When we last left off, we had taken the max to the bus station just outside Portland proper.
We had about an hour or two of stress here. First of all, the bus number was not listed on the signs for the ones that stopped there. We called the bus company, and got transferred to another bus company, and then was told it was cash only. Zliten was excited because he had saved our cash… but we were about 4 dollars short.
I was trying to figure out what sort of gymnastics/comedy show I was going to have to put on to raise 4 dollars in the next 20 minutes, but instead, he ran the half mile to the nearest ATM and got us squared away. I let him do that one since… uh… running not in a sports bra would have been painful. I’ll let him be the hero here. Glad we are runners!
Then, right before the bus came, I realized I quite needed a bathroom. I looked around and asked the coffee stand I accidentally walked into looking for one – nothing in the area. I figured I would have to wait for the bus. I mean, a 2 hour bus had to have a bathroom, right?
I spent the first hour and a half deep breathing and trying to go to my happy place while we wound through rickety and steep and windy roads on the little cow bus. I kept envisioning having to ask the driver to pull over and finding a little spot in the woods to claim as my own, but then before it got to that point she pulled us into a forest station area and said “go potty if you need”.
Let me tell you, I bounded off that bus so fast you would think there was a finish line and medals.
Once that was taken care of, I really really enjoyed the scenery in between reading my book. It was so green and foresty and gorgeous. Our bus went up and up and down and down and then… we were there! Our friends were waiting for us with a truck and we loaded our bags in and headed off to explore the Tillamook cheese factory.
It was super busy, but we made sure to get some ice cream (seriously, some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had and so many flavors, I had tiny scoops of cookies and cream, pb chocolate, and pecan praline) and look at the giant conveyor belts and pots of cheese in progress of making it’s way to us consumer people.
The best part was the tasting area. Everything was awesome, but the chili garlic was especially amazing. We brought some back with us and it was gone in 3 days (with four people sharing).
Then, we hit the grocery store. I don’t do well without a list, and I hadn’t prepared for that (for some reason, I figured we’d go out most of the time), so we ended up with way, way too much food combined with what was already at the house. At no point during this stretch of the vacation was I hungry, because it was always the goal to see how little food we could waste.
Finally, we got to the house. The view did not disappoint. At all. This would be my dream view from my living room (though – probably somewhere a
wee bit lot warmer).
My husband saw ocean and wanted to get in it (not that I was far behind with that sentiment). So, we did that. He got in first without the wetsuit (to which I put one toe in and said “fuck that shit”), and then we wetsuitted up (and I, with my two swim caps, ear plugs, and lava booties) and took our safe swimmers for a 20 minute “swim” in 55 degree water. I say “swim” because it took probably 10-15 of those minutes to get my face in the water. We swam a few lengths of freestyle, but mostly just spent the time splishing in the waves.
Takeaway: 55 degrees is a temperature I could probably swim in, with AMPLE warmup, and some time to acclimate. And probably a neoprene cap. Good to know.
The afternoon was for drinking wine, eating cheese, and relaxing.
We tried to fly kites, we (ok, I) took pictures of all the angles of the coast and got really happy when it got clear enough to see the sea monster.
For dinner, we grilled shrimp and fish and made rice and salad, and watched the sunset. Our friends, who had been there since Thursday with family, said it was the first clear day, I’m glad it was there for us. It was spectacular to watch… and so weird that it was light until after 10pm. I know, geography and logic and all that, it’s just hard to wrap my brain around when I thought it was really cool that Austin stayed light until after 9 some days in June.
We went to bed right after a few quick games of Quirkle (I didn’t win ONCE) and some brownies a la mode, because we had a big day ahead, and an early morning.
Tuesday was chilly (50 degrees is a temperature in summer – WHO KNEW?), but as instructed, I dressed in sandals and shorts (and a lot of layers on my top half) because we were getting in a little tiny boat and catching crabs!
We got to the docks, got our licenses, bought some gloves so we wouldn’t tear up our hands, got our crab rings (nets with some really stanky fish heads tied in the middle, and by 7am we were cruising out into the channel. They had the method down. Set the pots, drink a beer, and then check em. I was freeeezing so I let the boys do the first round, but on the second and the third rounds I tossed one and pulled one up.
