Friday, November 5, 2010

La Bahia Taco Shop

If you happen to be in southwestern Oregon, don't miss a "La Bahia Taco Shop" in the little town of Merlin, right off I-5. The taco shop is in a small building just across the parking lot from the grocery store, and although it looks small from the outside, they recently bought the adjacent part of the building and have enlarged the seating inside.

The menu is fairly extensive and prices are downright cheap! You get huge servings of food (my husband got a breakfast burrito that took up his whole plate and only managed to eat half of it),plus they offer what they call a "Big Burrito" that must be huge! Selections range from Burritos, Tacos, Nachos, Chile Relleno, Tostada, and Tamales to Salads, Fish Tacos and even a pizza. They have a wide range of meat to select from including: Asada, Ground Beef, Chile Verde, Chile Colorado, Shredded Beef, Shredded Chicken, Pastor, Carnitas, and Lengua (cow tongue).

After ordering, you will be brought out a bowl of chips along with bean dip, green chile salsa and an absolutely delicious red chile salsa that has a smoky flavor. I couldn't stop eating it!

The La Bahia Taco Shop is open Monday - Sunday from 9:30am to 8:00 pm. The owners are very friendly and helpful, and you feel welcomed into their little taco shop as if you were an old friend. Don't miss this wonderful little eatery when you are in this part of Oregon. It's just north of Grants Pass off of Interstate 5 located at 144 Merlin Road in the small town of Merlin, Oregon. For orders to go, just call (541) 474-4637

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Aspen Memories

The Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville in Central Oregon, is a great destination for fall colors and wildlife. One of my favorite drives is over around "Big Summit Prairie". On a recent photo trip to this area to check on the status of fall color on the forest, I happened upon an old car that had been abandoned amongst a stand of Aspen and Cottonwood trees.
The Ochoco National Forest is well-known for it's deer and elk hunting opportunities, but it is also a great place to see a variety of wildlife from River Otters to Black Bear, and from Pronghorn Antelope to Bald Eagles. Be sure and bring a long lens for those Antelope and bird shots!
For more information on the Ochoco National Forest, contact the Supervisor's Office in Prineville, Oregon.

Monday, September 13, 2010


One of my favorite waterfall trails is the one to Toketee Falls located off Hwy 138 between Diamond Lake and Roseburg on the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon. This trail was closed for quite a while due to storm damage, but is now back open. Toketee Falls is very unique - it's a multiple falls that cascades over a wall of columnar basalt. The trail ends at a viewing platform where there's a great view of the waterfalls and a small bench to sit and enjoy the beauty of the area. For those interested in photography, best to shoot this falls very early in the morning or late afernoon/early evening otherwise it's hard to hold back the bright highlights of the flowing water, even with a polarizer filter.

For more information on Toketee Falls and other waterfalls on the Umpqua National Forest, contact the Umpqua National Forest Supervisors Office in Roseburg, Oregon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fish Lake

Summer has finally arrived here in the Pacific Northwest! I recently stopped by one of my favorite small lakes - Fish Lake - located on Hwy 126, and enjoyed a quiet lunch break. The water on the lake was glassy smooth and offered some wonderful opportunities for photographs that included reflections.

Fish Lake is beautiful anytime of the year, but especially during the fall when the Vine Maple leaves are bright red and orange. Spring and summer bring on a variety of wildflowers and mushrooms, along with birds, deer, elk and more.

This is a very small campground, so come early if you plan to spend some time here. There are nice picnic tables and newer restrooms, along with walking trails and interpretive signs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Joe's Crab Shack - Vancouver, WA

Looking for great seafood? While staying in Vancouver this week, I discovered a seafood restaurant that has a wonderful combination of great service, good food and fun atmosphere. The name of this fabulous restaurant is "Joe's Crab Shack". Their service is fast and friendly (I can recommend "Laura") and the clam chowder is some of the best I've ever had - lots of clams!

For those with a large appetite - don't pass up the new "steamer combos" (currently being seen on television advertisements). The menu offers a huge selection of food, drinks and desserts, so everyone can find something to suit their taste. There is also a bar area that has a great selection of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Gorgeous large windows let you enjoy the waterfront views, but the inside of the restaurant is quirky and fun, too. Keep an ear out for the "Macarena" song to come over the speaker system and you will find your servers putting on a dancing show for your enjoyment. Everyone has a great time - singles, couples and families - with great service, outstanding food, and wonderful views. What could be better??

So, if you are in Vancouver, Washington and want to eat great seafood with excellent views and a fun atmosphere, don't miss a stop at "Joe's Crab Shack" in Vancouver, WA.

"Joe's Crab Shack" is located at 101 Southeast Columbia Way in Vancouver, WA and their phone number is (360)693-9211

Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay (Washington)

I am currently staying at the "Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay" in Vancouver, WA while attending a Pacific Northwest Dispatchers Workshop for a couple days.

The hotel is easily seen from I-5, and sits on the waterfront with outstanding views from their top quality restaurant and from many of the rooms. The staff are very friendly, the rooms large and comfortable, with a nice selection of amenities to include: swimming pool, exercise room, free internet, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, cable television, and more. The rooms are large, with very comfortable beds, sofa chairs with ottomans, and for those who need to work while they are here - a very nice desk with padded office chair!

Rates are very good with the usual discounts for government and other programs. There are several nice walking paths along the waterfront, and several restaurants close by for those wishing to eat somewhere other than the restaurant located at the hotel.

All in all, I would recommend the "Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay" for anyone planning a stay in Vancouver, WA - especially for meetings or trainings, as there is a very well set up conference area.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tumalo Feed Company

If you have a big hunger and are in the Bend, Oregon area, be sure and check out the "Tumalo Feed Company". This restaurant has been around for a long time - although under different owners for several years - and has a well-deserves reputation for top quality food and lots of it!! In fact, they have been voted "Best Steak House in Central Oregon" 7 times!!!!

Although they are best known for their steaks, they also offer a wide array of dishes from chicken to fish, and the service is outstanding. The potatoes are brought to your table in sizzling cast iron skillets which just adds to the western theme of the restaurant. One thing that makes the "Tumalo Feed Company" unique is the "never ending" homemade onion rings they bring to your table as soon as you sit down.

Their homemade raspberry vinegrette is outstanding!! We never go there without ordering this on our salads. Desert comes with your dinner and they offer a variety of choices.

If you are hungry, looking for a unique place to eat with excellent food, stop by the "Tumalo Feed Company" to enjoy the western atmosphere and have a wonderful dinner with your family or friends.

The "Tumalo Feed Company" is located at 64619 Hwy 20 Bend, Oregon.