Our Final Days Visiting the Pacific Northwest


Our two-week vacation to the Pacific Northwest ended on a high note; before leaving, we spent the last two days visiting family near Portland, OR, and it was WONDERFUL.

Our last day at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, OR was bittersweet.  I still wanted to fit in another day of bike riding and shopping, but you know what they say about all good things having to come to an "end."

We packed our car, programmed the GPS, and braced ourselves for the 3 hour-fifty minute drive to Hillsboro, OR, a city on the west side of Portland.  I'm typically not a fan of long drives, but this one was BEAUTIFUL.  We took US 20 to US 22, passing by places like Tumalo, Sisters, Marion Forks, and the Detroit Lake State Recreation Area.  I could have easily stopped by any of these places to take pictures, but we wanted to meet my cousin and his wife in time for dinner, so there wasn't additional time to wander.  

Huge pine trees towered over us on both sides during most of the drive.

That evening, after getting settled into our final hotel, we met up with Jamie and Vincent for dinner at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse in Hillsboro.  

The next day, they promised us a hike in the woods at their favorite park followed by an afternoon of "video games" at the Next Level Pinball Shop and Museum.  (We let them set the itinerary, and they didn't disappoint.  In fact, Little Lewie was beyond thrilled because Vincent and he both share a love for computers and gaming.)

They first took us to Noble Woods Park in Hillsboro, which reminded us much of the time we spent in Olympic National Park.  Similar to Olympic, Noble Woods Park was filled with large trees like the Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, and Western Hemlock; some (like in Olympic) were also covered by moss.  

After our walk and breakfast, we headed to the Pinball Shop, which touts over 450 pinball machines and arcade games.  For just a $20 entrance fee, we could spend the entire day playing as many games as we wanted without needing coins or tokens.  There might have been only one game, a VR one, which required an extra charge.

The number of games we all played was too many to count.  Favorites for me included the Guns 'n Roses, the Simpsons, and the Star Wars pinball machines followed by arcade games like Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, and Q*bert.  Lew and Lewie played lots of driving games, and Vincent and Jamie found the horror games, including a really scary one that involved killing zombies.  (We all tried it out; although, I had a really, really tough time looking at the screen.)

During the next and final day, the boys and girls went their separate ways. Vincent, Daddy Lew, and Little Lewie headed to a music shop and computer store; Jaime and I headed to a New Age book shop.  We came together for one last meal--this time at a cool Indian restaurant.


In all, our last few days visiting Vincent and Jamies were FUN.  (The last time we saw them, they were living out in the desert in Goodyear, AZ; we traveled to see them after visiting the Grand Canyon.)  This time we traveled to see them just outside of Portland, OR after visiting Olympic National Park and Sunriver.

Of course, goodbyes are never easy, especially when your loved ones live all the way across the country.  When I was growing up, cousin Vincent was like a big brother that enjoyed pestering me.  I could always count on him to scare me by showing scary pictures in Fangoria magazine or to embarrass me by giving me presents like a nose-picking award for my tenth birthday.  Perhaps one of my favorite memories is when my cousins and I all went camping in Vermont.  While my mom and aunt left the camper to use the bathroom, Vincent decided to throw his dirty underpants at his two siblings and me.  My younger cousin Billy and I laughed so hard that we almost peed our pants.  In fact, I think Billy might have...(My friends have memories of him teasing them, too, particularly during my birthday parties.)  

I'm glad Lewie had a chance to spend time with my cousin and his wife--first at age seven in Arizona and now at age twelve in Oregon.  Our visits might not be frequent, but they are memorable and a reminder that the best thing you can do with family is to LAUGH and be silly.  Life is just too short for anything else!


  1. Very fun that you got to see your cousin. The pinball museum looks so cool!

    1. Thanks, Dara. It was really cool; it had lots of neat collections, too,--like lunch boxes and Barbie Dolls.


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