Summer in Portland Oregon

I thought I’d try to break it up a little to make it easier to read. Although I could post a bunch more pictures of waterfalls, trails, mountains, etc., I’ll just post a few and leave you with a fun story.
Here are some pics of our day spent with Aaron Mertz, a friend of ours who’s in Portland for 10 weeks for an internship. Aaron joined us for a drive along the Columbia River, with a stop at Multnomah Falls, then on to Mount Hood. We also made a few stops along the Hood River Fruit Loop
to check out the fresh fruit, berries, cherries, wines & homemade jams, sauces, syrups, etc. If we didn’t have to try to get the stuff on the plane, I would have loaded up on lots of goodies that day.

At one of our stops, we had lunch at the Apple Valley Country Store where we all ate cherry-wood smoked pulled pork sandwiches, served with homemade pear coleslaw and apple cider baked beans. Aaron looks a little hesitant in the picture, but I thought it was very tasty.

It was fun to have him with us and get his perspective on the last month or so in Portland. Sounds like he’s having a fun adventure, but is ready to move on to new things. We look forward to seeing where God will be taking him in the years to come.

Now here’s the story about the fun gifts that God gave us at the end of our trip…

On Friday we drove from Crater Lake to the Portland area to spend our last night before flying home on Saturday evening. The first treat was that we got a great deal on a brand new Springhill Suites hotel through our niece, Heather. (THANKS Heather!) The hotel looked like it had been only open for a month or so. Everything was brand new, fresh & clean and we paid less than $70 for the night. What a gift! Then, after we checked in, we decided to look for a place for dinner.

Since it was our last dinner in Oregon, we decided we wanted to try to get seafood one last time, so we asked the manager at the front desk of the hotel for suggestions. He recommended 2 places, one of them being right on the Columbia River, which we could imagine had great views. Even though it was Friday night and Terry hates to wait for dinner, we decided to try Beaches (on the river) in Vancouver, Washington. While we were driving there, we called the restaurant to see what the wait time was. The nice young lady said it was 30-40 minutes. Oh well, we’d go anyway since we weren’t pressed for time. After I hung up the phone we realized that I hadn’t asked to see if they had “call-ahead seating”. Even though I thought they would have suggested it in the first call, I decided to call back and ask anyway. This time a man answered. When I asked the question, he was silent, so I thought maybe they didn’t do such a thing in Portland and he didn’t know what I was talking about. After he chuckled a little, he said that he knew what it was and that they didn’t offer that at Beaches. BUT, since I was on my way he would make an exception and add our names to the waiting list, but he told me not to tell anyone that he did it. (Does this count as telling someone?)

Anyway, when we arrived we walked past quite a few people waiting for seats. I walked up to the hostess and asked “How long is the wait for Terry, party of 2?” She looked at her list and with a smile said, “Oh we have a table all ready for you!” Wow!! This was cool!

The next thing we knew we were sitting down at a table right next to the window with a great view of the river!!! There were 2 cute Hawaiian leis laying on the table too.

And that’s not all…when we started reading the list of specials that was on our table, look at what it said! “Welcome to Beaches – Our VIP friend Terry who plans ahead!”

We were astonished. At first we thought it was just a coincidence, or something they do for everyone who makes a reservation (even though we didn’t actually make a reservation), then the waitress came up to usall excited and said, “So what’s this all about? Are you a Planner or something?” Of course, we had no idea what to say. It turns out that the Manager, Mark had answered the phone when I called and just decided to do this for fun. How sweet is that!! Anyway, we had a great dinner and were there at just the right time to see the sunset. Afterward we took a stroll along the river. What a delightful way to end the day. Thank you God for unexpected gifts like this!

These last few pics are of some of the treasures that we picked up on our vacation. I’ve been looking for a mobile like this one to hang an ever-changing collection of photos at home and this one came with postcards from Oregon. What a great way to start! I just hung it in the corner of the dining room so we can look at the pictures anytime.

The Oregon Coast print is by the same artist that did the one of Hurricane Ridge in Washington that we bought on vacation last year. We’ll need to get this one framed and will hang it in the office with the other one. We’re hoping to keep adding to our travel poster collection of places we’ve been. We also want to get a U.S. and/or world map to mark the places we visit. So all in all we had a wonderful time and I’m not quite ready to settle in to the work routine again. Ah well, I have until tomorrow morning.

Crater Lake National Park – Oregon

As expected, we didn’t have any internet access or cell phone, or TV or even land line phones on Weds thru Friday, so I wasn’t able to post anything. On Friday night and Saturday we were just too busy. Here are some highlights of the last half of our vacation.

