We arrived in Salem, OR halfway through our coastal jaunt looking forward to a week long visit with my next youngest sister, Deb. We don't see each other that much, last time only a day in April 2014 at mom's on our way to Alaska. I promised her, and myself, we would stop by for a better visit. After tackling a surprisingly easy uphill backing project into my sister's driveway due to Barb's superb directions, then being 'invited' to hook up to her water/electricity we were set.
Deb and her family live in South Salem in countryside surrounded by acres of horse and tree farms. It is certainly far less populated and incredibly peaceful, yet close enough for a commute to town for whatever you may need.
Our first evening consisted of getting stuff set up, relaxing, visiting with Deb and my oldest nephew Andrew when he came to pre-set up tomorrow night's meal. Deb made mini-meatloafs which were delicious, but I really enjoyed the seasoned 'finger potatoes', something I hadn't had in many years. We had our latest mail forwarding delivered to Deb's as well. We discovered with the other postal trash that Texas had indeed not forgotten to mail us our bill for the toll road adventure outside of Austin in late November. Interestingly the 30 mile stretch of toll road would cost Texans $18 whereas for us immigrants the fee came to $26. Barb got some laundry done as well and we she finished she came upstairs with this huge grin on her face, informing us this was the 'nicest darned laundromat' she'd ever seen!
The next day after a trip to Home Depot I got some maintenance done on the RV, retrieved some propane, and got all the road grime washed off the beast from the last 1000 miles. We have plans to do some sightseeing, but we will thoroughly enjoy our first love together: cooking. Deb and I, as well as her son Andrew prepared meals that we poured our love into.......the results were clear.
We took a drive up to Silverton to visit my nephew at his place of business, Seven Brides Brewery. Andrew is one of the Brewmeisters there. We enjoyed the tour and got a bit of lunch at the Pub. A fun morning, and a GREAT FRENCH DIP (OR MEATLOAF) SANDWICH AND TUSCAN SOUP.
After lunch we took a drive up to the Silver Falls Park area and hiked 3 sets of trails to view some pretty spectacular water falls and just enjoy the beautiful nature that is Oregon.
After a couple of days it was my turn to assume the mantle of 'Chef for a Night'. I had thawed (as a special treat) 4 pounds of Wild Hog Ribs. This was my first experience at this and I considered it a treat to share this with my sister, who is also a great cook. The ribs are trimmed, boiled, and then simmered in a marinade of chicken stock, carrots, celery, onion, and cider vinegar. Then they are rubbed with an oil/dry rub and wrapped for refrigeration overnight.
The next night they were roasted in the oven at 250 for an hour. I served this with smashed sweet potatoes and steamed cauliflower.....voila! They turned out deliciously although much less red pepper flakes could be used in the rub. Cooking has always been a labor of love for the children in our family. We often find ourselves sharing recipes or secrets online. This evening was no exception.
We spent a day touring the Columbia River Gorge Country. We toured the Scenic Highway, Crown Point, and finally Multnomah Falls.
It's always good getting together and it had been too long. Deb and I share similar loves and interests. We spent much of our week together either cooking, talking about cooking, taking pictures, or editing (and talking about) photography. The girls even made time to get away from me for a day to do some shopping for Deb's trip to Hawaii in a week to meet her husband and for Barb to get a haircut. A great week.
We head back to the west now, once again joining the Oregon coast heading up to Tillamook, Garibaldi, Cannon Beach, and Seaside on our way eventually to mom's house in Tumwater, Washington.
WiFi provided (yep) by my sister's Wave Communications Router