Sunday, May 7, 2017

Oregon Fall 2015 written while traveling - finally published!

Day one of the trip: 8/5/15.
I drove to Debs house around 7:45PM, we packed up and headed to the air port. Tim drove and Dad drove with him for company. We got to o'hair and said our good byes, headed to check baggage. Deb and Mom got special marks on their boarding passes so that they didn't have to take off their shoes, I of course did not get that, and had to go through regular checking procedure. 
Everything went smoothly and the flight went fast, we flew united. I did not get RLS or anything although as usual the seats were horribly uncomfortable, but we all managed to sleep.

We flew into Portland around 1am, headed down to get a cab and told him the Holiday Express… He brought us to the Holiday inn, and of course we did not notice till we asked to check in and our name was not on the list.. SO, we had to wait for the Holiday Inn shuttle to bring us over to the express… Finally around 2am we were settled in our beds and trying to fall asleep, it was 4am our time, and since we had slept on the air plain and were excited to be in a new place, no one was too tired for a while…

Day 2 August 6th We got up around 7am or so portland time, I could not sleep and woke up with RLS at 6am portland time and was not even tired… We headed down to breakfast and enjoyed omelets, cinnamon rolls, pancakes from a pancake machine, sausage, biscuits and eggs and of course lots of coffee….

Next step we headed to the hotel shuttle and waited till it arrived, we got taken back to the air port to the car rental shuttle, then headed out again to the off site location. For under $400 for the week we got a Mazda 5, it was nice and roomy with sliding back doors, and we discovered right away it had an optional manual shifting feature… We discovered this when it would not shift out of first gear… and i found out that if i pressed up it shifted, or down it shifted down, but it had no clutch… did not expect that, but found the auto option at the next stop light.

We headed to Mt. Hood, and arrived in a little over an hour. We got a growler of beer at Mt. Hood Brewery (i'm looking forward to drinking it soon) and then to the old lodge that was built in 1930s. It was a really interesting building with great views of Mt. Hood. 

After that we headed back down the highway and down to the Merror lake trail. It was about a 2 mile hike up to a lake, then a loop around the lake with great views of Mt Hood. 

We got a little turned around by our GPS after this, and ended up getting a little lost, but our next destination was the bunkhouse. I had inquired about "The Medow house" on VBO and it was already rented, but Barbra the owner responded that they had a new place, the bunk house, ready to rent but had not listed it. It was a old bunk house and they had just redone it for her new daughter in laws make ready room for her sons wedding. We stopped at Bend to get some food, sandwich stuff and breakfast stuff, coffee, wine… Then made it to the Bunk house around 8:45. IT was down a LONG winding driveway, the road had 4 mail boxes, we drove past the main house, then past the meadow house, to what looks like a barn… Barbra met us and showed us around. The inside is a big finished room with three beds, a kitchen area with a table counter with fridge, counter stove etc. and also a sitting area, then a hall leading to a nice big bathroom… Horses are right outside, they have 5, along with lots of berries Barbra says we can pick and eat, she also says a bear like them too. They have 100 acres with trails we plan to check out…. We are pretty happy with this place, it's WAY better than a hotel… We took a little walk last night after eating then went to bed.

