Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cartlandia!

1-CartlandiaSignAhhh, the enticing aromas of BBQ, Thai, Asian, Gyros, Chicken and Waffles and more. This must be Cartlandia!

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Just a few of the carts at Cartlandia

If you think it sounds like the TV series, Portlandia, you are correct. Cartlandia is a food cart area located in Portland, Oregon. Portland is becoming very well known for its food carts so of course we had to check them out. We were told about a couple of different areas where there were food carts so we drove around looking for them. Then we found one full block of carts. First we had to walk all the way around and see what all they had available, and boy, did they have a variety to offer. We wanted to sample a couple of items, but not eat full meals so we could keep sampling. The only problem was, this is Oregon, so it was pouring down rain. There was no place to sit and eat and we hate eating in the car. So we stood under the overhang of one of the closed carts and ate as quickly as we could. Then took off to look for Cartlandia.

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Voodoo Doughnuts!

We found 82nd and followed it until we found Cartlandia at 8145 SE 82nd Avenue. It was off to the west side of the street and in a parking lot with a fence around it. It had a sign on the side of the building letting us know we were in the right place! The first thing we all noticed though was the bright pink cart – Voodoo Doughnuts has a cart there! Woohoo! But solid food first.

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Grandson Anden and Daughter Brandy Getting BBQ

So we split up and all looked around at the carts to see what delights we could partake in here. There were not as many carts as the other site, but still enough variety to make us all happy. We all chose our food then went to the best part of Cartlandia – the Beer Garden!

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Wine, Beer & Pulled Pork

It’s a huge, warm, dry tent where we could sit and eat. And they served beer and wine! What could be better? It even has a big-screen TV like a sports bar. But kids are also welcome there so we sat with our individual choices of delicious delectables and enjoyed a leisurely meal in the warmth of the tent. That alone made Cartlandia stand out from the other carts.

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Beer Garden/Tent

I’m sure it’s great to hit the food carts on a warm sunny day, but it’s nice to know that Cartlandia is prepared for Oregon weather by providing the tent. While on this particular day there wasn’t as many carts as the other site, I imagine that during the better weather there would be more to choose from as the website says they have 28 food carts. And again the tent with seating and shade from the sun would be a welcome relief.

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Beer Garden with TV!

It’s also next to the Springwater Corridor trail, a bicycle trail that runs throughout Portland. So you can take a nice long bike ride and stop and replenish your energy quickly and easily. There is plenty of room for bikes along with parking spots for 50 cars.

If you want to have a really different birthday party or special day, you can even book your event at Cartlandia!

To find out more about Cartlandia and the different foods that may be available there, check out their website at http://www.cartlandia.com

Categories: Bicycle Trail, Food, Wine, Cider, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

For The Kid in All of Us: Rock and Gem Shows

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OAMS Rock Show

Besides actually going out and collecting rocks, rock and gem shows are a great way to get kids interested in rockhounding. They can see all the different kinds of beautiful rocks and the variety of colors. That can help them visualize what they are actually looking for when they are out collecting.

Over President’s Day holiday we went to Portland, Oregon to check out the rock show sponsored by the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society. We took my grandson, Anden, because he likes rock collecting and it has been the joy of my life to share my passion with him.

The show was held inside the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) hall and admission was free. While it was probably the smallest show I have ever been to, it was still packed with amazing specimens to see, rock-related items to buy, and demonstrations.

When we first walked in we were greeted with a “food table” – every item on the table looked like food but was actually some sort of rock. It was quite impressive. At another table young girls were making painted rocks and creating other crafts from rocks. There was a table with various rocks on it called the “Touch Table” to let kids know they should pick those rocks up and touch them all they wanted!

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Rock “Food”

The table with samples of meteorites was a new experience for us. We had never seen one and were able to touch them and feel how heavy they were. There were little magnets available so we could see how magnetic the rocks were. They really looked quite different than I expected and I’m not sure I would recognize one out in the field if I came across it.

