Oregon adventures!

This has been the GREATEST weekend. I  spent the weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon with four phenomenal human beings: Catherine, Paul, Katie and Other-Sam. Together we are the third-year class of UW Microbiology.

The future of academia

We spent the weekend at Katie’s family’s beach house. We have been trying to plan a trip down to the beach house ever since we all passed our general exams and officially became PhD candidates in January; it only took us til the end of March to coordinate our busy lives (a lot of stuff has been going on! Half marathons, friends visiting, bike expos, the grad student retreat– life is BUSY  and abundant).

Friday started off just like any other.
Oh man, this extra-caffienated tea is delicious…and dangerous
Gimme a q….gimme a P…gimme a C….gimme an R….what’s that spell? qPCR!

I made a quick detour on my way home from work, and picked up some vital provisions.

Colorado beer, french and spanish wine

Then we loaded up the car and drove off into the sunset!

Even Tacoma can be scenic sometimes

We made a quick pit-stop in Olympia for dinner at Fishtail Brewery. I liked this place because all of their beer is organic!

And they have cool art

We got into Cannon Beach just around one in the morning. That is WAY past my usual bedtime, but luckily we picked up a companion on the way who helped make staying up late a little less scary. 

Saturday morning I got up early and ate a banana. 
I said a quick good morning to some friendly elk. 
Hey guys!

Then I ran to the next city.

Cannon Beach to Seaside and back
This 18 mile run was absolutely glorious. It was a little scary to run along highway 101 at times, and there was a fairly extensive hill right at the beginning and end. However, overall the scenery was gorgeous, the sun was shining–it was simply glorious to be out on my feet accompanied by my thoughts and the audiobook version of Bonk by Mary Roach
When I finally returned to the beach house, my compatriots were craving coffee

“Where IS that lunatic?”

We headed into downtown Cannon Beach for some espresso action at the local roaster.

The sleepy monk woke up THIS runner with a triple americano

After getting our espresso on, we ambled down to the beach. I made a friend along the way. 

You bet I am wearing compression sleeves
The weather was magnificent and the ocean was beautiful.

We walked to Haystack Rock, which is where Other Sam proposed to Katie. The rock formation itself is breathtaking, and it was very cool to see a place that has such special significance to two dear friends. 
Haystack rock
Haystack rock is also amazing because it is surrounded by tide-pools!
And that’s when a gaggle of twenty-five year old microbiologists instantly reverted to elementary school

There were a ton of cool creatures hanging out on the rocks.

Nice runner’s toenails…Sam

Sea anenomes
Hermit crabs

After exploring the tide-pools we headed back to the beach house for some lunch. The elk found a little more courage in our absence and came right up onto the lawn. We learned, courtesy of Other Sam and wikipedia, that these are Roosevelt Elk, which are the largest elk in North America. A fully grown Roosevelt Elk can weigh up to 1,100 pounds–that’s a Honda Civic’s worth of ruminant!

Hey guys!

After lunch we decided to head to a different beautiful beach, maintaining our BUSY schedule of leisure and relaxation. Other Sam and I played a rousing game of Bocce. It was a very close game: he narrowly defeated me 11 points to….zero. Apparently my skills as an endurance athlete do not transfer so well to hand-eye coordination. I clearly need more practice. 

Next time you are going DOWN, Carpentier!

We then headed back to the beach house and cooked up a giant feast of thai green curry and samosas for dinner. 

Thai curry, Indian Samosas, French Rose…call it a fusion meal

We cleaned up the kitchen and watched a SPECTACULAR sunset.


Catherine and I planned a special surprise to celebrate Other Sam and Katie’s engagement. We baked them a pink champagne cake, with strawberries and dragon fruit. We think that we are hilarious…I’m glad that our friends keep us around. 

This cake is CLEARLY a finger and an engagement ring…if you see anything else it’s YOUR mind that is in the gutter. 
Catherine brought Chinese Lanterns with her from Seattle. We thought that we would light the lanterns and make wishes about friendship and our future careers.
So pretty
Unfortunately the Oregon winds had other plans for us. 
Sam looks WAY too excited about the flaming horror-lantern

We decided against burning down the Oregon Coast, and enjoyed a Patrick Swayze movie instead. Random fact of the day: Point Break was directed by OSCAR AWARD WINNER Kathryn Bigelow. Sadly, even under her expert tutelage, Keanus Reeves still proves himself incapable of acting his way out of a paper bag. Luckily Swayze’s panache and grace more than make up for Reeve’s arboreal acting. Garey Busey gets a chance to devour some scenery with his gigantic teeth as well.

This movie is surprisingly morally complex! Keanu Reeve’s acting…not so much

Sunday morning we cleaned up the house, and packed up the car.

No bunny gets left behind!

We stopped at the Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon on the way back. I picked up a to-go-jar of DELICIOUS cask-conditioned stout.

Sun and beer. Can’t argue with that. 
We got back to Seattle feeling tanned, rested, and content. I am so thankful for so much about this weekend. I am grateful to Katie and her family for allowing us to stay at their BEAUTIFUL house (seriously, this place is perfection–the hot tub has a light up waterfall for crying out loud). I am grateful for the gorgeous weather we enjoyed. I am grateful for the food, the wine, the elk, and Patrick Swayze. Most of all, I am so grateful for everybody in my class. I am so blessed just to know these people–we all get along with each other so well, and I consider myself extremely privileged to call each and every one of these interesting and intelligent human beings a close friend. We don’t always see each other all of the time, but spending time together this weekend was such a gift. It’s highly surreal to look back at the past three years we have spent stumbling our way through graduate school together. I’m not sure where each of us will end up after we finish our PhDs, but I know we will all end up somewhere great. 
The fun didn’t stop when we returned to Seattle. I barely had time to un-pack from this weekend’s excursion before this coming week’s began. I have a VERY special guest in town:
See the family resemblance?
My mom is visiting! Our dear friend Jill, my mom, and Jill’s two sons took a road trip to come and explore Seattle. Stay tuned for shenanigans aplenty!

8 thoughts on “Oregon adventures!

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  1. I usually don't get jealous, but this post really got to me. In fact, I think you hate me! What a great weekend. I have been to the Oregon coast several times, and truly love it. Manzanita is also a great little town if you get a chance to stop by there at some point. I have been really wanting to do a bike trip down the coast. This post is inspiring me to put something into action.

    And your mom!!! I didn't even hear her sneak out of the neighborhood! :) Have fun with that group of trouble-makers!

    So happy to hear of your well-earned fun and relaxation. (PS– still giggling about “Other Sam.”)


  2. Of course! Now I know what must have happened: no mountain hazards. How can anyone play Bocce on a flat sand beach without rocks and tree roots and juniper bushes in the way?


  3. I had never really spent time in Oregon before this, I definitely hope to return. I loved the Coastline–so rugged and beautiful.

    I don't hate you! This post is all a part of my not-so-secret plan to get you to come visit! Bring your bicycle! On my run I kept seeing signs that I was on the Oregon Coast Bike Route; I was thinking about y'all. Could be fun to do a Wildflower Ct. reunion bike tour up in the Pacific Northwest, no?


  4. One thing I like about Oregon is that (unless I am mistaken) the entire coastline is public. So you can jump off your bike, jump in the ocean, jump very quickly outta that cold ocean…but all without some rich guy screaming at you to get off his beach!

    I have a new bike case for flying with my bike, not been used yet. Hmmmm.


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