Trip Home: San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Death Valley, Vegas, Oklahoma City

Back to the last of my travel updates!

After we did the Redwoods, Jon and I decided we’d spend a night in Napa Valley and then spend the next morning wine tasting! We ended up only visiting one winery, Castello di Amorosa. Jon liked their merlot a lot and I loved their La Fantasia! Hands down my favorite wine ever! They only sell wine through the winery or website though, but so worth it! I would order it and pay S&H for that!

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We headed into San Francisco after that! Come to find out, I almost disliked San Fran as much as I disliked NYC and am so glad we didn’t make a whole trip to San Fran alone (we have talked about it in the past)! It was pretty but a pain to drive around and due to how steep all the streets are, I would have no desire to walk around there either! We actually booked a hotel there for the night and ended up canceling because of how crazy the area was! Pier 39 was nice but just too crowded for me to really enjoy! I was blown away by the Golden Gate bridge though! We only saw it from the north end of the bridge, but I didn’t mind! I also convinced Jon to see the Full House houses too (we saw the original one too, which is a mile down the road from the park) and then I had the best hot chocolate of my entire life at Ghirardelli! I think it’s the whipped cream that does it!

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We ended up heading down to Maggie’s in Pacific Grove for a few nights! She is best friends with one of my good friends from nursing school and she’s on an assignment in California! She has a spare room so it worked out perfectly and we got along really well!

The next morning, Jon and I woke up to pouring rain. We had a completely lazy day other than dinner in Monterey and visiting a brewery! It was actually really nice to have a “zero” day where we did absolutely nothing exciting! I stayed up late chatting with Maggie that night about travel nursing and definitely enjoyed having some girl time with another nurse!

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Jon and I woke up early the next morning in hopes of beating the rain storm that was supposed to hit and headed down to Big Sur! The whole drive was absolutely beautiful! It makes me want to live in California, but that state is out due to their gun laws (Jon immediately rules out any state where he can’t concealed carry). We both could sit and watch waves forever (and did watch them for a long time at a lot of these stops)! They’re just so big on the west coast and the beaches are so much better than the east coast beaches!

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(We FINALLY dug the tripod out of the trunk!)

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(One of the few waterfalls that flows into the ocean in the US.)

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(Bixby Bridge. Also one of the most photographed bridges in the US.)

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After our Big Sur experiences, we started along the 17 Mile Drive that goes right up by Maggie’s house! Unfortunately, it started raining less than halfway into it, but we did get to see this beach! I assume it’s Pebble Beach, even though Jon tried to convince me that Pebble Beach is just the name of the golf course.

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The next day we decided to explore Carmel and Monterey early in the morning before making the drive over to a small town outside of Death Valley! We were in love with the beach area in Carmel and all the rich wives were out with their billions of dogs! I could seriously live that life. I don’t even have to be a rich wife! I can be a poor wife and I’d be happy to wake up to the beaches all the time!

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(This one is Monterey.)

After an afternoon of driving and a night in a ghetto hotel, we woke up for the longest day of our trip: Death Valley and Vegas. Death Valley was gorgeous but I would really not recommend it in any of the hotter months! My poor Civic was struggling with all of the elevation changes! The park was way more mountainous that I’d have ever expected but I am so glad we made it there!

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(Sand dunes. Also, I woke up and my hair looked like that. Why can’t that happen every day?!)

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(The area where they used to do borax mining.)

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(Salt flats.)

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(Natural arch.)

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(Artist’s Palette.)

After Death Valley, the sun set and we headed out to Vegas! Off season rates in Vegas are awesome and the rooms and spectacular! Go! It was definitely fun to go there, but we walked around from 7-1am and then got a whopping 3 hours of sleep before having to wake up for a full day of driving! The Bellagio fountain was probably my favorite part, followed by the New York area.

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The next day was spent driving! We had an 18 hour day (including two stops for sit down meals) and got into Oklahoma City around 1am! The next day, we met up with Cari, Jon’s coworker and my best buddy/gym buddy from Iraq! We had brunch at Kitchen No 324 (SO GOOD) and then went to an osteology museum. The highlight for me was the Oklahoma City National Memorial from the OKC bombing. If you ever go, definitely go to the museum. It was incredibly well done. Jon and I hit up a brewery while Cari was with her son and then all met up for dinner and a walk around the canal!

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The last day was another full day driving home! Sorry for the super long post, but I just wanted to get all the updates done and move on with my regularly scheduled blog posts (kidding- none are scheduled).

