Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by eandesmom, Feb 1, 2012.
Hi Cynthia !!!!!
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it was amazing, I must say. I will be making it again!
Before we get back to trip planning, (and yes it does continue complete with drama though perhaps not the kind anyone was expecting) I thought Id do a mini TR!
The Es get a full week off for Presidents weekend, their mid winter break. K&T do not. Back in 2009 we went to WDW during that week, K&T missed school and we learned then the hard way it just wasnt worth it to have them miss school once we hit middle/high school. Which is why we have a July/August trip planned. But for the 4 of us it is a week we can do something quick and local. So we did. Jeff planned a crazy 4 day, 3 night last minute road trip.
First up was McMinnville, OR. Why McMinnville? Ill tell you soon. But first, on the way, we had a very specific lunch spot in mind. Deschutes Brewery. A great Brewpub, in Portland. We like their beer and have eaten there before and it was a logical stop. We left on time ( a little before 8am) and made it to Portland about 10 minutes before their official opening at 11:30. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch and great mirco brews. Unbeknownst to us it was a special day there. No, not Presidents day weekend, instead it was Zwicklemania. What is Zwicklemania you ask? We had no idea. It did mean all kinds of interesting specials on the menu though. Apparently, this is what it is!
2012 Presidents Day weekend, dozens of Oregon breweries and brewpubs will open their doors to visitors for the states 4th annual Zwickelmania. Zwickelmania, hosted by the Oregon Brewers Guild (OBG), is a free statewide event that offers visitors a chance to tour Oregon breweries, meet the brewers and sample their favorite beers.
When: Saturday, February 18th, 2012 from 11-4 pm
What: Oregon Brewers Guild Brewery Open House.
Huh. We ordered.
HOT CORNED BEEF
Green Lakes Organic Ale braised corned beef, Gruyere cheese, gala apple kraut, roasted red pepper sauce on Black Butte Porter rye bread $11.5
Seared Coleman Ranch beef, Mirror Pond Pale Ale aioli, Tillamook cheddar, butter leaf lettuce, hot house tomatoes, shaved red onion and brewery made pickles
NW FISH & CHIPS
Crispy fresh Ling cod from NW waters dipped in Mirror Pond Pale Ale batter and bread crumbs served with passionfruit red cabbage slaw, brewery fries, caper tartar sauce and lemon $16
I think Jeff has something off of the special menu but really dont know for sure.
It was incredibly yummy!!!!!!!!!! Of course we enjoyed some beer with it, doing a taste test comparison of a couple different IPAs while the kids enjoyed the homemade root beer. On our way out, we all hit the restrooms. Which had one of the funniest directional signs Ive seen in a long time. If you look towards the back of the very giant warehouse type room the brewpub is in, it says OVER HERE.
The place had filled up while we were eating and there was now a considerable wait for a table. We soon realized why. As we walked back to the restrooms we could see into the brewing area, where the tours were going on. It was packed. Packed full of people drinking beer! Was we passed it, a staff member came out and saw us looking in. He asked if we were there for the tour. Jeff quipped, no, but well take one of those beers. And sure enough the guy went inside and got us each one! Now thats my kind of pixie dust.
Happy tummies, we got back into the car and headed off to our destination, about an hour outside of Portland.
McMinnville is home to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Which just so happens to house the Spruce Goose. Biggest seaplane ever built and flown only once. Of course we HAD to go see it. They have literally built the aviation museum around it
It also happens to have a waterpark. Now what in the world connects a water park to an aviation museum?
Well, you can link anything if you get creative enough! Put a 747 on top of a building, have slides come out of it and voila! Aviation waterpark!
