June 2009


Wisdom & Dinner with Farmers in Dell

Dell, Montana – That Is

Wisdom is a small ranching community in southwestern Montana sWisdom Sign for Blogituated in a broad  green valley (at least in June) surrounded by the Bitterroot, Beaverhead and Pioneer Mountains. Big Hole National Battlefield, a segment of Nez Perce National Historical Park, is about 10 miles to the west. Each time we pass through I hope a bit of Wisdom will rub off.

  • Our drive from Spokane, Washington to Idaho Falls, Idaho totaled 530 miles today, mostly under sunny or partly cloudy skies. Rain in the latBitterroots for Bloge afternoon along I-15 in southern Montana and Idaho. We later learned that Idaho Falls had lots of rain, some hail and flooding. Glad we arrived late and after that excitement.
  • Stop in St. Regis, Montana for a late breakfast at the Huckleberry Patch Restaurant in the St. Regis Travel Center. Big Hole National BattlefieldThe huckleberry pancakes were light, fluffy and filled with the sweet/tart berries. Huckleberry fudge and twists were added to the road food collection.
  • The road construction between Hamilton and Lolo, Montana that was such a pain last year is complete. It was smooth sailing from Missoula to Hamilton.
  • The beautiful Bitterroot Valley and Lost Trail Pass entice us to plan to spend more time exploring the region.
  • Wisdom
  • Calf-A Dinner at Yesterday’s Calf-A in Dell, Montana. Each year thousands come to the little red school house for the homemade meals and one-room school atmosphere. We both wanted chicken fried steak. Fortunately I remember the breakfast portions were huge and asked about size. We ordered an extra salad and split a platter sized piece of tender meat accompanied by mashed potatoes and sliced carrots.
  • At last, at rest in the Holiday Inn Express in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The best laid plans for an interesting return trip to Denver have been scrubbed. We’re on a direct route so that I can fly to Florida for daughter duty.

Bikes, Brews, Blossoms and Bulls

Accompanied by Lots of Music

Welcome web visitor – I’m on the road in the Pacific Northwest, the laptop is in for repairs in Spokane and I’m trying to get this out from a motel business center. No details this week, if something sounds interesting or you’re going to be in the aBikers near Crested Butterea click on the link for more information. Enjoy the weekend!

Tidepools, Cheese and Ice Cream

  • Pig ’n Pancake – After discovering both the Cannon Beach Bakery and Lazy Susan’s are closed on Tuesdays we chow down at Pig ‘n Pancake, a busy, popular chain along the Oregon coast. My thin, crispy Swedish pancakes and generous serving of lingonberries were a real treat.
  • Sea Star Beach walk with tide pools and cormorants – To work off those pancakes we took a long beach walk  south from Tolovana Inn. It was nearing low tide so we could explore tide pools around the sea stacks. Snap, snap – lots of photos.
  • Tillamook County Creamery Association – High on Bob’s list was a visit to the cheese factory  Tillamook, about 40 miles south of Cannon Beach. The drive hugs the coast through Arch Cape and Oswald West State Park with spectacular viewpoints.  Between Garibaldi and Rocka38 Flavorsway Beach we stop for photos of the little steam engine that could on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. We join a throng of visitors at the 100-year-old Tillamook Creamery, an average of 3,000-5,000 each summer day. It seems everyone leaving is either carrying a bag of  cheese or licking an ice cream cones– or, both. We order grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough for lunch – better than any I make at home – followed by the self- guided tour to watch the cheese making process from vats to packaging. Pounds and pounds of cheCannon Beach Dinnerese. The tour ends with samples. We cap our visit with creamy dips of caramel toffee crunch and caramel butter pecan.
  • After multiple calls dealing with Mother issues we decide to stay in for dinner. With views of the incoming surf, a fire in the gas fireplace, apples, cheese, crackers, popcorn and a bottle of wine we end the evening.

Bikes, Boats, Cars and More Cars

Father’s Day weekend seems filled with modes of transport. Cars reign supreme in Grand Junction, Holyoke, Steamboat Springs and Walsenburg. Pedal in Breckenridge, Colorado Springs and Salida. Competitions focus on outhouse races in Breckenridge and tractor pulls in Simla.Pack Mule Sculpture in Breckenridge

