Oregon Travel

Off to the Beautiful Emerald City I Go!

Off to the beautiful city of Seattle I go!  After spending five days in Oregon with family to celebrate my nephew's graduation, the road took us on our way to the beautiful city of Seattle.  After we left our rental cabin in Oregon, we took the scenic route down through Hood River, OR.  Hood River is an amazing place right on the banks of the Columbia River.  As we winded our way through town, we came upon another idea for a first!  Paddle boarding in the mighty Columbia River.  No easy feat as you watch the wind whipping down around the water.  Hood River is a mecca for people to come windsurfing and kiteboarding.  Folks travel from all over the world to sport here.  The beauty is jaw dropping and the water looks inviting but can be crazy dangerous with the currents and winds.  We chose a mellow spot that appeared to be kind of it's own little quiet enclave. After getting in our swim suits, we headed into the rental shop to get our paddle boards.  This particular concession is right by the marina. The staff was really helpful and the equipment was perfect for our first foray into the river.  As we dropped in at the mouth of the marina, it became very apparent that this not your quiet tidal pool.  Waves slapped at our boards as we struggled to navigate our way through the waters.  After paddling for just a bit, the fun turned into taking the boards to surf the waves onto the shore.  A good time was had by all, a good work-out and time to jump into the car.  Our route took us over the bridge into White Salmon, WA and on down WA-14 towards I-5.

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As the driver, I was the only one who did not get to partake in the heavy napping that was going on inside the car.  Their loss as I got to see some incredible scenery along the banks of the river.  It's about an hour drive to I-5 when you come into Vancouver, WA.  We decided to stop and eat at one of my favorite places for lunch.  Beaches Cafe (www.beachesrestaurantandbar.com) is a great spot where you can sit and look out into the river, enjoy the sunshine and some great food all at the same time.  They are very kid-friendly and brought my son the usual placemat to color on, but it was the trip to the treasure chest to retrieve a toy that usually brings the smile to his face. The menu varies from burgers, shrimp and all the way down the line to the wonderful beef teriyaki bowl that I decided to order.  We had to, of course, finish up our meal with the delicious key lime pie that they have on their menu.

Back in the car we go and on the I-5 Northbound for about another two and a half hours.  As we rounded the final bend into Seatlle, I was met with the lovely skyline that let us know our destination was near.  It was a long day but filled with adventure.  Knowing that I had another first on my list made me realize how blessed I was to be living this adventure.  The excitement of paddle boarding was amazing and ending the night by having a great dinner at one of Seattle's cool restaurants Rock Bottom (http://www.rockbottom.com/locations/seattle) was the perfect end to a perfect day.  Stay tuned for my next installment where I give you the reader, a tour into some cool Seattle tourist spots!

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Until My Next Adventure,

P.A. Walker

The Ultimate Road Trip (Part One)

It's been a while since I have blogged.  The reason is I just pulled back into the driveway from driving 2,600 miles throughout the Pacific Northwest.  What an incredible journey.  There is lots to tell so I will whittle the story down to several posts. The reason for this long journey began with the announcement of my nephew Dan's high school graduation near the majestic peak of Mt. Hood, Oregon.  Dan is one of those kids that has remained his solid sweet self since he was born.  You really never knew that he hit teenage hood in the usual sense.  He remained upbeat, happy and just truly embraces each day with vim and vigor.  When I got his invitation, it made me sit back and realize just how fast life goes by.  Here was the cute baby that I used to visit who now had become a man and was going out into the world after reaching the 12th grade mark.  It was only fitting that I be there to join in the celebration.

After leaving Park City, our first stop of the night was in Boise, ID.  Boise is one of those cool towns that most people probably have not explored but should definitely plan on doing one day.  On this particular journey, we simply pulled into a hotel and spent the night.  The real fun started the next morning when we hit I-84.  All the way from home until the Oregon border, you can really crank it.  The speed limit is 80 MPH.  The minute you hit the Oregon border, you have to drop to 65.  Seriously, how can you make any time at that speed?  I pondered why this might be, but if you have ever driven this stretch of road, I truly think it is so beautiful that they want you to slow down and enjoy the sights.

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My first "first" of this trip was stopping in Pendleton, Oregon for lunch at an amazing place called the Prodigal Son (http://prodigalsonbrewery.com).  I had the most amazing salad ever: fresh goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, sliced apples and mixed greens with homemade cider vinaigrette.  I also splurged on splitting an amazing cheese burger with one of my road trip buddies.  This was by far one of the tastiest cheese burgers I have ever consumed in my life.  Every bite was a tasty morsel.

Pendleton is the ultimate western town.  When you first pull into the downtown area, you are taken back to some old western film.  There is even a giant cowboy boot on the sidewalk to advertise a very cool little store that sells all kinds of signs and house items.  It's definitely worth a walk through.  The name escapes me but it was right next door to the Prodigal Son.

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As we winded our way up to the destination for the night, we spent many miles driving along the banks of the mighty Columbia River.  What a beautiful sight.  Since we do not have much water in Utah, it is always a treat for me to be around such big bodies of water.  I just soak in the moisture.  As we rounded the bend on I-84 into the Hood River, Oregon area, we were greeted with our first glimpse of Mt. Hood.  I have been visiting Mt. Hood for over twenty years since I have family there.  Everytime I spot it for the first time on a trip, it never ceases to amaze me.  Just look at the beauty and grandeur of this volcano.

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Stay tuned for the next installment in this awesome adventure through the Pacific Northwest!

As Always,

P.A. Walker