Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Damn fine coffee

Twede's -- Agent Cooper wasn't lying about the pie.
Yes, the pie and coffee are fine...
One of Twin Peaks' main locations was the local RR ('Double R') Diner. It was here that Special FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) would stop by at regular intervals to enjoy a 'damn fine coffee' and a slice of cherry pie.

In the first two seasons, the diner was played by North Bend's Mar T Cafe which later morphed into Twede's Cafe -- used for the third season -- after a fire burned down part of the original restaurant.

The various incarnations of the diner have been a big draw for numerous Twin Peaks fans who visit the retro-styled diner to sample the coffee and pie.

Naturally, we did the same and I'm here to report that the coffee was fine, but the cherry pie a la mode was FREAKIN' AWESOME! Seriously, I don't even particularly like cherry pie but this pastry was a 10/10 on the pie scale.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return

Twin Peaks... still as strange as ever...
Twin Peaks... keeping things weird for twenty-five years...
Who killed Laura Palmer?

That was the pop culture question twenty-five years ago when Twin Peaks premiered on network TV. A mix of drama, humour, the supernatural and the just plain weird, David Lynch' creation was one of those polarizing series that you either loved or hated.

For my wife and I it was must-see viewing during its two-year run. Once we moved back to BC, it became an ambition of mine to visit the filming locations in Washington State.

The series remained a cult classic which led to a highly anticipated third season being recently produced after a quarter-century off the air. It inspired us to finally to visit the real life town of Twin Peaks, a.k.a. North Bend, Washington, during our summer road trip.

Friday, November 24, 2017

What in the Sam Hill?!

Stonehenge on the Columbia...

If you're older, you've probably heard the expression that is the title of today's post. It's an expression of surprise or confusion.

It's probably the expression that you would use when you discovered this full-size replica of Stonehenge in eastern Washington State. And it was built by... Sam Hill.

Sam Hill was an American businessman and railroad executive who lived in Washington State at the turn of the 20th century. One of his legacies was this monument near Maryhill (named after his wife) meant to commemorate the American soldiers who had died during World War I.

A circle of slabs...
Plaques on the slabs pay tribute to war dead...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: Bridge of the Gods

Smoke and fire along the Columbia River...
Smoke obscures the hills along the Columbia River.
It was two years ago, that I featured Bridge of the Gods in this blog. At that time, we passed back and forth over the bridge a few times.

Not this trip.

The Columbia River Gorge was in flames thanks to a witless teenager who lit up a firework and tossed it into the bone dry forest. As a result the bridge was closed along with access to many of the attractions in the area such as Multnomah Falls.

We crossed the river into Washington State near Portland and proceeded east along the north side of the river. Across the river on the Oregon side a wall of smoke obscured the landscape.

Bridge of the Gods or the gateway to hell?
The Bridge of the Gods... closed to humans...

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Legend of Munsen Creek

The dark and mysterious forest almost leans in near Munsen Creek Falls in Oregon...
Fog and forest in Oregon...
The title of this post is a nod to The Legend of Boggy Creek, a 70s-era cheesy pseudo-documentary about Bigfoot.

I'm not a believer in Sasquatch, but I would not have been surprised to encounter one on our hike to Munsen Creek Falls, not far from Pacific City in Oregon.

We were hiking a ravine. Tall trees on the hills to either side were mere silhouettes in the thick veil of fog that obscured everything. We could hear nothing -- not even birds -- in the indistinct forest. The idea that some sort of giant man-apes could be watching us from the gloom came up in our conversation.

The falls themselves couldn't be reached due to the fallen logs and slippery rocks that block access. We could only view them in the distance through the curtain of mist.

The falls are about 320 feet high and one of the tallest waterfalls on the Coast. On a sunny day, I'm sure they look beautiful and are often admired by local Bigfoots.

The falls through a curtain of mist...
The falls at Munsen Creek...

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Girl from Tatooine

Alien skies over Florence OR...
Standing under alien skies...
Although we had hoped to get as far south as the Oregon/ California border, the huge wildfires to the east of Brookings OR put an end to that idea.

The smoke drifted north and east. Combined with the sun, sky and sand, it produced this alien landscape that would not have looked out of place in a Star Wars movie.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sand bashing

Heading out to the dunes in Oregon....
Tearing up sand dunes in Oregon...
While in Florence OR my wife and I rented a couple of ATVs to tear up the dunes. We've done ATVs before in the jungles of Mexico. The advantage of sand dunes is that you're dry at the end of your adventure, compared to the jungle experience where you are often wet and/or caked in mud.

Heading out into the sand dunes...
Teeny-tiny ATVs...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sand surfing

Hands up, ass out... that's how you stay balanced on a sandboard.
She'll be coming down the mountain when she comes...
Pushing down the Oregon coast to the cute town of Florence, we were on the edge of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Sand surfing is a popular local sport. It's exactly what it sounds like... surfing down the sides of dunes on the fine taupe-coloured sand.

We took lessons from a pro who provided us with some very useful tips and information for staying on the board while going downhill.

We weren't always successful. If you wipe out -- see below -- you can end up with sand sticking to your head like powdered cinnamon on a Tim Horton's donut. We jokingly referred to this as Timbitting. You have to be Canadian to get the reference.

The hazards of a spill on the sand...

Friday, November 10, 2017


On its way to Port Angeles the MV Coho is dwarfed by the Norwegian Sun.
Same ocean... different agendas...
The ferry MV Coho travels twice daily between Victoria, BC and Port Angeles in Washington state. It can carry 110 vehicles and up to 1000 passengers.

The cruise ship Norwegian Sun behind the Coho can carry nearly twice as many passengers. Which doesn't seem like much when you compare the size difference between them.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: Neuvo Vallarta

Opulence along a Mexican waterfront...
Waiting for company...
Once again, my wife and I are on the road, this time to Hualtulco in southern Mexico.

Last year at this time we were not far from Puerto Vallarta. Most days we hiked the ten minute walk to the beach from our resort. Along the way we passed a line of gated luxury villas, including this one with an eye-catching sculpture in the circular driveway. We never did see any sign of the occupants during our entire stay.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Walking with sharks

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea...
Deep blue...
Newport in Oregon describes its Oregon Coast Aquarium as world-class.

One of its most popular exhibits is the "Passages of the Deep"... a series of Plexiglas tunnels through which you can watch undersea animals all around you. What's interesting is that the tanks were originally part an enclosure built for the orca whale known as Keiko, the star of the movie Free Willy. Keiko's full story is, unfortunately, a sad one.

I was bothered that the shark tank didn't have any natural landscaping... just this big featureless tank filled with sharks, rays and smaller fish that could do nothing but swim around in endless circles. Maybe there was a good reason for this that I couldn't guess at, since all the other tanks were fitted with natural plants and rock formations.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Otter Rock

Another of Oregon's excellent surf beaches...
Another excellent surf beach along Oregon's coast...
Just down the road from The Devil's Punchbowl in Oregon, is Otter Rock, another excellent surf location.

Take a look at that fabulous beach and that beautiful water. Replace the trees with jungle foliage and you could be looking at some tropical stretch of sand.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Secret identity is secret

Raybans... for when the day is bright and the Knight is Dark...
So, you're a superhero and you decide you just wanna chill with the Halloween crowds at the Wicked Victoria event. But how to mingle without being recognized and mobbed by your adoring public?

Put on a pair of slick Raybans, of course!

Or, you could... just TAKE OFF THE SUPER-SUIT.

Just sayin'...