West Coast Road Trip – Day 17 
Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 07:21 PM
Posted by Administrator
After a morning run, we walked along the waterfront and then made a stop at Powell’s Books, a bookstore that occupies three city blocks and another "must-do" according to our Facebook friends. We certainly could have spent all day browsing, but didn’t want to tease ourselves as we’re trying to travel as lightly as possible.

I got a kick out of this hotel. Unfortunately, it's giving us Joyce's a bad name, as it was super sketchy.

We had a delicious lunch at Thai Peacock and then bought a MAX pass, so that we could take Portland’s light rail to the Japanese Gardens at Washington Park. Unfortunately, we discovered that the Washington Park MAX stop was at the zoo, two miles away from the gardens. It’s a huge park.

We backtracked one MAX stop and still had a 30-minute walk which got us to the Japanese Gardens with just 45 minutes until closing. It turns out that it was the perfect amount of time to make it through the gardens, which is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever been.

The visit was well worth all of the time it had taken to get there. Had the weather been warmer, I would have loved to spend time just sitting on a bench soaking up all of the serenity.

At dinner that night, I had my third reunion in as many days – this time with Katherine Daniels, another MHS class of 92’er. We met at Por Que No? in the Hawthorne District for yummy tacos and taco bowls. Our few hours together reminded me why we had been such good friends in high school and made me wish we lived closer.

add comment ( 9 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

West Coast Road Trip – Day 16 
Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 12:43 PM
Posted by Administrator
Paul and I split up for this Seattle morning as he was interested in the Future of Flight Museum and a tour of Boeing…and I was not.

My pick was “Bodies...the Exhibition.” Unfortunately, they decided to leave town early without updating their website and so I arrived at the location only to find a bunch of large crates being loaded onto a truck.

Nevertheless, I had an enjoyable few hours that included a 5-mile run on the waterfront, some more time browsing Pike Place Market and another reunion meal. This time, it was lunch with Jenny Joyce, a good friend from Melrose High School, and her adorable son, Max. We figured out that the last time we saw each other was at Kate Reynold’s wedding back in 2001.

It was wonderful to reconnect, although I felt old when I realized that our 20-year reunion is just two years away! I neglected to take a photo, so here's one from the old days.

Paul and I rendezvoused back at the hotel and drove out of Seattle toward Mount St. Helens. We had hoped to catch a glimpse of Mt. Ranier along the way, but the clouds did not cooperate.

Spring is not the optimal time to visit Mount St. Helens. It was a quiet, snowy place with "closed" signs on all of the visitor centers, as well as some of the roads. However, we were able to drive quite a ways up the mountain. The snow-covered trees made for stunning views.

We continued south to Portland where we stayed in the shadiest motel yet, the Value Inn. We’ve been operating under the principle that there’s no need to pay a lot for lodging when we spend so little time in the room. (Also, it can really add up on a trip as long as this one!) Well, after this place, we decided to stick with brand name motels. Nothing fancy, mind you, but places that are held to some sort of corporate standard.

For dinner, we chose Deschutes Brewery which offers gluten-free beer and hamburger buns. The beer, elk burger and sweet potato fries were quite a departure from our typical fare, but were quite good.

Our final stop of the night, Voodoo Doughnuts, had been recommended by a number of friends via Facebook. Upon arriving, we were shocked to find a line out the door. It was cold; it was 7:45pm; and it’s just doughnuts! But, these are no ordinary doughnuts – they have toppings such as Captain Crunch and Coco Puff cereals, Kool Aid powder and, one of their most popular, maple frosting and bacon. Yes, actual bacon.

Our original plan was just to take a look, but, after standing in line for 25 minutes and bonding with our fellow line-mates, I decided that the experience wouldn’t be complete without actually trying one of these concoctions. I opted for the Old Dirty Bastard, which was topped with chocolate frosting, crumbled Oreos and peanut butter.

How was it? Not bad. But, not good enough to eat the whole thing - half was plenty of sugar and calories for one night. The whole experience, however, was quite memorable. No trip to Portland would be complete without a Voodoo Doughnut!

add comment ( 5 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

West Coast Road Trip – Day 15 
Monday, March 29, 2010, 10:58 AM
Posted by Administrator
And week 3 begins! It began with pouring rain and so we took our time with a morning workout in the hotel fitness center. Then, around 10am, we got all suited up in waterproof gear and walked outside - into sunshine. The weather can change in an instant in the northwest. We were fortunate to have very little rain, although temperatures remained quite cool, in the 40’s.

