Category Archives: Travel

Notes from Central Oregon.

We took a quick weekend trip to Sunriver, OR last weekend. It is a resort town just south of Bend. It is nice, too ritzy for my taste, but it has wonderful views and it is a nice place to relax in the winter, especially when there is now snow and therefore, no tourists. We are fortunate enough to have a place to stay there through a very good friend and it was a lovely time relaxing. It even snowed our last night there and we were treated to wonderful sights coming home over the mountain. Here are a few of the photos from the trip.



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Notes From Eastern Oregon, Day 6.

Tired Skis.

On our last day we got up early, packed up, and hit the road West. We decided to take some back roads part of the way and were not let down. Our first stop was for coffee at the Blue Banana in Lostine. Then we stopped for breakfast…which was really lunch food (yup, burgers at 10am) at C-Zers in Elgin. It was really the closest thing we had seen to fast food in a week. It was just the small town version. Then we were off into the mountains. We made the trek back to Portland, via Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River.

All packed up.

Welcome, and it was. But home we must go.

The Blue Banana in Lostine.

C-Zars in Elgin.

Getting closer.

The end.


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Notes From Eastern Oregon, Day 5.

Day five was actually our last day of vacation before trekking back to Portland. We started the day with a quick breakfast and then took the Skis back out to the lake for another swim. After that, I would describe the day as one of views. We had no real idea of what we were going to do as all of the things we had wanted to do had already been done. So we decided to try and find a town called Troy. It is the northern most town in Eastern Oregon before Washington State. We did not find Troy…instead we found Idaho. Ooops. It was still a fun day with amazing sights seen and memories made.

Coolest town sign ever!


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Notes From Eastern Oregon, Day 4.

Today was very cool. The first notable thing was that I made my first skillet meal.

Then we started the day at Wallowa Lake. The Skis got to swim for a good long time and finally decided that this vacation might actually be for them.

After our morning swim we headed to Imnaha to see their famous tavern. “Imnaha, Oregon, is quite literally the place where the pavement ends.  There is only one paved road leading into Imnaha, and just past the town’s one big intersection, the pavement promptly ends.”  You go out just like you are going to go to Hell’s Canyon, and then you just keep driving. Eventually, you get there. But not without driving through the Imnaha River valley, chock full of scenic views.

After our trip we headed back to Joseph and stopped at the local distillery. Yes, a town of 1,000 people. And it is a good distillery.

Then we headed back to the house, dragged the dogs through the river again and pondered our ability to see the Portland Timbers game. But we did have to nosh while we pondered.

We called a few of the bars in town, but no one had the channel that was needed. So we conceded to head into town and try some of the other establishments ourselves. We still failed, no one had access to the game. So we resorted to heading back to Mutiny Brewing and having dinner. Their lunch had been so good that we felt comfortable going back for more. It was nice, breezy evening with a storm blowing in over the Wallowa Mountains making for some lovely dinner scenes.


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Notes From Eastern Oregon, Day 3.

Day three was great fun. We headed into Hell’s Canyon. We got an early start at it which was good for two reasons, the first is that we did not have to worry about too many other cars (we saw maybe a dozen the whole time) and we also got to get out before the temps soared too far over 100. The other exciting activity that it ensured was that we did not miss the wild pack of family deer that came running through our yard. They held us hostage for a little bit, there were three of them in all. They really wanted food and insisted on telling us about it for about 30 minutes. The best part about these insistent buggers is that they came back at dinner time, five of them this time, and did the same thing for another half an hour!

Our camera could not capture the vast expanse of the canyon. It is huge!

The Wallowa Mountains, coming back from Hell's Canyon.

After our trip to Hell’s Canyon we stopped into Embers Brew House for a couple of pints. They have an outdoor seating area and there was no way we were going to pass up trying it out. Besides, they boast the most micro-brew taps in Eastern Oregon. It was still pale in comparison to Portland, but come on, they are in the middle of nowhere!! We ordered a snack to enjoy with our brews, which turned out to be amazing. Sweet potato tots with marshmallow fluff dipping sauce. Yup, that is what I said!!

After our snack and suds we headed back to the house and took the dogs down to the river. They were less than enthused as the river was really fast and the rocks were really big. Welp, you can’t always please the Skis! So we quickly abandoned the river for some decking (like yardining only you have to have a deck, a chair, and a vacation cocktail) and dinner.

The view of our yard from the deck. The river is just beyond the trees.


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Notes From Eastern Oregon, Day 2.

The second day of vacation was really the first since it was evening before we arrived at our destination the day before. We woke early, energized to make breakfast. This was the point at which we realized we had forgotten the skillet and while we rented a home that was nearly fully furnished…it did not have a usable skillet in it. So we resolved to make breakfast anyway…Egg, potato and veggie casserole with grilled bacon in it. I am now a true believer in grilling bacon. It turned out amazing and really featured that fresh from the grill flavor. And, we got to use our new french press. Very cool.

