Happy Birthday, Chase!


Today is Chase’s 6th birthday, can you believe it?  He decided that since an active volcano was out of the picture, he wanted to spend his day in the bubbling hot springs in the Hood National Forest.  A 2 hour drive lead us to the Bagby Hot Springs trail head, where we hiked through Enormous 200ft+ moss covered spruce and cedar trees 1.5 miles into where the springs are.  There are several wooden houses with 5 communal and 5 private tree-carved tubs which can be filled with the 139 degree F water being moved through the wooden flumes and piped to each tub.  Ahhhhhhhh.  What a neat place to spend a birthday. 

After a 2 hour soak and hike out, we drove back into Portland where Chase saw a Chuck E Cheese’s billboard.  Okay, it is his birthday after all.  That was fun, too.  Since he was 2 and saw the play place on PBSkids for the first time, Chase has wanted to visit one.  He was crowned when we arrived, had his picture taken with the one and only Chuck, was sung a few birthday songs, and given lots of extra tickets and an ice cream sandwich with a candle in it.  Needless to say, we are all quite exhausted after such an exciting day. 

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Published in: on October 30, 2007 at 4:56 am  Comments (1)  

From Sea to Shining Sea…


Since Chase & I have returned from Vermont, the three of us have had many new and exciting adventures.  Our first day back, we took the MAX (public train) to downtown, met up with my aunt, uncle and cousin, and hiked up and up and up to Washington Park.  The view from the top of the city is well worth the up.  You can clearly see Mount Hood, there are lots of nice walking paths, a few cool fountains, memorials, an amphitheater, and a few thousand rose bushes.  After stopping to smell the roses, Chase spied a hot dog cart and realized he was soo hungry he couldn’t take another step with out food(Chase downed a dog).  We all thought food was a great idea (but too-long-boiled dogs were out of the question for me) so we rolled down down down to what is told to be the best pizza in town…called “Escape From New York Pizza”  It’s a little strip between two stores, no wider than 30ft which serves pizza by the slice and local brew.  Cash only.  What a gold mine this little place is.

The next afternoon we spent driving along the Oregon coast and playing on the beach next to the Pacific ocean.  We even drove about 20 of those miles right On the beach.  There was lots of kelp washed up, and quite a few broken sand dollars.  It’s so relaxing to be on the shore;  I know why most of the population lives on the coast…We also visited the world’s tallest sitka spruce tree, it’s over 250 feet tall, and an estimated 750 years old.  We stopped in at an old fish cannery turned cafe in Astoria, OR for a quick bite to eat before heading back around to Portland.  The fish chowder was delicious (Chase approves) and the fresh cod fish-n-chips were wonderful.  While we ate, we enjoyed watching a harbor seal swimming in the Columbia river!  A very special sight to us back-East-ers.  Certainly no seals in Vermont!

The following day we took a trip though the Columbian Gorge, walked along the Multnomah Falls, then played in the snow at the base of Mt Hood.  We stopped for a picnic lunch at the Timberlane ski area, sat on a rock and watched the skiiers and boarders and a few people on sleds have fun on the slopes this October afternoon.  I bet there’s no need to make artificial snow…the slopes are open 10 months of the year, and there is snow at places on the mountain which never melts.  After lunch, Chase decided to make his own slope and “ski” down a snowy 30′ drop on his mud boots.  6 or so trips down (many of them successful), he realized that his mittenless hands were cold, so we wrapped up our outing and drove back to “base camp” at my cousin Robert’s for hot drinks and a movie.

Published in: on October 29, 2007 at 4:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Back to Vermont, briefly…


Chase & I flew back to Vermont from Portland, OR to take care of a few weddings I had booked and to visit friends.  Ahhh, there’s nothing like the fall foliage in Vermont.  These are a few pictures Chase took on a walk through the woods, along with a few others.  We had a surprise birthday party, played on our favorite playground, saw lots of family and friends, and even got lost in our first corn maze…

After a busy two weeks home, I made the trip back to Portland a bit longer than expected.  We had what I thought  to be a long layover in Newark so we sat down in the airport diner for soup.  After Chase’s first bowl, he lost another tooth (must have been some pretty chewy soup), then I fell asleep during his second.  Just a quick nap, or so I thought…I missed our flight and now had to wait until 6pm to fly out.  It was only 9:30am!  Uhhhhhggggg.  But, we made it.  Back to our “Great Big Trip”

Published in: on October 27, 2007 at 11:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Scott’s Bar, California


As we continue to search for gold, we head south to Northern California where the trees are huges and the roads a bit narrow!  We stayed at another LDMA camp called Scotts Bar.  It sits where the Scotts river and the Klamath river meet.  The salmon were running upstream and we watched the water boil and the fish jump.  Boy I bet they taste good…But, no time to throw some lines in the water, there’s gold here.  We finally purchased a used highbanker-dredge combo and put it to pretty good use right away.  We did find a few “pickers”, and mini-pickers, as we call those that only Chase can pick up.  The weather was sunny, rainy, snowy (only in the higher altitudes).  Wonderful!  The caretakers of the camp are welcoming and fun, and the campfire & coffee’s always hot.  I could easily spend a ton of time here.  One afternoon, we took an exploritory drive along the scotts river and ended up off on a 4×4 logging trail beginning at 1000ft and ending at 6000ft in the snow!  The view was well worth the ride!  All in all, the gold here was good, and the company fantastic.  Can’t wait to go back…

Published in: on October 23, 2007 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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from Oregon to Northern California

Above are some of the pictures from our trip into Cali. and our venture up once we arrived.

