Day 1 – Centennial, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rain, Rain, Laundry and a Dutch Treat – other than the unusual dinner a not so exciting day. The plan for our first full day in Calgary was Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s largest living history musuem. Rain, wind, and chill put a damper on that plan. In addition Bob wasn’t feeling up to par so already on Day 5 it was time for a break and regrouping.
One of the positives of selecting lodging at Staybridge Suites is the access to free laundry facilities. The Staybridge Suites Calagary Airport is undergoing refurnishing. Unfortunately they haven’t gotten to the laundry room, more machines are out of order than are usable. With plenty of time I’m able to get two loads done and make the aquaintence of numerous workman and staff members as I go up and down from our suite to laundry room.
Mid-afternoon we decide to work our way across town to Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus. During trip research I found mention of this restaurant featuring Dutch pancakes. Pannenkoek is a large thin crepe with savory ingredients cooked right in the batter. Dessert pannenkoek have the sweet ingredients served on top of the crepe. Soups, salads, omelettes and open-faced sandwishes are also available. I heard ladies at a nearby table raving about the Dutch pea soup.
The menu has dozens of pannenkoeken choices including vegetarian fare or diners can build their own from a list of ingredients. We select the potato, onion, bacon and cheese with a side of sour cream, popular for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Because I want to also try a sweet pannenkoeken the helpful waitress suggest we share one savory and one sweet. We appreciate her suggestion which totally satisfied our hunger.
Our custom pannenkoek dessert featuring apples, maple pecans and caramel. Yum!
The day wasn’t a total rain out.
When You Go: Pfannastic Pannenkoek Haus, 2439 54 Avenue SW, Calgary, 1-403-243-7757, pfanntasticpannenkoek.com.
From Centennial, Colorado to Buffalo, Wyoming – 445 miles from morning limited visibility to sun still high in the western sky at 8p.m.
Stops along the way:
Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, I-25 exit 4
The Wyoming Rib & Chop House in Gillette, Wyoming
Mountain Meadow Wool Mill, Buffalo, Wyoming
Sightings of antelope with plenty of room to roam, brown cows, black cows and some really ugly spotted cows, horses, hawks, coal mines, long trains of empty coal cars headed north, trains of filled coal cars headed south, working oil fields, Crazy Woman Creek and miles of green, green grasses.
Finally, a chance to get out of town for a few weeks with plans to visit New Mexico, Arizona and San Diego. Day 1 saw us make a beeline south to Taos. I think we set a time record from our driveway to the Orlando’s Restaurant parking lot – 4 hours and 31 minutes. For 20 years this has been my favorite eatery in the Taos area. We know they stop serving for a couple of hours between lunch and dinner; that’s our incentive to arrive before 2:30pm.
Although I peruse the menu and think that perhaps I’ll make a new selection I fall back on my long-time favorite – a shredded beef burrito smothered in green chile served with beans and posole. Note – I never cared for posole until I had Orlando’s; now, I even make it at home.
Bob opted for fish tacos and their excellent french fries. Our perky and efficient waitress said she prefers the fish tacos on blue corn tortillas instead of the usual flour. When Bob can’t make up his mind she suggests one of each.
Although we are stuffed we can’t pass up sharing a thick white chocolate, macadamia nut cookie. Pleased to once again enjoy an Orlando’s lunch.
On our way to Santa Fe we stop at Stephen Kilborn’s pottery studio in Pilar. I purchased my first hand-thrown and painted coffee mug early in the 1990s. Adding a few pieces each year I now have complete dinner service for eight and numerous serving pieces. Instead of selecting a single pattern I preferred a potpourri of Stephen’s unique endeavors. Recently he added a bee pattern and I had to have one of the small oval plates – a size I use almost everyday.
Overnight is at Old Santa Fe Inn just a few blocks from the historic plaza. A daughter-in-law found this lodging when she planned out 50th anniversary. We’ve returned a half dozen times since. Although we’re only passing through Santa Fe on this trip we want to indulge in a bit of the local ambiance by bypassing the typical brand hotels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.