For 2016, as part of the EXPLORE theme, I thought I'd come up with some semi-local-to-me adventures to explore.  My rules for this list were to find weird, cool, or awesome things to do that I hadn't seen before (or hadn't seen in more than a decade), that would be simple and fun.

They span from Seattle-ish to Portland-ish, from the Cascades(ish) to the Pacific Ocean, which left a lot of wiggle room for cool stuff.  From nature adventures to bizarre festivals, anything was fair game.

I'll strike 'em out and blog 'em as the year goes on.


  1. Have a "damn fine cup of coffee" at Twede's in North Bend (WA).
  2. Make a sand castle on Long Beach. (wa)
  3. Draw the citizens of the tide pools (or puffins!) at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR.
  4. Take pictures of Olympia's Black Houses (and the Slayer mural!)
  5. Have a burger at Three Finger Jack's in Winthrop, WA.
  6. Get a selfie with Lenin in Seattle.
  7. Might as well take the Troll a tribute, too.
  8. Hug a wolf at the Sloth Center. (no longer open to the public)
  9. Do the short side of Ape Caves.  (St.H)
  10. Do the long loop @Lava Canyon. (St.H)
  11. Sniff lilacs at the garden in Woodland, WA.  (05/2017 WAS AWESOME.)
  12. Draw at least twelve kinds of roses  at the PDX rose gardens.
  13. Catch some peace at the Seattle Japanese Gardens. 
  14. Visit the World's Largest Sitka Spruce (stump) in OR off Hwy 26. (11/13/16, substituted the ACTUAL world's largest Sitka in the Quinault south shore.)
  15. Discover new-to-me rocks at the Rice Museum in PDX.
  16. Sing to a Douglas Fir in the Quinault. (11/13/16 - Sang a song I made up on the spot.  It was a horrible song.  But it's done.)
  17. Finally try a Voodoo Donut.
  18. Feed the gulls at Ivar's  on the Seattle waterfront.
  19. Take a photo (and leave flowers) at Kurt's bench.  
  20. Leave a spoon at Bruce Lee's gravesite.
  21. Talk to local artisans at Saturday Market (which I keep missing).
  22. Hike the largest metropolitan forest park in the US -- in PDX.
  23. Play in at least one of the waterfalls along the CCC-created SR30 (OR).
  24. Climb the Astoria Column.  Draw the view.
  25. Eat cheese in Tillamook.
  26. Explore the trails in Ecola State Park. (OR)
  27. Play with seals at the Seaside Aquarium.(OR)
  28. Draw a map of the Old Growth Interpretive Trail @ Lewis & Clark park in Toledo, WA.
  29. Speculate on the source of Mima Mounds in Littlerock, WA.
  30. Stand in four counties at once at the 4 Corner Point just off Hwy 26.
  31. Learn about NW fishery history at Gnat Creek Fish Hatchery just off Hwy 30.
  32. Amazed or Amused...one of the two, at the Clown Room @ Funhouse Lounge in PDX.
  33. Buy a new friend at Ed's House of Gems, Portland. (1/9/16)
  34. Get a picture with a hippo in a toga at Hippo Hardware, Portland.
  35. Draw and paint explosions of blooms at Crystal Springs Rhodie Garden, Portland.
  36. Inspire yourself at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. (PDX)
  37. Find the Portland Penny at the Oregon History Society and Museum, PDX.  (OHS.org)
  38. Commune with the other weirdos at the Peculiarium in Portland.
  39. Find out what a forest looks like underground at the World Forestry Museum. (03/2017  Very cool place!)
  40. Collect a falls-smoothed rock at Snoqualmie Falls. (WA)
  41. Go raptor-watching at Eagle Cliffs Park, near Astoria. (OR)
  42. Get a picture of the swarms of overwintering swans at Ridgefield NWA (WA).
  43. Look for whales (in March) at Ecola State Park's overlook. (OR)
  44. Find a Great Blue Heron nest (also in March) at Goat Island, near W. Lynn.  Or the park in Vancouver-ish.
  45. Celebrate trillium at the Tryon Creek Trillium Festival the last weekend in March.  (tryonfriends.org)
  46. Hunt for newts at McLane Creek Nature Trail (May's best), west of Olympia (WA).
  47. Take a reptile tour of the Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area in Portland.
  48. Three words:  HALL OF MOSSES.  (WA)
  49. Be completely not disappointed at all by Cape Disappointment.
  50. Dip your feet in the Columbia.  Anywhere along the banks. (06/2018. It was cold.  Very cold.  Still worth it.)
  51. Go antiquing in downtown Kalama. (early 2018.  I bought many things.)
  52. Visit the historic Clatskanie history museum.
  53. Go learn about the forest at the Forest Learning Center at Mt. St. H.
