Monday, June 27, 2011

On the road to London, 2012

Two shots from out our windows at E-ville of the remediation work on the Sherwin-Williams site, and our 2012 Olympics order forms, with 33 events.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Week Three, Tieton and Crater Lake

Week Three Highlights, Second Half, semi-abbreviated

Pics: In and around Tieton (including a golden eagle in a blue blue sky) and a few from Prosser, and several from Crater Lake (think snow)

Day 15: Breakfast same same but different, this time with bananas on the side, $25. We decide to depart, unwilling to face another rainy day on the Olympic Peninsula. Cost of the Lake Quinalt Lodge: $140/night (including a myriad of taxes, donations and fees).

Hit the road to Tieton: almost the entire ride of 4+ hours is in the rain and overcast, no views of either Mt. Rainier (on our left) or Mt St. Helens (on our right) as we flow through the valley between the two. We opt not to stop at Mt. Rainer NP, since it could be snowing (again) at any (lower) altitude and the mountain is heavily encased in fog/clouds (we sure can’t see it, and it’s huge). As we make it through the pass (and by a ski resort, there’s still plenty of snow though the place is closed), the sun breaks out, the sky turns blue, and the temperature soars into the low 60s. DAMN!!!!

More weather reporting: from locals’ lips to THB’s ears to your eyes, the locals everywhere are talking about how cold, rainy, and/or windy April and May have been in the state of Washington. Supposedly record cold, sometimes record rainfall (3” in one day in Yakima Valley), and lots of wind when it wasn’t drizzly and overcast. THB is not making up his view of the last two weeks, the locals are just telling him that he should’ve been here for the last 9 weeks to truly feel their pain.

We are staying (extended by arriving a night early) in a cottage owned by a Seattle jewelry artist, Lori Talcott. The place is quite cute, and a very good set-up, reminiscent of the Silver Jack Motel except way nicer - and no deconstructed cottage next door or an apparently abandoned gas station out front - hey, it’s nothing like the SJM, this is great!!!

Sharon gives us a tour of Tieton Cider Works (inside joke, it is one large garage and a pad outside for the crusher) and we taste several of the products, some from the tank, some from the bottle, two made from strictly from apples, one that used apricots blended with apples.

Dinner in Yakima, at the old Greystone’s, now North 5 (or is it 5 North?): shared chick pea salad, chicken ravioli (DB), short ribs and mashed potatoes (good combo) and green beans (THB), shared dense chocolate torte, drink, glass of wine and beer, $90.

Day 16: Wake up to blue skies, temps in the 50s and a stiff breeze from the north. Time for coffee and some Wagner’s cinnamon bread toast, then a walk around downtown Tieton. Since the downtown walk takes a total of 2.5 minutes, we decide to venture slightly further, out to the burbs (another inside joke) and apple orchards. Grape nuts and fruit for second breakfast.

This is it, boys and girls: A GORGEOUS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No rain, soft clouds off in the distance, mid-60s…AWESOME. Who sez the weather affects THB’s mood?

We drive south of Tieton (and Yakima) for about an hour to get to Prosser. There, about 15 wineries have congregated just off the highway in a small enclave. You park at one and can walk to the rest (some are just tasting rooms, most are the full winery with huge tasting rooms). We taste at 3 (or was it four…or five?) spots and eat outside at Bunnell Winery’s restaurant, Wine O’clock. Charred romaine salad, mole salumi (from Salumi in Seattle) pizza, ice tea, $35…all excellent. We’re done, except, our waitress is a temptress and gets us to try some of their top level rhone style reds and we throw in a viognier, three for $8. Then she brings us an extra red, then another extra red. She is very knowledgeable, clearly has taken some sommelier courses. We buy 3 Mouvedre and 3 of a rhone style blend called Vif (we’ve run into this before, these wineries make up strange names for the blends!), about $40/btl. Back to one of the earlier spots, Aviator, where we buy three bottles each of sauvignon blanc and viognier. This area seems to be predominantly red wine oriented, similar to Paso Robles.

On the way back: Mt. Rainier has come (most of the way) out of the clouds…tons of snow! OOPS, turns out that this is not Rainier, Baker, Hood or St Helens, it is Mt. Adams! Hmmm…

Dinner at Sharon and Craig’s: cheese and crackers followed by bbq’d salmon con salsa of olive, grapes, leeks and shallots, forbidden rice, succotash, and b’day “cake” for dessert (see pic; three of us hit 62 n the last 3 months), and a variety of ciders, and the Mouvedre. Excellente!

