It’s become something of a tradition for my husband and me to take a road trip come spring time. We’ve explored the New England states, Colorado and Utah, and most recently, the Pacific Northwest. Unlike most people I know, we prefer to keep our itinerary flexible. I know we’d probably see and do more if we invested the extra time in planning, but then we’d miss out on the gems we happen upon. Things like The Friendly Toast – that fantastic restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where I discovered the joy of something called the Hansel & Gretel: a waffle made of gingerbread batter topped with pomegranate molasses syrup. Mmm. I may not have ended up roaming the red rock canyons in Moab, Utah in a rented ATV. And I most certainly would not have seen Steven’s Pass: the breathtakingly beautiful stretch of road between Vancouver, British Columbia and Wenatchee, WA, spanning the Cascade Mountains. I know this particular mountain range is hugely popular with skiers but looking up at the steep, Evergreen-covered slopes, I couldn’t fathom coasting down those hills on anything less sturdy than a tank. But they sure are mesmerizing to gaze upon.
Wenatchee, WA is a smallish town (pop: 30,000) nestled inside a valley of mountain ranges (the Cascade Mountains -parts of which match the dry, brown CA mountains, other areas exactly like the snow-capped Rockies) with gorgeous views every way you turn your head. Also, it’s home to El Fuente, a fantastic Mexican restaurant where I ate a humongous, delicious burrito and got tipsy off of one rather large, melon-flavored margarita.
Then is was off to Portland, where, on Annie’s recommendation, we climbed Multnomah Falls- a natural waterfall that appears to be out of an Elflish community in MiddleEarth. Seriously, I felt like I was in Rivendell. The waterfall and the surrounding Columbia Gorge were GORGEOUS. Stunningly, unbelievably beautiful. And totally worth the 1.25 mile, 100% uphill hike to the top.
Another Portland treasure: Powell’s Books on the corner of NW 10th Ave and W. Burnside. It is the most incredible book store I’ve ever seen. It spans a couple of floors and several rooms and you’d have to spend a week in it to see every section. It is the largest independent bookstore in the U.S. Amazing. Like I’d died and gone to nerd heaven. I had to limit myself to buying only 3 books. If you’re a literature geek like me, you’d be as impressed as I was by the wall dedicated to debut fiction and the racks and racks of discounted classics. Plus, there’s a cozy little coffee shop inside where you are free to sit with a cup of joe and a stack of books for hours. Literally. Ahhh.
The Ground Kontrol adult arcade kicked ass, even for a non-gamer like me. It was pretty damn cool in there, I have to admit. And there’s a bar, where they serve New Castle. Mmm. In fact, Portland has amazing beers (hundreds of micro breweries!), for all you beer-lovers. Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Ale is delicious. And Alaskan Amber Ale. As you can see, I’m a fan of the darker beers.
As always, we ate too much and drank too much and slept in, walked all over town and visited friends, both old and new. Saw a couple movies and played in the rain.
What’s your favorite part of vacation?