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Day 3 of our road trip began as another cloudy day and our fun-filled day contained an unexpected diversion.



The day began with a quick breakfast at our hotel in Astoria, which sits on the northeastern most point of Oregon.  The plan was to head to see the house from the 80’s movie ‘The Goonies’ and then head to Fort Clatsop, which was where Lewis & Clark’s expedition ended up in the early 1800’s.  




But first things first – as a fan of ‘The Goonies’, we headed toward the house first.




The way to the house was well marked.

The house is privately owned, but you can venture up to the house.

Doesn’t it look the same as in the movie?

The garden around the house was nice too…

California poppies were in full bloom in the retaining wall underneath the house.

Believe it or not, this blue-flowering plant is the annual lobelia.  Evidently, they love cool, moist weather.

The pink roses were so vibrant.

There was a little arbor with white clematis.

After seeing the house, we drove back through town, along the coast of the Columbia River where you could see large ships and signs of the importance of fishing.  The sea lions along the pier were quite noisy and could be heard from far away. 

As we drive through downtown Astoria, we came upon a street market.  Of course, we had to stop.


The market stretched 3 blocks through downtown Astoria.


It was a live scene with vendors selling their goods, street performers, plants and unique food choices.


While most vendors sold items you would expect to see at a street fair (things made from wood, jewelry and clothing) – there were also some unusual items such as this gentleman who made guitars from old cigar boxes.

I must confess that I went the more traditional route and bought a bracelet for me and a necklace for my daughter, Ruthie.


Street performers played ‘Top 40’ songs, including Pharrel William’s song “Happy” using an electric guitar and drums made out of 5-gallon plastic pails.


The individual sounds from the drums varied depending on how high they were from the ground.

They were surprisingly good.

Plants had a large presence at the street fair.  Different nurseries set up booths selling a beautiful variety of plants.

Clematis
While I can’t grow hosta clematis in my desert garden, I do enjoy seeing them whenever I travel.

Lilacs
Weigela
While you’d be hard pressed to find most of the plants on sale in the desert southwest, I did find one plant that was being sold that grows great in my backyard…


Salvia greggii ‘Lipstick’ had red and white flowers on bright green foliage.  I love and so do the hummingbirds.  It blooms fall, winter and spring in my garden.  It was nice finding a plant that can grow in both places.


Fresh produce such as apples, asparagus, pears and sugar snap peas were on display.


This shopper was well prepared pulling a wagon filled with his purchases.


One thing that I have really enjoyed in the street markets I have visited on our road trip are the floral booths.


Gorgeous cut flowers are combined in a variety of beautiful arrangements.




The prices were amazing too!


I love peonies!


Before we left, we stopped by the food vendors.  There were a lot of ethnic foods available including Asian, Greek, Indian and Mexican.

Now, living in the Southwest, I am very familiar with Mexican food.  But, I must admit that I have never seen these unique offerings before…


I admit that I wasn’t even the least bit tempted to try bacon-wrapped or deep-fried asparagus. 
Even as an adult, I still don’t like asparagus.

On our way out, we stopped by a booth with a large number of baked goods.


We skipped the pies, but did grab 2 large cookies for lunch later.

Planters decorate the face of an empty building in downtown Astoria.

We enjoyed our time in Astoria very much and could have easily spent another day there.


As we drove away, we spotted two deer on the side of the road…


The next leg of our journey led us to the second state on our road trip.


We crossed the bridge over the Columbia River into Washington.


Yeah…that’s a lot of lumber.

We arrived in Seattle before dinner and walked a 1/2 mile down the road to attend an evening church service.  Then it was dinner at Chipotle.

Tomorrow, we will explore the downtown area!

Our second day in Oregon started out with an even greater appreciation of this beautiful state.


The day started out with walking down the street from our downtown hotel for a gourmet breakfast.


Okay, not really.  But we did walk down the street toward Pioneer Square, we ended up eating at McDonald’s for breakfast.


Although our road trips typically find us in a new place each day – there are a few things that we do each day.



The first being, my mother stopping by the nearest Starbucks for coffee.

Sometimes, it isn’t always easy to find a Starbucks, but, in the Northwest, there is just about one on every street corner.

The first stop on our itinerary today was to visit Portland’s Saturday Market, which is the largest continually running arts and crafts market in the country.  


The vendors have to make the items that they sell and each item must be approved.  So, you can imagine that the quality of what was offered was quite high.


There was a unique variety of things to tempt shoppers, including the booth filled with items made from old silverware.  I must confess that I was tempted to buy the hummingbird wind chime, made from old butter knives, forks and spoons.


