Have knives and cast iron, will travel

Over the past few years, we’ve stayed at a number of places with full kitchens while traveling, from time share units to VRBO places.  We’ve come to realize that not all “full” kitchens are created equal, and even those that are technically fully equipped may be sorely lacking in the quality department.

A good knife is one of the most important pieces of kitchen equipment you can have if you actually want to cook from scratch.  We’ve started bringing our paring knife and our chef’s knife with us on almost every trip.  A couple of knives take up minimal space, whether you’re traveling by car or by plane (of course they have to be in checked luggage!) — knife guard highly recommend to protect you and the rest of your stuff.


The kitchens at the resort in Destin feature non-stick skillets.  Though I do try to minimize use of non-stick skillets to avoid ingesting the chemicals in the coating, I’m not completely opposed to them (I have yet to figure out how to successfully make scrambled eggs in a cast iron skillet) IF the coating is in good shape.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case for pans I’ve encountered in vacation rentals, so this year, our cast iron came along for the ride.


While the pan is a bit heavy, it doesn’t take up all that much room.  When packing, I stuck the pan in a paper bag to prevent oils from rubbing off on anything else, then put other kitchen stuff inside the pan.  Next time, I’d also bring our baby cast iron (6″ diameter), which is perfect for making one or two fried eggs.

On the implements and tools side, I also added a small fine mesh strainer, after learning that hard way that it’s pretty much impossible to rinse quinoa without said implement.

Dry goods and pantry items — I tried not to go too crazy here, there are grocery stores in Destin after all.  I focused on items that are hard to find and/or items that I can get a much better price buying from bulk food bins (I may be able to skip this step in future trips, as Destin is about to get a Whole Foods — then it will have ALL THE STORES (well, not TJ’s, but almost all the stores)).

  • natural, organic peanut butter
  • almonds and peanuts
  • organic raisins and cranberries (for oatmeal and snacking)
  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • steel cut and rolled oats
  • [locally grown] black beans
  • lentils
  • organic canola oil
  • granulated onion and garlic
  • an herb blend

Plus some garden goods . . .

  • garlic scapes (enough that we didn’t need to buy garlic all week)
  • radishes
  • a bit of lettuce and spinach
  • a few turnips
  • a bit of broccoli and asparagus

On the trip from Atlanta to Destin, we stopped at a fruit stand and picked up some farm fresh eggs, peaches, and tomatoes.  And boiled peanuts!

After a couple of days on the road (during which time we actually ate a decent bit of food we’d packed/prepared ahead of time), I was ready to get back in the kitchen (said no one else at the resort).  I walked to the nearest grocery store (a Winn Dixie — do any of my southern readers have an opinion on which is better, Winn Dixie or Publix?), list and bags in hand, and stocked up for the week.

  • 2-lb bag of carrots
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 3 onions
  • 1 bunch of bananas (a vacation treat and prebiotics!)
  • 1 loaf of 100% whole grain bread
  • 1/2 gallon of organic milk
  • butter
  • cheese
  • mayo
  • mustard
  • all-fruit strawberry and apricot jams
  • 2 boxes of whole wheat pasta
  • 1 bag of breakfast cereal
  • 1 bag of chickpeas
  • 1 bag of black-eyed peas
  • 1 bottle of salad dressing
  • 1 bottle of barbeque sauce
  • 1 jar of dill pickles
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 bag each of frozen corn, peas, and green beans
  • 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s 🙂

I’m sure I forgot something, but it was a relatively short list, which was good when it was time to me to play pack mule and walk back to our place.

I did a lot of cooking at the beginning of the week, which allowed us to coast later on, enjoying the leftovers and a couple of restaurant meals.


Some of my vacation meal creations:

  • BBQ black beans and sauteed veg over rice
  • Pasta with broccoli, carrots, and red sauce
  • Quinoa pilaf with corn and garlic scapes, with black-eyed peas on the side
  • Fritatta with scapes, potato, spinach and mushrooms
  • Pasta salad with peas, scapes, and red cabbage

It seems like there should be more, but that might be about it.  I’m pretty sure I beat out everyone else at the resort for “most time spent cooking,” but that was fine with me — I needed the breaks from the sun.  We had more leftovers than expected, because my MIL supplemented her meals with seafood from some local places she likes.

