Aug 262014
 

My besties planned my bachelorette party. I had no idea what they were planning. My maid of honor, Rachel, set up a private Facebook account for her and the other ladies involved to discuss and plan in secret. Even when the day finally came, I had NO idea what was planned other than it wasn’t going to be your typical party–doing shots, staying out all night, going to clubs, etc etc. I was a-okay with that. I am getting older and the idea of doing shots sounds awful and even more awful? Trying to stay awake until 2am! Gawd I’m old. I’m not a huge fan of surprises because I am such a control freak, but it was kind of nice not being involved in any of the planning and just anticipating the event. Rachel said it was going to be a “day of shit Lisa loves”.

I did a quick mini workout at the gym Saturday morning, had a small breakfast and Michael drove me downtown to meet up with friends. It was Rachel (maid of honor), the bridesmaids: Erika, Robyn and my cousin Anna, as well my friend Samantha who is doing a reading at the wedding. We all arrived and we got in the tour van for EverGreen Escapes. It was driven by Dylan, who was very fun and nice and a great tour guide! He asked if I wanted to know what the day itinerary was and I said no. It was kind of fun being surprised! We drove towards the Gorge and he told us some historical and ecological things about the area that I hadn’t known before, as well as some of the Native American legends surrounding the “origins” of landmarks. Then we came to our first stop.

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It was a view point up by Vista House that I’ver never been to. We all hopped out and he took a few pictures for us then the girls decided it was time to deck me out with my outfit for the day. :)

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Then we got back in the van and went by Vista House and then down the old highway to the Bridal Veil post office! Remember, the one I was going to mail my invitations from? It was so cute in person!

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After seeing that Dylan drove us down a hidden road and we all got out in the middle of nowhere. It was weird and then he said that Sam had brought a bottle of champagne so she opened that up and he poured glasses for all of us and there were cookies too! Little macaroons. They were so tasty.

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We hiked a little ways up a hidden path and then we were at the Bridal Veil Falls. I’m surprised Michael and I haven’t hiked this one before. It was really pretty and quiet.

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After that we stopped by another waterfall along the highway and he said the next one was usually Multnomah Falls but we all said to skip it. We’ve all been there and done that and on a weekend in the summer? It’s a nightmare with no parking and too many people. As it was we sat in traffic for a bit trying to get through it all to get past the Falls! So instead he took us to Starvation Creek. Another hike I hadn’t known about!

It was lunch time so we drove to Hood River and stopped at this restaurant/deli. I don’t remember the name of it now but we got everything to go because it was so crowded and loud and Dylan drove us up to a viewpoint in the Fruit Loop. That was a much better idea! We sat outside in the sunshine and had like a picnic lunch, complete with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. There was a gorgeous view of Mount Hood behind us.

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When we finished up lunch they asked me if I knew what were doing yet. I said it was probably wine tasting. :) I was right! Dylan drove us to the first winery, Wy’East. It’s in the “Fruit Loop” in Hood River and they have really nice wines. Michael and I have been there once before.

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It turned out we had a private tasting and were seated on the patio underneath a big umbrella and vines of wine grapes. They brought out a snack plate of gouda cheese, crackers, toasted hazelnuts and salamis. We did the wine tasting and I really enjoyed all the wines we tried, even the Chardonnay (which I’m not really a fan of normally). I ended up buying a bottle of their Pinot Gris.

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I was not a fan of the Port so I poured that into Robyn’s glass. :) We made it work sharing stuff we didn’t like. The patio was so nice and there was a cool breeze. The day was warming up but it was just wonderful drinking wine outside in the sunshine. There were even a few cute winery puppies! Here was one that apparently loved cheese and salami. :)

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After Wy’East we went over to Cathedral Ridge, one of my favorites in the Gorge. I was a little worried because the weekends in the summer time are kind of a nightmare for wine tasting. Too crowded, too busy. But we were ushered to a back patio, shaded, for a private tasting!

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There was one white wine, that I loved and almost bought a bottle of. The rest of the flight was red wines. This is what happens when you go wine tasting with my cousin Anna:

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Usually when Michael and I go wine tasting together we split tastings. It’s more affordable AND I’m a lightweight so I don’t totally sloshed by sharing a tasting. But yeah, this day? I definitely got drunk!

