Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Starting to catch up

Yeah, yeah, we said we'd post the details of the first few days after dinner last night. Only problem was, dinner turned out to be a luxuriant, decadent, leisurely four-hour affair. Paolo, our waiter, is also the sommelier, and he went into exquisite detail over why he had paired each wine with each course. By the time we got through five courses and a bonus glass of a sweet, fizzy Italian muscato that he gave us because he liked us best of all the tables he had served (flattery will get you everywhere....), it was midnight. No blogging for us.

So, to start to catch you up on where we've been so far:

Sunday. Portland. Running around with Ian.

We walked from Ian's house to nearby Hawthorne Inn for a hearty breakfast, wherein Christian learned that a marionberry isn't just a crackhead Washington D.C. mayor -- it's also a tart-sweet fruit that makes a pretty terrific coffeecake. It was a great way to start a busy day on our feet.

Next to Mount Tabor, a city park that comprises a huge hill in the middle of town with stunning views of Mount Hood. It also houses several reservoirs that provide the city's drinking water. You can drink the tap water in Portland, and it actually tastes good! Their water supply comes from high mountain ice runoff, so it's very pure and very sweet. We attempted to lose the car on Tabor, but after hiking up, down and around several times we did relocate it, just in time to go to...

...Forest Park, just out from town. To call Forest Park a park is like calling Opryland a little inn. It's simply massive, and drop-dead gorgeous. We went on a breathtaking hike through the north end of the park, which gets less foot traffic, and indeed we saw very few other people.

From there to Washington Park (seeing a trend yet?), where we stopped and smelled the roses, No, really, we did. The International Rose Test Garden is a marvel, and we could have spent an entire day just there. But we dragged ourselves away to a "secret garden" in the park for a lovely late-afternoon picnic of pears, bread, chips and cheese. Mmmm .... cheese....

It was getting late by this point and we were due in Lake Oswego to meet up with Steve and Patti, so we circled back to downtown for a cocktail before hitting Powell's, the best bookstore in the whole entire world. We wandered the stacks a while and bought a few books, then said goodbye to Ian and headed out to Lake Oswego, a lovely neighborhood south of town where Lewis & Clark College is located (Steve teaches there).

We had a relaxing evening with Steve and Patti, sipping wine on their back deck, which has its own magnificent and unobstructed view of Mount Hood. Kristin's father and Steve have worked together on various projects for close to 30 years, so Steve and Patti are really more like family than friends, and we had a great time talking with them. We both agreed the next morning that we'd like to go back to college so we can take classes from Steve.

Which brings us to Monday. Our ultimate destination for Monday night had been unclear, but Steve is from the Coos Bay area and was able to give us a bunch of good camping suggestions. We said goodbye to Steve and Patti and hit the road after breakfast -- more marionberries!

By lunchtime we were in Eugene, where we met up with Christian's friend Emily, who took usto a terrific little all-you-can-eat Indian buffet. We also got to hang out with her beautiful babies, Rosie and Sadie, at Emily's cute little house which is nestled beside one of Eugene's buttes.

We hit the road again and headed toward the coast, ultimately winding up in Sunset Bay, Oregon, which more than its name.

This place was truly gorgeous. We hiked in, got our camp set up, then we hiked out along the cliffs for about 2 miles to the perfect sundown spot. We were all settled in and about to make a pot of coffee ... when, in a truly inspired moment, Christian realized he had left the car keys sitting out on a picnic table at our campsite.

We ran back down the trail. No, really. We RAN back down the trail. (Ever tried sprinting in hiking boots? Not fun....) We got back to camp in record time and found the keys -- in the right front pocket of the shirt Christian was wearing. Smooth....

It was now rapidly approaching sunset. We had only about a half hour until the 9 p.m. light show. We booked it back up the cliffs as fast as our aching legs would allow. It was more than worth hurrying back for, though. We were able to catch an amazing few moments as the sun sank into the sea.

Then it was off to the redwoods. We'll give more details once we reach the Raford Inn in Healdsburg, our destination for this evening, but in the meantime, here's a taste:


  • Great descriptions of the food and scenery! Superman has the talent of super strength, Whitney Houston has the talent of voice, and congratulations Kristin you've discovered one of Christian's hidden talents in his ability to make keys disappear! Enjoy ya'll!

    By Anonymous Beer Goddess, at 2:13 PM, July 19, 2006  

  • Christian & Kristin,
    This is soooo much fun!! Grandmother loves hearing what you two are experiencing, too. Wow...that sunset is incredible! Thanks for entertaining us!!
    Love, Mom

    By Blogger djbottorff, at 10:33 PM, July 19, 2006  

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