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Biking, Brews, And Covered Bridges: Eugene, OR

Biking, Brews, And Covered Bridges: Eugene, OR

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in Biking, Food, Gallery, Oregon | 30 comments

At the risk of completely confusing everyone, I’m going to post a couple more “catch up” blogs from last fall, just before our travels and lives were temporarily derailed by Eric’s surgery. Next month, we’ll be back on the road. But for the sake of completion—and so that I have some hope of remembering what we’ve done before we start adding to our stash of travel memories again—let’s return to early October, and our visit to Eugene.

With abundant biking opportunities, cool neighborhood brewpubs, an epic farmers’ market, tasty local foods, and a liberal vibe, Eugene offers up our idea of fun. At only 178 miles from our hometown of Ashland, Eugene is a convenient stop for us as we travel the I-5 corridor. Even though we’ve visited many times, there’s always something new to discover, as well as “favorites” to return to.

This time, we took a little field trip 20 miles outside of town to bike the Row River Trail, which originates in Cottage Grove, the “Covered Bridge Capitol of the West.” On a pretty fall day, we biked 30 miles of the scenic trail that travels along Dorena Lake, through pastoral farmland, and past several of the historic bridges. Oregon possesses one of the largest collections of covered bridges in the country, and the most extensive collection in the West. Did you know the picturesque structures protect the timber trusses from the damp Oregon climate? (One of these days, all of these little tidbits of information are going to come in handy.)

After a long day of biking, we recovered at the award winning, eco-friendly Ninkasi Brewing Company, named for the Sumerian goddess of fermentation. Their Total Domination IPA is one of Eric’s perennial favorites, but all of their beer is tasty. The neighborhood beer garden with live music and food trucks makes for a good time hanging out with the locals. Another evening, we made our way to Sweet Cheeks Winery, about 20 miles west of town on a winding, beautiful country road. Gorgeous views, decent wine, and a beautiful patio with cozy fire pits—and they don’t mind a bit if you bring a picnic.

The Row River Trail is a good ride, but our favorite biking in Eugene remains the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System. We never tire of biking the scenic 14-miles of trails that meander along both sides of the Willamette River, with a variety of interesting diversions along the way, including the lovely University of Oregon campus, the Owens Rose Garden, and wildlife ponds.

A visit to a salad bar might not be high on your list of attractions, but we never miss stopping at Provisions Market Hall in the Fifth Street Marketplace in downtown Eugene. We often make a detour when we’re biking on the Riverbank Trail. The salad bar offerings are creative and delicious (roast chicken, marinated cauliflower, pickled red onions, French potato salad, kale salad), they have yummy homemade soups and wood fired pizza, and you can enjoy a glass of good wine with your meal at their lovely wine bar.

Although biking and eating and sampling beer and wine consumed most of our time in Eugene, we did manage to feed our minds a bit at the small but excellent University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It’s a gem of a museum, and worth a visit just to admire the beautiful architecture and the wonderful sculptures of salmon, bear, and other Pacific Northwest critters that adorn the building.

Finally, we plan our visits to Eugene so that we can spend time at the lively Saturday Market—as the country’s longest running outdoors market, it’s been a happening event since 1970. We loaded up our shopping bags with an assortment of organic and locally produced foods, browsed the wonderful crafts (I’m always looking for travel sized treasures), listened to local music, and had fun people watching. There’s a reason Eugene was voted the “hippiest city” in the country. If you enjoy a laidback counter culture atmosphere, you’ll like Eugene. We certainly do.

About the RV Park:

We always stay at Armitage County Park, just a few miles outside of town in Coburg. The sites are spacious and green with full hook-ups, good Verizon coverage, and an excellent laundry. There’s a lovely, although rather short, walk along the river. If you plan to visit in the fall, check the University of Oregon football schedule—the campground is booked far in advance for the Duck’s home games.

Next Up: Ashland In The Fall (and then we’ll be caught up!)

