Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Celebration of our Nation’s Independence

July 4th, Independence Day, is by far one of my favorite holidays.  It is smack dab in the middle of the hot summer and gives us time to celebrate the freedom that we all take for granted.  I of course, enjoyed this holiday weekend to the fullest extent.  On Friday night, I drove up with some of my fellow Sea Granters to spend the weekend with Tim who lives with his dad for the summer in Damascus, Oregon
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about 40 minutes southeast of Portland.  Since my friends were going to the Blues Festival that weekend, it worked out perfectly that I could hitch a ride up with them. 

Relaxation Time

That Friday night I hung out with Tim, his dad, and my friends out by his beautiful outdoor fire place.  Tim’s dad is really interested in space and astronomy, so we made sure that we were outside at 10:00pm to watch the international space station go by.  It just amazes me to think that we humans have put this big hunk of metal with all of this high tech equipment into space.  To think about everything that we know strictly because of our space missions and satellites- it’s crazy to think about, but even crazier to think about what we don’t know!  Anyway, after about four hours around the fire eating s’mores and having a good time, we decided to head to bed to get a good night’s sleep for our next day adventures.

New Experiences

Oneonta Gorge
The next day Tim surprised me with a hike to Oneonta Falls which is in the Columbia River Gorge northeast of Portland.  The Columbia River Gorge is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the northwest.  For this waterfall, we had to climb up the river in order to get to it.  Our first obstacle upon entering the lush green gorge was a log jam piled up 20 feet high in some places.  Not being a fan of heights, I was a little uneasy at some spots but I was happy that Tim pushed me to finish.  And boy, was it worth it.  After we got through the log jam, we continued to hike up the river.  On either side of the river was a vertical cliff, so we were forced to walk through it.  At one point the water got about 10 feet deep so I had to swim a ways.  The water couldn’t have been more than 50°F – I was freezing!  Unfortunately we had to ditch our clothes and camera so we couldn’t get any pictures after that part, but trust me it was worth it.  The quote “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone” perfectly describes my experience that day.  I was reminded that when the going gets scary/ tough/ cold/ etc, keep pushing because it will be worth it in the end! 

Sara Duncan - OMSI Planetarium
Sara Duncan - Waterfront outside OMSI
After our hike we returned home to spend some time with Tim’s grandpa that I met for the first time earlier that day.  He was so excited to finally meet me that he cooked me fried oysters.  He also took us to Dim Sum the next day which was another new experience for me.  I’m not sure if I can say that I’m a fan 

of either of them, but I’m glad I tried it!  After lunch, we all headed to OMSI, which is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  We went to the planetarium and since the museum was having a $2 admission special, we took advantage of it to visit the rest.  I really enjoyed the chemistry lab because I got to teach Tim a little bit about what I do! We took time at the end to walk around the waterfront along the Willamette River afterwards which was breathtaking. 


Sara Duncan -
Enjoying our viewing spot while waiting for the fireworks
Tim’s new favorite thing is surprising me with different events, so on Fourth of July, Tim took me to a parade in the town of Hillsboro southwest of Portland, where we marched in it with our Oregon State Representative friend Matt Wingard.  I got to ride on a retired fire truck with a pumpkin shooter on top.  It was fun to throw candy to the kids and it reminded me of all of the big parades back home.  After the parade, we went to Tim’s brother’s house where we played RockBand and enjoyed a cookout with all the neighbors on the street.  As it started getting late, we decided to head up to Portland to watch the extravagant fireworks from a friend’s rooftop deck overlooking the Willamette River.  Before nightfall, we walked down to the waterfront to check out the Blues Festival that was going on all weekend. We were also interviewed by the Fox 12 News station here in Portland about the fireworks, but we don’t know if we made it on TV or not because we were too busy watching the fireworks! 

The next day was my last day before we headed back to Newport.  We stopped at Tim’s sister’s house, Christin, along the way.  She and her family live in a little cabin right next to the river.  I loved getting to see her “live off the land” lifestyle, it was very peaceful.  Tim then drove me down to my home for the summer on the coast in Newport.  He insisted on going to Mo’s, which is a famous clam chowder place.  We both got the clam chowder bread bowl.  To be honest, it was good, but nothing to write home about.  I think I’m spoiled from my real New England clam chowder over on the east coast… haha

Now I’m back to work and excited for my next weekend.  Thinking about going camping - maybe to Crater Lake National Park.  I’ll keep you posted as to what we decide! 

Thanks Dad and everyone else who has sacrificed for our country, so that I may be able to enjoy the freedoms that I have today.  I enjoyed celebrating what you fought for this weekend. You are always in my heart!


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