Portland, Cape Perpetua, Redwood National Forest

Jon made it to Portland! Finally! He got here on Wednesday night and we headed directly downtown to grab a bite to eat at Pok Pok! The food there was a bit on the pricier side ($$ on Yelp, I’d say) but it was absolutely delicious!

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After that, we hit up an old school that was turned into a hotel/bar/theater before finally making our way to the Deschutes Brewery for a quick drink before calling it a night!

Thursday we had another Portland day! We ended up getting breakfast at the Waffle Window (my favorite) and then headed down to the Pittock Mansion so Jon could get a quick view! My car was rear ended in the parking lot but thankfully, all was okay and there was no damage! Next stop was the Rogue Brewery! I wasn’t able to drink because I felt so horrible from my one beer the night before, but Jon enjoyed his samplers! We decided to just walk around, make a quick stop at Voodoo Donuts, and just do some city exploring! I had been wanting to get some pictures of the Portland sign at night, so we braved it in the insane wind until it got dark enough!

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We made it back home so that Jon could meet my roommate and her son and then I packed up all 8 weeks of belongings before I had one last sleep in Portland!

We headed out early on Friday morning!

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It ended up being a very slow day because the Oregon coast is just so amazing! You guys are getting all my iPhone pictures on here since my camera ones aren’t up yet, but it’ll do! Our first stop was in Lincoln City so Jon could see the beach house I’ve gone to a few times!

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Can I even put into words how excited I was about having a sunny day?! I guess the big storms the night before cleared the path for the sun! Unfortunately, it was overcast in Portland when we left so Jon didn’t get a view of Mt Hood, but he didn’t mind nearly as much as me!

We spent a ton of time at Cape Perpetua! I had been dying to see Thor’s Well but was amazed at the first stop we made along the cape at Devil’s Churn! We stood and watched the water crashing in for quite some time before making our next stop!

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We headed down to the Spouting Horn hike since I had read that Spouting Horn was the same as Thor’s Well. They aren’t the same but they are in a very similar location. Below is Spouting Horn, which is right at Cook’s Chasm.

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We did manage to find Thor’s Well but I wasn’t about to venture close enough with the huge waves coming in! I think the storm brought in some really harsh waves and currents to an area that already is pretty crazy, so I passed on that one! We probably spent an hour at Cape Perpetua before moving along to Heceta Head Lighthouse!

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The sun was starting to set while we were up at the lighthouse!

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And by the time we made it back down to the beach, it was perfect timing for the sun to go below the horizon!

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We ended up driving for a few hours in the dark until we got to northern California! I was sad to miss out on the coast up there but knew we’d have plenty coming up in the next few days!

We started out early this morning to make sure we had plenty of time to get in the Redwoods and still make our way down some of Hwy 1!

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I thought this tree was big, but we ended up finding much bigger trees! At first I thought they weren’t that cool, but the bigger they got, the more awesome it was! I actually really enjoyed them and recommend making your way down Avenue of the Giants if you go into the national forest.

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We spent a really long time driving through the forest and out to the ocean! But we did finally make it!

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After driving the coast for about two hours and seeing a bunch of similar but awesome views, we headed inland and down to Napa! We’re spending the night in Napa so that we can do some wineries and maybe make it to San Francisco tomorrow before going down to Monterey! We’re trying to fit Vegas in for a night and we’re spending a day in Oklahoma City with my best deployment buddy, but aside from that, no set plans!

The End of Portland!

Well, my time in Portland is almost up! I just worked 11a-11p tonight (I got off a little early) and tomorrow night, I work my last shift up here! I’m doing 7p-7a, which will be my first night shift ever, aside from when I was in Iraq!

I wish I could make an “overall” statement about Portland! I guess I would say that this assignment has overall been a pretty good one! I really loved my job here! I can’t stress that enough. I would come back to work at this hospital full time in a heartbeat. The doctors and the staff were fun! The ER is actually pretty well organized and similar to how we did things in Georgia. I felt like things were safe and effective, and honestly, I loved the slower pace! I could keep doing ER if I had a pace like that all the time! We had a max of three rooms no matter what the assignment is, which was the best thing ever! Great job. Great ER. Great people.

I only wish the weather had been better in my time here and that Jess could have come to this assignment with me! I think I would have enjoyed it so much more if either one of those had happened, but I’m still really glad that I came out here. I definitely feel like I’m growing as a nurse and even though I may not be getting all the critical care experience that I was getting in Georgia (and therefore feel a bit behind when I head back to such a busy trauma center), but I know that I’m becoming much more well rounded. I still find the differences to be so interesting, in management, patients, and just nursing stuff like the medications used.