Currin Bridge, circa 1925

In Cottage Grove

Sweet Little Farmstand Along The Way

On The Row River Trail

Mosey Creek Bridge, circa 1920

Fall Abundance At The Eugene Farmers' Market

Pastured Eggs At The Market

The Empathy Tent, Only In Eugene

Love The Logo For Sweet Cheeks Winery

Beautiful Afternoon At The Winery

Cool Neighborhood Microbrewery

Excellent Beer At Ninkasi

Fifth Street Market In Eugene

Delicious Lunch At Provisions

The Willamette River Bike Trail

Philosophical Truth Along The Trail

Lovely Owens Rose Garden

The Museum Of Natural And Cultural History

That Giant Sloth Was Creepy

Tribal Dress Decorated With Elk Teeth

Counterculture Immortalized: Ken Kesey Sculpture

Fall Colors In Downtown Eugene

Armitage Park In Eugene

Currin Bridge, circa 1925
In Cottage Grove
Sweet Little Farmstand Along The Way
On The Row River Trail
Mosey Creek Bridge, circa 1920
Fall Abundance At The Eugene Farmers' Market
Pastured Eggs At The Market
The Empathy Tent, Only In Eugene
Love The Logo For Sweet Cheeks Winery
Beautiful Afternoon At The Winery
Cool Neighborhood Microbrewery
Excellent Beer At Ninkasi
Fifth Street Market In Eugene
Delicious Lunch At Provisions
The Willamette River Bike Trail
Philosophical Truth Along The Trail
Lovely Owens Rose Garden
The Museum Of Natural And Cultural History
That Giant Sloth Was Creepy
Tribal Dress Decorated With Elk Teeth
Counterculture Immortalized: Ken Kesey Sculpture
Fall Colors In Downtown Eugene
Armitage Park In Eugene
Currin Bridge, circa 1925 thumbnail
In Cottage Grove thumbnail
Sweet Little Farmstand Along The Way thumbnail
On The Row River Trail thumbnail
Mosey Creek Bridge, circa 1920 thumbnail
Fall Abundance At The Eugene Farmers' Market thumbnail
Pastured Eggs At The Market thumbnail
The Empathy Tent, Only In Eugene thumbnail
Love The Logo For Sweet Cheeks Winery thumbnail
Beautiful Afternoon At The Winery thumbnail
Cool Neighborhood Microbrewery thumbnail
Excellent Beer At Ninkasi thumbnail
Fifth Street Market In Eugene thumbnail
Delicious Lunch At Provisions thumbnail
The Willamette River Bike Trail thumbnail
Philosophical Truth Along The Trail thumbnail
Lovely Owens Rose Garden thumbnail
The Museum Of Natural And Cultural History thumbnail
That Giant Sloth Was Creepy thumbnail
Tribal Dress Decorated With Elk Teeth thumbnail
Counterculture Immortalized: Ken Kesey Sculpture thumbnail
Fall Colors In Downtown Eugene thumbnail
Armitage Park In Eugene thumbnail

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Another Summer On Lopez Island

Another Summer On Lopez Island

Posted by on Nov 2, 2016 in Biking, Birding, Friends, Gallery, Hiking, San Juan Islands, Travel, Washington | 37 comments

As of mid-October, we’re back in Ashland, Oregon, taking care of a myriad of things that need to be completed before we can again resume our travels. This is a challenging part of fulltime RV life—there’s always a mountain of stuff to deal with when we return to our hometown each year. It’s no different than what any other grown-up person has to deal with in life—traveling or not. But it feels a bit daunting when we’re compressing a year’s worth of necessary evils into a few weeks. (The wonderful part is that we’ve also rejoined the tribe of our dear Ashland friends.)

We’re in the midst of trailer repairs, medical and dental appointments, taxes, maintenance tasks on our Ashland home, rooting out our storage unit, trailer home-improvement projects, and more. Last but not least, I have a blog to catch up on. So without further ado, I’m going to whisk you back to mid-June and our summer on Lopez Island.

As the ferry churned through the cold waters of the Pacific and chugged past the maze of islands that make up the San Juan archipelago, we leaned over the railing, anticipating our first glimpse of the small island that would once again be our summer home.

This year, we spent two-and-a-half months on Lopez Island—our longest stretch yet. From mid-June until early September, we were once again temporary Lopezians, immersing ourselves fully in the unique culture of Pacific Northwest island life.

We fell in love with Lopez the first time we visited, almost a dozen years ago.

Six of the past seven years, we’ve spent part of every summer hosting at beautiful Spencer Spit State Park. We contemplate spending time other places, but each summer finds us once again on the ferry to the islands.

I don’t think life gets any better than summer in the San Juan’s. The weather is near perfect, with plenty of sunshine, low humidity, and temperatures in the 70’s. (This makes up for long, long winters of gray and chill and rain—one of the primary reasons we don’t seriously consider living in the islands year-round.)

The scenery is idyllic—pastoral farmland, deep green mossy forests, secluded coves, and rocky cliffs plunging to sapphire seas. Small wonder that the first European settlers to the island described Lopez as a paradise.

Perfect weather and idyllic scenery aside, the strongest draw for us now is our community of friends on Lopez. In our six summers on the island, we’ve developed enduring friendships that transcend time and distance. We gather often with friends for delicious meals, evenings of music, and a variety of island adventures, from biking and hiking to art openings, concerts, and wine tastings. Each summer, we also delight in sharing Lopez with friends visiting from Ashland and fellow full-time RVing friends we’ve met in our travels. To add to this year’s fun, our grandson Findlay sailed to “Camp Lopez” to stay with us for a week.

We’re fortunate to have a hosting position that fits perfectly with our interests. This was our fourth year teaching Interpretive Programs for kids and adults, including the Junior Ranger programs. We teach about native plants, birds found on Lopez, and the traditions of the Salish tribes who first inhabited the islands. Making hundreds of copies of the Jr. Ranger’s booklets gets tedious, but teaching never does. We often come away from a morning of teaching feeling uplifted and inspired by the brilliance, inquisitiveness, and hilarity of the kids we teach (a lot of the adults are just as much fun).

We’re lucky, too, in that the staff at Spencer Spit is terrific. Each summer when we return to the park, we feel like we’re returning home. Our relationship with Lopez and the community of wonderful people on the island continues to deepen—for this, we are deeply grateful. Thanks, Lopez and friends, for another delightful summer. We’ll be back!

