Location: Oregon, United States

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It has been two days since Paul's sister Jill and her family left, and we are still recovering. We had a blast and did a TON of sightseeing: Mt. Hood and Multnomah Falls, Mt. St. Helen's, the Zoo via the MAX (we had planned on going to the Forestry Center, but there was an area wide power outage that day - fortunately, the Zoo has a backup generator so that became our default outing), meeting up with Paul and Jill's cousin Wendy and her family, and, of course, the beach.

Mount St. Helen's was AMAZING. We had read that the drive to the mountain was beautiful, but we were still wowed. The road follows the path of the Toutle (pronounced "Tootle") River gorge, with beautiful vistas and thick forest throughout. The river itself doesn't look like much because of all the ash that has been deposited along the river's path, clogging it and causing it to look more like a stream. The forest growth was actually much younger than we thought - Weyerhauser has replanted logged areas, and the oldest section we saw was twenty years old.

When we got to the mountain - or should I say, VOLCANO, it was (safely and slowly) erupting. There was a small stream of smoke coming up from one section of the crater and we were told that the equivalent of one dump truck full of ashy lava was being extruded every 10 SECONDS. At this rate, the mountain could rebuild itself in 50 years. On the way home, we stopped at a campground/helicopter/horseback riding establishment that also served food and had a great mountain-worthy meal. (They also have a yurt that you can stay in! Maybe we'll come back and we can spend the night there!) Paul and I are looking forward to going back, as we felt like we only scratched the surface of what there is to do and see in that area.

We finally got to try Reo's Ribs, a restaurant that I've had my eye on since the first week we've arrived. There is a large smoking contraption outside the building - you can smell the meat slow cooking when you drive by. When you go inside, it is as though you have been transported to the middle of Mississippi in the summer, except this building has air conditioning and serves SoBe juice. They serve ribs (the best I've had in a LONG time), bbq brisket, catfish, fried okra, cornbread, greens, and the list goes on. I've decided that if Paul ever mistreats me, I'm going to take my container of Rolaids and go stay with Reo. :)

We also went to Mo's, which is supposed to be one of the best seafood restaurants along the coast. Disappointing food, when it's been built up to be the best, but we got to eat outside with a view of the ocean. This was especially cool when one of the other patrons jumped up and said, "Whales!" and we all got to see a small pod of whales swim by, spouting and frothing the water around them. Lucky!

Other notes:

The deck has been built and it looks great! Whew, that felt like a close call.

William's procedure is this Friday. He will be going on a clear liquid diet beginning this afternoon and continuing through tomorrow. I'm really not looking forward to this, and neither is he. Ugh.

We are also bracing ourselves for another bout of 100 degree weather this weekend. It still amazes me that we can live through it without air conditioning, but it gets down to the mid 50's at night and that makes it palatable. Weird!


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