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Last Sunday my aunt was in town visiting, so my second cousin and I showed her around the city. We went all sorts of places– there was an awesome 24-hour music festival going on at Weidan+Kennedy, a large advertising firm here in town. We also schmoozed around in Cargo, a totally awesome import store down on 13th Ave. But my favorite thing, by far, was visiting the Chinese Classical Garden, which is just starting it’s spring blooms.

I’ve been in love with the Chinese Classical since the first time I came to Portland– in fact, it was one of the first places my mom took me and I immediately fell and fell hard. It takes up a bare city block, and yet I could spend the entire day in it, wandering through each separate area, enjoying the blooms and beautiful ponds. Last sunday was breath-taking, with the plums, the camelias, and all of the trees starting to leaf out.

Graceful

The water bridge, through the branches of a tree whose name I can’t remember…

Trinity Pink

I’m passionately in love with fruit tree blossoms. They smell pretty, they look pretty, and they make tasty things appear like magic! Here are some of the ornamental plums from the “plum blossoms on cracked ice” side garden.

Wizened Ancient

In the same side garden are a lot of sweet penjing, Chinese bonsai trees. I love this old fellow with all of the plum petals around his roots.

Duck

DUCK! The only one there– he looked a bit lonely.

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My family and I got back from our road trip three days ago, and I’m finally settling down enough to write something resembling a play-by-play of it. Three restaurant reviews, and a recipe or two will follow this post in it’s crooked path onto the interwebs.

On the first night of the trip, we stayed at Bryce Canyon, in Utah. All of the tent camping spots were full, but the camp host let us stay in an RV camping spot that was perfect for our tiny Subaru and our huge dome tent. No bugs, not too cold– it was a perfect night.

The entire next day was spent driving across Utah, Idaho, and south-eastern Oregon. Without much variation, the dry grassy hills and heavily irragated fields seemed to streach on forever.

((Point of interest, however– If you are ever driving through Provo, Utah, get off at the University Ave. exit. After a few blocks you’ll see a health foods store on your right, called Good Earth Natural Foods. They have a great selection of locally grown and organic foods, at pretty decent prices. Love you, Good Earth!))

That night we stayed at the campground at Farewell Bend, on the Snake River in Oregon. There were an abundance of mosquitos, lessened slightly by the moderately high winds. The sunrise on the Brownlee Reservoir, however, made it worth the numerous insect bites, and the hair-raising task of trying to set up a dome tent in the wind. If you haven’t done this before, I’ll enumerate. It’s kind of like trying to build a six-by-ten foot box kite in a wind tunnel. Funfunfun.

The next day was taken up by driving from Farewell Bend to Mount Rainier, and the Paradise Lodge. Mount Rainier is truly breathtaking. The air that blew in through the open windows smelled like peat, moss, and flowers. They had a pretty large snow last winter, the last snowfall happening in early June, (Hey! That’s what happened here in N.Arizona, too!) so there was still quite a snowpack on the top of the mountain, and  the parking lot at the lodge was turned into a small lake by the runoff from the snow patches all over the meadows.

The next two days we spent on the mountain, at the lodge, and then at the Cougar Rock campground for the last night since we were unable to get a room for Saturday. So many lovely mountain views! My cousin Lauren and I hung around the lodge, reading, drawing, and playing cards, while the rest of the family went on hikes… I’m not really a hiking person.

We left the mountain on Sunday, driving west into Olympia WA, in order to check out Evergreen College (for my twin sister), and to visit my cousin at the coffee shop where she works, Batdorf & Bronson. We ate a lovely lunch at The Oyster House, and then went for a brief walk on the piers. We then drove down to Portland, got thoroughly lost, and finally found Portland State University, where I’m going to be going in September. From Portland we drove east again, and camped for the night on the banks of the Columbia River.

The last full day of our trip took us from Oregon, all the way back into Utah. We camped at the Pineview Reservoir, northeast of Salt Lake City.

The final day of driving brough us from Pineview to home, just in time for my sister to wash all of her clothes, and then pack again for her river trip, that left on Wednesday.