Sunday, April 8, 2012

Olympic Peninsula I

We left on Sunday a little after 11am, which was at least two hours sooner than Ken's prediction.  We stopped for lunch in La Grande, OR, hoping to eat at our favorite spot, Foley Station.  But it's closed.  That was some of the best food between Boise and Portland.  Ken and I went there a number of times when we were dating and had some memorable meals.  It's gone now.  Probably a victim of the economy.  So we ate at a Mexican place nearby.  Seemed to be family-owned, and the food was decent.

I wanted to have dinner at Full Sail brew pub in Hood River, so I had a light lunch.  I remember stopping there with Diane, Kevin, and Carol on the way to or from the Portland dance workshop one year, and it was really good.  I had the falafel with an 8oz glass of Ltd 05 ale, and Ken had a wonderful smoked salmon pasta with their nitrogen-charged porter - I forget the name.  I tried a sip and was reaaallly nice.  Very smooth.

By the time we finished it was nearly 7pm, so we decided to stay there for the night.  Ken followed his instinct of always heading for water, and we found the Best Western, right on the river, next to the bridge.  Because we needed a dog-friendly room, we had a room on the water side, ground floor, with a sliding glass door that opened onto a little strip of lawn, the river-side walking path, and the Columbia - just 50 feet from our door.  It was great!  Convenient for the dog too.

So, willingness to be spontaneous, a great brew pub, and a view of the water became the theme for our week.  The next day we went to Portland.  I wanted to visit Happy Knits.  They have an *amazing* selection of Madeline Tosh yarns - all different weights in lots and lots of colors.  Far more color selection than I've seen before "in person".  I ended up with three skeins of Tosh Merino DK in 'Cathedral'.  Nearly ended up with Fireside, but I liked the bluer color-blend.  I wanted a multi-ply, but the intensity of color in the single-ply finally seduced me.

By this time it was late morning, so we headed north towards Astoria.  We both wanted to see Fort Clatsop.  And from this point on it was all new territory for me.  The closest I'd got to the Olympic peninsula area was a day-hike in the Quinalt rainforest back in 1993.

It was raining by the time we reached the Astoria area, but if you cancel your plans in the northwest because of rain you'll never do anything.  So we went to the Fort C Park Visitor center, saw their film, and walked through the fort replica.  Then we went to Fort Stevens State Park, which takes up most of the spit of land west of Astoria, where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific.  First we went to the beach where the Peter Iredale wrecked in 1903.  Windy and rainy, but beautiful.  Even though the local teens seem to use it as a highway, driving up and down the beach in their 4-wheel drive trucks.  You had to keep an eye out for them as you walked near the water.  Then we went to a beach on the river side, facing Jetty Lagoon.  That was more sheltered and the rain let up a bit.  Tachy liked that beach a lot more, since I didn't have to worry about passing traffic.

Thoroughly wet, we headed back to Astoria and found a nice hotel on the water again near the edge of town.  And that evening we found the Fort George Brew Pub.  We both had the pan-fried oysters - really yummy and local.  I had an small glass of Divinity - an ale made with Olallie berries.  Absolutely wonderful.  My favorite of the entire week.  It might sound sweet with berries in it, but it wasn't.  You got a top-note of berry taste, and then a long smooth finish of toasty ale with just a touch of hops.  I would have bought a growler of it, but we had no way to keep it cool for the rest of the week.

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