Tilla-run-a-muck

As we left the beach house at Cape Meares, we decided we would cook dinner. We began our trek to Garibaldi by a most circuitous route to reach a place only five miles away.

One thing you must know about these drives we take, we try to do fun and new things. This time we ran into a cheese factory, essentially it is the Cabot cheddar of the Northwest, Tillamook Cheese Factory.

The cheese factory had a quick self guided tour which was followed by free samplers. I like to refer to it as Stab your cheese cube, and taste deliciousness. Once through the factory, we did the touristy thing and purchased Brie, cheddars and crackers. We like to work on balanced diets.

With one part of the diet pyramid satisfied, we continued our meandering drive to the fish markets on the pier. The first market was closed, which sent some apprehension into the group, and made us think are we in the right place. Did Garmin mislead us? It wouldn’t be the first time ( I blame Garmin when I get lost )

Maddog and I quickly saw flashing lights and ADD set in and we saw mobiles of metal, cool wind chimes and other extravagantly priced items.

With the sticker shock, I continued walking until I found the wholesale fish monger. Quickly, Maddog and Abercrombie followed where we looked at fresh sole, flounder, bass, oysters, tuna bellies, salmon and other delicacies. As Ryan had put the bug into our ear about the awesome tuna we ordered a loin of tuna 2.5 lbs, and decided we would cook dinner and go all out, and purchased local clams.

With the necessary ingredients for the meal purchased we headed to the supermarket to pickup some additional treats, and prepare for the festivities to come.

We turned around and drove back along the cape, visiting the tsunami warning signs, taking pictures of islands, and points in the ocean. We decided to do the scenic overlook, and headed to the light house for pictures, to visit the giant spruce, and meandered back.

With our vehicles and contents safely parked outside the tsunami warning zone, we unpacked the food and stuff for the night.

Maddog, Abercrombie, Ryan and I began preparing for dinner. Ryan setup the charcoal grill and prepared the tuna. Ben soaked the wood chips, and clams. Abercrombie prepared appetizers. I prepared the zucchini, the last from Amy’s garden.

Before dusk set, we headed over to the cliff to see the sunset, and took a couple of group photos.

We cooked and ate the clams, the tuna, the zucchini, and ate a salad. The clams are amazing, the tuna fantastic, and the zucchini fabulous.

After some great discussion between us, we cleaned up, and I headed to bed.

Cheese tour movie
http://cheesemail.tillamook.com/default.aspx?file=35E6CA0DFB0D4644999A6A6914AB6D3A
It’s classic!

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Driving by the Seat of our Pants to Cape Meares

With our Big bellys full of food, we headed west to the Pacific Ocean, and Cape Meares. Abercrombie drove us through lush forests, farm land, beaches and cliffs on our way there.

At one stop we did the unthinkable, broke out the RC cars and raced them in the Tillamok State Forrest Center. After a near miss with a car, and each others RC car, we packed up the cars, declared no winner and went on our way (in some magical form of a zigzag).

After finding two 2nd streets, nine Indian named streets, we had to use our Cash Cab given one free lifeline, and Ryan guided us in. ps, thanks Garmin for not putting the road on a map!

The van drove up the steep inclined road, and turned the corner and we arrived at the most beautiful house, with an amazing overlook of the Cape.

Ryan showed us around the Japanese style house, which even contained a meditation room. With the leg of the Tour complete, Ryan suggested a walk on a beach, and lunch. Being the hungry and outwardly growing chaps, we jumped behind the wheel, and drove down to a local town.

At the town, we walked down the beach viewing cliffs of immense height, hearing some amazing science of subduction, the history of Indians in the Northwest, and enjoyed speaking about “shop”. For me it is always fun to speak with others in the same profession who are doing similar yet different things.

With the brisk walk on the beach done, we walked through town to Roseanna’s. We sat down, ordered delectable sandwiches, fried oysters, and dessert. Dessert consisted of Marion Berry crumble. Wow, who knew a DC politician of Ill repute would have his own dessert.

After lunch, we took a short drive back through the tsunami warning zone, and dropped Ryan off at the Beach House. Ryan invited us for the night, and we accepted, frankly with company so good, and vistas so beautiful how could you not accept?

We offered to get dinner, and Ryan pointed us to Garibaldi and the fish market where we could purchase amazingly fresh tuna, food and other things for dinner.

Now turned around we headed back for another trip through awesomeness!

Beep. Beep. Beep. Backing up a bit to Portland

It’s Saturday and early in the morning, but I have got to backup a bit.

After revisiting the honk, Abercrombie, Maddog and I headed for Maddog’s family in Portland, OR: Jean and Ryan. We met up with Clare, Irene, Lockland, Michael, Catherine, and Jean. Ryan was working at the beach house for the week.

We sat down imbibed in a few beers, ate a few slices of pizza, and enjoyed some merry conversation about career, life, trips, family and the Lower 48.