  • Gold Strike Festival – Arvada, June 20-21. The 8th annual celebration of Lewis Ralston’s 1850 discovery of gold in Ralston Creek with kid and pet parades, activities and live music.
  • Kingdom Days – Breckenridge, June 20-21. Gather a team, build an outhouse, then push or pull it to the finish line in Breckenridge this weekend. Part of the 1859 gold boom the Kingdom of Breckenridge parties with gold panning, historic sites and mine tours, Wild West gun fights on Main Street and activities for all ages.
  • Starlight Spectacular! – Colorado Springs, June 20, 11:5Garden of the Gods Formations9 pm. Bike the night away on this non-competitive ride that begins and finishes at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and  Nature Center. Routes for all ages and abilities range from 14-25 miles through downtown Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City and Garden of the Gods. Proceeds benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition.
  • Denver Juneteenth Celebration – Denver, June 20. Denver’s Five Points Neighborhood commemorate the day that Texas slaves learned they were free with a 9am parade and festival from 10am-6pm.
  • Greek Festival – Denver, June 19-21. One of Denver’s largest and longest running  ethnic festivals features traditional Greek music, folk dancing and tons of good food. Events include a Greek boutique and tours of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Don’t miss the homemade desserts including baklava.
  • Highlands Street Fair – Denver, June 20. The Highlands neighborhood in Northwest Denver parties at the 27th annual free street fair from 10am to dusk. Enjoy three stages of live music, classic car show, kids fun zone, 150 vendor booths plus food and drink.
  • Day Out with Thomas – Durango, June 19-21. Take a ride on a full-sized Thomas the Tank Engine on the Durango and Silverton rails. Every young railroader’s favorite engine is the star this weekend. Meet Mr. Topham Hatt, listen to music and storytellers.
  • Teddy Bear Picnic – Estes Park, June 20. Teddy bears and their human companions will gather Saturday for the 25th annual Teddy Bear Picnic at Estes Ark.
  • Colorado BBQ Challenge – Frisco, June 19-20. Sixty teams compete in th2 16th annual event sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Cooking demonstrations by grillmaster Troy Black and Southern Living magazine.
  • Fort Collins Irish Festival – Fort Collins, June 20-21. Enjoy the luck of the Irish in Fort Collins this weekend with Irish culture, history, dance, music, music, music and plenty of Guinness.
  • Motorcycle at Gateway Western Colorado Vintage Motorcycle Club Rally – Gateway, June 20. First annual (?) at the stunning Gateway Canyon Resort and Auto Museum.
  • Strawberry Days – Glenwood Springs, June 19-21. Colorado’s oldest community festival, 112-years-old, includes carnival, entertainment, parade, pie eating contest and ice cream social.
  • Car Show – Auto Fest 2009 – Grand Junction, June 20-21. 34th annual exhibit of foreign, domestic, antique, classic, custom, rod, motorcycles, tractors and trucks in Lincoln Park. Friday evening Cruise Night.
  • Dandelion Daze – Holyoke, June 19-20. Auto show, Grease Lightning parade, rockin’ the oldies, antique auction and NASCAR simulator Friday night and Saturday.
  • Gold Rush Music Festival – Idaho Springs, June 20-21. Three bands play each day, each a different style – jazz, rock, big band, swing, country, oldies – all part of the year long 150th anniversary celebration.
  • New Belgium FIBArk – Salida, June 18-21. America’s oldest and boldest whitewater festival in its 61st year with events from international competitors to pancake breakfast, carnival to mountain bike races.
  • Simla Days – Simla, June 19-21. From Friday night dinner to Sunday services in the park this is a busy weekend in Simla. Saturday starts with pancake breakfast and ends with Dance @ Dusk.
  • Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup – Steamboat Springs, June 18-21. 21st annual roundup of Mustangs – the automobile variety. Friday autocross and Saturday Show n’ Shine with 450 Mustangs lining Lincoln Avenue.
  • Telluride from Gondola Telluride Bluegrass Festival – Telluride, June 18-21. Hugh festival weekend in Telluride’s summer of festivals. Ten thousand fill venues all over the mountain valley.
  • The Black Diamond Jubilee – Walsenburg, June 19-21. Recall when coal was king in this southern Colorado region. Events include classic car show, baseball tournament, vendor booths and Sunday pancake breakfast.

Bob at Palouse Falls State Park

Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere, especially to Bob – hubby and father of our three sons.

To the Sea, To the Sea

“Ocian in view! O! the joy.” Wrote Capt. William Clark in his journal on November 7, 1805. I know that joy today as we arrive in Cannon Beach after several years absence.

  • We drive along the Washington side of the Columbia River from Longview to Cathlamet.
  • Columbia River from Ferry A spur of the moment decision finds us waiting on the Puget Island Ferry, the last ferry operating on the Lower Columbia. The ferry departs Puget Island on the Washington side of the river on the hour. Stopping to absorb the surroundings is a nice alternative to rushing down the highway.
  • We listen to local conversation as the ferry operators chat with the regulars and tease the children. We overhear the lady in the pickup next to us on her cell phone; she’s asking if someone was in Denver when they had the 4” of rain and hail. Our eyebrows shoot up, knowing we need to check this out.
  • Nine cars and trucks make the 11am crossing. Ten minutes and $3 brings us to Westport, Oregon.Fort Clatsop
  • The sun shines on Astoria, Oregon today. On previous visits, under grey, wet skies I’ve always thought of Astoria as rather forlorn. The town seems much cheerier under bright blue skies.
  • Lunch at the Gunderson’s Cannery Cafe on the dock of the Sixth Street viewing tower. I order crab cakes, Bob salmon cakes and we share. To my amazement I preferred the salmon.
  • Lewis and Clark National Park encompasses seven national historic sites plus state parks in Oregon and Washington, all significantly tied to the Lewis and Clark  Corps of Discovery. The corps spent the winter of 1805-06 at the quickly erected Fort Clatsop. It was a forlorn 106-day stay with rain all but 12 days, illness and scant supplies.
  • We browse museum displays, watch an orientation movie, visit the replica fort and walk trails through the thick forests. Unfortunately the ranger programs don’t start  until next week.
  • Cannon Beach Sunset Arriving in Cannon Beach we check into our oceanfront accommodations at Tolovana Inn.
  • Happily nested, we decide to eat on the property at Mo’s. Famous for their clam chowder, Mo’s Seafood Restaurants dot the Oregon coast.
  • What better way to end the day than a sunset beach walk?

