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Monthly Archives: August 2012

PNW Roadtrip: Kyllo’s Seafood Grill: Lincoln City, OR

Pizza for dinner in a coastal town in Oregon? Well that’s what the receptionist at the Coho Lodge suggested, although she had never been to, nor heard anything about the new pizza place in town. We opted to check TripAdvisor and find a good seafood place in Lincoln City. We ran into a problem because most places were closed on a Tuesday night.

We finally settled on Kyllo’s Seafood Grill. Kyllo’s is a big restaurant right off of Highway 101, just a few blocks from our hotel.  A common theme of this trip was our GPS not really giving us the best directions. We drove from one side of Lincoln City to the other trying to find this place (we will take some blame for this too).

The menu was of decent size with a good selection of seafood, chicken and sandwiches.  While I am not a big seafood guy, I did push myself to try new seafood each and every day.

Since we were on vacation we often decided to have appetizers, an entrees and desserts.  Oink, indeed.  The appetizer I chose was the Fresh Dungeness Crab Cocktail. Along with the cocktail sauce, there was a squirt (ew) of Oregon wasabi too. The crab was great and the addition of wasabi to the cocktail sauce was fantastic!  Unfortunately, I had to share with MS — I could have eaten a couple of these too (even though we had crab cocktail just a couple hours earlier at Gracie’s).

Crab Cocktail with Oregon Wasabi

MS had never been to the Oregon coast and everyone we talked to said we had to get claim chowder.  Again, I’m not a big seafood guy and I’m even less a fan of chowder.  I did decide to try Kyllo’s clam chowder.  This was by far the most disappointing part of the dinner. Honestly, I’m not sure if it is because I don’t like clam chowder, or if it just sucked.

Eh, clam chowder….

For dinner, I chose the Hal Mac, which the menu describes as crispy crust fresh halibut (Hal) – macadamia nuts (Mac) – diced tomatoes, melted Parmesan, mashed potatoes – sherry basil clam sauce.  It was served with a bread stick and two pieces of asparagus. The idea of this was great — but it wasn’t really executed that well. It really didn’t have much flavor. Pretty shocking, considering the component ingredients, right? It really needed a lot of salt and pepper to bring the flavor profile up.  It was a little disappointing.  I would try this again if I were at Kyllo’s though.  For some reason, I think this might have just been off the night we were there…

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Lincoln City?  Are you not really a fan of seafood, but have been trying new things lately? What is your favorite seafood option?  Do you love wasabi as much as I do?

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PNW Roadtrip: The Coho Lodge: Lincoln City, OR

Lincoln City, Oregon is a coastal town without major chain hotels. Yes, you can find a chain like a Best Western without a problem, but no Marriotts, Starwoods or Hiltons.  We opted, instead to find a nice independent hotel through Google and  We stumbled across The Coho Lodge, which looks like a motel on the ocean.  Definitely a motel (v. hotel), but it had pretty good reviews online and the price was right, so we booked it.
The GPS had no problem finding this place either, unlike the lodge near Crater Lake, of course. We arrived around 18h30 and the lobby was packed with other guests.  Most people were looking at the movie rental book, the lodge/motel has a large three ring binder listing DVDs that are available to borrow while you are staying.  Interesting idea — but not something I would do. If I’m on vacation, I don’t want to sit around and watch movies in the room. Probably a good idea for people with kids though.
One couple was ahead of us to check in.  The front desk clerk was very skittish — she was one of those people if you yell “BOO” she would probably yelp and maybe cry.  I didn’t yell “BOO”.  The check in process was thorough…a little too thorough. It took the couple in front of us about 15 minutes to get their keys.  The clerk explained (in excruciating detail) where to find your room, where to park, how the movie rental system worked (find a title in the book and tell the clerk the corresponding number…not rocket science), where the pool was, when the included breakfast started and what was there (pancakes, fruit, waffles….blah, blah, blah), how the ocean front fire pits work.
Once this couple was finished checking in, it was our turn.  The clerk asked if we heard the check in speech, which we had. She laughed and said “Oh good, this will be fast then!”, she then proceed to tell us the exact same thing she told the prior couple. The 15 minute check in lecture begins.
Since I didn’t have enough time listening to this nice, but verbose woman speak, I asked for recommendations for dinner. She was almost at a loss.  Her number one recommendation (in an ocean front town surrounded by fishing boats) was to go to a new pizza place that she’d never been to or heard a review of.  Hmmm, not the best, eh?  
The clerk was also excited that we were given the room we were. She said we’ll really like it because it will be quiet. It will be quiet she further explained because they NEVER let kids or dogs stay in the room. Hmmm, how would the fact that previous guests not being allowed to have kids or dogs in that room make it quieter for us.  As long as they aren’t still in the room, it shouldn’t matter.  I just don’t follow.
Now to the room.  It was very huge, clean and HOT.  The room had a nice king bed and a seating area near the large sliding doors. Outside of the sliders was a small seating area overlooking the ocean.  Just below our seating area was the fire pits (which we got very detail instructions on how to use).

