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Laura Domela
Portland, OR
On the road in a 2010 27'FB Airstream International
Recent Activity
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Our evening moored at Spencer Spit was great. A cocktail on the top deck, sunset, water, wildlife, trees...it can't get much better. A sailboat was anchored a ways from us, but there were still no other boats at the mooring buoys on this side of the spit. We tried out our generator this evening (runs great, super quiet, even quieter outside). I'm glad we're adding solar and an inverter though...kinda nice not to have to turn on the generator when you're underway just to make a quick espresso. :) The evening was pretty (the STARS!!). A little later the wind picked up, and the boat hook that hangs on the ladder to the top deck was rhythmically slapping the side each time the boat rocked, so Kevin went outside to move it to the floor of the cockpit. Pretty soon he says in the "loud whisper" voice, "Come out here!!!" It's dark except for the stars and the light on top of Frost Island reflecting in the water, but I can hear it: loud breathing to my left. I look over as my eyes adjust to the darkness and I start to make out a shape in the water where... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Riveted
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This morning it was quite foggy in Fisherman Bay, so we decided to walk up the road 10 minutes or so to grab some breakfast at the Galley Restaurant while we waited for the fog to burn off. We finished breakfast and walked the ten minutes back to Airship and the fog was even thicker! We cleaned up some stuff on the boat and Kevin did some fine tuning on the dinghy's outboard motor while we waited and listened to the radio and weather. Pretty soon quite a few boats began readying to head out and we figured we'd join 'em! See you later, Fisherman Bay! We cruised around the north end of Lopez Island and decided we'd check out the mooring buoys at Spencer Spit. Spencer Spit is a Washington State Park just south of Swift Bay on the east side of Lopez. There are 10 mooring buoys, 7 on the north side of the spit, and 3 on the south side. Apparently the south side is preferable (probably a tiny bit more protected) but all three of those buoys were occupied, so we headed back around and grabbed ourselves the far one on the north side. We nailed... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Riveted
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Friday Harbor was fogged in pretty good this morning, but it had mostly burned off by about 10:00am. Our plan for today was to circle San Juan Island, look for some Orcas, and then find ourselves a new place to stay tonight. Before we left Friday Harbor we headed up the dock to the seafood market to see if they had anything we might want for dinner tonight. We picked up a dozen Shigoku oysters and a pound of fresh Sockeye (and an oyster knife for the boat, because...yay oysters!) As we left the seafood market I heard a splash right next to me and looked down and here was this cute little harbor seal trying to get our attention. She'd slap her right fin on top of the water, in the hope (I assume) that perhaps you picked up a spare something-or-other from the market to share with her. Inside the market -- a cool collection of barnacled bottles: Back at the boat we untied our lines and headed out. It looked like the currents favored a counter-clockwise route. We waited for this sea plane to depart and then off we went around the island. We mostly hugged around... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Riveted
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What a gorgeous end to a fantastic day. The sky cleared in the west as the sun set and the contrast of the warm sunlight against the dark gray sky was spectacular. We got out the chairs and moved our operation to the top deck of Airship and watched the sunset. Boat people are a lot like Airstream people. We got some new neighbors earlier this evening (a 34ish foot sailboat) and we quickly struck up a friendly conversation shortly after they pulled into their slip. They're from Portland, and they had also just come from Anacortes. They were curious about the Nordic Tugs and asked if they could come check it out (of course!) Later, when Kevin and I were up on the top deck, sipping our spritzes and watching the sunset, we saw an Aspen (a power catamaran, built in the same factory as our Nordic Tug) coming into the marina and down our row...quite fast. Okay, maybe it's his home marina. He knows it well. It's late and he's trying to get home in time for the Friday night high school football game. (But he's late, because we can hear the touchdowns from our top deck.) Then,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Riveted
