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Hasta La Vista 2016!

While I can’t say that 2016 has been the best year, it has become a tradition to do the annual year in review.  Although in some ways, I won’t be sorry to see 2016 go, I still have to remember that even with its ups and downs, I do live a truly blessed life.  So without further ado…

  1. My beloved grandmother passed away in February at the age of 98.  She lived a long, blessed life, filled with God, family and good friends, and she was ready to go be with my grandfather again.  I was lucky to have her for the first 40 years of my life, but I will miss her always.
  2. I took a wonderful girls trip to San Diego in April, full of bonding with friends and relaxing in the California sunshine.  We celebrated Allysa’s 50th birthday and saw the sights.  I tried SUP-ping for the first time too!
  3. I did quite a bit of local hiking this year.  I hiked Fragrance Lake twice, the Ozette Triangle at Olympic National Park, and the Chain Lakes loop at Mount Baker.  There is a peace found on the trail that is unmatched elsewhere.
  4. I took a long weekend to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins in Oregon and Southern Washington.  We went to a small town rodeo and went white water rafting on the stunning White Salmon River.
  5. My mom and I took a 10 day road trip through Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming in August.  It was wonderful to spend so much time with my amazing mother, seeing the sights and laughing throughout our adventure.  More posts coming soon!
  6. I completed my 8th half marathon, the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon, in September with my dear friend Katie, with our friend Shelley providing support.  Even though the weather sucked, my 13.1 mile slog through rain and wind ended with a new personal record and a definite feeling of accomplishment!  And wine!
  7. My horse and the kitties are all happy and healthy.  Biz is down to just three old man teeth, and gave me a scare recently when he suddenly lost a ton of weight, but he is now on the mend and making me feel more comfortable about him weathering the winter.  At the ripe old age of 29, I am keenly aware that time with him is getting short, but the memories I have with him will last a lifetime.
  8. In November I took a long weekend trip to revisit Astoria, Oregon.  I went to see some old sights and some new, and relaxed over a beer at some of the town’s best breweries.  Even though the forecast called for a weekend of rain, I walked everywhere and stayed completely dry!  The rain began as I got into the car to head home.
  9. I am close to the two year anniversary at my job, and continue to enjoy the challenges and successes.  My staff are second to none.  And the vacation accrual is wonderful, as is the summer schedule!

I didn’t post as much in 2016 as I had hoped to, but still have many posts coming about my West trip, the half-marathon and Astoria.  I am hopeful that 2017 will have me back on a more regular posting schedule, as well as experiencing many new adventures.

Know that I am eternally grateful for all of you that I count as readers, family and friends.  Here’s to peace and happiness in the New Year.  Cheers!

July 2016: Hood River

After our amazing rafting trip, my aunt, uncle, cousin and I camped on a sustainable practices organic farm.  There were chickens, turkeys, horses and pigs.  The farm had views of both Mount Adams and Mount Hood, and other than the sound of the irrigation ditch, it was really quiet out there.

The next morning, we packed up the tent and my aunt and uncle’s trailer and went to Hood River, Oregon to check out the town.  We watched people parasailing on the Columbia River.  We wandered the main streets and checked out the shops.  We went into two wineries too.

 

Paddle Wheel River Boats on the Columbia River

Paddle Wheel River Boats on the Columbia River

 

What's up with the weirdo on the cell phone?

What’s up with the weirdo on the cell phone?

The first was Cascade Cliffs Winery.   Our server was very friendly, and she served us some fantastic wines.  She explained that the logo for the winery is a petroglyph that was discovered on the vineyard property.  I bought the 2014 Dolcetto and the 2015 Symphony white blend there.  I haven’t had them yet, but I might have to open one soon!

After Cascade Cliffs, we headed over to Naked Winery. Naked Winery was a fun and lively place; there was certainly a young hip vibe going on there. The focus seemed less on the quality of the wines and more on the “curb appeal.” The wines all have fun, sexy names, and the logo of the winery is a naked woman. I purchased a great sparkling wine there, and a bottle of their Wanderlust White. It comes in a plastic, lightweight bottle that is perfect for taking on a hiking trip!  I also got a bottle of their Frisky Sparkling Wine, which was pretty good!

