Yesterday we decided to spent on the coast, because the coast is so freaking beautiful. First, we drove out to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we got to see how cheese is made, then Jeff & Madeline enjoyed some delicious Tillamook ice cream and I bought my bodyweight in cheese. We were amazed by how many people there were there – we didn’t even bother to stand in the line up for the cheese tasting, because it was ridiculously long and since every restaurant in Oregon seems to use Tillamook cheese, we’d tried enough of it to know that it’s freaking delicious! Next we went for lunch at a lovely restaurant on the water – I can’t remember the name of it, but the food was good and the view was awesome. Then it was off to the beach so Madeline could dip her toe in the ocean. By which I mean she could run and jump in the freezing cold waves for about an hour. It was so freaking cold that I had to wrap myself in towels to keep warm, but she was happy as a clam running through the water! On our way back from the coast, we decided to stop in downtown Portland so that we could (a) get espresso at Powell’s Bookstore,since it was the best espresso we’d had on our entire trip, and (b) have more Voodoo Doughnuts. As we started to head out of town, the vents of our rental car started to spew smoke and the car started chugging, so we had to pull off the road and call the rental car company. So boo to the car itself – a Nissan Versa – but kudos to the rental car company – Hertz – who sent a cab to pick us up and take us to our hotel, and sent a tow truck to pick up the car, and then brought us a new car to our hotel right away. Not exactly how we wanted to spend our evening, but at least they managed to get us home safely in pretty short order.
Today’s adventures started with a trip to see Multnomah Falls where we not only got to see the cool waterfall1, but they also happened to be having a kids’ festival. They had stations set up where kids could learn about things like the salmon lifecycle, how long different things take to biodegrade, and what different animal tracks look like. Kids got a stamp for every station they went to and, once they collected all their stamps, they got a free ice cream cone! Madeline, of course, loved all the learning about nature and the ice cream, but my favourite part was watching the parents. There was one woman who walked up to the salmon lifecycle exhibit and proceeded to tell her kids, “This is the salmon eggs, this is when it is a tadpole, this is when its a minnow and this is when it’s a full grown salmon.” WTF? At another station, the kids had to reach into a box, feel what was inside and try to guess what the item inside was. When the box was opened, they could see what it was and there was also a sign inside that described a bit about it. One of the items was really hard to guess and when the person running the exhibit opened the box, which contained a very large vertebra but had a sign that said, “Box turtle shell,” this same mother from the previous booth exclaimed, “A box turtle shell!” Now, a vertebra looks *nothing* like a turtle shell. The person running the exhibit proceeded to show the kids the vertebra, explaining what a vertebra is, how the spinal cord runs through the centre of it, etc. About a minute after the exhibitor finished her spiel about the vertebra, the mother exclaimed, “That’s not a box turtle shell?” At least she was trying harder than the next mother who came along and proceeded to open all the boxes, revealing what was inside them, completing ignoring the protest of the women running the exhibit who kept saying, “Don’t open them! The kids are supposed to feel inside the boxes and guess what’s in them! No!” Le sigh.
After the falls, we headed in to the town of Hood River, where we had lunch at a brew pub and where I also took this epic planking photo:
What’s so awesome, of course, is that even though I’m planking on the rock, there’s a funny perspective that makes it look like I’m falling into the water right in front of a sign that says not to go in the water! We then celebrated this with a delicious espresso from Doppio, which turned out to have espresso that rivalled the deliciousness of the espresso at Powell’s Bookstore.
Next, since we were already in the Columbia Gorge, we figured why not check out a couple of wineries? We tried to go to the Mount Hood Winery, but it was closed for a wedding, so instead did wine tastings at Viento and Wy’east. The wines at Viento were OK, but I didn’t love them and they were somewhat overpriced, given that I know wine prices in the US are generally much cheaper than in BC. I liked the wines at Wy’east – which is the Native American name for Mount Hood, in case you were wondering2 – much better and even bought a bottle of their Syrah, which has a berry-ish taste to start and then a peppery taste to finish! Nancy & Jeff bought a bottle of their Cloud Cap Select, a port-like dessert wine which smelled terrible, tasted great and then tasted even more amazing when you drank it along with some chocolate! Because just think of the antioxidants you’ll get from drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate!
By this point, I was pretty drunk, because we’d done two wine tasting with six wines each – that’s *twelve* wines! Plus, all the wineries were now closed. So we headed back to the hotel, where Jeff & Madeline went swimming while Nancy & I did a quick workout. Then it was off to our favourite Mexican restaurant – a little place near our hotel called El Sombrero. So. Freaking. Delicious. After that, a little dip in the hot tub to end our day!