Our first meal out was at Thai Delights.  G requested a dish with noodles, broccoli, tofu, mushrooms, carrots, and tomato sauce.  He got everything but the tomato sauce — we ordered the “Drunken Noodles” and added mushrooms.  Matthew ordered the Pad See-Iw, and we shared the two dishes.  We enjoyed our meal so much that we returned three nights later for a reprise.  Same two entrees as the first time, plus we added a masaman curry.

On Friday night, we ordered a carry-out pizza from Mellow Mushroom to round out the odds and ends we needed to finish from the fridge.

For the drive home, we kept it simple with sandwiches for lunch.  For dinner, we ate the pasta salad I made in Destin.  We had a hard time finding a rest stop, so we ended up pulling over at one of those “Truck Rest Areas,” basically a place for truckers to stop along the interstate, with bare bones facilities.  It was not the most picturesque setting, but at least there was a picnic table.  To sweeten the deal, we found $50 cash — true story!

So, what are your must-haves if you’ll have access to a kitchen while traveling — those kitchen implements or special ingredients that you won’t leave home without?


On beach time

We spent last week in Destin, Florida.  I intended to post here while we were gone, but it just didn’t happen.  I’m almost caught up on laundry for the trip, so here’s a recap before it’s totally irrelevant (and before I forget everything!).

A bit of background — my MIL has a timeshare at a beachfront resort in Destin, FL.  Her unit is a studio, and, while I’d made the trip with Matthew and his mom a time or two before G was born, three adults and a baby/toddler crammed into one small studio was not my idea of fun (also, I’m not really a beach person).  For the past two years, I sat out this trip and enjoyed some much-needed solo time.  However, after two years of seeing pictures of G enjoying the beach, I gave in to Matthew’s urging and joined them this year (to preserve everyone’s sanity, we rented a second studio unit).

Prior to the trip, I did find myself wishing that I’d gone last year instead, when G was a bit more easy-going, but that’s hindsight for ya!  I was also a bit worried about making the trip at all, given G’s ongoing cough, but by our departure day, things seemed headed in the right direction, if not completely resolved.

Day 1 (Friday, May 22)
We drove from St. Louis to Atlanta, GA — not the most direct route to Destin, but my MIL wanted to take G to the Georgia Aquarium to see the whale sharks.  We got on the road about an hour later than planned because someone couldn’t drag himself away from the garden.  This put us on target to hit Nashville around 4pm, which I hoped was early enough to beat rush hour traffic.  Of course, it was not.  We lost a lot of time in Nashville and didn’t arrive in Atlanta until 10pm (though that was losing an hour to the time change, so not crazy late for Central time).


While we missed Sprawl-lanta’s infamous rush hour, traffic heading into downtown on Friday night was still pretty crazy.  At one point, I noticed an interstate message board warning that there had been over 400 deaths on Georgia roads in the first five months of 2015.  I’m not sure how that compares to other states, but it seemed quite high to me, and also rather understandable given the driving displayed by other motorists.  (I saw in the paper the next morning that it was the weekend of the Indy 500 — seemed like some of our fellow motorists forgot they were not on a racetrack.)

G fell asleep in the car, but woke when we exited the interstate in downtown Atlanta.  He was disoriented and crying, as well as coughing a lot (to the point I thought he might vomit as we were trying to unload and figure out parking at the hotel) — so, basically a hot mess.  We managed to get him settled in the room, before turning in ourselves.

Day 2
Even with the time change, we woke bright and early on the day of our aquarium visit.  In my head, the aquarium was going to be similar to a zoo: outside displays, lots of ground to cover, and sunny and hot, but with fish instead of animals.  Maybe I was thinking about Sea World?


Anyway, in reality, the Georgia Aquarium is a large indoor structure (could have left the sunscreen in the car), and we easily saw most of it in under two hours (we skipped the dolphin show because G didn’t feel like waiting in line).  The whale sharks were pretty cool, as were the large sting rays that shared that tank.


The aquarium has a new beluga whale calf, but they’re giving mama and baby some bonding time (maternity leave?), so the tank was completely curtained off.  Totally understandable, though I was a bit bummed to miss the chance to see baby beluga (when I started singing the Raffi song at the aquarium, I swear that G gave me a “Mom, please, you’re embarrassing me” look).

We also overlooked/missed a hands-on kids area that would have been nice for G.  All-in-all, it was a nice visit, but at almost $40 per person, not something I’d repeat anytime soon.

We grabbed lunch on the way out of Atlanta and made tracks for Destin, though not nearly fast enough for G.  When we were about two hours away from our destination, he announced, “I had planned to be at the beach right now.  When are we going to be there?”  It was a long two hours.