The tasting menu at Naked Winery

The tasting menu at Naked Winery

My aunt and I had fun at both wineries, and my uncle was a trooper, even though it isn’t really his thing. After wine tasting, we headed over to the Three River’s Grill. I had the fish tacos, and they were absolutely delicious. The view was amazing too – we got to watch more para-sailors (is this the right word for people who are parasailing?) out on the water from our table on the deck.  I would absolutely love to go back there on another gorgeous summer day and watch the view on the water.  It was really relaxing.

We made one last stop before we got back on the road to head our separate ways. We made a stop at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery. The Hatchery has some adult White Sturgeon that visitors can see. They are big fish! White Sturgeon can grow to be 20 feet long are the third largest sturgeon species.  Unfortunately, populations of sturgeon on the Columbia River are not abundant, because the dams have inhibited their ability to migrate freely.

I also saw some lamprey, which have sucker mouths to attach to things; they really like to stick on the glass in the underwater viewing area. They were interesting to see, but apparently they are nuisance fish.  And of course, I also saw lots of different kinds of salmon and trout.  They have a pond at the hatchery where you can buy fish food for 50 cents and feed the salmon – they all come up to the surface like they haven’t eaten in days!  Even though you just fed them 10 seconds ago.  But hey, my cats are like that too…

And then, too soon, it was time for my long drive home…

2016 Philomath Frolic

Back in July (I know, it seems like forever ago to me too, but it’s been a very long several months) I took a long weekend and went down to Oregon to spend some time with my family. My Aunt and Uncle were visiting Oregon from Michigan, because my cousin and his daughter live there.  They invited me down for a couple of days of fun activities.

First up – a rodeo in my cousin’s small town. I was about to experience my first-ever Philomath Frolic. It had been ages since I’d been to a rodeo, so I was excited to go. I know that not everybody agrees with rodeos, but I grew up riding horses, and running barrels and cattle penning for fun.  I even used to try to rope, but I was never talented enough…

The weather wasn’t great – it rained a good portion of the day, but it at least wasn’t too cold.  And we were in the covered grandstand.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

The Drill Team – the Frolic had a drill team – a group of horses and riders who do a synchronized pattern on their horses.  It’s kind of like synchronized swimming.

grand-parade

First up in the competitive rodeo events was Saddle Bronc Riding.  The goal is to stay on for 8 seconds.  Your free hand can’t hold on!

saddle-bronc-riding-1

 

saddle-bronc-3

 

saddle-bronc-2

 

Next came Calf Roping – you have to rope the calf and lay him on the ground.  Best time wins.

calf-roping-1

 

This is breakaway roping.  The rider ropes the calf, but immediately lets go.  Best time wins here too.

calf-roping-2

 

In Team Roping, you have a Header and a Heeler.  It’s like it sounds, the Header ropes the head and the Heeler ropes the back legs.  There is a 5 second penalty if the Heeler only catches one back leg.

team-roping

 

Donkey Racing – this event is just for fun.  One person rides the donkey down the length of the arena and around a barrel.  The other person rides back!  Or as you can see, sometimes “riding” is a bit of a stretch.

donkey-race

 

This baby donkey was just born the night before!  He’s so cute!

donkey-foal

 

Barrel Racing – the rider and the horse execute a pattern of running around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern.  Fastest time wins, with a 5 second penalty for knocking over barrels.

barrel-racing2

 

barrel-racing

 

Bull Riding is easily the most dangerous sport for the rodeo rider.  The goal is to stay on for 8 seconds.  It is hard to do!  I wish the first photo below was a little more clear, but I couldn’t resist posting it because it is such an awesome photo!

 

bull-riding2

 

bull-riding

 

So that was my Philomath Frolic experience.  I hope you enjoyed it!  Have you ever been to a rodeo?