Another booth offered duct tape wallets, custom made to order, which made a great birthday gift for my son.  I enjoyed watching them make it.

How about a custom-made garden gnome made in your likeness while you watch?


If you are into bonsai, there were several types of bonsai plants you could choose from.


I liked this succulent shadow box, but there was no drainage for the succulents, which would be a problem eventually.


Other items included hand carved children’s toys, beautiful woodwork kitchen utensils, clothing, jewelry and much more.


At the end of one aisle was a florist booth with buckets of fresh flowers.

The florists created absolutely beautiful bouquets and I would have gotten one if possible.
Those interested in henna tattoos, having their palms read or buying bracelets and necklaces made from hemp, also had places to shop.
The Saturday Market was the place to be on the weekend and it was fun to people watch.
Of course, there were street performers and best of all, lots of food trucks.
There was so much to do and see there, that we had to go back to our car and put more $ in the meter.
After a fun morning of shopping, we headed back to our car and passed by the Oregon Duck store…
As an ASU alum, I decided to pass right on by and tried to forget the last game I went to when the Ducks were playing and leveled our team.
It was time to leave Portland, but I could have easily spent a few more days there.  But, the nature of our road trips is to spend only 1 day in each area before moving on.  So we concentrate of a few activities and usually make plans to return at a later date to spend more time there.
Our next stop was the coastal town of Astoria.  On the way, we visited the small town of Tillamook.  Now for those of you who think that name sounds familiar, you would be right.
Tillamook is the home of Tillamook Cheese and they offer free factory tours and cheese tasting.  So of course, we made a stop since enjoying regional food is a large part of our trip.
The factory was large and tourists packed the parking lot in front while trucks delivering fresh milk from the county’s farms were in the back.  You could also see 18-wheeler trucks ready to deliver the finished product to stores.
The factory is a huge draw and I was surprised at how many people were there.  There is a cafe, ice-cream shop and a self-guided tour where you can go and observe the cheesemaking itself.
After watching blocks of cheese coming out, we were hungry and headed downstairs for the cheese tasting.
My favorite was the medium cheddar.
After buying some cheese in the adjoining gift shop, we found ourselves in the long, but fast-moving, line for Tillamook ice cream.  We shared a bowl, which was delicious.  I should mention now, that we leave behind our mostly healthy eating habits whenever we go on our road trips.


We got back on the road for Astoria, where we would be spending the night.  While you may have never heard of Astoria, you’ve certainly heard of a very famous movie that was made there called ‘The Goonies’.
It was dinner time by the time we arrived and we headed for the ‘Wet Dog Cafe and Brewery’ which was located on the Columbia River.

You could see the ships passing by at the windows where we sat.
While I like to eat at breweries, I don’t particularly enjoy beer.
But with names like these, I wish I did!
Tomorrow, we are off to explore the area around Astoria, including a look at the house from ‘The Goonies’ before heading north to Seattle.
We are having a great time!

We’ve just finished the first day of our Northwest road trip.



It all began very early this morning.  We left the house at 4:50 a.m. in order to get to the airport on time for our 6:50 flight to Portland, Oregon.

While I have traveled to the Northwest twice, this was to be my first time in Oregon and I could hardly wait to explore Portland.

Many of you may know that I am crazy for roses and that my love for them inspired me to go to school to become a horticulturist.


So, it should come as no surprise that the International Rose Test Garden in Portland was our first stop.


It is not only a beautiful garden open to the public – it also serves an important function to test new roses to see how they do.  The pink roses, above, were undergoing testing and as a result, not been named yet.  As far as I’m concerned, they deserve to pass – they were gorgeous and had healthy foliage.


I confess to having a preference for roses with multiple shades of color.


I loved the unique colors of this ‘Distant Thunder’ rose, don’t you?


The garden was large, but not overwhelming in its size.  We were able to walk around and see the roses within an hour’s time.


There were all sorts of roses growing there from climbing, floribunda, hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature and old-fashioned.


There were a few differences in the rose bushes that is not often seen in drier climates like the desert Southwest.

For one, we don’t see moss growing on rose canes.


Also, blackspot is a fungal disease that is prevalent in humid climates and while it is a problem in the humid climate of the Northwest, it isn’t often seen in the Southwest.


The peak bloom season for roses in Portland is still a couple of weeks away, but there were still plenty in bloom.


Almost as fun as enjoying the roses was seeing all the different types of people who came to visit these gardens, including this little girl who was having fun by the fountain.