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This morning we decided to put our new skills to the test (Capt. Jack has great confidence in us) and so at about 10am we left Anacortes and headed toward Friday Harbor on our first ever unsupervised outing. It was a little drizzly when we left but by the time we got to Friday Harbor it was just a bit gray. Click on the map image to enlarge: The trip took us about three hours (we cruised at about 7-10 knots), depending on the current. Lots of ferries in the islands: We'd had practice (with Capt. Jack) grabbing a mooring buoy and anchoring, but we hadn't yet come into an unfamiliar (by boat, anyway) marina and getting ourselves an overnight guest slip, so we figured we'd get one of those under our belt. Here we are in our spot for the night: The view from our stern: Marina overview: Staying overnight at a marina is a lot like getting a campsite in a campground. Once you're within sight of the marina, you call the marina office on either Channel 66 on your VHF radio (or by cell phone) and ask if they have a slip for the night (or however... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Riveted
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On Tuesday morning we got up early and headed to Anacortes to stay our first night on our new boat "Airship" before meeting up with Capt. Jack DeFriel first thing Wednesday morning for a couple days of on-the-water training. Tuesday evening sunset from the back of Airship: It rained pretty good that first night on the boat and sometime in the middle of the night the wind picked up a bit. From bed (in the bow of the boat) I could hear a little bit of the bow line as it pulled occasionally as the boat moved, but then there was this clangy sound right above our heads. Cling, clang, cling, clang. Hang on! There's nothing that should be making that sound on this boat. I pictured the topside of the boat and remembered there was a little Nordic Tug flag/burgee attached to the front of the rail on the bow and said to Kevin (one of the times we were tossing around, awake) that I knew what that noise was and that in the morning, that flag was coming off. Kevin replied, "In the morning, my butt" as he put on jeans and went out in the dark and... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Riveted
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A couple months back while we were looking at boats and trying to zero in on which might be right for us, one of the things we did was get a tour of the Nordic Tug factory in Burlington, Washington. These are very well-made boats (as are the American Tugs, made in nearby LaConner, Washington -- our runner up) and you couldn't go wrong with either boat. It was great to see the process, and we're very happy with our choice. I didn't show you these earlier, because, well, it was a surprise (and we hadn't decided yet)! Early on Tuesday morning we'll be heading north to close on the sale of our boat, and then starting right in with a few days of on-the-water training. We want to learn as much as we can (while there's someone right there to answer questions) before we strike out on our own (where we have to look things up on the internet). :) After the 29th, we'll be having a few upgrades done to the boat, and once those are finished we'll probably explore the San Juans a little bit (if the weather's still decent) before bringing Airship back to Portland for... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2014 at Riveted
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Turns out that researching boat decor is just about as fun as Airstream decor. Related articles We Bought a Boat! Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at Riveted
No, you aren't the only one who remembers. I remember having to give Ebon a bath in tomato sauce (we didn't have any tomato juice and you said tomato sauce would work just as well). The only thing worse than the smell of skunk...is the smell of skunk mixed in with tomato sauce. Almost ruined spaghetti for me forever.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2014 on Skunk Dreams at White Shepherd Stories
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Back in July when we were staying at the Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend. That's when we caught the bug. It's remarkable that we hadn't caught it before, honestly. We both grew up sailing and boating with our families, and as you've no doubt noticed, we LOVE the marina campgrounds when traveling by Airstream. And still, it never occurred to us until recently that we might want to own a boat. It started with the small fleet of Ranger Tugs we first saw in Port Townsend. Modern, compact, trailerable, and built in nearby Kent, Washington, the Ranger Tug seemed like it might be the one for us: a boat we could live comfortably in while exploring the waterways of the Pacific Northwest. It was like an Airstream on the water! We researched every Ranger model online and studied all of the floor plans. We took the factory tour. We talked about options and colors and interior fabrics and everything. But after much more research and experience being on several different boats, we decided that the Ranger might be too much like our first Airstream: wonderful, but a little tight on space for the amount of time we know we'll... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at Riveted
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at Riveted