Day three Aug 7th

We got up around 6:30AM and mom made breakfast as Debi and I slowly got ourselves up… We had egg sandwiches and coffee… We geared up and headed out the Crater lake National park. The road to the park was windy and steep, but very pretty. We got to the entrance and payed our $15 to get a weekly pass then headed to the visitor center to get a few souvenirs, I got a cool hiking log book and a pin… We drove on the rim road after that an pulled over at the first pull off for our first view of the lake. IT WAS AMAZING, looked un real… We ran into a biker that was 2000 miles into his ride from CA to WA… He gave us some good tips on where to hime, said their was a "Easy Peavy" hike up to the hughes point, Mt. Scott just a bit down the road. We were getting very low on gas, so I was hoping he was right that it was close. It was, and we parked and headed up. Debi and I though we were going to run up, so we left mom to hike and headed out, our ideas of running ended quickly as we released it was straight up with a bunch of switch backs.. we did walk fast though… It was really cool, amazing views of the lake and the rest of the park. We made it to the top in about an hour or so, a 2.5m climb. We Enjoyed the views from the top, then headed down (finally running) we ran into mom maybe .75 miles down, and Debi continued walking with her while I ran because I needed to make a phone call when I got to the bottom (work related) After that we went down to get gas and were very thankful we made it! Then we were going to eat at the lodge, but they were closed between lunch and dinner, so we went to the cafe and got expensive food that was not awesome, but thats ok. I got a hot dog for $5.50… but it was to fat, and did not taste good to me.. but thats ok… We went on another hike after that, down to the lake, 1m down REALLY down. Mom and debi put their feet in the water, debi got in a little with out getting her clothes wet… it was cold, but I was determined to get in so I did, it was really cool, so blue and clear…. but cold… I got out and actually was not hugely uncomfortable… We headed back up… it was really steep.. but we made it. After that we found the location of the marathon meeting and watched a little video of a previous year and could ask questions if we wanted to… Then we headed back, we all chose the wrong direction and after we started seeing big fields full of cattle I started to think we were going the wrong way. We made up reasons that we had not noticed "maybe all the cattle were behind those trees" "well we were really exited to get to the park" "it was a long drive…" Finally I got my GPS out and turns out we were going the wrong way… So our drive took about 1:15 instead of 45… THEN we finally got to Beckys where we wanted to eat and they had a 45 m wait.. So we got a bbq chicken sandwich across the street, but debi just made a sandwich at home. We pretty much just went to sleep after that…

