Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Itinerary

I thought since I didn't show pictures of every thing we visited I would give you a day by day itinerary. 

Day 1
Leave Cola - 4 hour layover in Chicago
Arrived in Sea-Tac around 2pm. Grab rental car and head to Snoqualmie Falls less than an hour north of Seattle.
Enjoy the view. Eat dinner in the quaint little town of Snoqualmie. Andrew said life seemed better in this town. I agree. Families were enjoying each would be a great place to raise a family. Then we drove south to Mt. St. Helens.

Day 2
Visit Mt. St. Helens and we made several stops around their. A viewpoint that had a trail in the woods and a place to get out on the river where men were fly fishing. Drive to Portland, walked around water front park and went to Saturday Market.

Day 3
Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Scenic highway - Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, Oneonta Gorge, Crowne Point, Bonneville Dam, Barlow Pass (part of the Oregon Trail). Drive south to Smith Rock St. Park.

Day 4
Smith Rock State Park - spend the morning - drive to the beach around Newport. Put my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  Drive to Depoe Bay.

Day 5
Drive leisurely towards Cannon Beach...stopping to look at tons of lookout points.  Take 3 capes scenic drive around Capes Meares and stop to see the light house.  It was so foggy you couldn't see the ocean.  We got to Cannon Beach and absolutely loved it. It wasn't foggy, but was chilly.  Drive north to well.

Day 6
Drive to Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Forest/Park.  See ferns that were almost waist high. Very lush and green and had some trees as tall as the Redwoods. P.S. we didn't go to the Redwoods b/c we wanted to be able to take our time on the coast and get to see the Olympic Peninsula.  Then we make our way to Forks (for me) and Rialto Beach and Port Angeles. It was my mini Twilight tour. 

Day 7
Drive to the bay that separates the olympic peninsula from the Seattle area, take the ferry. We went to Chateau St. Michelle and toured the winery.  Had a nice little tasting and we learned a ton.  Did you know that they have to stir the barrels and test the wine three times a day. Crazy right? The grounds were beautiful. the we headed to Seattle and walked around a bit to get our bearings.  We actually went to see a movie...we were exhausted and just wanted to veg out. 

Day 8
Go to Pike's Place eat breakfast and walk around.  Walked to the Space Needle for lunch. Walked back to the market. We loved that place.  We loved many of the goods for sale...soap, leather books, the flowers were amazing and cheap, fresh fruit, and of course fresh seafood, the original Starbucks, I mean what's not to love. We did a go shopping...we went to Northface, Patagonia, Columbia, and Mountain Hardwear.  We loved clothes, but were like um no. We did make two purchases...a bag from Northface to replace one of the bags I was carrying that ripped. A purple and orange sweatshirt for Andrew's sister's bday.  Then we ate at Pike's Place Chinese Cuisene and caught the Mariner's game.  Andrew loved the game...a sweet fan let me use their blanket cause I was freezing and then I loved it too. 

Day 9
Pike's Place for breakfast and then we headed out to Snoqualmie again. We loved this place too. We spent much of the day here reading, and relaxing, and enjoying the view. We then ate dinner at a little brewery with great food. Then headed to spend the night close to the airport. 

Day 10
Travel day. United/Continental employees in Houston severely disappointed us. We made it to Charlotte around 7pm and then to Columbia to get our luggage and were home around 10:30.  Not too bad.  It's a Sue and Paul story, but theirs is better. They have the worst/funniest honeymoon story ever. This day was very sad anyway, due to the horrible loss 10 years ago.

P.S. It took us a full week to sleep well again...crazy! Totally worth it...if you have the opportunity, take this trip.  I told Andrew somewhere around day 5 that everything made me think about God. There is something about being surrounded by the beauty of our Creator that expands your understanding of Him.  He is way more complex than we can imagine, and His beauty is magnificent.

Pacific NW Awards

I'm sorry I haven't posted until now, but if you checked out facebook you've seen the best part.  We came home Sunday Sept 11 and returned to work the next day. We missed a flight that day and got home later that we had planned.  It was a dramatic day for us, more for me, but it didn't overshadow our amazing time.  We saw so many amazing sights that I decided the best way to post would be to give awards.

Best Hotel we stayed in (keep in mind we were traveling on a budget)
The Downtown Hotel in Port Angeles, WA
This hotel was definitely affordable and had a great quaint feeling. One thing that was unique...they had some shared baths. I know it was almost a deal breaker for me too, but they let us tour before we agreed. It was the cleanest bathroom and there were four of them, so you were never waiting.  We actually stayed in a place like that in Seattle, the Moore Hotel. The great thing about both of these hotels is that they were in great locations for walking to everything you wanted.  Also, they both also had rooms that had on suite bathrooms, those rooms were all booked.  We also really liked Mt. St. Helens' Hotel, and Pacific Crown Hotel.  

