November 2015

An American's Explanation of Rugby

A Rugby scrum in progress
Chuck Sun, 2015-11-29 07:00
We dropped into England in the middle of the Rugby World Cup and were immediately smitten with World Cup fever. We are particularly susceptible to getting caught up in big events like this when we travel. The excitement is contagious, whether it's the World Cup of Badminton or the Euro Finals of Kitten Wrangling. It doesn't really matter to us. It would have been helpful, however, to understand a bit more of the game before our arrival. But after carefully and diligently studying matches while nursing porters and ciders in some of the UK's finer establishments, we have discerned a few things...

Please Don't Make Me Drive Any More

Chuck Wed, 2015-11-25 07:00
No, we weren't in Paris. And no, we haven't been flying Russian airliners out of Egypt. By the magic of delayed blogging, however, we are in Europe, and we've been here a month. Forget what I said a few weeks ago about working hard to get caught up with our blogs. I'll blame all the driving we did this year in the states. Take a look at this map: The green lines show our road trips this year. We've driven almost neatly the perimeter of the Lower 48. That's almost 20,000 miles. 29 states and the District of Columbia. Please don't make me drive anymore. One of the things I like about Europe is...

Oregon Grape Harvest

Oregon Vineyards, Mt Hood on the Horizon
Chuck Tue, 2015-11-10 07:00
(Above: Looking across Oregon vineyards to Mt. Hood on the horizon.) In wine producing areas across the northern hemisphere, September and October is grape harvest time. Different varieties of grapes in different appellations mature at slightly different times, and winemakers decide on specifically when to harvest based on the sweetness of the grape they want to use in their wines, but these early fall months are consistently harvest time. A few years ago we were in California wine country during harvest: it was a very busy, heads-down time when the local winemakers are glad the tourist...

The Spruce Goose, Happily Nesting in Oregon

The Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville, OR
Chuck Sat, 2015-11-07 07:00
“Another aviation museum, really?” That was Lori’s reaction when I told her about the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. Regular readers recall that I regularly drag Lori to aviation museums. Forcing your spouse to go to museums they don’t like is one of the great pleasures of travel. “Yeah, the Spruce Goose is there,” I argued. “No, it’s not, that’s down in Southern California,” she countered. "I've seen it." “It says right here they have the Spruce Goose,” I said, stabbing the website on my iPad with my finger. She contemplates my rather convincing finger-stabbing...

McMinnville: The Sonoma of Oregon Wine Country?

Chuck and Ben Franklin in McMinnville, OR
Chuck Thu, 2015-11-05 07:00
(Above: who doesn’t love a town with a bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin?) Don’t you love how people compare places this way? Bruges is the Venice of the North, Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America, Turkey is damn good eatin’ , and so on (ok, well that last example is just my November-inspired opinion). After spending a few weeks in Oregon wine country we might be inclined to characterize the tiny little town of McMinnville as “The Sonoma of Oregon Wine Country”. Insofar as they make wine nearby and it’s a town, then the metaphor sticks. But then again, the same is true of thousands of...

It Was 1965

Made In 1965
Chuck Mon, 2015-11-02 07:00
Long Blog Alert. You’ve Been Warned. Today is my birthday. I’m 50. Without fanfare, and without want of fanfare, I’m passing the half-century mark in the English countryside. I’ve finally—after a month—caught up with Lori. For another 11 months, we’ll share our age again. When Lori’s 50th rolled around a few weeks ago, I realized that she and I are not alone. In fact, all our old high school classmates are enduring the same milestone this year. This got me wondering what was going on back in 1965, the year that we all share as our birth year. As my birthday present to my fellow ‘65ers, I...

The Stunning Central Oregon Coast

Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon
Chuck Sun, 2015-11-01 07:00
We've heard that the Oregon coast is a beautiful place, but sometimes you just have to go and see for yourself. What we found is no doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth. After we left Seattle we had four days to fill before we were to be in Salem. Looking at the map, the obvious destination is the Oregon coast. With a bit of Google Maps photo surfing and hotel research we settled on home basing in Lincoln City. It seemed a nice, central location, convenient to Salem when we would be ready to leave. From there we could explore south to Newport and north to Cape Meares. We...