Monday, July 17, 2017

Portland and the Home of Giant Berries

Heading north from Silver Falls quickly brought us back into Portland.  It was the first place we stopped in Oregon, and we were ready to get more time with some good friends here.  This time in Portland, we were not feeling like we needed to do "big city stuff", because we'd already done it two months ago.
We got to explore a little more like locals.  Friends took us berry picking on Sauvie Island. 

I thought I'd seen some berries before, but I was so wrong!  The variety of berries that Oregon produces is just amazing!  Holding these gigantic boysen berries made me feel like a scene out of James and the Giant Peach.
After our baskets and bellies were full, we headed further up the island for some beach time on the Columbia River.
Seems like Blossom is a true beach girl at heart.  She at least did her best to thoroughly soak in her last days in Oregon.
The next morning, we all woke up to the smell of berry pies coming out of the oven!  I am not ashamed to say that I ate pistachios and warm berry pie for dinner tonight.  No regrets.
We are sad to be leaving these friends and amazing Portland hosts.  We are also sad that it is our last night in Oregon.  Time to head home.  Not straight home, mind you... but a nearly 3,000 miles of driving awaits us, so we're reluctantly going to get started.
Loved Oregon so much.  It's definitely secured a place in our hearts.

We need a break!

All this vacationing has worn us out!  After Rainbow Gathering, OCF and a little meltdown from a 6 year old, we decided some down time was needed.  Back to the woods we headed...
We grabbed a camp spot on the river, at the trailhead to Bagby Hot Springs.  Not quite as magical as Cougar, but a perfect way to relax and clean up a bit, too! 
 The hike in to the hot springs was 1.5 miles and so beautiful!
 Blossom quickly made a campsite friend, and as they played all day, Bobby slept and I finished my Tom Robbins book (such a fun book, but a very slow read - it took me about 6 weeks to get through!).  It was the break we all needed to unwind.

After a couple nights at Bagby, we trekked about an hour West to Silver Falls State Park.  We camped here for 2 more nights and explored the beautiful waterfalls that are all such short hikes from one another.
Blossom and I were both enamored with all the wildflowers here.
She even took to drawing imaginary pictures of them as we walked the trails.
Blossom sure was a trooper, even though she didn't feel like one every day.  So much to see at this park left her sometimes feeling like she was all done with hiking!  But she kept finding new fun discoveries around each corner that helped her continue on.
This was such a lovely park!  It was also very crowded with other Summer travelers, and a good transition back to the road.


After we left the Rainbow Gathering, we drove the 4 hours back to Bend, picked up the van, returned the rental car, did a load of laundry, restocked the cooler and drove another 4 hours to Eugene.  We were headed to spend the weekend at the Oregon Country Fair.  By the time our tent was set up in the Fair campground and we finally collapsed on our sleeping mats, it was midnight.

The Oregon Country Fair (OCF) did not disappoint!

So much art, music, food.  We tried to walk and see everything on the first day and found that to be pretty impossible!  The next two days were spent at a slower pace exploring more nooks and crannies of the property and meeting up with friends to see music.
 Blossom loved all of it!  She was pulled around in the wagon since the crowds could get pretty intense at times, and I wanted to keep her close.  This saved all her energy for climbing tree houses, dancing and finding special treats like a live action video game!
We really loved this festival and can't wait to come back another year!


This picture is of Blossom as happy as a clam... in the backseat of a tow truck.  The rest of us were not grinning so big.  We left Eugene excited to camp at Crater Lake.  We drove through beautiful mountains and almost made it to the lake when our van decided to quit.  We had it towed an hour to Bend, Oregon to find out it needed a new transmission.

We ended up spending the week walking around Bend.
We visited the farmers market, played in the river, explored parks and a Makers Studio, drank lots of Humm Kombucha (seriously... so good!), and even saw a movie at a brewery.  We probably spent a nearly equal amount of time snacking on serviceberries from seemingly untouched trees outside the brewery.

It seemed like a great town, but we were ready to go by the end of the week.  Unfortunately, our van was not ready for us yet.  With a holiday weekend approaching, we were looking at spending another 4 or 5 days a motel.  One of the big reasons we came to the Oregon was to attend the Rainbow Gathering and it started that Saturday.  We decided to rent a car and hit the road.  4 hours later and we were pulling a wagon of camping supplies in to the Malheur National Forest in Eastern Oregon.
Was so nice to unplug for the week and just join community.  We stayed until Thursday and came back to Bend to a fixed up van, ready to hit the road!

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