Wine Bloggers’ Conference 2012

We interrupt this dog blog to bring you two days of wine tasting and notes. The Wine Bloggers’ Conference is in Portland this weekend, so I signed up to learn more about wineries and their wines. Last night opened with a Welcome Reception sponsored by the Oregon Wine Board. About 50 or so wineries from Oregon were represented. It was great to be able to walk around, talk to the representatives,  and sample their wines. It would take me years to get around to all of those wineries. I have a nice long list of dog-friendly wineries within driving distance of Portland to share with you over the coming months. Looks like Kendall and I are going to have to get busy visiting these wineries and telling you all about it.

Canines Uncorked Pictures

A few weeks ago, on the day we left for our Maine trip, Canines Uncorked 2012  took place at 11 dog-friendly wineries in the Northern Willamette Valley region. We were pretty busy getting ready for a red-eye flight but managed to stop at Kramer Vineyards on our way to drop Kendall off at the sitter. The place was full of dogs and their owners enjoying the sun and sipping on some wonderful wine.

Enjoying the wine, food, and sunshine at Kramer Vineyards
The dogs were having a great time mingling
Kim Kramer pouring tastes at Canines Uncorked

Canines Uncorked is always a successful fund raiser for the Oregon Humane Society. We’re already looking forward to next year. We love that it includes some of our favorite wineries, and it’s a great excuse to get out with your dog and visit new (to us) wineries.

Road Trip – The Long Way Home

We spent last week at BlogPaws in Salt Lake City. I flew on to Austin, TX for work, and Kendall and my dh drove home. They took their time and stopped to see the sights in Eastern Oregon.

Kendall enjoying the Painted Hills in eastern Oregon
Westward, ho!
Visiting Strawberry Mountain

I hope to get back over to eastern Oregon to see the Wallowa Mountains and Joseph, OR sometime soon. Our state is so diverse. We spend a lot of time at the beach, which is only an hour away. We can get up to Mt. Hood to go skiing in a little over an hour, and we can be up in the high desert in just a few hours. What a great place to live.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to all of our veterans. We’re proudly flying our flag at the house today, as are many others on our street.

We spent the weekend with the Teardroppers of Oregon and Washington, TOW, at a gathering in the Columbia Gorge. Every time I drive out through the Gorge, I’m awestruck by its beauty. We live in a very beautiful place here in the Pacific Northwest.

We camped for the weekend with 42 other teardrop trailers and vintage trailers. It was great to catch up with everyone after the long winter.

Gorge Gathering 2012

The gathering was held at the Skamania County fair grounds where there were great facilities including a huge heated building where we could gather to eat, meet, and play. We were lucky to miss the rain this year. It stormed all around us, but we managed to stay fairly dry.

Teardrop trailers

A teardrop trailer is a trailer whose cooking facilities are outside the sleeping area under a hatch that lifts up. Most teardrop trailers are only big enough for two people, and you can’t stand up. The EZ-ups keep us dry. Many of the teardrop owners attach changing areas to either side of the trailer to hold a porta-potty or to provide somewhere to stand up and change clothes.

This is where you cook in a teardrop trailer

We just got a new awning for our 1961 Aljo from Marti’s Awnings in CA. It looks great on the trailer, don’t you think?

Our new awning from Marti
Kendall likes camping with the new trailer

Even Kendall likes camping in the new trailer. She’s not much for getting wet or dirty, so the new blue rug and the awning make for a great place to hang out in her bed and watch the world go by.


The Maiden Voyage of the Atomic Lounge

As I mentioned a week or so ago, we are now the proud owners of a 1961 Aljo vintage trailer. This past weekend we joined a number of other vintage trailer owners for a rare nice weekend in April for a gathering in Oregon. This was our first trip out in the Aljo. I spent all of Thursday frantically sewing curtains for the trailer so that we’d be ready to take her out.

Our "new" 1961 Aljo trailer
We're transforming her into the Atomic Lounge
This bed is more comfortable than our one at home.
All of the comforts of home.
A rare Airstream
Isn't it beautiful? You should see the inside!
Look at the combo vintage car and trailer!
An Aloha trailer built right here in Oregon
Another Aloha trailer
This is one gorgeous Roadmaster
It had a full size range and refrigerator inside
Kendall loves that she can see out the windows when on the bed now
Kendall's new trailer
Who wants to go camping with me?


Flat Kendall visits Grand Ronde and Fort Yamhill

I had the opportunity to visit Spirit Mountain Casino and the Grand Ronde area as part of a tour for meeting planners. While I’m not officially a meeting planner, I do have some input on where our company holds their off site events. We’ve driven by the Spirit Mountain Casino and the Grand Ronde area many times on our way to the beach. We got to see it all at a slower pace when we rode Reach the Beach a few years ago on our bikes. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to learn more about the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon – until this past week, that is.

