7. Exploring the Pacific Northwest…5.2008

we were trying to decide whether or not to go to nob hill; filled with boutiques and little funky shops or to visit the Chinese Gardens....we thought it would be cheaper to go to the gardens...and we neither one needed to or wanted to shop anymore.   these lovely gardens, sit quietly nestled in the heart of downtown.  the whole garden isn't huge, but beautiful and we really enjoyed walking through it and seeing all the magnificent flowers.  I took so many photos...you can enjoy your own walk through the Chinese Gardens....happy strolling!











we'd had a great afternoon in portland, but it was time to leave, so we started south down I-5 with wonderful views of mountains, valleys, and rolling hills.  the sky was also filled with beautiful clouds, periods of sun, rain in the distance, and in places, it was just like a painting in motion.  I took this photo through the sun-roof...pretty cool, huh?  I may have to start a new series:  "through the sunroof",  along with my other two series:  "in the rear view mirror"  and "through the airplane window".....I know, I know....everyone say's I'm such a clever girl and I just proved it with my "series titles"

we are staying in eugene tonight....at a rather interesting hotel/motel...let's just say that sometimes there are surprises when you book a hotel using hotwire.com....the "I-don't-know-what-kind-of-hotel -it-is-until-I-pay-for-a-non-refundable-room-kind"....thank goodness we're flexible travelers!  we checked in as soon as we arrived.  the girls at the front desk were so nice and helpful and gave us maps and suggestions of places to check out on a saturday night

I've only been "through" eugene once before...driving through the middle of the night in a downpour on our way to arcata....so I hadn't ever really been here before.  but, in my mind, I always thought it would be like lawrence

as we were pulling out of the hotel/motel parking lot, sherri spotted a "Trader Joes" store across the street.  as some of you know, our girlfriends group has heard about Trader Joes from mona,  for a couple of years.  but, until now, I'm the only other one besides mona, whose actually shopped in one (actually two; the one in madison, wi and one south of arcata, in california)...but now, we can add sherri to the list of Trader Joe-shoppers.  we toured the store and bought a package of our favorite "triple ginger cookies"


there were several brew pubs around, so we thought we'd visit a couple.  the first one we went to looked like a really cool place.  all the brew equipment was actually right behind the bar (looked really neat), and scattered in between the tables, were big, overstuffed chairs that you could sit in and drink your beer.  sherri ordered a stout and I ordered a brown....and then it went downhill 

now granted, sherri and I had drank one of the BEST STOUTS EVER at Deschutes Brewery with lunch, so the bar had been set high (but in truth, because we all go to FreeState so much, the bar for beer and food was already set high)  mine tasted like brown-ale soda pop and sherri didn't like her beer at all.  we decided this was an omen not to try to the food either...so we finished our beer and left


we kept driving around the downtown, expecting to find lots of activity...it is a college town on saturday night after all...but all was quiet.  we had a hard time finding the next brew pub...Rogue beer...we finally found it, but it looked more like a regular bar, not a brew pub.  we were also surprised at the lack of places to eat.  thinking this town was like lawrence, was probably a really wrong assumption on my part.  we decided, to skip the rest of the breweries and go see where the university was 

'while on our way to find it, we sort of stumbled (can a car stumble?) into a local park..."hendricks park"....and words can not describe how beautiful this place was.  unfortunately, neither can my photos.  it was past dusk (I think that means really, really close to dark) and my camera was ready for bed and refused to take any good outdoor photos in that light (or lack of light, actually)

as we wound our way up the huge hill and into the park, each side of the road was filled with great big flowering trees, shrubs and bushes....it was so incredible.  I've never seen so many blooming at the same time and so HUGE!  the smell was just amazing too...and sherri and I couldn't believe our luck.  we kept driving around and around the small park, both of us just totally blown away by how magnificent it all was.  it pays to be lost and/or adventurous...this time anyway

it was getting late by now, and we still hadn't found that perfect, funky little place to get a light meal for tonight.  we ended up across the street from the hotel/motel at PF Changs.  we ate some lettuce wraps and sherri had a mai-tai and I enjoyed a pear mojito 

it was time to call it a night.  I think we'll be up and away early in the morning.  the next 2 1/2 days will be filled to the brim with driving and sightseeing and three really special surprises!


hey, where's mona?  I can't be the only one shopping...however today I was

while sherri and I were at Powells bookstore, we saw these great little bags to carry in your purse and then to use INSTEAD of being given your purchases in a plastic bag.  mona has several (or maybe 50) of these bags.  everytime, we'd go to the grocery store, market, or shopping, mona would whip out another cute bag to put her purchases in....I swear I never saw the same one twice!

but it's really a good thing...and to be honest....I had bag-envy....I want to be able to "whip out a bag" before the worker can say "paper or plastic?"

oh...and yes...I also bought a used book titled "100 years in yosemite"...I really love to read about history in our national parks


 we've really missed mona today and hopes she had a relaxing flight back to kc.....however, minnie wasn't missed.  sherri and I got PAPER maps to use for the rest of the trip....although....hmmm......I swear....sherri sounds alot/a lot like minnie when she's giving directions.....

"recalculating" (when we're lost) 

"no satellite reception" (when we don't know quite which direction to go")

I'm hoping another 2-3 days of driving without minnie and sherri will go through the proper withdrawl and snap out of it....

so stay tuned...more adventures to come

day nine            sunday, may 11, 2008

we'd planned to get up around 5am to leave for the coast...but we didn't make it out of town quite that soon however....the alarm didn't go off...then we stopped for coffee and then we decided we HAD to go back by Hendricks Park....and we are soooo glad we did.  we walked through all the gorgeous flowers  and inhaled the fragrant air even as a light rain came down

take a stroll through this wonderful garden.....









as we drove out of the gardens, and through the neighborhood next to the park, we spotted this really cute house...and the fun sign in the front yard


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