I’m spending the weekend wrapped up in my little family. My dad died yesterday morning after a tumultuous couple of years and my feelings are a little all over the board (relief, sadness, exhaustion, anger, you name it). We’re spending the weekend finishing the siding on the house (which should be done tonight) and perhaps heading up to the cabin on Saturday night to spend Sunday up there in the quiet.

Here’s to huckleberries, home, hugs, and happiness.

Thanksgiving Snow

After a few days of food and family over the Thanksgiving weekend Forrest and I headed for the mountains. We headed out for the southern Washington Cascades. Our plan was to head south along the western side of Mt. Adams, perhaps exploring the northeastern side of the mountains if conditions allowed, then returning to the west side and popping out in Trout Lake.

After filling up in Packwood (by the way, I don’t recommend the rest stop just south of town on Highway 12…very very cold stainless steel toilet seats), we headed up towards Wallupt Lake (Johnson Creek Rd aka Rd 21). I was pretty aware this was an ambitious plan but I knew Dad had hunted up in that area in mid-November. Unfortunately, it had rained the day before and the snow was a slushy, slushy mess. We made it to about 3,200 feet before we manged to get stuck in about eight inches of snow. After digging out it was apparent that continuing up that road wasn’t going to be possible. We headed back down towards Randle and tried to go over Road 25…which just happened to be closed. We jumped over to Rd 23 and I wasn’t feeling particularly optimistic about our chances of making it up and over to the other side but making something of what had been a pretty dismal weekend was at the top of my priority list.

We manged to keep chugging up the hill, winching ourselves out once, and eventually we made it to the junction with the road to Takhlakh Lake. There were tracks leading up the road so we figured we could probably make it up to check it out. Once up at the lake, we met up with a group of friends who’d been camping at Takhlakh every Thanksgiving weekend for about ten years. They were very welcoming and we sat around the campfire drinking beer with them before crawling into the Jeep for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning we woke up and Mt. Adams made a lovely appearance over the lake. After some breakfast, we headed out and hoped to continue over the road to Trout Lake. We made it over Babyshoe Pass thanks to the trail broken by our new friends but once we got beyond their help the going was slow. It wasn’t long before we realized that making it over the next pass was not really a possibility so we turned around and headed for Cougar.

Our trip hadn’t turned out quite as well as we liked so we settled for some pretty darn good Chinese food in Camas with Forrest’s mom and headed home.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Waves and Wine

Mom and Aunt Laura made it down to the Valley this weekend for a bit of relaxation. We met up in the morning and headed out to Newport. We had lunch at Bay 839. The tapas were great and it was really fun to hang out and just talk.

After lunch we headed north towards Lincoln City. We took a quick break in Lincoln City to walk on the beach and had wine not been calling my name I would probably have ended up in the water. We headed back inland towards Dallas and started making the rounds of the wineries.

Our first stop was Chateau Bianca. I was rather unimpressed by this stop. The wines were pretty good but the guy who poured the wines was such a boor. The next stop at Firesteed Winery was much more pleasing. I loved ALL of their wines especially the $60 pinot noir…

We made a couple of other stops: Orchard Heights Winery…which just ended up being kind of shabby. We also checked out Cubanisimo Vineyards which was pretty cute and the wines were okay but nothing super special. The afternoon had gone so fast we were all pretty surprised to find that it was getting close to five and most of the wineries would be closing soon. We did manage to get to Bryn Mawr Vineyards before they closed and it was my favorite stop of the day. They only use estate grown grapes…and they only have four acres! The wine was fabulous and I was enchanted by the small garage sized operation.

The day wound up with dinner at Big River in Corvallis with Forrest. My food was really awesome (chantrelle risotto) but Forrest’s pizza wasn’t too great. We did discover the Double Mountain IRA though so the dinner was definitely worth it.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Day 8-McCloud, Millitary Pass, and home

We’d decided to head into McCloud for breakfast. My great-uncle, Burt Lakin, is a minor historical celebrity there, he’d been the mill supervisor and died fighting a fire there. We had breakfast at the VFW where they were minorly impressed that I was related to Burt and tried to describe where the memorial was. We weren’t able to find it but had some fun poking around the railyard before getting back on the bike.

Trying to get to Military Pass Road was a bit eventful as we managed to find ourselves pretty deep in silt…we did see some cool old rail stuff though: a wooden snowplow attachment for an engine, some old Pullman cars, and some sweet graffiti of Sasquatch. Military Pass was pretty and definitely a better choice than a stretch of I-5 I’d already traveled.

The drive on the freeway home was really monotonous. We stopped at a Walmart in Yreka to get some Bendryl for my hand that was still swollen from the yellow jacket sting. This turned out to be kind of a bad choice as I was a little drowsy on the back of the bike on the freeway…yikes! We stopped for lunch in Canyonville and then headed for home.

Day 8: ~370 miles(!)

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.