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October 4, 2014
Goodbye Ocean – Hello Portland
Memories & Traffic
The morning dawned clear and blue; tide and waves were higher than the last two days. Tough to say goodbye to a favorite site along the Oregon Coast, I want more time here but it’s unfortunately time to head homeward.
We had family living in Portland for four years and chalked up numerous trips. Highest on the list of places we want to revisit is Bob’s favorite restaurant for Vietnamese noodle bowls – Pho Van on 82nd SE. Yes, we’re on the eating trail again. Two #51s and a pot of Jasmine tea for lunch.
Each vermicelli noodle bowl is topped with shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, onions, pickled carrots and daikon and peanuts. Our favorite adds skewers of pork marinated in honey and lemongrass, grilled over an open flame and crispy spring rolls filled with minced pork and shrimp. Served with Muoc Mam.
It’s been five years since we visited Portland, it’s gotten nothing but larger, busier and traffic nearly impossible. With clear skies and temps in the 80s everyone is out and about. Lanes of traffic backed up for blocks at traffic lights, Interstates creeping and drivers impatient. I already miss the relaxation found along the coast – goodbye ocean, hello Portland.
October 3, 2014
Muffins, Cheese and Ice Cream
It seems more and more of my daily reports center on food. Don’t bother counting calories for today – it’s way over the top. You might gain weight just reading about our day.
We started with breakfast at Pig ‘n Pancake in Cannon Beach. Bob was reasonably wise with granola, yogurt and fresh fruit. I, on the other hand went right for their Swedish pancakes which are the best excuse for scoops of whipped butter and lingonberry preserves.
The next stop was the Cannon Beach Bakery to stock up for bedtime sweet treat and tomorrows breakfast – love their Sailor Jack and poppy seed muffins. The piece de resistance was an apple fritter with caramel glaze. Bob loves fritters, I love caramel anything. Disclaimer: The last time we were in Cannon Beach the bakery was closed, I’m making up for lost opportunities.
We actually waited 4½ hours before eating again. This time we were at the Tillamook Cheese Company. They have the best ever grilled cheese sandwich. The Centennial is a combination of sharp cheddar and Vintage White medium cheddar grilled on thick slices of sourdough bread. The sandwich comes with a dill pickle slice and choice of fries, tater tots, salad or soup. We both opted for the soup of the day – chili.
After shopping – for cheese curds and some of the Vintage White medium cheddar we entered the ice cream line. Huckleberry for Bob, Caramel Toffee Crunch for Nancy. We did restrict ourselves to single dips but good sized dips they were.
A half mile down the road stands the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. Not wanting to go home empty handed we purchased a small wheel of the traditional brie and a wedge of the herb brie. (You got a dollar off it you purchased two – such a deal.) Three bottles of Riverhouse salad dressings also found their way into our bag.
Back in Cannon Beach we stopped at the market to pick up milk and chocolate milk to wash down the sweet treats later this evening. Need I say we won’t be going to dinner tonight? Over the top I know but an opportunity that doesn’t happen often. Not counting, just enjoying.
October 2, 2014
Captain Bob’s Chowder
Long Beach, Washington
After exploring Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula it was mid-afternoon and I waited something to eat but not an big lunch. Bob’s always up for a bowl of clam chowder. A check with Yelp showed positive reviews for Captain Bob’s Chowder in Long Beach; exactly the kind of place I wanted. Captain Bob behind the counter, four high top tables and knowledge of how to prepare seafood.
Bob went for a bowl of the chowder which he graded as a B+; he’s a tough grader, I don’t know whose chowder he’d grade as an A. He reports the chowder was full of clams and served with a bag of oyster crackers and a bread stick.
I wasn’t in the mood for soup so ordered a crab roll – a fresh toasted roll with a crisp leaf of romaine and a generous serving of crab. This earned an A+. I will think about this crab roll for a long, long time. It was perfect. When I commented on the roll Captain Bob said his wife makes them. He toasts the roll in a skillet immediately before serving. Our tab including soft drinks was under $20.
We were the only customers at that point in the afternoon and enjoyed visiting with Captain Bob while we chowed down. He told us that he has two chowders/soups every day. Always clam chowder and the other varies – corn, salmon, scallop – a big seller. He even does a corn beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. The daily offerings can be found on their Facebook page. He reports that lobster chowder is very popular but lobster rolls aren’t, surprising because how popular lobster rolls are on the East Coast. Fish and chips are on the menu but not our choice today.
Don’t know when I’ll be back on the Long Beach Peninsula but know I’ll look for Captain Bob’s when I return. Meanwhile, I’ll dream of the crab roll.
September 27, 2014
Back to the USA
Saturday – September 27, 2014
Depending on your view, the good news – or bad news – is that they let us back into the country. After an 80 minute wait at the Peace Arch Crossing at White Rock, BC/Blaine, WA we were once again on our way.
There was plenty of time for a little ironic political thinking of the roadblocks for citizens to be admitted when our borders are open sieves for illegal entries and terrorists because we wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Yet the tax paying, legal, upright citizen is given the third degree. Why doesn’t someone call that profiling?
We spent the afternoon and evening visiting with Bob’s cousin Walt and his wife Ann, a delight to see them again after many years. We enjoyed lunch in their home and an outstanding dinner at Oyster Bar Restaurant south of Bellingham. The drive south on the old road right along the water was marvelous – narrow and winding but very scenic.
