Vacation Tripping!

WHEW!  We’re finally getting back into a normal routine after our recent trip to the “lower 48” as we Alaskan’s call it.  Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath – and edit a few pictures – I can share some of the fun we had.  We spent five days in Virginia visiting my family to celebrate my nephew’s graduation, my birthday and Father’s Day.   That was a whole lot of celebrating in just a few days, but most of it was spent just hanging out with family.  We also got to see friends who used to live next to us in Kodiak since they live in a neighboring town now.  With all that going on I didn’t take many pictures other than Graduation, which I still need to finish editing.

Next we headed to the Portland area, where we spent several days with my hubby’s mom and visited with a high school friend of mine in the area.  While there we also attended a huge vintage flea market called The Great Junk Hunt put on by the Funky Junk Sisters, which was AMAZING!  I’ll be sharing that experience in my next blog post, because it’s a story all on it’s own.

I made sure we hit my two favorite not-available-in-Alaska restaurants, Panera and Chic-Fil-A multiple times during our trip.  One of the Chic-Fil-A’s we visited was a brand new location in Pallyup, WA which had a great vibe to it starting with the cool industrial chic logo over subway tile near the counter!

Chick

They also had some large cow shenanigans art that made me giggle.  Best long-term marketing strategy ever.  Who doesn’t love farm animals with a sense of adventure and big dose of personality?

ChickTruck

I especially liked this one.  I think it would be perfect for an Alaskan Chic-Fil-A!  HINT HINT!

ChickTrail

One of the clues that told us this location was brand new was how crowded it was, including the insane drive through line which wrapped around a corner and through an adjacent parking lot.  There are still several cars ahead of what’s seen in this line before the ordering speaker.  What impressed us was how the staff took this as an opportunity to offer great personal service.  Notice the team members standing by vehicles? They have menus for customers to look at while waiting and tablets that they can place an order on so their wait time is still productive and ultimately lessened due to efficiency.  Although we didn’t experience this inventive idea first hand, the other staff inside the restaurant were some of the most pleasant we’d ever encountered despite a never ending rush of customers.  Kudos to this location’s manager for a wonderful last impression of their brand before heading back to Alaska!

ChickLine

Another fun restaurant was the moving sushi bar we tried for lunch one day.  We’d never been to one before, but now that we know how fun and inexpensive it is I’m pretty sure we’ll be searching for one here at home!  This one was called Sushi Moto and had a pretty good variety of rolls to choose from.  And if you didn’t see what you want, just ask the friendly sushi chef to make it for you!

SushiMoto2

I’m not a buffet lover, but this I could definitely embrace.  I could have sat there and picked options all day, especially at just $1.75/plate!  While these certainly weren’t culinary masterpieces, every single one I tried was good.  I’m surprised I was able to pause long enough to take a few pictures!

SushiMotoRoll

Other than eating delicious food and visiting friends and family, we did plenty of shopping.  I’ll be sharing some of the things we found with a house update post soon.  Until then here’s a sneak peek at some of the cool “junk” we snagged at the vintage flea market.  How cute is this little piggy planter that I bought for my mother-in-law!?  Um, so cute that I had to find one of my own on Etsy when I got home! I can’t wait for it to arrive because I’ve got the perfect spot picked out for it!  🙂

PiggyPlanter

 

The Fruits of Our Labor

BerryBucket

After my recent visit to Hatcher Pass I couldn’t wait to go back and pick berries, so I invited a friend to join us recently, loaded up the dogs and hit the trail. I had a local’s tip for a spot that was supposed to offer “copious amounts of berries,” but it turned out to be a bust, so we traveled further up the road and checked a few more spots before we finally found a great little patch just below a parking pull-off.

Unlike the high brush blueberries we’d had in Kodiak, these were low brush, which meant they were harder to spot and pick. We all ended up with purple splotches on our knees and rears from unknowingly sitting on a patch while working a group we’d spotted nearby. They were also smaller than their high brush cousins, except the couple of patches we found shaded by other vegetation.

BerryStoli

BerryRun

We chatted as we picked and the dogs ran amuck exploring – sometimes right through the patch we were working on, nearly toppling the harvest bucket! They occasionally got to sample the harvest and we took them to the nearby creek for a drink several times. Several times they barked warnings at the paragliders who rode the breeze overhead, in case they got any ideas about trying to land in our berry patch! 🙂

BerryBother

BerryBotherBucker

There were also periods of focused picking, where the only sound was the waterfall a few yards away and an occasional chirp of a bird. That’s usually when I’d look around to see where the kiddos had gone since it was too quiet and not see anyone until I called and then heads would pop up out of vegetation.

BerryPickin

BerryKiss

It got chilly as the day wore on and the clouds started to move in so we decided it was time to call it quits before it started to rain. Before we left I took a few minutes to capture a few portraits of the fur babies, who were plum tuckered and ready for a nap. Two of the three were asleep by the time we got we got halfway home.

BerryTired

BerryT

We came away with berry stained hands and harvests big enough to make some yummy treats. The hubs used ours – after a lengthy stem removal process – for some lemon blueberry bread, which is the perfect complement to my new indulgence, berry frozen yogurt.

BerryHands

BerryBread