Day Three Aug 8th. 
We got up at 4:30am (well thats when the alarm went off,) We actually got up at 4:45am, I had not prepared well enough, and was searching for items, I had also forgotten to charged my camera battery… it was lame. My mom however was prepared, and had the coffee maker ready to press start, she had toast ready to go in for us… We headed out abut 5:15am and got to the lodge around 6am. Mom wished us luck and took a picture of us and we jumped on the bus. The bus took us to the start of the race and then we waited and talked to other runners. It was COLD. We even had our coats on… Once bus #4 got their we were supposed to put our stuff on that bus, so we waited inside where it was nice and warm till the race was ready to start, then we remorsefully took our coats off rolled them up to fit in the bag and stowed it under the bus. We headed to the middle of the road and all stood in a shivering huddle waiting for them to say "ready set go" It only took a couple minutes and we were off. about 2 miles of mostly gentle down hill with a little up, then we had rolling hills with amazing views till about mile 9.5, the views were still amazing, but the hill was steep and lasted 4 miles. We passed the half marathon finished and headed up to a little loop, this was partly down and partly up, we passed an aid station (these had been practically every mile, very well supported) After the loop we headed to the right and down, LOTS of down and the road was very slanted around bends which made for unhappy ankles… They said "it's all down hill from here" but I hear that a races all the time and it's never true… But this time it was pretty much true… It was A LOT of down… Our strategy was to walk up the big hills to save energy… but if I had know of all the down I may have pushed it harder on the ups and not walked so much. We did really get out of breath fast on the up hills, could really feel the thin air.. But it was great to feel lots of energy at the end, I think we could have done better though and ran the race a LITTLE smarter if we had believed that it was all down hill (expect 2m at the end) after the half marathon… but like I said, we hear that all the time and it's never true… TIll Yesterday.. Anyhow, we were feeling great running the last of the race, mile 20 seemed like it hardly even took any time to get to, after that it went  a little slower (in my head, not our pace, we had negative splits, till the last 2 uphill, but the hills helped with that). At mile 22 we crossed the finish area and had a 4 m out and back left. We were probably at a 8:30ish pace, and debs foot hit something on the rough pavement. The pavement was extremely rough, it seemed like they had just put gravel on it a while back with tar, then the gravel eventually sinks into the tar, but the gravel did not completely flatten, it probably had juts coming out around an eight of in inch in some places… My sister went down on her left knee first I think, then her right knee, then her left hand, right hand, and then the elbows went down then her face hit… Her little video camera went flying… I can see it all now still, it was horrible. When she rolled over with a dazed look on her face we had people rushing to help right away, she was all torn up… Thankfully her face did not have a mark on it, but she felt her lip and tooth meet the pavement. The volunteers got first aid kits out, and patched her up, she insisted of getting up right away, and 3 people helped pull her up…She walked a few steps and said she was fine, we thanked the people that had helped us, and continued on to the next aid station, we got a drink, and Debi though we got to turn around already…. I wondered if she was still a little dazed because we still had to go out another mile.. We did, and got to turn around and drink more water… then back for 2 miles, about half of it was up hill.. I drank so much water, every aid station plus some in my camel back… We got to the finish area, and took a left into the camp ground where the timer was setup, we finished in 4:34ish and 34th and 35th and I was 2nd in my age group! We got our medals and our bags and then heard someone say that the bus was leaving… I asked how long till the next one came and he said a half an hour.. SO, we started running again, I ran to grab a piece of watermelon first then we dashed to the bus and got on… We had asked where our bags were and were told they were back where we started… SO, we got back to the parking lot near the lodge and spotted mom watching for us by the gift shop with others watching for runners. She spotted us also and had planned to take a picture right away, but after hearing of Debi's fall, and seeing all her bandages she forgot, and they headed off to the bathroom to get everything cleaned up, I headed off to find our stuff which I found out actually WAS at the finish line, then I went to the gift shop and asked if they had a first aid kit explaining what happened. They had some stuff for me, big bandaids, tape, gauze, neosporon… I headed back to the bathroom with everything… Deb and Mom were washing her wounds out with soap and water, debi was dripping blood on the bathroom floor, she truly was  a mess… When she was almost done and just had the really bad hand left I started feeling sick form not eating… and her scrubbing her fleshy hand wound out did not help my sick feeling… I headed to the car, and mom went and got me some chips… I drank water and ate a few chips and started feeling better…. We headed BACK to the finish and got our bags and mom took the picture, the we headed back towards 62. It was such a shorter drive when we turned the right direction… RIGHT. we headed to Becky's again and got their around 3pm perfect timing we got a table right away. We ran into the same couple for the 3rd time, which was funny, the first time was at the lodge, the guy was running the marathon, the girl was going to run a little of it with him, then we ran into them on a hike, then at Becky's.. what are the odds? Anyway, Debi and I got a glass of yummy wine and ordered crispy chicken ranch sandwich, I got chips with it (home made) and Debi got fries, mom got a hot roast beef sandwich.. Everything was really good, and we then got a piece of pie Al La Mode to split. it was delicious. We headed down the high way to Natural Bridges,  it was a nice little mile walk down a paved path to a bridge with a water fall, then along a path next to the creek/river to the natural bridge. It was cool, pretty much all the water went down into the rocks, then rushed out a side cave a few 100 feet later. Lots of pot holes from the lava also. The lava formed the natural bridge, and water claimed it after the lava was done…
After that we went to the little store in prospect for more bandaids for debs, it was a nice little store, not full shopping store, but had a little bit of everything and the prices were not overly inflated…
We headed back to the bunk house after that, took showers, then talked to the ranch owners for a while after that, really nice people…. We went for a little walk in the 100m forest, then back to the bunk house and were all asleep before 9pm, but to make ourselves feel better that was 11pm OUR time at home…

