Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Time Out for a Road Trip

Stan and I just finished the best road trip!  We started out to visit friends  (co-grandparents of our granddog, Wilbur) who live at Black Butte Ranch in central Oregon, and made a few other stops along the way.   (I realize many of my posts lately are "Time Out for ...".  I promise when we get home, I'll do some serious "Time In" to get back on track with my healthy habits!)

We drove as far as Kalama, Washington on the Columbia River the first day.  We stayed at the Kalama River Inn, which Stan remembered from many years ago.  He would leave with his kids after work on a Friday and get that far, before heading down to Eagle Crest the next day for winter break.  I think the Inn has seen better days - they are still talking about when Elvis stayed there in 1962 on his way to the Seattle World's Fair.  The town is spread out along 5 or 6 blocks that front I-5, with the railroad tracks just on the other side.  We were amazed that the train traffic was pretty much constant the entire time we were there.  Both the motel and the town are neat and tidy, and there are lots of antique stores to browse in.

At Black Butte we had a wonderful time with daughter Melanie, her husband Ben, and Ben's parents Sharon and Bill, and of course, Wilbur.  What a beautiful community out in the wilderness!

The highlights of our visit were a hike along the Metolius River and golf at Black Butte.  I had never heard of the Metolius before.  It's a tributary of the Deschutes in central Oregon and is 29 miles long.  Our hosts have also visited its source, Metolius Springs.  Wikipedia says "The flow from Metolius Springs is sufficient to create a full-flowing river, making the Metolius River one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States."  It was flowing quite fast - Wilbur had to be careful where he went in for a swim.  It was a beautiful walk!

In golf we played Best Ball, girls against the boys, and they beat us 43 to 46.  In Best Ball each person hits the ball, then the team chooses the best shot and everyone takes the next shot from there.  In that way the ones who are not great golfers (that would be Melanie and myself on our team) get to experience how it feels to play golf without the frustration of really bad shots or taking too long.  Sharon was the strong player on our team, and Bill for the boys, and we all had a great time.

Melanie is learning good form

Stan enjoys the beautiful course

We also had some great meals and good conversation.  Wish I had gotten a photo of the dinner Sharon cooked for us our first night - healthy and delicious!  I won't tell you everything I ate - some definitely qualifies as cheats - but two items are interesting and healthy.  Sharon bought this gluten-free bread from Franz bakeries and it made great toast. (I'm always looking for good GF bread.)  She also made gazpacho - a cold veggie soup - which I had heard of but never had before.  It's delicious!  She shared the recipe and I'll be making it at home.

In the interest of full disclosure, she also shared the recipe for nut-sugar topping, which was great on ice cream with sliced peaches, but could also be wonderful on yogurt and/or fruit.  I might see how little sugar I can use and still approximate the same flavor!
The recipe calls for 2/3 cup each whole unblanched almonds and sugar and 3 tablespoons melted butter.  Chop the almonds in a blender, combine with sugar and mix in butter until crumbled.  Spread out in shallow baking pan and bake at 375° for 10 minutes, stirring several times.  Crush any large lumps and cool.
My favorite place in Black Butte was the back porch - a lovely place to sit and watch the world golf by.  Here Sharon and Wilbur rest after a full day.

Stan and I spent a morning in Sisters, Oregon, a cute western town.  My favorite places were the quilt shop, of course, and a shop of metal sculpture and other art forms.  When Stan and I get our retirement home, I want a sink just like this one!  The proprietor said there are tiles to go with it, so the fish appear to swim over the counter and through the sink  : )

Sisters hosts the largest outdoor quilt show in the country - second week of July.  It looks like they hang beautiful quilts all over town.

 We headed home on an eastern route, north up highway 97, across the Columbia River and on to Union Gap, Washington - in the Yakima County wine country.  We passed through beautiful scenery - farms, vineyards, horses with foals and goats with babies - even a big Billy Goat Gruff.  I'm glad to say there's still plenty of unused land around here!  We tasted wine at Owen Roe winery - son Tyler's favorite!  Then we headed over the mountains and home.

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