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Yesterday we drove from Seattle to Anacortes. We knew the way, but I'd mapped us to our location using my iPhone and Google Maps just to see how long it would take us to get there. We were whizzing along just fine on I-5 at 70mph when my iPhone told me we should be taking an exit several miles ahead. Huh? We still had about 45 miles to go on I-5. "She" wanted us to get off the freeway, take some side streets, and then get back on the SAME freeway. Whatever, little computer brain. Hush. We'd decided to ignore "her" and keep on our merry way when up ahead we saw breaklights and significant traffic backup. Okay, let's do what "she" says, we decided. We got off I-5 and took "her" recommended route, part of it parallelling the freeway where we could see mostly stopped traffic on the northbound side. Whoa! How'd "she" know? I mean, I know Google Maps can show traffic and whether it's slow or medium or fast, but rerouting us based on it? Really? As we re-approached I-5 following "her" instructions, after taking about 4 miles of side streets, the purpose of this reroute became... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at Riveted
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Last week we flew down to San Jose for work, and then continued on down to San Diego to spend a few days visiting our good friends Jake and Patti. I've known Jake and Patti since I was 20 years old (so, you know, not that long), and Kevin's known them since he's known me. They were the two witnesses at our wedding (in our living room in Portland, in 1997, along with Kevin's daughters) and it was so nice to get to hang with them for a few days. We flew into Carlsbad, CA. The flight through the Los Angeles airspace was strangely smooth with little traffic ("Where IS everyone?"). ATC routed us right down the coast from Seal Beach to Carlsbad...gorgeous! Jake and I both really like to cook (remember, camping with the sous vide?), and we spent two of our four days in San Diego cooking up two different multi-course dinners (we've done this before). We planned two nights' worth of menus and went to work! Dinner No. 1 Appetizer: figs stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in prosciutto First course: salmon, sorrel, and mustard, wrapped in filo dough and topped with sorrel cream sauce (delicious, I'm totally... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at Riveted
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We flew down to San Jose for some work stuff this morning and thanks to a killer tailwind we got here with plenty of time to spare. We thought we'd grab a quick lunch before our meeting, so I pulled up Yelp on my iPhone and searched nearby restaurants. We decided on Kenny's Cafe. It was close to the airport, the ratings were good (4.5 out of 5 stars average), and there were 65 reviews (soon to be 66). Kenny's is about a mile from Atlantic Aviation and easy to miss. A "mom and pop joint/hole in the wall" description was accurate. We were a little on the early side of the lunch window and there were only two other customers seated when we walked in. We were greeted by the very enthusiatic and friendly Kenny, who welcomed us warmly as first time guests. The walls and ceiling are covered with photos of Kenny's very valued customers, and he is proud of the number of regulars he's collected in the two years he's been open. We asked what was the best, and he came around in front of the counter to show us three photos of happy customers with their... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Riveted
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Work work work work coffee work work working more work a tiny break then more work. Morning hike, back to work, work work, shower, food, work work work work work work more coffee then more work. Hey look, a deer is eating my plants! Back to work work work then dinner then some work and oh just a bit more work and then what do you know it's bed time? So, we're home for a bit and this is what it's like. Not too exciting to write about, huh? (But hey, we have slammin' fast internet at home, so there's that!) :) Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Riveted
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(Posted by Kevin) My last drone was lost at sea in March. Apparently we didn’t do a blog post about it at the time, which is a mystery because it was exactly the kind of event we’d normally blog about. We were on the Oregon coast, and I’d been flying the drone over the beach and along the rocky shoreline all day. The GoPro HD camera was capturing the best-quality video I’d ever gotten from a drone - smooth, sharp, no vibration - and the gimbal was keeping the camera nicely level. I had spent a few weeks building and tuning it to get those excellent results. In First Person View (FPV) mode - it could go more than two miles away - with its long range control and video radio links. On about the fifth flight of the day, I invited Laura out to watch on the “guest” video goggles. It’s like taking a ride on the drone. I was flying it along the beach, and cut out over the water for a bit - the drone was about 1800 feet away from us when the video suddenly went to static - with no warning. We tried various rescue... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at Riveted