here is where some of you might flame me. We took the kids to the water park, got them all settled and checked in, and left. Granted, we didnt go far. Surrounding the museum and waterpark (its acutlaly 5 building in total, quite the complex) are
vineyards. Our BFP (Big Fat Plan) for the day was to let the kids get wet and slide to their hearts content, while we did a little wine tasting. There is an actual tasting room in the Aerospace building. Not so much because we were expecting anything fabulous in the way of wine but the reality is, I cant do indoor waterparks. I have a ridiculous eye condition, very serious dry eye that requires me to take medicated drops twice daily. Basically I dont make tears and the ones I do make, are non-nutritive. I am not a candidate for surgery either. For the most part, now that Ive finally figured out what it is (3 doctors and probably looking stoned for 4 months straight later due to how red they were
Id joke I looked like a vampire but once someone said that to me I got REALLY serious about figuring out the issue) its fairly manageable. I have flare ups and have to be really careful about certain things. You may notice that I have my sunglasses on in most pictures. Wind makes things really really bad, really really fast. Bad as in hot poker in the eye, crying for hours, staying up too late reading kind of burning, constant pain. Its really draining. Driving at night is another bad thing, it strains the eyes, they get more dry and pain can ensue. Driving at night in the rain, well, that can completely wipe me out. Just going to the store and back. It is ridiculous and annoys me to no end.
But nothing causes immediate pain faster than an indoor, heavily chlorinated, environment. Like this.
I can do an outdoor pool or waterpark. I can do an indoor one if it is well ventilated, although not for terribly long. Should the boys have to miss because I truly cant go? No. Were they old enough to be there safely? Yes. Were we within a 2 minute run if needed? Yes. Could Jeff have gone with them while I did something else? Sure...but that wasn't what he had in mind either.
We set up an hour, on the hour, check in. Wed be gone for an hour, come back, see how they were doing and then repeat. And thats what we did! We strolled over to the aerospace side, checking out the vines as we went
We tried a few of the wines and shockingly enough, liked the Riesling the best. We purchased a bottle, selected a table where we could view much of the museum and just hung out. Oregon is known for it's Rieslings and Pinot Noir's in particular, neither of which we are big fans of but this was pretty tasty.
We had a nice view. If you are an aerospace geek that is!
Each hour, wed take our wine up to the counter, theyd store it in the fridge for us and wed go check on the kids. A couple of times it rained on us and once we drove back and forth as a result. The lines for the 747 slides were LONG due to the holiday weekend, the place was packed. Honestly, Im not sure Jeff and I would have had the patience to wait for them. But the boys did and as a result were able to ride both a couple of times and then do several of the other things. We were there for about 4 hours. On the final pickup Jeff, who had a non swimmer bracelet to go in (I didnt have one at all) had to go in and try to find them. It was a bit freaky as theyd been SO good about being up front on the hour for the check in.
They werent ready.
They couldnt find their towels.
Theyd left them out, in the locker room.
Nice big Lands End towels.
Luckily I had two more in the car so we were able to get them dry and head out. In all honestly they could have been taken off of a lounger just as easily and LOTS of folks had left towels out, they didnt do anything they didnt see others doing.
We have bad luck with towels. Once, while driving to a summer lake vacation, our roof top cargo carrier hadnt been completely latched and all the towels and life jackets on top went flying down the highway. Thankfully a good samaratian flagged us down, we were able to seucre and recover the life jackets.
Not the towels.
Somehow since then I keep buying beach towels, kids get them as presents and I dont know what but theyve bred, multiplied and are taking over the linen closet. So while they were nice, very nice towels, life will go on and we didnt give them too hard a time about it. We did enjoy our parting view of the wings and waterpark
We had a lovely dinner and a decent nights rest and then spent the bulk of the next day between the Aviation side, and the Aerospace side. I admit, while the Spruce Goose itself was a bit of a let down, the Aerospace side in particular was really really impressive! Who knew. McMinnville!
Check it out.
The kids were fascinated by the old fashioned airplane seats.
Evan kept playing with the ashtray. I told him to stop playing with the ashtray. Thats what that is? Yep. You could SMOKE on a plane? Yep. YUCK! Yep. LOL The concept just boggled his mind, that there were smoking and non smoking sections.
Cool vintage planes
More seats (they were everywhere around the place and I think the boys sat in most of them!)
Continued in next post
The massive Spruce Goose
A pretty cool model, showing the scale
Basically they didnt let you see much inside, just the cargo hold, partially filled with beach balls. If you paid to get your picture taken, then and only then could you see the cockpit. We passed.
While I have several pictures of random planes and engines, Ill spare you all! We finished up and headed over to
The aerospace side
They had a pretty neat lift off simulation
Which just so happened to be right outside of this!
Cant tell what it is? How about now? Explore this large booster rocket from inside its missile silo, and then experience the excitement of a simulated launch sequence from the launch room.