Day four August august 9th
We headed out around 8am to see some water falls that were about 2 miles from the Bunk house. The car was packed, and we were going to head to highway 101 after that. We saw Bar falls and Mill Creek falls. They were really pretty and about a 1m tops walk. After that we headed back to 65 and we got about a mile past the bunk house when we heard strange sounds like a flat. We discovered loose rubber coming off our front right tier… We cut it off and called the guy, Jim, that we had rented the house from and had talked to the previous night. He said we should go to a auto shop that was about 35 miles away, and I though I knew where he was talking about. He also said we could bring it back to their house and he would change it, but we only had a mini tier, so we would still have to goto  the auto shop…SO, we headed out to find the car shop… we kept loosing time on our ETA, it was sad… Finally, we did not find it, and we stopped looking. We took it to walmart to find that you should not keep driving cars with missing rubber and that all FOUR of the tires were ready to blow. We got our shopping done, and by the time we were ready so was the car… The mechanics could not believe that the car had been in such bad condition… Finally we were on our way, and instead of stoping leisurely at different places along the way we had to go right to our house to save time, we had lost 3 hours on the tires, it was sad. We arrived at our beach house a vacation by owner home around 4:45PM, un packed, settled in and walked to town for dinner. We ended up eating at Drive Wood Inn, they had pizza, and a lot of other things that looked good, but we had pizza. It was good… Hit the spot. We walked back to the house and were in bed around 10pm. We all got up around 6:30am, had everything bagels with egg, cheese and bacon as well as coffee for breakfast, got ready, and were at the sea lion caves before 9am. We ended up not seeing a lot of sea lions, just a few swimming around, the caves were empty, but it was still cool. They built an elevator 300ft down to the cave, and had a really cool viewing area… We got a few souvenirs at the gift shop, and some pop corn and headed down high way 101 again to Florence. At florence we found a little farmers stand and got a lot of fruit… One was a plumb peach hybrid that was so sweet it tasted like candy to me. After that we walked down the dock and saw a couple seals swimming and a lot of tinny jelly fish.. Then we walked down the street to a few little shops, one was full of local artists work, and Debi got a cool dragon fly neckless, I got a bracelet, and mom got a cute little starfish. We got coffee at a local shop after that, they put scoops of our choice of coffee grains on top of our cups and filtered it in with hot water, it was really good. AND they had a bible question, if you answered it right you got free coffee… Debi got the question right first after we got a hint…
After that we headed back down highway 101 back towards our beach house. Our first stop was the brach, we just walked down one of the beaches, it was a flat one, we didn't see much, maybe walked for a mile, then we headed to see the light house. It was old, built in the 1890's, the most interesting thing about it was that, 1, it was the most photographed light house, and 2, the lens. It was a french lens and the only #1 lens in the USA of that type. could see it for 21 miles. Next we went to Strawberry hill, we parked down the street because the parking lot was full, it started with steps, then to a sandy and rocky path down to the beach, around the bend and around a bunch of rocks we were all surprised to see some large rocks with about 35 or so sea lions on it! We stayed and watched them for a long time, saw some swimming around, saw them arguing with each other.. it was really cool, we got to get fairly close too, after that we explored the rest of the rocks to find really awesome little crabs, Sea plants that were green, purple plant things that looked like those cush balls (later we learned they were sea urchans), little fish, and a lot of starfish. It was like a magical little sea world on those rocks, we had so much fun. We headed down for a walk on the coast after that and collected shells and rocks… Then back to the car and to a trail that wen town to "Devils Churn" which was more rocks, but a channel that went in pretty far causing the waves to break rather violently on the rocks. They got so high sometimes, it was so cool. I stood pretty close, and it was so fun to see the wave rushing at me and feel the wind from it and a little of it's spray… I could have stood and watched that for a long time, wished I had a bottle of wine and a blanked and I would have been set for the night! After that we headed back to Yatchs to find fish. After going to three stores looking for Salmon we settled for Halibut, it was more expensive, but the only thing we could find that was freshly caught. We then split up tasks, Debi and mom on check oil and then make a fruit, cracker and cheese plate, me on start french fries for app, start grill and cook food.  Everything turned out really good, we made mom's steak that we had gotten at walmart, and fish for Debi and I, the baked potatoes with cheese and cottage cheese, toasted french bread and baked beans.. It was really good, Debs and I also enjoyed some wine. We watched the sun set from at the end of the drive.. and here we are… the day is over, it was a great day and we're all tired! 

