It was a dark and rainy Wednesday. What to do, what to do? Looking for fun and adventure… but it’s raining! Really? It’s the Pacific Northwest and if I was looking for a dry, sunny day, I’d be sitting on my rear end for more than days than I could count. According to WikiAnswers, there are 295 rainy days in Portland, Oregon and Wikipedia says 155 days. The total amount of rain averages 40-42 inches depending on who you ask and it rains every month, most years. I think the records here are set, not with the amount of rain, but with the number of dry days in a row that it doesn’t rain. So regardless of which site is more accurate, it remains that it rains a lot here.
I try to get as much bang for my buck as possible in the “fun and adventure” area so I thought this rainy day called for something a little different than just going to a movie – I filled up the gas tank in the vehicle, ran Dinah Dog up her ramp onto her fluffy rug in the back, and headed out on the Interstate for who knows where and who knows what kind of awesome experience we could come across.
I-5 goes both north and south from where I’m currently located in the Portland, Oregon area and I hadn’t been north for a few years, so that’s the direction I aimed the front of the car. My first stop was in Vancouver, Washington, at one of my favorite places, Compass Coffee on Main Street, for a traditional macchiato made by one of the best coffee makers ever, Curtis. The people at Compass have worked really hard to make the art in the foam of the almond milk look as good or better than the art in regular milk. And I think they’ve succeeded! Wouldn’t you say so?
Dinah and I headed back onto the freeway and aimed north again, quickly deciding that a trip to Centralia, Washington for lunch was in order. I have friends who live and work there and since I haven’t seen them for a few years, I thought an impromptu meetup was in order. On the way to Centralia, passing Exit 60 for Toledo Vader Highway, I was reminded of the many times I’ve driven up I-5 to go skydiving at Skydive! Toledo. If skydiving is on your to-do list, you won’t find a better place to try it out – give them a call and book a tandem jump and go for it! They are the friendliest place you’ll ever find and will make your skydiving adventure one you won’t ever forget. They’re just downright awesome!
We arrived in Centralia right at noon and lunch was arranged. Since it was such short notice, only one of my friends was available, so LG and I met up at El Amigo Night Club on Front Street for some amazing tacos – LG’s were carne asada and mine were pinto bean and avocado. The tacos were only a buck apiece! Such a deal! The chips and salsa were also delicious. Definitely a great find for lunch and well worth the stop when you’re traveling between Seattle and Portland – don’t let the name of the place stop you from trying them out for lunch!
A little side note on Centralia: the old downtown area is full of antique shops and little places to poke around in. There are a number of eateries including coffee shops, American, Asian, and Mexican foods, and even a McMenamins in the old Olympic Club Hotel, and the Amtrak train stops just a block from downtown so making a day of it with a train adventure from Seattle or Portland is certainly doable.
LG and I spent an hour catching up on the past few years; you know, kids and grandkids, jobs or not, what we’ve done to our homes lately, people we both know “in the biz,” etc. I realized as I sat there how much fun it is to see the kind of friends you haven’t seen for awhile and yet feels like you just had lunch together last week. Now that’s something no amount of money can buy!
Dinah and I were ready to head back home, taking our leisurely time, driving south, and as we passed the exit for Castle Rock, we took it simply because I’ve never been there, and Dinah said she was “along for the ride, so sure, why not?” (Well, I think that’s what she said anyway!) When was the last time you took an exit off the freeway for no reason? Just to see what was there? I’ve found some really cool places by taking exits for no reason – a little store selling home-made ice cream, a farmer’s market with local fresh fruit and vegetables and maybe some local honey, a little home-town festival complete with a little parade… one just never knows! Well, we didn’t find anything cool in Castle Rock but now I don’t have to wonder what’s there every time we drive by the exit.
One more stop at the rest area and onward through Portland back to Li’l Homey and dinner, another day of adventure wrapped up. While we didn’t do anything wild and crazy, it was great to catch up with old friends, find a new place for amazing tacos, check off another place I’ve never been, enjoy the beautiful green scenery of the Pacific Northwest, and of course, re-live the memories of many fun times at the drop zone, waiting to jump out of a plane again. Ahhhh.
I wish you many adventures full of fun.