We walked around the Space Needle, but did not bother going to the top as the clouds would have obscured our view.

We then strolled along the waterfront and the Olympic Sculpture Park to Pike Place Market. This attraction definitely lived up to its reputation – fresh produce, gorgeous flowers, men throwing fish and a huge variety of ethnic restaurants.

For lunch, we enjoyed a lentil soup and beet salad at the Yarmarka Café, a Russian establishment. Although it was a tiny, open-air stall more than a restaurant, it was one of the best meals of our trip.

We walked down to Pioneer Square, which turned out to be a shopping area, and then decided to get out of the cold by heading indoors for a self-guided tour of the Seattle Library. This building is fairly new and is unique, beautiful and quite high tech.

Next up was the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum – two separate museums that share a building and have joint ticketing.

EMP had some historical exhibits (including, of course, the birth of “grunge” in Seattle), as well as opportunities to play a variety of instruments. Visitors could have their own rock star photo shoot (complete with props) and perform onstage with a simulated screaming audience. Not being the rocker types, we didn’t take advantage of all EMP had to offer, but this museum is a must-see for music lovers. I did really enjoy their photography exhibit though.

I cruised through the Science Fiction Museum fairly quickly and waited for Paul at the end. You really need to be a bit of a sci-fi geek to enjoy this one.

That evening, we had a reunion dinner with Kristin, one of my girlfriends from Mount Holyoke whom I’ve seen only a handful of times since I left Boston 11 years ago. It was great to catch up!

She brought us to Café Flora where we had our second lentil soup of the day, followed by gluten-free Moroccan crepes.

1 comment ( 11 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

West Coast Road Trip – Day 14 
Sunday, March 28, 2010, 12:24 AM
Posted by Administrator
Okay…I’m falling behind on the blog, so I'm going to keep it short and hit the highlights.

The Olympic Peninsula is spectacular – so lush and green! The day was overcast, but a light rain only fell occasionally, and so we were able to enjoy a hike in the Hoh Rainforest, as well as some time admiring the waves and driftwood at Ruby Beach.

Twilight fans know this area for the tiny town of Forks, which now has vampire and werewolf references everywhere you look.

We had planned to spend the night in Port Angeles, but, upon arriving, decided to drive another 2 hours to Seattle. The trip ended up being more like 3 hours due to an unexpected ferry ride.

We expected high hotel prices, being back in the big city and all, but we scored with a $70 per night room at the Best Western Loyal, just a few blocks from the Space Needle. The location was fantastic...and I was able to catch up on laundry before calling it a night.

I chose just a few photos to post here. If you'd like to see more, check out Paul's blog.
add comment ( 7 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

West Coast Road Trip – Day 13 
Saturday, March 27, 2010, 11:43 PM
Posted by Administrator
As today was expected to be the only rain-free day in the foreseeable future, we set an alarm to make the most of it. We started off with a much needed 8-mile run on a hilly, but scenic, forest service road. After a few days of little exercise and lots of sitting in the car and yummy treats (like pizza and donuts), the run felt fantastic.

Afterward, we made a brief stop at Lincoln City’s indoor kite flying festival which was fascinating in a bizarre sort of way. Did you know there is a world championship competition for this “sport?” People actually choreograph routines to music.

I was quite impressed with what the performers could do, especially considering there was no wind. However, it seemed odd that the sport appears to be dominated by older men. Paul agreed, confirming that this is definitely a chick thing.

The Tillamook Cheese Factory was quite a tourist destination. It was a little more commercial than I had hoped, but we enjoyed the samples, which included my first ever cheese curds.

We stopped in Seaside, a cute coastal town that marks the end of Lewis and Clark’s journey. We browsed the shops, sat on the beach with an ice cream, and watched the spring breakers playing volleyball and digging enormous sand pits.

Our next stop was Astoria, where Goonies was filmed 25 years ago. Classic movie!

We took in the waterfront, a cool vintage hardware store and the impressive Astoria Column.

Then, we replenished our food supplies at the Astoria Cooperative and drove across the state line to spend the night in Aberdeen, Washington.

add comment ( 7 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

<< <Back | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | Next> >>