Kathy and I recently returned from a two-week trip hop-scotching down the coast of Oregon, into the redwoods of northern California. From there, we drove to Hood River, Oregon to admire the Columbia River Gorge, before we landed in Portland for our last two nights. I anticipated writing a post about the dramatic scenery, the statuesque redwoods, and the 620 foot waterfall near the river.
Oh sure, the coastline was as pretty as the travel magazines promised, the weather was better than we’d anticipated and the redwoods were as humbling as the sequoias we saw last month.
The seal, sea lion and elk sightings were a bonus. Our education about the commercial fishing industry was heightened when we watched boats off-load their catches of shrimp, 32,000 pounds of salad shrimp from one vessel.
Our mantra became “ready at all times” which was lingo for the passenger to be on the lookout for special rock formations, ocean-front pull-offs, animal sightings and the occasional surfer. And coffee shops.
And that’s when this post got hijacked. By coffee, of all things.
I dare say, the funniest event that happened was the storyline around coffee. I came to the conclusion that the word Oregon comes from the native word for coffee-loving dog owners. And at every shop in Oregon, which frequently dot all the corners of an intersection, biscuits are available for your pooch. Guaranteed.
This is an abbreviated version of how most mornings started as we hopped in the car to discover more jaw-dropping views:
Kathy: I found a new coffee shop I want to try, but we won’t stop if the line is too long.
Pam: Of course the line will be long. It’s a coffee shop.
The truth is, it’s no longer coffee. Every order is made with the same uniqueness as the coffee drinker’s DNA. Does anyone ever order plain coffee anymore? Are any two orders the same? No. It’s a combination of flavors and liquids and frothiness topped with something shaved, sprinkled or drizzled. I call it a candy bar in a cup.
My own personal journey with coffee is brief.
I ordered my first cup in high school in an effort to be more sophisticated. After two sips, I decided I was content being an uncultured teen.
In college, I tried to drink it to stay up and study longer. I decided I was content with my grades.
As a new teacher, I gave it a third try to buy my place in the teacher’s lounge. The next week, I brought in a cake with chocolate frosting. That seemed to secure my place just fine. Chocolate frosting. That’s the only use I have for coffee.
Coffee drinkers need a lot of patience. People who travel with coffee drinkers need more.
While in the Portland airport on the way home, Kathy stood in one long line to order her cup of java. Then she stood in another long line to wait for it. I laughed and rolled my eyes.
She took one sip. “No one makes my grande hot vanilla lattecino with skim and extra whip like they did in Lansing, but this place is close.” We headed down the concourse. “Plus, whenever you have to wait for me with coffee balances the time I spend in quilt shops waiting for you.”
There you have it. The trade-off. The trip was complete. I found nice fabric, she found great coffee, and we saw nature at its most stunning. Seems like we were both ready at all times. Does it really get any better?
Now, if you want to learn more about the trip or my hints for traveling the coast, let me know. I have a list!