We ended up with 16!!! keeper crabs. Hundreds made their way into our nets, but we were instructed to put back anything under a certain size, and females (so they could produce more delicious crab babies), and that still left a sizeable feast for us.
After our two hours, we turned in our crab pots and they boiled them for us. We drank another beer and talked to a couple, incidentally, from Round Rock (20 mins away from where we live). They were on their honeymoon, and just came to eat crab (not catch it).
Soon, the crabbies were ready, and I was taught a (probably really gross) trick – if you crack the shell, there is this yellow liquid that tastes like butter. I told everyone not to tell me exactly what it was (crab pee? crab brain goo?) under penalty of bodily injury because I’m really squeamish about weird animal parts, and used it as dip. Seriously, no one tell me. That was delicious.
After that, we stopped to get some more beer and wine, and then our friends took a nap and Zliten and I hung out on the patio and ate lunch (crab was breakfast). I got sleepy and took a nap, and was woken up with a… very beery Zliten telling me it was time to get in the ocean. Fine. I wetsuitted up, put on my booties and safe swimmer, and we played in the waves for another 20 minutes. Refreshing!
When I warmed up and dried off, our friends were cleaning crabs, so I went to help. I guess Zliten had gotten a little squeamish with the overwhelming crab smell, so he was outside. We got those suckers into bowls in no time and we had about a bazillion pounds of crab. It was insane.
We started the grill and had a feast. I cooked up everyone crab taco appetizers (crab, onions, peppers, pico, cheese, pineapple), the boys made us some sausage/beef hamburgers, and I gave crab cakes a go… however I forgot to put any sort of pam/oil/butter in the foil, and they stuck to it. Bleh. Normally I’d be super upset wasting crab, but we had so much left… I just consoled myself with crab dipped in butter mixed with hot sauce. So, so good.
Everyone went to sleep early, and I wasn’t tired yet, so I watched the last bits of the sunset and read my book for a while. Soon, my lids were droopy too, so I crawled into bed.
We woke up fairly early on our own and packed up our stuff. I took those damn terrible crab cakes and chopped them up with some potatoes and butter and made some AWESOME crab hash. There was so much food left, even though there was so much food we had eaten, it was sad. Since we were moving onto another condo-with-a-kitchen scenario, I took with as much as I could. My backpack looked like a vegetable crisper and our luggage towed things such as red wine and a full family size box of Kix.
We said goodbye to the coast around 11am, and started the drive back to Portland. We drove the route we were planning on biking… and let me tell you… I’m actually really happy we didn’t. There were a lot of very narrow two lane roads and steep terrain. My bike balls are really small and doing that ride would have taken some major cojones.
It was incredibly gorgeous, if rainy and grey. Texas default is rolling farmland, which is pretty, but nothing like the Oregon uber green rainforest which is everywhere besides civilization. This is part of what makes me crush a little on the Pacific Northwest – the uber greenery without the swamp-like conditions.
We stopped at Camp 18 to use the bathroom – the plan was to eat brunch there, but we were all way too full from the “eat all the fridge” fest. It was old logging camp, and the interior had these huge trees used as celing beams. However, I was more excited about the bathroom signs.
We took pictures with Smokey and Sasquatch and moseyed on to the Portland Airport. We were going to check out some waterfalls, but we were just on the edge of having enough time, so we decided to have a nice sit down lunch in the terminal instead at Stanford’s.
Normally when we all sit down to eat together, we order a bottle of wine and an appetizer and all sorts of goodness – none of that today. I got myself a minestrone soup and salad. It’s odd to say, because I ordered it simply because I wanted *something with vegetables*, but it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had with a super garlic-y dressing and delicious sourdough croutons, and pretty damn stellar minestrone to boot.
Our friends got through security just as their flight started to board back to Austin. We settled into the gate next to theirs for the next hour and read our book. Soon, we boarded as well, and we were on our way to the third and final leg of our adventure!