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This morning we got up at 5am and headed down to the Fremont Bridge for the start of the 2014 Providence Bridge Pedal. This is a super fun ride (we've done it once before, on the tandem). There are several options for this ride. There's a 10 bridge option (33 miles), an 8 bridge option (24 miles), a 6 bridge option (13 miles), a kids pedal (3 miles over two bridges), and "Stride" which is a 5.5 mile walk over two bridges). There's also the Fremont Express option, which is 36 miles, does 10 bridges, but gets to start just after sunrise from the middle of the Fremont Bridge. This is pretty cool because the Fremont Bridge is normally closed to pedestrians and cyclists -- only cars allowed. So having a half an hour or so up at the top of the bridge was really neat! They had water stations and a bunch of food laid out on tables for the riders (bananas, donuts, bagels, etc.), along with a string ensemble playing music for us as we waited for the start time (6:45am). And we're off: It's super fun to ride through the city on bikes with the freewyas and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at Riveted
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We took off late this morning and flew the Cirrus to Kelso, WA to pick up my mom for a flight up to Orcas Island for lunch. My mom has been flying with us a couple times, but she's not so much of a flyer, normally. She's only been in the Cirrus once when we first got it, and before that she flew once with me in our previous plane (an Aerocommander Lark, kinda like a Cessna 172) after I got my pilot's license (because really, how could she not? I got a PILOT'S LICENSE!!!!!) I think the whole-plane parachute that comes with the Cirrus is a great feature for people who are bit scared about flying. Anyway, look at this -- (L to R) Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood, on the way to Kelso: Here we are coming into the San Juan Islands: Approaching the runway at Eastsound on Orcas Island: Parked and ready to head to lunch: There's a nice public path from the airport right to town: We had lunch at the Madrona Bar & Grill. Right there. Right out there on that little top deck: With this view: All three of us ordered... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at Riveted
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At some point in my childhood, I became aware that I had two catastrophe fears -- quicksand and tidal waves -- and that I had no clue where those fears originated. Could it have been that time the neighborhood kids all helped fill sandbags near our apartment in Seal Beach, California as a storm was threatening to flood the old town area? Is that what caused me to imagine the many scenarios where a giant wave had crashed over the town and I was floating down Main Street on my bunk bed boat? Certainly the silly, unrealistic scenes on Gilligan's Island where someone was sinking into a quicksand puddle weren't scary enough to cause my worry and fear of quicksand, were they? I was born in Alaska and we lived in Anchorange until I was 5 years old. Once, a few years back while I was working on this portrait project with my brother in Girdwood, Alaska, as we were driving the stretch of road along the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet between Anchorage and Girdwood, someone in the car told a crazy story about a woman who had gone out onto the mudflats at low tide and gotten... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at Riveted
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The tortilla press I ordered arrived this afternoon (from Laredo, TX!) and I decided we should get right to it and have tacos tonight! Kevin smoked some tomatoes and peppers on the Traeger for what started out to be one hour but ended up to be almost three hours (that's what happens when you're cooking while working). Nice and smoky! First, I used the tomatoes, some of the jalapenos and poblanos, fresh garlic, shallots, cilantro, and a few more raw tomatoes and made some homemade salsa (just throw it all in the Vitamix and season to taste). This particular batch of salsa turned out SO good! Next (also in the Vitamix) I used one of the smoked poblanos and half a jalapeno, added a bunch of Oregon Star tomatoes, a red bell pepper, a peeled English cucumber, shallots, garlic, olive oil, a dash of salt, and some Vinagre Jerez (Spanish sherry vinegar) and made another batch of gazpacho. (No photo, you've seen it before.) Next up: guacamole! Three large ripe avocados, half of one of the smoked poblano peppers, half a smoked jalapeno, garlic, shallots, lime juice, cilantro, salt...mix it up by hand in a bowl and voila! Now onto... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Riveted
