April 21, 2010

Oregon Trip, March 2010

Last month I went on a fabulous trip to Oregon with my parents. Matt was in Florida for three weeks at the time, training for his upcoming deployment. My parents were planning to go out for a visit during this time, so they invited me to go along! It was wonderful! Oregon contains, other than all its natural beauties, some of my favorite people in this world: my big brother & his family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends!

Although I usually go to Portland at least once every year, this trip was exceptional in that instead of flying there, we drove there. Yes, that's right--we drove all 2,400 miles from Dayton, Ohio to Portland, Oregon. My parents were driving a car out for my big brother. When the three day drive had ended, we had driven the length of seven states and passed through a total of TEN! It was long, but I really enjoyed doing that with my parents.

A highlight for me at the tail end of our journey-by-car was a short stop just over the state line in Washington where there is a replica of England's world-famous Stonehenge. It's built to represent what Stonehenge would have looked like when it was first built, and unlike the real Stonehenge, you can walk through the structure. I had my mom take a picture of me lying on the "Altar Stone," ready for sacrifice. Haha! Although the history-lover in me must tell you that scholars now know that the real Altar Stone was never used for sacrifice, be it animal or human.

We arrived in Portland on my Grandma Dorsey's 85th birthday, and she didn't know I was coming out with my parents, so I got to surprise her. That was so fun! We had a joyous dinner with family to celebrate her birthday.

We spent the weekend with my big brother, Brandon, his lovely wife Karyl, niece Krista, and nephew Samuel. I love them all so much--I hate that we live so far away from one another. My parents and I snuck away, just the three of us, one afternoon while Brandon, Karyl, and the kids attended a neighbor's birthday party. We visited one of my favorite places in Oregon: the Columbia River Gorge. We stopped for a view of the Gorge and Crown Point, then stopped at various waterfalls that dot the Old Scenic Highway of the Gorge. The biggest and most beautiful waterfall is Multnomah Falls. There are two levels to the falls and a majestic stone bridge crossing over the second tier of the falls--it makes a hauntingly beautiful scene. We browsed the gift shop and warmed ourselves with vanilla lattés.

On Monday, my dad, my mom and me took my grandparents to the Oregon Coast. This is one of my grandparents' favorite things to do! We stayed in a rented beach house that had the most amazing view of the ocean! The first evening, there was a gorgeous sunset that seemed to transform moment by moment. There were stairs running straight down from the back of the house to the beach. The beach literally stretched for miles in each direction, and I spent a lovely solitary afternoon walking up and down the coastline. Unfortunately that was the only time I got to spend on the beach itself while we were there...as can be expected in Oregon in March, there was rain, rain, and more rain. Nonetheless, we spent three lovely days lounging, eating delicious meals at local restaurants, and doing a bit of shopping. It was perfect!

The last two days of our trip, I had more visiting time with friends and family. My cousin, Kristen, took me to one of my favorite spots in Portland: Hawthorne! It was here that many years ago she introduced me to what is now one of my favorite stores in the world--Presents of Mind. Anyway, we ate dinner in Hawthorne at a French Crèperie called Chez Machin and I was in heaven: melt-in-your mouth Boeuf Bourguignon, a sweet lemon and sugar crèpe for dessert, and Orangina.

Lastly, I got to spend two nights at the house of my lifelong friend, Katie Kyle. Katie was my FIRST friend in life...we "met" and became friends before either of us was one years old! I'm not kidding! To this day, she is one of my dearest friends. Katie didn't always used to live in Portland, so it's wonderful that she does now, because I can be sure to see her each time I'm in Portland. We had lots of girly giggling-time, but also spent a lot of time with her son, Josh, and my brother and his family, who literally live just around the corner.

Here are some pictures of this fabulous trip!

(I've included several pictures of my Uncle Roger and Aunt Penny's home and property just outside of Portland. It's literally on the side of a mountain, in the woods, and is incredibly breathtaking. I always tell them how once I win Publishers Clearing House, Matt and I are going to buy it, and since they have wanted to sell their place for years, they're crossing their fingers for that, too!)

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