I’ve written in detail about our Lopez adventures over the past several years. If you’re interested in reading more, type “Lopez” in the search box and you’ll find lots of posts and photos. Here’s a post with some basic information, should you be interested:

Living Local On Lopez Island

Next Up: Adventures On Orcas And San Juan Island

Another Summer On Lopez

Arriving On Lopez

Rustic Cabin On Spencer Spit

Peaceful View Across The Marsh

Fledgling Rough Winged Swallows On The Beach

Early Morning At Spencer Spit

Art On The Beach

Findlay And My Hat

A Map Of The Island

Peaceful Island Biking

Biking To Town

It's All Picturesque

The Beautiful Herb Labyrinth

Watching Peregrines At Watmough Bay

Magical Mossy Trails Above Watmough Bay

A View Of Mt. Baker

Shark Reef In Late Afternoon

San Juan Island From Shark Reef

Baby Harbor Seal

Barred Owl On The Trail

On The Trail To Iceberg Point

Endless Views From Iceberg Point

Biking To Fisherman's Bay

Overlooking Fisherman's Bay

A Beach Walk With Findlay

Kayaking One Of Many Bays On Lopez

We Have Company

Delightful Purple Sea Stars

In The Fields At Horse Drawn Farm

Our Favorite Farmstand

The Wonderful Lopez Library

It's Cozy Inside And Has Internet!

Peace Train At The Fourth Of July Parade

Saturday Farmer's Market

A Friendly Farmer At The Market

Our Home On Lopez

Our Outdoor Classroom

Teaching About Native Traditions

They Chose Wolf Totems

Birding For Kids

Findlay Earned His Jr. Ranger Badge

Coffee With The Birds Program

Visitor To Our Campsite (Pacific Wren)

Fledgling Pileated Woodpecker

Violet Green Swallows

Our Cohosts Stan And Georgia

Ranger Tina And Findlay

Meghan At The End Of A Long Summer

Dinner With Lopez Friends At Our Site

An Evening Of Music Around The Fire

Bruce And Sheila At Home

Music Evening With Nick And Susie

Michael And Ann In Her Studio

Del And Cindy At Vita's

Ashland Friends (Linda, Steve, & Family)

Traveling Friends Henry, Loretta & Jessica

Traveling Friends Perry And Beth

Ashland Friends Dick And Viki

Last Glimpse Of Spencer Spit

Until Next Time

Another Summer On Lopez
Arriving On Lopez
Rustic Cabin On Spencer Spit
Peaceful View Across The Marsh
Fledgling Rough Winged Swallows On The Beach
Early Morning At Spencer Spit
Art On The Beach
Findlay And My Hat
A Map Of The Island
Peaceful Island Biking
Biking To Town
It's All Picturesque
The Beautiful Herb Labyrinth
Watching Peregrines At Watmough Bay
Magical Mossy Trails Above Watmough Bay
A View Of Mt. Baker
Shark Reef In Late Afternoon
San Juan Island From Shark Reef
Baby Harbor Seal
Barred Owl On The Trail
On The Trail To Iceberg Point
Endless Views From Iceberg Point
Biking To Fisherman's Bay
Overlooking Fisherman's Bay
A Beach Walk With Findlay
Kayaking One Of Many Bays On Lopez
We Have Company
Delightful Purple Sea Stars
In The Fields At Horse Drawn Farm
Our Favorite Farmstand
The Wonderful Lopez Library
It's Cozy Inside And Has Internet!
Peace Train At The Fourth Of July Parade
Saturday Farmer's Market
A Friendly Farmer At The Market
Our Home On Lopez
Our Outdoor Classroom
Teaching About Native Traditions
They Chose Wolf Totems
Birding For Kids
Findlay Earned His Jr. Ranger Badge
Coffee With The Birds Program
Visitor To Our Campsite (Pacific Wren)
Fledgling Pileated Woodpecker
Violet Green Swallows
Our Cohosts Stan And Georgia
Ranger Tina And Findlay
Meghan At The End Of A Long Summer
Dinner With Lopez Friends At Our Site
An Evening Of Music Around The Fire
Bruce And Sheila At Home
Music Evening With Nick And Susie
Michael And Ann In Her Studio
Del And Cindy At Vita's
Ashland Friends (Linda, Steve, & Family)
Traveling Friends Henry, Loretta & Jessica
Traveling Friends Perry And Beth
Ashland Friends Dick And Viki
Last Glimpse Of Spencer Spit
Until Next Time
Another Summer On Lopez thumbnail
Arriving On Lopez thumbnail
Rustic Cabin On Spencer Spit thumbnail
Peaceful View Across The Marsh thumbnail
Fledgling Rough Winged Swallows On The Beach thumbnail
Early Morning At Spencer Spit thumbnail
Art On The Beach thumbnail
Findlay And My Hat thumbnail
A Map Of The Island thumbnail
Peaceful Island Biking thumbnail
Biking To Town thumbnail
It's All Picturesque thumbnail
The Beautiful Herb Labyrinth thumbnail
Watching Peregrines At Watmough Bay thumbnail
Magical Mossy Trails Above Watmough Bay thumbnail
A View Of Mt. Baker thumbnail
Shark Reef In Late Afternoon thumbnail
San Juan Island From Shark Reef thumbnail
Baby Harbor Seal thumbnail
Barred Owl On The Trail thumbnail
On The Trail To Iceberg Point thumbnail
Endless Views From Iceberg Point thumbnail
Biking To Fisherman's Bay thumbnail
Overlooking Fisherman's Bay thumbnail
A Beach Walk With Findlay thumbnail
Kayaking One Of Many Bays On Lopez thumbnail
We Have Company thumbnail
Delightful Purple Sea Stars thumbnail
In The Fields At Horse Drawn Farm thumbnail
Our Favorite Farmstand thumbnail
The Wonderful Lopez Library thumbnail
It's Cozy Inside And Has Internet! thumbnail
Peace Train At The Fourth Of July Parade thumbnail
Saturday Farmer's Market thumbnail
A Friendly Farmer At The Market thumbnail
Our Home On Lopez thumbnail
Our Outdoor Classroom thumbnail
Teaching About Native Traditions thumbnail
They Chose Wolf Totems thumbnail
Birding For Kids thumbnail
Findlay Earned His Jr. Ranger Badge thumbnail
Coffee With The Birds Program thumbnail
Visitor To Our Campsite (Pacific Wren) thumbnail
Fledgling Pileated Woodpecker thumbnail
Violet Green Swallows thumbnail
Our Cohosts Stan And Georgia thumbnail
Ranger Tina And Findlay thumbnail
Meghan At The End Of A Long Summer thumbnail
Dinner With Lopez Friends At Our Site thumbnail
An Evening Of Music Around The Fire thumbnail
Bruce And Sheila At Home thumbnail
Music Evening With Nick And Susie thumbnail
Michael And Ann In Her Studio thumbnail
Del And Cindy At Vita's thumbnail
Ashland Friends (Linda, Steve, & Family) thumbnail
Traveling Friends Henry, Loretta & Jessica thumbnail
Traveling Friends Perry And Beth thumbnail
Ashland Friends Dick And Viki thumbnail
Last Glimpse Of Spencer Spit thumbnail
Until Next Time thumbnail

