Road Trip 2012: Part II

As I mentioned in my previous post, Tim and I recently returned from a road trip across the country. We spent a majority of our time camping, hiking, and exploring national parks. We did our best to avoid main highways, opting for scenic backroads instead. If you ever find yourself planning a road trip, I highly suggest taking the less traveled roads. We encountered solitude, beautiful stretches of country, and quirky little towns.

My last post ended with a photograph of Tim and I posing with the Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, MN. Once we left Minnesota, we headed for Madison, WI and stayed with our friend for a few days. Madison has some incredible vegan food (we had pizza, cupcakes, and tasty sandwiches)!

Cupcakes from Bloom Bake Shop near Madison, WI

After we left Madison, we headed for Milwaukee, WI to attend a family wedding. I can sum Milwaukee up with six words: huge vegan pancakes and ice cream.

Huge vegan pancakes (and French toast and smoothies) from the Riverwest Co-op Cafe

Tasty vegan milkshakes and ice cream cones from Babe’s in Milwaukee, WI (thank you, Kelly, for the tip!)

Next stop? Erie, PA! My younger sister got married so we stayed with my family for a week. I was in charge of making the cupcakes (all vegan!!) for the wedding. I spent a hefty chunk of time whipping up four dozen (it was a small wedding) cupcakes: chocolate with peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache drizzle, and chopped salted peanuts; carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut.

And then? We hit the road once again. Our first stop was Niagara Falls in Canada. We had both been before, but it had been many, many years.

We spent the afternoon people-watching and then had lunch in St. Catharine’s, at Rise Above Bakery & Cafe. I had a lentil burger and Tim had pizza. We both had doughnuts (maple and cookies-n-cream). They were some of the best doughnuts ever, seriously.

Tim yawning on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Our campsite in this area was two feet from a swimming beach on Lake Superior. We even jumped in the water a few times! It was so clear and clean; I was delighted!

Grand Sable Dunes – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox – Bemidji, MN

We waded through the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca State Park (MN)

Hale Bay people somewhere in North Dakota

Windy day at the geographical center of North America in Rugby, ND

Hiking in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Massive field of sunflowers in North Dakota

Wild Goose Island – Glacier National Park

Poor jump timing at Ptarmigan Lake – Glacier National Park

Iceberg Lake – Glacier National Park

Beargrass on the Iceberg Lake trail – Glacier National Park

Hiking the Grinnell Glacier trail – Glacier National Park

Grinnell Lake – Glacier National Park

Looking over the Continental Divide on the Dawson Pass trail – Glacier National Park

My best attempt at photographing a grizzly bear cub – Glacier National Park

Tim crossing a huge swing bridge over the Kootenai River

And then, eventually, we were back in Portland. But, I shall leave you with one more photograph:

Tim and I posing with Pierre the Pantsless Voyageur. I won’t tell you what we saw…

And that’s it! I am still sifting through a ton of photographs, so there may be a follow-up post of outtakes. I hope you all enjoyed the highlights!

Road Trip 2012: Part I

Tim and I recently returned from an 8,000 mile road trip across the country. We spent six weeks exploring new places, visiting friends, and attending family weddings. It was quite an adventure, one that was most definitely documented with thousands of photographs. Here is Part I of the highlights:

Wallowa Lake State Park – Northeastern OregonHells Canyon National Recreation Area – Northeastern Oregon 
We found vegan smoothies in the middle of nowhere (near Joseph, Oregon)Bruneau Dunes State Park – Bruneau, IdahoChilling in a big green rocking chair near Arco, IdahoCamping at Craters of the Moon National Monument – near Arco, IdahoHiking in solitude at Grand Teton National Park – WyomingSunset on the Teton Range – Grand Teton National Park

Posing near Lower Falls in Grand Teton National Park (it was cold there!)Old Faithful Geyser – Yellowstone National Park – WyomingBison rolling in the dust – Yellowstone National ParkColorful, steamy pools in Yellowstone National ParkDevil’s Tower National Monument – WyomingPrairie dog near Devil’s Tower!!Quick drive through the Mt. Rushmore area (see George Washington in the background?)Badlands National Park – South DakotaThunderstorm in Badlands National Park
Statue of the Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN (I think he looks like a green David Hasselhoff)

There were plenty more highlights during the first half of our trip but posting all the photographs would make for an incredibly long and boring post. Trust me when I tell you that we saw grizzly bears, hiked to serene mountain lakes, made a delicious stir-fry on our camp stove, and broke down and bought a tiny sleeve of Oreo cookies in Yellowstone National Park when we realized how long we’d gone without a treat.

