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Pacific Northwest Excursion - Day Two
We awoke refreshed and had no problem being ready for the 8 a.m. breakfast we had requested. Becky served breakfast on the huge wood slab table in the dining room. The first course was fresh raspberries and cream, accompanied by big, buttery croissants. The second course consisted of very good individually baked egg and cheese dishes with potatoes on the bottom, with a side of pepper bacon. During breakfast, we spoke with a woman who was in Tacoma on business (we would love to stay in a b&b while on business!). She worked for a company that was headquartered not far from our home. We inquired about Highway 5 - was it always that bad? Both she and Becky assured us that south of Tacoma, the traffic should be much lighter. We packed our things, thanked Becky and Greg (who laughingly promised to keep the sprinklers turned off while we loaded the car), and programmed Maggie for our next trip. The weather was cooperating. It was quite a bit cooler than at home, and there were some clouds in the sky, but no rain, and we were comfortable in shorts.
We were headed to Hood River, Oregon that day, but had planned a stop at a point we thought would be just right for lunch - McMenamins at Edgehill , in Troutdale, Oregon. Maggie told us it would take approximately 2.5 hours, and she was right. Of course, when we got close to McMenamins, there was road construction and we could not quite reach our destination. We turned around and asked Maggie to show us another route, and she took us around a long country block to reach our destination. McMenamins has several locations, and brews their own beer. Several of the locations also have lodging (including Edgefield).
We chose Edgefield because there was also a winery on site. We ate lunch at their Power Station Pub. Lori had a very good cheeseburger, with homemade chips that she couldn't get enough of. Keith had a grilled chicken sandwich, and Lori helped him to finish his chips. Keith had some of McMenamins wheat beer on tap. This was quite a complex, with an outdoor beer garden, a more upscale restaurant, lodging, and the winery. We walked over to the winery after lunch and did a tasting. It was $5 to taste 6 wines, but they were very healthy pours. We purchased two bottles of their sparkling wine, which we considered a bargain at $12 per bottle. The woman behind the tasting bar was very friendly and conversational.
We got back in the car, headed east on Route 84 towards Hood River. We saw a sign for an exit for some of the waterfalls, so we took the exit. It went along the old Historic Columbia River Highway. The first waterfall we came to was Wahkeena falls, which we could see right from the road. We parked the car and walked closer to get a better look. Wahkeena falls drop 242 feet.
It was shortly after 5, and again we were hungry since our stomachs were still on east coast time. If you are handicapped or have trouble getting around, Hood River may not be the best place to visit. It is full of hills and steps. We got a workout walking up Oak Street (the main drag in Hood River). We had picked up a directory to Hood River dining at our hotel and had a few places in mind to check out. We went 5 blocks up Oak and then turned down towards the water, where we found the 6th Street Bistro and Loft, 509 Cascade Street, Hood River, OR 541-386-5737. It was a beautiful day, and we chose to dine at a table on the upper deck. We had decided to try local things whenever possible, and Lori was happy to see there was a sparkling wine from Argyle on the wine list, which is what we chose (Lori had planned a later stop at Argyle winery). Our server was pleasant and asked us if we were celebrating anything. We just smiled and said, "vacation." We were in for one of the best meals we had on this trip. We were served wonderful herbed warm bread (we asked for seconds). Keith had a side salad with herb feta dressing. We split some chips and fresh salsa. The salsa was some of the best we have ever had - tasty and had some heat to it. It had just the right consistency - not too chunky, yet solid enough that it stayed on the tortilla chips. We ate ALL of the salsa. Keith had some penne pasta with mozzarella and parmesan in olive oil and garlic sauce with tomato and onion, while Lori ordered pad thai with shrimp. The meal was so savory that we just sat back and relaxed and enjoyed all of the fresh, complex flavors.
Afterwards, we decided to walk off dinner. We walked uphill a
couple blocks - and these are serious, very steep hills. They
could have used steps - no kidding. Oh well, it was good for
us. Then we got to walk downhill about five blocks, as we headed
to Big Horse Brew Pub, 115 State Street, Hood River, OR
541-386-4411. It is a nice-looking place with a man-made waterfall
out front. It is a hike up many more steps, but is worth the
hike. We went up to the bar on the top floor, called Horsefeathers,
which has a loft for entertainment (the band members have to climb
up a ladder). It was open mic night, and the live music began
early. One began singing, accompanying himself on guitar, and
more joined in. Climbing the ladder pretty much knocked out the
possibility of female performers wearing skirts or dresses unless
they were exhibitionists (there were diners immediately below). The
performers hung a pitcher down by a rope for tips. Keith tried their
"Hoof-a-Weizen" and Lori sipped wine. We enjoyed the impromptu acts,
which started early (we think they started at 6) and ended at 10. We
stayed nearly until the end, and then walked downhill for one block
to our accommodations and crashed.
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