I also have been getting so much better at IV sticks lately! Maybe better isn’t even the right word- but more confident. In general, ER nurses have to be pretty good at them. I put in anywhere from 2-10 on an average day. But I’ve had a lot of people ask me here to get a hard stick for them and go in and get it without any real problems on my first try. We had a respiratory patient the other day that I was told how hard they were to get a line and went and popped in two IVs without any difficulty, although I could see why he would have been a harder stick. I went and stuck one in this guy’s hand, and then it was pulled out in CT and the guy ended up with a central line cause nobody else could get one in (I wish I could have gone back to try again, but I was tied up). Perhaps I should just be thankful now, where the hard sticks actually still have veins, as opposed to when I get back to dialysis land in Georgia where their veins really are shit. But I used to always think, “Well, if you can’t get an IV, then I definitely can’t!” Now I know that I might actually be able to get it (and almost always do) when somebody else can’t!

I think that this assignment has made mine and Jon’s marriage much stronger. I feel like the first one tore us down a bit. I felt distanced from him and although I was still excited to be with him, I felt much more independent of him. I had a really hard time adjusting to being with him when I was back in town. I may still have some little hiccups in adjusting to being at home, but I really have grown so much more appreciative of Jon and so much more excited to spend time with him. I still wouldn’t quit traveling for good to stay at home with him (yet), but I’m excited to maybe spend a little more than 1-2 weeks with him in the next few months! It’ll be good to be by his side a little more often! We argued maybe a handful of times, and those arguments were extremely minor. When I was in Massachusetts, we had much more frequent arguments! Not even sure why, but we did! Over just about anything! I just miss him too much to not enjoy our time talking!

So that’s the end of assignment #2! Jon will be here in less than 48 hours (AHHHH!) and after 1 1/2 days in Portland, we’ll be headed down south through California for our trip home! Can’t wait! I’ll keep you guys updated with some beautiful coastlines over the next week or so!

Pittock Mansion & Portland

After tossing and turning for hours last night, I got out of bed at 11:45 so that I could spend my very last free day in Portland doing something better than laying around! I headed out the door to see the Pittock Mansion, which I’ve heard has good views of the city and was all decorated for Christmas! The mansion was built in 1914 by a couple who basically helped develop Portland as a city!

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The mansion was beautiful on the outside but no Christmas decorations! I was really expecting some Christmas lights on the outside or something! It was pretty neat though because all the snow was blowing off the trees, so it felt like it was snowing outside!

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You all know I love me some Mt Hood! Not only that, but I could see Mt St Helen’s and Mt Adam’s as well! My phone wouldn’t have captured them and I haven’t uploaded the photos yet from my camera, but this was the good one! Apparently Mt Rainier is visible on clear days as well!

The mansion was only $10, but I was really disappointed in it! The actual mansion itself was really neat, but the Christmas decorations were so gaudy! I wish I had taken one on my phone! In on of the bathrooms, they stuck two gigantic gingerbread houses that literally took up the entire bathroom so you weren’t able to see any of the original features. Strange. But I still enjoyed the afternoon! It was definitely much quicker than I had planned!

I headed into Portland to see the Ira Keller Fountain but all the water was drained for the winter! I was so bummed! I probably should have snapped a few photos of it empty, but it just looked like a bunch of cement blocks! I did buy a new scarf from H&M and get to walk around the cute streets of Portland again though!

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I ran by work to grab my daily planner (I was lost without it and so worried I’d mess up my work days) and then headed to Whole Foods for some groceries. I threw together some stuff to take to work and then headed out to the gym! I ended up doing a mile run (I made it to 6.2 with no pain!) and then walked 3/4 of a mile at an incline. I get so much more tired doing that than running right now (since I’m still watching my pace till my hip is 100%) and I’m kind of liking the different challenge. I had planned on doing some legs, but a bunch of bros were taking up my leg area so I just did a few leg presses and a few planks and moved on with my night!

Not that I’m a foodie blogger, I figured I’d snap a quick picture of my dinner tonight (that I ate at 10:30pm)! I found some pretty good peppered deli turkey at Whole Foods and got some salami for my protein. I really would have liked some cheese on that spaghetti squash and on my meats, but I thought I had a lot left so I didn’t buy any when I went grocery shopping. Come to find out, I barely even have enough for my hash browns these next few mornings! Ah well. And I had more grapes but dropped them on the floor, and since the floor here is lived on by a 2 year old, I decided to just let those ones go.

