Tag Archives: Oregon

A weekend with Shelley

My cousin Shelley came for a visit. She is a chef, so there were one million places I wanted her to try in Portland, but predictably only made it to a few.  

We did have a lovely lunch in our garden:  

Lunch in the garden

Lunch in the garden

And followed that up by driving to wine country in Dundee for a few tastings. We stopped at Argyle (Shelley wanted to try their sparkling wine), Winderlea and Torii Mor. Brian and I joined the wine club at Winderlea which will encourage us to go more frequently.

Brian and Shelley on the patio at Winderlea

Brian and Shelley on the patio at Winderlea

Mt Jefferson in the background looks quite large from here in real life but my old phone doesn't really capture it

Mt Jefferson in the background looks quite large from here in real life but my old phone doesn’t really capture it

Silver Creek Falls [warning: many waterfall pictures]

Waterfall

I can’t remember if I have written much about Silver Creek Falls on here, but we hiked there last weekend so I am posting some pictures. It is about an hour and a half from my house in Portland. There are ten main waterfalls. Gretchen, Brian and I hiked five of them. Fantastic day for it – lots of elevation, not very many people (at least for a summer day at Silver Creek Falls).

View of the top of South Falls

View of the top of South Falls

South Falls is 177 feet tall, and the one most people walk down to even if they aren’t going to do anything else. See the tiny people in the picture? That’s where the hiking trail goes, behind the waterfall.

South Falls from the middle of the hike

South Falls from the middle of the hike

This is from behind the waterfall as you are hiking along

This is from behind the waterfall as you are hiking along

South Falls

This is just after South Falls and before much else

This is just after South Falls and before much else

I can't remember which one this was

I can’t remember which one this was

Picnic!  This is where we stopped for lunch

Picnic! This is where we stopped for lunch

I’m very certain the heat blankets we carry in our packs for emergencies are not intended to be picnic blankets but it worked really well against the damp. We had strawberries, spanish almonds, Chop Garlic and Black Pepper sausage, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, Swiss cheese and a loaf of sour dough. There may have been a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Lovely picnic watching everyone hike by. Here’s another picture.

Picnic dam

Winter Falls - not available later in the year

Winter Falls – not available later in the year

IMG_6633.JPG

Sunday wander

Last Sunday, we sort of randomly decided to go to Astoria in the afternoon. We didn’t have any particular plans except to wander and maybe get some dinner at Fort George Brewery.

It was a fun afternoon. We were driving around looking at old (some of them pretty sadly boarded up) buildings. We pulled into a parking lot to get a closer look at the Flavel House (mansion?), and when I went to pull out, I noticed where we were. We were in the parking lot of the jail from the opening scenes of Goonies! I love Goonies so much, so we stopped for a bit longer so that I could get pictures.

Jail from Goonies, in Astoria, Oregon.

Jail from Goonies, in Astoria, Oregon.

We also drove over the Bridge to Nowhere (aka the Astoria Bridge) and paused on the Washington side to take pictures of a storm blowing inland. We drove up to Long Beach and turned around.

Storm over the mouth of the Columbia River.

Storm over the mouth of the Columbia River.

Fort George was pretty good! We had a taster tray, which gives you a taste of every beer they have on tap. It also includes a wasabi ginger ale, which really just tasted like water (and for $4 a glass, can probably just be avoided).

A good way to spend a Sunday and a nice reminder that we need to spend a night in Astoria soon.

Astoria Bridge from the Washington side.

Astoria Bridge from the Washington side.

Mouth of the Columbia River.

Mouth of the Columbia River.

Eastern Oregon trip, 2010

I just realized that while I wrote up the Eastern Oregon trip in email for family, I never posted anything here! I really need to get “post by phone” working for me.

A few weeks ago, Brian and I drove to John Day, Oregon, which is where a good part of my family lived. I grew up visiting my grandmother there, and John Day’s roads are steeped in memory for me. I was properly horrified when I did the math and realized that I hadn’t been here in 11 years! It had been bothering me that we hadn’t been to John Day since finally moving back to Oregon. Luckily, Brian likes John Day equally as much as I do, so he was up for it.

We got a late start on Friday, probably about 2 in the afternoon, and we were worried about being able to get dinner before all of the restaurants closed. None of the restaurants have websites, and from yelp, it sounded like most of them closed at 9 p.m. Yikes!

We left Portland, and it was 77 degrees. We decided to take the route along the Gorge rather than over Mt Hood. When we turned off at The Dalles, it was 100 degrees! It’s crazy how much it varies dependent on where you are in Oregon.

Hwy 97 looks like this:

Hwy 97

Hwy 97, Central Oregon

There are some ghost towns we visit not too far from here and I had to stop myself from pulling over a bunch to take pictures. Here’s a church without windows and doors, it looked ooooold.

Old church on Hwy 97, Oregon

Old church on Hwy 97, Oregon

Even though we were worried about getting to John Day in time, we had to pull over at the Sheep Rock unit of the John Day Fossil beds. It was funny – I said we’d save the Fossil Beds for a trip when we had time to properly explore them, but we got a taste of most of the major areas of the fossil beds. Brian and I definitely love being flexible on road trips – we allow ourselves to get distracted and pull off the road at the drop of a hat.

Here’s what it looked like in one direction:

Brian At the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon.

Brian At the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon.

And in the other:

Heather At the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon.

Heather At the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon.

The visitors’ center was closed when we go there, which was a good thing or it really would have been granola bars for dinner for us. It was hot and windy here, and you need to watch and listen for rattlesnakes.