I learned Clare was going to Spain for a trip and recommended a spectacular Paella at a monastery outside Valencia, and a few other wonders of the Med.

I also helped Irene with an IT problem.

With the conversation winding down, we prematurely began driving to the beach house in Cape Meares, and quickly turned around due to the late hour. We ended up camping out at The house in Portland.

We headed out in the early morning to the best Greasy Spoon, Fat City Cafe, within driving distance. I have to say the service and food was very good and energized us for the trip to see Ryan.

FYI, Jean, we fly by the seat of our pants, and appreciate the hospitality.

The Honk Revisited

After arriving at the Kennedy School, and witnessing Ben riding the pine again. We grabbed a few drinks I the boiler room, detention room, chemistry room, and another. Wow, it was fun.

The Kennedy School is just perfect for drinks and a couple games of pool. We played Maddog vs Pablo, with Maddog winning, Maddog vs Abercrombie, with Maddog winning.

In a huff, we left to visit family. I drove. Sitting at a light… What do I hear, a honk! I jump into mass-a hole- mode. I look back and two gorgeous women are laughing, and we all laugh into the night!

Lunch, Brie and a Birthday

Yesterday was a great day, we headed into Seattle on the light rail from Columbia City to Puoneer Square. It is probably one of the nicest light rail system I have seen. 10 or so minutes into the downtown.

Once there we headed to Pikes Place Market. We stopped for roasted nuts, yes I know we had enough nuts on the trip ;). I first chose cinnamon walnuts, the guy was out so I went for cinnamon pecans.

With a bag of pecans, I began walking around to see the throwing fish show, the gourmet foods, sodas, candied rose petals, chocolate pasta, wines, model cars, baseball cards, movie posters and cheese!

We visited Beechers, a famous cheese shop, and purchased four cheeses, a cheddar gruyere combo, a Rosemary anise flavored cheese, a triple cream and a Brie. My favorite part of the experience, when the guy finished cutting the cheese ( a mental laugh-out-loud moment ) he ate the creme left on the knife. This is the kind of place I want to buy cheese from.

We walked around among Pike’s Place, among the heavenly food, and met up with Erina. First we went to a seafood place which was at best a cafeteria, and quickly incentivized each other to find a different nicer place, the Athenian. The Athenian is apparently famous for a scene from Sleepless In Seattle.

We wait 10 mins, and are pointed to a table on the second floor, in an alcove. We sit down, and barely fit our egos around the table. We order drinks, appetizers, and a meal.

We had crab cakes, salmon lox, clams in white wine, crab crepes, tuna melts, and fish and chips.

The service was spectacular, the waiter learned they wee out of clams, and offered us the same dish with mussels. When he brought it over, they had picked up both mussels, and clams. Apparently, they get all their fish and seafood at the market.

At the end of the meal, our waiter was switched out for a new waitress, Rose. Maddog, aka Mister Opportunity, tried again, and got Rose’s email, name, and when she would be in Boston.

Go Maddog!

For Mother’s out there, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

With a nice lunch rounding out our already full figures, we headed to a few hidden jewels, we visited a truffle store, and bakery. Abercrombie sat for a wine tasting, and purchased a nice white wine Pinot Grigo. Erina introduced us to heaven in the form of loaves of bread, a baguette, a Parisian, and one that looks like a stalk of wheat. Ben purchased meringues

We walked Erina to her car, and continued walking to Uptown Expresso and were treated by Margot to iced chai, iced coffee, and a latte. Margot, Thanks!

We headed back to Matt and Erina’s via the light rail. We experienced our first random check/test of tickets, and luckily we passed. Maddog is known to throw a curve or two on a test. 🙂

We got off in Columbia City, Erina picked us up and took us to the butcher, where we purchased priscutto(sp). We arrived back…

And the Party began….

We setup figs and priscutto, cheeses, bread, and popped a cork on Ken’s wine. We met the neighborhood, friends, family, and Wessley. Wessley is the fun little kid that you always hope to see.

Food arrived, we ate hamburgers with gruye, bread and cheese, BBQ wings, cake and more food. With food and drink comes amazing conversation and we had a nice bonfire.

The guests headed off home, and we gathered and shared photos form the trip. I even used the fancy terms of emailing, friending, and used the fancy term of cross links with other friend’s blogs. Now I have to figure out what that means. 🙂

It was all a blast!

We all headed to bed.

Today we arise and celebrated Erina’s birthday with Brie and bread.

We say a temporary good bye, pack and head onwards to Portland.

Matt and Erina you are awesome hosts!

Ps, they got the CB working, and we are listening to two truckers argue about a giant shopping cart go cart.

The Honk

So so so…..

I thought about not writing this entry but I keep laughing, and laughing, and Laughing.

A Massachusetts driver would appreciate the subtleties of the following story.

Maddog and I have just left an awesome lake, we drive down a hill, and wait at a red light.

One minute

Two minutes

A Chevy Suburban gets in line behind us.

H-O-N-K

What the heck is going on…. What an annoying diver! And I see the driver and young kid laugh.

