Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This past weekend we had the good fortune to visit my brother and his family in their adopted hometown of Corvallis, Oregon. Though I'd been there once before, very briefly, I'd never had the chance to really get to know the town and its inhabitants. I have to say, it's awesome. Here are some of the things that I loved...

People ride bikes. So many people, in fact, that public festivals find it necessary to have designated bicycle parking lots.

We were in Corvallis on the weekend of one of the town's biggest celebrations on the year, DaVinci Days. It's a three day festival of science, engineering, art and music. One of the central events revolves around these "kinetic sculptures" and a race that they participate in. The orca on wheels that is pictured above, along with the "mousetrap' wheel below (that's my son inside getting to try it out) were both entered in a four part race where they were required to be propelled (by human power only) in a turf, sand dune, mud bog and river race course. The best engineered kinetic sculptures were able to navigate all of the varied terrains and make it back home intact.

Here is what the mud bog leg of the race looked like. The term "race" was a bit of a misnomer here, since the progress was so slow for most of the entries that my one year old niece could have crawled the course faster. It was fun to watch though!

This crazy kinetic sculpture didn't qualify for the race, so the lady just hung around the place and looked kinetically cool.

In addition to enjoying the festival, we got to take in the regular sights of the city. Corvallis has a wonderful Saturday farmers market with locally grown fruits and vegetables. The market is located near a fun city fountain that my brother and the kids just couldn't resist a romp in.

Nothing like sunshine and sprays of water to lift the spirits!

And a little hula hooping.

For lunch one day we drove out of town to a nearby winery and had a stellar bottle of red while sitting in an absolutely beautiful setting.

It made me want to be wealthy enough to get away with living a life of leisure. It was perhaps the most pleasant glass of wine I've ever consumed.

And then, to top it all off, we ended with my favorite summer activity of all time: berry picking. I was all ready to rev up my mad skills to tackle some hard core blueberry gathering. The problem was, the branches were so laden with fruit that it took no time at all. There was no hunt, no challenge, no SPORT. We picked over 20 pounds of organic blueberries the size of grapes in about 20 minutes. And that's not counting the ones we ate while we picked. It was crazy.

Crazy fun, that is.