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I’m going to chill for a bit and I’m really hoping to get to sleep around 1am! I’ve been relying on Benadryl for sleep a lot more lately and I really want to try to go without it, but I just don’t do well swapping back and forth so much with the hours that I sleep! I notice that I’ve been tossing and turning a whole lot more lately than I ever used to!

Tomorrow marks one week until Jon gets here and 9 days till I leave Portland!

Yummy Recipes, Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park, and Bye Bye IG and FB!

I’m now 3 full days back to healthier eating and I already feel so much better! I’ve actually ended up cutting coffee out for these three days as well but I don’t plan on that going on much longer! I’m already feeling an urge to get all the Dutch Bros and Peet’s in that I can before I leave Portland in less than 2 weeks!

It helps that I made the best dish ever though…

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I know the picture sucks because it was night time and it’s super dark in the house, but for real- so good. I bought a bag of frozen, cubed sweet potatoes and one of butternut squash and stuck them in the oven at 400 while I cubed 2 apples. I also had walnuts cooking on the stove in maple syrup and cinnamon on medium heat. Once the walnuts seemed like they were all glazed and yummy, I added everything to the dish and threw on some nutmeg and cinnamon to all the rest of the stuff and put it back in the oven till everything was somewhat soft. I’m pretty sure this is one of the best things I’ve ever made. And thanks to the freezer section, it was also really simple.

Pretty sure that has helped me stay sane on this no bread/sugar kick (I’m not counting maple syrup) because it’s just so delicious.

Yesterday I headed out to the coast to Oswald West State Park! It was a little snowy going through the north end of the Tillamook National Forest and the snow makes me so nervous! I did get an awesome view of Mt St Helen’s though! It’s kind of cool cause while I was getting a photo, a woman asked if it was Mt Hood or Mt St Helen’s. You really do get to know what they look like though! Mt Hood is much pointier and the summit leans to the north. Mt St Helen’s is a lot more flat!

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You can see some of the snow that was on the trees right in the front. Mt St Helen’s is gorgeous too, but just doesn’t have the same appeal as Mt Hood for me! I’m still dying to see Mt Rainier though! I bet it’s magnificent (I can’t believe I used that word, but that’s what I picture!)

The drive put me out just north of Cannon Beach, so I decided to make a quick pit stop! The rocks were just massive coming out of the water! I stayed away from them for the most part since it just looked really crowded up close, but it was still beautiful! The town of Cannon Beach was adorable too! I wish I had decided to spend the night there!

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I kept heading down to Oswald West but over the side of the road saw a little area that looked really awesome! The next few photos are from Hug Point!

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I almost went back to my car but decided to walk up the beach a little! So glad I did, cause I found this waterfall!

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Hug Point

I finally made it down to Oswald West and started out on the Cape Falcon hike! It seemed easy and the elevation gain was under 200 ft, but it was 5 miles round trip! I decided I didn’t want to get sucked into a 5 mile hike since I was already seeing such amazing places and my daylight was getting limited, so I walked back to the car and drove on. I came to this very short hike next, which led me to some breathtaking views! Reminded me of Australia!

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Oswald West State Park

I just sat out there and enjoyed the view for awhile. It was just absolutely amazing to see the ocean from up so high and all the rocks and whirlpools! I love the PNW! I love being near the water and love being near the mountains and I tell Jon all the time that we need to live near one or the other in the future, but you win living up here! (Except for the m’f’ing RAIN!) After my mini hike, I drove further down the coast and saw another beautiful view!

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After getting back in the car and making one more quick stop in the town of Manzanita (also cute, but not as cute as Cannon Beach), I decided to head home! I was getting nervous about the roads icing over at night even though it hadn’t rained at all, but the roads were still wet in the mountains because of the shade. Instead of heading back north to where I came from, I headed way south in hopes of roads with no snow! Good call- I made it, despite an added hour of driving time! And I got to enjoy some new views as well!

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Today I headed to the Japanese Garden in Portland. I’m sure it’s beautiful in the summer, but all the leaves were gone and it was a bit of a disappointment! The Lan Su Chinese Garden wins for my Portland gardens!

I managed to get a great upper body workout in tonight and 16 or 17 minutes of going backwards on the elliptical (gotta work that butt sometimes). My hip only bothers me rarely these days, but still am not pushing the lower body workouts! Although I can’t wait for some leg workouts that just fatigue my muscles again! These baby leg workouts will do for now though.