Read More

On The Way To Lopez Island

On The Way To Lopez Island

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Biking, Food, Gallery, Travel, Washington | 25 comments

On one of our first journeys to the San Juan Islands, we discovered the tiny hamlet of Edison, in the Skagit Valley of western Washington. With a population of only 133, it doesn’t seem like there could be much worth stopping for.

True, Edison is little more than a wide spot in the road. But this particular wide spot has a disproportionate number of seriously fine eating establishments and unique art galleries. Edison embodies the farm-to-table, healthy (with a side of local pastured bacon), environmentally conscious, creatively quirky ambiance that infuses much of the Pacific Northwest.

Leaving Winthrop and our adventures in the North Cascades, the drive along the North Cascades Scenic Byway and through the pastoral farmland of the Skagit Valley was a beautiful one. One hundred and forty miles later, we pulled into our favorite campground in the area—Bay View State Park, overlooking Padilla Bay. At only nine miles from the ferry landing in Anacortes, it puts us on the doorstep of the San Juan Islands—and it’s also perfectly positioned for a visit to Edison.

It’s an easy six-and-a-half mile bike ride along the bay and through acres of blueberry fields from Bay View State Park to Edison. Our destination is always Tweets, a former gas station turned café. (There are more good choices; this just happens to be our favorite.)

The big garage doors roll up Friday through Sunday, revealing a rustic interior with a charmingly eccentric décor of roughhewn wood tables, local artwork, random trinkets, and a twinkling chandelier. The food offerings are equally eclectic, prompted by what’s in season in the neighborhood (including eggs from the proprietors’ chickens and vegetables from their garden). The food is delicious, the atmosphere casual and relaxed, and the coffee excellent.

The two-block town is worth a leisurely exploration, including locally made treasures from reclaimed materials at the Lucky Dumpster; curiosities at Shop Curator that rival a small natural history museum; and lovely cheeses and wines at Slough Food. Even though breakfast is more than satisfying, we can never resist picking up a couple of bite-sized cocoa nib shortbread cookies from Breadfarm. (It’s also worth biking an additional mile to the even tinier hamlet of Bow; we’ve enjoyed both the Rhody Cafe and their sidekick Farm-To-Market Bakery.)

In the never-ending cycle of new adventures that traveling fulltime brings, we’ve found that we appreciate the familiarity of favorite places that we return to time and again. Stopping at Bay View State Park and biking into Edison has become something of a small tradition for us—a couple of days here gives us the opportunity to catch our breath from our long cross country journeys, and eases us into the laid-back island life that awaits.

About the campground:

At only nine miles from the ferry landing in Anacortes, Bay View State Park is perfectly located for a journey to the San Juan Islands. The best sites for RV’s are sites 1-9, which have partial hookups (water and electric) and also happen to be nearest Padilla Bay (the end sites even have views of the bay). There’s a nice biking/walking trail just a mile from the park that wends around the bay. Verizon coverage is good.

Next Up: Summer On Lopez Island 

Farmstand In The North Cascades

Heading West From Winthrop

Along The North Cascades Scenic Highway

Organic Treats From Cascadian Farm Stand

Blueberry Fields On The Way To Edison

Tweets Cafe

Inside Tweets Cafe

Slow Food On The Slough

The Lucky Dumpster Recycled Treasures

Baby Barn Swallows

Part Curio Shop, Part Gallery

Breadfarm Bakery In Edison

Yummy Cookies At Breadfarm

Biking To The Rhody Cafe

Inside Cozy Rhododendron Cafe

Biking Around Padilla Bay

Low Tide At Padilla Bay

RV Site At Bay View State Park

In Line For The Ferry To The Islands

Here Comes The Ferry!