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After the wine tasting we had some time before we had to head back to Portland (I am glad we only went to two wineries). Some of the girls pitched in for a bottle of red and we all shared it while we sat on a couch near the gorgeous view.

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It was such a gorgeous day! The weather was perfect, the wineries were gorgeous, the food was good. I had so much fun with my ladies and it was definitely something I needed after some of the UBER STRESS I’ve been dealing with lately. There was so much drama and stress and disappointment with a wedding vendor but I was able to completely forget about all that stuff and just enjoy my day. I was grateful I had such wonderful friends to help with that.

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And I was grateful that my friends chose the PERFECT day for my bachelorette party. They know me so well. This was a memorable trip and something that I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself. It was out of the ordinary for a bachelorette party and I loved it! Our tour guide, Dylan, was also a rockstar. Great sense of humor, wasn’t freaked out about a bunch of cackling hens drinking a lot of wine. ;) He drove us back to Portland and dropped us off at Rachel’s hotel downtown and gave us each a big hug and me a congratulations. What a great tour!

Sam had to take off and the rest of us ladies went up to Rachel’s room to freshen up before dinner. We walked a few blocks to Henry’s Tavern where we had reservations. It’s funny, we ran into two other bachelorette party groups. One of them asked to take a picture with me because part of their bachelorette scavenger hunt was to get a pic with another bride to be. ;) Thank god I didn’t have to do any of that stuff!!! Hahaha!

I definitely did not need any more alcohol but I ended up getting a beer with dinner–Boneyard RPM. I saw my beloved Boneyard on the menu and just HAD to…! Thankfully we’d all been drinking a lot of water all day and I drank like 8 pints with dinner, too!

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We all shared an order of Henry’s famous onion rings and I ordered their small burger with a side of Caesar Salad. LOVED their Caesar. It was just a bunch of romaine lettuce that they grilled, drizzled Caesar dressing on and then salted. It had a wonderful salty, smoky flavor.

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Dessert was on the house! That was very nice of Henry’s Tavern. Even though I was SO STUFFED I couldn’t think about eating anything more, I ordered the chocolate brownie sundae. It had ice cream, whipped cream and salted caramel. Thankfully everyone helped me eat it!

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After that we made a quick trip to the Spartacus store and then back to the hotel. Thankfully I was home and in bed by 10:30. No 3am here! I am really glad we didn’t do something traditional. It was a very long, very wonderful day and I could not wait to go to sleep. :)

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Jul 282014
 

I can cross off one more goal on my Summer Bucket List! Over the weekend my cousin Anna and I did a kayaking tour with Alder Creek. It was only $39 each so that wasn’t a bad price for a three hour tour. We chose the Ross Island Tour:

“Go paddling in your backyard! You can even ride your bike to our new location to make it a no driving recreational day! We will leave from the Boat House dock along the Eastside Esplanade near SE Water and Clay and explore the backwaters of the Willamette River between Ross Island and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

Outline:  Ross Island Tour

Journey the 3 nautical miles around Ross Island…if conditions permit

Introduction to basic equipment

Launching and landing from a dock

Maneuvering the boat

Scenic views of the city to start

Enjoy the quiet backwater wake free Holgate Channel

Enjoy a little help from the current on the way back.”

Sounded good to me! I definitely wanted a beginner tour since I’ve only done this once before. That first time was kind of impromptu and I wasn’t very prepared for it. This time I was more prepared. I remembered being uncomfortable in what I was wearing (everything got wet). So this time I wore a swimsuit underneath shorts and a wicking sports t-shirt. I brought a hat, sunscreen, chapstick with sunscreen and aqua sox. Remember those things? LOL! I didn’t know they still existed but I found some on amazon and got them for the honeymoon. I figured this was the perfect time to test them out. IMG_4370

I also brought a change of clothes and a towel for after the tour. I brought a bottle of water and some snacks (a banana and a protein bar). I also bought a waterproof iPhone case so I could take some pictures on the trip. The guide instructed us how to get into the kayak from the dock. It’s a LOT harder than you think it would be. I definitely struggled with this part.

