California, Oregon, and Washington State
06/14/08 - 06/24/08

Paul Ridenour

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Last year at Julianne Doyen’s college graduation, her husband HL Jett asked me to be their photographer at their wedding in Oregon, on June 21, 2008.  Already married at a courthouse, they wanted a public wedding for their family and friends.  Since Dottie and I already wanted to go to Yosemite and the Redwood Forest, we decided to do the wedding and our summer vacation at the same time.

Saturday June 14

My parents drove us to DFW Airport.  We flew American to Fresno, CA, and I called my best friend Eddie Cobb from church when we were in elementary school.  He was surprised to hear from me and we ate dinner at the Elephant Bar with him, his wife, and son.  We are in the valley so it was very hot.  It is dry and it appears to be ripe for a fire.

With gas prices in Texas at $3.75 to $3.95, they are $4.66 to $4.77 and higher in Fresno.  Budget Rental Car gave us a red Mitsubishi Eclipse and I am loving it.  We spent the night in Fresno at a Holiday Inn Express. 

Eddie, Debbie, and son Carson Cobb - Fresno, CA

Sunday June 15

We spent the day in Sequoia and Kings Canyon where a bobcat jumped out in front of us.  We bought peaches and they were huge.

Sunday night we met Eddie and his family again at 9:30 at Starbucks.  We were mooned by a big old hairy male in a SUV.  It was shocking!  But hey, we are in California.  No human eye should ever have to see that.

We stayed again at the Holiday Inn Express.

Mitsubishi Eclipse - Kings Canyon

Grizzly Falls - Kings Canyon

Monday June 16

Spent the day at Yosemite – lots of waterfalls.  We ate lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel - $12 for a roast beef sandwich and it was very good.  So were the virgin pina coladas.  We saw our first bear.  I stopped the car on the road to run after the bear to get a picture and there was a cop at my car when I got back who said “You can’t park here!”  I said “OK.”  I like Yosemite and all of the waterfalls but I thought the visiting center was a dump and it was very crowded.

There is this orange flower all along the roads in California and I had still not taken any pictures of them. 

Monday night at 5 PM, homosexuals can get "married" in California.  Since those couples are always masculine and feminine, someone very close to me once said, "they are still looking for the same thing as a "real" marriage - male and female."   Think about it!  Then read the book of John, Chapter 1.

Drove to Sacramento to continue driving and spend the night in Redding, CA.  We decided at 6:30 to take a short trip from Sacramento (three hour roundtrip and out of our way) to Grass Valley, where some of Dottie’s Cherokee relatives are buried – John Rollin Ridge, wife, daughter, siblings and wives.  Nice little town with neat shops.  Too bad they were all closed.  We will go back someday.  Also in Grass Valley is a tree planted by John Rollin Ridge's wife back in 1876.  The tree is a Brandywine Maple and it came from Gettysburg.

We wanted to meet EDSer Rob Soule at Starbucks in Rancho Cordova near Sacramento but it didn't work out.

We got back to Sacramento about 9:30 PM and drove to Williams, CA, to spend the night at Holiday Inn Express (Suite room 209).  We were too exhausted to try and make it to Redding.

Yosemite just after the tunnel (waterfall on right)

Bridalveil Fall (up close)  - Yosemite

Half Dome - Yosemite

Ground squirrels at the Ahwahnee Hotel - Yosemite

"Da Bears" - Can you see da bear? -Yosemite

Grass Valley, CA

132 year-old Brandywine Maple (on right), corner of Neal St. and S. School St.  - Grass Valley
Original home of John Rollin Ridge at this location burned

Brandywine Maple tree marker - Grass valley
A 2001 Grass Valley newspaper article thought the tree was dying

Tuesday June 17

Drove to the Redwood Forest to see both the national and state parks.  Saw a bunch of Elk.  Love this place.  Huge trees! 

We are along the coast now and it is much cooler.  I love that!

Spent the night in Medford, Oregon, at a Holiday Inn Express (Suite room 209) because it was the only large town in the area and 80 miles from Crater Lake.

Oregon is interesting because it has a state law that all gas stations must be full service.  The law is to protect jobs.  Oregon has high unemployment and a lot of homeless.  The gas prices were lower than CA at $4.14 to $4.33.  The cheapest gas in the state is usually Arco.  Oregon also has no state sales tax.  I like that too.  However, they do have a state income tax.  Oregon was very green.

Redwood Forest, CA

Redwood Forest and me - one of the smaller trees [Photo by Dottie]

Wednesday June 18

We stopped at this little town called Prospect near Crater Lake.  We ended up eating lunch there and going to two local waterfalls.  Neat little town.

Crater Lake was awesome.  A 2,000 feet deep and dark blue lake. There was snow on the ground and birds everywhere - Steller’s Jay and Clark Nutcracker.

A bald eagle flew right over the lake and towards us and then flew off to the left.  Dottie had never seen a bald eagle in flight.  It was pretty cool.