Day five August 10th. We were not too hungry in the morning from out big dinner the night before, so we did not make breakfast… We Hard boiled the eggs we had left, and made sandwiches for lunch, packed up and headed out down Highway 101. Mom had a nice little highway 101 map, letting us know what their was to see along different mile marks. We stopped here and their, the best things were stopping at a Marine Biology center and learning (and seeing again) that we had seen Sea urchins, Sea Animintys, and barnicals the day before, Then seeing a wooden light house (the only one left) and getting free grilled corn and cookies in the light houses garden because it was the 30th anniversary (or was it 20?). Newport was perhaps my favorite that day, we walked around the town and ended up finding maybe 100 seals, probably half of them were on the docks, the rest on some rocks not far out. They were smelly, fight, and noisy, but very entertaining to watch. One of the docks was enclosed in a cage, the door was open, and probably 20 sealions had piled inside. They were not happy when another joined them and climbed up, so usually this caused a big fight, sometimes they would give up and let the new comer stay, other times he would end up getting booted off into the water again. We got coffee at a coffee shop that had a patio out back where we watched the sea lions and drank our coffee, It was pretty cool. The next stop we found was a whale viewing place where we had a picnic and I finally managed to get 2 bottles of Great White Shark beer open for debi and myself (they were not twist off, and it was very difficult) After that we meandered down the coast again making our last stop cannon beach. They down looked like a lot of fun, I would like to come back and stay sometime, Judah (my husband) would really like it I think. they have a huge area that is a state park, and a huge sprawling beach. We walked down for a mile or so, our last beach walk. I walked in the water a little, it was not too cold… lots of rock formations in the water, it was really pretty. We headed to our hotel Days in after that i portland. Some conference was in portland so everything was pricy and booked. We got to the hotel around 9:30pm and had some wine and  more of the food we had gotten at the store for dinner then just went to bed…. We booked the hotel through hot wire and had said we had 3 people, but we only got a king bed, but did get a trundle bed.. they said they were going to charge us $10  a day extra, but ended up not.

Day six August 11th. We got up around 6:30 and headed down for breakfast at the hotel, they had the typical eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy… waffle and french toast for the foster and stuff like that. Coffee of course… Around 8am we headed out to see water falls in the Columbia gorge. We saw 3 including the the Munt Nomah, which was a 400ft fall.. Pretty cool. After that we headed back and stopped at a really cool vineyard/distillery/brewery/resort. It was a really cool property that would also be fun to stay at. We tried some wine and liked all of them. After that we went to portland, finally found parking in a garage after I accidentally drove the wrong way down a one way street (first time for that, it was scary) We choose our lunch at a area where lots of food carts were lined up, I had a Egyptian euro, Debi had falafel over rice and mom had a phillis cheese steak. All were good.
We headed to a bike rental pace after that and did about a 15m look around the city. Some of it had a lot of construction which was less that awesome, but all in all ok. 
We went back to the car for Mom to freshen up and then to happy hour at Mamma Meas, they had awesome cheap small plates and good wine for $4 a glass. Mom had set it up for us to have dinner with her friend from grade school that she used to live next to, so it was interesting to meet her, and cool that mom got to see her again after all these years. After that we went for a shot walk at forest park, mainly up a big hill and down. Lots of bikers… Nice park though would have liked to hike more… but it was getting dark and we were tired. That was it for the day.

Day seven august 13th. Today we are leaving. Im waiting to board the plain, our flight is at 1:10, and since we loose 2 hours we get into Chicago around 7:10, Dad is picking us up. This morning we just packed up, ate breakfast and returned the car. They are going to get back to us on giving us a "rebait" on their tires. It was annoying. It was like they were going to give us something but we were leaving them with OUR tires, we should have been the ones approving something… Horrible experience with payless car rentals.. We'll see how it all pans out, and we will defiantly be reporting the final outcome on as many internet review sites as we can. Debi and I go tour growlers filled up again after check in, and before check in we finally got to go to the fast line (pre check) and did not have to take shoes off, or anything out of our bags. It was great…

All in all another awesome trip! Summery would be: Mt. Hood, hiking, 100acer ranch/bunk house, Carder Lake, Highest point at carder lake, lowest point at carder lake, swimming in carder lake, running around carder lake in the marathon, Debi falling, hiking, waterfalls, horrible car rental place and need death experience, highway 101, Florence, Ocean side beach home, rocks, shells, beach, beauty, fun, seal lions, fresh fish, souvenirs, sea creatures, whales, devil's churn, newport, coffee, seals, picnics, beer, biking, waterfalls, fresh fruit, fresh air, good times.

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