On Wednesday morning we drove about 150 miles from Crescent City, California to Union Creek, Oregon which is just about 20 miles from Crater Lake National Park. We checked in to our little cabin at Union Creek Resort and had a good chunk of the afternoon left, so we headed up to Crater Lake. These are shots from Crater Lake lodge on the veranda behind the lodge where they have about 20 rocking chairs all lined up facing a gorgeous view of the lake. Terry and I enjoyed the view for quite a while while listening to the park ranger talk about the formation of the lake.
I’ll try not to bore you with too much detail, but this lake is quite unusual. It was formed from a volcano that erupted, then collapsed in on itself leaving a caldera about 6 miles wide and 4 miles long. Over the years, it filled with rain and snow runoff to create the lake that we see today. It’s the deepest lake in the continental U.S. (7th deepest in the world) registering nearly 2000 ft deep at the lowest point. As you can see from the photos, it is an amazing shade of blue due to the depth and clarity of the water!

The other unusual thing is that there’s only one “official” trail (Cleetwood Cove) to get to the water’s edge from the top. Most of the shoreline is steep and rocky with very loose gravely pumice and other volcanic rock that’s difficult to walk on. We did get a chance to hike down to the water’s edge and even took a ranger-hosted 2-hour boat tour, which was so much fun! We talked about how Kevin would be so great to have as a ranger on a tour like this. Of course, he’d have to be careful not to make stuff up like he usually does. He would make an awesome ranger and guide and would be so great with all ages of people.

The hike back up reminded me of the switch-backs at Havasupai, only shorter & shadier with a nice cool breeze. We were told that the hike was equivalent to climbing 65 flights of stairs (although the sign at the top said 150 flights – not sure which is right). We decided it was good that we did it at the end of our trip after we’d been hiking easier trails most every day. Here you can see the view from the top of the trail. There’s a person walking 3 levels below us on the path and the boat (which holds 20 or so people) is down in the water at the dock. The blue water photo was taken from the boat and is a reflection of the rocks in the ultra blue lake. It was amazing!

And there’s so much more to talk about…Wizard Island, the Phantom Ship, Devil’s Backbone, Vidae Waterfall, an eagle’s nest and even the Old Man of Crater Lake. If you want to read more about these things follow the links or go to the Crater Lake website here or let me know if you want to see more pics and I’ll post them somewhere.

I do have to post a pic of the Pinnacles. These formations are so bizarre. You’d never believe they were natural. Scientists say that when the very hot ash and pumice came to rest near the volcano, it formed 200 to 300-foot thick gas-charged deposits. For perhaps years afterward, hot gas moved to the surface and slowly cemented ash and pumice together in channels and escaped through fumaroles. Erosion later removed most of the surrounding loose ash and pumice, leaving tall pinnacles and spires. You can get an idea of how tall they are by the size of the full grown trees next to them.

Well, you get the idea. There was so much to see and do. We had a great time!

Finding Nemo in Oregon

I found Nemo!! He’s at the Oregon Coast Aquarium!
It’s after midnight and I’m on my way to bed, but thought I’d post a few pics. We’ve seen lots of wildlife over the last few days.
Some at an aquarium in Newport, some at a place on the coast that you have to pay to get in (to see Sea Lions in their natural habitat-odd) and some in the wild.
The best gift of all today, was just as we were leaving the Redwoods we came upon 5 beautiful male elk, all with awesome racks on their heads. As you’ll see in the photo, one of them walked right across the street in front of our car and grazed next to one of those binocular signs that says “wildlife viewing”. It was so funny! Like he was saying, “O.k. is this close enough for you?” What a gift to be able to see them so close!
Sad news, I dropped my long camera lens last night and seem to have tweaked it somehow so it’s not working right. The glass of the lens didn’t break, so I’m hoping I can take it in and get it fixed when we get home, but who knows. Because of that, you won’t be seeing any great close-ups for the rest of the trip.
Did you know that Oregon has massive sand dunes that run for miles between the ocean and the forests? It’s so bizarre. We were driving down the highway and every now and then you could see these huge mountains of sand within just 50 yards or so from the highway hidden behind a few rows of trees. It was actually pretty amazing. I had no idea.
We stopped for a great dinner last night at Benetti’s Italian Restaurant in Coos Bay, Oregon. (thanks for the tip, AAA.) The link actually shows you the table where we sat for dinner. I won’t go into detail about dinner, although it was excellent and the service was first rate. The reason Coos Bay is significant is that my mom and dad lived there before any of us kids were born, probably some time in the late 40’s/early 50’s. My dad was on an iron-working job, probably building a bridge or something and my mom came with him (of course). We called to talk to her while we were in town to see if she could remember anything about their stay. It was just a few months and she thinks my dad was working in Northern California. Although after making the drive down, we’re doubtful he would have gone all that way every day, unless he just drove down once a week. We need to clarify. Anyway, my mom said they stayed in a motel. She remembers them going out to dinner one night and there was a live band that played the Tennesee Waltz, which was one of my dad’s favorites. I’v.e posted a pic of one of the bridges we drove over going south. These are the kinds of bridges my dad built. Maybe he worked on this one? He was quite a craftsman!
Marion berry french toastIn keeping with the theme of the week, here’s also the food posting of the day.
Marionberry french toast !!! Wow!! It was delicious! Are the calories just adding up in your head? Our hope is that with all the walking we’re doing, that we’re burning all the calories for these special treats that we’re having. I had clam chowder again tonight, but it was pretty average compared to Mo’s.
I’m not sure how much internet access we’ll have in the next few days, so hold tight if you don’t hear from us. I’m too tired to mess with this formatting any more…to close for the night, here’s a northern Cal sunset.