Day 17: Pastry from Panaderia: big fluffy torpedo roll, faux sugar croissant, and THB’s big surprise, a Danish with cream cheese and jalapenos, $2.60 (yes, $2.60). And, today is the warmest day of the trip (by far) with temps going into the 70s with little wind.

Another meet-up at S&C, Sharon and DB go for a walk in Cowiche Canyon and Craig fixes up one of his bikes and THB heads out on the most impressive mountain bike he’ll ever ride. THB manages to avoid the mountains, and stays on the trails, gravel roads, and regular roads without touching a mountain or a hill, just gentle slopes.

Lunch on the deck: chickpea salad with apricots, cheese and crackers, bread, cherries, and cookies. The cherries are from CA, and because of the wet weather hitting Stockton, maybe the last cherries we’ll get from Bay Area.

After lunch, Craig gives us a tour (on an ATV with flatbed) of the various orchards surrounding the house; they have 40 different plots with pears, apples, apricots, and cherries, in various planting styles (old fashioned, trellises in different variations, etc.). THB’s head spins…and that was before we get the tour of the spiral planting of trees (aside: if ya want an eclectic travel/outside art read, try Spiral Jetta) that is on the Tieton Cider Works logo.

Before we head to the Mighty Tieton gala (open house where Trimpin has his studio and the artist lofts open house next door), THB notices that the car has a flat tire. Sharon calls to the farm foreman, and a crew of three shows up to change the flat, with all the essential tools. That’s when we find out the spare is a brand new, never been used Michelin…phew, not one of those donut style tires (this is a 2000 Lexus with 64,000 miles on it). We’ll risk the remaining14-15 hours of driving with a dead spare.

In the meantime, DB has been all through the Mighty Tieton, and THB catches up. There’s not a lot to see, the Trimpin pieces are interesting: he makes large musical instruments out of odd parts and weird controls, and we heard him speak and play a huge assembled set of clogs in 2006. There are prints and photographs by various artists in the lofts open space, some of high quality. Sharon has a table set-up for tasting various ciders, a nice complement to the art.

For dinner, we head up to S&C’s, eat outside on the deck, Sharon has whipped up assemble-it-yourself (AIY?) chicken tacos, lots of various ciders, and pear cake and strawberries for dessert. DB starts to feel poorly, so we head back to rest up for departure tomorrow.

Then end to a lovely day (even if DB is feeling poorly, she appreciated the day); as they say here: the best day of the year…two days in a row!!

Day 18: DB is up and feeling better. We attribute late yesterday to tooooooo much sun. Noooooooo problema: today it is cool and overcast. And, as we head to Crater Lake it starts to rain, then rain hard, the soften and transition to drizzle…for hours. Summer is over, fall is here now!

Breakfast on the last of the Wagner’s cinnamon bread, coffee, grape nuts and fruit. Off to Crater Lake, with a stop in Bend for lunch at Hola’s, a Peruvian/Mexican place (fortunately, not raining). Enchiladas en mole para DB, the chile relleno burrito para THB, con una Hibiscus iced Tea, $24.

Arrive at Crater Lake, the good news is we don’t need chains. The bad news: there is a ton of snow all over (15+ feet high in places, the visitor center can’t open its windows, and there’s no point anyway), no walking or hiking, you have to come in through the south entrance (no circumnavigating the lake via car, the north entrance is closed), and with the overcast the lake is not that gorgeous deep blue in the pictures (we get just a hint of it in one corner when the sun comes out).

Pre-game snack of cheese and fruit with gimlets ($23) and dinner of salad and crab cake (DB) and chicken breast and veggies (THB) and a glass of wine, $65.

Day 19:
Again up early, pancakes at the CL Lodge (DB’s are strangely extra sour), $20 with coffee. Lodging for the night: $227 (at least we were on the second floor with a view of the lake). And, of course, it is overcast and quite cool; since the Lodge is at 7100 feet, that drives the temps into the high 30s.

Long morning of driving (mostly raining, sometimes thick and heavy), lunch in Red Bluff (pastrami dip for THB, veggie burger for DB, iced tea, $27). Three hours of driving in the afternoon (some rain), and back to E-ville, in time for pizza dinner and bridge for THB.