We made it to John Day with enough time to eat dinner. We found a “new” restaurant (well, it wasn’t there 11 years ago) called The Outpost and it was perfect. They were super nice, had some good microbrews on tap, had good food, and introduced us to fried pickles (yeah, I know it sounds weird. I was against it too. They were really, really good and I’d get ’em again in heartbeat).

The sun was setting as we left town. We were staying about 10 miles away in Prairie City. We were racing the clock again as the hotel clerk only worked until 9! The drive there felt like something out of a movie, with the sun setting over the Strawberry Mountain range to our right. It was hot, dusty and completely wonderful. We must go back for much longer next time! Here’s a bad iPhone photo I took of it at 65 mph (I wasn’t driving):

Sunset in Eastern Oregon

Sunset in Eastern Oregon.

We made it to Prairie City in time. I had a nice chat with a woman who liked my “Oregon Girls Rock” shirt and we checked into Hotel Prairie.

I’m not sure I can say enough good things about Hotel Prairie. An old 1904 hotel which was renovated in 2005, it was a piece of history. The owners did it right – they used local materials for the renovation, with lots of beautiful photography of local history on the walls. The lobby had a fireplace you could sit next to and read or knit. Brian didn’t tell me, but when he made the reservation, he reserved the best room in the hotel for us. It was huge and marvelous and not a single picture I took turned out. It was very clean and modern inside, and had framed quilts on the walls that must have taken forever to make as they were handstitched and extremely complicated. We settled in to read for the night.

Here’s a bad iPhone photo of the Hotel sign from our living room at Hotel Prairie:

Hotel Prairie, Prairie City, Oregon.

Hotel Prairie, Prairie City, Oregon.

Alright, more later, I better get to work for the day.

From whence I sprang

A really great quote from my great-great-great-grandfather, who moved to Oregon in 1834:

I don’t owe a dollar and I still have four bits in my pocket. I have never sued a man in my life nor have been sued. I have never been arrested – but that ain’t saying I came pretty near it once. A man called me a damn liar, so I knocked him down and when he got up I took after him with a pitchfork; but he outran me. For 50 yards I kept almost near enough to stick the tines into him, but when he looked around and saw how close I was he let out another link and got away. He complained to Judge Boise. I asked for a jury. They cleared me, but one of the jurymen thought I ought to have speeded up a little and stuck him with my hay fork.

— Joseph Yates

My family is awesome.

Food notes

First, pesticides are bad for children, who would have thought? I’m glad that Brian and I have been lucky enough to have had organic farmshares for years. And try to buy our off-season veggies at farmers’ market’s, Willy St Co-op and New Seasons. I suspect we will see more and more studies on this.

Secondly, a bit of a scuffle over Oregon pigs and chefs. A bit perplexing.

License Plates

Oregon is bringing back the blue-and-yellow license plates from my youth, which I was super disappointed to discover I could no longer get when I moved back.

They will be $100 with the money going to the Oregon Historical Society which I know has been struggling this year and also the State Capital Foundation. Wish I could justify it – I love a good Historical Society, and this is definitely my history here. Maybe as a treat next year, I’ll splurge and get one.

In which Dean and Michele come to Portland; we see more of the coast

View from Ecola Park.

View from Ecola Park.

Michele and Dean came for a visit. They were here for a few days and then drove to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

While they were here, we headed to the northern part of the coast to drop them off for a bike ride. We got a late start, so they ended up only riding for a few hours, but they said it was a completely beautiful ride. They went over the passes on Hwy 101! They took the ride that I always say “wow, these are brave and crazy people to climb this mountain on a bike.”

Dean said the only really scary part was going through the tunnel, despite the fact that you can hit a button as you enter it that causes a light to flash and indicate “Bikes in the tunnel” “Bikes in the tunnel!” This is supposed to tell car drivers to go 30 mph, but I’ll be honest and say that this is the first time I noticed that I was supposed to go 30 when the light flashes, so someone might want to make that a little clearer. I wonder if I will ever be a person on a bike who sees a hill and says “Oh neat!” instead of “oh shit!”?

We picked them up just south of Tillamook and drove into Lincoln City just before sunset. We ended up eating at Fathoms and watching the sunset.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, which was alright. The restaurant is closed now, and it sounds like the hotel is undergoing a change of management. We stayed on the headland side, right up front. Very beautiful, and we had a few colonies of harbor seals in front of us, which were great to watch and listen to the next morning. We also watched the fog roll in and out as we waited for low tide.

Michele tidepooling.

Michele tidepooling.

Wandered down to the Devil’s Punchbowl tidepools, where we saw more hermit crabs than I’ve ever seen in a tidepool, and some spider crabs, and a ton of anemone. No urchins this time, although we did find bits of their tests. Given that urchins are often signs of an unhealthy tidal pool, that was great.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

We wandered into the punchbowl during low tide (I’m so overly cautious about this due a number of people getting trapped there) and then up to Mo’s for some clam chowder, the reward of tidepoolers in Oregon. We saw some whales too – but I didn’t get a good enough look to identify. I’ll say greys, but I think they were smaller than that.

Finished up the day by going to the Oregon Aquarium and watching all the fish. They’ve raised the rates to $15/person, ouch! Maybe buying a membership again makes sense. We’ll see. I told Brian that maybe some marine biology or oceanography classes would be a nice birthday or Christmas present for me. I also think I should go volunteer at the Aquarium, it’d make me pretty happy. We’ll see, I’d have to pay for a hotel or camp, so that will have to wait until I have a job, and if I have a job, I’ll not have too much time to do it.

Then, off to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman – I’ll post some pictures of that later. It was strange to be there without saying hello to Wilma, but fun to wander downtown.