A STRANGELY DRY FALL IN THE PNW

So as we dive head first into the throes of winter with the upcoming Winter Soltice and Christmas holiday, I would me remiss not to acknowledge my relative lack of updates here, especially since the weather in Oregon has been anything but typical. Let’s see…

October was a mix of some rain, some clouds and some clear and relatively warm days (we still had 70-degree highs as we approached Halloween).

November was cooler, but far less rain than the previous two Novembers since Breeah and I moved out here. We drove down to Big Sur in Northern California on a three-day Veteran’s Day weekend to escape the one soggy weekend in our next of the woods – so, in a sense, every weekend was beautiful for us.

December has seen a historic inversion of sorts. The weather in the valley is chilly, but dry. The weather on the bordering Cascade range has actually been quite warm. It is raining today – the only day I can remember any precipitation this month (to be fair, I left to visit my hometown of Billings, Montana for a weekend and missed a soggy Saturday). A cold snap kicks in over Christmas again, which may give us – as far as I can gauge – two or three days of impactful rain for the entire month. I don’t even remember a singular sunny day last December…

We haven’t traveled any less – I’ve just updated my roadie dwellers a LOT less. So take this as a highlight package of sorts. What have we done since Tahoe on Labor Day…

In October we did the festive thing and visited the Roloff Farm in Hillsboro, Oregon (a short drive from Portland – those pumpkins on the top photo were from the farm). Of course, the Roloff’s star in the TLC reality series Little People, Big World. One of the stars of the show, Jeremy, drove us around on the group tour and I got to chat a little bit with him about his latest adventures (which includes being a new dad). All in all the Roloff’s offer an fantastic and expansive family experience with games, animals, pumpkins and food – not to mention a good chance at running into and interacting with a few of the cast members.

Spotted at least five or six different whales swimming around near Depoe Bay

The all important shot of the tail – they were bashful about showing off, a tough picture to capture

We also managed to sneak in some whale watching in the self-proclaimed smallest port in the world – that being Depoe Bay, Oregon. We had no idea the weather would be relatively sunny throughout December, so a clear weekend in October means you must scramble out to the coast to take in the last sight of the sun casting its rays across the ocean. Needless to say, we may have had many more opportunities if we wanted them, but we were happy with our sightings!

McWay Falls might be the best beach in the lower 48 states. The actual beach formed in 1983 due to a landslide that took out part of Highway 1.

Incredible coastal views can be had at the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve near Carmel-by-the-Sea before you begin your trek to Big Sur.

The frequently photographed Bear Gulch in Pinnacles National Park. We happened to visit on a very warm and very free day – it was Veteran’s Day and the National Park Service wasn’t collecting fees.

As I mentioned earlier, we traveled down to the Big Sur area of California over Veterans Day for a relatively warm and sunny weekend to take in one of the country’s prettiest drives. McWay Falls Beach (despite having no beach access) may be the most visually appealing beach in the contiguous U.S. states and is worthy of the drive alone. We also took another day to drive out to Pinnacles National Park, a rather remote park that is home to ancient volcanic formations. The park was given National Park status in 2013, making it the “newest” of the 59 park system holdings with the marquee designation (it had previously been a National Monument).

Leavenworth is modeled after a Bavarian-style ski town. Its nestled in Central Washington and hosts big gatherings and events for Oktoberfest and Christmas

The town is home to only 2,000 people and can get incredibly crowded on nice weather weekends during the holidays

After Thanksgiving we drove up to Leavenworth, Washington – the town that re-invented itself with a Bavarian-theme makeover in the 60s and 70s. The town gets a Christmas overhaul come late November and every weekend the main street is overflowing with people from all over the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I’ve never seen so many people in such a small town at one time (Leavenworth is home to roughly 2,000 people but bloats to nearly 20,000 on the biggest weekends). We had trouble leaving on a Saturday night as the throngs of people packed together for the 4:30 lighting ceremony rivaled trying to exit a major sporting event!

I managed to sneak in some sporting events as well. We headed up to an unseasonably snowy Seattle in early November to see my Washington Redskins upset the Seahawks (really the lone highlight of the Redskins season down the stretch). I also saw Bradley Beal net a career high 51 points as the Washington Wizards took down the Portland Trailblazers in Portland in early December (so far the biggest highlight of the season for the Wiz). I’m usually never this lucky when I see my teams in person, so I’m not holding my breath for the next round of games I’m able to attend…

So, as you can see, it has actually been a very busy latter part of 2017. We have some big plans for travel in 2018 (of course!) and I plan to touch on those in my annual New Year’s resolution post – so watch for that!

One thought on “A STRANGELY DRY FALL IN THE PNW

  1. We just finished a 100+ day dry spell down here in Arizona, and that’s not uncommon for us. The days when it DOES rain are uncommon. I remember one time scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and there was live coverage of wet roads in Scottsdale. 300+ someodd people viewing the webcam. Just of wet roads. Haha. You’ve been busy! I’m fascinated by that beach that was formed by a landslide covering Hwy 1 in the 1980s so I’m going to read up more on that. Leavenworth looks fun (and European). Have a good Christmas. Looking forward to seeing where 2018 takes you.

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