Leah bachhuber

Live, read, travel, explore, enjoy

Category: Weekend

Nehalem Bay Yurt Camping

You know you are a true Oregonian when you go camping in the rain. Well, to be fair, we were yurt camping which is high on the glamping spectrum and is FAR easier to camp when the weather is unfavorable. Given that we live in Oregon and Oregon seems to have blown up with ourdoorsy, camping types in recent years, camping in close proximity to Portland is no longer an “on-a-whim” type of thing. We booked a yurt at Nehalem Bay State Park with a group of friends last year. It was my and the kids’ first time yurt camping, and we had a blast, despite some heavy rains on the first day and some night “challenges” from the kids.

Now that both the kids are mobile and can actually run off and play with other kids, camping is actually really fun. The general reaction we get when we tell people we are going camping with an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old is, “Why would you do that to yourselves?” Both recent camping trips have turned out really well, though. Of course, there are the challenges, bedtime difficulties, early wake-ups, and sugar highs (and subsequent lows), but I mentally prepare for that because: camping.

The Nehalem Bay Yurts were awesome: they include a bunk bed with a twin on top and full on bottom, and a pull-out futon with a full mattress. We brought the Pack’n’Play for Charlie, so everyone had their own bed. Best of all, the yurts have heaters in them. Unbeknownst to me, Daniel had cranked the heater to 80 degrees, so I was actually too hot at night – when does that ever happen camping? But really, having the heater makes staying the cold night with kids pretty easy. Ava woke in the morning at 4:50am and immediately woke the rest of us up. But, after Jet Boiled coffee and some fresh air, we were in good spirits.

We were rewarded for sticking out a raining evening and night with beautiful, sunny, blue skies the next day. The kids loved playing at the beach and getting sandy.

Weekend in Maine

I’ve spent the weekend (since Thursday night, actually) in The Other Portland, in Maine, the namesake of the city I’m from. It’s been a quick trip, but a lot of fun exploring this city, which I’ve found quite charming.

I was here for a school interview, so I spent Saturday morning doing that. Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon were spent exploring. I was lucky enough to be here at the perfect window of opportunity when the leaves are turning gorgeous colors, but it is not yet raining, just brisk. To be honest, I found it quite refreshing to be in this Portland. I think the impression that I’ve come away with after these few days is that this place is remarkably unpretentious, which is quite nice. It also made me realize how, well, pretentious and self-aware Portland (OR) can be. Being immersed in it all the time, one looses perspective on what things are really like. But in comparison, to Portland (ME), Portland (OR) seems exhausting. Here’s what I’ve noticed, and remember that these are broad generalizations and observations I’ve made over a weekend.

*People in Portland(ME) just really seem to not care, and I say this in the best possible way. Current fashion or looking a certain way just doesn’t seem to be a priority. I think this is the opposite in Portland(OR). I live in the Pearl, so my world is probably more exaggerated than most, but the majority of people I see are very put together, stylish, have a “style” they are obviously trying to maintain. Even hipster people who are trying their hardest to look like they don’t care, obviously do, maybe even more than everyone else. Outfits seem perfectly picked and orchestrated to look cool. In Portland(ME) none of this seems to even cross people’s minds. People don’t seem to care what they’re wearing. There are a lot of jeans and t-shirts and flannel going on. If people are wearing outdoor gear, it looks like they actually wear the gear down to the bone, definitely not the “Patagoochie” types. Most women wore minimal to no makeup, didn’t have their hair cut stylishly or dyed. There was lots of “grunge” wear going on on the streets. While people say “the dream of the 90’s” is alive in Portland(OR), I think it is actually alive in Portland(ME), it’s not a dream. I’m not saying people here are a bunch of slobs. It was actually quite nice to be around a community that didn’t put a high priority on looking a certain way.

*I felt that Portland(ME) was much less self-aware than Portland(OR). In Portland(ME) things just are the way they are. In Portland(OR) everything is advertised as gluten-free, vegan, free-range, sustainable, local, eco-friendly, bike-friendly, diversity-friendly, welcome-to-all, farm-to-form, organic, green, etc, etc, etc… In Portland(ME) things just are the way they are, and you can get them or not. I found it quite refreshing. I realized that the self-awareness of Portland(OR) can be exhausting at times. You can’t just do X or buy Y without first knowing if it is locally-sourced or being made to feel guilty that it is from China, or that it isn’t made with organic fibers, or that it was not grown in ideal dirt.

*There are lots of nice cab drivers in Portland(ME). I had to take a lot of short cab rides this weekend going back and forth between the school I was visiting. Each time I also got a nice middle-aged man cab driver, always a Portland(ME) local, always wanting to talk about this, that and the other things or give me a tour (“Here’s where I was born” or “Here is where the first McDonald’s in Portland went”) always with a thick Maine accent.

*One of my first impressions of Portland(ME) was that it was a “working man’s city.” I’m not sure if that is entirely true, but it was my first impression at least. What I mean by that was that there seemed to be a lot of blue collar workers around, definitely more than Portland(OR). I felt that in Portland(ME), there were a lot of people doing “essential” jobs, like construction or electrical work, or running convenience stores, or roofing, etc… I compare this to Portland(OR) where a lot of people do non-essential work (maybe?) like running start-ups, starting artisanal kombucha stands, working at advertising firms, etc… I’d say, a lot of people around who strive to be the best, #1 at whatever they are doing, while in Portland(ME) people just were doing what they did.

*Lots of dogs. I mostly saw bigger dogs, hardly any of lap dogs.

*In Portland(OR) there are all these “Keep Portland Weird” stickers and signs everywhere and I feel like people go out of their way to be “weird” just because it’s Portland(OR) and they have to uphold the reputation. In Portland(ME), things are just weird and I don’t think anyone knows it or cares. For example, I went for a walk and passed a dog park on the beach and along with all the dogs, there was a human dressed in a white dog suit, rubbing sand and dirt all over his dog costume.

*Portland(ME) is very charming and it’s fun to be in a place that has so much more history. I found everything to be delightfully raggedy. Nothing really was “perfect”. On most houses the paint was peeling, things were rusty, the cobblestones were not straight, things were a little dirty, weeds were sprouted up all over the place on the pavement and elsewhere, but I enjoyed this. It felt a little more authentic.

*On a side note: the monumental thing about this weekend was that it was the first time that someone off the street asked me if I was pregnant. Given, it was a women who I am pretty sure was on meth or some other drugs, but still! I was pretty surprised because I still don’t think I look pregnant, more just a little fat. Obviously she wasn’t the “hold your tongue” type of person, because I very well could have just been a little fat. But, I told her she was right and that she was the first person who had asked me that. She asked if I knew the sex, and I said I didn’t, but we were finding out in a few weeks. She ran up to me, put her face right in front of my belly and said, “Hmmmm…. Girl!” and ran away after flashing a tooth-less smile.

photo-46 Love this house. I love the color and the yellow tree outside. photo 1-10 Haunted looking house on the coast. photo 2-10 Street scene. photo 3-8 Fallen leaves on Mulljoy Hill. photo 5-3 Great bookstore in Portland, Yes Books. PIcked up Himalaya by Michael Palin here.  photo 4-6 The colors! photo 1-9photo 2-9photo 4-5photo 3-7photo 5-2View of the coast.

Dog Mountain Hike

Today was monumental: it was the first day in weeks I haven’t even cracked my school books. Instead, Daniel, Riley, Amy and I headed to the Gorge for an awesome hike. Dog Mountain was pretty butt kicking: calf killer on the way up and quad killer on the way down. Great day for a hike, although it was pretty windy at the top. No, Amy and I did not plan our perfectly matching outfits. Great minds just think alike.








Just In Time for Mojito Season!

Like so many other Portlanders do once the sun starts shining, I made the pilgrimage to the Portland Nursery yesterday. Mission: add a little green to the condo. After wandering through endless isles of vegetables, herbs and flowers, stepping over lots of hot, tired kids (overheard: “Mom, I am SO BORED I could die”) I picked a haul of plants for our place.

Pro tip: planting planter boxes and putting in potting soil *inside* with open windows, on a blustery day, on the eighth floor makes a really big mess. But, an hour later I had all the herbs and flowers in. Notably: Italian parsley, dill, basil, cilantro, a few kinds of flowers, and mint. Just in time for mojito season!

photo 3-6
Happy plants getting lots of morning sun. photo 2-8 Had this tea can lying around, so planted a succulent in it. photo 1-8I got this glass jar at Ikea a long time ago and have been wanting to do something with it. It sort of reminds me of an ant farm.


Manzanita Getaway

After a long, stressful week, Daniel, Jordan, Haley, Olive and I fled the city for lovely Manzanita. We arrived in the early evening and took a quick walk on the beach before deciding on a dinner spot. We headed to Wheeler for dinner at the Rising Star Cafe, a tiny little restaurant with about 20 seats. Each one of us got some permutation of pasta/noodles. After dinner we headed back to the Bachhuber beach home for a movie. We watched Zero Dark Thirty, about the killing of Osama Bin Laden, which was good, although I fell asleep a few times.

