Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stage 4 - the BROad Trip

After arriving in Portland, Ben jetted off to Taos for a family vacation and Tommy finally joined us again after galavanting in Turkey for the past two weeks. Since Kate and Sarah hail from the grand ol' Rose City, we were able to use it as a home base of sorts and take a brief respite from the road. Many thanks to both of our families for your hospitality, food, and good times! Highlights of our Portland excursions include a hike in the Columbia Gorge, sample tasting at the Portland Farmer's Market, an afternoon at the Sauvie Island beaches, bike tours of the Portland's east side, collecting eggs straight from the coop with Tommy's friend, Abby Conyers, a day of swimming and cliff jumping at Three Pools, and touring the Deschutes, Rogue and Bridgeport ale houses.

Sarah is making the journey south with her boyfriend, so until we meet up in San Francisco it is just Kate and the dudes. The four of us left Portland on the 25th and headed to Oregon's lone National Park, Crater Lake. We made it just in time to hike up to the fire watch outlook point for an incredible view of the lake, Wizard Island, and the surrounding mountains.

The following day we headed southwest towards the famed highway 101, stopping for a quick dip at a little known swimming hole. If you're ever on highway 62 between Medford and Crater Lake, definitely take the turn onto Crowfoot Rd. between mileposts 29 and 30!

Next stop: the Redwoods! After an incredible drive on the Redwood Highway, we backpacked into the "Tall Trees Grove" in Redwood National Park near Orick, CA. This is probably the closest we've all come to feeling like ants among these giant trees, the tallest of which is 370 feet tall!

The entire experience went very smoothly, until we got back to the car the next day and realized we had left our pots and pans at the campground. Whammy! Three points to Kate for running back to get them.

Then we headed to Santa Rosa to tour the Lagunitas Brewery and visit Paul's Aunt Laurie for a scrumptious dinner. Afterward we headed to the local Russian River watering hole, home of two of the top-ranked beers en el mundo. Luckily the day's journey was over since Tommy's good friend Wilson lives just over the hill in Napa Valley. He graciously showed us around the vineyard laden hills for the next few days.

On Monday we headed into the city with Wilson and his friends for the Giant's game that night, making sure to stop for In n' Out on our way. Sadly the giants lost 7-0 to the Cubs despite our fervent enthusiasm for Tim Lincecum. Beer and baseball: this is what happens when the road trip goes 4/5 bro.

For the past few days we've been staying with Silver Spring's finest, Grace Reinhalter, across the bay in Berkeley. We've been showered with hospitality from all of our Bay Area friends and family. We dined on a sailboat with Ben's family friend Annie, toured the Cal campus with Paul's cousin, Carly, and chatted over lunch with the Rosen clan of Paul's family, Mark, Fonda, and their daughter Sasha. We also enjoyed exploring Tilden regional park and sampling world class beers at Toronados. Today we're heading south to Monterrey and Big Sur, so stay posted for more fun times in the golden state.

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