The room had a TV and a DVD player, which is probably why the in house video rental was so popular. A mini fridge, sink and coffee pot were in the corner as well.  In the far corner of the room there was a fireplace – which was putting out an enormous amount of heat – even with just the pilot light on. We had to open up both the front door and the sliders to get a cross breeze and drop the temperature to be a bit more manageable.

The bathroom was large with a separate tub and shower. There was ample hot water and the water pressure was pretty good.  The bathroom also had shutters that opened the room into the living area. I don’t like this, I think the bathroom should be private and sealed off. I understand people might want to have a view of the ocean or hell, even the TV from the tub, but other things go on in the bathroom and a shutter doesn’t provide proper privacy in my mind.

This room did have two of my hotel pet peeves though: No power outlets at the nightstands and a stained/dirty duvet cover. We had to plug our phones in across the room (not a major issue, just a slight annoyance). The duvet looked like it had a grease stain – not as gross as the blood/nail polish stain at the Westin, Alexandria Virginia. All in all, definitely something we could live with.

The real question: Would we stay here again?  Absolutely. The rate was good, the room was pretty nice and the sunset views were amazing.  We can look past my hotel pet peeves and the shutters in the bathroom and would stay here again.

When you visit Lincoln City, where do you stay?  Do you have a list of hotel pet peeves that you often run into when traveling?  Are you as surprised as I am at how often you see stained duvets and bed skirts?  How often to you borrow movies from the hotel when on vacation?

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PNW Road Trip: Oregon Coast Drive: Florence, Newport, Lincoln City

We planned on staying Wednesday night in Lincoln City – basically the half way point along the coast between Crater Lake and Portland.  When I was a child we would visit Lincoln City a few times a year, but rarely stayed over night. It was a 90 minute drive from where I grew up.  

I hadn’t been back to the Coast since I left Oregon in 2001 and it isn’t likely I’ll make it back there again, so this was the perfect time to revisit and show MS a side of Oregon that he hadn’t seen.  

We started working our way through the coast range with our first stop for lunch being Florence, Oregon. I had only been to Florence once – it made for a very long day trip from the Willamette Valley, so we never did it growing up.  All along the drive along the coast we found some great Art Deco Public Works – like this bridge in Florence.  The WPA really made some amazing looking bridges, don’t you think? Sorry for the quality, I took it with my phone, for some reason.

We had a quick lunch at Bridgewater Seafood Restaurant, which was our third choice, since the first two weren’t open for lunch (their websites nor did TripAdvisor reference this closure). The menu had an amazing salad with a poppy seed dressing, but the rest of the food was just acceptable. 

