There aren't any kids in these pictures so I can put them on my blog. I don't think I've put pictures on here for years. This year I decided to go on a trip for my birthday. I got some extra money from my tax return, and I just wanted to go do something different. I went up to Oregon because my sister lives in Portland. I flew up Tuesday night and spent the night at her apartment. The next morning (after a stop at Voodoo Donuts for a maple bacon bar) we drove out to the coast and spent a few days there. It was a lot of fun. Our first stop on Wednesday was Cannon Beach. I love Cannon Beach; the town is small and beautiful and the beach is gorgeous. I had originally thought of staying there, but even off-season it was more expensive than I would have liked. We walked down the beach and enjoyed the scenery. It was fairly cold most of the time I was in Oregon; I knew it probably would be when I scheduled the trip, but I like the beach even when it's cold. After Cannon Beach we drove down the coast to Tillamook and went to the cheese factory.
We had lunch at the cheese factory (I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and salad--which came with cheese on it) and spent some time watching the workers cut up and package blocks of cheese. We also got small ice cream cones for dessert and browsed the gift shop. It was really nice to be able to spend as much time as we felt like whenever we went places and to not have to worry about keeping small children happy. After Tillamook we drove down the coast to Lincoln City, where our hotel was. We took the scenic route and stopped at a few pretty spots to look at the ocean. I got a great deal on a big hotel room with two queen beds and a fireplace. The hotel backed right up to the beach so we had a gorgeous view. After we settled in to our room we browsed the phone book to find a restaurant for dinner; I thought Thai food sounded good so we went there. The good thing about the restaurant was that it had cheap food and the service was fast. The bad thing was that the food was not very good. We ordered a lot so we would have leftovers the next day, but it was kind of mediocre and not very flavorful at all. The spring rolls I ordered only had lettuce and a few scraps of carrot in them. Lame. After dinner we stopped by a drugstore and I bought some snacks, bubble bath, and a cheap mystery novel to read in the tub. I think it was mostly a good birthday, though dinner could have been better.
When we woke up on Thursday the weather was rainy and stormy. We were originally scheduled to go whale watching that day, but when we called the charter service they said they needed to cancel their tours. I didn't want to go out on the water in that kind of weather anyways. We decided to drive down to the aquarium in Newport. I thought it was a bit overpriced, but I did learn quite a lot from the exhibits. Once again it was nice to just enjoy it without the kids, although at the same time I did miss them a lot while I was gone. We ate lunch at a little restaurant right on the bay and it was the best food I had on the whole trip. I had fried shrimp and chips and it was fabulous. The shrimp were super fresh and the breading was crisp and tasty. The potatoes were perfectly fried too and even the coleslaw that came with it was divine. After lunch we shopped at the outlet stores for a while. I found some cute clothes for S-Boogie for the summer and got myself a few things too. For dinner that night we just ate our leftover Thai food and sat around and watched TV. I don't have cable and I haven't watched any TV since last year, so it was kind of nice to indulge a bit.
Friday morning the weather was actually sunny and dry. It was a beautiful day. First we went for a hike down to Drift Creek Falls. The trail was fairly muddy and slippery, and we accidentally took a detour that we didn't need to, but the falls and the bridge over them were spectacular. I had worried about doing a hike since I'm not in great shape, but the trail was just the right length for my level of (non)expertise.
After the hike we drove down to Depoe Bay for our whale-watching trip. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. I had been picturing a bigger boat; we actually had reserved a trip on a smaller Zodiac-style boat, so it was just me, my sister, and a couple on their honeymoon, along with the driver. It was really fun being in that little boat zipping along the water. This is kind of a freaky picture of me because it was really hard to get pictures when you're bobbing up and down in a tiny boat. Those seals ended up being the only animals we saw, unfortunately. The entire experience was still really amazing and I would love to do it again. After our boat trip we were really hungry and tired. There was a big Indian casino in town so we thought we'd try the buffet. Unfortunately the food wasn't great, especially not for the price. My prime rib was juicy and delicious but the salmon was dry and my cheesecake was inedible. We learned our lesson about believing the advertisements. That evening we just ended up watching TV again; there was a beautiful sunset outside but my legs were dead from hiking and everything else that day.
Saturday morning we got up, drove to Portland, ate lunch at Burgerville (fresh strawberry shake!), and I got on a plane and flew home. It was a fabulous little trip and I would love to go do it again some time. Next time I will try to eat at better restaurants. And, as much as I love my sister, I would love to go to the Oregon Coast sometime with someone I'm willing to share a bed with.