After breakfast the real debauchery started! I mean this lovingly. Being from Portland and loving beer as we do, we wasted no time all patronizing the local Eastern Oregon breweries. The first on the list was Terminal Gravity. They are located in Enterprise Oregon and brew fantastic beer. This is one of those great breweries you think you will never make it to in person. Lo and behold, we did. They have one of the most relaxing and fantastic garden areas near a babbling brook. The Skis lounged in the grass and we enjoyed a couple of pints.

As we headed back into Joseph we were feeling a bit peckish and just happened to be passing Mutiny Brewing. They too had an outside garden, of course a requirement when traveling with Skis in 95+ degree weather. We ordered up a couple pints and some lunch. The meal was divine. It was really just that freaking good. While the Sysco truck might stop by, they don’t drop off much, all of the produce was garden fresh. The heirloom tomatoes tasted as though they had been picked with love that morning and the same can be said for the greens. The fries were baked whole slices of potatoes and the bread was homemade. Delicious!

So it can be said that our second day of vacation was spent eating and drinking. Hmmm, nope that is just our style. So don’t think we didn’t go back to our house and continue the party.There were brie stuffed burgers for dinner.


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Notes From Eastern Oregon, Day 1.

Hello Everyone! I am back. I know you are all used to recipes and notes from the garden, but this week is going to feature a new post every day about our vacation to Eastern Oregon. This is definitely a land that most people never make it too. It is the wild West and it has so much to offer. But one of the charms I cherished most about our trip, was just how few people there actually are in this part of the world. Over the next six days I am going to chronicle our trip for you with photos and commentary.

The first day consisted of driving, driving, and more driving. The typical trip directly from Portland to Joseph, Oregon should take about six and one half hours. However, it took us about twelve hours. Clearly we did not drive straight there. Instead we drove ALL over. We veered from the beaten path about 147 miles into our trek. We veered six hours out of our way. We saw a lot of land, the Blue Mountains, more cattle then there should be outside of Texas, two bonafide ghost towns, and a lot of water. Yes water, even in the desert. It was also an average temperature of 95 degrees the entire time. Needless to say, the yard dogs were not amused. Yes, they were there too…panting it up in the back seat. Shedding so badly that we had to vacuum the car upon arriving at our destination!

I really think that there is a windmill for every person in Eastern Oregon.

One Panting Ski.

Two Panting Ski.

Getting closer.

Arrival, to one of the most serene decks in America.

Dinner and relaxing for our first night of vacation.


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Whirlwind of a Trip to the Great Midwest.


Welcome to the Mitten State, the Wolverine State, the Petoskey State, the Great Lake State. Welcome to Michigan. I was born and raised in the state of Michigan. It is as unique as the rest of them with a long and arduous history that many know well. It is the birthplace of Motown, The Ford’s, Gibson Guitar Company, and many, many more companies we know and love. Every year I get back to Michigan for one reason or another and this year was no different.

Our trip back this year was quick, only a handful of days, but it was jam-packed with many activities (mostly eating). I wanted to share some of the highlights with you here. (A quick disclaimer that these were all taken with the phone so they are a little blurry!!)

Our first visit was to a newer restaurant called BOLD Restaurant. The parents have been raving about it for a while now and I have to say that this was without a doubt the best cooked and presented food I have had in southern Michigan, especially in my small town! It was amazing. It was fresh, perfectly seasoned and even the seafood items were awesomely cooked to perfection.

After our wonderful dinner, the next day was started with a traditional Midwest diner breakfast at Red’s Grill. It was a well-rounded way to start our first full day of vacation, especially because we had some entertaining to do with the niece and nephew that afternoon! The day was rounded out by a trip to Bowker’s Pizza Parlour & Grill for a nice dinner with my dad, step-mom, three sisters, a niece, and a nephew!! This is a great piece of nostalgia for me. We used to go here once a year or so and it was a blast this time around as well!

The next day was the reason for the trip, the WEDDING! One of my longest friends was to be wed and it is why I was in Michigan to begin with. The day started with lunch at Bell’s Brewery! Though we usually stop in for new shirts and fun take aways, the hubs had not actually had a beer on site, so we ventured in with the parents for a pre-wedding lunch. They have the best Reuben I have had in a long time, and this is not an easy thing to do!

The wedding was up next and was amazing. My friend was absolutely stunning and all of the planning really paid off. From an attendees perspective, the day was perfect!

With one day to go we were getting tired! The last day was spent at my parent’s summer place with good friends, relaxing, drinking and eating! We started the day at the Howe Restaurant (no website available!). They made an even better Midwest breakfast that the one enjoyed on Thursday which very necessary for soaking up post wedding beers from the night before! For an afternoon treat we headed to the beloved JoJo’s Pretzels. I cannot travel home without getting this scrumptious treat. And then to finish up the eating tour that became our last day my parents made a shrimp boil for dinner and in typical Midwest fashion, the dish was comforting and oh-so-yummy!

The next day we wearily headed back to the Great Northwest with another Midwest jaunt under the belts we were wearing a little loser for the flights home!



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