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Our last leg of our Pacific Northwest trip ended back at the Perri residence. It was amazing to see how much little Autumn had changed in just a week’s time. My sister and her family were generous to tour us all around Sunriver. We hiked to Benham Falls along the Deschutes River and looked at the breathtaking views of the Oregon landscape from Lava Butte and Paulina Peak. Since Sierra and Thomas are joining us for the ride back to California, Stuart and I got the youngest two girls a special gift from the Posh Boutique in Portland. Here they are modeling their new attire. Zoey Mae showing off her new Zoe dress and Autumn Rayne swaddled up in her new baby bonkie wrap.

Oh, how cute are Dad and Autumn!

Hiking along the Deschutes River to Benham Falls.

Views from Lava Butte!

Another cute creature strikes a pose for us, Charlie the Chipmunk!

Views from Paulina Peak!

As we ventured our way back home, we were surprised to see that the fires in the Redding Area were almost all contained and the sky was clearing up from all the debris and smoke from the raging forest fires. It had cleared up so much we were able to see the snow capped summit of Mount Shasta. Here lies Black Butte towering over Highway 5.

After eight long hours in the Yaris, Stuart, Thomas, Sierra, and I made it back to Oakland. Pop and Nana (my parents) met us up in Rockridge and treated us out to dinner. Pop and Nana took the kids to Castro Valley after popping into to Pendragon bookstore to look at its selection. Stuart and I enjoyed the rest of the evening kicking up our feet and catching up with our neighbors at 5609. It was nice not having to worry about driving to our next destination.

This up coming Thursday, I make the trek back up to Oregon to return Sierra and Thomas, but this time it will be with Nana and Duda (their other grandma). That will be an adventure all by itself! Yikes!

We took a different route back to Bend. We traveled along bypass 22 off of Highway 5 to 97. It ended up being longer than the first route we took, but it took us through some gorgeous evergreen landscape. Stuart is absolutely captivated by dams, I think it has something to do with tons of concrete engineered to hold back such a great natural force that astounds him. On this route we were lucky enough to see two, the Big Cliff Dam and the Detroit Dam. He was so thrilled we had to stop and snap a few pictures.

The Big Cliff Dam

The Detroit Dam

Remember, only you can prevent forest fires! Look at the devastation!

Thursday evening we rolled into Portland. After all the suggestions on where to go and what to do in Stumptown, no one told us that driving in this city can be tricky. We spent about an hour and an half just looking for our hotel. Once we got our barrings straight, we found it our motel. Unfortunately I had a strong feeling that we were staying in a stetchy place, so we left in search of a less stetchy inn to say for the night more towards the downtown area. We stumbled upon the Executive Lodge, a real classy joint! Can’t you tell? Well we did not care where we rested our heads as long as we were finally getting out of the car. So far our adventure in Portland had started off on a bad note.

In the morning, we decided to give Portland a break and had breakfast at the Kennedy School. We would have stayed there for the night, but it was all booked up. After breakfast, we had to try the beer sampler. Yum!

Powell’s Books, the largest book store in the United States. Lots of silly toys.

Not knowing what else to do in ol’ Stumptown, Stuart and I drove up in the hill area and stumbled upon the Pittock Mansion. Apparently it is a hidden jewel of the city. Henry Pittock was a newspaper tycoon and owned the Oregonian, that still exists today.

View of downtown Portland from the backyard of the Pittock Estate.

Plastic made totem pole, not as cool as the wood ones in Victoria. Once we were done with the Pittock Mansion, we drove around the city some more. We ended back at the Pearl district. We had a wonderful Italian lunch as Piazza Italia. The restaurant was decorated in football (soccer) memorabilia and all the waiters spoke Italian. It reminded me of a sportier Steps of Rome. As we sipped on our wine, we watched the clouds dance around the sun until they stomped all over it! After lunch Stuart went to get a cup of Joe and I went shopping at the Posh Boutique.

