Oregon Coast

Country Crossings and the Oregon Trail

You guys…I just got back from such an awesome week in Oregon at the Country Crossings Music Festival with Callie and my fam.

Oregon Coast

It was just outside of Medford, Oregon…I know right, where the hell is that? My dad had found out about the festival (that I had def never heard of) via a work connection that was sponsoring one of the days. I’m obviously super glad he did because we had such a great time and the artists were all fantastic (if you like country music that is).

Inn at the Commons

Hudson enjoying the hot weather!

While my family flew down with my dad, Callie and I did the 12 hour drive down. We broke it up a little bit by staying the first night with Callie’s parents just outside of Seattle. I don’t mind driving but that long of a distance is a little much, even for me. Erica needs to stop having babies now…there’s no more room on the plane!!

I don’t know if any of you have spent much time on the I-5 but I feel like I know it pretty intimately after spending almost four days of a week on it. PS. The section between Portland and Eugene is some of the most boring driving I’ve done since the last time I went to Alberta…straight and flat and full of bad drivers.

When we finally successfully (no vehicle mishaps) made it to Medford in Southern Oregon (apparently an important thing to mention, everyone there always made sure to add the Southern), we were welcomed to a 38 degree afternoon. I honestly had no idea that Oregon got so hot! It stayed like that the entire time we were there, let’s just say the days at the festival were seriously sweaty. Our hotel, Inn at the Commons, was in a great spot downtown Medford, in easy walking distance to lots of shops and restaurants. (Check back for my upcoming post on what I thought about our hotel!)  After that marathon drive and realizing there was a brewery right across from our hotel, we knew exactly what our next activity would be…BEER.

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We braved the heat to pop across the street and sit on the shaded patio of the Common Block Brewing Company. I ordered a beer whilst Callie went for a cider, and while we waited for those to arrive we tested out their Corn Hole games that they had set up in the parking lot. Love the serious hipster vibes of playing games at a brew pub.

Common Block Brewing

Both the food and bevies were super delicious (I went with the veggie burger…you won’t regret getting the homemade fries on the side). So good – in fact we ended up going again later in the weekend and bringing the rest of the family.

Common Block Brewing

After rounding up the troops, it was time to head to our first night of the festival. Jake Owen was playing that night and YOU GUYS, he was sooo good. Doesn’t hurt that he’s awfully good looking and we were quite close to the stage. Definitely opened the festival on a high and after the show, we went to the party tent Timber Products (the company my dad has ties to). We met a group of people around our age and spent the night playing more Corn Hole (whyyyy do I suck so bad at such a popular game).

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Dad pretty proud to have his Gerico wood on display

Jake Owen

Friday morning was the pretty close to the highlight of my trip…TARGET TIME. If you’re Canadian you can understand the pain of getting Target, getting obsessed, and then having it ripped away from you. Seriously, losing Target in Canada was heartbreaking, and every time I’m in the states I make a trip. After a few hours (yes, I’m aware that’s ridiculous) of wandering around, trying on clothes, feeling sorry for myself that we don’t have the best store ever, and spending more than I should with these exchange rates it was time to say buh-bye.

Day two of the Country Crossings Festival, we headed to the fairgrounds at a little after 5, it was seriously so hot during the day…I don’t know how people spent the whole day there. The line up was looking good with Brett Eldredge and Luke Bryan on the ticket. I love love love Brett Eldredge and although I am a huge fan of Luke Bryan’s songs…I find his whole cocky persona a little much for me. I know I’m in the minority because holy cow you should’ve heard the screaming for him. Every woman from 15 – 60 years old was having a time (and I’m sure a few guys too). To be honest, it could have been the hour I spent standing still in the beer lineup that put me off a bit.

Country Crossings

Lee Brice

So close to Lee Brice!

Saturday morning was a little slow, we went out for a big breakfast and spent a bit of time napping (I think everyone napped..not just the kids) then headed back to the good old fairgrounds, I know I know, a little repetitive. Saturday had the artists I was looking the most forward to seeing, Lee Brice and Chris Stapleton. Neither of them disappointed at all…it was a seriously good show that night.

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Waking up Sunday with sore feet but ready to head out again we had brunch back at Common Block Brewing (so easy just being across from the Inn at the Commons). Callie and I spent quite a while in a massive antique store. I love that all these little towns have tons of antique stores. I actually ended up buying some amazing (albeit huge) old windows, I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with them but hoping some crafty inspiration hits me.

Country Crossings

Kieth Urban put on an unreal show that night and then just like that the festival was over! It was hard to believe how quickly the weekend went, it mostly felt like a blur of hot sun, music, sore feet, dust, and beer.