And for my last news, I decided last night to deactivate my Facebook temporarily! I also deleted Instagram off my phone. I’m sure both of them will come back sooner than later, but I’m going to try to keep off of them until Jon and I head back on our road trip at least. It feels strange not picking up my phone and browsing through there, but I find Facebook to be kind of boring anyway and it’s just a time filler. I do like posting what I do cause I know mine and Jon’s parents follow it so it’s fun for them to connect with me while I’m away, but I won’t be doing anything other than working over the next week anyway! It’s probably good to disconnect for a bit and I’m hoping to start filling my time more productively for a little while and break the habit of just getting on Facebook out of boredom. What did I do before my iPhone, anyway?!

This was definitely long enough! Have a good night, everybody!

Seattle Trip

My trip to Seattle wasn’t exactly beyond thrilling, but I am definitely glad I got to see part of the city! I got into the city around 1pm and decided to head to the Space Needle first! Seems to be the biggest tourist thing to do in Seattle so I figured I might as well! If anybody ever goes, there’s a public parking lot right at the base of the Space Needle (well, really close), but outside the lot and down the street is free 2 hour parking!

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I paid $22 (I think) to go up, but you could pay $32 for a day and night trip. I was tempted, but wasn’t really sure how much time I’d have to do it at night again! I stood in line behind by some really obnoxious children, sweated through my winter clothes, and wished desperately that Jon was traveling with me!

I made it to the top and I must say, it was pretty awesome! I love being up high in cities and being able to look down!

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Just kidding! That photo was taken at the bottom and superimposed! They could have at least superimposed it onto an entire city shot instead of having that big white half moon thing there!

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Awesome city views! The only unfortunate part was that Mt Rainier was fogged out and I would have loved to see it in the background! I might have cried, that’s how much I love volcanoes!

Once I had my fill of the cityscape, I decided to head down to the Pike Place Market! I took a quick detour to try and see some of the waterfront, but it was a lot of highway down there!

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After that, I finally made my way into the market!

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It was a cute market! Lots of stuff! I ended up getting some Greek yogurt from a vendor that reminded me so much of the real Greek yogurt in Greece! It was so thick and creamy! Then I got a crepe that was delicious! Savory crepes are the best! After that, it was getting dark and starting to rain! I made one stop by the first Starbuck’s ever and decided there was no way I was waiting in line for coffee that I don’t even like! Neat to see it though!

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Next I stumbled upon the famous gum wall that was started in the early 90s and was really disgusting! I hate gum anyway cause I think it’s so gross to repeatedly chew on your own spit, but I thought I’d snap some photos since it’s well known!

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There were a ton of really cute alleys and little shops! Our closest couple friends may move there and I’m tempted to try and take an assignment there in the summer! I would love to explore the mountains up there and I’d still be close to Oregon!

The rest of the evening (till my meltdown over the ferry and not having my husband) was spent at Starbuck’s, just killing time. I wish they had other coffee shops, but I went down by the ferry terminal and there weren’t many options! I had the new praline latte or whatever it is- disappointing. Starbuck’s sucks.

And that’s it for Seattle!

Downsides of Travel Nursing

I remember talking to Jon last winter right after we got married and telling him that we’d see how this next winter goes with my mood. I’ve told him before that I think that the older I’ve gotten, that I have seasonal affective disorder now (instead of just being depressed all the time). Last winter was tough, and you’d think right after an engagement and a secret courthouse wedding, we’d be happy! But I struggled.

I had a fantastic summer and I’m having a rough winter! This assignment isn’t quite like Massachusetts. Mass was awesome! The weather was wonderful, it was prime hiking season so all the hikes I did alone still felt safe due to having a fair amount of people any day of the week, I was really able to explore on almost every day off, minus a few rainy days here and there, and all the parks were very easily accessible. Portland isn’t the same. The sunny days are a rarity. I find the rain forest to be a bit scary to hike in alone, especially since it’s the off season and nobody is out hiking during the week. The state parks have all kinds of crazy rules about parking around here, and since I live on the Oregon/Washington border, I need separate types of passes in both states.

Despite all of that, I know I’m still unbelievably lucky to be traveling. I got to see so many things on the drive out here and Jon and I are about to drive down the California coast and back to Georgia together! I love the job I have out here. I am glad to be living with a friend from college! I still see some beautiful sights out here and still get to explore, even if not as often as I’d like!

But I’m just feeling kind of flat lately. I wouldn’t say depressed necessarily. I still feel more positive than negative overall, but I guess that “positive” is really just more like “even.” Not depressed. Not really happy, just not depressed. I miss Jon like crazy and am dying to see him right about now! I feel lonely. I’m tired of traveling for right now. (Side note: I know that this is a temporary feeling and I am not giving up on travel nursing.) I am so ready to be at home with Jon, cuddled up on our couch with him and the kitties, going to my own gym, making dinner for both of us, and hanging out with my friends. I miss Atlanta. I miss knowing where the hell I’m going and where I can park! I miss my life at home.