Days 3-8
Beach time!  We had pretty great weather overall.  Temps never climbed higher than 85°F — with cloud cover and beach breezes, that was pretty ideal for my vampire ways.


The water temperature was nice.  We had red flag days all week — great for body boarding in the waves, not so great for little ones playing in the ocean (also not so great for my beloved prescription sunglasses, which are somewhere in Gulf of Mexico right now).  Unlike previous years, G stuck to the sand and the swimming pool, where he pretended he was a mermaid.  (“Merman, Pop! Merman.”  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)



I got in on some of the body boarding action, though with my sun-dodging ways, not to nearly the same extent as Matthew.  (Unfortunately, he has a large number of itchy welts — we suspect an allergic reaction to either a specific jellyfish or seaweed.  For whatever reason, I escaped this affliction.)


G’s favorite indoor activity was rolling around on the floor (ick!) saying, “I’m a kitten. I’m sick, and I need a paramedic.”  At which point any adults present were expected to grab some medical tools (i.e., co-opted cooking ware) and help the kitten.  More fun the first time than the fiftieth . . . .

The units have full(ish) kitchens, and we mostly ate in — I’m working on a vacation food post for later this week.  Also, G’s cough completely resolved while we were gone!

Day 9
On Saturday, we all piled back into my MIL’s Camry for the long drive home.  It’s worth noting here that the only way that three adults, one child, and gear for a week at the beach fit comfortably in a Camry was with the addition of a roof-top bag, which, childhood memories notwithstanding, worked great!

We left Destin at 7:30am on Saturday.  Less than three hours into our 13 hour (plus stops) drive, G announced that he was ready to get out of the car.  His statement did not bode well for the rest of the day, but things actually went rather well.  G eventually took a nap, which gave all of us a nice break, and then fell asleep for the final two hours.

Matthew’s mom dropped us off at home just before 10:30pm that night, and once in his own bed, my sweet sleepy boy curled up and went right back to sleep while we finished unloading the car.

I spent Sunday morning in a complete daze.  It felt like I had jet lag, despite the lack of a jet, or even changing time zones.  My back was also none too happy about all of that car time!

All in all, it was a nice vacation.  Having my MIL with us meant that Matthew and I got some breaks.  I don’t think I’ll join them every year, but it was nice to experience with G (though I wish we’d been able to get him into the ocean a bit more).

Portland bike infrastructure: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Well, it’s been a month since our Portland trip, so I guess it’s about time I got around to writing this post.  As I mentioned in this post, we spent a good bit of time on bikes while we were there, averaging about ten miles a day, all around the town.

Similar to our last visit, the Portland Citywide Bike Map was our best friend.*

Our well-loved map

The bike map was useful for telling us where to ride, and, just as importantly, where NOT to ride (i.e., we planned our routes to avoid streets with bike lanes).

The Good
The green routes in the above photo indicate bike boulevards (AKA neighborhood greenways), defined here as:

. . . residential streets with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds where bicycle and pedestrians are given priority.

So, how do they achieve “low volumes of auto traffic” and give priority to people on bicycles?

Sharrow and “Bumps” ahead sign

These routes are marked with well-placed sharrows (above) and low, broad speed bumps (below — also, mini horses 🙂 ).

Traffic calming bumps

These speed bumps aren’t a big deal at bicycle speeds, but they do get motorists’ attention.  My friend drove down from Seattle to visit us in Portland, and while driving her car on some of these streets, she mentioned that the bumps were annoying.  I responded with, “That’s the point.” Yes, motorists can use these streets, but the frequent bumps make them less attractive, thus encouraging motorists to do most of their travel on arterial roads (the bumps also encourage travel at slower speeds — they weren’t too bad if you hit them at ≤20mph).**

Awwwwe, a baby traffic circle

Another design feature is intentionally minimizing stop signs, which are a bigger bother to pedal-powered travelers than to motorists.  Instead of four way stops at every. single. intersection (ahem, StL, I’m looking at you), most intersections along these routes used 2-way stops at the cross streets, allowing traffic on the bike boulevards to flow smoothly.  Some intersections used a “mini traffic circle” (for lack of a more official term), pictured above, in conjunction with the 2-way stops, for traffic calming.

So, the bike boulevards in general get a thumbs up.  Throughout our stay, we sought out these routes, combining them as needed with “regular” streets (i.e., streets with no bike infrastructure).

