Week 36 – Hellgate

#248 Sisters

04 September 2016 // Sisters, Oregon

So glad we were able to spend one of our last weekends of the summer in Sisters.

Food plus hikes and mountains plus campfires with roasted s’mores and garlic. Yes.

#249 Labor Day Weekend

05 September 2016 // Sisters, Oregon

Lets talk about this past Labor Day Weekend. Was it the best one of my life? I can’t really remember a past Labor Day off the top of my head, so probably!

We spent it sitting on this patio for hours and sipping chardonnay with coconut custard pie. Also, visiting Bend, camping at Sisters, listening to good music, roasting garlic by campfire, discovering amazing poke at Safeway of all places, and hiking to lakes.

This was a memorable summer. Lots of good. Lots of hard stuff. Lots of learning. It’s been a while since I’ve learned this much about myself. I’m glad we got to give this season a proper sendoff.

#250 Liberty Update

06 September 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Time to update our friends on one major bucket list item of ours… funding the rescue of a North Korean refugee.

One of our marriage goals is to raise $3,000 to fund the rescue of a refugee from North Korea to get safely out of China and into resettlement in the U.S. or in South Korea. We wanted to do this within our first 1,000 days of being married and we decided to make the year of 2016 our phase one. Raising the first half, or $1,500.

I’m happy to announce that this phase is complete and successful… and it’s all thanks to a ton of our friends and family who have helped contribute to our donation page or attend our various fundraising events that we’ve done. Here are some of the ways we’ve gotten to the amount so far: Everybody who pitched in $15 at our murder mystery party last Halloween, all those who helped give when we ran our half-marathon in May, everyone who paid at our charitable carbo-load the night before, lots of birthday gift donations on my birthday, and setting aside small portions of our paychecks.

Hats off to you! Now it’s time for phase two.

We’re about to launch a new fundraising page for the year ahead and you can see that it’s basically the same goal as last year. $1,500, or the second half of the rescue! We’d love it if you could give us a nice little boost to kick things off, and we’ll be brainstorming some other fun fundraising things we could put together soon.

#251 Beautiful Ruins

07 September 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“The smaller the space between your desire and what is right, the happier you will be.”

–Jess Walter

Man, I loved this book. It doesn’t end with a pretty bow and leaves room for life to be unexpected and difficult, but it does end with optimism, hope, and redemption, which I wish I could say was true of more books I read. Beautiful is in its title and the book lives up to the adjective.

The storyline jumps… a lot. From Italy to LA to the Pacific Northwest and London. From the sixties to World War 2 to a year or two ago or a script that exists outside of time. The characters are well defined and mostly likable. You wonder how a story can give so much of itself away so early, but still have more places to go as you read on. This book and Homegoing were my two favorite summer reads.

#252 Glenwood with GCF

08 September 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Maybe it’s the place, maybe it’s the stage of life, but when we first moved up to Eugene, Deanna and I had a much harder time finding community than we expected. There was a lot of meeting people, “we should hang out” exchanging, with nothing ever really happening.

A few years later, we really value the friends we’ve made here and the bonds we’ve formed. We are far more thankful for the community we’ve managed to grow into over time. There are times in life where you meet people right and left and times where that happens way more slowly. Either way, though, you’ll always need people.

#253 Chicken Inasal

09 September 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Chicken adobo isn’t the only Filipino chicken dish worth knowing. Chicken Inasal is the regional dish of Iloilo, and for a roast chicken recipe, good execution makes all the difference. The meal itself is kind of simple… chargrilled chicken marinated in a blend of spices. The marinade blend is what sets it all apart, though.

The end product should be a flavorful anatto and lemongrass chargrilled chicken. Neither of those two ingredients are very beginner friendly, but their flavors are amazing when used well.

After I plated this, I decided to amp up the chargrilled feature by throwing it under the broiler for a bit. It charred the skin and improved the texture, but the first version was the more photogenic dish.

#254 Hellgate

10 September 2016 // Grants Pass, Oregon

One of the most fun things I’ve done since living in Oregon was going on the Hellgate jetboat ride. I’ve heard so many people who’ve done it talk it up. Rightfully so.

The jet boat goes thirty-six miles down the Rogue River and into Hellgate Canyon. It’s a lovely and scenic ride with the wind in your face and waving hi to all the fishermen.

After reaching Hellgate Canyon, we spun around to a boat-in only restaurant where we got bottomless mimosas, and a pretty full breakfast. Because what better way to wrap up a nice boat ride than with brunch?

Then then Hellgates open. Unfortunately for anyone who overindulged at brunch, the jet boat ride back is a bit more of a thrill ride. The captain steers the boat over as many choppy waters and into as many spins as they can manage. Everyone gets wet. Especially the guy in the first row who was celebrating his 75th birthday.

So much fun.