Heading For The Islands

Sailing Past Mt. Baker

Arriving On Lopez Island

Farmstand In The North Cascades
Heading West From Winthrop
Along The North Cascades Scenic Highway
Organic Treats From Cascadian Farm Stand
Blueberry Fields On The Way To Edison
Tweets Cafe
Inside Tweets Cafe
Slow Food On The Slough
The Lucky Dumpster Recycled Treasures
Baby Barn Swallows
Part Curio Shop, Part Gallery
Breadfarm Bakery In Edison
Yummy Cookies At Breadfarm
Biking To The Rhody Cafe
Inside Cozy Rhododendron Cafe
Biking Around Padilla Bay
Low Tide At Padilla Bay
RV Site At Bay View State Park
In Line For The Ferry To The Islands
Here Comes The Ferry!
Heading For The Islands
Sailing Past Mt. Baker
Arriving On Lopez Island
Farmstand In The North Cascades thumbnail
Heading West From Winthrop thumbnail
Along The North Cascades Scenic Highway thumbnail
Organic Treats From Cascadian Farm Stand thumbnail
Blueberry Fields On The Way To Edison thumbnail
Tweets Cafe thumbnail
Inside Tweets Cafe thumbnail
Slow Food On The Slough thumbnail
The Lucky Dumpster Recycled Treasures thumbnail
Baby Barn Swallows thumbnail
Part Curio Shop, Part Gallery thumbnail
Breadfarm Bakery In Edison thumbnail
Yummy Cookies At Breadfarm thumbnail
Biking To The Rhody Cafe thumbnail
Inside Cozy Rhododendron Cafe thumbnail
Biking Around Padilla Bay thumbnail
Low Tide At Padilla Bay thumbnail
RV Site At Bay View State Park thumbnail
In Line For The Ferry To The Islands thumbnail
Here Comes The Ferry! thumbnail
Heading For The Islands thumbnail
Sailing Past Mt. Baker thumbnail
Arriving On Lopez Island thumbnail

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Family Fun In Pullman, WA

Family Fun In Pullman, WA

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Biking, Family, Gallery, Hiking, Travel, Washington | 26 comments

Located in far eastern Washington is a handsome countryside of rolling agricultural land. Fields of wheat and lentils are a verdant green in spring, fading  to gold in late summer. Blue sky and clouds provide the backdrop; a few barns here and there add a bit of vertical interest. This is the Palouse.

It’s a place of bucolic beauty, and a photographer’s dream. But the big draw for us is family, and that’s why we once again found ourselves in Pullman in early June.

Our daughter Amanda, her partner Armando, and our grandson Findlay have been living in Pullman for a year now. It was a big adjustment for them, coming from San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington. (And honestly, an adjustment for us, as well. We were accustomed to having them as our next-door-island neighbors during our summers on Lopez Island.)

Amanda is in her second year of graduate school in ethnobotany at Washington State University, and Armando is working on his PhD. Findlay just started first grade. As you can imagine, they are all very busy with their various educational endeavors. We planned our visit for a window of opportunity when they all had a bit of free time, and we spent a wonderful week hanging out together, catching up, sharing meals, and exploring the area.

We biked the wonderful trail between Pullman and Moscow a couple of times (an easy 14-mile round trip ride through rolling farmland), enjoyed a morning at the Moscow Farmers Market (with an essential side-trip to the toy store on the plaza), and hiked up Kamiak Butte (the only real hike in the area, but a worthwhile one). And for a bit of art and culture, we visited the Dahmen Barn, a 1935 dairy barn turned into artists studios, with a unique fence made of 1,000 antique rusted wheels. Viewing art from the perspective of a six-year old is always enlightening.

It was a wonderful week. The only problem is that it went by far too quickly.

About the RV Park:

The only RV option in Pullman is the city park (Pullman RV Park). It’s not a resort by any means, but it’s a fine place to stay, and centrally located for walking to the beautiful Washington State University campus and pretty neighborhood parks. Full hook-ups, excellent Verizon coverage, and remarkably quiet at night (as long as you don’t plan your visit during a WSU home football game).