The Bad
The bike boulevards did have some design quirks.  If you look at the map pictured at the top of this post, you’ll see that you often have to do some little “jogs” to stay with the green routes.  Sometimes these were marked well, sometimes not.  If you lived in Portland and rode these routes every day, it wouldn’t be a big deal.  As visitors, it was a bit confusing and frustrating at times.

Say what?

So here we were, traveling eastbound on a two-way street, and we cross an intersection, and all the sudden, we’re moving against the flow of traffic on a one-way [westbound] street, per the paint’s instructions!  Granted, this took place on a small, residential street, and the one-way bit only lasted for a short block, but still, talk about breaking the rules of movement!  (The sign says, “Do Not Enter | Except Bicycles.”)

Same place as above, with a car approaching. This might belong in “The Ugly.”

I understand this is another technique for reducing/discouraging non-local motor vehicle traffic, but in addition to being dangerous in this location, it potentially encourages wrong-way riding on OTHER streets.

If they really want to do this, I would suggest at least eliminating parking on the right side of the street, to create more space for movement, as well as adding some sharrows to make people more alert to the anomaly.

In some places where this occurred, the offense wasn’t quite as egregious, as the street immediately reverted to two-way traffic,  and, you know, actually had enough space to operate a bicycle.

Do Not Enter | Except Bicycles

Of course, the intersection above commits the additional offense of having “bike boxes,” that special green paint that encourages queue jumping by bicyclists.  “Here, please ride up along the right side of potentially right-turning motor vehicles instead of just waiting your turn like everybody else.”

Here is another intersection feature along some of the bike boulevards: “Right Turn Only | Except Bicycles.”

Median to prevent thru motor vehicle traffic.

These medians, with cut-outs for bicycle pass-throughs, were usually found where the bike boulevards intersected with a larger street.  Again, this discourages motorists from using these routes for long distances, as they are only thru-routes if you’re on a bike.

Median cut-outs for cyclists

This is perhaps a decent idea, but, as implemented, the cut-outs are clearly designed for edge-riding cyclists.  This design becomes particularly problematic if the cyclist wishes to make a left turn at one of these intersections, as you first have to cut right, then back left to make the turn.  Not impossible, but it does require extra communication to make your intentions clear to both motorists and fellow cyclists.

The Ugly
For the most part, we used the bike route map to successfully avoid “the ugly.”  We did find ourselves on a couple of short stretches of roads with bike lanes.  These were invariably door zone bike lanes, that sandwiched you nicely between parked cars to the right and moving motor vehicles on the left.  No thanks!

However, in Oregon, you don’t really have the choice to NOT ride in these lanes, given the state-wide mandatory bike lane law.  Granted, those laws have exceptions which would basically invalidate over 90% of travel in the bike lanes, but I didn’t want to take chances with a police officer not knowing/understanding those exceptions, especially when “everyone else was doing it (i.e., riding in the bike lane like good little sheeples).”

I should note that, on this trip, we were always pulling a trailer (or riding a box bike like the Bullitt) which should be a valid excuse for not ever using a bike lane — these things are just too wide for bike lanes, period!

I don’t have any photos of Portland’s bike lanes, since we avoided them so successfully, but for a deeper look, check out Andy’s excellent series on the topic of Portland bike lanes at Carbon Trace: Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3.

Finally, this:

Bi-directional bike lane on one-way street

Where to begin?  On this street, what had been a two-direction road divided into two, separate one way chunks.  But that didn’t stop the Portland traffic engineers from installing a bi-directional bike lane.  What you see above, from left to right: a sidewalk, a north-bound bike lane, an against-traffic [south-bound] bike lane a buffer zone (the lane with the chevrons in it — UPDATE: I was incorrect in my original identification of this space; see comments for details), two north-bound travel lanes, and another sidewalk.  The presence of multiple rail tracks just south of this intersection adds to the general confusion.  There is a “Do Not Enter” sign, but we were confused as to whom that sign was addressed.

On our very first encounter with this intersection, Matthew accidentally ended up in one of the [regular] travel lanes, going the wrong direction.  I was still waiting at the stop sign, trying to figure out exactly what was going on and how best to respond, and I watched in horror as I realized his mistake — he was headed right toward a car in the same lane.  Fortunately, he was able to divert onto the sidewalk on the far side.  In the end, much as I avoid sidewalk riding, the sidewalk is also what I chose for this small stretch.