I was supposed to go to Vashon Island to see my sister today. I spent the day exploring Seattle since her flight didn’t land till way later in the evening, and then decided to get to the ferry terminal early since I read there was no parking lot at the ferry terminal (seriously, wtf). I couldn’t find anywhere that would let me park overnight! I mean, I did, but 2 miles away. I didn’t want to pay to take my car over to the island because I had no reason to pay for it. I just wanted to park my car and not have to walk back 2 miles tomorrow, up and down hills, through the constant drizzle! My sister told me that she landed (from Texas) and by that point, I was so frustrated with the whole thing! I was going to go stay with her and her fiancé’s family, but I was just getting so bummed out and I didn’t feel like dealing with parking or taking a ferry or walking back to my car tomorrow!

Finally, I just asked if she’d be upset if I went back to Portland (this was at 9:45pm). She said she really wanted to see me but understood. I feel so bad for letting my mood get in the way of seeing my family, especially since I only see her once a year usually, but I’m just over this! I’m tired of traveling, tired of being without my husband, tired of not having my cats, tired of looking for parking, tired of always paying to park, tired of exploring alone, tired of not having friends to hang out with… And I’m not somebody who wants to hang out with people when I feel down. Actually, I would have been fine with seeing my sister and wish I could have, but I didn’t want to deal with family members I hadn’t met before and the pain in the ass ferry.

So I called Jon and I cried. Thank god for my husband that answers my phone calls no matter what time I call him (I am not such a good wife- I get really annoyed when he calls me when I’m sleeping but I can’t help that I’m a grumpy sleeper!). I cried for a good 30 minutes about how much I miss him. I can’t wait for the next 14 days to fly by. I miss him so incredibly much. Then I had to get gas and looked at my reflection in the window (in the dark) and thought I didn’t look too bad! So I walked inside and made lots of eye contact with the guy working there while I tried to figure out if the door marked “Employees Only” was the bathroom (it was), only to find out I was looking like a hot mess when I saw my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Jeebus.

I’m home now (well, to my Washington home). I feel okay now. Still just ready to get home (to my Georgia home). I still would not trade travel for anything and am still so glad that I’m doing it. I’m not the type of person that needs to have her husband around all the time (clearly, I’ve left him at home for the last 6 months) at all… I think with this weather and the season (ugh, dang season) and all this birth control mess (and now getting my period back- pretty much exactly on time too), I’m just needing some comfort, and there sure isn’t much comfort when you’re traveling alone! I’ve been fairly isolated from anybody close to me for about 6 months and I’m really looking forward to an end to that, at least temporarily.

(Also, I promise I’m not just posting this to complain publicly! But I post tons of awesome pictures of my life and it makes it look like travel nursing is the best thing ever- which it kind of is- but there are days that aren’t so awesome too and since other travelers can read this, I’m just keeping it real!)

Getting Dressed and Getting Beer!

Another lazy day down in the books! I woke up at 9am and started doing business from bed! Jon called me with some current updates, which affects my job situation come January! Then I talked to my recruiters about my January job (I’m wanting to go to Santa Fe, NM!) and then called Jess to talk to her! Then I called Jon back to talk to him again! My hold up now is that Jon may have to travel coming up, and if he does, I don’t want our cats to be alone all week long! Our cats are not independent at all! They follow us around, get ready in the morning with us, join us in bed, and sit with us all the time! When it was just Kitty and me living alone, she would eat the fur out of her back when I was working a lot as a stress response! And Tom pees on the carpet when he gets angry (luckily, we only have one entry rug in our house now- but only cause he peed on all my other rugs and we have hardwoods in the whole house now- also why he can’t go to my parent’s house, which was my usual solution in my pre-Tom days).

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Things are still unknown as of this time, so I may have to hold off on applying for jobs in Santa Fe and put my traveling on hold for the time being. I’m not ready for the traveling days to be behind me, but those little furballs have my heart and I could not leave them home alone for 4 days at a time for a few months! I would feel like such a guilty, horrible mother! I don’t think I could even enjoy traveling as much if I was worried about them at home! (My love for cats is serious business.)

After my business was complete, I fell back to sleep till 2pm. I’m getting in a bad habit of sleeping all day, but I’m calling this “resting my hip.” I woke up and headed out to the gym after eating a little something, but ended up skipping it and getting coffee instead! I decided to be smart and give my hip some more rest since it’s been a little achy lately.