Not surprisingly, I took over 200 photographs of roses and have more than I will need for upcoming rose articles.  Who knows?  I may create a rose calendar for my wall next year 🙂


I happen to share William Shakespeare’s sentiments when it comes to roses.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Oregon Historical Society Museum, in downtown Portland, to learn more about Oregon’s history.

We then took a stroll along the South Park Blocks, which is a green space that runs through the center of Portland that is made up of 12 squares (or city blocks).


In the middle of each square is a statue or other artwork.  Here is one of Theodore Roosevelt.


Abraham Lincoln can also be seen enjoying the beauty of Portland.


Okay, when people say that Portland is ‘green’, they aren’t kidding.  While it is so beautiful, it can be a little overwhelming to this Southwestern resident.

Our next stop was to the Far East, better known as the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  


To be honest, this wasn’t a scheduled stop on our itinerary, but we had some time to kill before we could check into our hotel and so we drove through the downtown and drove past this garden.

Well, as a mother of 3 children from China as well as having visited China myself a few times, I looked forward to looking through the garden.


Chinese lions guarded the entrance to the gardens.

As we stepped toward the entrance, a kind visitor offered to take me with her, using her 2-person guest pass, saving me the admission fee.  (Did I mention that all the people we have met in Portland are exceptionally nice?)


Upon entering the gardens, I was instantly transported back to China and the gardens that I had visited years ago.


Rhododendrons are in full bloom everywhere you look and I really liked how the pond reflected their pink blooms.


The blossoms are huge!


Being in Portland, some rain is to be expected and we got sprinkled on at the Chinese garden.


Visitors and workers enjoyed each others company.  I got a kick out of seeing this garden worker working in the pink taking care of the water lilies.


Decorative pathways made from pebbles stretched throughout the garden.


Bonsai plants were scattered about.  


While I like the look of bonsai, I lack that patience to use the technique.


Before we left the garden, I stopped by the gift shop to buy a Chinese gift for my daughter, Gracie, who is very proud of her Chinese heritage.

Portland is a great place to visit.  The gardens are beautiful…


And water is not in short supply as is evident from the drinking fountains that run non-stop…

Tomorrow, we will visit Portland’s Saturday Market, which is a large arts and crafts market with ver 250 vendors.  Then we are off to Tillamook (cheese) and Astoria, Oregon.  


I’ll be sure to post more tomorrow!

Do you like to travel?


I bet you do.  But, if you are like me, you don’t like the having to tasks such as packing, finishing up last minute things at work and such.


Since I will be traveling without my husband and kids, I’ll also need to stop by the grocery store so that they don’t starve while I’m gone.


Below, is my kid’s puzzle of the United States and on it, I have placed the states that I have visited – many of them on annual road trips with my mother.




As you can see, there are some empty spaces and our road trips are an ongoing effort to visit all the different regions in the United States.

So before I reveal where we will be going this year, let’s look at the options for the road trip we considered:


Southern and Plains states.


A few Rocky Mountain states.


New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.


The Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada.

and


Texas and surrounding states.

Before I reveal our destination, I have to confess that it wasn’t our first choice.  We had initially decided to travel to New England and had worked hard on an itinerary filled with fun things to do and see.

But, that was before the harsh winter that they experienced.  We were advised by many New England natives that a trip this year would be difficult due to spring being delayed and numerous road crews repairing damaged streets due to pot holes left from the cold winter.

So, we decided to postpone our New England trip to next year (hopefully).

The destination that we finally decided on for this year is a region that we have both visited, but wanted to explore further…


We will be visiting the Northwest and British Columbia, Canada and I can hardly wait!

I have been to Seattle twice, but not by car and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic city.

I’m ashamed to admit that I have never visited Oregon.  It has always been a state that is flown over on my way to Washington and I have always wanted to explore it further.

Here is a detailed map of where we will be going:


Our journey begins in Portland, where we will visit the world famous rose garden.  Of course, we will also explore other areas of this fun city.

After leaving Portland, we will drive to Astoria and spend some time before heading up to Seattle.

Later, we will stay in Port Angeles and visit the Olympic National Park.

The next leg of our journey involves a ferry to get us to Victoria, Canada.  I was fortunate to have spent a day in this very English city including Butchart Gardens, which I plan on seeing again.

Another ferry ride will take us from Victoria to Vancouver, which I have always wanted to visit since the Olympics was held there.

The last portion of our trip will bring us back toward Seattle with a stop in Mount Vernon and more gardens to visit.

**If you have any helpful advice on what to do and see in this area, I’d love some advice.

I hope you will join me as our journey begins!  I will be blogging from the road, sharing the sights and experiences along the way.

It all begins on Friday