3Splitz Farm

Welcome All or Not?

Well this Thanksgiving was a bit unusual when I think about the guest list or maybe I should say the uninvited guest list.

Let’s just take a look at this slithering shiny black snake who decided it would be great to join the Thanksgiving festivities at our little mountain cabin. Rustic paradise may be how I refer to the cabin but that doesn’t include snakes of any kind. It you consider the counter height, the kink in the snake in the photo and how it wraps along the baseboard, I’d guess this sucker to be 6 foot or more!

This big, long and creepy-looking thing greeted our guests as soon as they opened the door. Had it have been me, I might have let out a scream that would have sounded as if someone was bludgeoned to death in the valley. This creeper made its way to a cozy spot right behind the coffee maker nestled between the wall and the countertop. A space I didn’t think would hold such a big snake, yet it did. I’m still in disbelief to an extent.

Enter a friend who somehow got voluntold to be a snake wrestler for the day. She was a trooper and I have video to prove it. That snake was not happy we interrupted it’s Thanksgiving field trip inside! He or she was a little nippy. See the below photo. Attempting to nip at the wrestler’s hand on more than one occasion. Although the snake is not venomous, nobody wanted to get bit! Thanksgiving is about feasting not being the feast. I of course added being marked safe from snake to my thankful list this year.

Before the festivities even began, rustic paradise was a little creepy in my mind. I’m glad thanksgiving wasn’t ruined by the uninvited guest. For now this is just a story for our memory book. One I hope never resurfaces again. Hoping my uninvited snake decided my neighbor’s house was warmer this Thanksgiving after being evicted from our cabin!

As I wrap up this post I’ll leave you with this parting goodbye photo. Even with a humane goodbye the snake was staring down the snake wrestler who took him/her out of the warmth of the cabin with determination. A death stare of sorts even when hanging by thread 50 foot in the air.

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Koosah Falls

While out west, I wanted to go on a hike with big trees and hopefully catch a water fall along the the trail. The choice was Koosah Falls just a little east of Eugene, Oregon.

The drive was a bit boring but the water running along the road was a spectacular view. The view just went on for miles and miles. There was a small stretch where it seemed many were building small cottages on the bank. However the size may have been small in footprint but the cost was probably very high based on the extravagant designs. Nonetheless the road trip was full of things to observe.

Once we arrived at the trail we headed up the right side to the falls. The cool breeze was amazing as the weather showed up at 102 degrees. With the tree coverage from the tall pines and the chilly mist off the water the right side trail was the perfect start to our hike.

As we trekked up the hillside there were many photo ops. The scenery was just so beautiful but even the photos don’t do the landscape justice. The blue water was such a vibrant blue in spots. We caught a few rainbows in the mist of the falls. The water was crystal clear in the pool areas. It was almost like Christmas in July as the whole woods smelled amazing. Pine trees everywhere left the scent of Christmas in the air. It was absolutely divine.

If you look close to the photo above you will see the hint of the rainbow. Again the picture doesn’t do the actual lived experience justice. After making the climb up the right we continued north a bit and crossed a bridge to go down the opposite side.

The descent was a slightly different experience. It was a lot warmer on this side. More sunshine beating down on you and less mist coming your way. Good thing I was going down. However the photos from this side yielded different views and I’m so glad I made the loop trek.

After we finished the trail down we ended up in the pool that feeds the reservoir. Another bridge and a short climb to reach the end of the loop. This path allowed us to see a few fishing in the lower area with less rapids as well as some large log dam areas caused by downed trees. The overall hike was one of my favorites to date. A gradual incline. Not too strenuous but had so many rewards along the way. As I close out I will share a few more photos for you to enjoy.

Oregon is a great place to opt outside. Just read some of my Oregon blog series and you will soon see why.

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Just a Girl In the City

There I was In the city.

The Big Apple kind of city.

The city where dreams are made of.

The hustle and bustle had returned after the pandemic. Lots of people. Lots of noise. Lots of chaos. Just what a big city should offer its visitors. 

Today I was a tourist. My first big observation was the smell. The strong scent of weed. The pungent stinky smell. One time. Two times. At every corner. On the clothing of the passers by. So much of that unique stink. I actually said to myself I think I’m going to get high walking down the street. The group I was with concurred. Such a weird time for me, but it’s today’s world and it’s the reality in some places. Should I really be surprised?

The sounds of horns. Long honks. Short taps of beep beep. Then the full on horn blast of a bus. New York City’s finest drivers together make such a unique symphony. I’m sure somebody has recorded these sounds but it’s like no other. Well maybe Los Angeles. Today I rode the tour bus around the city and took in the sights and the sounds.

What a special perspective. I saw sights from a perch of sorts. I enjoyed the fresh air, which was pleasant in comparison to street level. I smelled the gourmet restaurants to the stink of trash as it was trash day today. Pizza in little Italy. Purses in Chinatown. Neon lights at night. Homeless around each corner.

