Sunday, April 1, 2018

Our Springtime Oregon Roadtrip! Part 1- Portland

Spring is the best season!  Everything is blooming: trees are coming out of their winter sleep and developing leaves, or flowers; flowers are popping up; the rain is cleaning everything; and people are out and about for some air.  We love Spring trips!  This year, off to Oregon!  What we did not know is how cold and wet it would be:-).  Glad we brought layers, and layers, and layers of clothes- and extra shoes- LOL.  But even in this climate, the beauty of Oregon shown through.  This is part one of our trip- Fresno to Portland.  Part two- the Coast!

Our first stop was Chico in Northern California, home of my ever-beautiful cousin Judy and her family.  Although we have been to Chico several times, we never really spend any time seeing the town.  This time was no different:-).  But we did stay in the old town and meet up with the family for dinner and then breakfast the next morning.  Chico is one of California's college towns that has kept its early 20th century charm, repurposing old buildings rather than tear them down and build more modern structures.  This alone makes it a great stop.  Between family and cuteness, this was a great stop.  And seeing Judy, Holly, the boys Max and Josh, and Hollys boyfriend Mike just makes you realise how important family is- they are truly fantastic and makes me lucky to have them in our life!

Dinner with family!  The smiles are all genuine-
each of these people are as beautiful on the inside as the outside!

My dear cousin Judy with Rich, Cody and I

Holly with her infectious smile! 
Meeting us on her break from work was the best!

Main street in the morning

Every cool college town must have a store for Star Wars and video games:-)

This beautiful old building is repurposed to a Jamba Juice

Cool old building right out of Dublin, Ireland- so of course a bar:-)

As an example of how artsy the town is: benches are works of art

look for the blue and green eyes peering at you from this bench

The old theater

city park, with concerts in the summer

Every town in America has a tribute to our veterans

Our second stop was Ashland, Oregon- another uber-cute town that always deserves more time than we have.  We stayed in our all-time favorite hotel Lithia Springs Spa and Resort.  Every room makes you feel right at home, only luxurious:-).  This night, we met up with Rich's niece Renee, her husband Mike, son Mason, and his girl-friend Sarah.  Stupidly, we didn't get pictures- but Mason has grown into a wonderful young man and hid Sarah is awesome.  We of course love Renee and Mike with all our hearts!

After only 1 night in Ashland, off to Portland we went!  Portland- the city we have always wanted to live in, after San Diego:-).  Our first stop after checking into our hotel- happy hour:-)

I love my morning walks!  Because I get up earlier than Rich and Cody, I MUST go get coffee and take a walk in the area we are staying, just for exploring and alone time. 

Rich, Cody and I with the Portland Convention Center behind us

The reason I love Portland- there are flowers everywhere!!!  Much like Fresno's Blossom Trail (, the city always is in bloom!  This simple view of trees is
 symbolic of Portland's love of nature!

All across America, our cities and towns are learning to develop spaces that are both functional (what we do best) and beautiful (fairly new, and we are doing it well!!!)!

The Japanese Gardens are so very beautiful every time of the year!  Close by is the Pittock Mansion, and old Portland family with a beautiful home and fantastic view!  VooDoo Donuts is THE donut spot of Portland- definitely part of the "Keep Portland Weird" Movement, which we love so very much!!!!  Each weekend, Portland hosts an art and food fair under the bridges, along the river.  Having never been here this ealy in the spring, the flowering trees (we think they are cherry trees) just brightened up an otherwise dreary day!  Just another awesome example of creating outside spaces for people to enjoy.  We were so lucky to meet up with two groups of people we love:  Rich's brother and his family, and our friends Dick and Donna from Temecula, who, by some weird coincidence, took up a home exchange at the same time as our trip!!!  So lucky!!!

Rich's brother Jose and his family, Justin, Veronika, Noah and Vanessa, all are lucky to live very near Portland!  At 64, I always think I have more than enough energy for my needs.  Well, after spending some time with a 4 year old and 2 year old, my view of "energy" has changed so very much!!!  LOL

Vanessa, at 16 months

The family!

Views of Portland!  Have to love this incredible city!!!

This sign says it all:-)

Dick and Donna with us!

Pittock Mansion
 VooDoo donuts!

A view of the Convention Center from across the river- our last night in Portland:-(. 
Always sad saying goodbye

Our Springtime Oregon road trip- part two: the Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is so very fantastic!!!!  Driving the 101 is magical, with the views of the sea, from craggy cliffs to long sandy beaches; forest and greenery everywhere; and all those cute, wonderful towns with so much to see and do!!   This trip we traveled from Cannon Beach to Florence.  Although we have been to the Coast many times, it was mostly piecemeal.  Actually spending time to enjoy so many spots added to the magic!

