My 2015 summer plans

Look out Clark Griswold, here we come!  :-)

As I mentioned somewhere here on the blog in a recent post, I am in the midst of a wonderful and awe-inspiring family vacation.  It’s a bit like Clark Griswold and his clan doing the whole drive out to Wally World, though I don’t think we will end up with a dead Aunt Edna tied to the roof.  At least I hope not.  I don't even have an Aunt Edna.

This is something that we have been planning for a long time, and it is finally here (in fact, we are finally here).  “Here” in this case is Arch Cape, Oregon and it is an incredible place.  It’s a very small town outside of the slightly larger (and better known) town of Cannon Beach, Oregon.

We have been here before (for a week last time) and separately I have been to Cannon Beach on a couple of previous trips (including the first NXNW meetup, which was awesome).  In other words, it’s so beautiful here that I always want to come back.  I do love it, and for good reason.  This is the land of incredible coastlines, sea caves, waterfalls, forests, and those awesome big ‘ol rocks dotting the coast (most famous example: Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach).

Have you ever seen the 80’s movie The Goonies?  It was shot in this area.  So if you remember that scenery at all, that will give you some idea of what I will be aiming my camera at over the next 5 weeks.  (And if you don’t remember it, well come back and you will see a lot of it here!)

And yes, we are here for 5 weeks!

Isn’t that awesome??  We found a beautiful home to rent and it’s a short jaunt from the beach, so we will be spending a lot of time hanging around the edge of the Pacific Ocean and just enjoying the scenery, relaxing, and I will be taking photos.  Loads of them!

As I said above, we drove out here, and though you can cover the drive from Austin to the Oregon coast in about 4 days (at least according to Google Maps), we opted for the scenic route and picked a few spots we wanted to see along the way.  (We will plot a different route home, just for the sake of seeing different stuff - and thus taking photos of different stuff.  Win.)

(I have inserted a few iPhone pics below that I have taken in the last 10 days, just to give you an idea of what's coming, when I find time to process some of this awesomeness I am capturing!)

We stopped first in New Mexico simply because that is a place we could stop after about 10 hours of driving the first day.  Texas really is that big.  From there it was on to Sedona, and since we arrived a little early we popped over to the Grand Canyon.  It was my first time to see it and it was great!  After 3 blissful days in Sedona (and about a million pics!) we took off for 1 night in Las Vegas.

a lovely afternoon at the grand canyon

The stop there was really just to allow my daughter to see the Cirque du Soleil show “O” and to show her around a little.  She’s twelve and has seen pics of Vegas (and heard of it), and wanted to see it for real.  She's a fan.  Some of those casinos make quite the impression.

staring at cathedral rock in sedona, az

After that it was a straight shot over to the California coast.  We stopped in San Simeon for the night, with a couple of tours of Hearst Castle the next day.  It was my 2nd visit there, but first with a camera, and a first for my daughter (she loved it).  Then we took a leisurely drive up Highway 1 with a stop in Carmel, ending the day in Santa Cruz.

hearst's office which is on the "upstairs suites" tour - highly recommended and better than the "grand rooms" tour which we also did

The next morning had us on the road again, off to Ft Bragg/Mendocino, California which is a quaint little beach town with some great scenery around it.  We spent 2 nights there, then drove on to southern Oregon.  Here we opted for a 2 night stay in Bandon, since I was dying to shoot the beaches there (and I got a great sunset both nights!!!), and then drove on from there to our rental in Arch Cape.

All together it was well over 2000 miles of driving over 12 days.  Believe it or not, we enjoyed the drive.  It helped to have a couple of 2+ night stays thrown in at strategic points to break it up a bit, and of course some of the scenery was literally breath-taking.  We already want to return to Sedona.  Wow, that place!

along highway 1, somewhere north of ft. bragg, ca

Quite a journey, and it’s just starting.  Today is our first full day in Arch Cape (we arrived last night about 6pm).  It feels like we have been on vacation forever, and it’s actually just getting started!  Plus, I have already taken a couple thousand photos, considering all the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Hearst Castle, Northern California and Bandon Oregon stuff.  I totally skipped over shooting in Las Vegas, having done that as recently as this past February (well except for a few iPhone pics).

a wonderful sunset in bandon, or that i shot this past Monday evening

And yes I did promise to share photos from my recent trip to Nashville and Oklahoma City (and I will at some point, because I caught some great stuff in both places!), but I am so excited about all the new stuff I just captured that I may have to come back around to NV and OKC later.

We’ll just have to see - so much to process, and so little time.  And so much more to go shoot!  (Actually, I have some other pics processed that I will likely share first.  And as you can imagine, I could do about 5 different iPhone posts just from the drive up here - not to mention all the posts with images from my Olympus.  I guess I better get busy!)

And if you are interested, look at this iPhone gallery on Flickr for all my recent uploads, which includes a BUNCH of stuff from this trip so far (and more coming I am sure!).

Anyways, here’s a map I built that shows our route, at least in general terms.  We pretty much took the most direct route each time and stuck to major roads when possible.  Plus, we brought our dog (you can’t leave a puppy for that long, it’s like giving up a child) and had to pick pet-friendly spots, which believe me, is somewhat limiting at times.  But it’s worth it, because she’s a sweet little thing.

Anyways, we made it work and here we are.  And it’s going to be an awesome summer!  Time to go shoot some amazing stuff - be back soon!  Thanks for stopping by!