Simple Pleasures

I'm reminded of all the things I take for granted. Traveling gets one out of their comfort zone. The allure of a new place can be a wonderful thing, but the newness can sometimes be stressful. This trip has become unpredictable and finding nice places to stay at the last minute has proven to be a challenge, however, the hotels we found in southern Washington turned out to be refreshingly comfortable.

We stopped on our way to Vancouver, WA at the Cooper Mountain Winery in Beaverton, OR for lunch. We are so lucky that they accommodated us even though we showed up without reservations. The whole experience was fabulous with farm to table food and wonderful wine. The orchard is biodynamic with the use of herbs to strengthen the absorbension of beneficial elements from the soil. There is definitely a science and a benefit from what they do to improve the grapes. It was hard to leave this lovely place.

We spent three days in southern Washington State. In addition to great friends and beautiful scenery we had super comfy beds and quiet, well appointed rooms. We were able to spend time with my long time friends Geneva and Brad and get to know their beautiful daughter Leina'ala a little better.

Geneva and Brad have recently moved to the waterfront of the Columbia River in Vancouver, WA. There are lots of restaurants and bars at their doorstep in addition to great views and people watching.

We hiked one day in the beautiful town of Camas and one day on the Pacific Crest Trail. Here are some views from Cascade Locks and a stream from one of our hikes. We have been awed by the beauty surrounding us.

We made our way up to the little town of North Bend, WA. As per protocol, we stopped at a local brew pub in the nearby city of Snoqualmie, WA. Little did we know, this was the town where the series Twin Peaks was filmed. Ron began reading up on the history of the town and found many sorted tales of mysterious deaths. The main cause was thought to be that it is the first open space close to Seattle. Even with its sorted history the area is beautiful. We enjoyed sitting in the yard by our cabin and watching the bird wars. Several hummingbirds were fighting for possession of the butterfly bush in the backyard. One, took it upon himself to fly up to a height of 40 feet and dove down to the birds below. I was wondering if he was trying to scare the other birds so his mate could eat.

We had a nice set up while in North Bend. The cabin was aside the main house. The owner spent most of the time at his partner 's place so we had the backyard to ourselves. The backyard bordered a forest so our view of the forest and mountain was great. We realized the mountains in Northern Washington were much bigger than the ones in Oregon and we had a tough time finding a hike that wasn't classified as hard. Hard seems to mean 1k feet climb per mile. Most of the hikes required a 7 plus mile commitment.

We found a hike to the top of Little Si mountain. It was around 5 miles we found it challenging. Si was one of original settlers of North Bend, so I guess he decided the mountains should be named after him.

We also went to a crowded, but very beautiful hike called Franklin Falls.

There was so much to do and see in the area we think we might go back.

Ron realized his retirement paperwork has been sent to our house so we are currently driving home. The plan is to stop in Ogden, UT, then Albuquerque, NM and finally home. We were surprised to get out of the car today on the way to Ogden to find the temperature had changed from the lovely 60's and 70's to near 100. Back to reality.

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