This morning Daniel and I woke up around 8:30am, and Jordan and Haley were already at the beach, walking Olive. We went out for a quick beach run and met back up with Jordan and Haley at Bread and Ocean for a DELICIOUS breakfast. Pro tip: get the Egg McOcean breakfast sandwich. To die for. After breakfast and coffee, we poked around town and then walked to the beach so Olive could get some more of her boundless energy out. Then, back to the house, where we met up with Tom and Carolyn. A little while later we headed back to town for more food: burritos at Left Coast Siesta. We definitely hadn’t had enough food yet, so we went to the Manzanita candy store to taste test some “Sea Foam.” The four of us were about to have food babies, so we decided to go for a hike up Neahkahnie Mountain. Definitely a good decision: it was a beautiful, sunny day. As we approached the top a little fog came in, which didn’t obscure the view, but added a slightly mystical feel to the summit.

The Oregon Coast has the ceaseless ability to rejuvenate me and make feel relaxed. We described it as feeling “beachy.” When you are not feeling “beachy,” all you want to do is work and get ahead with your responsibilities. When you are feeling “beachy” you remember that a lot of those things don’t actually matter that much.

On the way home Daniel slept, thank goodness, or else he surely would have convinced us all to stop for fro-yo.



Top photo: by Haley. Middle photo: by Daniel. Bottom photo: by Jordan. No photos by me, I was too busy becoming one with nature.

Pre-Finals Weekend Fun

I have my anatomy final on Tuesday evening. Normally I’d be studying all weekend for it, but this weekend I did not. It felt good to not be obsessive about getting a perfect grade on the exam. One challenge I have with school is not getting obsessive about doing perfectly. I’ve realized that doing so makes me neglect other things that are more important, namely: relationship, friends, work and exercise. So, after having done well on every test this quarter so far, I decided to let it go a little and do something else besides study all weekend. It felt good to relax a little and get my mind off the cardiac cycle and the inflammatory response of the lymphatic system. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m becoming complacent and ok with getting C’s. I just realized that a 100% is just as much of an A as a 90%.

After working all day on a long grant on Friday, Daniel and I headed to the Oregon Coast for the night. We arrived in Cannon Beach with a few hours of day light to spare and poked around town. We soon discovered that it was the opening night of a play, “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne, at the Coaster Theater, the Cannon Beach community theater. I thought it would be a fun new experience, so we got tickets. For all the times I’ve been to Cannon Beach, I had no idea there was a theater there! The show ended up being fabulous, very well done. Looking forward to more plays at the Coaster Theater in the future.

On Saturday morning we went for a rainy run then headed back to Portland. I did study for a few hours and then we headed to the Blazer Game. We had great seats, very close to the court. As usual at sports games, I get distracted by everything namely: person I am sitting next to, people watching, talking, etc… and end up not paying a ton of attention (ok, not paying any attention) to the actual game being played, but have a great time anyway. After the game we headed to 23 Hoyt to see some friends and have a drink.

Today, with Bridgette, Maggie, Jeff and Dave, I went to Liam’s (Liza’s little brother) play at Central Catholic High School. It was the final showing of the play, which was “Bye, Bye Birdie.” Another very well done play and Liam was great! Quite the stage presence he has.

A good weekend full of friends and fun. If I don’t get 100% on my anatomy test, not mad about it.

Trip to Summit Meadow Cabins

This trip was last weekend, but, better late than never! I spent a great weekend at Summit Meadow Cabins with Daniel and his family. Summit Meadow Cabins, located on Mt. Hood, are only reachable in the winter via cross country ski or snowshoe, which means we packed all our food for two nights and three days ahead of time and dragged it in via toboggan.

We stayed in the Mineral Creek Cabin, which was perfectly cozy. The cabins are set a few miles away from Trillium Lake. We spent Sunday snowhiking/cross country skiing around Trillium Lake and luckily it was a gorgeous bluebird day. After lunch and some R&R at the cabin, we hiked up Multorpor Mountain for sunset. While the hike up Multorpor is not particularly long, the route we chose was incredibly steep, which really got the endorphins pumping.

I highly recommend Summit Meadow Cabins to anyone in the greater-Portland area. It is super accessible from town, and makes a wonderful, quiet mountain getaway.

Mini Trip to Las Vegas

This past week Daniel was in Las Vegas for his WordPress.com VIP team meet-up. We hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks and had planned to spend Friday night together in Portland, before he jetted off to New Zealand. But, instead, I had the opportunity to fly out to Vegas on Friday morning and spend Friday night with Daniel and his team. It was a unique experience, that’s for sure. Las Vegas feels more strange and otherworldly to me than almost anywhere else I’ve ever been: Everest Base Camp, Saigon back alleys, Peruvian jungle… In those places, I feel in my element. I am a traveller there and I have at least some idea what to expect. In Las Vegas, from pretty much the moment I touched down at the airport, to the moment I left, I felt discombobulated. Nonetheless, I had a great time seeing Daniel and meeting his team mates.

