Parting Shots at Portland’s Japanese Garden

My wife and I have never driven I-5 through the Northwest in October. This year we did, en route to Southern California. The autumn leaves were gorgeous all along the interstate, mostly yellow with occasional spots of orange and red. They helped break up the monotony of having gone this route many times before. When... Continue Reading →

Portland Beauty

If there is one outstanding beauty in Portland, Oregon, my vote goes to this laceleaf maple that shines the brightest in late fall at the Japanese Garden. I was fortunate to see it in its full glory when I passed through the city last Sunday on my way home to Seattle. Five years ago, I... Continue Reading →

Fog Lifting Over Pasture

Fall is in the air. In the Northwest we get foggy days early in the season. I was taking back roads in the morning around Eugene, Oregon, when lifting fog was lending its mysterious beauty over the landscape.

Shizuku, Portland’s Significant Japanese Restaurant

Four years ago, I lunched at Chef Naoko Bento Café, a Japanese restaurant on the edge of Portland's downtown district. The storefront was unremarkable like the surroundings. Interstate 405 was practically its western border. On my visit, a semi-truck parked just outside blocked sunlight from lighting the interior. The atmosphere inside was a lot more pleasant,... Continue Reading →

Of Obsidian, Lava Casts and Waterfalls: Newberry National Volcanic Monument

The lava sparkles. In a sea of black, rocks reflect light like mirrors. It's eerie enough to walk through a lava field where the ground beneath seems scorched by a cataclysmic firestorm, inhospitable to life, meager vegetation struggling to stay alive. Here in Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon there also happens to be an enormous... Continue Reading →

A Tuff Climb at Smith Rock (Terrebonne, OR)

It’s hard to miss the strange but spectacular rock formations as you’re driving through Terrebonne on US 97. The last time I visited Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon was in 2011. Even though ill with a slight fever, I managed to get down to the foot of these rocks to admire them as well... Continue Reading →

Serenity by the Sea

It amazes me that seabirds can find comfort in daunting places. Below an overlook somewhere south of Cape Perpetua on the Oregon coast, I saw this gull resting on a rocky ledge high above crashing waves, not bothered by a stiff wind ruffling its feathers nor a loud colony of sea lions barking from the beach below.

Calm in the Storm, Devil’s Churn (Oregon)

Part of the thrill of walking on the intertidal lava rocks near Cape Perpetua in Oregon is to watch the seething currents offshore. If I stood too close to shore's edge, a sneaker wave could easily claim me victim. Yet, there are sheltered tidepools that are a remarkable contrast to the chaos nearby. Devil's Churn is a narrow channel that... Continue Reading →

Iris Explosion in Oregon

We were en route to Los Temos Taqueria in Salem, Oregon, when we saw them. Blooming in the fields were millions of irises laid out in swaths of almost every color imaginable. If it weren't for the season, we would never have noticed, as we hadn't in all our previous drive-bys. But, there they were in all... Continue Reading →

Hood River Fruit Loop (Oregon)

I enjoy the drive through the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side, not only for the waterfalls but because it's a beautiful drive along one of America's mighty rivers. Another revelation, as I discovered on this trip, is noticing the transition between the climate zones on either side of the Cascade mountain range without having to drive over a mountain pass.... Continue Reading →

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