at my favorite restaurant in Hood River, the Sixth Street Bistro. So I wanted to share with you some pics from our adventure.


Exact same location as above photo, pulling back on zoom. Too much sun, but I’ll take it!

Stopped at Multnomah Falls which only allowed visitors recently. While the lodge gift shop is open, the parking lot is fenced off and the old highway too. So driving into the parking lot on I-84 is the only entrance. It was nice to not dodge crossing cars on the way to the Falls, but there were people everywhere anyway.

After doing some combat photography fighting the people, dogs, strollers, water spray and flying pollen in the wind, I got a few good pics. Shooting into the sun not the best, but I managed to worm my way on each side of the Falls to take photos.


Mt. Adams in Washington had to get into the act too.  From the parking lot of Packers Orchards and Bakery – almost open for the season.

Then it was off to Hood River for lunch, then exploring the road up the mountain for some of my favorite picture-taking sites. The fruit blooms were opening up and the mountains were basking in the sun.


These fruit blooms mean apples and pears and all sorts of goodies come this summer. Go bees!


We are having record temperatures right now, might be 86 today, and we broke a record yesterday. Rain back on Friday, but who cares, enjoy the sun!

Ready to unleash your cameras? Pics away!


Filed under Photography

Time For An Aloha Break?

by Kimberly A. Cook

Since Spring has not quite arrived on the mainland, thought I’d let us take an online tour of sun and sand. Check out this National Geographic video on places to visit in Hawaii. One note of caution about number 10, Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline.

When we visited Oahu for the first time in 1974, I had a heck of a time trying to get a rock from the edge of the surf at Sunset Beach. The waves cut into the sand something fierce, leaving a downslope that the surf curl bites into. I did get the rock and completely soaked jean shorts and shirt. I did dry off pretty fast though.

Surfing at Sunset Beach or the pipeline? Only if you’re a pro!

Have a great, safe weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

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Filed under Quirky Fridays

Got Favorite Spring Break Memories?

by Kimberly A. Cook               (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

The traffic on the way to the day job yesterday was light, the parking lot half full and the phones quiet; must be Spring Break! For those of us who don’t get Spring Break, it does bring back happy memories and carefree days of Beach Boys songs and the promise of “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

Had two teasing days of sun the end of last week, but sure as can be the rains are back for the school break vacation. So while it seems this gray cloudy weather will never leave us alone, I don’t want the record breaking temperatures of last summer either. Let’s go for a middle, normal type summer this year okay?

So with that in mind, I want to jog Mother Nature’s memory with reminders of what great summers look like. Here are a few pictures to give her some summer ideas.


The beachfront at Lahaina, Maui. Always a winner!



The red Veteran’s Honor and pink Fairy roses, two of my all time favorites in bloom.


Taking the time to enjoy a spectacular desert sunset.

So note to Mother Nature; feel free to repeat any of the above this summer. Spring break dreams just might lead to summer days of happiness. “If everybody had an ocean……” Got fun Spring Break memories?


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Filed under Motivation

Got Your 2016 Vacations Planned?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

It’s a dark and stormy day here in Oregon with heavy rain and high wind warnings. So what better time to daydream about where and when to take vacations this year? I’ve already requested time off from the day job and I’m looking forward to playing in Oregon.


Suttle Lake outside of Sisters, Oregon – one of my top favorite lakes to visit. Priceless!


The 2015 vacations were all about flying to places and one staycation at home. This year is all about not flying anywhere and motoring around my home state. Places on the travel list are my favorites; Sisters, Depoe Bay, Madras, Sisters again and maybe a surprise or two.

One of the best parts about vacations is the planning and anticipation. A vacation bonus is spending time and making memories with family and friends. There is nothing like a vacation road trip to bring out the nutty and bizarre. This has been true whether travelling with family, friends or in the military. Really wacko things happened in the military. And with my family and friends too, come to think of it.

After my bag dragging days in the Army and Air Force, I now specialize in princess travel as I like to call it; full mosey mode with no aircraft to load, tents to pitch or screaming Drill Sergeants.

It’s always good to get away from home and explore the beautiful sights and sounds of my very own state. Even a quick day trip up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River seems like a long vacation break. It doesn’t take an overnight trip to get that vacation bounce back in your step.

Got rain? Got vacation plans? Where are you going to venture this year?



Filed under Travel

Life Gives Us Unexpected Pleasures When We Slow Down

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Spent the past week on an unexpected stay-cation at home and it was wonderful. Seems we run around so fast we never get time to just be. While visiting my favorite antique mall and café, I spied a marked down jar of jewels. Score!

Marked down from $25! Happy Dance!

Marked down from $25! Happy Dance!

I snapped it up and kept it until I had time to enjoy the sorting process. Got my favorite bead storage container, I keep a stash, and spent a pleasant hour discovering new treasures. It feels like bead therapy to me, bringing order out of chaos and finding surprises.

The process was interrupted by Spec Ops Cat wanting to help out. Whether it is checkbooks, knitting, composing on the computer or trying to read anything, he thinks a RECON is in order.

There were more pins and buttons than I expected in the jar, but it made me wonder about who wore the pins and why I had four from one convention. The little mysteries of life. I’ve read research which says women can start to lose their passions at age 10, so figure out what you did then and try it now. Reading, writing and jewelry making were big for me at 10 and still are among my favorite things to do.

Spec Ops Cat helping out. Kinda.

Spec Ops Cat helping out. Kinda.

Of course, in those days, I’d get these same jars filled with broken jewelry parts at Goodwill for a few dollars and have a field day sorting my finds. This $15 jar was a big bargain since everyone has caught on to recycling and making “steam punk” jewelry these days.

But I spent a wonderful time playing with my new jewels and dreaming up new creations I want to make.

When we’re not thinking about creating characters, building plots and editing, a childhood pleasure can give us a quick vacation without even leaving home. When did you last take a break and just play?



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Filed under Creativity