After all the hype about Portland, the city itself had left a poor impression. Perhaps it was because of the weather, or the fact we really did not do our homework on the city, or it was the last city on our hit list and we were citied out, or due to the HUGE fact that the city’s streets are named like three different names and one could get easily lost for an hour just looking for her hotel(I am not bitter about that, can you tell?). What ever the excuse may be, Portland was blah, but we are willing to give it another try. Next time, we do more research and not drive.

Peace, Portland! Hello Bend, here we come again!

On our last morning in Victoria, we agreed to have room service deliver our last meal in British Columbia. I have never had room service before, so it was a treat for me. We lounged around in our Swan’s bathrobes to await our morning feast. As we ate our food we turned on the boob tube for some good ol’ Canadian T.V. The news of the day was between the trial of Radovan Karadzic and a horrific murder on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba, Canada. Learn more about the killing on the Greyhound bus. Check it out, it is crazy story!

Breakfast anyone?

I LOVE my Yankee Southern Canuck Gentleman! Don’t you?

On our way to Portland, we stopped to have a bite to eat in Seattle. We had a late lunch at the Broadway Grill in the Capital Hill district. On his hunt to taste as many exotic beers as he could get his hands on, Stuart ordered Mac and Jack’s African Amber Ale. It was quite a tasty pint. Here is a glimpse of the Broadway Grill.

While finishing up our late lunch, my friend Kelli joined us briefly for a glass of H2O. She had just donated some blood before her visit, so no shots were ordered to celebrate. We will always have Sharky’s when Kelli decides to move back to Cali! Onward to Portland!

After the kerfuffle shuffle at the border, we drove down to Victoria and checked in to our new home at Swans (who really like to show off the awards for their various accomplishments). The room is nice. Large ceilings, kitchenette and by far one of the most comfortable king size beds Heather and I have ever slept in. It’s billed as an “entertainment suite”, suitable for people who are up until 2 am. This is just clever marketing because the room is really just directly on top of the brewpub underneath, so we can clearly hear the music until the band dies. At least the “Entertainment Suite” includes the “Entertainment Package”, which includes a bunch of marketing for neighboring restaurants, free breakfast (or a $27 voucher) and tickets for free samples of the beer being brewed below us.

We settled and then went next door for some Sushi. The restaurant had a sign outside that said, verbatum, “Rated Number #1. By Newspaper!”. Which paper? who knows. The food was very good. Dragon Roll w/ head!

We checked out Victoria to get some bearings, than came home to chill.

The Swans:

I had an Amnesiac Double IPA from local brewer Matt Phillips, formerly of Spinnakers (I’ll get to that later). Very strong and very hoppy, 24 hours later I am enjoying another one.

We slept hard. The next morning, we set out to rent bikes and enjoy the scenery around the island.

The Empress Hotel.

Pretty stuff:

We got on our rented bikes and headed around the southern tip of the island.

The coast was beautiful. Click on the below image for a full version (1.3 meg).

Heather’s tire kept deflating, so we had to pump it up every half mile or so until we switched the bike out.

After the bike ride, we went back down to the wharf to check out the Parliament building, where BC laws are made. We took a tour with some silly people working there.


The outside of the Parliament is covered in exactly 3,599 lights. some eco-friendly, others not.

We left The Parliament for a quick ride to grab a cup of coffee on Cook st.

On to the evening!

We stopped into the Swans Brewpub below our room for a sampling of beer and then we checked out China Town for a sec. Kinda lackluster, maybe because SF’s Chinatown is so much more exciting.

Next up, the Canoe Club Brewery. Fantastic Stout and Heather had the Siren’s Song Pale Ale.

Look at the funny money!

We met two guys, Eric and Darius, who recommended Spinnakers for even better brews. Thanks guys.

We left the Canoe Club and headed for Spinnakers for dinner and another tasting.

I had the Blue Ridge Double IPA, which was the best beer I have had in Canada. Heather had the Honey Wheat. We both ate while our friend Charlie kept popping his head up to see if we were down for sharing.