Next Up: Finally! The North Cascades

Family Fun In Pullman, WA

The Scenery Around Pullman

At The Moscow Farmers Market

Hooping At The Market

A Study In Radishes

His Current Passion

Counting Up His Life Savings

A Hiking Adventure

View From Kamiak Butte

Hiking Buddies

Having Fun

On Top Of Kamaik Butte

A Sweet Moment

Biking Trail From Pullman To Moscow

Mostly Farmland Along The Trail

Armando And Amanda

Enjoying The Botanical Garden

Cooling Off On A Hot Day

Neighborhood Park In Pullman

The Dahmen Barn

A Pair Of Art Critics

Antique Iron Wheel Fence

Mustard In Bloom

Pullman RV Park

Family Fun In Pullman, WA
The Scenery Around Pullman
At The Moscow Farmers Market
Hooping At The Market
A Study In Radishes
His Current Passion
Counting Up His Life Savings
A Hiking Adventure
View From Kamiak Butte
Hiking Buddies
Having Fun
On Top Of Kamaik Butte
A Sweet Moment
Biking Trail From Pullman To Moscow
Mostly Farmland Along The Trail
Armando And Amanda
Enjoying The Botanical Garden
Cooling Off On A Hot Day
Neighborhood Park In Pullman
The Dahmen Barn
A Pair Of Art Critics
Antique Iron Wheel Fence
Mustard In Bloom
Pullman RV Park
Family Fun In Pullman, WA thumbnail
The Scenery Around Pullman thumbnail
At The Moscow Farmers Market thumbnail
Hooping At The Market thumbnail
A Study In Radishes thumbnail
His Current Passion thumbnail
Counting Up His Life Savings thumbnail
A Hiking Adventure thumbnail
View From Kamiak Butte thumbnail
Hiking Buddies thumbnail
Having Fun thumbnail
On Top Of Kamaik Butte thumbnail
A Sweet Moment thumbnail
Biking Trail From Pullman To Moscow thumbnail
Mostly Farmland Along The Trail thumbnail
Armando And Amanda thumbnail
Enjoying The Botanical Garden thumbnail
Cooling Off On A Hot Day thumbnail
Neighborhood Park In Pullman thumbnail
The Dahmen Barn thumbnail
A Pair Of Art Critics thumbnail
Antique Iron Wheel Fence thumbnail
Mustard In Bloom thumbnail
Pullman RV Park thumbnail

Read More

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, Oregon

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, Oregon

Posted by on Sep 11, 2016 in Art, Biking, Gallery, Hiking, Oregon, Travel | 22 comments

When people find out that we’ve been traveling fulltime for three years, they often remark that we must have been everywhere and seen everything by now. We naively assumed the same when we embarked on this journey. But what we didn’t anticipate is that our travel bucket list is getting longer instead of shorter (this seems to be the lament of most full timers we’ve met). It doesn’t help that we’re not really crossing much off our list—many of the places we visit go right back onto our “must return to” list.

Thus, in early June, we once again found ourselves in Joseph, Oregon—the first destination on our list when we began our journey three years ago.

Joseph is an easy town to fall in love with. Cozy and welcoming—with only 1,000 residents—the town is postcard-perfect, but refreshingly lacking in pretense. Nestled against the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains, there’s a pretty main street brimming with flowers and interesting shops; the street corners are anchored by magnificent bronze sculptures, all created by local artists.

The most striking bronze—and the most prominent—is that of Chief Joseph, the esteemed Nez Perce leader who fought, first diplomatically, and then in battle, for the right of his people to remain in their ancestral lands.

The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. ~Chief Joseph

Long before white settlers arrived, this rugged place of high mountains, deep canyons, and cascading rivers was the homeland of the Nez Perce. A peaceful nation, the Nez Perce cultivated good relations with white settlers—until gold was discovered nearby, and they were forced out of the valley they called “The Land of Winding Waters.”

The legacy of the Nez Perce is woven deeply into the fabric of Joseph. The town, once called Silver Lake, renamed itself Joseph in 1880 (in honor of Old Chief Joseph, the father of young Chief Joseph). Just outside of town, Chief Joseph the elder is buried, forever overlooking his beloved Wallowa Lake.

Adjacent to his gravesite is the Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site. It was here the Nez Perce began the sorrowful journey that took them from their homeland. It is a beautiful place; rolling green hills dotted with wildflowers and a small pond lie beneath the grand presence of the Wallowa Mountains. This is sacred land to the Nez Perce, and it is a gift to be able to walk the trails.

We spent our week in Joseph hiking, biking, and exploring the town. The  Eagle Cap wilderness is nearby—this is truly wild country, best seen on backpacking trips. But a few trails allow access into the wilderness for reasonably easy hiking adventures. We hiked both the Chief Joseph trail just outside of Wallowa State Park, and the Hurricane Creek trail, just a few miles from town. For a different type of adventure, we “rode the rails” on a unique bicycle-built-for-two contraption with the Joseph Branch Rail Riders, pedaling 12-miles of repurposed train tracks through undulating farmland, from Joseph to Enterprise and back.

We planned our visit to Joseph to coincide with the peak wildflower bloom along the Hells Canyon Byway. It’s a long, slow, dusty 40-mile drive (three-quarters on a rough gravel road) to the Buckhorn Lookout, but absolutely worth it. The road passes through the Zumwalt Prairie, Oregon’s largest native wild grassland. The wildflower bloom in the grasslands and at the canyon overlook was just as spectacular as we remembered.

I wish I could say that we could now cross Joseph off our list. But we can’t. There’s more we want to explore in the area—rafting the scenic Grande Ronde River is at the top of the list. I think we need another lifetime to fit everything in.

About the RV Park:

We spent six nights in Joseph, and just like last time, stayed in town at tiny Five Peaks RV Park. It’s the perfect location for walking and biking into the pretty little town and just a few miles from trails heading into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Full hookups, excellent WiFi, friendly owners, and a cozy, peaceful vibe (no showers, bathrooms, or laundry).

