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Month: August 2022

Port Orchard, Washington July 5-July12, 2022

Port Orchard, Washington July 5-July12, 2022

We had been looking forward to Port Orchard since booking the quaint “Writer’s Retreat” cottage before we set out. The location was perfect. It was within viewing distance of Puget Sound, 10 minutes away from the Seattle Ferry, and about 2 hours away from Olympic National Park. The cottage was adorable; made from local bricks in the 1920’s and had loads of vintage charm. We enjoyed the option of indoor or patio fires every evening (it was chilly!).

Some highlights of the trip included a fun day in Seattle and dinner with my friend and physician mentor Asif Khan who took us on a tour of the swanky Belleview (home of Microsoft). We drove to the southern-most corner of Olympic National Park and completed a stunning hike. Adrian was able to stop in at a fish camp on the way home and get some delicious smoked salmon.

We lucked out and found some just sensational mountain biking right down the road from our cottage. It felt like riding through a Jurrasic Park mist- complete with with head high green ferns nestled between the redwoods- and more twists and turns than a roller coaster. We also tried out a few local venues, stayed in and cooked, and really just enjoyed the idyllic location. We were sad because we knew the trip was coming to an end. However, there were plenty of amazing places to visit left on our itinerary. The call of home was also starting to sound just a little bit louder.



Oregon, Southern Washington and 4th of July! June 22-July 5, 2022

Oregon, Southern Washington and 4th of July! June 22-July 5, 2022

Before we could make it to Portland, though, we continued our coastal excursions landing in Newport, Oregon. This was a very commercial town that did have a cute waterfront marina area that was a hustling hub of fishing activity. Adrian got to see more of it than he intended because unfortunately, the wi-fi at the Airbnb wasn’t great. He spent two full days at the Barge Inn Tavern conducting meetings over greasy breakfasts and later in the afternoon some happy hour wine. This went on while the locals had some rowdy fun in the background. He might have raised some eyebrows on Zoom that week!

We then camped at Tillamook Campground (Barview Jetty Camground) which was within listening distance of the ocean waves. This was great for sleeping, but again, very cold for beaching. Next, we were headed to Longview, Washington. Longview was also a pretty commercial town. Fortunately, we had an amazing Airbnb with great Wi-Fi, a deck overlooking the redwoods, and felt like we got some rest and reorganization before the big plans of the coming weekend. Woohoo!

While in Longview, we took an early afternoon to go visit Mount Saint Helens, which made a huge impression on us as kids when it erupted in 1980. We got to see the mounain up close, learn much more about the history and do some fantastic hiking. 

Portland turned out to be one of our favorite cities, which was unexpected. There were signs of previous unrest…boarded up shop windows…and there were signs of a homelessness problem. But, there are signs of a homelessness problem everywhere (including our own city of Knoxville). Overall, Portland was pretty, bikeable, safe and had a lot of charm. One of the best parts of the visit was getting to see my good friend Monica. Monica and I became friends when she was a PhD student in Gainesville. She moved out west after graduation, coupled up and had kids, but I hadn’t met them yet.

The next best part of the visit was a downtown Blues festival! And there were fireworks on the fourth of July! Great fireworks over the Willamet River with a playlist of bluesy versions of American standards in the background. Wow! Wow! We stayed at a very cute above the garage apartment in an historic neighborhood close to public transit. We met Monic and Oscar at the blues festival one night, had Monica to ourselves the next, and even went to dinner at their lovely home. It was great to meet their 3 children and see the family in action. The music at the festival was outstanding, highlighted by War and Treaty bringing the house down! What a fabulous weekend all around!!!

Northern California June 10- June 24

Northern California June 10- June 24

The drive up Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Monterey and on to Half Moon Bay is famous for a reason. Stunning, beautiful, gorgeous- it is easy to run out of adjectives. The coastline is rugged with small bays carved out by whipping wind and pounding waves punctuated by sea stacks jutting up into the horizon. The towns were charming, especially Carmel-By-The-Sea. If you have not seen it, it feels fairy tale-ish. Cottages and homes- some with thatched roofs-coalesce in a walkable neighborhood overlooking a beautiful and rare stretch of California sandy beach. This town is going on the list of places to move to if we suddenly become multi-millionaires!

It was good that the drive was stunning because it was long! We made it to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a bucket list item for Adrian and had a great time. We even attempted to see the famous “Mavericks” surfing area in Half Moon Bay, but never got accurate directions. Also, I think we were tired and cold (yes- it was very cool along the coast, even in June) and were ready to be done with the drive. So we headed east toward Oakland where we would get to spend another week with Drew and Erika!

 “Welcome to Oakland Bitchesss!” ( hear Chris Rock in your head). This is pretty spot on. What a contrast between Oakland and the more “sophisticated hippie” vibe of Berkeley. Drew and Erika have a fantastic historic apartment with beautiful wood floors and doors and lots of windows and light.  We cooked at their place several times, played cards, and explored the neighborhoods. We ventured into Oakland for dinner one evening and ended up being filmed for a local television show called “Check Please”. As of right now, it has not aired yet but we are eagerly awaiting our starring debut. We wandered into a goth bar complete with skeletons on the ceilings and realized that there was something big happening. San Francisco was winning a basketball championship and we got to see the final 2 minutes and celebrate with the crowds as if we had known all along ;). Adrian and I took Drew to Point Reyes National Seashore to hike and visit the lighthouse while Erika was working. This is now one of the images I visualize when needing to go to a mental happy place. And we saw whales!!

To complete the adventure, we took the BART to San Francisco and ended up in a neighborhood music festival in little Italy. The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day in one of my favorite cities. We had a glorious time. Drew treated us to a delicious dinner in Japan Town and we successfully navigated the BART right back to Oakland. Easy Peasy. Having great public transportation is a such a treat, but not as great a treat as having Drew be our tour guide for the week. I was sad to say goodbye but grateful for the opportunity and time.

We made it up the coast to Fort Bragg and stayed in the small town of Rio Del, which is just a bit inland. From there we did a bit of exploring, bike riding, and had great tacos at a local pub. Our airbnb had a beautiful deck and yard, so some relaxing was in order. It was a nice place to spend the work-week, but I was pretty excited about our next stop. The Downtown 4th of July Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon!! And we were on the road again.