(newlywed smooch under the old growth redwoods, northern cali)

We’ve been lazily driving up the coast, stopping whenever we feel like it – at scenic overlooks, tourist traps, local yarn stores – and picnicking in beautiful places.  Its been relaxing and rejuventaing to just slow down, sample the local flavor of the towns we pass through, and get used to driving with our new wedding rings.  Time is going slowly – each day feels so long as we step away from the pace of our normal lives.

(paul, nellie, babe – tourist trap called ‘trees of mystery,’ northern cali)


(brian minored in zen rock stacking at naropa)

(o’nell majored in napping on sun-warmed river rocks)

We spent a few hazy days car camping at the Chetco River in OR and then Cape Blanco, OR, taking some day hikes, enjoying all the blossoming foxgloves along the roadside.

(dorito taco salad at camp starkelsen)


(foxgloves everywhere!)

(nellie leaping across a salty river at low tide, point blanco, OR)

We went to Breitenbush hotsprings retreat center and soaked our weary bones in warm water next to a roaring turquoise river.

(brian melting)


We’ve spent the past few days in Portland, OR sampling all of the amazing foodie restaurants in the vicinity.  So far, our recommendations include: Biwa Japanese, Tasty and Sons for brunch, the Farm for dinner.  This could easily turn into a food porn blog, so we will spare you all the juicy details, but let’s just say we have been mightily impressed and have decided to stay an extra two days mostly to try out more restaurants 🙂



(the farm’s amazing asparagus risotto cakes with a shaved fennel garnish on a bed of creamed spinach…brian had the grilled halibut on a bed of summer succotash)

(brian meandering at the community re-build/salvage store – a warehouse of used building parts and appliances for recycled building)

(thanks to our portland hostess with the mostess, the lovely ms kate busby)

Portland is a pretty hip, artsy, and eco city… people let the yellow mellow in public toilets…there is local veggies and meats -as well as chocolate, bacon, and finishing salts- on nearly all the menus on town…everyone rides bikes and kids have lambskin bike seat cushions…the majority of the population has a beard or bangs…lots of funky, vintage-y, local-product-oriented stores with well-designed logos line so many streets….and therefore, O’Nell cannot stop buying inspiring books and random tchotchkes and Brian cannot stop buying maps (per the usual).

We’ll be heading into the backcountry after tomorrow, hopefully discovering some off-the-beaten-path hotsprings.


Happy solstice, people!

Til Next time,

The (full-bellied) Starkelsens


P.S.  Artsy shot of the week:

Quote of the week:

Brian (knuckles white on the steering wheel, slightly whining): “You have no idea how hard it is for me to drive past a trailhead…”


One Response to “Two pioneers on the Oregon trail (hooray! we still have all our oxen!)”

  1. Alyssa Says:

    Aaawwwww, you guys look so blissed out! Those foxgloves are amazing. So glad you are having fun. Love the blog, super fun to read, thanx! Ha ha to white-knuckled Brian driving past a trailhead. Love to you both!