Monday morning bright and early after a delicious hotel breakfast (check out my next post for my review of our hotel, Inn at the Commons), it was time to head north. But not without missing a stock up stop at Trader Joe’s, another store we don’t have in Canada! I’m constantly seeing all the great stuff they carry online and I couldn’t wait to get it all. I’m super excited to start using all the things I got and find out what my favs are.

From Medford, we wanted to take a bit of time off of the I-5 and enjoy the Oregon coast that everyone raves about. We cut east just after Eugene and ended up hitting the coast at a town called Newport. It was so nice after driving through a lot of desert to see the ocean. In my dreams (or hopefully in the future) I definitely want to live by the ocean.

Oregon Coast

Cute city signs are harder to find than you’d think!

The highway along the coast was quite slow and busy but it was worth it to check out all the cute little seaside towns and the stunning views. After a few hours of driving we stopped in a place called Pacific City to check out a park and have a little beachside lunch. We went to another brewery, apparently Oregon is full of them; I love it! This place was called Pelican Brewing Company and I would highly recommend. The food was great, the beer was good and you certainly couldn’t beat the view of the sea. We had talked about staying somewhere on the coast that night…but I got into a bit of a driving streak so we decided to just go as far as we could without getting too tired.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

We made it just north of Seattle, in Arlington and just popped into a Best Western for the night. Not gonna lie there wasn’t much notable about this hotel, and we got in at 10pm and left by 8am, but the complimentary breakfast was unreal! I know, super random fact, but they made me a personalized omelet…I’m easy to impress.

From there it was a quick drive over the border and back into Kamloops. Our marathon road trip was done done done! Since we got home at noon I had big plans of having a super productive afternoon, but I was exhausted! Plus the crazy forest fires around here have us completely socked in with smoke and it makes it super hard to get any motivation. The air is disgusting, and Tuesday night while sitting outside with friends, it was actually raining ash on us.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and I had so much fun. I can’t wait to go back to Oregon and hopefully the Country Crossings Music festival again next year!

What’s the best roadtrip you’ve ever done or music festival you’ve been to?

Oregon Coast

Final Fling in Seattle

Seattle

 Last weekend 9 ladies and I headed down to Seattle, Washington, for my friend Kara’s Bachelorette Party!

The drive down, to be honest, was super annoying. Generally, from Kamloops it should take about 4-5 hours to get there. This trip took us 8. Between tonnes of rush hour traffic surrounding Seattle and a long wait at the border (Friday of a long weekend), it was not ideal.

However, when we got to the Air Bnb, we were immediately given a drink (priorities) and got ready to let the fun begin!

Night one was our big night out with a limo and heading to a country bar for some shenanigans. The main request to our limo driver was to take us to some great lookout points to get some photos. I’ve been to Seattle quite a few times but never to the places he took us! Sadly between the champagne and the excitement, I didn’t get the names of the parks…whoops!

That being said, we were across the bay from downtown and getting to see the lights of the skyline and Space Needle was amazing. I’m going to also blame this on the champagne (and poor photography skills of our limo drive) but the pictures we took did not turn out so hot. Oh well, at least we’ve got the memories!

Next up it was time we got dropped off at Cowgirls. This is a great bar downtown Seattle, the name may be a bit deceiving…I haven’t heard much actual country music played there, but they do have a mechanical bull! Most of the girls took a ride and to be honest I was very impressed with their abilities. I decided to leave my feet on the ground and focus on the drinks.

One draw to this bar (probably more so for the male spectrum) is it’s a bit of a rip-off of Coyote Ugly. Scantily clad bartenders grinding and dancing all up on the bar.

Day two had a bit of a slow start for some of the ladies but around 11 am we headed down to Pike Place Market to show some of the girls who hadn’t been to Seattle before. We hit up the obligatory Gum Wall shot and then headed to a pub for lunch and to start our next activity.

Gum Wall

The ladies who planned the weekend did such a fantastic job. Up next was a trivia pub crawl, we divided up into teams and went on our way. The pub crawl was done through a company called Get-A-Clue and was all done via text. I’d never heard of anything like this and it was so much fun! They sent us to five little pubs that we’d probably never check out on our own and had us do some challenges along the way. The other team won (by a landslide) but we had such a good time, and considering everyone’s state by the end I would say we were all winners.

Seattle Pub Crawl

After a good recap between the teams and a few $1 beers (God bless America for that), it was time to head to Safeco Field and get our ball game on.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, we got a blue bird day, beautiful sunset and it was still very mild at the game when the sun went down. Everyone (or maybe it was just me??) ate a fairly gross amount of ball game food (hello pretzels, garlic fries, churros…omg I’m hungry again just thinking about it).

Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners

The Mariners won, we made it on the big screen and made lots of new friends with the people around us. Afterwards, we wandered around downtown (if you’ve ever walked from 1st to 6th in Seattle you’ll realize why we got sober so quickly) and just grabbed a drink and spent some time gossiping and catching up. Around midnight the busy weekend caught up with everyone and we ended up just heading back to our loft.

The next morning we were all up bright and early and getting cleaned up before heading back to Canada. After a quick Mickey D’s stop for a greasy breakfast and huge coffee, it was time to head north on the I5 and get home. For a point of reference, this drive home only took 4 hours…as opposed to the hellish 8 to get down.

Once I had dropped the girls I drove with at home it was my turn to head home. I may have spent the rest of the day bingeing on 13 Reasons Why (umm…holy shit that show is crazy!!). Getting older definitely means bouncing back from late nights is not as easy.

I think Kara had a great time, I know I did. I cannot wait for her wedding. I’ve been really close friends with her fiance, Murray, (you’ll remember them from when I went to New Zealand last year and became their chef, chauffeur and living room air mattress liver) forever and being able to get Kara as one of my best friends has been so amazing. It’s not often that you get to see two of your best friends get married!

Where do Penguins go to Dance? – The Snow Ball!

Friday morning it was time for another road trip, this one a lot shorter than the drive to the Great Ocean Road, only about an hour. Luckily when I woke up Friday it was sunny and warm again.

We headed out in the morning down to Phillip Island. Matt has spent a lot of time there as his family has a house there, so he knew all the fun things to do. On the way we stopped for brunch in a tiny little town called Tooradin at a restaurant called Sawtellis. It was such a small town that while I was looking up somewhere to get breakfast on Tripadvisor we actually missed the whole town and had to turn around. Breakfast was delicious, I’m a sucker for eggs Benedict and a good chai latte, so we left full and happy and ready for some sight-seeing.

It was only about another 45 minutes down to the island, which was a good length for the non-roadtrip lover in me. On the way into town we went to the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. There had tours you could do but neither of us were really interested in that, so we just bought a bit (a lot) of chocolate and headed out. We stopped off quickly at Matt’s family’s house to drop off our bags and then headed out for some activities!

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First we went to a place Matt really likes called A Maze’n Things. It was basically like a little fun centre, with mini golf, a mirror maze, and then a big room full of puzzles and games. We wandered through there for about an hour, trying out all the different stuff. I hated the mirror maze…was way too creepy for me!!

Once we made it out of there we headed to the Koala Conservation Centre, which was definitely one of the best parts of my day. You walk through an information centre and then out to basically a 2km walk around a forested area. They had some lifted boardwalks that bring you up higher to the trees. I didn’t think I’d be able to get so close to the animals and it was amazing to be able to see them in their own habitat. We spent quite a bit of time walking around there, seeing both koalas and wallabies. Again I think that this was a really good place to see the animals and they had so much freedom, I didn’t feel at all like they were being taken advantage of or treated poorly.

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After seeing the koalas, we got hungry again so we made our way into Cowes to grab an early dinner. We each just got a quick burger and then it was time for the big draw of the day…The Penguin Parade!

Each night these little penguins come in from the ocean and climb up the hills back into their little homes in the hills. I wasn’t too sure what to expect when we went there but knew it was a pretty big tourist draw, of course when we got there there were quite a few tour buses already parked. Considering it’s low season for them right now I’m not sure I’d like to see it in the summer, it was busy enough for me! We got our tickets and a hot chocolate to keep us warm and headed down to the stands that they’ve built on the beach to wait for the penguins to make their appearance. Finally after the sun was fully down we started seeing groups of them come up. They were so much smaller than I even expected, they’re the smallest penguins in the world! They were super timid and so adorable. I’m not sure how I feel about turning this nightly thing into a tourist event but they did seem pretty proactive about caring for the penguins and their safety. They have everything roped off and no photos, even flash off, are allowed. Sadly for that reason I don’t have any pictures of them, but it was super cute. After they came in, you could walk up the boardwalk and watch them actually go into their houses. We stayed until we were both too cold to hang out anymore. Then it was time to head back to Frankston for the night. It was such a great day and I was so glad that the weather held out for us! It was an awesome beginning to the weekend.

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Beautiful view and full moon waiting for the penguins appearance.


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Someone was a little tired of taking pictures by this point in the day.

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