Saturday, July 30, 2016

Taking on the Loop

There’s something about waking up to the excitement of a young pup.

Even though I’m not a morning person and don’t feel like ‘me’ until I’ve taken a shower and eaten something, Lacey’s tiny little body in front of my face, tail-wagging and licking my cheek, gave me a reason to smile.

Although our day began around seven in the morning, we had a slow start to the day. No plans had been made yet so it gave us a good excuse to relax.

In that time, I was inspired to carve out a plan of action for the next few days. It’s good to know we have something to do in the time we’re here – expect for tomorrow.

My mother pulled out some brochures she gathered from the entrance of the campsite. The two of us began to scan through the options until she settled on what was called the ‘fruit loop’. And, no, we’re not talking cereal.

Around the Columbia River, thirty-one designated stops made a ‘loop’ in which we could drive around. Fruit stands, shops, a bakery, and even a place for cider were on that list. Thus, a plan for today was born.

By the time noon came, we headed out for our adventure.

We only explored three of the different stops: Lavender Valley, The Old Trunk, and Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery.

Lavender Valley (top left), The Old Trunk (top right), and Apple Valley
Country Store & Bakery (bottom left) are all part of the 'Fruit Loop'
located near Mount Hood, Oregon (bottom right).
The smell of lavender wafted through the air as we entered Lavender Valley. It’s not a scent I’m particularly fond of, but the plants were pretty. The lady at the store would’ve given us a machete for four dollars to cut some lavender plants that had already blossomed (pictured above), but we had to pass up on that offer. It might’ve been worth it just to hold that machete, although I got to do that without paying anyway.

We traveled a bit further down the look and came upon The Old Trunk. This antique store housed a variety of interesting items. I perused through the vinyl records when my dad pointed out a record player, asking me if I knew what it was. Clearly, I did.

While there was an arrangement of both strange and intriguing items, the most interesting thing I noticed in the store were figurines – paper mache, I believe – of John F. Kennedy. I wish I would’ve taken a picture of that; it was the most bizarre thing. I wonder whether they were made for his campaign or funeral.

Lastly, we took a peek inside the Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery. I didn’t get to see much of it, however, because I stayed outside with Lacey. And, when I got the chance to look inside, I had just enough time to notice the wall of jam in the back of the store. It was intriguing yet enticing at the same time.

Once again, lunch became a challenge for us. This time, though, it wasn’t much because of our stomachs. It was due to the lack of dog-friendly restaurants in Hood River.

The Big Horse Brewing Company solved our case, allowing us to bring Lacey out on the deck. Immediately, as we approached our table outside, another dog on the deck came running toward me and Lacey. It was about the same size as Lacey, but, because Lacey isn’t too keen on others of her kind, she automatically started barking. We pulled her way and the owners did as well, grabbing the leash they clearly had forgotten about.

Despite the shade under the trees, the heat still greeted us. Thankfully, the breeze made it feel a little better than it actually was.

Since it was a pub, I had to order a hamburger. There’s no better way to go about it! However, it did take half an hour for our orders to come in – I’d say it was almost worth it, but, at that point, I was starving.

Shortly after, we arrived back to the trailer. Gradually, as I played through more of my game, my eyes got increasingly heavier. Eventually, I passed out on the couch.

An hour later, some more gaming began. But, this time, it was with the family. My mother and I tried out her recent purchase, Rummikub. It’s kind of like jinn and Phase 10 combined, so I thought I’d nail it! However, I lost to my mother in the first round and my father in the second.

Next, I tried out Parcheesi. My parents had played this one before, so it was only new for me. I picked up on it fairly well, but, in the end, came out in second place. This one was more like Sorry, as we got to knock each other’s pawns out and back to the start. Needless to say, my competitive side kicked right in and way too easily!

Too quickly had it become almost eleven at night. That’s when the three of us decided that we should rest for the next day, no matter what may come.

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