Due to the fact we were staying 90 minutes away from the place we thought we were staying, we cancelled one other planned activity, but we decided to still do the half-day kayak trip.
This meant getting out the door at six a.m. and retracing our tracks from where we had been. But we did it.
We were picked up at a gas station and taken to our launch point. First, we picked out jackets and life jackets. Matt is excited.
We kayaked for a spell. It was the first time either of us had done so. Aside from our guide, our group consisted of a father and daughter who had experience kayaking in bays. The woman was from Portland.
The day was nice and the river was low, so it was a leisurely trip. Halfway in, we got out to do a short walk through the redwoods.
Our guide grew up on the Smith River, which is the only free-flowing river in California. He showed us the rock where he got married that summer, and the house he grew up in, which overlooked the river. The next day, he was starting back as an eighth grade English teacher.
He was a great guide and gave us lots of good information about the trees.
It was very cool how the redwoods loomed.
This platform was built to protect the tree’s root structure. It’s fairly shallow.
Since Redwoods don’t have a tap root, they can keep growing even when their center rots out. Hence the ability to drive through trees.
Or stand inside a still-growing tree.
After that, it was back in the water. I enjoyed kayaking and would like to do it again someday.
Here we are, ready to go! Matt looks a little more ready than I do.
We stopped for a quick picture in front of this Coast Guard light house station.
Our next stop was the John Dellenback Dunes Trail.
Matt wanted to hike all the way to the beach and back but 1)hiking on sand is not my favorite thing and 2)the sign said to allow five hours (FIVE HOURS!) to do this and I was already hungry for lunch.
We did a loop instead.
Thanks to a hot tip from the Oregonian, we stopped for fish and chips at the Bandon Bait Shop.
It was a full-on bait shop that also offered food. Someone had collected a variety of those plastic figures that move when the sun hits them.
The Oregonian did not steer us wrong. This was an excellent plate of fish and chips. It also came with ketchup, which I gave to Matt. He gave me his tarter sauce.
Then a good meal called for a good dessert.
This was the place where I was thinking about getting fudge, but then noticed the workers loading dry powder into a fudge “machine.” I chose ice cream instead. I can make real fudge at home.
Onward to California!
In fun vacation planning news, we planned our vacation around Crescent City, where we were staying. A week before we left, I discovered that though we had made a reservation for a place in what I thought was Crescent City, we had actually made a reservation for a place in Eureka.
Both of us are terrible vacation planners. The trip to Eurika added another 90 minutes of driving and turned a short day’s drive into a long day’s drive.
There was a torrential rain falling, so we took photos inside. Here, Sara’s cousin takes a picture of Shawn & Sara
Kathy and Al take pictures.
More pictures with Sara’s dad, stepmom, and sister.
Shawn’s mom and dad.
Sara’s aunt and cousin
Sara’s aunt and uncle
Pictures taken, we headed out in the rain.
The next few hours weren’t great for me. I got lost on campus (because I never would ask anyone for directions) and sopping wet, and I was cold and eventually I found my way to the delightful meet-up area where we were scheduled to have dinner.
I bought some hot tea, read, went from sopping to damp, and bought some Pho when everyone else showed up. That warmed me up from the inside. Thus the day ended on a good note.
The defense finished, we moved to the graduation ceremony, which took place on the very next day.
Shawn holds Sara’s robes.
The graduation took place in the hockey arena and was for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). This was all the future teachers, who sat on the house right side, and then a bunch of psychology-type (ish) majors. All the majors are listed here. The Human Development people sat on the the house left side and took much longer to seat themselves. Teachers know how to form an orderly line.
Looks like this graduate has a job waiting.
The nice thing about the hockey arena is that there was a big screen where the happenings were projected. That made this ceremony slightly more intimate.
After a long wait, we got to see Lee, Sara’s writing partner, hooded.
And then Dr. Sara Sterner herself.
Here’s the program:
You can see it has many pages. Look how many people also received PhDs at the same time as Sara. And this is just in the College of Education and Human Development!
I killed time between the defense and the big party by talking one of the walks in my walking tours book. This was of the Phillips Neighborhood.
I was staying in Ventura Village, but that’s the next neighborhood over. On my walk to the start of the walk, I snapped a picture of this church, where you can attend services in Norwegian!
When you have too much car for your garage…
Basically, Minneapolis is chock full of houses that leave me weak in the knees. Here is one.
All you need to know about Phillips.
Along with a close-up of the neighborhood boundaries.
Most of the walk was on Park Avenue, which has been redeveloped many times over the years. Thus, it was not unusual to see this lineup:
A grand building of apartment homes, built when that was a thing rich people lived in.
Right next to that, a 60s or 70s development.
And right next to that, a small office building.
Here were also huge mansions, like this one, which is now the American Swedish Institute, which I visited in 2015.
And this one:
And this one, which has moved on to a new life as a mosque. I did like that about Minneapolis. A lot of the grand houses have been converted to office space.
Very fancy looking office space, like this one, which houses the American Indian Services.
I liked the look of this stucco, and couldn’t decide if it was the pattern, or stucco suffering from neglect.
Look at this great church!
And these beautiful houses!
It wasn’t unusual to come across these views of fin de siecle houses with downtown towers looming in the background.
Look at the turret on this house!
It seems that bicycle theft is a problem here too.
Here’s an interesting corner. An older apartment building:
And across the street an apartment tower with its first four stories attempting to blend. This works for me.
And then this other corner with some new contstruction totally blending with a new tower looming in the background.
This is a pretty red house with a widow’s walk.
This might be my favorite picture from this walk. A nondescript low brick building next to a beautiful stone house, with a colorful Hannapin Healthcare buiding nearby and the prow of the football stadium poking up in the back.
I could have spent a solid week wandering through Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.
Sara booked the biggest room available for her defense and it was full! She had a lot of friends and family visit. When I sat down, I introduced myself to the woman sitting next to me. She turned out to be a fellow PhD candidate. Her observation: “I go to these things all the time and usually there’s like four people watching.”
Sara’s adviser introduced Sara and the defense. He had a special message from Hogwarts and also pointed out that a royal baby waited to be born until Sara was ready to defend.
Sara explained the work she had done on a post-intentional phenomenological exploration of reading whitely. There were handouts.
At the end we got to ask questions.
Once the public defense was done Sara stayed behind for another hour of questions. After that, her committee voted though we weren’t there for that part.
My first full day in Minneapolis was also the day of Sara’s defense. I decided to use the Nice Ride bikes to get myself to campus.
On the same street where I was saying was this gorgeous apartment building.
My neighborhood had a lot of churches in it, including two across the street from one another.
About four blocks from my house were the bikes.
I checked one out and was on my way. Look at the great bike infrastructure they have! I rode bike lanes the entire way to campus.
This bridge took me over the freeway.
Here I have a great view of the Mighty Mississippi.
I got to campus quite easily using the Google Maps directions. From that point, I had a bit of trouble finding a docking station. The campus is large. I ended up docking at the Student Union because I knew where that was and vaguly in which direction it was located and then power-walked over to the defense.
Thank goodness I’d visited campus on previous trips.