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See Food Diet

I’m on a diet. Whenever I see food, I eat it.

Ahh, I crack myself up. But seriously, these days it does feel like we’re on a seafood diet. We can’t get this stuff this fresh where we live, so we have to take advantage of it while we’re here.

We were in Astoria when off in the distance, on a creaky old pier, we saw a sign for Rogue, maker of Dead Guy Ale (Terry’s all time favorite beer). Of course, we had to stop and grab a growler. When I asked where the bathroom was, I was directed to the back of this warehouse, only to discover that this is where the old Bumblebee Tuna factory was.

Old Factory

Old Buoys

Bumblebee Tuna

Bumblebee Tuna

All of this great nostalgia and old machinery was neat to see. We decided to seek out some fresh seafood of our own. We got to the market just in time to see them filleting the latest catch.

salmon

filleting

oysters

eating seafood by the fire

Eating our fresh catch seaside

Goonies Never Say Die

goonies

I tell ya what, it’s a good thing The Goonies saved Astoria from being taken over by that country club back in the 80’s, because this place is sweet. We settled in at a campground near Ft. Stevens State Park so we could thoroughly explore the area. We may or may not have also been looking for One-Eyed Willy’s treasure.

Fort Stevens

Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale

Astoria

Columbia River, Astoria

Boats in Astoria

Near the Maritime Museum

Dangerous World

It's a dangerous world out there. Be very careful.

Port of Astoria

The whole city used to be built on pilings on the waterfront until a fire in the 1920's.

Astoria Waterfront Trolley

Astoria Waterfront Trolley, $1 per ride. Cheap date.

Astoria

View from the Astoria Column 160 stairs up.

Portlandia

We had a quick stop off in Portland where we rode bikes to the Saturday Market, saw the Dragon Boat Races, and stocked up at Trader Joe’s. Man, why can’t Utah have a Trader Joe’s?

We were in Portland just long enough to get the vibe of the town. The people are laid back. There’s an amazing and functional bike route. Heck, it’s the greenest city in America! We were told they’re going to start a compost pickup along with trash and recycling. Now that’s cool.

We were also in Portland long enough to realize that the big city is no place for a Kirby. On we go.

Dragon Boat Racing Portland

Dragon Boat Racing in Portland

Dragon Boat Drummer

Paddling to the beat of a massive drum. Awesome.

Fire On The Mountain

Between that loathsome pine beetle, logging, and forest fires, we have seen much damage to some of America’s forests along our route. But this time we drove directly into the fire zone. Southern Washington and Northern Oregon were littered with different forest fires ablaze.

fire over there

Fire's over yonder, see?

We arrived in Hood River at sunset and settled in for the night. In the morning light, and even through the smoke, we saw what we could not see the night before: Mount Hood. Our plan was to do a nice bicycle ride, but something funny happened. Without conversation, we found ourselves driving to Mount Hood. I guess when you see a massive mountain of snow sticking out of the landscape in September, you’re just drawn to it.

the gorge

Columbia River by twilight

bridge

Crossing into Oregon

Mt. Hood

Mount Hood through the smoke

out of the smoke

Finally made it out of the smoke

Mt. Hood Meadows

Mount Hood Meadows ski resort

Umbrella Falls

Umbrella Falls

Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge are notorious for their winds and the abundance of wind sport seekers – wind surfers, kite boarders, sail boats – in their waters at most times. But there was no wind while we were there. Not even a little gust. Which clearly means, no kites. I’m not sure if I’d have preferred to see The Gorge with all the colorful kites and sails, or au natural, but it sure lives up to it’s name (it was gorgeous).

Union Pacific along the Columbia

Union Pacific Railroad

The Gorge

The Gorge

Full Sail

Full Sail Brewery

cork

Corks in a fireplace at a winery. (Just callin' it like it is.)

On our way out, we stopped at popular Multnoma Falls. Picturesque, I believe, would be an appropriate word for these falls. Steep, I believe, would be an appropriate word for the hike to the top. It was so steep, we actually made a feeble attempt at running to the top. It just felt like a more efficient use of energy.

Multnoma Falls

Multnoma Falls

Multnoma Falls from the bridge

Multnoma Falls from the bridge

Our first passage ever into the state of Oregon. If the rest of this place is anything like this, I think we’ll have a few amazing weeks ahead…

What a place

What a place

Switzerland and Germany

Swiss chard is my new favorite vegetable. It’s colorful and tasty. It’s spinach’s cooler cousin. We harvested lots of chard from our friend Jean’s garden. Jean and Gordon are friends of Dan’s, and they were generous enough to let us plug in at their house in Spokane.

