Friday, October 20, 2017

Pacific Northwestern Exposure

Did you know that the television show Northern Exposure was filmed not too far from Portland?  Since we've moved here we've done a bit of television tourism and Northern Exposure was one of my favorite shows, so it was only a matter of time before we made it out to Roslyn, WA.

We started by heading up the scenic Columbia River Gorge for some breakfast.

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We noticed some totem poles by the restaurant and got a little curious.

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Apparently, there is a very large totem pole in Kalama, WA.

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But I mean very large. It is also right by the road. We've driven by it multiple times and haven't ever noticed it. That's probably because we're always too busy with vampire tourism.

When we got close to Tacoma Eddy had to pee, so we stopped at a Pro Bass (which incidentally originates in my hometown.)

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We also made a brief stop at Snoqualmie Falls, where the intro to the original Twin Peaks was filmed (because TV tourism.)

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Also it's breathtakingly beautiful.

Finally we made it to Roslyn!

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First stop The Brick, obviously.

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There's still tons of fun Northern Exposure sights around the main drag,

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as well as a few non-Northern Exposure sights.

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But as with any trip to nearby WA, the most exciting part is always getting to pump your own gas.

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Now, if you haven't seen Northern Exposure, or if you haven't seen it in awhile, I highly recommend watching it. Now. Do it now.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hellstrip

Did you know that the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street is sometimes referred to as the hellstrip?  Just one of the many useful things I've learned on Pinterest.  Since we moved into this house, our hellstrip has been a mess.  It was grass and some unattractive bushes and we've just never been good at maintaining lawns.  This summer we let the grass entirely die out (which I am sure our neighbors appreciated) and this fall we played chicken with the weather to install some new landscaping before the rains set it.

Here's what our hellstrip looked like at the end of the summer.

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Pretty dismal, I know. So we rented this tiller and then it was full-on dust bowl.

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Seriously, it's been so drought-y this summer that it was as if Eddy turned into Pigpen from The Peanuts for an entire afternoon.

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Did I mention that we did all of this work with our front windows open? Oops. The next day we bought some plants to fill in where the grass used to be.

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This is Eddy using a drill to dig holes for these plants. That's how hard packed the dry soil was (and also how nutty Eddy was that day.) Finally, we completed the fastest ever mulch job and made it inside just moments before a downpour that lasted three days.

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True story.

Next weekend we got out there and added some pretty boulders and the last of the tiny succulents we bought the previous weekend.

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Handsome, strong Eddy put them in place

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and planted the rest of our tiny succulents.

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Here's the finished hellstrip!

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Hellishness officially reduced.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Let 'er Buck

Have you ever heard of the Pendleton Round-Up?  The Round-Up is an outdoor rodeo that has been operating in Pendleton, OR since 1910 and is ranked among the best rodeos in the world.

We were excited.

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There was even a countdown on the scoreboard that let us know to the second when the Grand Entry would begin.

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Let me tell you something. The Pendleton Round-Up did not disappoint.

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Compared to the Houston Rodeo, which we used to attend each year as Houstonians, Pendleton was shockingly un-structured. During events, the cowboys and cowgirls just hung out on the field watching.

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This led to some folks actually being run over by a bucking bronc (who was no longer bucking, but was nevertheless plenty dangerous.)

There were also some bull riding shenanigans. First, one of the gates broke down while one of the riders was getting set in the chutes and a bull was released before anyone was ready. That would be lucky cute #13.

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They had to scramble to get the bull contained and fix the door before the rodeo could continue. Second, a bull named Cutie (which was LOLz to begin with) broke out of the pens after they thought he was fully contained and while he ran amok with cowboys and cowgirls sitting just outside the temporary PVC fences yet another bull escaped and both had to be run down before the show could go on. See what I mean about how it was a little less structured than the Houston Rodeo? During the hubbub, the announcer reminisced about *other* crazy mishaps of the Pendleton Round-Up, which basically confirmed that we should probably go every single year to this event.  Thankfully no one that day was seriously injured.

The best thing we saw, however, was one of the entertainers who performed between the events. This dude had a mustang and two dogs and he had trained the mustang to pull this car out onto the field while the dogs rode on the hood. At the end of the dog and pony show, the horse actually got into the car and sat down while the dude drove his furry friends off-field.

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So seriously, we saw a horse riding in a car.

After the rodeo, we got to go down onto the field for a picnic BBQ dinner where we snapped some pictures by the chutes.

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After the rode AND the BBQ we enjoyed the Happy Canyon show, which had a truly amazing set with some pretty sweet effects.

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Horses rode up to the top levels of the set, there were scenes inside a light up cave, folks fell into a waterfall, and we learned all about how the white man is terrible to Native Americans.

The next day we visited the Pendleton Woolens Mill (one of my favorite Portland area factories.)

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I basically freaked the eff out about how amazing wool roving and yarn-making and textile mills are.

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At the end of the tour was a small but amazing museum.

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And the best part is that we left with this gorgeous blanket.

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A woman stopped me in the parking lot to tell me that her mother used to work at Pendleton Mills and she had a blanket just like ours in the 1970s (which I took as a huge compliment.)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

When asked what we do in Portland, I usually say that we research weird things to do and then we show up to them.  Exhibit 1: The Portland Adult Soapbox Derby.  It's exactly what it sounds like.

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It's a soapbox derby. But with adults. Adults with loads of free time.

Below are some yacht rock enthusiasts.

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Steve Zissou fans.

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Many of the adults have killer engineering skills.

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This WALL-E could move his head and arms and make WALL-E noises.  Below is a Nautilus that sprayed water on spectators.

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Watching the launches was pretty fun.

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As with all of Portland the best part was the Miyazaki fans there.

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This cat bus was our very favorite.

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We only stayed for a couple of hours because we didn't really know what to expect.  Next year we'll be there with a cooler and chairs for the long haul.  Obviously.