Well, the month of September was pretty short for summer activities, but I managed to squeeze a few in. The same day that Brett left from Seattle, I picked my friend, Emily, up from the Portland airport! Emily and I have been friends since freshman year of college and she was sweet enough to come see the Northwest!
We spent the first day on my action-packed tour of Kelso and Longview. After that lengthy tour we headed over the Rainier Bridge and up towards Astoria. Coming from Arizona, Emily hasn't seen a lot of bridges, rivers, boats, tunnels, trees, etc. so everytime we went over a bridge or drove through a forest she would exclaim 'Oh it's so beautiful' or 'Wowwwww look at that river!' and all these other fun comments on things that I wouldn't ever thing to appreciate. Don't get me wrong, I love the trees and all of the water, but I guess I am so used to it, none of them suprise me anymore. There is nothing like a new tourist to make you appreciate where you are from.
In Astoria we took in the view from the Astoria Column, which was perfect due again to nice weather. After a delicious lunch in an arsty café, we headed over an even bigger bridge - the Astoria Bridge - which delighted Emily even more! 4 miles of bridge! On the other side we headed out towards Long Beach so Emily could see the Pacific Ocean. After two seconds of having her feet in the water, she decided it was much too cold and ran out! Tired and now chilly, we headed back to Kelso. Stopping at Safeway to show Emily my lovely past place of employment we bought a nice bottle of Washington wine so she could enjoy even more of what the NW has to offer! She liked it and was also very impressed that Grammy had well-water running in her house. She actually even took a picture with her and her first drink of well-water ha!
The next day we ventured down to Tillamook! Most of you know I hold Tillamook Cheese in the highest regards. I have taken it in lunch boxes from WA back to New York multiple times, and am pretty sad it can't make the 15-hour trip to Spain. Regardless, I love love love Tillamook Cheese, but have never actually been to the factory. It floors me that I have been to Istanbul and Brussels, but not Tillamook! So, Emily and I decided to go down and check it out. As expected, it was glorious. It was like Amanda Heaven, with unlimited cheese testing! At one point, the cheese-lady was putting out some new cubes of cheese and said what kind of cheese they were. Emily and I thought she said pickle-cheese, which did not really appeal to me, but I thought I should try it anyways. Emily asked the lady for the 'pickle-cheese' and I said 'yes, please one for me too, eventhough I don't like pickles!' and the lady just looked at us like we were crazies. Tentativley, I ate the cube and it was actually delicious. I was suprised and thought maybe I could like pickles! We walked around the store and couldn't find this mysterious pickle-cheese anywhere...turns out it was pepper-cheese. Geniuses hahaha. The factory part of the tour was also pretty interesting along with learning about the history of Tillamook Cheese company. I think my favorite thing in the factory was the old advertisement for getting Tillamook cheese on your ration points! I can't imagine having to ration cheese! Emily on the other hand can't imagine rationing ice cream, so after a scrumptous cheeseburger, we gobbled up a Tillamook ice cream - huckleberry for me and marionberry for her. Tasty, tasty!
Full of dairy we stopped at a wine and cheese tasting but left the cheese on the counter! After a few tastes we headed to Aunt Arlene and Uncle Jimmy's house, right in the center of Tillamook. I hadn't seen either of them in so long and had never been to thier house! Built in the 1900s, it is an adorable and kind of living-antique place. We caught up on family and the upcoming wedding of my cousin Stacy and of course took some pictures! Turns out I guess Uncle Jimmy really doesn't like having his picture taken, but he was a good sport. After our picture session, we had to start the 2-hour drive home so we could go to see Austin! Of course Emily had to meet the main man in my life! The drive home consisted of a few more 'That's beautiful' and 'Wow look at those boats!' comments and by night-time we were back home and playing with the baby! He is just too adorable for words.
For her last day, I figured I should let Emily experience the real joy of NW wine. She is quite a wino, so I wanted her to try our selection. We headed back down to Portland and started at Multnomah Falls. This is the only thing that didn't amazingly impress her. She lived in Rio de Janiero before and had seen some gorgeous waterfalls, so she didn't go on and on about them. The tunnel we went through to get there was pretty fun for her though! After the Falls, we drove down to Hood River and went to a tasting room called Naked Winery. It was quite the funny place, but for $5 we got about 12 different wines, so we were happy girls. At about taste 6 or 7, they gave us temporary tatoos for us to put on, which we thought was the greatest thing ever. They said 'We Got Naked', which we thought at that point was hilarious. haha. After the wine wore off and we had dinner and did some shopping we headed back to Portland to check out the down-town area. Tired from our day escapade we didn't last long and checked into our hotel airport. In pouring rain (the first any of my friends that have visited had seen) I drove her to the aiport at 5am. I was super happy she had come to visit and she was really pleased that she finally got to see where I am from!
With only a few more days left in my entire summer, I spent the rest of the few days with family. Sami and I went bowling one day, and she showed me that she had vastly improved her skills. Alex and I went shopping up in Seattle for some new school clothes and showed her a little bit of Seattle, although it was rainy. Mom and I gobbled up some tasty sourdough sandwiches in Chehalis at her favorite deli and watched DesginStar religiously. I loved seeing Austin's little smiles and coos, and can't believe when I come back next time, he will be walking and talking. Grammy and I worked on some difficult puzzles over our ritual morning coffee. Uncle Bruce cooked up some yummy dinners back at his place and Jeanette picked out some tasty wines. Auntie Shirl treated Grammy and I to a huge and excelente Mexican meal. Auntie Marilyn brought over hundreds of old slides and we had a walk down memory lane. These last few days were sort of bittersweet - spending as much time with the people you love and enjoying it, but not wanting it to end and knowing that the end is coming so quick.
And it did, September 19th raced in and all of a sudden it was time for me to go. Leaving, there were some tears, but I kept reminding myself that my American phone number on my computer and this blog really help me keep in touch and stay close. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it! It was weird not writing all summer, and I hope the past few blogs suffice for 4 months of no blogs! Now I will get back in the habit of updating you regularly. Already I cannot wait to tell you about Oktoberfest, but now I must head to work, so that will come soon.