Jean's Garden

Picking chard in Jean's garden

After that, we headed down to Leavenworth, a Bavarian themed town with craggy peaks, plenty of wineries and a beautiful river running through it.

Do you ever find yourself in a place, wishing you could share it with somebody who isn’t there? That’s the feeling I got in this town. It made me think of my dad’s side of the family, who takes a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee every year. They would LOVE this town. Apparently all of the Microsoft execs love the town, too. Just a couple hours from Redmond, it’s nicknamed Microsoft’s Playground.

Leavenworth

Leavenworth town

Leavenworth

Kirby lost a hub cap; battle wound.

Wine Tasting

Fourteen wine tasting rooms in town

Port Wine

Port wine sipper!

Wenatchee River

Wenatchee River

schnitzel

Schnitzel, red cabbage & spaetzle

Accordion Player

Accordion Player @ Andreas Keller

Anyway The Wind Blows

After Hell’s Canyon, we continued dipping down into one of our favorite states. I’m going to have to do a little research on exactly where these potato farms are in Idaho, because I think it’s a sham. Potatoes are just a facade so the Idahoans can have all of this gorgeousness to themselves.

One thing that’s been great about this trip is simply going wherever the wind blows. We don’t plan out our locations far in advance, and have found the coolest places and haps emerge when you aren’t on a schedule. When the wind swept us in the direction of McCall, one Parkite was up for the last minute journey to meet us. Our great friend Marissa!

This year, for the first time in four years, I did not attend my beloved Targhee Bluegrass Festival. I’d been scoping out other festivals to fill the void, and stumbled across the Sawtooth Bluegrass Festival. While the vibe was very different from Targhee, I still contend that live bluegrass is one of the best things in life. Plus, I got to try fried pickles.

If you think variety is the spice of life, then you would have gobbled up our weekend. We did a little of everything, staying outdoors as much as possible, still savoring summer. Thanks for making the trip, Marissa!

Tamarack

Hiking the beautiful, bankrupt Tamarack Ski Resort

Sawtooth Bluegrass

Pickin' and sawin' at the Sawtooth Bluegrass Festival

Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles

Campground Jams

Campground jams all kinda looked like this. Very closed-off. Boo.

Burgdorf Hot Springs

Burgdorf Hot Springs

Burgdorf Hot Springs

Marissa hittin the tub... this feels great on the back.

Celebrate

Celebrating... life!

River

The Payette River is smooth. Like the buttah you schmear on your baked Idaho potato.

River Camp Spot

Our river camp spot

Payette Lake

Payette Lake

Salmon

Salmon River gorge

Come Hell or High Water

Let me tell ya, the Snake is one mean river. A few readers might remember an eventful rafting trip on the Snake years back, where one group member learned more first-hand about downed branches and currents than anyone would ever like. Luckily, The Snake lost that battle.

We’ve come to learn that this serpent also carved out the deepest river gorge in North America, Hell’s Canyon. I know, I was surprised it surpassed the Grand Canyon, too. Atop the canyon, unique terrain and never ending vistas abound.

Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell

Somewhere on top of Hells Canyon

I might call this Heaven's Gate if it weren't for the cow pies all around.

three little birds

"Rise up this mornin'. Smile with the rising sun. Three little birds..."

windblown

One guess which way the wind blows...

road

Not paved with good intentions. Or any intentions for that matter. It's simply not paved.

wild horses

Wild horses. We'll ride them someday.

depths

Looking into the depths

Montana Love

Bozeman, Montana. Post bike ride. Wearing socks for the first time in months. Terry and I listening to the Geto Boys station on Pandora and cracking up at the lyrics. Making dinner in the van. Back in the mountains.

Sometimes, it’s not the biggest things, the most extreme things, or the “1000 places to see before you die” things, that get you. Sometimes, the little things really are the best things.

“I gotta say, today was a good day.” – Ice Cube

Hyalite Reservoir, Bozeman

Hyalite Reservoir, Bozeman

Helena, MT

Helena, as seen from the Ascension Trail System

Missoula

Our new friend Ross, who we met at the trail head, and is not only from Cincinnati, but from ANDERSON, showed us the ropes that day. Small world, I tell ya.

Montana Snowbowl

Montana Snowbowl, as seen from the Rattlesnake Trail