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gold in Oregon


After leaving Montana, we sped past Yellowstone in search of that yellow stone.  The LDMA (Lost Duchman’s Mining Association) was holding an “outing” in Durkee, Oregon and that’s where we headed.  After 9 long bumpy miles into the property on the very wash-board road, we arrived at the Burnt River camp nestled in a deep ravine with huge steep mountains on either side and a river running through it.  We set up camp and immediately headed for the river with our mining tools.  We were able to pick away at a hole in the mountainside and run about 4 buckets full of material through the sluice box before the sun dissapeared behind the westward mountain and the dark and cold set in.  Each pan produced some color, or gold, which was exciting enough for us to continue the following day. 

While at the Burnt River camp, we ventured out of the valley again and visited the “Hungry Redneck Cafe” which was just off the interstate in Durkee.  Just the name alone gives you a pretty clear idea of what it’s like.  We had a wonderful time with a fun server.  Chase ate spaghetti and was actually up set that he was given so much.  “Do they actually think I can eat all this?!”  But, he did manage to put a huge dent in it.  After our meal, the cook came out of the kitchen to show off his day’s findings to the table next to us.  I was too curious to keep my mouth shut, so I asked him to humor us, as well.  To both of our’s dismay, this young man pulled a rolled up piece of plastic shopping bag out of his pocket, laid it on our table and unrolled it reveiling at least (and this is no fish story) a half an ounce of true nuggets.  Our jaws hit the floor.  We were a little more motivated to find that shiny yellow rock after that.  

We met lots of adventurous prospectors like ourselves and made, as always, a bunch more friends to add to our ever growing family.  A rainbow graced us and convinced Chase that it was showing us the way to the gold.  If only he knew how far the top of that mountain was.  He was ready to hike up there as soon as we saw it.  Once again, we had a fantastic time and were sad to leave all of our new friends.  But, the adventure must continue… and so it does.  Next stop, Northern California!

Published in: on October 18, 2007 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Montana Pictures

We had lots of wonderful adventures while in the “Big Sky” state.  Sun, rain, snow, wind, and ahhh hot springs.  Here are a few pictures of our stay…

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 12:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Fergus High, Lewistown, Montana


After leaving South Dakota, our road took us North West into the Big Sky state of Montana. We stayed in Lewistown, right about in the middle of the state. While there, Chef Marcus made the local paper…There’s more to the article than this but it is basically as follows…

Traveling Chef Visits Local Culinary Program

Chef Marcus Hamblett, chef-instructor of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, spent Tuesday morning with Karen Durbin and her culinary classes at Fergus High School. The chef, with the student’s assistance, prepared a rich and delicious dish of Chicken Piccata and discussed many aspects of the culinary field including it‘s importance in an agricultural community such as this. Chef Marcus Hamblett, his wife Erika and Chase, their 5-year old son (and chef-in-training), have set out on an unforgettable culinary trip with a mission to cook in all 50 states.

Chef Marcus, a graduate of New England Culinary Institute (NECI) and former Alumni Association President, has been a chef instructor at NECI since 2003. He and his family recently decided to pack up their belongings and set out on the journey of a lifetime in an effort to get “behind the line” in every state.

They set off on Saturday, July 7th in their truck and 26-foot trailer in tow for a year long odyssey that most people only dream about. During their time out on the road they will be visiting NECI alumni, performing demos at tech centers and upscale food markets and staging in various restaurants.

For additional information on the New England Culinary Institute and to follow the adventures of Chef Marcus and his family go to www.neci.edu

Published in: on October 8, 2007 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cowboy Chase

Published in: on October 7, 2007 at 9:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Spearfish, South Dakota

After leaving Colorado, spent the next evening in Cheyenne, WY at the A B Campground, then headed north into Spearfish, SD.

While in SD, we camped at Chris’ Campground in Spearfish. You don’t normally think about service when you think of a campground, but each of the places we’ve stayed along our travels have been wonderful. This one, for example, I was taken for a golf cart ride (while Chase & Marcus sat in the truck and waited) with one of the owners, Lanna. She showed me all of my choices for sites while discussing our favorite and least favorite chefs from the food network. We’ve been here 2 days now, plan to stay a few more, and they haven’t let me pay yet. I needed ice this morning, and she said she’d add it to my tab. There are so many wonderful and helpful people in the world. It’s nice to come across them in our travels.

While in South Dakota, we visited Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State Park with it’s wildlife loop, and then home via the Iron Mountain Road and it’s “pig-tails”. We saw bison (aka buffalo), prong horns, prairie dogs, turkey, deer, and wild burros set against an expansive background of meadows and rocky mountains. We dined at Amelia’s where chef Eddie Coto, a friend and ex-intern of Chef Marcus’ from Key West is now. We spent one day driving around the Black Hills on dirt roads stopping and spinning our pans in the many creeks. Some of them produced gold. It was such fun. The very last thing we did was stop at a western shop for Chase. He’d hunted for his wallet and piggy bank this morning before we left collecting all of the money he’s saved. When I told him he wasn’t going to need his money in the woods, he replied that he was going to buy a cowboy hat and clothes today. So, after a long day in the woods, Chase got his wish. Just wait ‘till I get some pictures of Cowboy Chase. All he needs now is a ranch and some horses & cows. He already told me now he’s going to get a horse. I reminded him that the camper was a bit too small for a horse. He laughed and rolled his eyes. I bet first thing tomorrow morning, he’s dressed like a cowboy and ready to go…

Published in: on October 5, 2007 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment