My travelogue photo journal is a diary of highlights of our travels throughout the State of Oregon and Washington during the summer of 2011. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have escaped 4 haboob dust storms and 90 days of punishing Arizona summer temperatures. In the past, people (snowbirds) who come back to Arizona when the temperatures drop and the weather is gorgeous have really annoyed me over the years. This year I am one of those people I love to hate arriving back to Arizona just in time for the good weather.
I am so fortunate to have the sweetest husband on earth and the sweetest most adventurous dog too. We decided to escape the heat and packed enough furnishings, dishes, and clothes and left Arizona on June 28th and headed to the Pacific Northwest for the summer later to be referred to by J.R. as “The Summer of Charisse.”
Our first night we stayed in Beaver, Utah and the second night we stayed in Meridian, Idaho and arrived in Vancouver, Washington on June 30th. Elation filled my heart to see the sign “Welcome to Oregon” and I imagined hearing the way Al Pacino said Or-eee-gone in the movie Scent of Women. I marveled at our herculean accomplishment! We had done it–we escaped the summer in Arizona for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The last stretch of the drive to our final destination along I-84 next to the Columbia River is beautiful blue, blue-green, sapphire, aqua-green surrounded by green, green, green and gorgeous!
Lyrics by Woody Guthrie Roll on Columbia Roll On
We arrived in Vancouver, Washington just in time for the 5 days of legal fireworks mania. The residents of Vancouver wait all year-long for this. They go all out putting on displays in the streets all over the city. There is no other county in the state of Washington that allows the 5 days of legal firework sales. There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm over the sights and sounds of fireworks. Fortunately our dog Romeo is not disturbed over the sounds. Fortunes are spent on the various neighborhood extravaganzas throughout Vancouver.
The house we rented is in a neighborhood called Summerfield and is the brainchild of the company Al Angelo of Vancouver, Washington. The homes are all rentals with cookie cutter floor plans in a neighborhood of 190 homes. The yards are completely maintained by the company and they all have the same two bushes in front of them. They allow pets so of course everyone has a dog, and dogs of all sizes. Our neighbors directly behind us own a Jack Russell terrier named Katiana. Overall, the dogs were quiet during the night which was a huge bonus.
We went to our first farmer’s market of the summer at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. I had my first look at the beautiful dahlias and bountiful fruits and vegetables of the Pacific Northwest. Oh how I love summer fruit–beautiful on the outside and sweet and delicious on the inside!
We toured the historic site of Ft. Vancouver and appreciated the restoration of the buildings and the age and size of the many trees. What a spectacular place to go for a walk or hold a special event.
This was our first trip of many more to come from Vancouver to Portland crossing the roll on Columbia River on I-205. Sunday mornings are traffic free and it was an easy 12 miles drive to the Self Realization Temple Portland Center for their weekly Sunday morning meditation and service. The center is located in the Montavilla neighborhood of Portland. There are no resident monks, so the services are led by service readers from the community of devotees. There is a lending library and a bookstore. Attending the Sunday service became part of my weekly routine.
Later, we made our first visit to downtown Portland to visit the Pearl District (yuppie land of Portland) and had lunch at Cha Cha Cha. In 2002 when I visited Portland, I purchased a bag of tacos from Cha Cha Cha to bring J.R. when I picked him up at the Portland airport. The tacos broke through the paper bag and fell all over the street on my way to pick him up. I have wanted to see him enjoy the tacos ever since that day.
Independence Day a.k.a. the day Vancouver never stops exploding, we went to Ft. Vancouver State Park to see the festivities. We walked to Ft. Vancouver from one of the older neighborhoods in Vancouver where Gwen’s friend Tom lives. We stayed for a while and came back before the evening displays began just in time for our neighborhood extravaganza which continued long into the night.
We had dinner at McGrath’s in Vancouver, Washington. We had our first of many fish ‘n chips with tartar sauce and clam chowder.
This was our first of many, many, many trips to the ubiquitous Portland food carts. We first saw these on the Food TV channel and wanted to try them ever since. Our first trip was to the carts located downtown at 10th and Alder. I sampled a Thai dish at Nong’s Khao Man Gai and J.R. had tacos from Taqueria El Rodeo. While we were there we met a local dentist who dines there regularly. The best part about the carts are the variety of cuisines and the prices are so affordable. If I worked in downtown Portland, I would be excited to go to lunch every day and try a different dish at all the various carts.
We drove to Seattle to attend J.R.’s niece’s wedding that evening near the space needle close to Seattle Center. First we visited two of favorite Seattle locations, Pike Place Market and Ivar’s Acres of Clams on Alaska Way. Oh how I wish we had both of these places in Arizona. There is nothing like them anywhere. At the market, we purchased more spaghetti spice mix at Market Spice, purchased cookies at Three Girls Bakery and made the hike down the steps to Alaska Way on the water to go to Ivar’s. I LOVE SEATTLE! Later we headed to Dick’s Drive-in in Wallingford for J.R.’s mandatory visit. We headed back to our hotel in Kirkland across Lake Washington and learned the 520 bridge was closed for the weekend. Knowing this, we left our hotel early to get to back across the water on the I-90 bridge to make it to the wedding on time.
I Do, I DO I WILL, I WILL
Fortunately, the weather stayed clear for the bride and groom as they accepted their vows outside in Seattle in July! We were able to see relatives we had not seen for many years and everyone had a lovely time.
There was a barbecue at 2:00 p.m. at J.R.’s sister’s house and we had time to kill in the morning and went to Bellevue Square. I went inside the mall to purchase some face cream at Loccitane while J.R. and Romeo walked around outside. When I came out of the mall, J.R. had his finger covered in a bloody kleenex. He told me we needed to go to the drugstore to get a bandage because Romeo had bit him while he was trying to get a chicken bone out of his mouth that Romeo had found on the ground in the parking lot. We ended up going to an Urgent Care center in Issaquah to have it looked at. This ended up being the first of many other trips to an urgent center. Two hours and five stitches later we were on our way to the barbecue. I nearly fainted watching the doctor put the stitches in J.R.’s finger. My chivalrous husband was successful getting the chicken bone from our dog.
I wanted to keep my yoga practice going and found a wonderful yoga studio very near the house called Breathe Yoga. The studio is serene and all the teachers are wonderful. My favorite teacher is the owner, Tenaya who is also a massage therapist. At the end of yoga class, he leaves you with the aromatic smell of essential, healing fragrances in the palm of your hand. My favorite scent is a powerful, floral scent champa flower from India. I see the color purple when I smell this scent. Cathy’s classes were always a lot of fun too. She was always up for a new adventure and was consistently in a splendid mood! She would often say, “oh happy day” and it made me think of the song of the same title, “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. I ended up practicing yoga at Breathe Yoga three to five times a week for three months and became one of the regulars.
We drove to Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon one of the many McMenamins locations in the Northwest. Historic Edgefield, built in 1911 as the county poor farm, is a destination resort in the Pacific Northwest that blends Oregon’s natural beauty with McMenamins’ signature whimsy: original buildings carefully restored with cozy interiors, gardens grown using organic methods, great food and drink, live entertainment and more.
We finally made it to my favorite Vancouver restaurant La Bottega on Main Street. Last summer I ate there several times with my sister Cara. The reason I like it so much is because they serve delicious Italian food, have a great wine list, the wait staff is friendly, it’s local, it’s small and they make homemade chocolate hazelnut truffles that sell for $2.
Saturday Market in downtown Portland is the place where you really get the flavor and history of Portland. The market is located in the area where Portland first became a city. There is so much history all around in the buildings, the TriMet transit tracks run right through the middle, food vendors are everywhere, artists, panhandlers, street musicians, and tourists all show up for the event. I saw a dog, yes a dog make more money in an hour than a lot of people in our country panhandling with a sign in his canine teeth. There are a lot of young people who have come to Portland to retire and sit on the street to ask for monetary donations. If the grunge movement started in the city of Seattle, Portland perfected the look. I honestly have never seen more tattoos and dreadlocks anywhere else than in Portland.
We drove to Lake Oswego, Oregon which I believe is the Scottsdale of Portland. The place is absolutely pristine and tidy. Nothing is out-of-place. In fact, I don’t even think I saw anyone with a tattoo while I was there! The neighborhood known as First Addition has beautiful homes that are perfectly maintained Craftsman, Colonial Revival, and English Cottage style homes very near the downtown center. While we were in the area there was a media scandal involving one of the Baldwin brothers. We had appetizers at a restaurant called Tucci (no relation to Stanley) and visited the World Class Wine Shop where I was able to purchase the Basel Cellars Claret 2007 from Walla Walla, Washington that I had tasted at Cinetopia. This is really tasty affordable red wine. This is what Basel Cellars has to say . . .
Our 2007 Claret continues the tradition of providing a great everyday-drinking, fruit forward wine with exceptional quality and flavors. This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon,Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Amazing floral aromas lead to flavors of cherries, raspberries, and tea leaf. This wine is a drinker!
I must thank Cathy the lovely yoga teacher at Breathe Yoga who told me about a street fair happening in Camas, Washington. Camas is a darling town and is only 7 miles from Vancouver, Washington. This is 4th street in downtown Camas which was the site for the street fair. All of the lovely shops and restaurants that I enjoyed visiting are on this street.
I was attracted instantly to the downtown atmosphere of shops and restaurants in Camas. Here are some of the shops that I found delightful . . . A Twist on Time, Camas Antiques, Lily Atelier, and Lizzabeth A. I purchased a darling brooche that I gave as a gift to my friend Chris for watching our home while I’ve been gone at A Twist on Time. The store is owned by Belle Matthieu and her parents. The entire family are long term Camas residents. Everything in their shop is antique, vintage or is handmade by local artists. I also purchased a gorgeous table runner from Lizzabeth A made by Coleur Nature.
We also went to the restaurant/wine shop K. Syrah and enjoyed a glass of wine. I meant to sign up for one of the cooking classes they have there this summer and never did do it.
Drove to Yakima to see Ryan and had lunch at 2nd Street Grill in Yakima, shopped at Fiddlesticks, drove by the Appletree Golf Course and stopped and visited our friends Linda and Larry Hert. We stopped at Maryhill Winery and concert venue overlooking the Columbia Gorge on the way back to Vancouver, Washington. At Maryhill J.R. got stung by something so determined it landed on him repeatedly until it stung him good and hard. He got back in the car telling me he would rather wrestle an alligator to the ground rather than get stung by whatever this was again. He complained about his sting the entire ride home. Much later in the summer while speaking to a farmer at the Montavilla farmer’s market, I learned what stung him was a bald faced hornet. The farmer said the hornet could clear his herd of cows and other animals in the fields. This sting prompted our third visit to an urgent care center the next day because J.R.’s hand swelled up to twice it’s size.
I went to the Montavilla Farmer’s Market with my new SRF devotee friend Nancy after the service at the Self Realization Center in Portland. This was the beginning of my love affair with summer berries and ice cream at Scoop PDX. I had the marionberry which was the best ice cream I had ever had. I originally wanted the salted caramel and waited t0o long to get it as they were sold out of it. Thus, began my summer of love with Portland ice cream.
This was one of the warmest days since we have been in Vancouver. Later in the day, we walked along the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington and stopped at McMenamin’s on the river.
Went to the Vancouver Mall and had lunch at Nordstrom and had the blackened Caesar salad. The Nordstrom store at Vancouver’s mall I learned is the smallest of any Nordstrom store. There isn’t a coffee bar but they did just open the restaurant in the store and the salmon was exactly the same as at the Scottsdale location. All of the departments are teeny, tiny spaces. This salad is so delicious! How do they make those parmesan crisps?
Mya’s 10th birthday – went to Gwen’s for dinner and gave darling Mya her birthday gifts which were all pretty in pink.
We drove to Battleground, Washington and had dinner at Galeotti’s Restaurant. As we were driving down their main street, I saw this place and we decided to have dinner there. The restaurant’s tag line is “where everyone is family.” I had the chicken parmagiana and Caesar salad and J.R. had the spaghetti with meat balls.
We had breakfast in Camas, Washington at the breakfast and lunch diner Natalia’s. If you ever decide to go there, arrive before 2:30 p.m. which is when they close for the day. It is truly a breakfast and lunch diner with homemade pies, cookies, crepes, quiche, lasagna, meatloaf and biscuits and gravy.
We drove to Cannon Beach, Oregon along the scenic stretch of Highway 26 to see the sea and feel the ocean breeze. Farms and fruit stands dot the highway along the route to Cannon Beach from Portland on Highway 26. Dining with a dog is interesting since you are always looking for a pet friendly patio. We shared a patio table with a couple and their dog from Portland at the Driftwoood Inn in Cannon Beach. We had fish ‘n chips and clam chowder.
$2 off bottles of wine
$1 off wine by the glass
$2 off appetizers
$2 off beer pitchers
$1 off beer pints
50¢ off bottled beers & alts
You may wonder, as did we, where the term “Happy Hour” comes from. Back in 1862, two enterprising young men jockeying for the same piece of Oklahoma soil during the great land rush decided to settle the dispute with two bottles of whiskey. Whoever could hold down the most whiskey in an hour would be entitled to the land. Neither was sober enough after an hour to figure out which one of them won. Although they did share a dusty bowl of peanuts afterwards. No, not really. The term originated in the United States Navy. In the 1920s, “Happy Hour” was slang for a scheduled entertainment period on board a ship during which boxing and wrestling bouts took place; this was a valuable opportunity for sailors to relieve the stress accumulated during the long periods at sea. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
Since he was a track star in high school, J.R. was particularly inspired to see Hayward Field which is the track site on the campus. The 2012 US Olympic Track and Field team trials will be held there as they have been many times.