My impression of Vegas: it is just plain bizarre. An entire city and economy built around spending money on useless things, gambling and hedonism. Honestly (and I am not trying to sound high-and-mighty here…) I have a hard time understanding the incredible magnetism people have to Las Vegas.

After touching down around 9am, I headed to Red Rocks Hotel and Casino to meet Daniel, which is about 30 minutes from the main strip. The surroundings were fairly drab: muted colors, lots of strip malls, very little green. I met Daniel and his team at Red Rocks, but he had a little more work to do, so I decided to wander around and find something to eat as I hadn’t had breakfast yet. After 20 minutes of searching I found a Starbucks that was out of food. I ambled through the casino and found a few buffets, but the lines were ridiculously long, so I passed on those, as I wasn’t exactly in the mood for an “all-you-can-eat.” I spotted a vending machine. Finally!! I thought maybe I’d be able to get some almonds or a small healthy snack. Upon further inspection, the vending machine turned out to be cigarettes.

Now, I’ve only been in a casino once before and it was fairly depressing. This one was no different. Lots of old, sick, overweight people, drinking alcohol at 10am, smoking cigarettes inside, riding around gambling on their motorized wheelchairs. I saw one woman who was playing the slots, sitting on her wheelchair, lit cigarette hanging out of mouth, dabbing her tracheostomy tube with her other hand. Needless to say, a little depressing. The other thing is that the casinos do their best to keep any and all natural sunlight out of the casinos. So, you really have absolutely no idea what time it is, and that is the point. When Daniel and I finally did go outside to sit by the pool, I felt like a vampire adjusting to the normal sunlight.

Daniel and I headed to the strip around 5pm and roamed about for a few hours, sightseeing and people watching. Bizareness continued. Lots of people selling “Girls, girls, girls.” Impersonators everywhere, trying to make a buck by charging for photos. We saw the water show at the Bellagio, which was pretty impressive. I think the thing that strikes me most about Las Vegas is the sound. It’s a never-ending, sensory-assaulting overload of all kinds of man-made sounds. Slots machines, chimes, ads, music. It was pretty common to be hearing four different songs at once coming from different sources. And, being inside the casino you hear the simultaneous chimes and bings and whirs of about 25 casino games at once. This environment is surely not conducive to deep thought, rest, and relaxation.

After our tour, we met up with Daniel’s team and had a fantastic dinner at a place called Carne Vino Steakhouse. I gotta say, compared to what I am used to working at a non-profit, this dinner was pretty opulent. There was champagne and wine, all sorts of appetizers (sashimis, oysters, fried smelt, meat, cheese), and a number of delicious steak cuts that we shared family style, as well as lots and lots and lots more food. After dessert we headed to a swanky bar within the same casino, and then half of us went dancing at a nightclub upstairs from the bar, and the other half went gambling.

We went to bed around 3am, woke up at 7:45am, and caught a taxi at 8am, intime to make our 10:00am flight back to PDX.

photo 1-5 me:Daniel:Vegas photo 2-5 fauxrance

Weekend Getaway to Afton Field Farm

I adore visiting Afton Field Farm. While I know Alicia and Tyler’s life is pretty much constantly hectic, my little snippets of time at AFF are always peaceful and relaxing. A pastoral life doesn’t seem to bad.

Maggie and I headed down to Corvallis yesterday afternoon for their annual Halloween party, for which we were Day of the Dead sugar skulls. We spent the afternoon putzing  around the farm, picking ripe apples and pears to make into cider. The Jones’ had rented a cider press from a brew supply store in town, so we all sat around making gallons and gallons of cider for a while. Spending a warm, cloudy fall afternoon with good friends in an apple orchard was glorious. We took a short break from cider pressing to dye Bula, the farm pug, blue for her Halloween costume: Babe the Blue Ox (Alicia was Paul Bunyan). It started sprinkling a bit, but we made a fire in the fire pit and roasted hot dogs before the festivities began.

The Halloween party itself was a lot of fun. Notable costumes were: bootlegger (that was Tyler), James Bond, pumpkin-head, the Royal Tenenbaums (Jenni and Scott Timms came up from Eugene! It was good to see them and hear about their new farm), cowboy and raven.

This morning we had brunch at a great new place in Corvallis called Les Caves. Corvallis is actually turning hip. I highly recommend this place: get the corned beef hash and a spicy bloody mary.

Day of the Dead Costumes

Mags and I had a fun little getaway to Afton Field Farm yesterday and today. The occasion was the AFF annual Halloween Party. After some deliberation on costumes, we decided to be Day of the Dead sugar skulls. The whole process of getting in our costume makeup took about two hours, but I think the end results were worth it. 

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