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Meteorite with Magnet

At the back of the room were the demonstrations. That’s where we met 11-year-old Zach Taylor. He was making cabochons for guests. A cabochon is a piece of rock that is most often formed into an oblong piece that is then polished. It can then be placed into a necklace or other piece of jewelry. It was impressive to watch Zac expertly run the “Genie,” a grinding and polishing machine that has six wheels of varying roughness to shape the rock, then polish the scratches out, then finish polishing the stone. The finished product is truly a work of art.

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Young Rockhounder Zach Taylor

Zach has always been interested in rock collecting and joined the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society about three years ago. One of the other members worked with Zach for a couple of months teaching him how to use the equipment and Zach has now been making cabochons for about two years. The field trips or “expeditions” as they call them, are what really get Zach excited. Zach and his mom, Mary, are excited for the next club field trip which will be to Lincoln City, Oregon to collect agates. This club really knows how to involve the kids!

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Josh’s Finds

Moving on in the room, down the outside row of tables were vendors selling small slabs of various specimen of rocks. Josh had a great time picking out some great pieces to add to his collection. Another activity for kids was the “wheel” and for 50 cents kids could spin the wheel to win from a selection of rocks or rock pieces of art. Both Josh and Anden, spun the wheel several times. Anden was thrilled with his winnings but also “needed” to buy something. All those beautiful rocks are hard to resist! He saw a quartz crystal that he really wanted so of course Grandma bought it for him.

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Anden and His Crystal

At the far side of the room were display cases with gorgeous collections. One of my favorites was the picture jasper just because I think it is amazing you can find rocks, cut and polish them, and they really do look like intricately painted pictures!

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Picture Jasper

My other favorite collection was the sunstones. Sunstones are the state rock of Oregon, and there is land set aside in the southeast part of Oregon, outside of the town of Plush, where you can go to collect them for free. They are quite abundant so I would say you are guaranteed to find stones.

Sunstones

Rockhounding is a great way to connect with kids and to get them outside. It’s great for the kid in the rest of us as well!

There are many rock clubs all over the country, several in every state. And there are many rock and gem shows that you can attend.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors, Rockhounding/Gold Panning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holley’s Place – Old Style, New Treats

1-IMG_26691-IMG_2658As soon as you see it in its quaint little corner spot you are drawn to it. It truly looks like an old-time soda fountain but Holley’s Place is a yogurt shop. The bright colors of the goodies showing through the window along with the outside décor are unique. The south wall is the side of a larger building and holds several of Centralia’s famous murals. The storefront is right next to the old Fox Theater which is being restored and the new marquee sign that was just placed above it draws attention to not only the theater but the yogurt store.

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Holley’s Place was opened two years ago by Holley Kaiser and her husband, Jamie. They simply decided that they wanted to start a business for their whole family to take part in, and there were no frozen yogurts stores in the area. When they were shown the space they were a little nervous. It had plaster falling off the walls and old cast-iron pipes. But they saw the potential and spent several months painstakingly fixing it up. They went to garage sales and estate sales and gathered up leftover items to sell themselves. After 14 garage sales they finally had enough money to buy the two ice cream machines.

Inside it is quite small (about 235 square feet). There is just one counter with five stools. If they look like originals from an ice cream shop it’s because they are. Holley and Jamie picked them up from an old ice cream shop in Seattle. Silver tin adorns the ceiling in more antique-style décor.

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The counter is not an old-time laminate or metal though – it’s a beautiful misty-blue-green glass that seemed destined for the store when it was offered to Holly and her husband for free from their church.

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But rather than be served by Holly, you get to decide how much and what kind of yogurt you want. There are two self-serve machines. This day one contained peanut butter and chocolate yogurt, and one contained sugar-free vanilla and sherbet. Holley likes to offer sugar-free and dairy choices for those who can’t process them.

