Friday Weekend Escape to the USA: Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to my American friends! I’m looking forward to visiting San Antonio in a few weeks time for the Romance Writers of America conference. It’s winter in Australia and I can see snow on the Brindabella Ranges from the front of my house in Canberra. I can’t wait to visit Texas and enjoy a brief taste of hot summer weather.

Today I’m sharing photos from some of the places I visited during my 2013 USA trip. Enjoy your weekend!

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Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon

Chicago, USA

Chicago, Illinois

Mississippi River, Minnesota

Mississippi River, Minnesota

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

USA trip: Cobb Salad and Weetbix

This is the final post from my USA trip. Last week I shared the highlights from my overnight visit in Hawaii on the way home to Australia. I have two favourite foods when I’m travelling in the USA. The first is Weetbix, and I travel with a small box of Weetbix from Australia. A bowl of Weetbix with milk is my preferred breakfast, whether I’m at home or abroad.

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My second favourite food is Cobb Salad. It’s very difficult to find Cobb Salad on a restaurant menu in Australia. There is one pizza chain where I live that offers it, but it doesn’t compare in taste or quality to the Cobb Salads I’ve sampled in the USA.

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Above is a photo of a Cobb Salad I enjoyed in a Seattle restaurant. Below is a photo of a Cobb Salad from an Indianapolis restaurant.

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The photo below is a Cobb Salad from a restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

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I’m heading back to the USA in July for the Romance Writers of America conference, and I’ll be looking for Cobb Salad in San Antonio, Texas. The cinnamon roll I sampled in Oregon was a definite foodie highlight. We don’t have cinnamon rolls in Australia.

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The most interesting food I sampled was dirty chips at a baseball game in Seattle. I will always associate baseball with the garlic aroma of dirty chips.

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Next Friday I’m starting a new travel series on my blog called Friday Weekend Escapes. I hope you’ll stop by and check out the gorgeous locations we can dream about visiting, or visit through reading a good fiction book set in that location.

USA trip: Hawaii

Last week I shared my highlights from my visit to Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Today we’re leaving the mainland USA, heading west over the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii.

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I caught an early morning flight out of Portland, arriving in Hawaii mid-morning.

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I only had a short one night stopover in Hawaii, before another early morning flight home to Australia. I visited Waikiki Beach, and resisted the urge to shop because I’d maxxed out my luggage allowance.

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The ocean views from my hotel room were stunning.

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I hope to have more time to explore Hawaii the next time I visit.

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Next week I’m talking about food, and the two favourite foods I enjoyed during my USA trip. The following week I’m starting a new blog series called “Friday Weekend Escapes”.

USA Trip: Oregon – Multnomah Falls

A few weeks ago I shared my highlights from my visit to Mount Hood, Oregon. Today we’re heading west, down the mountain and back toward Portland. I loved the drive along the Columbia River Highway, looking out over Washington State on the other side of the picturesque  Columbia River.

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We pulled off the highway at the stunning Multnomah Falls.

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I hiked up the walking trail, stopping to admire and absorb the breathtaking views from the bridge.

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The picture below was taken from the bridge, looking back over the Columbia River and Washington State.

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I enjoyed my visit to Oregon, and I’m looking forward to returning in a couple of years to visit with my family. Next week I’ll share more highlights from my trip, including my overnight visit in Hawaii on the way home to Australia.

USA trip: Oregon Mountains – Mount Hood

A few weeks ago I shared my highlights from the second part of my trip to the Oregon Coast. Today we’re heading east to the mountains. We drove north-east, via Portland, to Mount Hood. The mountain drive and surrounding scenery was spectacular, and different to the gum (eucalyptus) trees I’m used to seeing back home in Australia. 

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We stopped for lunch at the historic Timberline Lodge, overlooking the snowcapped Mount Hood.

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The chilly outdoor temperature didn’t stop us from exploring the grounds around the lodge. The sweeping views were magnificent.

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We warmed up inside the lodge, relaxing on the sofa, and watching the flames leap around in the stone fireplace. I could easily have curled up on a sofa for the whole afternoon with a good book.

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I enjoyed the delicious, award winning Creamy Clam Chowder for lunch. I’d seen Clam Chowder on the menu at other restaurants during my trip, but this was the first time I’d ordered it. And, I wasn’t disappointed.

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The photo below was our lunch view from a window beside our table. Gorgeous. I occasionally see snow during winter on the far distant horizon (Brindabella Ranges) from my home in Canberra, although it rarely snows where I live.

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I’d love to visit Mount Hood again, and spend more time there absorbing the peaceful environment. And, eating Clam Chowder! Next week I’ll share more highlights from my trip, including a visit to Multnomah Falls.

USA trip: Oregon Coast Part 2

Last week I shared my highlights from the first part of my trip to the Oregon Coast. Today we’re heading south from Seaside to the lovely little town of Cannon Beach. A few surfers braved the cool temperatures in the ocean. I find it fascinating that the Pacific Ocean, as far south as San Francisco, is too cold to swim in without a wetsuit, even in summer. We have warmer water temperatures in Australia on our mainland southern coastline.

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We meandered along the main street in Cannon Beach, visiting an art gallery and browsing in a number of stores. The photo below was taken during our stroll through Cannon Beach.

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We drove a short distance and walked on the sand at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach. The weather was pleasant and sunny, with a light breeze off the water. A gorgeous September day to visit the beach.

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We travelled south from Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast Highway. We reached the western shoulder of Neahkahnie Mountain, and stopped at the lookout. I was blown away by the magnificence of the scenery, with mountains and the Pacific Ocean close together. The view south toward Manzanita was stunning.

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We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and I sampled their famous icecream. Delicious and creamy, I’d definitely go back for more.

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I wish we’d had more time to spend at the coast. I loved the scenery, and the laid back atmosphere of the seaside towns. Next week I’ll share more highlights from my visit to Oregon as we head inland to the mountains.

USA trip: Oregon Coast Part 1

Last week I shared my highlights from Chicago and my road trip to Indy. I attended the ACFW conference in Indy and flew from Indy to Portland, Oregon, via Chicago. I visited for a few days with my husband’s uncle and aunt in Oregon, not far from Portland. Allan and Norma were generous hosts, and we enjoyed our road trips to different parts of Oregon.

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Our first stop on our day trip to the Oregon Coast was Camp 18 Restaurant in Elsie. Camp 18 Logging Museum and Restaurant is located on Highway 26, the main road between Portland and the coast. We don’t have many log cabins in Australia, and I was fascinated by intricate detail in the wood carvings. Below is a photo of a Smokey Bear wood carving.

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I’d heard about cinnamon rolls. The restaurant provided an opportunity to taste a real American cinnamon roll. I wasn’t disappointed. I initially thought it was served with ice cream. I soon realised it was a scoop of butter, not ice cream, on top of the bun. A very decadent treat that I’d love to taste again.

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We drove along Highway 26 to the Oregon Coast Highway. The scenery was gorgeous. I live on the east coast of Australia, and I’m used to the sun rising over the ocean and setting over the mountains. It was amazing to look out over the Pacific Ocean, knowing Australia is many thousands of miles away to the south-west, far beyond the horizon.

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We visited Seaside, a lovely coastal town with an enormous sandy beach. You could sit there for hours and relax by the ocean. It was interesting to see a children’s swing set on the sand rather than in a park beside the beach.

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We reluctantly left Seaside and headed south. Next week I’ll share more highlights from my visit to the Oregon Coast.