The light turns green. I cruise out into the intersection slowly, very slowly, light turns yellow.

I drive to Crazy Horse, visit Crazy Horse, come out and see the bumper sticker honk if you love dirt.

We about die laughing!

Pablo is your friendly every driven:)

Twenty Chopsticks

After arriving at Matt and Erinas we all decided to hit up Seattle’s Middle eastern food. I got a gyro, Maddog had a gyro and lamb meal, and Abercrombie ordered a chicken parm. That’s right he ordered his favorite, Italian, at a middle eastern restaurant. It made us chuckle.

For dinner, we went to a sushi bar, which was amazing! We ordered salmon, eel, red tuna, smoked eel, turbot, scallops, and ten others. Each had amazing flavor, texture and beauty; the chefs were clear masters.

During the meal, Maddog notices the chopsticks are for sale. Preparing to buy one set for a steep price, Maddog chooses to spend 20 dollars. The waiter arrives and tells us they are 2 dollars a pair. Maddog one ups expectations and asks how many sets do you have? The waiter responds with enough. Maddog buys the 20 sticks, and we head out.

Abercrombie, aka Ken, and I believe Maddog wanted drumsticks for the trip. He’ll probably play Phil Collin’s song in the Hangover, and use the chopsticks as a prop.

More info on the sushi bar at SushiWhore.com . I kid you not!

Afterwords, we met up with Margot, Ben’s cousin, and had drinks at a bar which reminded me of an old steel town bar, kind of retro 70s without being retro. Pinball, pool, shuffle board and more….

Couer d’Alene and The Pickup

We made it through Wyoming. Wow…
The hot winds and cool breezes made driving interesting, and enjoyable.

About a half hour into Wyoming Ben took over, and drove us to Billings Montana.

I drove there to Superior Montana… It’s a stand in for the Rambo First Blood movie. We ate at Jackies, for 6 bucks each we ate an amazing breakfast.

Ben drove from Montana to Couer D’Alene, Idaho. It was the steepest mountain I have ever driven down. When we reached Couer D’Alene, we went to the Visitors center. With the lay of the land, we decided to get two rooms at the Couer D’Alene Resort. We talked them down from 159 a night to 119 a night.

With fresh showers and a nap, we headed to the Couer D’Alene Brewery. food is amazingly good. Unfortunate that the idiot landlord is shutting the down to open a wine and spirits bar in it’s place.

We parted ways and met for breakfast, which was fantastic… And I drove to Seattle Tacoma Airport where we picked Mr Abercrombie, and met up with Matt and Erina.

thanks to you for the hospitality!

Less than 72 hours

After Rushmore we headed towards crazy horse. Just a few miles from Rushmore we found a lake at 5000 feet. Naturally fed this lake was perfect. We jumped in, chatted with other cross-country tourists, and cooled off before heading to crazy horse.

If you want to find the lake it is at 43 degrees 53.595 minutes North 103 degrees 28.816 minutes West.

We packed up and hit up the tourist trap of the 21st century, crazy horse. I am not going to say much more than call it a huge tourist trap.

Maddog and I cruised from Mount Rushmore to Rapid City. It’s shabby sheik and ended up at the Firehouse for a decent ribeye steak, and a birch beer.

Ben enjoyed it so much he picked up two growlers of beer, and they are on ice to save for future celebrations and libations.

With dinner done, we fixed up the van with a hot rack. A bed which is long enough for one person to sleep and the other to drive.

ready to go We drove through the rest of south Dakota, all of Wyoming, we passed over the Continental Divide at 5am, and I finished driving in Superior, Montana.

Superior is the kind of town which First Blood was filmed. Wow, I had to take a photo, it was cloudy, chilly, and quaint. We decided we had to eat, and found Jackie’s which was a hole in the wall diner. It was great, I had BGE – biscuits gravy and eggs.

Maddog drove from Superior down perhaps the longest steepest grade I have seen, wow it was cool. We ended up here Idaho, Couere d’Alene.

We visited the visitor center, and I managed to get us into the casino hotel resort for two rooms at 119 a night. It’s normally 159 a room.

We chose a room as it looks like a localized tornado struck a 8x4x6 space…. I think, following current naming conventions, they called this a maddog-Pablo phenomenon.

More adventures to come after a nap!!!

PS I almost didn’t read the sign that said 6 ft clearance to the rushmore parking garage!

Ok… Ok… We are a bunch of tourists

We are the type of people that head East to go West…. Trust me it’s faster than the alternative…..

We left the Badlands and drove 160 plus miles to Rushmore and are sitting at 5200 feet eating a sandwich before taking obligatory pictures of picking Roosevelts nose.

Rushmore is a must see, and fantastic.

Note, I am posting pictures of the badlands and Rushmore tomorrow…

We are off to crazy horse and firehouse brewery for dinner…. It was the 1000 signs on the side of the road and the fire engines…. Who doesn’t like fire engines!