After Florence we work our way north to a place I visited once as a child, Sea Lion Caves. This place is a natural cave along the ocean, where Sea Lions come to weather rough seas and it provides protection from natural predators.  The day we visited the seas were pretty calm and the sun was out, so most of the animals were sunning themselves on the rocks below.  I remember, as a kid, being frustrated by this place as there were so many people I couldn’t see the animals and the smell of Sea Lion shit was just overpowering.  This time, not so much. We visited on a week day in the summer and the animals were outside.  I think this is a great stop along the coastal drive, but not a destination in and of itself.  We spent about 20 minutes here and it was plenty of time.

The next stop on our trip north to Lincoln City was Newport.  Growing up we would go to Newport once every 3-4 years, again because of the distance from home and the idea of making this trip in a single day.  Newport is an active fishing port with processing plants on the waterfront.  We walked along the waterfront, stopping by a shrimp processing plant – I was surprised at how manual the process was. There was a large amount of shrimp shells waiting to be picked up, outside the processing plant.

One of my favorite things about Newport was a trio of museums along the waterfront. You can buy a single ticket to enter Ripley’s Believe It or Not, The Wax Works and Undersea Gardens. I loved these when I was a child.  Now, they are very warn and dated.  The Wax Works had been updated with some figures from the “new” Star Wars films, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but most items were the same as they were in the 1980s.  All three of these museums needed a good scrubbing – some lemon pledge and windex would do them wonders!

There was a family of sea lions hanging out on the docks at Newport Harbor too.

This bar was along the main waterfront road in Newport – I like the description of who visits this place, don’t you?

The waitstaff from the lodge near Crater Lake recommended we visit Gracie’s Sea Hag in Depoe Bay (between Newport and Lincoln City). She said they had great seafood and the bartender would “play the bottles”. We didn’t know what that meant, but since she was so confident we’d love this place, we had to stop for an appetizer.  The dungeness crab cocktail was really great – I would have eaten two or three of these myself.

One of the other patron’s asked the bartender to play the bottles and she declined…but we did watch the YouTube video of the show – while I wouldn’t go for the show, I’d definitely go for the crab cocktail.

Have you taken the great American Road Trip this summer?  Where did you go? Do you enjoy the drive along the Oregon Coast? Do you have a go to place you always stop along the Coast?  

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Airbus Industrie Tour

We tried months ago to get tickets to the Airbus Factory and see the A380 assembly plant. Unfortunately tickets were not available, until the day before we left for Europe. SCORE!  While in Seattle we stopped by the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington and saw the Boeing 787s being built. So great.

Today we are in Toulouse and are doing the A380 tour (well, by the time you read this, we are already finished).  We can’t take photos on the tour, but I will do what I can to memorialize the day.

Have you been to the Airbus Factory? Was it worth the stop? Were you in Toulouse for another reason or did you go just for the tour?

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PNW Road Trip: Crater Lake National Park

I lived in Oregon for 22 years, but never went to Crater Lake. MS never lived in Oregon for a second, but had been.  We decided that after IPNC we would drive south and see this amazing natural wonder.  Crater Lake was created when Mount Mazama erupted about 5,700 years ago creating this amazing lake. The water in the lake is just from rainfall and snow melt.  There are no rivers that flow into the lake which is one of the reasons the surface of the lake is so calm.

We wanted to do a bit of hiking but only had one day to do this. We decided to do the Mount Scott trail, which is about 2.5 miles long (or so the National Park Service claims — I think it was much more). The hike ended at just under 9,000 feet.  We aren’t in horrible shape, but we aren’t frequently active at altitude — or so that is our excuse), but the hike was pretty strenuous.

We also hiked a brand new trail to a great waterfall. Most people didn’t even realize this was an option as there wasn’t an official trail.  People would blaze their own trail and return with some amazing pictures — so the National Park Service created this very easy 1 mile trail.

Have you been to Crater Lake? What is your favorite part of the park? Do you hike, stroll, sit and watch the water?  When you visit a National Park do you do it once and check it off your list or do you return frequently?

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