Dinner is worthy of an entire story. For now, let’s just say the best meal with the best view and company we’ve had on the entire trip.
September 25, 2014
Day in Vancouver
Although the day started with clouds and rain, we’re in Vancouver, get out and participate. This is a city of walkers and outdoor activities, a little rain is barely noticed. After a drive through Stanley Park and along English Bay we spent several hours at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropogy – a treasure trove of art and artifacts of First Nation peoples.
Bob is especially interested in the carvings of totems, house boards, masks, boxes, canoes. Timing was just right for me to join one of the free tour groups while Bob took detailed photos. Although we’ve been interested in Northwest Coast art and culture for decades I learned a great deal from the knowledgable, energetic guide.
We needed a respite after museum time and headed back to Stanley Park for a mid-afternoon lunch at The Fish House restaurant. The calm ambience and seafood was greatly appreciated. We noted that in addition to lunch and dinner the restaurant serves afternoon tea as well.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at sites in the park – totem poles, lighthouse, dense forests and walks along the sea wall.
Throughout the day we were encouraged by sun breaks and patches of blue skies. We even found the clouds photographic.
September 24, 2014
Two Weeks Down – Two To Go
Can’t believe we’re two weeks into our driving trip to the Pacific Northwest, the first days seem so long ago – so much spectacular country between here and home. Taking a moment to reflect on the 14 days reminds us of all we’ve seen and experienced.
3,050 miles traveled
5 States – Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana,
3 Canadian National Parks – Waterton, Banff, Yoho
2 Canadian Providences – Alberta, British Columbia
2 US National Parks – Grand Teton and Glacier
1 Cousin Visit – Thanks Kay
We won’t soon forget seeing two American Bald Eagles while on the Waterton Lake Cruise, a grizzly ambling through a grassy field in Glacier Nt. Park, and a mother brown bear and two cubs chowing down in the same field two days in a row. Never before had we seen a rainbow and its reflection like the one at Emerald Lake.
Alternating between hotels, Nt. Park lodges, bed and breakfasts and the hospitality of family we’ve been fortunate to have no horror stories of places you would never catch us in again. It had been years since we’d stayed in a Ramada Inn and the memories aren’t great. When we needed lodging in Pincher Creek, Alberta a Ramada looked like the best choice; and I’m sure it was. The room was large, very clean, bed and linens of good quality, front desk staff friendly and efficient. Left this hotel with a new attitude towards the brand.
Definitely would return to the three B&Bs we’ve visited – Blue Heron Inn in Rigby, Idaho, Bad Rock B&B in Columbia Falls, Montana and Cromier B&B in Penticton, British Columbia. Each were unique with gracious hosts and gave a more personal experience to their area.
No big cities until we arrived in Vancouver today. Listed as the worst travel congestion and most traffic delays in all of Canada we’re quickly reminded of the realities of city life.
We’ve eaten in a variety of restaurants from neighborhood bistros to formal dining rooms (the worst service). I even have to admit to one stop at a McDonalds.We like to focus on local food whenever possible – huckleberries in Montana, saskatoon berries in Alberta, fresh from the orchard plums, pears, apples, artisan cheese and boutique wines in BC’s Okanagan Valley and fresh seafood in Vancouver.
Dinosaur digs, jagged mountain peaks, aqua blue glacier-fed rivers, acres of trees heavy with ripening apples, black angus grazing in seemingly endless grasslands, dense forest of towering western red cedar, new mown hay awaiting baling, golden aspen in their fall glory, hillsides covered in rows of vineyards, and rushing rivers, foggy mornings, clouds lying low in mountain valleys, vivid sunrises, a day without a single cloud in the sky, sheets of driving rain – visions captured in photographs and the mind. Memories.
What will the next two weeks reveal?
August 18, 2014
Taos Leisure & Tastes
A leisurely summer Sunday in Taos started with breakfast at Guitz. We first tried this locally popular cafe a couple of times last year and it was high on the list for a return visit. The menu includes creative combinations after one gets past the Basic Breakfast and French Toast (which I so recommend). Bob ordered the Scrambled Egg Tower – scrambled eggs, mushrooms, spinach, diced tomato & Manchego cheese – served with Guitz potatoes & mixed green salad.I selected the Spanish Tortlla – Spanish omelette baked with onion and potatoes, topped with warm cucumber mushrooms & tomatoes, drizzled with basil pesto, served with olive tapenade & crustini. Great way to start the day.
Between time reading and drawing at the casita we explored back roads and drove out to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Spanning the gorge more than 500 feet above the Rio Grande River the is the 7th highest bridge in the U.S. The gorge slices the Northern New Mexico landscape for approximately 50 miles with depths up to 800′. Designated in 2013 as the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 74 miles of the Wild and Scenic River is a draw for whitewater rafters, anglers, hikers and artists.
The evening started with an opening orientation session for Bob’s workshop with artist/potter Stephen Kilborn. Always a good time catching up with the Kilborns and seeing friends made in previous classes plus several new participants.
Afterwards we joined friends Dolores and Orrel for dinner at Doc Martin’s in Taos Inn. We noted that the menu selection were fewer than in previous years and missing the ladies favorite watermelon gazpacho. Our waitress provided cheerful, excellent service.
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