I wish!! Oregon has become my new happy place. I was there for the first time last summer when Keeley and Matt married in Bend, OR. And then again this past June for my college friends reunion. I think it has to be one of the most beautiful states and offers such a variety of terrains with the coast, mountains, high desert and wine country. Since I hadn't started the blog till after the first trip I thought I would walk down memory lane a bit and share some pictures of a few of the spots I got to visit on my first trip.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake was formed about 7,700 years ago when an eruption caused the massive Mount Mazama (thought to have been about 12,000 feet high) to collapse on itself. It formed a 6-mile caldera (a large cauldron-like volcanic depression) which slowly filled with water eventually reaching 1,943 feet deep, making it the nation's deepest lake. It is a beautiful clear blue and appears to be totally calm. You can drive the 33 miles around the entire lake, and at some places the drop-offs are pretty significant. There is a spot where you can hike a steep trail down to the actual lake and board a tour boat - but that's the only boat allowed on the lake.
There is also a very cool old lodge that has a restaurant and rooms to rent. It dates back to 1909 but was renovated in the 1990's to it's original rustic elegance. We got there in time to enjoy lunch, but since the blog had not begun I wasn't as good about taking picture - so you will need to trust me or better yet make a trip there yourself. It's definitely worth it!
We drove to Crater Lake after the wedding from Bend and it took about 2 hours. It is located in the more southern part of Oregon and quite a bit east of the coast.
We flew into Portland and stayed with my friend's Nancy and Bruce before heading to Bend for the wedding. Nancy gave us the choice to either head to the coast or go to the Gorge and we picked coast. We couldn't really make a bad choice. It took us a little over an hour to get to Cannon Beach from Portland - which is a 4 mile stretch of beach that is spectacular. The coastline is hemmed in by lots of trees so really is gorgeous with the contrast. There are lots of cute shingled hotels, restaurants and shops, and seems to have been able to retain so much old charm.
One of my travel goals is to drive the entire west coast from Seattle to San Diego. I definitely want to spend lots more time in Oregon. One thing I will enjoy more of is their delicious marionberries! It is a blackberry that was developed by Oregon State University in 1956 and named after the county it was widely tested in. It is used in pies, ice cream, jam, jellies and pastries.
There are lots of beautiful mountains in Oregon, and one of the most famous is Mount Hood. (Perhaps thanks to the movie The Shining which used exterior shots of the lodge in the movie.) Mount Hood is the highest point in Oregon, over 11,000 feet high, and home to 12 glaciers and snowfields.
Well that's a blast from the past that I wanted to share. Now back to the most recent weekend here in KC. Since I was in town I was able to run with my running group Saturday morning. And it was a perfect day - clear and in the low 80's. Every month we run from a different spot and in August we are in downtown Overland Park. That works out perfectly because we finish right at the Farmer's Market - and it's a great one! There are lots of great vendors and food stands of some local restaurants. I heard the Salvadoran stand was great so I decided to try it. The Pupusas were fantastic! Choices were chicken and cheese, pork and cheese or bean and cheese. I went with the chicken and cheese. They grind the corn for the tortilla-like pancake right there at the stand so you know it's fresh. I ran about 6 miles so I felt like I had earned it!
Last but not least - the next piece of Cheesecake!! I have been holding off on the selections that are so extravagant that they make me feel like they will give me diabetes- but this week went for it.
Just looking at the picture is making me feel a little sick. I'm not saying it wasn't good - just so sweet and rich and gooey - yes too sweet for even me!! So from bottom to top it's a chocolate cake layer, then cheesecake with peanut butter cups in it, layer of caramel and then repeat. All topped with chocolate frosting and a large dollop of peanut butter frosting. And chocolate curls around the outside. I'm going to give it a 2. I never want to eat it again but if you share a piece with like 4 other people and you like peanut butter it's worth a try!
Make it a great week! Choose Happiness!!