History, Gardens and Noodle BGrant Houseowls

We each had a couple of things we really wanted to do with our one day in Portland, to complete a full list we would need a week. Bob wanted a mushroom cheesesteak sandwich at Philadelphia’s and a noodle bowl at Pho Van’s. Nancy wanted to re-visit Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve and one of Portland’s beautiful gardens. Both agreed on a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s being a Furs - Fort Vancouvernecessity; and, to forego the Pride Day Parade and the Naked Bike Ride.

  •  Officers Row in the Vancouver National Historic Reserve transports us back to a more genteel time. Stately old trees shade the former homes of officers overlooking the parade grounds. The restored structures now house businesses, Hudson Bay Blanketscommunity groups, a restaurant and private residences.
  •  Fort Vancouver National Historic Site was the 19th-century Hudson Bay Company outpost for trade with fur trappers, Native Americans and settlers. Knowledgeable guides unfold the history in the Chief Factor’s Residence, Fur Warehouse and Indian Trade House.
  •  Philadelphia’s Steaks & Hoagies in the Sellwood Neighborhood (S.E. Milwaukie Ave.) was our lunch Rose Arbor - Fort Vancouverdestination. The mushroom cheesesteak was exactly as Bob remembered and longed for.
  • The Columbia Outlet Store in Lake Oswego has always offered good buys on Columbia sportswear. We have a closet full of rainwear, parkas and fleece but wanted to check for current bargains.
  • The Washington Park area west of Blue Flowers = Fort Vancouverdowntown is filled with options; on this June Sunday they were all busy with curious families. We planned to visit the Japanese and International Rose Test Gardens but gave up when we saw the crowds and parking situation.  Other options include the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, Hoyt Arboretum and the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum.
  • Driving around the city to our varied destinations Pink Flower - Fort Vancouvergave time for reminiscing  about our numerous trips when we had family living in Portland. We love the big trees, lush greenery and urban parks.
  • Trader Joe’s has yet to come to Colorado so we  need to stock up on nuts and gingersnaps whenever we can. Just seeing the sign causes a rush of excitement. Steven tells us we will love the new Thai spice and lime cashews.
  • Pho Van Vietnamese Restaurant on 82nd Avenue creates Bob’s favorite noodle bowl. We Pho Van Noodle Bowlboth finish every bite of Bún Thit Cha Giò (honey, lemongrass, pork and crispy rolls). I can’t seem to enjoy a noodle bowl without slurp spots on my shirt – tonight was no exception.

Happy birthday to good friend Vicki, and may more!

Road Trip to the Pacific Northwest

After a week long visit with family in Spokane and an expensive new clutch in the car we set off for a few days in Portland and Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast.

  • A long but interesting drive from Spokane to Portland via I-90 to Ellensburg, south to Yakima then, US97 down to Goldendale and the Columbia River. We cross the river to I-84 on the Oregon side at Rufus.
  • Just when I was wondering what was growing in the field ahead a sign said that for the next 14 miles crops would be identified in the fence lines. In those few miles east of Moses Lake we saw alfalfa, timothy, wheat, sweet corn, peas, potatoes and peppermint.
  • Columbia River - The Dallas Driving down the Columbia we realize what a major transportation route we’re following. Large barges of grain head downriver. Trains haul freight across the country along railroad tracks on both sides of the river. Car and truck traffic hums along I-84; on the Washington side a scenic two-lane highway threads down the gorge.
  • A late lunch at the Windseeker Restaurant in The Dallas, Oregon. Off the beaten path, the Windseeker sits amidst beautiful gardens above the Columbia River. Seafood chowder and halibut sandwiches fuel our afternoon adventures.
  • The Columbia River Gorge is a must-do American road trip. The geography changes from high dessert and lava fields to thundering waterfalls and towering forests, all with views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.
  • A quick check-in and bag drop at the Staybridge Suites-Portland Airport.
  • Totem at Lelooska Cultural Center Afternoon treat of a triple-berry smoothie and late night halibut sandwich at Burgerville in Woodland, Washington.
  • Visit to the museum and gallery at the Lelooska Cultural Center in Ariel, Washington plus the privilege of attending an evening living history program. The Lelooska family shares the traditional masks, stories, songs and dances of the Sewide lineage of the Kwakwaka’wakw. The evening in the cedar ceremonial house  lit with flickering firelight never ceases to educate, entertain and inspire.

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