Tonight I went out for beer with Adam! I got dressed for the third time in 6 weeks tonight!

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Sometimes I forget what it’s like to wear clothes and have my hair down (this was only the second time having my hair down in 6 weeks)! I actually kind of enjoy it at times, especially because lately it has happened so infrequently!

We went to Base Camp Brewing Co downtown and got smores stouts!

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I’ve really come to like stouts lately! I’ve still had my fair share of stouts that I don’t prefer, but there are definitely some good ones out there! This was a good one! And the toasted marshmallow (mine was the perfect one, Adam’s was the burnt one) was a bonus too! Adam reconfigured my external hard drive in about 5 seconds and then my computer spent an hour transferring pictures! I still need to transfer the photos from my other external hard drive over to the new one too!

Tomorrow is back to work for three days! I’m going to see about extending my contract by a week and I’m really hoping they let me! It would give me a chance to work another week before Jon gets here and that money would definitely help us out since both of us will be taking over 2 weeks off of work in December! I have no idea what is happening this weekend, but probably a lot of sleeping and being lazy! Seems to be my thing lately! And I’m just going totally enjoy it while I can and not feel guilty about laying in my nice, fleece sheets till 2pm anymore! I have a feeling these lazy days are only going to last for a few more months and I might as well soak it in! Those grad school days are coming!

I was hoping to curl up on the couch and catch up on some TV, but there’s no cable right now! I don’t even know why! It’s not even raining!!! Frustrating! I get tired of watching everything on my computer!

Silver Falls State Park & Lazy Days

Yesterday I went to Silver Falls State Park! Best decision ever! I found it randomly through some searches for hikes in the area (also found the Silver Star Trail in Washington which I am dying to do now also!).

I woke up early-ish yesterday and headed south! The drive was just under two hours and I was so glad to find how easy it was to pay to park and that there were no crazy fees at the park!

I started out at the main lot and headed to see one of the most photographed falls in Oregon! Notice that you can walk behind the falls!

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It was very icy out there and I was moving so slow! There were rails along the way to hold onto though and the ice wasn’t anything too extreme, so I kept on going! This park has 10 waterfalls and you can do a 4-5 mile loop and hit a bunch of them, so that was the goal!

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Little bitty falls! I don’t think this one counts towards the 10 falls!

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The next fall was also awesome and the trail continued behind it also! Unfortunately, the trail on the right side of this photo was like a skating rink and it was tilted towards the water (doesn’t seem like it in the photo, but it was). I literally had to crawl on my hands and knees and then decided to give up! Quite frankly, I was freezing cold and while I could have crawled to that rail in the distance, I wasn’t feeling that adventurous!

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After having to stop there, I went back to my car to try and drive to the parking lots near some of the others! I had seen two lots on my drive in so I knew you could!

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This one was tricky to get a photo with! I had to crawl down to the bottom and then couldn’t get far enough away to get a good shot of the entire fall! It was amazing with all the ice near it though! Imagine the ground covered in that!

I decided to go to one more waterfall and then head out! I was so cold and my gloves got wet holding onto all the rails, so my hands were barely functioning anymore! I was grateful for my warming time in the car driving between these places, but it was such a short distance that I didn’t get warm enough!

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This one was so amazing! To walk behind the fall, you’re in this huge arch and it’s so incredibly loud with all the water rushing over the rocks above you and hitting below you! It also was a huge amount of water coming down! Very awesome! I’m adding this one to my favorite falls list!

Afterwards, I stopped by the outlets to check The North Face outlet for gloves! Of course, I accidentally got back on the highway instead of turning into the outlets and it took me 16 miles out of my way (the exits are so far apart!). I ended up buying another pair of Under Armour leggings (I LOVE their leggings and wear them all winter- either for running, under jeans, or under yoga pants). I got lost trying to find The North Face and then when I found it, it was super crowded and they only sold jackets.

I headed back to get dinner with Juliette. I was absolutely starving (it had been 9 hours since I ate) so I asked if she was still going to want to get dinner or should I stop in Portland. No answer (she rarely has her phone on her). She finally answered when I was minutes from home (30 minutes north of Portland) and said Roy wasn’t going to tolerate sitting in a restaurant! I was craving Waffle Window so I headed downtown! Turns out, I missed them by 45 minutes! I was so bummed and so freaking hungry! I found a Thai place close by with great reviews of their crab langoon (do Thai places call it langoon and not rangoon?)! I love crab rangoon so I went there! Turns out, they were out of crab langoon! UGH! #travelfails

I ate a mediocre dish (I’m not a big oriental food person) and then went to get a berry pie from Whiffies. I headed home to eat it and then relaxed for the night!

