Tag Archives: Hood River

Heaven In Hood River?

by Kimberly A. Cook                               (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last month I took off on a day adventure with my family to celebrate my birthday. One of those decade birthdays and I’m not telling which one. Now this trip came about because the two special places I wanted to go for lunch only served dinner. Drat it all. After trying other ideas, I asked myself what I really wanted to do; road trip to Hood River was the answer.

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Packer Orchard and Bakery pre-made pie fillings. Seriously, the easy button for pie bakers. 

 

Born and raised in Oregon, sometimes it’s easy to take our amazing state for granted. A quick trip up Interstate 84 and I feel miles from Portland. It’s a short trip unless it’s winter, then it can be a skating rink for semi trucks. Which is why Troutdale has a big truck stop for the gazillion truck drivers who need to sleepover when the Gorge highway closes to all rigs.

This summer day was perfect with fabulous sun, a great view of the Columbia River, waterfalls on our right and excellent company. Ever the operations officer/sergeant, my mission op was in place; first stop Packer Orchards and Bakery, at 3900 Highway 35, on the road up to Mt. Hood.

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North View from the Packard Orchard and Bakery parking lot. They have picnic tables you can use in the orchard. The view is Mt. Adams in Washington state.   

 

This is the mother ship for big cookies and the fabulous cookie bar. In addition, there are pie fillings you can buy, jams and jellies and even pickled asparagus and white honey to name just a few treats. Since I’d bought a bargain tiara before the trip I’d decided to wear it only in the car, but upon a few glances from other patrons I realized it was still on my head. Every woman should wear a tiara into a fruit stand at least once in her life.

After loading up on jams and cookies, piled back into the car and headed for? Foothills Yarn & Fiber, 4207 Sylvester Drive, my favorite alpaca yarn store that comes complete with alpacas. The herd had been shorn for the summer and they were quite happy to bound toward us to get the feed we purchased from the former quarter candy machine.

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Sunny day, shorn alpaca, daisies. Be still my heart.

 

After playing with the alpaca kids and the greeter dog, bounced into the store and bought more yarn I don’t need for my collection. It was my birthday so I could buy yarn; it’s the law.

Next it was off to the Sixth Street Bistro and Loft, 509 Cascade Avenue, for my favorite salad of all time and a grilled cheese sandwich where cheese goes to die. The 6th street pear and walnut salad with maple vinaigrette is the closest I’ve come licking a dish in public, every time.

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Local pears, sugar coated walnuts, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese, maple vinaigrette, sourdough bread, three cheeses; my life is complete.

 

Went for the gusto and finished off the meal with the chocolate mousse, which I hope is served in heaven or I’m not going. Amazing dessert. Almost licked the glass too.

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Local chocolate mousse!

 

All in all a wonderful day with family, food and laughs; life doesn’t get much better when you throw in sun and alpacas too.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about the Hood River area; it’s the setting for both fiction series I’m writing. More about them in the months to come.

Also explains why more Hood River road trips are necessary to eat and soak up the ambiance with a chocolate mousse chaser. I LOVE research!

Got a favorite summer place? Hit the road and explore!

 

P.S. Working on combining my web site and blog, moving domains and a web page redesign. If everything disappears it’s not my fault.  Heading off to get a dump truck load of Dove Dark Chocolate to make this happen in the coming weeks. Pray for me, send chocolate or tech help. Preferably all three…….

 

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Can You Capture The Sun Rays Of Fall?

by Kimberly A. Cook          (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

When I took a three-month camping trip to Europe in 1983, I carried 70 rolls of film with me. Some of my best shots were sticking the camera out the window and just shooting. Shit shots, I called them. Nothing to lose!

The rolling clouds, the Washington gorge hills, the bridge and the Columbia River; without ever leaving my car!

The rolling clouds, the Washington gorge hills, the bridge and the Columbia River; without ever leaving my car!

On our recent adventure to Hood River we went to one of the Columbia River parks for a look-see before heading home. It had started to rain and the wind was whipping up in the gorge, so I did my usual and took a few pictures from the car window. Just like in Europe. (Yes, I rolled the window down.)

Sometimes the most important thing as a photographer is to just take the shot. I had some cars coming toward me and I was about to hold up someone driving behind me, so I grabbed the shot. I’m pretty happy with it.

One of the reasons I always carry one of my little Canon Elph cameras with me is I never know when I might see a photo I need to take. Kind of like the Boy Scouts, always prepared. Which includes a fully charged backup battery too.

