Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eating and Drinking Our Way Across 4 States

In Yakima we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. When I travel I try to stay loyal to certain brands in order to accumulate points that can be redeemed for free travel.   This coming September we head to Europe for 2.5 weeks and quite a bit of our hotels are free as a result of my points.   This emptied out my points so for the road trip we decided to stay at Hilton properties to start rebuilding the account.    The hotel was in a great location easily walkable my only complaint was that we did not get a free breakfast.   I know, rough life.   

Normally I would just go out to a local diner or bakery to grab a bite but unfortunately we were in Yakima the night of July 3rd and the majority of the town was closed on July 4th, so we had no other options for food.   I wanted to stay in Yakima the first night to try some of the wine.  There were only 2 tasting rooms in downtown seems like all the other tasting rooms you have to drive to get there.  Given how much time we were going to be in the car over the next 4 days I didn't want to spend more time in the car.   We visited Gilbert Cellars and Kana winery.  I liked Gilbert Cellars a little bit more as we could get a full glass or just tasting and we munched on a little cheese plate.  After Kana we stopped by 2nd street grill as we were hoping that they would have more local wines for us to sample but unfortunately they did not.    

For dinner we went to 5 North I was very excited to try an item on the menu called "sexy fries"  these are truffle fries, garlic, Parmesan and curry ketchup.  Sadly these were not as good as I thought they would be.  It was a few too many competing flavors.   

The next morning we were on the road for Boise - I was hoping the city wouldn't be closed for the 4th like Yakima was.  We did get a recommendation to stop at the Geyser Grand Hotel in Oregon on the way down for lunch.   The hotel did not disappoint it is a historic landmark with beautiful stained glass ceilings, crystal chandeliers.  It was a very cool setting.  I don't remember what we had for food but it was a fine lunch.  

We got into Boise an hour later than we had originally planned - this was mostly due to the fact that we forgot that Idaho is in the Mountain time zone.   We inquired where the fireworks would be and headed out to see the town.  First stop was Bitter Creek Ale House where we enjoyed some fine local brews and poutine.   We then went wandering in search of dinner, sadly given that it was the 4th of July many of the restaurants were closed or were closing early.  We ended up grabbing a couple of slices at Pie Hole if you are ever in Boise you must stop in and try their crazy slices.   Toppings I would never imaging putting on a pizza.   Some of their specials that day were green bean casserole - yes they made green bean casserole and put it on a pizza, potato & bacon and one with mac&cheese on it.  Dave dined on a Hawaiian slice with mango added to it.   I wouldn't have thought of putting mango on pizza but it worked.    

By this time we were getting tired and headed back to the hotel, we decided to pass on the fireworks as it would mean going to bed too late and we wanted to hit the road early.  Luckily we were able to see the fireworks from out hotel room.   It was very nice to watch them in our PJs and then fall into bed immediately afterwards.   

Salt Lake City 
We decided to do a picnic lunch on the way to Salt Lake City a quick stop at Whole Foods on the way out of Boise and were on the way.   Dave is  huge history buff so we detoured from the highway to visit the Golden Spike.  It was a lovely place for a picnic lunch and we got to see the steam engine in operation.   One of the park guides was nice enough to remove the sign from the wagon so it would not ruin my picture.   I didn't even have to ask him he graciously offered and suggested where the best place to grab a photo of the train and the wagon. 

In Salt Lake City we were looking for something a little bit nicer for dinner.   The Copper Onion sounded just about right - yummy cocktails and an interesting menu.   We started with a charcuterie plate what's not to love about cheese and meat.    For dinner I had the duck cassoulet while delicious I would not call it a typical cassoulet it was really duck cooked three ways.  I love duck so I wasn't going to complain.   Dave opted for the poutine yet again - he was going for a record of how many days in a row he could eat some form of french fries.   

Denver Bound
The longest stretch of travel was ahead of us 8 hours of driving and that was if we didn't stop.  We needed to stop I can't do that long in a car without stopping.   We used the trusty GPS in the car to find food along the route.   I have to say there isn't much between Salt Lake City and Denver.  We ended up just grabbing some fast food.   Dave couldn't believe I had never eaten at a Taco Johns before, now that I have eaten there once I don't think I need to again.  It wasn't bad I'm just not a big fan of fast food.   

We briefly toyed with the idea of stopping in Boulder but that would have added more time onto the trip and I wanted to be out of the car.  Instead we had a delicious home made dinner with family - our final destination.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

From Seatown to Mile High

On July 3rd we packed up the car and hit the road, on the agenda was stops in Yakima, Boise, Salt Lake City and finally Denver.  There was a lot of ground to cover on the way to our new home and we wanted to enjoy the trip down.   We tried to break the trip down into smaller chunks of driving so we could take some detours along the way, some stops were planned and some stops were unplanned.

We stopped for scenery:

We stopped for history:

Much of our route followed the Oregon Trail.  We stopped a couple of times along the way. 

Fort Bridger - site of the first schoolhouse in Wyoming as well as a fur trading outpost.

Visiting the Golden Spike - where the first transcontinental railway was completed.  Unfortunately the golden spike is no longer at the site, it is in California.   

We stopped for random stuff on the side of the road

Farm equipment museum on the roadside

We didn't expect to see rockets in Utah

 We stopped for food & beverages

Finally we arrived in Colorado after 1500 miles and 5000+ feet in elevation gain.

I prefer the sign on the right than the one on the main highway below.

Ike enjoying his first sunset over the Rockies. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

T-1 and Counting

The movers are here and the house is getting packed up and loaded.   I have moved many times but I seem more emotional about this one and I'm not sure why.   Instead of dwelling on the things I will miss about Seattle I am going to focus on the positives about Denver.

  1. Spending more time with family.  
  2. Direct flights from Denver to Albany - Only 5 hours instead of the 8-10 it takes to get home from Seattle.
  3. Non-stop flights from Denver to Cedar Rapids.
  4. 300 days of sunshine. 
  5. The Rockies. 
  6. 300 days of sunshine.
  7. Exploring the southwest.  
  8. Concerts at Red Rocks. 
  9. The Patriots come to Denver more frequently than they come to Seattle. 
  10. The Cubs play in Denver every year (this makes Dave happy).