Umatilla, OR

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From Portland we followed the Columbia River east to the town of Umatilla, OR.  Our near term objective is to get to Glacier National Park in Montana and this moved us 200 miles in that direction.  If you haven’t been into the eastern part of Oregon and Washington, it is completely different than the green, wet and mountainous western portion.  This part reminds me very much of California’s central valley, very dry with some gently rolling hills and lots of agriculture.

Umatilla, OR

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Alaska Cruise–Week 2

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This post is a continuation of Alaska Cruise – Week 1.

Byron Glacier - Anchorage

Day 8:  Anchorage, AK.  This is by far the largest city in Alaska and is the commercial and transportation center for the state.  Valerie’s cousin Prudence is working on a temporary assignment at a hospital in Anchorage.  We were able to meet up with her and she generously offered to drive us to see some of the natural beauty around Anchorage.  We drove south from the city along the coast of Turnagain Arm.  Our first stop was a brief hike in Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States.  While hiking, Prudence spotted a moose with a calf at about 150 yards from the trail.  At a little further along the road we hiked to Byron Glacier and spotted a black bear at a comfortable distance.  Back to Anchorage we stopped briefly at the Earthquake Park which captures some of the impact from the massive 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964.  Near there we saw a young moose grazing on the side of the road.  Finally, after a quick stop at Point Woronzof for a classic view of Anchorage across Knik Arm, we stopped into 49th State Brewing before returning to the ship.  It was a good day with beautiful weather and we thank Prudence for showing us around. Continue reading

Alaska Cruise–Week 1

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We took a 14 day cruise aboard the Zaandam, a Holland America Lines ship, round trip from Seattle to several ports in Alaska.  Neither of us have much cruise experience but we were thrilled with the level of service and the quality of the food aboard this ship.  We heard similar comments from more experienced cruisers as well.  Every evening in the main dining room was a fine dining experience with a varied menu that changed every day.  And they even had selections that suited our particular food preferences.  With a 14 day itinerary we were able to visit ports that don’t get a lot of cruise ship traffic.  The following is a summary by day of our experience.

Departing Seattle Continue reading

Pacific Northwest Seafood

One of the things we enjoy about visiting different parts of the United States or different parts of the world, is having the opportunity to sample the many different foods that have become iconic for that particular location.  The Pacific Northwest has established itself as a source for a wide variety of fresh seafood.

Oysters on the half shell, steamed mussels from Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, crab cakes, salmon, steamed clams in roasted garlic pesto, oyster shooters and fish and chips.  All fresh and locally sourced.