I had a stout after dinner. Meh…

Back home, where I am sitting now, with the Phillips Amnesiac. Phillips is nice enough to include some advice on the bottle cap.

Off to bed. Tomorrow we get up and head for Portland!

We had a fun time in Seattle. We woke up this morning and lounged about in the Econo Lodge and enjoyed the ubiqutious continental breakfast.

After the snack, we headed north towards Anacortes, where we would be catching a WSF ferry through the San Juan islands and eventually land in Sidney, British Columbia, about 15 minutes north of Victoria. We chose the route for a few reasons. We didn’t want to wait too long in a line for the Seattle to Victoria route and we also wanted to enjoy the sites between the San Juan islands.

Anacortes is a quaint costal town with a tiny downtown. We decided to eat before we embarked. We stopped at Mary Ann’s and waited forever for food. It was worth the wait, at least for me. Heather had a BLT and I had a smoked salmon and pesto egg scramble.

From Anacortes we drove about ten minutes to the Ferry station.

At the ferry station, cars lined up in the order they would be lined up in the hull.

A few people have asked me how a ferry organizes cars in it’s hull.

The trip was steady and cloudy and cold.

I guess we are in Canada now!

We finally land in Sidney and proceed through customs. That is when a little disaster strikes.

The camera get’s turned off at this point. What transpires is that, plain and simple, I was convicted of driving under the influence in 2004. I am now a member of the Inadmissible class. According to Ed Perkins from Smarter Travel:

If you’ve ever had a DUI conviction or been convicted of certain other offenses, even minor ones, you may not be welcome in Canada. No matter that your conviction was a youthful indiscretion, committed many years ago; it may still be enough to bar you.

This is where things got tricky. The officer told us we had two choices. We could either get back on the boat we had just come in on, or, and this is where it gets silly, I could pay $200 for a temporary residency. This certificate (read: note of extortion) states that I am not a threat to Canada, even if I am not “rehabilitated”. I felt a little like I was trying to sneak out of North Korea. We weren’t going home, so:

Now I am temporarily a resident of Canada!

Now that the legal issues were tucked away, we headed south to Victoria. Doing 90! Km/h ;)

Next up, Victoria and the Swans hotel!

sneak peak:

The search for good coffee and good beer. Seattle is supposed to have both. We started with the coffee. The barsitas at Seattle’s Best recommended Vivace’s as their personal favorite, so we headed out to find it. Turns out it’s in a really cool neighborhood called Capitol Hill. We found it and had a taste. Can you guess which is Heather’s and which is mine?

Very good! We took a lb.

Not content to settle here, we asked a few of the patrons if there was anywhere else that could top Vivace’s. Apparently, there was a place called Stumptown a few blocks away. The challenge was on! We made it down there and met Gavin, who knew way too much about coffee. I bought another lb. I think at this level of coffee perfection, there is no “better”, there is only “different”. We had the Ethiopian and the Guatemalan. This was our limit on coffee.

Thanks Gavin! Note in the background: The gorgeous, vintage McIntosh turntable and amplifier.

Gavin also liked to drink beer, so he recommended the Stumbling Monk. We had definitely had enough coffee for the day, so we headed over.

a few pics.

This one was 10% ABV and tasted like syrup.

Enough already! Thanks Seattle!

Next stop, Anacortes and the ferry ride to British Columbia.

This is going to be a long post. We did a lot while we were here.

First, the hotel. Econo Lodge. Note the upside down picture on the bathroom door.

Our make shift blog center:

Our first night in town. Heather’s 13th sense kicked in (the “I know how to find a good time” sense) so we headed to the “U-Dub” area. That’s University of Washington to everyone else. We checked out the crazies on University ave and stopped to have dinner at a Greek-ish Italian-ish restaurant. I had an Alaskan Amber. I’ll probably drink that about as often as I visit Alaska. After dinner we caught The Dark Knight at the Neptune Theater.