No Substitute for Quality Education
In the end, even “good” bike infrastructure, such as the bike boulevards, is no replacement for comprehensive bicycling education.  The majority of the bicyclists I saw riding on the bike boulevards in Portland were operating in either the door zone or the startle zone, despite the presence of properly placed sharrows directing them elsewhere.

At one point, while traveling along a bike boulevard, Matthew was almost the victim of a drive-out collision.  It was a two-way stop — so the motorist had a stop sign and we did not.  The motorist stopped at the stop sign, but was already on his way, with his front bumper out beyond the curb, when he saw Matthew and stopped again.  If Matthew had been practicing edge-behavior, rather than driver behavior, he quite possibly would have been hit (being away from the edge makes you more visible).

I’ll close with a couple of great quotes that I came across recently:

Merely believing and hoping that Protected Bike Lanes are safe is not good enough. We are not practicing a religion here, we are trying to keep people alive.  (source)

And, from a thread on the “Supporters of Full Lane Rights for Cyclists” FB page:

In other kinds of transportation facilities, we do not have the most inexperienced users decide out of fear which are the best designs.

*If you’re headed to Portland, you can order a bike map ahead of time here, or just visit most any bicycle shop once you arrive.
**Not sure of the full details, but a local (StL) traffic engineer told me those speed bumps (and/or the mini traffic circles, I don’t remember which) don’t work so well in places where snow plows are needed.

Pacific time — What we did in Portland

It took a good 5-6 days of being stuck between Central time and Pacific time (so, Mountain time, technically), but we’re more or less back to our regular routine around here.  Now it’s time to review our trip before I forget anything important.

We stayed in four different houses/apartments over the course of eleven days in Oregon.  We started in a VRBO house just southwest of Mt. Tabor in Portland.  After three nights, we moved to a VRBO apartment in the Buckman neighborhood of Portland.  We loved this location — very central for biking, plus some things within walking distance — and we were here for five nights.

At that point, we headed out of Portland for a couple of days.  Our road trip took us to a VRBO cabin in Prospect, Oregon, just south of Crater Lake.  That was our home for two nights as we explored both Crater Lake and the abundance of amazing waterfalls in the area, many of which are quite easily accessible (i.e., short walks/hikes that were relatively easy for Gabriel and my MIL).

We stayed in Portland at my SIL’s apartment for the final night of our trip.

While in Portland, we mostly got around by bike, other than the trip from and to the airport.  We shared a rental car with Matthew’s mom.  My MIL shouldered most of the work of shuttling other people around in the car, and we enjoyed most of our time in Portland car-free.*

Over the course of six days (not counting the bike-free day when we drove to Silver Falls), we put in 60 bicycle miles in Portland.  Our highest mileage day was 14 miles, and our lowest was 9 miles.  If anything, I expected those numbers to be higher.  It felt like we were all around the town.  I guess the lower than expected mileage is a testament to Portland’s density?


We covered a lot of southeast Portland, some of northeast, and a bit of northwest.

For us, the rental car was essential for our day hike at Silver Falls State Park and the side trip to Crater Lake, and it was nice for getting to/from the airport (but we could have taken a cab), and otherwise a huge PITA (long wait for pick-up at the airport, then arguing that we had reserved/needed a 4-door vehicle vs. the 2-door they were trying to stick us with, then having to swap cars after two days due to brake and electrical issues).

While we were in Portland, we were on the “bakery-a-day” plan (good thing we were doing all that biking!).  The bulk of our pastries came from Ken’s Artisan Bakery and St. Honoré Boulangerie.  At Ken’s, we love the Oregon croissant (though we weren’t quite as impressed this trip, compared to last time), the vegetable quiche, and the cannele.  At St. Honoré, we love the mirliton (a small tart, filled with almond batter and fruit — two years ago we had pear; this trip, they had cherry, which was amazing!) and the cannele; we also had a nice chocolate croissant here.

We tried one new bakery this trip, Crema.  Matthew liked their fruit danishes, though I wasn’t amazed (not enough cream cheesy filling and too much of a sweet glaze — I like my pastries barely sweet).  I enjoyed a piece of their chocolate espresso bread (heavy on the chocolate, light on the espresso).

Outside of bakeries, my favorite food came from Pad Thai Kitchen (on SE Belmont), Boke Bowl, and ¿Por Que No? Taqueria.  We ate at another Thai place and a French place that were okay, but not remarkable.  It is quite possible that we spent as much money at bakeries over the course of the trip as we did on food at restaurants.