Worst Hotel we stayed in...
The Hub Motel

We weren't even comfortable taking our shoes off, but the shower pressure was perfect. The sights the next day completely made up for it, but we definitely got an early start!

The best food we ate...
Andrew - One Eyed Crab in Westport, WA -he ate the seafood boil, clams, prawns, and crab legs in a seafood broth - Andrew said it was one of the best flavors he's ever had in his mouth.
Me - Seafood Chowder at same place - clam chowder with prawns and crab meat (maybe some other was great) It was so cold on the coast (like it dipped into the high 50s and was misty) that all I wanted was totally hit the spot. We don't have a pic of the restaurant, but here's one of Westport. Just a little fishing town, that totally shut down in the evening. 
We enjoyed walking around the waterfront and looking at the boats.
We also enjoyed all of our food on this trip.  We had some great locally made hummus from 
Cannon Beach, OR and some Tillamook Cheese and icecream. We loved eating breakfast in Pike Place Market while in Seattle. We would grab starbucks and then grab these awesome fresh donuts and fresh berries. I'm definitely not a city person, but I loved the market. It was my favorite thing about Seattle.  Oh my gosh I forgot to tell you about this amazing Gelato we had in Seattle.  It was salted caramel and the lady recommended pairing it with dark chocolate...amazing and different. Also, I had the best chinese food ever at the Pike Place Chinese Cuisine.

Worst Food...
or beverage...the Chicago airport Starbucks...gross! They gave me the light syrup( I assume) and I hate sugar substitutes. 

Best View...
We saw so many amazing sites...the best was the Oneonta Gorge off of the Columbia River scenic highway outside of Portland.  It was amazing...I'm sorry none of our pictures do any of the views justice.

You had to climb over these trees, that were jammed in the gorge, to be able to walk along the river bed in the gorge. It kind of freaked me out, but was totally worth it.

Ugliest view...
A man in Seattle was walking and his pants just slid down to about his knees. He kept walk for a while before he noticed it. Fortunately his shirt covered the important stuff.

Best Beach...
It's a tie between Cannon Beach, OR and Rialto Beach, WA.
There were no ugly beaches.

Rialto Beach has black sand and is full of small smooth pebbles.

 I sat here for a while and just loved it. The waves were so big compared to South Carolina waves.

Best Park...
Again we can't complain about this area. Smith Rock State Park was amazing. On the way to Smith Rock we went from evergreens in a national forest to prairie to almost high desert.

FYI...when driving on this trip you couldn't go more than 10 minutes in Oregon without seeing campsites and state parks.  It was awesome. We definitely want to go back and camp.

Best Bridge...
Not sure if we know a name, so I'll just show you the bridge (it was close to Smith Rock State Park)

We also got to see this train was neat.

Best Waterfall...
Snoqualmie Falls, WA close seconds were Multnomah and the other one in the Columbia River scenic Highway.

I thought this would be a less overwhelming way to share some of our trip.  Again, if you haven't checked out facebook...please do. We have so many more pictures there.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On the Road

We are having an amazing trip. Every night we find a place to stay, and I crash. I'm so exhausted (the good kind). If you would like to see what we've seen so far, you can check out Facebook. Andrew has better endurance and has loaded pictures daily. The landscape is truly phenomenal. Hope everyone is having a good week. One comment I'll say is, there are a lot of Lewis and Clark landmarks out here. I think about the terrain and what it must have been like to trek without roads. I'm amazed. They didn't have northface or columbia or whatever outdoorsy gear we have in modern times. They were AMAZING! I never thought too much of them, when I learned about them in school, but I have a newfound respect. Andrew and I both have thought that and would like to reread about them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Three Cups of Tea

I have had Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin for about 8 months. I have been interested in the story but had trouble discipling myself to get into it. Do you have that problem after reading several easy fiction stories? Even if it's good, it's just tough to read something more intelligible. No? Maybe that's only me. Well, I finally got past the fact that I don't know where the places are or what the terrain looks like. It makes it difficult to place yourself in the story an really take it in. Again maybe you don't read in this manner. Greg Mortenson's life is fascinating; he grew up the child of Lutheran missionaries in Tanzania. He loved mountaineering and just sounds like an earthy guy which usually interests me. His life is an adventure. I haven't quote made it to the more political part of the book, but so far I'm thoroughly enjoying his story. his passionate life convicts you of your Americanism which typically forgets the life of service we are called to. I say this as I sit in an airport waiting for my next flight while on vacation. It has been really moving and makes me aware I have one life... It should count for something. I hope my life will count for more than humanitarian efforts. I hope it counts for the Kingdom of God and man. I recommend this book, so far at least.