Newport Oregon

Not much energy to write…long story…had a long night with noisy neighbors, then did a lot of walking today. It was cloudy all day and rainy for some of it, but still had a great time. I’ll post some pics of our adventures today and write more later. I’m guessing that no one’s reading anyway because they’re all busy with Harry P.
Went to Yaquina Head Lighthouse and walked up and down all these steps to the top.
Explored the shops in Newport

Saw lots of ships, fishermen, a seal and a jellyfish in the harbor.
Had more delicious seafood!
Discovered a new holiday – International Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sep 19

Tillamook & Otter Rock Oregon

ON THE ROAD AGAIN…I can’t wait to get on the road again…(that’s just about all I know of the song, but I love those two lines.)

WARNING – YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THIS IF YOU’RE HUNGRY.

So I don’t want to go into too much detail, but we’re sitting in our little studio condo on the coast of Oregon, just a smidge north of Newport at Otter Rock. iGoogle tells me that the current temperature is 61 degrees, which happens to be about 35 degrees cooler than the current temperature in Phoenix. Sorry guys!
The rain is drizzling outside, which it’s been doing all day long off and on. We had a little bit of a rocky start last night with a flight delay and arriving in Portland to find that the rental car office where we reserved our car had closed at midnight (before we got there). Everything worked out fine with a few minor adjustments and now we’re enjoying the cool cloudy days of Oregon. Ahhh…heaven!
The first picture above is of Terry standing beside our rental car, which happens to be an Escape Hybrid! We’ve been thinking about a hybrid for our next car and he got a great deal on this one, so thought it would be fun to try it out. So far we’re getting around 33 miles per gallon and it does even better in the city.
After leaving Portland we headed toward the coast and made a stop in the town of Tillamook at the cheese factory. We got to see the folks dressed in white, packaging all those slabs of cheese. did you also know that Tillamook makes award winning ice cream and fudge? We were so tempted to get some Marionberry ice cream, but decided against it since we hadn’t had any lunch yet.
After we checked out the assembly line, we went downstairs for a cheddar taste test. We tried medium, sharp & extra sharp yellow cheddar and a Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar cheese which was really scrumptious!
I’ve never seen that one in the stores so we’ll have to look for it. They have a few others up here that I haven’t seen in Phoenix. After tasting, we were led into the “cheese store” where we found every shape and size of Tillamook that you could imagine; little 2 inch square snack size slices up to large blocks of all kinds. They also had lots of goodies to go with the cheese. We picked up a few items to have as snacks during the coming days and hit the road.
Well, we hit the road for a mile or so, until we saw a cute little restaurant, then finally stopped for lunch. I have photos of all of our food, but won’t bore you with that. We started on our week of seafood exploration and had 2 cups of clam chowder, halibut fish & chips, and a fried oyster sandwich.
Then we drove a few more hours down to Otter Rock, checked into our hotel and decided to take a walk and do some exploring before it got too dark.
While on our walk, we went to Devil’s Punchbowl (pictured) and right next door, was a little place called “Mo’s West Seafood Restaurant“. Our friend, Bruce told me that Mo’s was one of the places with the best clam chowder in this part of the country, and since Terry and I didn’t have any specific dinner plans, we decided to try it out. It was this tiny little place that looked like a beach cottage had been gutted and 8 long skinny tables for 8 had been crammed inside. There was nothing smaller than a table for 8, so if you want to eat you sometimes have to share with strangers. This was the case with our little party of two. We sat at an empty table and were soon joined by 2 women and a little boy. Of course, when you’re sitting at a table together you inevitably start visiting and low and behold…the older woman is the mother of the other lady and the grandmother of the little boy. She and the little boy happen to be visiting from PHOENIX!!! And get this! She lives at 32nd Street & Thunderbird!!! Seriously! Can you believe it?
Anyway, what started out as a quick stop for a cuppa local chowda turned into this delicious meal that Terry and I shared with our new found friends from home. We had an appetizer piled high with Oregon Bay Shrimp cocktail and an amazing bowl of what they call “Slumgullion”, which isn’t anything like what my mom called “Slumgullion”. Theirs is a bowl of delicious clam chowder, with a creamy base, perfect potatoes, and chunks of clams, but added in to the mix is a heaping helping of those wonderful bay shrimp and a little bit of butter for good measure. Oh my gosh! It was awesome!!! And on the side were two thick slices of homemade bread. No doubt, the PERFECT Oregon coast meal. Even though we shared all 3 of these servings, we were too full to try the Marionberry cobbler, so we had them pack it up for us to take home for later. What a fun Day One!!! I can’t wait to see what we get to do tomorrow.