Vegetarian rice bowl at Boke -- the tofu in here was amazing!
Vegetarian rice bowl at Boke — the tofu in here was amazing!

The other food highlight that I should mention is the delicious paella served at my SIL’s wedding, from none other than a catering place that makes only paella.  They knocked the vegetarian version out of the park with delicious white beans, mushrooms, artichokes, and other veggies.

Because we had full kitchens at all of our places, we also did a decent bit of eating in, which helped budget-wise, and nutrition-wise, too (ensuring we ate at least some beans and had some grain variety).  This option was also very nice in Prospect, where dining options were limited (grocery options were also quite limited in the area around Crater Lake, so plan accordingly).

Things to do
So, what did we do other than riding our bikes from bakery to bakery?  Mostly lots of low-key stuff.

We visited a couple of playgrounds with Gabriel — easy, free, and fun way to pass time with a little one.

Playground at Dawson Park in N/NE Portland

Other than renting the Bullitt, our only paid entertainment was a visit to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), which felt like a blend of the Science Museum and the Magic House in St. Louis (paid admission, unlike our Science Center).  You could probably spend an entire day at OMSI, but our visit was limited to just a couple of hours, which, after torturing Gabriel by walking through the [to him terrifying] dinosaur exhibit, were mostly spent in the Science Playground, a wing just for the 6-and-under crowd.


The Science Playground had a sandbox!  With construction equipment!  Sir was in heaven.

We did a bit of shopping in the stores around the 3500 block of SE Hawthorne, as well as a quick visit to Powell’s books in downtown Portland.  (I was disappointed to discover Powell’s was not just used books, but rather a mix of new and used.  They also don’t have a “used” section; rather, the used books are mixed in with the new, and, at least for children’s books, their offerings seemed to skew heavily toward new.)

Most of our remaining time was spent with family and new friends, celebrating my SIL’s wedding (for which Gabriel was a ring bearer).

That’s all for now, though I have at least two more trip-related posts, one on Crater Lake and one on bike infrastructure in Portland (I made myself take pictures this time around!).

 *Between the rental car and the borrowed bikes, we didn’t end up using public transit, but a friend told me that Portland has a great app that makes it very easy for a visitor to use the system to get around (assuming you have a smart phone).





We spent Sunday at the airport . . .


. . . where we took full advantage of the new play area near the C gates in the main terminal before boarding our flight.


Flying direct was nice in many ways, but it did make for a long time in the air.  I was hoping someone’s nap would be closer to two hours rather than less than one, but at least he took a nap, and we managed the rest of the time without too much trouble.

I’m very glad we chose to put him in the car seat on the plane, as having a structured place (vs. swimming in an adult-sized plane seat and/or squirming all over our laps) really helped, both with napping and in general.

A little over four hours later, we arrived in Portland!  Hard to believe we were here almost exactly two years ago, when The Dude was a lot smaller and had a lot less hair.

Flashback photo
Flashback photo


Our “settling in” day involved acquiring food and bicycles.  What more do you need?

After a morning grocery stock-up, we swung by my sister-in-law and soon-to-be brother-in-law’s place to pick up the bikes and trailer we’re borrowing for the week, then biked the five miles back to our rental house (similar to our last visit, we avoided streets with bike lanes as much as possible, sticking to “bike boulevards” (AKA neighborhood greenways) or plain ol’ streets.


After nap time, we headed out to find a playground for Sir.  The closest playground happened to be located at Mt. Tabor Park, which put our hill climbing skills to the test.  In addition to the playground, we were rewarded with some great views.


We’re looking forward to more outings by bike (being driven around in the rental car made me grumpy and carsick), including renting a Bullitt cargo bike from Splendid Cycles for a day!

Yesterday, Matthew and I enjoyed a day trip to Silver Falls State Park (just south of Portland) for some lovely waterfall-heavy hiking.


We saw eight(!) waterfalls over the course of a 9-mile [loop] hike.

The only downside so far is HOT and no air-conditioning in our rental house, but it cooled off a decent bit yesterday (our hike was not hot, so we weren’t too tempted to go swimming), plus we’re moving to a different rental place that might have A/C and is more centrally located, to boot!*

*We’re not relocating because of the A/C, but rather had planned previously to spend the first few nights at my MIL’s rental before moving to our own place.