The tour included a tour of the property at Spirit Mountain Casino, including the meeting rooms and social event areas, a guided bus tour of the Grand Ronde Community, and an overnight stay at the casino hotel. I appreciated that they took the time to tell us a little bit about the history of the Confederated Tribes, and we got to see where some of the money generated from the casino is being used.

Flat Kendall at the Spirit Mountain casino hotel
A better view of the hotel

While Kendall couldn’t go with us, Flat Kendall went along for the ride. I only snapped a few pictures at the hotel, and then we headed out into the community.

Bronze statue in the lobby of the hotel

The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon consists of the Umpqua, Molalla, Rogue River, Kalapuya, Chasta, and many other Tribes. In the 1850’s the Tribes were moved from a temporary reservation north of Fort Rock in southern Oregon across 263 miles to a location near Grand Ronde. You can visit the location at the newly opened Fort Yamhill State Heritage Center.

In the nearby community, there is a health center, an education center, an elders center, elder housing, elder foster care, and family housing. There are currently about 5500 members of the Confederated Tribes, and many live right here in the community. There is also a veterans’ memorial that pays tribute to everyone, whether they are members of the Tribe, or not, who have served in the armed services. Each year they hold an unveiling of the new names that have been added to the memorial.

The Veterans' Memorial in the Grand Ronde Community

The Fort Yamhill State Heritage Center is a short drive from the community center. There is an area when you first drive in where they hold pow-wows in July and August. There is a plank house, also known as a long house, and an informational trail. At the top of the hill there is a half-mile long interpretive trail.

Informational kiosk at Fort Yamhill
Information on Fort Yamhill

While gambling is not our “thing”, it was an interesting visit to the casino hotel and the surrounding area. One thing to keep in mind is that smoking is still allowed in the casino even though it isn’t allowed in other Oregon restaurants, bars, and public buildings.

If you’d like to learn more about the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, visit their web site.

A Visit to Noble Pig and Tyrus Evan Wine Tasting Rooms

After our stop at Willakenzie Estate to do some wine tasting, we headed in to Carlton to stop at a couple of other places. One of our favorites, Noble Pig Winery, recently moved their tasting room to a new location right in the midst of all of the action in Carlton. I stopped in to pick up the fall wine club shipment that I hadn’t picked up yet, and had a chance to meet Cathy, the woman behind Noble Pig Wine. It’s always so much fun to put a face with a name.

Outside the Noble Pig tasting room. Kendall hasn't noticed the balloons yet.
Kendall wants nothing to do with those balloons.
On the wall in the tasting room

I love the logo that Cathy chose for Noble Pig. She’s done a great job with the new tasting room. Make sure you stop in if you find yourself in Carlton.

I like her wines, too. I took home two very nice bottles of 2008 Pinot Noir to add to my wine collection. One didn’t last very long. I think we finished it on Sunday evening. Here are the tasting notes from the Noble Pig web site. “This wine was made from 100% Pinot Noir fruit and sourced from clones, Pommard and Dijon 114 and 115.  It is an exceptional expression of wine of place. The cooling effect of the nearby Oregon Coast allows the grapes to slowly ripen on the vine. Aged 12 months in French Oak, this Pinot Noir has a silky, velvety texture with soft supple and structural tannins playing a supportive role. Especially nice with grilled salmon, ahi tuna, filet mignon, beef bourguignon, veal parmesan, mushroom risotto, pork tenderloin, roasted chicken and shellfish dishes.”

You need to check out the Noble Pig food blog, as well. I’ve made many yummy dishes from the recipes on that blog over the past few years.

The town of Carlton was packed with people! Living Social was holding a wine tasting event, so there were more people than we’ve ever seen there before. I like how Carlton has evolved into a little town that caters to the wine crowd. It has charm, unlike Dundee who doesn’t seem to appreciate the fact that people want to come to your town and spend money without sitting in traffic or looking at dilapidated buildings. Carlton reminds me of Sonoma, CA many years ago. It definitely has potential.

After walking around town a bit, we stopped in to the Ken Wright Cellars tasting room in the old train station. They’ve done a wonderful job of preserving the look of the old train station while making it into a place that’s warm and inviting. They were offering tastings from Ken Wright Cellars and one of their other labels, Tyrus Evan. We chose to taste the Tyrus Evan flight, because we tend to enjoy big, bold reds. We tasted wines from two different regions in Oregon – a southern region down near the Rogue Valley and another out by the Walla Walla wine region, but on the Oregon side of the Columbia river.

Tasting at Ken Wright Cellars
A warm and inviting place to taste wine

We liked both their 2006 Del Rio Syrah and the 2008 Walla Walla Syrah. We may live in Pinot Noir country, but I like my big bold reds now and then.

The train station/tasting room from the outside

It was a rare, sunny January day and a perfect day to be driving through Oregon wine country.