The roads were closed around the lake due to snow but normally one can drive around it in three hours.  We will be coming back sometime during the months of August or September where we can take a boat ride on the lake to Wizard’s Island and fish.  Six species were introduced into the lake many years ago but only two survived – rainbow trout and salmon.

We ate pizza at the gift shop.  Both park gift shops were very good.  We bought a few things and then drove north out of the lake to Eugene/Springfield where we spent the night at Shilo Inn, next to Starbucks and Target.  The next morning we needed to go to Target to get Julianne a shower gift.  The shower would be on Saturday, the same day of the wedding.

Crater Lake - Oregon
Imagine a bald eagle coming towards you in this picture

Steller's Jay at Crater Lake

Chipmunk at Crater Lake

Clark Nutcracker at Crater Lake

Thursday June 19

Thomas Reeves of Target helped us wrap the shower present at the counter.  He went above his job and we were impressed.  I bought the new Coldplay CD "Viva La Vida," and it sold 700,000 copies the first week of release.

We are heading to Newport and we are arriving a day early.  We called ahead to reserve another night at Shilo Inn.  We drove through Florence and we are now on Highway 101 on the Oregon coast.  We got about 25 miles from Newport when we called Dottie’s dad Hugh Doyen to say we wanted to eat dinner with him and her sister Amber.  He was in Coos Bay, 75 miles south of where we were.  We canceled our reservation at Shilo and called down to Coos Bay to get a hotel.  We turned around and told her dad that we are coming down to Coos Bay to spend the night.  Hugh said the coast was gorgeous and I was looking forward to taking pictures.  We took pictures on the coast in one of the parks.

Amber and I were walking through the park and she starting laughing.  I kept talking and she thought I was laughing at what she was laughing at.  Apparently, a couple nearby was going at it in the woods.  Amber heard it all.  I heard nothing.  Then we walked by the couple and the girl said "Did you get any good pictures?"  I said, "a few."  I thought she was talking about the pics I was taking of the trees, etc.  Again, Amber was laughing.

We had dinner at the High Tide Cafe.  We were sitting outside and two older dyke-looking ladies next to us, while I was talking, said "Sssshhhhh" real loud.  Were they talking to me?  We didn't know or we would have said something.  I am pretty sure they just got back from California and were on their honeymoon.

Oregon coast - Highway 101

Oregon coast - Highway 101

Sea Lions - north of Florence, OR - Oregon coastal Highway 101

Coos Bay, OR

Father-in-law Hugh Doyen - Coos Bay

Amber Doyen and Dottie (Doyen) Ridenour - Coos Bay

Dottie and dad - High Tide Cafe, Coos Bay

Friday June 20

The next morning, Hugh and I got up early to take pictures of the coast with the sun coming up.  For the first time however, it was cloudy, foggy, and misting.  That made for some neat pictures too.  A deer ran out in front of us.  I stopped the car, and slowly walked up to the deer.  I was at the edge of the road and he was probably less than 15 feet away and I just started taking pictures as he stared at me.

We all had a huge breakfast near the boating dock.

We drove up to Newport and checked into the Shilo Inn, which was right on the beach. One is supposed to see whales from the Inn but we did not see any. 

The wedding rehearsal was at 6 PM and then the rehearsal dinner afterwards.  I took pictures at both events.  The restaurant, located 11 miles north of Depoe Bay, was the Italian Riviera Restaurant and Piano Bar.  Most of us had the "lobster and crab cannelloni."  It was very good.  Next to the pianist was a drum set without a snare drum.  I just had to play the drums with brushes as the pianist started playing and singing "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats.  Later,  I asked him if he knew Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.”  He did.  I sang it for the first time since high school 30 years ago.  I remembered most of the words.

My singing and drumming motivated four girls, Kendall, Amber, and Kim, to sing "Brown Eyed Girl" and Kendall, Kim, and Julianne to sing "Proud Mary."  Kendall is a very good singer.

I gave my Coldplay CD to Amber.

Did I mention how much I love the Mitsubishi Eclipse?  It handled the hills and turns with no problems.  I may have to purchase one.

Coos Bay - a misty morning

Deer - Coos Bay

Bridge to Newport, OR [from the north side near the lighthouse]

Orange Poppies - California state flower (photo taken in OR)

Not sure what this is but I love it and it looks like a Yucca plant

Hugh Doyen and daughter Julianne Doyen Jett at the wedding rehearsal

Desi Doyen

Amber, Julianne, and Desi

"Browned Eyed Girl" Kendall, Amber, and Kim - rehearsal dinner [photo by Kevin or Desi]

"Brown Eyed Girl" Kendall, Amber, Kim, the pianist, and some guy on the drums [photo by Kevin or Desi]

"Proud Mary" Julianne, Kim, and Kendall - rehearsal dinner [photo by Kevin or Desi]

"I get by with a little help from my friends" [photo by Kevin or Desi]

Saturday June 21

I was invited to the 10:30–12:30 wedding shower and brunch since I was the photographer.

