Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

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Let me preface this by telling you that I think I’ll only cover Portland & Forks in this post – if I were to blog about the entire vacation in one post, no one would read it (but maybe my Momma) because it would be too long. That being said…here we go!

Airborne….and medicated!

I was completely spastic about this flight because it takes five and a half hours to get from Atlanta to Seattle. I’m not so friendly with airplanes until I’ve been medicated, but once I have those pills – things are good to go. As you can see in the picture above, I’m on a plane & I’m completely cool with it. Only because of drugs. Both of my flights were smooth & I had a little TV set in the headrest in front of me as well as a book & a magazine to distract me – plus, I had a window seat & I spent a lot of time peering out the window to see what I could see. Terrified of heights & flying, but give me those pills & all I can do is look out the window to see how high up we are & see how tiny everything looks from 5,000 feet. Go figure.
Seattle at night….so pretty at sunset!

I didn’t have any complications getting to Seattle, getting my luggage & getting to the hotel. Unfortunately Lindsey got a little delayed, but by about 11:30 (Seattle time – which felt like about 1:30 to me) we were reunited. There was not a lot of conversation – we had both had long days, so we hugged a lot & crashed. We had big plans to get to Portland the next day as quick as we could – we were ready to explore & knew we didn’t have much time. Also – we were going to see Dee, one of my sweet best friends that I’ve known since I was about 10 but hadn’t seen in over 2 years! Lindsey & I had about a 2 hour car ride to get all caught up & discuss important things, so we took care of all that. Portland was really a neat place – we found Dee & her husband Chris lickety split & we were off to get some lunch. We went to a place that Lindsey & I thought was absolutely awesome. It was this big open area with tables set out & parked around the tables on 3 sides were food trucks selling all kinds of things. There was a truck called Burgatroyd that sold tons of different burgers (I’ll get back to this in a minute) a truck that sold waffles; I’m talking waffle sandwiches, waffles with fruit, waffles with bacon…Lindsey & I were torn after we saw the waffle truck. There was a truck that sold Oriental food – some kind of Kim chi burritos & all that jazz (not my cup of tea, but Dee & Chris were digging in) and there was a truck that had down home Southern cooking – straight from Vicksburg Mississippi! Lindsey & I both decided on Burgatroyd – everything just sounded way too delicious but we went with a good ol burger. Lindsey got a burger that had pineapple & all kinds of other goodness (I honestly don’t remember) & I got a burger that had barbecue sauce, onion rings & Swiss cheese. They were both divine.
Chowing down on some of Portland’s finest!
Just a few of the food trucks…and Dee!

Dee & Chris were awesome to spend the day with – they’ve lived in Portland for about 3 years now & they knew the perfect spots to take us & just the right sights to show us. They took us in some quirky shops near their apartment; we went in a store that sold nothing but light bulbs & it was big enough that you could get lost in all the aisles of bulbs: pink, blue, green, red, patterned, night lights of all kinds. They showed us 2 houses made of completely recycled materials. Chris took over the driving (thank the Lord) and they took us all over town. We went to the top of a big hill to see the Pittock Mansion which offered some amazing views of the city of Portland. Dee summed up the Pittock Mansion by telling us that the Pittocks were the wealthiest people in early Portland & so they built their mansion on a hill so they could look down on all the peons in Portland. That was a good enough description for me – Lindsey read the plaques though, maybe she could tell you more. 🙂 They took us around the quirkier communities in town, we got Bubble Tea & bought chocolates at Moonstruck Chocolates & then we ventured down the the Willamette River & wandered around a bit, before eating supper at a place called Harvey’s in Portland – it was delicious – and then we explored Powell’s Books – the worlds largest bookstore. You know how you see commercial that say “there’s an app for that”?? Well Powell’s Books – there’s an app for that.
Portland – and Mt. Hood from the Pittock Mansion

Lindsey & I took Dee, Chris & Goob (their cat) to the hotel they were staying at for the night – they moved to North Caroline the day after we visited, so they had a final hurrah with us – and then we went to our hotel. We stayed at The Kennedy School, which I had found online & Dee had also suggested to me. It was an elementary school in the early 1900’s and once they closed it in the 1970’s, McMenamins bought the place & converted it into a hotel! It was certainly one of the more unique places I’ve ever stayed before. Detention was a cigar bar, the Honors room was also a bar (apparently you get to party whether you’ve been bad or good) and the old auditorium has been converted into a movie theater & if you’re staying at the hotel you get into the movies for free. The gym was turned into a banquet area & all the classrooms are now guest rooms, still complete with chalk boards for your writing, drawing & doodling pleasure. Lindsey & I weren’t actually there for very long, but we did manage to explore the place pretty thoroughly before we set out on our drive the next day.
I’ve already finished the Spring Reading List…have you?