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I had planned on hiking Angel’s Rest today but stay asleep till 1pm! Impressive! Then I laid in bed reading blogs, got up to eat, and am now sitting by the fire writing this. I may head to the gym later or to the grocery store, but being lazy is feeling pretty nice today. I wish I could just curl up in my pajamas by the fire and have a movie night, but living with an almost 3 year old prevents that type of thing from happening!

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Time to go clean up the kitchen from my 3pm breakfast!

 

 

Mt Hood: Mirror Lake and Trillium Lake in November

I finally made it to Mt Hood yesterday! I’ve been some awesome places, but nothing amazes me like volcanoes! I just want to see all of them! I ended up checking online to view the roads on the webcams that are set up at the national parks up here and the roads were looking free of snow, so I headed on out!

I didn’t do anything particularly crazy or exciting, but I made my first stop at Trillium Lake! I actually went to the DMV for a Sno Park Pass (I wasn’t about to get another ticket after my last $100 lesson) thinking that I’d need it to park while at the park. I didn’t need it once. I suppose because it wasn’t snowing, they allowed parking all over the place. At least that’s what it looked like!

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It was beautiful there! I definitely would have loved some calm waters to make for an amazing reflection, but it was far too winy! As a matter of fact, it was a bit miserably cold! The wind was painful on any bare skin that I had!

After my stop at Trillium Lake (which I was able to park right at), I decided to head to see the Timberline Lodge from The Shining. Everybody says you have to! I find a lot of these roads a bit eerie in the winter since so few cars pass by and I’m already terrified of getting stuck in the middle of horrendous weather and not being able to get my car off a mountain! The clear skies eased my mind, but still!

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You get up close and personal with Mt Hood from the Timberline Lodge! It was definitely much closer to the summit than I was expecting!

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I wasn’t able to walk out to see many views, just cause the parking lot was so incredibly icy and I wasn’t about to bust my butt out there! I already have a hurt hip- can’t be doing that! I should have gone into the lodge, but I was anxious to start my Mirror Lake hike!

I headed back down to Mirror Lake and got a nice parking spot! I can see how parking would be difficult in the nicer months! The “parking lot” was right off the highway and allowed for about 10 cars total. I actually read that the parking would close on Nov 1 so was really worried about that, but it ended up being almost full at the parking area.

I headed out on a total of a 3.9 mile hike (I think)! It was all uphill to start so I was definitely working up a sweat in all my layers! Never wear a down vest hiking! Lesson learned!

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I was absolutely freezing by the end of my stop at Mirror Lake! I cooled off from that hike in no time and then my hands and face became unbearably cold! I was the only one at the lake and got a little scared when I realized I had no idea which trail I took into the lake! I started on the Tom, Dick, and Harry Trail (I really want to do this hike- but it’s 7 miles and I definitely didn’t have the time or stamina in that weather!) and realized it pretty quickly and made my way back to the right trail!

I was starving by then, so headed to a place in Portland to eat (Blossoming Lotus)! I got bibimap and it was totally weird. I was not a fan! I don’t get why vegetarian places need to put soy in every dish! Do people still think soy is good for you?! Weird. And it didn’t taste good. It’s hard to believe I was a vegetarian for 14 years and actually liked that type of food.

I skipped the gym again last night due to hip irritation still. I feel like it’s not improving anymore now and that it actually seems to be getting worse! I think the insurance dilemma will be worked out sooner than later though, so I’m hoping maybe an MRI is in my near future. But I’m at the 5 week point now, so if it’s a sprain of some sort, then it’s still well within the healing range. And if I really did some damage, a few months is normal. Still not sure what good an MRI will really do unless it was surgical, which I’m doubting. So, maybe I don’t even care about an MRI. I don’t know. I’m clearly back and forth with it.

I’m now snowed into work! About to go to sleep in my Hotel Ortho. I hurried out the door early today when snow started accumulating in Washington! It was quick to cover the roads (it went from 0 to this in about 30 minutes) and it was slick getting out! I’ve never actually driven in much snow (aside from Crater Lake) so I was really hesitant to get on the road!

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Since I’m back to work tomorrow anyway and my roommate said Washington roads are still pretty bad, I’m camping out on the ortho floor at the hospital! I’m one of two, since Portland really isn’t too bad and most people working here live in Oregon!

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Time for me to go sleep tight before another day of work tomorrow! I’m hoping to wake up in time to finally go get brunch from a Portland breakfast place since I’m downtown!