Next Up: Family Fun In Pullman, WA

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR

Cowboy Bronze In Downtown Joseph

Honoring Chief Joseph

A Nez Perce Warrior

Chief Joseph Trail In Wallowa State Park

A Rocky But Beautiful Trail

Nope, Not Crossing That Bridge

Riding The Rails In Joseph

Miles Of Repurposed Train Tracks

Bucolic Scenery Along The Railway

Watching The Rail Riders

A Bobolink

Hiking The Hurricane Creek Trail

Practicing Balance Beam Skills

Up Close With The Wildflowers

Lovely Little Calypso Orchid

Hiking Along The Ridge

Hurricane Creek

Trails At Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site

Nez Perce Historical Site

Chief Joseph's Gravesite

Downtown Joseph

Historic Buildings In Downtown Joseph

Bronze Warrior In Front Of The Post Office

Waiting For His Coffee

Delicious Mochas At Arrowhead Coffee

Folk Art Chickens Waiting To Cross The Road

Terminal Gravity Brew Pub

IPA, Please

Buckhorn Lookout Station

Vivid Blue Penstemon

Hells Canyon In The Distance

Looking Toward Hells Canyon

On The Road Back To Joseph

Field Of Lupine

Cozy Site At Five Peaks RV Park

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR
Cowboy Bronze In Downtown Joseph
Honoring Chief Joseph
A Nez Perce Warrior
Chief Joseph Trail In Wallowa State Park
A Rocky But Beautiful Trail
Nope, Not Crossing That Bridge
Riding The Rails In Joseph
Miles Of Repurposed Train Tracks
Bucolic Scenery Along The Railway
Watching The Rail Riders
A Bobolink
Hiking The Hurricane Creek Trail
Practicing Balance Beam Skills
Up Close With The Wildflowers
Lovely Little Calypso Orchid
Hiking Along The Ridge
Hurricane Creek
Trails At Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site
Nez Perce Historical Site
Chief Joseph's Gravesite
Downtown Joseph
Historic Buildings In Downtown Joseph
Bronze Warrior In Front Of The Post Office
Waiting For His Coffee
Delicious Mochas At Arrowhead Coffee
Folk Art Chickens Waiting To Cross The Road
Terminal Gravity Brew Pub
IPA, Please
Buckhorn Lookout Station
Vivid Blue Penstemon
Hells Canyon In The Distance
Looking Toward Hells Canyon
On The Road Back To Joseph
Field Of Lupine
Cozy Site At Five Peaks RV Park
Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR thumbnail
Cowboy Bronze In Downtown Joseph thumbnail
Honoring Chief Joseph thumbnail
A Nez Perce Warrior thumbnail
Chief Joseph Trail In Wallowa State Park thumbnail
A Rocky But Beautiful Trail thumbnail
Nope, Not Crossing That Bridge thumbnail
Riding The Rails In Joseph thumbnail
Miles Of Repurposed Train Tracks thumbnail
Bucolic Scenery Along The Railway thumbnail
Watching The Rail Riders thumbnail
A Bobolink thumbnail
Hiking The Hurricane Creek Trail thumbnail
Practicing Balance Beam Skills thumbnail
Up Close With The Wildflowers thumbnail
Lovely Little Calypso Orchid thumbnail
Hiking Along The Ridge thumbnail
Hurricane Creek thumbnail
Trails At Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site thumbnail
Nez Perce Historical Site thumbnail
Chief Joseph's Gravesite thumbnail
Downtown Joseph thumbnail
Historic Buildings In Downtown Joseph thumbnail
Bronze Warrior In Front Of The Post Office thumbnail
Waiting For His Coffee thumbnail
Delicious Mochas At Arrowhead Coffee thumbnail
Folk Art Chickens Waiting To Cross The Road thumbnail
Terminal Gravity Brew Pub thumbnail
IPA, Please thumbnail
Buckhorn Lookout Station thumbnail
Vivid Blue Penstemon thumbnail
Hells Canyon In The Distance thumbnail
Looking Toward Hells Canyon thumbnail
On The Road Back To Joseph thumbnail
Field Of Lupine thumbnail
Cozy Site At Five Peaks RV Park thumbnail

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Having A Blast In Boise, ID

Having A Blast In Boise, ID

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Art, Biking, Food, Gallery, Idaho, Travel | 30 comments

In late May, we spent a few days in Boise, Idaho. It turned out to be one of the most delightful cities we’ve yet visited, a near perfect combination of culture and nature (and great food).

We biked along the lovely riverfront trail every day, discovered wonderful restaurants and cafes, explored the attractive downtown, and enjoyed the relaxed, sunny ambiance of Boise. Several times I remarked to Eric, “This is how a city should be.”

Somehow, Boise has maintained a small town feel, even with a population of more than 200,000. Honestly, the city was very different from what we expected—given that it’s the capital of one of the “reddest” states in the country, we assumed it would be much more conservative. But that’s not the vibe we got. There’s a strong commitment to the environment, to human rights, to building healthy and vital communities, and to organic and sustainable practices. When we toured the capitol building, I was most impressed by the simple note on a legislator’s desk—in large print, it read, “Do No Harm.”

Our RV Park backed up to the Boise Greenbelt, making it convenient to hop on our bikes and head into town. Any city that makes it easy and enjoyable for people to get around via walking and biking scores big points with us—and the Boise trail system is one of the best we’ve come across in our travels. Twenty-five miles of paved trails hug the banks of the Boise River, offering a scenic ride through wildlife habitat and riverside parks, and providing easy access to the city center. I even felt comfortable biking the streets of downtown Boise—not something I generally enjoy.