I said at the beginning that I’d talk about Portland & Forks, but I totally forgot that we stopped off in Astoria on the way between the two! I’m not sure how I forgot about Astoria because it was absolutely beautiful. Astoria is on the coast of Oregon & a friend of Lindsey’s had recommended it to us, so we decided to stop in, which was an excellent decision. The views were amazing & we ate at this little cafe that was so wonderful – it was one of those hole in the wall places that you’d never think to stop into (thank you Fodor’s travel guide for the suggestion) but once you were there, you knew it was going to be good. They served this freshly made bread with garlic, jalapeno & chili pepper jams, which might not sound so good, but trust me when I say it was delicious. They had crepes, which Lindsey & I both had – I got green apple & Lindsey got fruit compote – they were great. There was this very cute guy sitting at the counter by us & he was telling us all about how good the sturgeon grilled cheese was. Sadly, he left before I could try to sneak him into a picture. I’m not so sure about that grilled cheese, but he was very yummy. Ha-ha! After we ate, we drove to the top of Coxcomb Hill where the Astoria Column is located. The Astoria Column was built in 1911 & you climb up about 100+ steps to the top for panoramic views – Lindsey climbed to the top, I didn’t. I don’t do heights if you’ll remember. Plus, the views at the base of the column were pretty spectacular as it was.
Beautiful – right?

Once we left Astoria, we had about a 3 hour drive to Forks but the scenery was so completely fascinating. There was rugged coast for a little while but before long it turned into amazingly dense forest with more green than I’ve ever seen in my life but later while the green & forests remained we reaches the Pacific Ocean & we had forest on one side & the coastline on the other. We went through all these sleepy little towns that were named for Indian tribes, most of them looked like they’d been there for years. After 3 hours we were rewarded with an awesome sign as we rounded the corner & came out of the dense forest: Forks!
OK – now where is Edward Cullen?

I will preface the next part of this entry by telling you that I am a Twilight geek. I will confess to it. So is my sister – so we definitely had quite a few moments over the next 48 hours. Our Mom had found a place called The Cullen House that was a B&B that supposedly matched almost perfectly the description that Stephanie Meyers gives of the Cullen home in “Twilight”. We were so thrilled with the house – the couple that run the place just had so much of the house perfectly detailed with parts of the book that we were have little freak outs pretty consistently for the first hour that we arrived in Forks. The couple that owned the house are used to that though, they just went right along with us.
The Cullen House & just one example of their attention to detail.

Lindsey & I spent the next day exploring the beaches of La Push, looking around the Quileute Reservation & exploring the town of Forks. They have locations from the books mapped out all over town & they’re pretty easy to find because Forks is basically a 2 stoplight town – it really is kind of a hole in the wall, but it was an awesome hole in the wall. We had numerous moments of pure geek out seeing all the sights that are mentioned in the book. The story of Forks is really pretty fascinating in & of itself – the town is a logging town but was really almost on the point of collapse when Stephanie Meyer decided to set her books in the town of Forks. Since the book was published on October 5, 2005 the town has seen a seriously dramatic upswing in tourists & now has tourism to thank as it’s number one source of income – people come from quite literally all over the globe to visit this little 2 stoplight town that is the setting for their favorite books. Its amazing. I took a picture of the United States map in the Chamber of Commerce; it is covered in pins…I mean, pins everywhere. The girl at the Chamber of Commerce told us that before Twilight came out, the board averaged about 25-30 pins a year. Insane. There is also a map of the world & it has just as many if not more pins on it.
So. Many. Pins.

The beaches were so gorgeous – completely different from the sandy, bright aqua beaches that I was used to seeing but absolutely amazing in their own way. We hiked to Second Beach & let me tell you, they make you work for your beach experience in Washington – we walked through a forest so dense that once you stepped onto the trail & walked a few steps, it was like the world outside the forest disappeared. We were enveloped in greenery, the sound of birds & the gentle pitter patter of raindrops falling onto the canopy of leaves above our heads; and yes, it rained. A lot. The Pacific Northwest, where Forks is located specifically is a temperate rain forest & Forks gets on average 10 feet of rain a year. When we were there, it was late March & they’d already gotten over 7 feet of rain. Once we emerged from the forest & onto the beach, we had to climb over & around numerous fallen pieces of driftwood that littered the edge of the forest, but from there it was nothing but dark sand, huge rock formations & crashing waves. The tide was out, so we tried to look for tide pools but it was a little difficult – it was raining so hard it was almost coming down sideways & it was only about 50 degrees outside. We wandered the beach for a good 20 minutes taking pictures, hopping around in the sand & surf & then we headed for the shelter of the trees. We drove to First Beach, which was much like Second Beach & then headed for Rialto Beach, which we explored since the rain had let up. There were more rock formations – also called sea stacks – but the beach was covered in not sand, but millions of gorgeous, smooth polished stones. We collected some for our pockets, took pictures, dodged the waves & headed for the car. I took quite a few pictures…here are just a couple…the first two are from Second Beach & the second two are from Rialto Beach.
So gorgeous!

The people of Forks & La Push have really embraced the whole Twilight craze. Lindsey & I ate at a restaurant called Sullys, which was just your run of the mill burger joint but they offered something called the Bella Burger, which had Swiss cheese & was served with fangs. The local grocery store/outdoor store sells name tags that say Bella S & they often page Bella Swan over the loudspeaker. It is a pretty neat thing that people have just taken it all in stride & added a little bit of Twilight to their every day life. I couldn’t see spending an extended period of time in Forks – but I told Lindsey that it would really be nice to have a little house there & be able to spend about 5 days just relaxing, walking the beach & exploring tide pools, watching the rain & just taking a time out. If you happen to be a fan of Twilight, Forks is most certainly a place you want to go.
The Vampire Threat…high, but not dangerous
Bill & Susan – they work for the Cullens. 🙂
Jacob Black’s house

I’m going to end this post – Lindsey & I ventured on to Victoria & Seattle, but this post is already so long, so I’ll leave that story for another day…soon.

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