Earlier this month, Soren and I took a little trip. We flew to Seattle, rented a car, and drove to San Francisco. It was mostly new territory for me. Aside from a high school band trip in the 1990s, I haven’t spent any time in the Pacific Northwest. I loved it. (Of course, my rosy view may be due to the fact that we had perfect weather — not a single day of rain).
We spent one night in Seattle before heading out to go camping in the Cascades. No campsite had been reserved, and the longer we drove, the more convinced some passengers in the car became that we would not find a site. Luckily there were cherries and buffalo jerky to distract even the most skeptical among us.
And we did eventually find a site (cue huge sigh of relief) — a lovely, mossy, only slightly mosquito infested clearing.
The next day we did a short hike and headed back to Seattle. And that evening, our friends took us to see Ballard Locks, part of Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal. Very cool. I especially loved being able to see salmon making their way up the fish ladder that runs along side the locks, on their way to spawn. Salmon are unimaginably massive, like swimming bags of cement.
After a quick stop at Golden Gardens Park to watch the sun set, we headed out to dinner at The Walrus and the Carpenter. When I first looked at the menu, I thought I would have a hard time finding something I wanted to eat. I’m not an adventurous consumer of seafood. That means no oysters, no clams, no anchovies. But everything we ordered was amazing. The oil-poached coho salmon was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Our hostess declared it the best meal of her life, and stuck by her claim even in the sober light of day.
Mount St. Helens
The next day we made a quick detour to Mount St. Helens on our way south. At some point I must have learned the details of the 1980 explosion, but I had forgotten just how devastating it was.
Fifty-seven people died, including David Johnston, a geologist for the USGS who was monitoring volcanic gas levels when it erupted. In the moments before he was killed, he had time to radio in one last message: “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!” They played a recording of this message at the beginning of the movie we watched at the visitor’s center. Chilling.
We spent our first anniversary in Astoria, Oregon, in a very stylish room at the Commodore Hotel.
Dinner was nothing special, but breakfast the next day at the Astoria Coffeehouse & Bistro was amazing. Seriously, best biscuit of my life. And it was here where we discovered a life-changing phenomenon — the bacon waffle. I’m not the kind of person who wants maple syrup touching my breakfast meat, but putting flecks of crispy bacon in waffle batter is a move of pure genius.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
After one night in Astoria, we headed south. We stopped briefly in Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock, a formation made famous by The Goonies. The beach couldn’t have been more perfect.
And Soren found his dream house. (I’m pretty sure I could handle living here too.)
Of course, we’d have to adopt this Golden Retriever. You can’t live on the beach without a dog.
Stay tuned for part II . . .