Ok, that was pretty darn cool! I couldnt believe they had a full, real, Titan II Missile!
After the missile we grabbed lunch at the counter service there, it was surprisingly good! We went back into the museum for about another hour or 2.
We had to see the Blackbird!
Honestly, we could have stayed longer but we had an hour drive to the next location and didnt want to get there in the dark.
So we said goodbye
We were going here
Repeating the success of the previous day, I got the kids settled at the pool, stopped by the bar, got a couple of lovely IPAs on tap (Green Flash, a new one for us and one we liked very much) and Jeff and I sat on our balcony enjoying the ocean. It was Feburary, it wasnt warm but oh, the sound of the surf! Nothing like it to me. I used to visit this coast as a child and it brings back really good memories. Dinner was yet another brewpub (it was pouring and easiest) and then the kids watched a movie while Jeff and I hit the hot tub. Which wasnt very hot. We picked up some decaf and headed back
to our balcony of course! Even in cold weather we are balcony people and the efflorescence of the surf at night, to me, is just magical. I tried to take some nighttime surf pictures but they didnt really turn out.
Continued in next post
In the morning, Jeff and I went for a walk (me) and run (him) on the beach. It was cold, windy and wonderful! The kids played on the beach while we got ready.
Having at least gotten a little sand and surf into our system, if not any sun it was time to eat! We checked out, and this took a bit as the place was NUTS due to the holiday. I really should have taken room pictures, its a very cute place although the pool was a little dated and odd.
We then headed to a place of local fame
It was now presidents day and the place was packed. But.. totally worth the wait. Sourdough pancakes. Nothing like em!
Next up? Another childhood memory of mine, one every northwesterner big and small, should experience. The Tilamook Cheese Factory!
It was just as much fun as I remembered, we watched them make LOTS of cheese!
I admit, I dont remember that much about it from my childhood, other than having their fabulous ice cream at the end (pretty much the only kind we buy at home). It was really fascinating and fun and impressed all of us on so many levels. If anything, Ill buy more of their product as a result and given that its also typically the only cheese and yogurt we buy, thats saying a lot! Of course, we had ice cream at the end.
Hung out with the local cows who provide the fresh milk 24 hours around the clock from local farms
And visited the loaf tour bus.
We needed to hit the road, we still had a long drive ahead. For the next couple of hours, we just enjoyed the scenery. What we forgot was the variable speed on 101. It made things take a LOT longer than our route planning had shown. Wed planned to stop for some pictures in Canon Beach. And we did. Although for some reason it was hard to get close for a decent shot. I am always amazed by the sizes of these rocks!
As you can see, it was pretty grey and foggy out, not to mention rainy!
But we also decided to stop for something else. Can anyone guess what?
Yep. A beer. LOL!
Cute little local pub that brewed its own beer. The brewmaker actually came by our table so of course we had to have some of his wares! Cute place, full of character, including Bill! had we been hungry, wed have eaten but was still stuffed from breakfast, icecream and then oh yeah, the cheese wed bought and had been eating in the car! It reminded me how adorable the town is and that Jeff and I need to go there for a couples trip in the not to distant future. Preferably when its not pouring though.
It was already 5 by this point and we still had 3 hours of driving so hopped back in the car. Here is where it got a little interesting. Once we got over into WA it got pitch dark and windy real quick and we were stuck behind poky people. And it was raining. NOT a fun drive for Jeff. It was a holiday and we had no idea if wed find food at our destination so decided to stop on the way. Thanks to google, we found a random Italian restaurant (yes we do branch out from brew pubs from time to time) just off the highway. It was such a fun, unexpected little gem. Great service, great food and we walked out of there very restored for the last 45 minutes of driving. So restored we decided to hit the grocery store and get a bottle of wine for the room.
Well we had a balcony there of course!
Arriving and checking in, in the pouring rain, we realized that while we had a balcony, it was so set back (forgot about the sand dunes, another town I hadnt been to in years) and in the rainy dark, you really couldnt see much. But our room was a suite and so the kids settled in with a show, as did Jeff and I in the living room and a relaxing remainder of the night, after a very long and full day, was had.
