Wow, some 2014 already, eh?

So, not even one month in, and this year had already been quite eventful!

Let’s start with the good stuff.  For this holiday break, Angie and I decided to take a little vacation to Oregon.  I love much of Oregon, have some family there, and Angie’s never been before.  We spend other times during the year traveling to see our various parents and immediate family, so we figured it was time to take a trip somewhere new and exciting.  Also, it would give me a chance to see some cousins and their families, who I haven’t seen in many moons, as well as my 93-year-old Aunt Maggie.

We left for Portland on Christmas Day.  My cousin Cindy’s son (does that make him my 2nd cousin?) Zach and his family graciously let us invite ourselves to their home.  Great food, great time.  A wonderful start to the trip.

We stayed at Cindy’s place for the night.  It’s a cool house on a great piece of property outside of Portland.  I forget, living in LA, how much I miss darkness!  Her husband Steve is a collector of fine knives, and gave me a Leatherman and Angie a Swiss Army knife, as well as a nice flashlight, for Christmas.  These turned out to be handy on the trip!

We went adventuring the next day, with Cindy as our guide.  As you go up the Columbia River from Portland, there are quite a few beautiful waterfalls, culminating with the spectacular Mulnomah Falls.  Lots of photos.

Another good sleep.  Now, we’re ready to hit the road.  (By the way, we thoroughly enjoyed our rental Subaru Outback.  Comfy, hi-tech, and easy to drive.)  Before we left the area, we stopped off at a nature preserve which had a bald eagle’s nest.  We were privileged enough to see one come in and land in it.  Stunning.  Angie, the avid bird watcher, was so thrilled, she could hardly contain herself.

Long drive all the way to the south end of the state.  Destination:  Ashland.  It was a very pretty drive, though, with lots of spectacular scenery, fog, and clouds.  No snow to hinder our progress.

Ashland is a very quaint and hip town.  The Xmas decorations were very nice.  We rented this cool duplex, which was outfitted very 70’s.  But it did have a modern washer/dryer, and full kitchen, and we got it for less than the cost of a decent hotel room!  The plan was to stay for a few days, visit my aunt every day, as well as my cousin Meg (Cindy’s sister) and family.  And to just take in Ashland.

Aunt Maggie & me
Aunt Maggie & me

Maggie was super glad to see me, and to meet Angie.  We hung out with her a few times, and it was real nice.  She’s in an assisted living center, and really doing pretty well.  Meg and her husband Kyle have a great house, and we hung out there a couple of times, went hiking, went out to dinner, stuff like that.  The first night, dinner out was nuts, because it was all of us, plus Kyle’s aunt and uncle and 97-year-old grandmother (who still drives, and is a real pistol!).  Oh, and a friend of Kyle’s, who had us all cracking up the whole meal.  They had picked a Mexican food place, and we were thinking “Oh no, Mexican food in Oregon?”  But it was pretty good.  And they gave us free dessert, as we were celebrating M&K’s anniversary (29 years?!?).  Yummy.

The hike up to Grizzly Peak was great.  It’s been unseasonably warm there, so very little snow, and beautiful hiking weather!  Meg’s son Jordan drove us up there.  He and Meg just go and go, but Angie and I did pretty good keeping up.  More great photos.

Anyway, next post, on to the coast!