I was at the Stone Cellar Bed and Breakfast at 2 PM to take pictures and also take pictures of the wedding party getting dressed.  The wedding was at 5 PM and then dinner, reception, and dance afterwards.  Amber sang acapella at the wedding reception.

I was at the wedding for 8 hours total and put my camera up after taking nearly 900 pictures of all of the wedding events.  Someone asked me to take another picture and I ended up taking 86 more.

The wedding shower at The Tea Party, Historic Nye Beach

Julianne with husband HL Jett and her parents

Wedding reception - Heather, second from right, was hysterically funny

Sunday June 22

I met Julianne and HL Jett at their bed and breakfast to take pictures on the beach in their wedding dress and tuxedo.

I asked HL about his family since they live in Washington State and used to live in Oregon and Conroe, Texas, where he met Julianne at a Michael's.  He told me why they moved so much and that he spent most of his childhood in a small town named Prospect, OR.  Well, as you know, Dottie and I had lunch there earlier in the week.

By the way, my second great grandmother on my mother's side was Mary Susan Jett, so HL and I may be related.

Dottie and I left Newport and drove up the coast on Highway 101 and then headed over to Portland.  We first stopped in Dallas at a Starbucks.  Can you imagine?  Dallas with a Starbucks, Safeway, and Quizno’s?  They also had a North Dallas Bar and Grill.  I called my second cousin Dawn Ridenour who lives in Portland and told her we just left Dallas.  I kind of startled her until she realized we left Dallas, Oregon.  Dallas is 13 miles from Salem and then we drove up to Portland to Dawn’s house.  Dawn and husband Ryan Leffel took us to dinner.  Dawn’s brother Maki stayed home to baby-sit their daughter.  Dawn’s two sons were in Japan with their grandmother.  We first stopped at the Lone Fir Cemetery which is what Dawn drives by every day going to work in downtown Portland.  Dottie’s cousin Denise Cervantes has a relative buried there in Section 15 with no marker.  We never did find Section 15.

Ryan and Dawn took us to Portland City Grill which is on the 30th floor of the “pink” building in downtown Portland.  We had California rolls, calamari, Asian cucumbers, raw tuna, Poke (also raw tuna), shrimp, octopus, black cod, salmon, and I had Sturgeon (eggs of Sturgeon are caviar).  Everything was so delicious!!!!!

They invited us to spend the night but we wanted to get closer to Seattle and also meet my first cousin Mary Graves-Anderson in Yelm.  Did I mention that Dawn has a pet rat?

We spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express in Olympia, the capital of Washington State.

Julianne and HL on the beach the day after the wedding

Seagull - north of Newport, at Lincoln City, OR

My second cousin Dawn Ridenour and husband Ryan Leffel - 30th floor at Portland City Grill, OR

Monday June 23

My first cousin Mary Anderson and son Aaron drove up to Olympia and we had breakfast at Denny’s.

We drove up to Seattle but first took a detour to get close to Mt. Rainer.  We would have liked to have gone to it but we did not have enough time.  We arrived in Seattle and checked into a suite at Holiday Inn Express three blocks away from the Space Needle.  I had played drums at the Space Needle in 1974 with my church choir when I was age 14.

We walked down to the Space Needle and got on the Monorail ($4 round trip per person) to go to the Pike Place Market.  What a neat place.  We had lunch at The Athenian.  I had some kind of broiled oyster and it was very good.  We walked around the market and shopped and bought a bunch of stuff.  The first Starbucks opened at the Pike Place Market in 1971.

We went back over to the Space Needle and went to the top to take pictures. 

We met this nice couple who would turn out to be Tony and Jackie Chapman from England.  We told them about a park called Kerry Park that was the best place to take pictures of the Space Needle and downtown Portland.  We got lost trying to find the place.  It was off Queen Anne Ave at Highland Ave.  We did see them again at the park as they too got lost.

We wanted to go to the rain forest but we just did not have enough time.  That will be another trip.

When we got back to our hotel, a Nikon lens cap was in our room and a note from Tony Chapman.  He knew we were staying at the Holiday Inn Express and had them bring it to our room.  We thought that was very nice of him to do that but the funny part is, it was not mine and I had not lost one.

My first cousin Mary Graves-Anderson and Dottie - Olympia, WA

Mt. Rainer - WA

The Space Needle - Seattle, WA

Gigantic crabs at Pike Place Market

Seattle from the Space Needle

Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park

Dottie at Kerry Park

Tuesday June 24

This is the day we have to be at the airport at 3:30 to go home.  We spent a couple of hours at the Seattle Aquarium where they have the largest octopus species.

It is not surprising that after we got out of California, 1,200 fires broke out.

We drove over 2,200 miles in the rent car.

We made it to DFW Airport at 10:45 and my dad gave us a ride home.

I took 2,223 photographs including the wedding.

Octopus - Seattle Aquarium