Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go West, Young Man! (the post otherwise known as "Touring and Learning")

We love to travel. We've kinda been doing it a lot lately, since we're pretty unattached (besides Bonnie the Barbarian). Why not head west to Oregon and Washington this fall? Okay!
Day 1 - We flew into Portland and made a pit-stop at Mount St. Helens on our way to Seattle. We were debating between Helens or Mount Rainier, but this was a little more accessible.

When the volcano erupted in 1980, the top pretty much blew right off on the northwest/west side. We watched a video about it in the visitors' center, so ask me anything.

Our first night in Seattle found us at The Crab Pot of Man vs. Food fame. We shared the Pacific Clambake seafood feast. It's basically a seafood boil with clams, mussels, oysters, crab legs, potatoes, and corn. So good!

Heavy on the mussels...Brent ate 15 of them before wanting to puke. We had to leave a few of these behind. This is his best attempt at a "waaaa-waaaaa" face. We're working on it.

This plaster couple enjoyed the mussels a whole lot more than we did.

Day 2 - Heavy Seattle touristy day. We of course went to the top of the Space Needle, visited Pike Place Market, and perused the shelves at Elliott Bay Book Company for a bit. We wanted to do a tour of Safeco Field where the Mariners play, but there was something going on in the stadium. At first we thought it might be a U2 concert, because we heard a U2 jam and people SCREAMING, and I got pretty excited. I've always wanted to see U2 in concert, so what were the odds??? I was all set to go grab tickets from a scalper and help myself to a lucky concert. However, when we realized that it was 3:00 in the afternoon, it wasn't really adding up. Come to find out Microsoft was having a convention. Pretty lucky employees, I'd say. I don't recall ever screaming with delight at one of my work conferences.

Artsy-fartsy stuff in the Olympic Sculpture Park (a Bill Gates' creation). We went because it was free and on the way to the Space Needle, but I wouldn't go again.

Obligatory shot of the Space Needle. Did you know that the Space Needle stands at 615 feet, which is almost identical in height to the Arch? Did you also know that the Arch was a monument for Thomas Jefferson? (Which made more sense to me as we moved along Lewis and Clark's route...) I think the theme of this vacation might be "Touring and Learning".

Mount Rainier

Pike Place Fish Market is a classic business school model of how to be successful - give your employees ownership, have a solid and known vision, make it fun, yada yada. I've watched so many videos and heard about this place so many times in the last two years that I was really looking forward to seeing it myself. When someone orders a fish, the guys who work the floor throw it back up to the counter. It's almost like they're putting on a little show. Very cool!

There was a string attached to this nasty fish, and when people would approach it a guy behind the counter would make it flop.

Coffee at the original Starbucks...the mothership. My non-fat, no whip Grande Peppermint Mocha never tasted so good.

That evening we boarded one of the Washington State Ferries and made our way across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island for dinner. Here is my waaaa-waaaa face after I dumped a huge glass of ice water in my lap.

Views from the ferry

Day 3 - The Columbia River Gorge. Otherwise known to me as The Most Beautiful Place on Earth. Seriously. We drove on historic highway 30 and got lots of great views of the Gorge from the Oregon side, and eventually crossed into Washington and stayed at a random place in Stevenson. As of 5 o'clock we still didn't know where we were sleeping that night, which is pretty out there for us. Why not stay in Stevenson? We visited a few wineries along the way. Fact - Oregon makes some great wine!

Gorgeous Gorge.

The View Top Inn near Corbett. We lunched there and found some Purdue friends who were exactly our age and who grew up in Columbia City. Our waiter there was a native of Elkhart.

Multnomah Falls

Cathedral Ridge Winery in Hood River

Day 4 - To Eugene for the Main Event - Purdue vs. Oregon. Their facilities - stunning. This isn't surprising based on Phil Knight and Nike's connection with the University. The game was great despite the outcome, and Oregon fans know how to create a raucous night-game environment. Great atmosphere!

On our way to Eugene, we stopped in Portland for breakfast and to go to the Saturday market along the river. We didn't quite find the market, but we did eat breakfast at Stepping Stone Cafe, which was also recently featured on Man vs. Food. Here's Brent with his Man Cakes.

That's about all she wrote, folks...

Westies on Parade

While we were eating breakfast, we kept seeing Westies walking by the shop. And on our way to the car, more Westies. Finally, at sighting #13, we thought something was strange. We asked someone if it was a popular dog in Portland and found out that there is an annual walk to raise money for fill_in_the_blank, and that 260 Westies were registered for it this year.

On our way out of town we stopped by Widmer Brothers brewery for a pre-noon beer and a tour. Hey, it was vacation and we were on Pacific time!

Kettle corn at the stadium??? Yes, please!

Touchdown! One more would have been perfect.

Phil Knight on the sidelines in the latest Nike prototype

Phew, that's enough blogging for me. I'm missing great football...not! All that's on TV here is the Bears/Steelers game. Not exactly an offensive explosion, but I would appreciate a few interceptions and sacks from the Steelers' defense since they're on my fantasy team.

Stay tuned for part deux later this week!


Rachel said...

Great marathon of a post! Looks like you guys have a great time and enjoyed some good food and wine!

Bob and LouAnne said...

Holy smokes - those were some mighty big pancakes. I think that many Westies in one place might be capable of taking over the city.

Megan said...

Hey! What a trip! Your Purdue pics reminded me to tell you that our very own Rochester Rocket quarterback has signed to play at Purdue next year. We're sending you a rocket! Aren't you pumped?!

Emma and Greg said...

WOW! What a great fall vacay! :) And i must say THANK YOU i really learned a lot from this one posting... you really did "learn and travel" :) Nicely done pretty lady! PS: I really love Brent's "Got Oxygen" tshirt in the pic in from of the waterfall, too funny :) Okay well take care and we need to get together sometime... I miss your wonderful face :) LOVE AND MISS YOU!

Emma and Greg said...

By the way.... sooo JEALOUS that you were at the original STARBUCKS! (aka the Mothership) :) I literally slobbered all over my keyboard as I read and saw your wonderful Starbucksy pics... (sigh)You are one lucky lady! :) Love and miss yoU!

Emily said...

Fun stuff!!! Love the bibs!!

Lori said...

What a great post! You guys know how to make the most out of your travels!