Continued in next post
In the morning it was still pouring. Jeff and I drove out to get coffee and pastries and then after a light breakfast, the kids had more pool time. Really, what more does any kid need than a pool to make it feel like a vacation? We gave them a good 2 hours, maybe more, in there and then packed up and headed out. First stop, the beach. This is a beach you can DRIVE on. My kids have never done that and thought it was really really cool. The weather wasnt conducive to getting out and I kept having flashbacks to my childhood when my dad got our station wagon stuck on such a beach not all that far south of where we were but still, it was cool.
One thing about driving on the beach, unusual road hazards exist. Driftwood!
REALLY fat seagulls
The backside of our hotel
Breakfast had been light so we headed into town for lunch
this time an Irish Pub. Very Very cute and very very irish! Fish and Chips, Chowder, Beef Stew, Black and tans
the works! YUM.
Unfortunately there really wasnt anything to do after lunch. The weather definitely conspired against us so we headed home. The only problem with that was
I wasnt going home! The plan had been to dump me at the airport, in time for a 7:30 flight. I had a business trip and Id brought everything I needed so that we could milk the mini vacation as long as possible. We were WAY ahead of schedule. We stopped in Olympia to get a coffee and drove around the capitol, pointing stuff out to the kids but werent really motivated to get out and do a tour or anything like that. As a result we ended up at the airport a full 3 hours before my flight. Jeff felt so bad he decided to park and they all came in with me. Luckily there was a little wine bar that we could hang out at, we got the kids a lovely fruit and cheese platter and each had a glass of wine. It was actually, in a very weird way, a trip highlight for me. I cant remember the last time anyone really saw me off like that at the airport. Its always a curbside drop off and quick hug goodbye. Youd have thought I was going away for weeks the way the kids carried on. Nope. Just one night. It was silly and fun and even if they were totally faking it, very sweet and really a great end to the trip. Made getting on the plane a lot less painful.
Up next. Flights are booked. Do they actually match the nights of our trip or were changes needed?
Holy mother of updates! I've never been to Oregon or Washington but now I know I have to go...looks beautiful! I saw the Spruce Goose when it was in Long Beach and that thing is HUGE! So cool that they have a waterpark....just sent my brother a link and told him we need to go and take his kids.
Jill in CO
Wow Cynthia, you are an update machine!!!!!!!!!!!
Love all the photos, and it looks like a really fun vacation even though the weather didn't want to cooperate!
You know I had to look hard to see the slides coming out of that plane! but what a fun idea to do that!
And now I am hoping that you didn't have too much trouble with your flights!
I read your whole long update this morning before I left for work. Today I had told myself I was going to get to work early (or at least on time since I'm usually a few minutes late), but that did not happen.
Really cool places that you stopped at. I can't imagine a combined winery, waterpark, air and space museum, but hey - it works! I would totally be at the winery while the kids were in the water park.
Sounds like you got to try some cool new beers and eat at some really fun places. What a nice little mini vacation and what a great update. I swear, sometimes I enjoy reading about other places more than I do Disney because they are always such an adventure!
Sorry about the rain.
Winery, waterpark, air and space museum, what a strange combo.
It's funny, I'd been thinking I didn't have that many pictures but a short update would be fun. then as I started writing it I thought well...I don't want to turn this into two updates... I was very sporadic with the pics. Kind of just stopped at points. It is much prettier when it's nice out! Gorgeous!
Does your brother live out here? It was very cool. Kids said the lines were long for the 2 747 slides but totally worth it. I think the did each of the major slides twice. The size of the Spruce Goose was crazy! And the whole saga of it, a bit sad but fascinating. Jeff saw it in Long Beach too. It was really cool seeing the footage of it arriving into OR, crazy seeing that thing on the road!
Nah, just stuck it all into one massive update instead of having the little side trip take up multiple updates. It's mostly pictures! I just figured if I didn't do the side trip now, it wouldn't happen in the PTR. I always mean too but have missed putting in other side trips before and then the time gets away from me and it's a bit after the fact.
It was Feb in the NW, it's about how the weather normally is. Is today for that matter. Everyone's least favorite season. The slides were wild!
Well this way you could see the pictures instead of being frustrated that you couldn't, at work! Sorry you were late though. I built in late into the expectations before I started. Due to kid school drop off's mind you and I do work from home a bit before leaving, but I'm never technically on time.