Bikes. Cars. Buses. Trains. Motorcycles. Zoom. Zoom. Electric bikes weaving in and out of traffic. Fedex and UPS trucks staged as food truck variations for local drop off was oh so intriguing. Skate boards. Scooters. So much excitement. So much chaos among the city blocks. Sirens for ambulances and fire trucks every few minutes. 

The boys in blue. Mounted on horses. Standing on the corner welcoming tourists with a smile. The fully dressed out tactical units guarding a subway stop. I felt like I was in a movie at that corner or greatly underdressed for a shootout. 

A short visit to city. An awakening of sorts. Back to my home base of suburbia. I live the simpler life. Many days may pass before I see a fire truck, ambulance or even homeless people. Such a contrast to my day in the city.

Despite the chaos, New York City has green space. From Bryant Park to small waterfront areas to Central Park. Hidden gems within the city. All set up for community. Concerts. Ping pong ball in the park. Small tables and chair to sip coffee. My favorite was the Bryant Park library where you picked up a book and just enjoyed the time. These are the things you don’t find in suburbia.

Off to see another city just across the water. Hello New Jersey. Time to test out the Jersey pizza.

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Pacific Northwest Coastal Edition

So much to see on the Oregon coast but with limited time on my hands I opted for the best adventures in short time window.

First stop was Cape Arago State Park just south of Coos Bay, Oregon.  Just before reaching our destination we stopped for a quick bite to eat at a fish house eatery.  I had grilled halibut. It was the days special and it was oh so fresh. With full bellies we finished the last bit to the park.

As we were approaching the fog came rolling in. It took away some of the distant views but offered a quaint murky view. The views were amazing in all directions. The sound of the powerful waves hitting the rocks were ever so relaxing. The sounds of the sea lions singing away was an experience in the foggy distance.

The views from up high were great but the views down low yielded another amazing perspective of the same area. From the simplicity of the rocks to the mystery of the logs on the beach. All yielded its own special place in my photos.

Unfortunately, I can’t post every picture from my reel but this will just encourage you to put this area on your bucket list for travel as it is truly an experience worth making time for.

About a half hour away we began our next excursion on the sand. Not the beach per se, but a new sand experience. We took a tour on ATVs on the sand dunes. Since this ride was so monumental, it will have to have its own blog post. Stay tuned for the dunes post in a few days. Until then I will leave you with one more coastal photo to entice you to visit the Oregon coast one day.

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Pacific Northwest Take One

There was a thought of heading west. The conclusion was no. We shall wait a few months. The conversation arose again just before just before the 21- and 14- day advanced flight deadlines would pass. The hemming and hawing began. Yes. No. Maybe. No. For sure no.

Fast forward to a random conversation on a trip with friends. You know I really should go. I didn’t think I needed to go, but I now know it’s time to go. I didn’t hesitate. I just booked the trip. No looking back. Five days to prep. Lots of schedules to adjust. Appointments to reschedule.  Favors to call in. Just to do something spectacular. An opportunity that won’t pop up again. Off we went to hit the Pacific Northwest on a whim.

We grabbed a friend for a travel buddy. Freshened up the contents of the suitcases. Scurried onto to the airport. Smiles galore. A notebook full of fun adventures to squeeze in while in the grand state of Oregon. So much exploring on the horizon.

Took in some beautiful river scenery while biking in Eugene, Oregon. Through this experience we learned it’s faster to move around town by bike because you avoid all the one-way roads. The biking options, trails and city-friendly atmosphere is amazing. I thought I enjoyed the Pinellas Trail in Florida however this was even better. If you head out west, definitely take a stop in track town. So many paths to choose. So much to see.

My flight landed in Portland, Oregon where I had a chance to eat a quick bite at Cartopia. An interesting little pod of food providers in the city. Interesting setting. Food was good. Just an overall fun and quirky experience to fit into the trip. The down side of Portland was all the homeless. From tent camps to tents on the sidewalk. There just seemed to be the largest concentration of homelessness I’ve ever witnessed. Sad to see and think about the stories of how each became a street dweller. I will never know however I was curious. I should mention the drive from Portland to Eugene is less than noteworthy. Boring would be the word that seems to describe it best.

The photo above is a glimpse of my AirBnb. A cute 2 bed/2 bath unit set in a residential area. Close to the river. Close to the bike paths. Close to the college: just close to all things relevant for my stay. The vibe was amazing. The history of where the neat pieces inside came from added to its appeal. A cool door from an old barn. Reclaimed wood. Doors that were once windows.

There were even a few extra touches that I didn’t expect. The book on local trails by a teacher at the university. The picture book about the history of roadie life in make shift campers. Just a few oddities to add flavor to the overall experience.

Conveyor belt sushi was fun in town. The patisserie offered a sweet treat one afternoon. An eclectic sandwich shop filled our bellies on bike day. Oddly enough no good steak places were in this town. Without steak we opted for a boat-to-table seafood market restaurant. Definitely a staple in the area as it was always crowded and the food was good. We even went twice!

I can’t cram all of my experiences into one post but I will leave this as where my Pacific Northwest adventures began. If I’m feeling fancy I will write again on my coastal experiences that are on the horizon. And will that I will leave you with an amazing sunset photo from my travels.