Wine-ing with Stacia

Stacia came up to visit from California and I did my best to show her a good time here in Oregon while still getting some work done. True to “The Twin’s” form this involved sampling alcohol from the moment she landed at PDX Monday afternoon. We sampled beer at Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. and caught up on life. Back at home we drank some wine (Airlie 7 and Cardwell Hill Cellars pinot gris) and it didn’t take us long to decide that wine tasting was out Tuesday activity.

Stacia insisted that we go to Airlie so she could taste all their wines (she had a minor obsession with 7…a perhaps justified one but an obsession nevertheless). We took the back way through Wren and tried to make a stop at Cardwell Hill but they weren’t open. I decided to stop and check out Fort Hoskins because I was tired of Forrest saying it was dumb and refusing to check it out (he was right). I ended up being glad we went back to Airlie because the owner was there–I think it’s always more fun to talk to the owner than someone they’ve hired to pour wine. Stacia bought two bottles of 7 and promised to beg Trader Joes in LA to stock their wine again.

After that we went to Emerson where I caved and bought a bottle of their estate pinot noir “Avelena.” From there we tried to visit Illahee which was closed and still kind of under construction, then tried to visit Cherry Hill, and one other winery (Dancing Oaks?) that seems to no longer be in operation (which we found out after we drove into someone’s driveway).

We were finally successful with Van Duzer Vinyards. I kind of liked the crazy woman who served us our wine while Stacia hated her. (The $10 tasting fee may have had something to do with that.) The winery itself was a little over the top but their pinot noir was fantastic and it was really fun to taste their port and dessert wine (firsts for both of us). Then we hit up Left Coast Cellars where I was underwhelmed with both the wine and the feel of the place–Stacia loved it.

We probably should have headed back to Philomath at that point but we were having too much fun so we headed up Eola Hills Road and found Bethel Heights Vineyard. They had wonderful wines, the woman who poured for us was awesome, and the tasting room was adorable. Again, we begged off on “just one more” so we wound up the day with a visit to Cristom Vineyards. It was sooo much fun, I love visiting wineries!

(Other wineries I’ve tried in the Valley include Lumos Wine, Pheasant Court Winery, Veridian Wines, and the previously mentioned Cardwell Hill.)

Wednesday we headed up Santiam Pass to do a little hike. It turned into a fun adventure on Forest Service roads with a little 1 mile hike the summit of Jumpoff Joe Mountain. Nothing strenuous (450 feet? elevation gain) but fun anyway. We stopped at Oregon Trail Brewery to buy Forrest a growler of the Wit–it just so happened to be 9/23 and I thought I’d bring him a treat. Forrest, Stacia, and I went put-put golfing after dinner and then came back home and drank some beer for a chill end of the day.

It was a quick visit but it was so so fun!!

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Rambling Oregon 4th

What a 4th Of July weekend!

We got in a bit of everything–Friday evening we rode up to Green Peter Lake where Tony’s friends had taken their boats for some 4th of July camping. We got in some time on the water–I got to go tubing!–and enjoyed their bonfire (Forrest was firewood gather-er extraordinaire. We also commandeered their canoe for a moonlit paddle. It was a gorgous summer evening of which I have a feeling this summer won’t have nearly enough.

On the morning of the 4th, Forrest talked me onto the Montessa for some more motorcycle training. After some frustration–for both of us–I finally was able to start it up and ride nice circles around the church basketball court. Tony showed up and we rode out to his grandparents house on the Siletz for a picnic. What a place!!! There’s a nice deep swimming hole in the river (complete with a zip cable), a deluxe picnic shelter, and the all-important outhouse.

We cruised on down to the coast mid-afternoon to join the crew down there. The temperature drop going down the hill into Newport was killer! There were some “fireworks alterations” fortunately with no altering injuries, followed by the professional fireworks show through the ocean fog. Not quite the Lakin beer, lawn darts, and fireworks extravaganza but fun nevertheless.

We spent a lazy Sunday mainly hanging around the trailer with Tom & Kay briefly venturing out for a visit to Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and a (windy) walk on the beach. By the time we got home we were both anxious for showers and tried to watch a movie–neither of us were too awake when it was over!

Tacoma this weekend for some baseball with the Lakin cousins and California in a week and a half!

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Redneck (and red back) Weekend

The last weekend of June brought GORGEOUS weather to the Willamette Valley. I started out my Saturday making some yummy strawberry freezer jam (as I was informed at the Farmers Market I almost missed my strawberry window). I’d forgotten how much stirring it takes to dissolve the sugar but all-in-all I had a pretty good time dancing and singing my way around the kitchen.

Despite needing to do some work around the house I threw on my bathing suit and headed to the backyard with my book. I wasn’t going to be outside all that long and figured I couldn’t get that burnt in an hour so I passed on the sunscreen. Loving the feeling of sun and getting involved in my book I didn’t realize how much sun I was getting. It wasn’t until I pulled on jeans for the ride out to Willamette Speedway for an evening of cars, gas fumes, and general white-trash I realized how burnt the backs of my legs, my butt, and my back were. I’d really gone and done it this time.

I had a much better time at the track this time around–less overwhelming. Forrest still gives me a hard time for not making friends out there but I can’t even fathom where to begin. I know it shouldn’t be hard but I always feel like everyone there is perpetually busy with something racing oriented (only makes sense right?) and that leaves racing talk as the only entry to conversation which I feel entirely unqualified for. It’s a problem I really need to figure out an answer to because between the track and motorcycle gatherings I look to be finding myself in it a lot.

Sunday I was a bit disappointed that Forrest wasn’t in for going hiking as we’d discussed earlier. I understand that he’s tired of being in a car after commuting all week but I’m on the other end of the spectrum and am tired of being in Corvallis/Philomath. Instead we spent the day up on the Hardwick’s property on the Luckimute. We spent some time building a trail to the beach– okay, Thomas, Ezra, and Forrest did most of the work…I tried to throw branches and brandish a shovel where it seemed appropriate–it’s frustrating sometimes not having the experience they do because I CAN be useful but chances are I’m not as efficient and not as strong so someone ends up sweeping in leaving me standing staring.

I did have a bast driving around the makeshift racetrack they’ve built for a couple junker cars. I agreed to do it in the sprit of trying something new but I’ll admit to a feeling of resignation as I pulled on the ski googles behind the wheel of the windshield-less S10. A few turns into it–after I at least understood that there was no powersteering and my brakes were suspect–I found myself having a really great time. I was pretty suprised and I think Forrest was almost shocked. We did some more work, did some swimming, and I actually rode a motorcycle. Funny how much I enjoyed it when I was TERRIFIED every second I was on the bike last fall (I maintain I was so scared then because motorcycles seemed so foreign.)

All in all it was a good weekend–even if it means I’ll spend the week with scratched up legs and slathering myself with aloe and lotion.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.