On to downtown. This guy was prepared for…something?

The space noodle!

Quite a view:

We left and had lunch at Java Planet. Heather graffed the bathroom with some love…

My viewpoints so far in the trip:

At this point, there was three more missions to accomplish. Underground Seattle and finding good coffee and beer! We started at Seattle’s Best, but that was less than satisfactory. It was a little too corporate feeling, not quite the experience we were searching for. The Baristas guided us to Vivaces in Capitol Hill. More to come on that. Thanks girls!

Next, Underground Seattle. We had a silly guide who took us on a tour of the basement of Seattle. Apparently the city was raised 18ish feet around the turn of the century to fix an ailing sewage problem. What’s left under the sidewalks are broken facades and dilapidated walls from a time long ago. It was rank down there!

We resurfaced into Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle and headed to Pike’s Brewery for a sampler.

Nothing too special, although I thought the IPA (number 3) was pretty good. The straggler on the right was a tripel (Belgian style) that was heavy and sweet. Heather liked the stout and the hefe to the far left.

We left Pikes and checked out the rest of the Waterfront area in downtown. We had a fantastic Mexican dinner at El Puerco Lloron while rush hour traffic ran it’s course.

After we left the restaurant, we went up the street to watch the fish throwers and chill in the sun. There is no chilling in the public market, though, because we were being pounded by color, noise, and people all at once. Check the slow-mo fish throwin action!

Colors.

Oh, and we found the first Starbucks.

This post is getting long and this is a good segue into the latter part of the day; the coffee hunt.

Day 2. After leaving the Perri’s home, the first stop was in Bend. Rachelle and Tommy live right outside of Bend, so we had to stop in town and check it out. Bend is a really cool town, we wish we had longer to investigate. We almost got a sandwish at some random sub shop, but Heather’s 17th sense (she has a lot of senses; a bad eating experience is no. 17) told us that the experience was lacking. I walked out the door and across the street was pure gold. The Deschutes Brewery.

I have tried a few of these before, namely the Black Butte (see the mountain in an earlier post with the same namesake) and the Mirror Pond Pale Ale. The Black Butte is pretty good! The Mirror Pond is fine, but it didn’t stand out in the long line of Pale Ales available in the Pacific. I had the Twilight Ale; very tastey. Heather had the Cascade. The food was ok…ish. Most breweries these days are pretty responsible with their food. Most.

Out of the brewery and onto the road. First we filled up. Oregon is strange. They pump your gas for you. They won’t let you pump your own gas. Seriously. We don’t mind doing this our self. Here is one of the guys working at the station.

We left and headed towards Seattle by way of Portland. The trip took us out of the valley where Bend is situated. Notable sites: Mt. Jefferson (11k feet) and the Deschutes river.

After the drive we landed in Seattle, WA. More to come.

Hanging out with the Perris! We showed up to Bend around 1 AM and fell asleep in Thomas’s room. We woke up to Rachelle in labor! They left to have the baby around 6:30. Heather and I entertained the kids. I made breakfast. It was fun.

Pics!

Then, around 1:30, baby Autumn came home!

Heather and I helped around the house, cleaning and making lunch. All focus was on the baby. Member’s of Rachelle and Tommy’s church brought by dinner (the church will bring them dinner every night for a week) and then Tommy and myself went and rented a movie. We played cards together with the family and then everyone was pretty tired so we went to bed.

We left for Bend, OR on Friday afternoon around 3 PM. Heather drove. We stopped in Redding, CA to get dinner and chill for a bit. It is difficult for me to explain how miserable it is in Redding. The smoke from the neighboring fires has completely over taken the city. It smells like a campfire. The smoke is so over powering; you can’t stay outside for very long. We ate some decent mexican food.

In the mountains we were expecting to have a beautiful view of Mt. Shasta, but instead we saw a lot of smoke!

The last thing we saw before everything went dark was Black Butte looming in the distance.

After we get to Bend, we will have been driving for a little over 8 hours!