  54. Cheer on the pups at Castle Rock's Beagle Field Trials all summer long.
  55. Get your art on at Art of the Mountain gallery near St. H.
  56. Pick up some bulbs to plant at the Holland Bulb Farm in Woodland.
  57. Also pick your own blueberries in Woodland, too.
  58. Do a brewery tasting at Ashtown Brewing Co in Longview, WA.
  59. Learn about Chief Lelooska at the Leilooska Cultural Center. 
  60. Experience history at the Cowlitz County Museum. (49 - 60 listed on visitmtsthelens.com -- details there)  (DONE 7-21-16)
  61. Try to get a picture of a squirrel actually USING the Nutty Narrows Bridge in Longview, WA.
  62. See the Winlock Giant Egg.  (WA)
  63. Visit Aberdeen, WA's Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop and Kurt Cobain Memorial Information Center.  (Yes, that's the actual name.) (11-13-16 - shop was closed, but I did extensive window oogling.  There's a whole giant SHRINE to KC/Nirvana.  Must go back sometime.)
  64. THE ZOO in Portland.
  65. .....and in Seattle.
  66. Pay tribute to Hendrix in Renton, WA.
  67. Go see the incredibly trippy Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health in Salem.
  68. Get Victorian at Salem's Willamette Heritage Museum Center at the Mill.
  69. Draw one of the 25 life-sized sculptures at Lake Oswego's sculpture gardens and walking tour.
  70. Reflect at The Grotto in Portland.
  71. Oogle all the artist tiles that make up the globe in Salem's EcoEarth.
  72. Sssslither into the House of Reptiles and Venomous Reptile Museum in Tigard, OR.  permanently closed as of 2016. :(
  73. Get spooked in Mayger, OR...
  74. ...and Blind Slough, OR.  (Both ghost towns off hwy 30.)
  75. Shop local arts at the Cathlamet art co-op.
  76. Listen to the spooky music at A Sound Garden at the Seattle NOAA Western Service Center campus.
  77. Learn to write at Seattle's Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company.  (Walk through the atomic teleporter while you're there.)
  78. Sing the Jaws theme at Fin Art in SEA's Magnuson Park.
  79. Scour Fremont, Wallingford, and Ballard for "henry" murals.
  80. Pin a button on J.P. Patches' coat. (SEA)
  81. Stock the wunderkammer at SEA's Nevertold Casket Company.  (Sadly, permanently closed.)
  82. Drink at Zoo Tavern in Eastlake.  (Or have breakfast at 14 Carrot.)
  83. Visit Weird Steve's Victorian Mansion to see the sideshow collectibles (and the example of horror vacui.) (SEA)
  84. Find a way to see the Zymoglyphic Museum. (1/9/16)
  85. Get a mystery soda at Seattle's Mystery Soda Machine.
  86. See a circus show at Hale's Ales Brewery in SEA.
  87. Archie McPhee.  Do I have to say more?
  88. Find an ally at Dandelion Botanical Apothecary in SEA.
  89. Gawk at the footwear at the World Famous Giant Shoe Museum in Pike Place.
  90. Send a letter and get caffeinated at the same time in Ballard at the Sip & Ship.
  91. Meander through the Walker Rock Garden sculptures.  (SEA)
  92. Examine a rotting forest up close at the Nekoum Vivarium in SEA.
  93. Visit the Washington Banana Museum.
  94. Get a pic with the World's Largest Frying Pan in Long Beach, WA.
  95. Look up Paul Bunyan's nose on Hwy 26 (OR)...
  96. ...and then eat at Camp 18, the last logging restaurant.
  97. Walk out to the wreck of the Peter Iredale at low tide in Astoria.
  98. Collect pictures of all three sasquatches in Seaside, OR.
  99. Walk through imaginary history at the Lewis and Clark Saltworks in Seaside. (Which is totally not from the timeframe they say it is.)
  100. See the World's Largest Oyster in South Bend, WA.
  101. Get Art-o-Mat art from all three localish locations:  Pacific University in Forest Grove (OR), the Radio Room in Portland (OR), and Venue in Ballard (WA).

I may separate these into regional locations at some point.  Or categories, maybe.  Or just leave them as a giant mess, as I am wont to do.


1-9-16 update:
I found that several of these are now closed.  The Walker Rock Gardens, the House of Venomous Reptiles, and Weird Steve's are all no longer available.  I'm leaving them for now, and will replace them with other cool stuff as I find it. 

If you're looking to find some of these places, or plan a trip, I made a google map with all the locations.  That way, if you'll be in a particular part of the area, you can see what's nearby.