With the leaves starting to change colors and the pumpkin decorations everywhere, this is a great time of year to capture the golden light in the morning and evening. You don’t need a ton of equipment or to even get out of your car; be lazy and creative. You might be able to use the photo for a blog post.

Whether taking pictures on the road, in your own backyard or trying to capture your pet’s latest antics, for us photo freaks it’s always a good day to take a picture. The weather folks say the rains are coming in this week. Yeah! Cloud and rain pictures! Woo Hoo!

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Cookies, Sunshine and Duck Butts?

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

There is a lot to be said for serendipity, sunshine and the simple pleasures. Moseyed over to the opening day of my local Farmer’s Market to check out the wares and goodies. Came upon a booth with ginormous cookies.

Wait a minute. Those cookies looked familiar. I never forget a cookie! They were the size of pancakes with every kind from Cowboy Cookies to spicy chocolate cookies. Looked around and saw jars of jams and preserves, then some fresh fruit.

The Cookie Bar sign from Packer Orchards and Bakery in Hood River, Oregon. Or as I like to call it, Cookie Heaven!

The Cookie Bar sign from Packer Orchards and Bakery in Hood River, Oregon. Or as I like to call it, Cookie Heaven!

Yes! It was the Packer Orchards and Bakery from Hood River where I stopped on my way to the Alpaca yarn shop. Chatted up the booth cash register lady and she confirmed it was their first year having a booth at my market. It’s a miracle! Since the orchards and their store with the COOKIE BAR is a good 75 miles from my house, they moved the cookies closer to me!

Seriously, I’m going to have to take up running in addition to walking with this many treats so close. Procured a peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie and a marionberry pie sweetened with pear juice. Those gems were nestled right next to the cinnamon rolls with marionberry topping! I felt my jeans tighten just looking at them.

So I did a circuit of the rest of the market and found fresh asparagus, hanging baskets, jewelry, Hawaiian BBQ, all kinds of fun stuff. Then I parked myself in the line to get a chicken Greek gyro. Sun was out, great Spring day and cookies. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Yesterday at the day job the gorgeous weather continued and our resident pair of ducks were having a great time during lunch playing in the water feature in the man-made waterfall. I enjoyed my lunch in the sun and watched the ducks go hunting for morsels in the water, their cute butts going straight up into the sun.

You know it’s the perfect time of year when the farmer’s markets start to open, the ducks are playing in the water showing their butts and I can get humongo cookies every Saturday. Welcome Spring!

Got a favorite farmer’s market? Or cookie bar? Or cute duck butt sighting?

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Filed under Food

What Do Alpacas And William Shatner Have In Common?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Spent a few days last week in wonderful Hood River, Oregon. Always a great getaway to enjoy food and shopping. This trip I stumbled upon another fabulous treasure – Foothills Yarn & Cascade Alpacas, a true treat.

Happened upon their listing on the www.hoodriver.org shopping site while doing my normal pre-shopping recon the day before I left. Through the magic of their website I learned I could drive 10 minutes South of Hood River and find not only alpaca yarn, but alpacas too!

How cute are these guys? Best yarn shop visit ever.

How cute are these guys? Best yarn shop visit ever.

Imagine my joy when there were baby alpacas. Toured the shop and bought some alpaca yarn and socks, then went outside to feed the alpacas and take photos. Also learned about resident cats Knit and Purl. Think I met Purl.

It was a great visit and a gorgeous view from the alpaca paddock or whatever you call that enclosure. On their web site I learned about the William Shatner connection. Seems one owner flew to Los Angeles this past summer to be interviewed by William Shatner for a book he is writing entitled, “Hire Yourself.” The book is for people beyond age 55 who are out of work.

The Foothills Yarn and Cascade Alpaca husband and wife team decided to start the business after 50. It is an amazing place. So while the alpacas might look like really big fluffy tribbles, they are real. Can’t wait to read Shatner’s book and see what all is in his interview.

As writers we hire ourselves every time we write. Maybe if we looked at our craft that way, we might have a better feeling about our “writer job.” One of the fabulous things about writing is you can do it for as long as you can make the computer keys move or talk into a digital recorder or computer software program.

Even if you are knitting with alpaca yarn!

www.foothillsyarn.com

See a video about the farm here:

http://youtu.be/8a6u5N5QAAg

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