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We all got into the kayaks and then kind of floated on the current and waves while he talked a little bit about our route. I’ve always wanted to try a sprint tri and swimming would be my strongest part of the race–but open water swimming is what has kept me from ever trying it. I know, I know, open water swimming really isn’t that scary and I used to do it as a kid all the time. When did fear start keeping us from doing stuff??? So yeah, getting in the kayak and feeling it wobble around with the waves and feel uncertain and unbalanced was a little scary.

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I did not feel confident in the kayak and the river suddenly felt very big. We were out on the water by 10:30 and there weren’t a ton of boats out there yet, just a few. But whenever they went by I felt very vulnerable because they were much bigger and caused big waves. When the waves came I just stopped paddling and let it take me wherever for a moment, then start paddling again.

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We paddled over to the submarine by OMSI and then went underneath all the bridges towards Ross Island. I’ve never been to Ross Island and was excited about seeing it. I had hoped that we would go onto the island and check it out but alas, we just paddled past it. Part of it is a bird sanctuary. We actually got to see some giant herons AND a few bald eagles! That was kind of crazy.

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This part of the trip was my favorite part. The waters were very calm, the river narrowed as it went around the island, and there weren’t as many boats. We saw a bunch of other kayakers, some dragon boat teams practicing, and also a BUNCH of SUP people! That looked like so much fun. It also looked like a lot of work and like it requires something I don’t really possess–balance.

I put on a lot of sunscreen before we got on the water and I reapplied a little bit around this time because I was starting to feel my face burning a bit. It was hard–my hands were slimy and that made the paddle harder to use (note to self: bring the spray-on sunscreen next time). Even though I put on a lot of sunscreen, I still got a little burned on my shoulders AND afterward I found a spot I missed: the top of my hands. Doh!

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We kayaked around Ross Island and turned around to head back. This part of the river had a ton of boats–mostly sailboats AND a pirate ship!! That was way cool and I wanted to get a closer look but this was as close as we got. Here is Anna paddling in front of me:
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By this time I was feel more confident in the kayak and being out on the water wasn’t making me as nervous as it did at the start. We went by the new-ish OHSU high-rises and fancy condos on the waterfront and went underneath the new pedestrian/bike bridge they are building (which looked kind of ugly at first but now it looks like it’s going to be pretty).

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At this point we’d been kayaking for about 90 minutes. I was definitely feeling fatigued around this time. Mostly in my forearms and hands (I was gripping the paddle too tightly) and also in my low back. I tried to adjust how I was sitting a few times but that made the boat very wobbly so I tried not to do that very often. This is another reason I think stopping on Ross Island would have been a good thing–getting out to stretch for a few minutes and not sit in the same position for hours.

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The sun was out, people were partying on boats, the Portland Spirit Cruise boats were going by and there were the jet-boats too. It felt like rush-hour traffic out there! The wake was huge at this point and paddling got more difficult. I was pretty happy to see the dock off in the distance! IMG_4450

As we were approaching the dock I saw the pirate ship! It had it’s sails up! It looked so cool and kind of reminded me of the boat in the Goonies. ;) We got back to the dock and everyone helped each other to get out. The trick was having people hold onto the ends of the kayak, put your hands on the deck and kind of thrust yourself out–kind of like a beached whale. It was such a strange sensation getting out of the kayak onto the dock. Anna said the same thing, both of us had jello legs. That was so weird! How about these calories:

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I ate my banana and we helped take some of the kayaks back up to the parking lot (there was another tour after us). The shaky legs finally went away (maybe 5 minutes later). Anna and I went into the bathrooms to change out of the damp clothes and then we got lunch! I was famished!

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We went over to the Green Dragon. It’s a place I’ve wanted to try for awhile and I’m glad I finally did. They had a humongous outdoor, partially covered area.  I ordered the Boneyard Diablo Roja beer and Anna got some kind of ginger beer. Anna got the mushroom burger and I ordered the pulled pork sliders.

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The food could not come fast enough!! So freakin’ starving. The sliders were fantastic. Loved the flavor of the pulled pork. I had a side salad with it instead of fries. I tried their IPA vinaigrette dressing because it sounded really fascinating but I didn’t like it. It didn’t really taste like much; so I got some Ranch dressing instead. Lunch was great and after I felt like I could totally take a nap! It was a fantastic day!!

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