I imagine if you expect folks to drive there, you need to throw as much stuff at them to make it worth their while. It is in the middle of nowhere. I thought you'd appreciate the winery choice! We actually did buy some wine glasses, not our norm at all to get the cheesy engraved kind but they are awfully cute since they are the short tumbler style. And have the Spruce Goose on them! Evan got a giant hot chocolate mug with the Blackbird on it and Eric...a Pig'n'Cake Tee shirt.
It was a fun little trip and I do think Jeff and I will run away for a weekend this summer to Cannon Beach, it was nice to have that jog in our memory as for whatever reason, it hasn't been on our list as a couples destination. I could have skipped the last stop on the crazy tour, that last day was too much driving in bad weather and took us out of the way but we did pack a lot in with the breakfast and factory tour.
Oh we are used to rain around here. I only really minded it in the dark, on windy back roads with crummy visibility. Made parts of the drive a bit stressful.
VERY strange combo but given how busy it was everywhere, clearly one that worked. It was a holiday weekend, not sure how busy it is normally though. It is close enough to Portland that it probably does ok.
Wow! What a great update! You live in a beautiful part of the country! It really makes me want to visit again. We were in Seattle several years ago and spent one day visiting Mt. Ranier and Mt. St. Helens but wish we had done more. Absolutely beautiful!!!
What a great weekened getaway with your family! Love how the boys saw you off at the airport.
Oh no, can't wait to see if your dates stayed the same!!!
Yes, I am BEHIND yet again.
Hooray for booking your air...but at the higher prices and not being able to get those flights you've had in the past. The cost of airfare is ridiculous (I checked on Friday for ours for September and then again today and it's going up another $30!).
What a fun, short mini-trip with the boys and Jeff. That water park looks so cool for the kids...I love the concept. And I see nothing wrong with you and Jeff leaving the boys and going and coming back to check on them...they are old enough and seem very responsible to me.
I cannot believe how tall the E's are getting. Where does the time go?
I confess, I peeked this morning and wished I had unlimited points too. Pool/garden in a 1 bedroom is available for all of our nights. Standard, surprisingly enough, for most. I'm happy with our plan though, if either comes through great, if not, no biggie!
It is SO much prettier when the sun is out! Although, that will be awhile. Funny forecast update this morning, they were talking about how today as the first day of spring, begins the first day of "enough". 6 weeks of everyone saying "enough". Enough wind, rain, cold. LOL! It's true though. Just have to muddle through till May.
The airport was sweet!
It is crazy! I can't book Oct for some time really but am tracking it. Right now it's up but that's so far out I'm not worrying about it. Yet. Ours still haven't dropped below what we paid. It's a consistent up and and down but overall up $20 on average, some days more and some days less. I can only get a voucher for about another 6 weeks if they do drop, not very optimistic at this point. If they do drop, I have a feeling it will be very close and outside of our credit window.
They are the same height, it's weird! I knew that would happen one of these days (ok maybe Evan has a half an inch on him though he'd like to think it's a full inch) but it's still weird. And a drag as no more hand me downs.
The CM told me both resorts are available for Monday so all we need is for someone to cancel their weekend reservation at either resort. It could seriously happen. Then it will be the best of both worlds and we can take turns sleeping on the pull out. It could definitely happen and I agree to be on the waitlist until 7 days outs, although I can change that and come off at anytime!
Very excited for the October trip because after that I am not going for another year. I know I say that now, but I am really going to TRY to stick to it. I've decided that Denny and I should go to HHI next spring on the DVC points.
It could seriously happen, it just takes one! I think 7 days is fine, we are building the ADR's around the possibility of it happening but we'll be fine if it doesn't so unless we just decide we don't want to move period, 7 days works perfect!
I will believe that when I see it! My poor kids are NOT happy that I am going in Oct without them. The big summer 2013 trip better pan out or they will have my hide.
What a fun trip you took! I like that there were things for all of you to enjoy. bummer about your eyes - it seems everyone has a "thing" that they have to deal with. Nice sweet send-off for you at the airport too!
I'm ready to take a couples trip to the vineyards on the west coast. Problem is the other half of the couple doesn't drink. I guess he can be my chauffeur! I think he would enjoy the scenery at least!
What a great President's Week vacation!
Your photos make me want to book a trip to the NW.
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