A Visit to Willakenzie Estate

After stopping by Bald Peak and taking some awesome photos, we headed on down the hill toward Carlton, OR. On our way to Carlton, we stopped at Willakenzie Estate to taste their wine. We’d never been there before. The grounds were beautiful, as was the tasting room. There are sweeping views from the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the vineyards.

The tasting room at Willakenzie Estate

There are places to sit out on a multi-tiered patio and enjoy a bottle of wine and a picnic. There’s also a fire pit. It was a bit too cold to sit outside yesterday, but it looks like somewhere that would be very enjoyable on a nice day.

The view from the deck.


Another view from the deck

I asked if their deck was dog friendly and was told that you could bring your dog as long as your dog was on a leash at all times and your dog was friendly towards people and other dogs. In other words, if you have a well-socialized dog and are a responsible pet parent, then you can bring your dog. I’d like to think that anyone taking their dog along with them for the day would have a well-socialized dog and would keep them on a leash, but you know how it goes. Remember, dogs aren’t usually allowed in the tasting rooms at the wineries – just on the grounds. Always make sure you ask, just to be sure.

We liked their wines. As we made our way through the flight, it just kept getting better and better. It always amazes me how wine made from grapes that are grown in a different block can taste so different from one grown in a different location but in the same vineyard. We first learned of this when we tasted Sokol Blosser’s Goosepen Pinot Noir at a cellar club event.

We chose a Willakenzie Estate 2008 Pinot Noir Kiana  and added it to our collection – to be opened some time in the future. Here are the tasting notes from the winery’s web site. “The aromatics are mostly of red fruits persisting with tart cherries, and floral tones such as rose petal. There’s a beautiful balance to this wine with bright acidity, upfront sweetness, and soft, round tannins that add viscosity and creaminess to the rich mouth feel. The wine will benefit from 2-3 years in the cellar and age well for 8 to 10 years from its release date.  We recommend that you open the wine an hour before serving. Pair with guinea hen, quail, or salmon — this wine is very versatile with food.”

We’re having built-ins put in on either side of our fireplace, and I’ve asked for wine storage on one side. It’ll be away from the fireplace opening. I’m starting to collect some things to store there. I’ll be sure to post pictures when it gets installed in the next few weeks.

Amazing Views from Bald Peak

I should rename this blog “The Lack of the Adventures of Kendall.” I need to start sending Flat Kendall on the road with my co-workers. But…we finally made it out of the house today!

This month we’ve seen snow, lots of rain, and a couple of nice, sunny days. We’ve all been sick and haven’t been very motivated to get out and go on any adventures with Kendall. In fact, I was home sick from work on Tuesday morning and kept Kendall home from doggie daycare because I was selfish and wanted to snuggle with her. There’s nothing like snuggles from a Cavalier!

Today, the sun shone. It was cold but beautiful and called for a drive out to Oregon wine country. On the way we stopped somewhere we’ve never been but will be sure to return to in the future. We drove up to Bald Peak State Scenic Overlook. It’s way, way up on a road that’s sort of on our way out to wine country. We stepped out of the car and couldn’t believe the views!

The fog was nestled in the hills. This is looking west.
You don't get many days like this.
You can't make this stuff up.

Isn’t the view amazing? My husband took the picture with the plane on his point and shoot camera.

Kendall enjoyed the views, too.

What have you been up to this weekend?


When it snows to the valley floor in the Portland area, it’s a big deal. It doesn’t happen that often, and when it does it pretty much shuts things down. We don’t have the snowplows or the deicing equipment to handle anything. Usually, if we want to see snow, we head up to the Cascades and Mt. Hood or Mount Bachelor. Yesterday was one of those days where they had the special news crews doing special reports about the snow. You’d have thought we were expecting a blizzard, but no. We had some snow showers.

It was beautiful as it fell, but it didn’t stick to the roads. Our friends at Apolloni Vineyards posted some beautiful pictures that they’ve given me permission to share with my readers.

Snow in the vineyard


A beautiful view

We first discovered Apolloni Vineyards when we spent the day in Oregon wine country doing the Canines Uncorked tour. Then, not an hour after I got an email with permission to post the pictures, we walked into one of our favorite restaurants, Decarli, and what’s on the wine board – Apolloni Vineyard’s Conti di Yal Seriana Soleggio. I had to have a glass. According to their web site, “the Soleggio, which means sunshine in Italian, represents the sunshine-ripened grapes, which make up this Super Tuscan style wine. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon provide structure and brightness as Merlot adds balance. This wine opens with a burst of figs and bright cherry while the structured tannins tie the black pepper, toast and coffee notes into a lasting finish. Enjoy this wine with flavorful dishes, including cheeses and roasted meats.” Enjoy it, I did! It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day in Oregon.