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I found a recipe for a cocktail I'd never heard of (while looking for cocktail recipes containing Aperol) and decided to try it out on our friends last night when they came over for dinner. It's called an Amber Road and here are the ingredients (plus a mint sprig, maple syrup, and fizzy water, not shown): For one cocktail: Add 1½ ounces of bourbon (I used Bulleit), 1 ounce of Aperol, ½ ounce of fresh lemon juice and ¼ ounce of maple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake it up hard, then strain it into a tall glass with ice. Add 2 ounces of soda, and garnish with a lemon wheel and mint sprig. It was delicious! Really delicious. Also: I mixed the bourbon, Aperol, bitters, maple syrup, and lemon juice up before hand and kept it in the fridge. When our guests arrived I just added ice to the shaker and shook away, then poured the shaken concoction over ice, added the fizzy water and mint sprig, and done! Related articles Swank & Swine Aperol Spritz Ice-Free Martini Glasses Airstream Cocktailware Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Riveted
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This morning we did our usual hike in the Arboretum (about 4 miles), but we figured we should really get a bike ride in too, since we're doing the 36 mile Bridge Pedal route next Sunday (one week from today) and we really haven't been riding that much lately. So this afternoon we loaded the tandem into the back of the truck and headed for Sauvie Island. We've had our tandem for about 9-10 years and it's a great bike. (Notice, it's ALSO aluminum!!) It's a Santana Sovereign. There's a really nice 12 mile loop around the south end of the island that looks like this: Sauvie Island is the largest island along the Columbia River at 26,000 acres, and is predominantly farms and wildlife refuge. It's flat and has fairly low traffic so it's a great place to cycle. Here are some photos of our ride, and oh yeah, it was 90 degrees out. Hot!! There are several farm markets out here where you can get fresh produce and/or pick your own berries and flowers. Corn maze and pumpkin patch opens on Labor Day: I saw these cows. They were eating grass, just like it says. Related articles A... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2014 at Riveted
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Why have I never made my own mayonnaise when it's THIS easy? I just happened upon that recipe and it sounded so simple that I had to try it. It honestly took me about 30 seconds to make, and it is delicious. I made mayo because I roasted some artichokes for dinner last night and wanted to come up with a healthy dip for them. (I've never roasted artichokes, either, so that's new too!) Usually I boil them or partially boil them and then finish them on the grill or under the broiler with garlic and a little olive oil. This time I trimmed them, pulled the leaves open a bit, poured some olive oil over them so it got down in between the leaves, added some chopped garlic (also getting it down between the leaves), squeezed some lemon juice over the top, salted and peppered, then wrapped them individually in foil and put them in the oven at 425 degrees F for about an hour and 45 minutes (these were LARGE artichokes). They turned out great! For the dipping sauce, I used my homemade mayo and added to it a little Worcestershire, sesame oil, roasted garlic powder, and a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at Riveted
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Kevin finally got all of the parts from Team Black Sheep to build his new Discovery Pro FPV Gimbal Quadcopter. He hasn't flown since The Incident, (I can't believe Kevin didn't do a post about The Incident on Riveted, but this'll give you some background if you want, plus more technical stuff than you probably need...) and I was happy to see the box from Hong Kong arrive on the porch a few days ago. He's busy building now and it should't be long 'til he's got a new flying photo machine in the air again! This is our kitchen table right now. (He probably doesn't need that salad bowl right there in his work space now, does he?) Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Riveted
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We've gotten back into our morning hike routine while at home and we love it. Our normal route is just under 4 miles in about an hour and it is gorgeous! We feel pretty lucky to live this close to so many miles of beautiful trails. We also replaced our Fitbit Force fitness tracking bands. Kevin lost his sometime on a trip, and mine was starting to give me a little skin irritation so I returned it for their voluntary recall/refund offer and we picked up a couple of these Withings Pulse O2 trackers instead. I love having all my data again! This new one also does heart rate and blood oxygen level, comes with a black wristband and a clip and so far, I dig it! The wrist band is a standard 18mm watch band with the springy things so you can use whatever style of watch band you like. Oh yeah, and the other day on our hike, we came around a bend on the trail and surprised a pair of woodpeckers on a tree, right about at eye level. It was so cool! We stopped and tried to move around the tree to see them after they'd... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Riveted