Come back soon for Part II highlights! Maybe I can entice you with cupcakes, the Mississippi River headwaters, rainbows, a penguin, waterfalls, and vegan doughnuts?

A Day Trip

Since the Pacific Northwest isn’t getting much snow in the mountains, Tim and I took a little road trip to the Oregon coast instead. We visit the coast frequently and it never gets old. Birds, whales, sand critters, rocky sculptures, and mighty waves make exploration incredibly fun. Nothing compares to the coast for mental and physical relaxation. It’s just so lovely!

On our drive to the coast, we passed by this scenic spot, where low clouds were weaving through a small farming town:

Our first stop was Cannon Beach. It is an incredibly popular destination, even in the off season. When the tide is low, peeking into all the exposed tide pools is my favorite activity. We didn’t arrive during low tide though so we opted to walk a massive stretch of sandy beach… In the inevitable wind and rain! Luckily, the sun came out halfway through our walk.

I took photographs while Tim recorded the sound of waves splashing on rocks.

And then, after we ate our lunch, it rained for the remainder of the day! We did spot a beautiful rainbow on the drive home though (taken through the car window)!

Into the Gorge

The weather report predicted rain for today. Tim and I took our chances and ventured outside for a little road trip to the Columbia River Gorge despite the wet forecast. We’ve visited this area so many times (look here, here, here, and here) that it almost feels like an extension of our apartment. When family and friends are in town, the Columbia River Gorge is guaranteed to impress. It goes without question that bringing along a camera is mandatory. The gorge is most known for the many (many, many, many) waterfalls that are accessible by short hikes or by pulling your car into a small lot and walking 20 feet to an open view of cascading water.

My favorite part about the gorge is the lingering clouds and fog that weave around the hills and trees, which we definitely witnessed this afternoon.

And since I mentioned waterfalls:

Latourell Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Multnomah Falls (taken last year during the first week of January)

We stopped at several other waterfalls as well, but I didn’t photograph them all. We lucked out with the weather: it didn’t start raining until we were back in the car and headed for home!

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I am pretty sure that the clocks in my apartment are working against me – making time pass quicker than normal. No matter how much I try to stretch out my days, darkness swallows Portland by 5 PM and my productivity levels drop. I’ve been busy though! Here are some highlights:

Tim and I went to watch a cyclo-cross race a few weeks ago (at the farm where we pick berries in the summertime). I am always amazed at the abilities of these riders. I especially love watching the women riders – they kick some serious butt!

Thanksgiving is often a quiet affair – just Tim and I at our apartment cooking and eating together (just like every other day!). This year, we stayed with our friends in Seattle and made a magnificent feast that left all of us too stuffed to do much more than play games and watch movies. Oh, and we squeezed in some time for breakfast at Mighty O Donuts (can’t live without ‘em!). We have actually contemplated moving to Seattle – I just need to find a job first…

I spent a majority of this past week cutting out hundreds of little red hearts and a considerable number of teal-colored cats. What for? I was asked to design some cards for the Teal Cat Project website! The proceeds from these cards will go directly to House of Dreams, a cat rescue shelter in Portland, OR. These cards are perfect for the holidays. Please consider purchasing some cards and helping some kitties who need extra love! I’ve also been updating my Etsy shop with new cards!

Tim and I took a road trip into central Oregon today and inhaled our fair share of waterfalls, rolling hills, and mountains. The sun was shining all day and we enjoyed a picnic lunch amongst curious birds and the sound of rushing water.

Lastly, I am working on writing a small cookzine with about 25 vegan recipes. I don’t know when it will be available yet, but I will be sure to let you know!

Hope all of you are enjoying the first week of December so far!