You choose the cup size you want, fill it with however much of whichever flavor of yogurt you want. Then you head over to all the goodies to make more choices. There are syrups, pieces of brownies, gummy bears, marshmallows, Fruity Pebbles, Reese’s Pieces, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, nuts, fruit and more. If you can’t find something you like here, it would be unbelievable.

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When you are finished with your selections, you set your bowl on the scales and pay for it by the weight. Then you dig in and enjoy your own amazing creation!

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Holley is excited to be part of the revitalization of downtown Centralia. She says that in 1999 there were 21 taverns along the main part of town and that has tremendously changed. Owners of all the businesses in the downtown core are helping each other out, advertising each other, handing out fliers and gift cards. Even though her shop is small, she plans on staying there in her terrific location. Not only is she next to the Fox Theater, Holley’s Place serves as the concessionaire for it when movies are shown.

Holley has two favorite things about running Holley’s Place – that it is a business that her whole family can be involved in, and getting to know people in the community as well as welcoming visitors to downtown Centralia. It truly does feel like you are coming into her house and being welcomed, just as she wants it to be.

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Holley Kaiser

Holley’s Place is open seven days a week except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and her and Jamie’s anniversary (April 10). Hours are Noon-8pm weekdays, Noon-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It is located on the corner of Centralia College Blvd. and Tower St. at 119 S. Tower in downtown Centralia.1-IMG_2656

Getting there: From I-5 take exit 81 and head east. Just keep following it, it will turn into Cherry St. Go to Tower St. and turn left. Continue north on Tower St. to Centralia College Blvd. Holley’s Place will be on your left on the northwest corner.

Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Columbia River, Transportation Giant

big2_2Last weekend we decided to take a day trip to Astoria, Oregon for a quick getaway. There is a quite a bit to see and do there, but this particular day one fascinating thing was watching all the container ships in the Columbia River. I’ve seen them before, but never so many.

The Columbia River is the biggest river in the Pacific Northwest at 1243 miles long. It starts in Canada, flows south through Washington, then turns west and is the border between Oregon and Washington. There are 14 dams on the river.

Ships coming into the Columbia River have to pass over the bar, which can be treacherous in bad weather. The bar is where the mighty Columbia River meets the powerful Pacific Ocean, creating enormous waves. It is so dangerous that ships must have a Columbia River Bar Pilot (experts in crossing the bar) get on the boat and guide it through the bar.

Once over the bar they then pass under the Astoria-Megler Bridge which was built in 1966 and is 208 feet high.  Upriver the ships also have to pass under the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview which is 198 feet high. The Columbia River is 55 feet deep for the first 5 miles, then is 43 feet deep for the next 100 miles or so into Portland, Oregon. Neither of those depths seems like enough when you look at how absolutely HUGE the ships are that are in it!big1_1

About 3600 ships go through the Columbia River every year. Most of the particular ships we saw this day were Articulated Tug and Barges, basically a combination tug boat and barge. The tug can be detached from the barge if needed. I believe we also saw some General Cargo Ships which can carry logs or large amounts of other cargo.

We watched the large group anchored up out in the bay from the dock around the Columbia River Maritime Museum. They were just sitting there, no action, but just fascinating to see so many of them sitting out there lined up. You can see from the amount of red showing above the water that the ships are empty. We assumed they would be heading upriver at some point to load up with cargo. When they are fully loaded and heavy, they sit much lower in the water and the red part is nearly covered.

IMG_2813We went to Fort Stevens and that’s where we saw this ship heading back out to sea. As you can see from the small amount of red showing above the water line, this ship is loaded and heavy. Surprisingly, though, it moved amazingly quick even though it was loaded up.

Watching the boats we wondered – what kind of people worked on the boats, where were they from, where were they going, what kind of cargo did they carry, would we be using any of the items they were bringing in and out? We’ll never know but it was fascinating to see the importance of the great Columbia River as a massive transportation system and the amount of traffic using it.

Categories: Historical, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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