We biked for several hours each day, exploring whatever caught our attention along the way, including the lovely city parks, the Boise Art Museum sculpture garden, the inspiring Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, and the attractive capitol building (which looks like a miniature White House).

One of the highlights of our time in Boise was a visit to the Basque Block in the heart of the city. Basques originally made their way to Idaho as miners and sheepherders. I imagine that they felt comfortable in the golden hills of Idaho, which must have reminded them of the Pyrenees, their homeland that straddles the border between Spain and France. Boise has one of the largest Basque populations in the United States, and the Basque Block is a lively community, with a museum, cultural center, and restaurants featuring delicious Basque specialties (paella!). Our dinner at the Basque Market was excellent.

Boise surprised us with other fine food offerings—we had a memorable casual lunch at Bleubird, a friendly downtown café where the owners turn out creative and delicious sandwiches and salads and make their own fresh fruit and herbal sodas (the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, rosemary infused simple syrup, and club soda was the best non-alcoholic drink I’ve ever had). We liked it so much we biked twice to the café for lunch.

With more than 50 craft breweries, we narrowed our choice down to Cloud 9 Brewery in the charming North End neighborhood. Salted Caramel Stout? Yes, please!! All of the beer was excellent at this sweet little pub—what makes them stand out from the crowd is their commitment to sustainable, local, and organic beers. Their small restaurant shares the same commitment and is equally excellent—on a delightful evening, we enjoyed a perfectly prepared risotto with local salmon, asparagus, and spring peas.

About the RV Park:

Boise Riverside RV Park is basically an enormous gravel parking lot with large sites, most with concrete pads, and some with shade trees. We were there in late spring, and had a very nice site that backed up to a grassy area with trees. It’s all about location here—the park is on the Greenbelt multiuse trail, which offers miles of peaceful walking and biking along the river; a 15-minute bike ride takes you to the downtown parks.

Along the Route Bonus Tips:

Three Island Crossing State Park: Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho

En route from Angel Creek, Nevada to Boise, we spent one night at Three Island Crossing State Park near Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho. This pretty, peaceful park is set along the Snake River, with spacious sites surrounded by shade trades. There’s a small museum devoted to the Oregon Trail and a view across the river of the deep wagon ruts carved into the hillside by intrepid pioneers who chose to cross the river here. We were wishing we had more time at this lovely park.

Shoshone Falls: Twin Falls, Idaho

Known as the Niagara of the West, Shoshone Falls (located at the edge of Twin Falls, Idaho) was on our route to Boise. Created by seasonal runoffs from the mighty Snake River, Shoshone is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States. We stopped for a picnic and a walk—it’s well worth a visit.

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR

Boise Outdoor Sculpture Garden

Double Rainbow Over Shoshone Falls

A Lovely Place For A Picnic

Three Island Crossing State Park

On The Oregon Trail

Biking In Boise

Beautiful Views Along The Bike Path

In The Rose Garden

Downtown Boise

Biking Downtown Boise

Boise Capitol Building

The Rotunda Dome

Inside The Legislative Chambers

A Good Motto For Decision Making

At The Bleubird Cafe Downtown

Homemade Fruit & Herbal Sodas

Turkey, Brie & Fig Jam With Arugula Salad

The Basque Center

The Basque Block

At The Basque Market

Dinner At The Basque Market

Cloud Nine Brewery

Flight Of Beers At Cloud Nine

At The Boise Farmers' Market

Nice Site At Boise Riverside RV Park

Boise Outdoor Sculpture Garden
Double Rainbow Over Shoshone Falls
A Lovely Place For A Picnic
Three Island Crossing State Park
On The Oregon Trail
Biking In Boise
Beautiful Views Along The Bike Path
In The Rose Garden
Downtown Boise
Biking Downtown Boise
Boise Capitol Building
The Rotunda Dome
Inside The Legislative Chambers
A Good Motto For Decision Making
At The Bleubird Cafe Downtown
Homemade Fruit & Herbal Sodas
Turkey, Brie & Fig Jam With Arugula Salad
The Basque Center
The Basque Block
At The Basque Market
Dinner At The Basque Market
Cloud Nine Brewery
Flight Of Beers At Cloud Nine
At The Boise Farmers' Market
Nice Site At Boise Riverside RV Park
Boise Outdoor Sculpture Garden thumbnail
Double Rainbow Over Shoshone Falls thumbnail
A Lovely Place For A Picnic thumbnail
Three Island Crossing State Park thumbnail
On The Oregon Trail thumbnail
Biking In Boise thumbnail
Beautiful Views Along The Bike Path thumbnail
In The Rose Garden thumbnail
Downtown Boise thumbnail
Biking Downtown Boise thumbnail
Boise Capitol Building thumbnail
The Rotunda Dome thumbnail
Inside The Legislative Chambers thumbnail
A Good Motto For Decision Making thumbnail
At The Bleubird Cafe Downtown thumbnail
Homemade Fruit & Herbal Sodas thumbnail
Turkey, Brie & Fig Jam With Arugula Salad thumbnail
The Basque Center thumbnail
The Basque Block thumbnail
At The Basque Market thumbnail
Dinner At The Basque Market thumbnail
Cloud Nine Brewery thumbnail
Flight Of Beers At Cloud Nine thumbnail
At The Boise Farmers' Market thumbnail
Nice Site At Boise Riverside RV Park thumbnail

Read More