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach, a mere one and half hour from Portland, is such a wonderful get a way!  The town is as cute as they come, and known for great food, art, long beach, and Haystack Rock, which juts from the beach and dominates the skyline!  While here, it was cold and wet!  The clouds were so low, most of the view was obscured, and it rained that very cold, heavy, non-stop drizzle that soaks everything.  But- so what!  Walking on the beach with the roar of the ocean was magic!

This is a little out of the box photo:-).  But i thought it was brilliant!!!  Hotel showers always seem to make you get wet as you turn on the water.  This hotel actually solved that problem!!!!  The shower had a hole to reach in, turn on the water, and wait to get in when it is warm!  Brilliant!!!!

Nanookians braving the cold and rain to explore the beach!

Sea Gulls on a split of land

The town of Cannon Beach is cute and filled with art!!

Finally, the clouds lifted


Tilamook- center of cheese in Oregon:-).  As you enter town from the north, the cheese factory has a free cool tour, milk product-oriented cafeteria, cheese at great prices, and ice cream!!!!

Newport, Oregon

Newport, about center on the coast, has so much to see and do, it was a pleasure to stay here!!!  So very many things to do and see!!!!

Oregon Coast Aquarium!  (  We love aquariums!!!  In cities, aquariums represent the local wild life and environment- the Oregon Aquarium is not different.  Both beautiful to look at and educational, we love this aquarium!  The tide pool area provided both a touching pool, and viewing area.  After the aquarium, we went to actual tide pools, so we actually knew what we were looking at and how the environment worked.

OTTERS!  The cutest of all animals:-)

Sea Lions


divers feeding the fish

The aquarium has transparent walkways to view fish from all sides- really fantastic!!!

Megladon- ancient, giant sharks:-)

 Jelly Fish- so majestic, so deadly:-)

 Tide Pools

Piranha!  The horror movie favorite:-)
 After the aquarium- lunch at Rogue Brewery!

Tsunami warnings and information were everywhere

Yaquina Lighthouse and tide pools (  With our senior life-time national park pass (no plug here:-)), we entered the Yaquina lighthouse and grounds for free!  Although we did not tour the lighthouse, it is beautiful!!!

Starfish!  We learned that once, starfish were everywhere!  About 5 years ago, a disease attacked them, melting their arms and killing them:-(.  They are just now coming back. (

Newport Oregon itself, is a fantastic town!  From the Nye Beach area to the historical bay front, there are great restaurants and shops and walking areas to spend days!

Wyland Murals

Old Bay Front area

Dinner at Mo's!  Fish and Chips, onion rings, clam chowder!!

Nye Beach area- tribute to whales and the Vietnam war

Wall Art

Yaquina Bridge- really beautiful park and awesome sunset location

And dinner after the sunset:-)
Haceta Head lighthouse

Haceta Head lighthouse is a wonderful stop for beautiful grounds and an interesting lighthouse!  (  Built in 1890, the light refractor is all original (with the exception of a few pieces replaced).  Made in England, it is the only remaining glass from that era.  The views are spectacular!  It is a half mile walk uphill from the beach parking area to the lighthouse, but such a beautiful walk!

I so wanted a picture of just the lighthouse, but these children were having too much fun to move out of my pictures:-)

The staircase is freestanding!!!  Meaning it is secured only at the top and bottom! 
It was build flush with the circular wall of the lighthouse.

About a mile south of the Haceta Head lighhouse, the Sea Caves!!!  The largest sea cave in the US, filled with sea lions- it is FANTASTIC!!!!  ( I had never heard of this sight, but once I read about it, we had to go.  From the first entry point, I realised this is another of America's gems to see!!!  

From the roadside, you take an elevator into the cave- there is an excellent viewing area of the cave and the 300+ sea lions in the cave, all laying around barking, playing in the water, chasing each other, and sea birds flying around!  The sound of the barking is deafening, but this is a fantastic sight!!!!

Sea Lion remains found in the cave

At the mouth of the cave, waves wash in- the sea lions ride these waves, swim through them, and frollick!  Just couldn't get enough!!

The Sea Cave is one part of the sight, sea lions on the beach is the other. 
According to information, there are about 600 sea lions in the area- and it sounds like it:-)

After the sea caves, off to Florence, Oregon for lunch, then spent the night in Ashland, and home the next day.  What a great vacation!!!!

Mt. Shasta!

A small stop with old farm equipment