July 28, 2011


We had an excellent time in Oregon. There was nothing to grouse about:

but it was time to head up to Seattle and spend the weekend with Rick and Toni.

You could not possibly have found two more congenial hosts. They were very generous with their time, food, and wine. And they weather turned absolutely perfect just as we were rolling into town:

You can seem some snow peaked mountains from very nearby their house.

We went down to the harbor where they keep their boat, a Najad from Sweden. A Viking boat!

It was very nice:

but we didn't go out in it. I am not much of a sailor and was probably not too encouraging. C'est la vie!

We had a good time sitting around the boat, though:

Doreen liked to play the part of rail candy:

while I was still being amazed that you could find snow capped peaks in July:

After the boat, we headed over to Seattle's beautiful Japanese Garden:

It was very big, and had great vistas, complete with different colors and textures.

After that, we headed over to the Volunteer Park Conservatory. This is a statue of William Seward. He is sort of a hero in Seattle:

Look at that sky! The bluest skies you ever see, are in Seattle!

The Aurora Bridge Troll was on the way home:

To give you a sense of scale, that is a real Volkswagen  Beetle in his left hand.

This is Rick and Toni's house:

It is very near Green Lake - that is a landmark you can always find on a Seattle map.

The next day we took a Ferry:

That is Mount Rainier in the background

and that is Mount Baker:

Nice view of the Seattle Skyline:

Here we are, having fun:

Then we took it back. This is a totem pole that a fellow build to honor his dead brother. The brother was killed by a cop:

That actually reminds me of something that I wanted to put in my post about the Columbia River Gorge.

While driving on scenic route 30, I wanted to sing Roll On Columbia by Woody Guthrie (and who wouldn't?) so I asked Doreen to Google the words.

It was mostly the way you remember it as a kid:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
So, Roll on, Columbia, roll on

 except for the last verse:

Remember the trial when the battle was won,
The wild Indian warriors to the tall timber run,
We hung every Indian with smoke in his gun;
Roll on, Columbia, Roll on!

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July 25, 2011

Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley

One of the reasons for this trip was to familiarize ourselves with some of the Oregon Pinot vineyards. That is why we stayed in the Youngberg Hill Inn (a very nice B&B) right in the heart of the Willamette Valley.

I want to clear something up from the start, though. It is pronouced will-AM-it (as they say there, it's Willamette, Dammit!) not WILL-ah-met.

OK! Now that that is done we can talk a little about wine.

The very first winery we stopped at was Stoller Vineyards. (Doreen's last name). In spite of that seemingly well connected introduction, the tasting room host was decided cool to us. AND we buy a bunch of their wine! Well, we did anyway. We won't anymore.

But then we went to Archery Summit and had a great experience. The wine guy obviously loved his job, he was healthy with his pour, and we tried things we just can't get at home. We bought a bottle of their Arcus Estate wine. We brought that one home.

After AS, we went to another big one - Argyle Wines.  They have a huge tasting room on the main drag (99W, I think) in Dundee. They not only had Pinot Noir, but Bubble and Stickies (sparkling and sweet). Very nice. We bought one of their nice Pinots and drank it in Seattle (which see)

We picked up some treats (cheese and sausage) after lunch.

and finally made it up to the Willakenzie Estate vineyard in Yamhill.One of Doreen's co-workers highly recommended this wine.

They even had a Winery Cat:

We then made it back to the B and B (quite safely!)

The next day, we started out at Domaine Drouhin the following day following a quick stop at the Red Ridges Farms shop.

We really enjoyed this tour. You could see the fermentation vessels there:

We bought a bottle of their wine as well. We drank that one in Seattle, too.

Then we made our way to our favorite stop of the trip, Ayres:

We really liked the winemaker - Brad McLeroy was a very entertaining hosts, along with his dog Gigi:

He really loved what he did, and we really loved his wines. We bought two, one to bring home, and one to drink in, you guessed it, Seattle.

Gigi, greeting guests:

Note the wine barrel road markers:

Then we made it to Beaux Freres. We didn't care for them too much.

There was one more stop before we got home. We wanted to try something we had never heard of before, so we stopped at the Lemelson Winery. We really enjoyed that tour as well. They built the winery so they didn't have to use pumps. (Their slogan is "Gravity flows, Pumps suck")

I didn't take any photos, but we did buy some wine. Nice!

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July 21, 2011

Portland and the Columbia River Gorge

Yesterday, before we headed out to Portland and beyond, we grabbed a couple of carrots and went to feed the Youngberg Hill horses (Toppper, the paint, Katheryn, the
sorrel, Chewie, the black one, and Hazel, the bay).

They like their carrots:

They like them so much, they want to keep eating the hand that held the carrot:

The Inn is a delightful place, well situated on a nice hill (Youngberg Hill, I imagine) giving it a rather strking appearance:

The horses sometimes like to play dead. It is very odd:

Portland is about 30 miles from where we are staying (which is near McMinnville) but it seems to take forever to get there. Traffic in this part of the world is pretty bad. It may be because they lay traps for bicycles:

This is for my niece Jesse:

We stopped in there and had a nice chat with the woman who was working there. She tried really hard to sell us some fibers. We resisted.

We only spent about three hours in Portland, proper. (Well, almost exactly three hours. That is how much parking we bought). But we did see the Chinese Garden:

then we went to a place called Andina for a great Peruvian meal. I highly recommend it.

If we would have spent more time in Portland, we would have had more stories. I did have a chance to grab a Stumptown Coffee espresso - one of the more famous small coffee roasters in the country. Excellent shot.

Then we drove east into the Columbia River Gorge, driving on Historic Route 30.

It was quite a view:

There was a place called the Vista House built in 1916:

that had a great view.

We kept going and hit Latourell Falls:

You can see the columnar basalt here which underlies much of the area:

We then drove over to see Multnomah Falls:

It is a two jump falls that is quite well known, and deservedly so:

Finally we made our way slowly back home. Wait, are we in Wisconsin?

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We had dinner at a great place in McMinnville called Nick's Italian Cafe. Worth every calorie and gram of fat.