We've been watching that show on The History Channel called "AX Men". It takes place in and around Vernonia, Oregon which is about 50 miles NW of our hometown of Portland. I decided to go visit this town up in the hills, since it was so close. I also wanted to see how they've been recovering from the horrible storm they had that flooded, and wiped out a lot of homes and businesses. My 13 yo daughter likes to go on rides, and we're tenatively planning a ride up to Canada, so this would be a good test to see how we would do on an extended road trip. The morning started as most Saturday mornings start. Dogs fussing, time to get up & feed them. My wife has to work Saturdays, so she was getting ready for work, as Bethany, my daughter stumbled out of bed ready to go on our ride. It took some convincing as she didn't sleep well last night, but she still wanted to go. This past week was her first week of summer vacation, and with both my wife and I working, she's couped up in the house with very little outside activities. Today's ride would be very good for her. I went onto Google Maps to make sure I knew the way out to Vernonia since the battery on my GPS is dead. (project for tomorrow... install 12V adapter) It is easier than I thought.. I-84 to I-5 to I-405 to 30. Got it. We got geared up, and headed out. The ride to Vernonia was pretty uneventful. The roads were fun when I wasn't stuck behind someone else. Eventually, we rounded a turn, and there was the town. We found a coffee shop, and sat down outside & ate. I looked at my daughter, and told her I didn't appreciate the fact that she looked like I forced her to go. "The next time there's at trip like this, I'm going by myself. I don't want to go on and adventure with someone who was pressured into going, and doesn't want to be there." I ate my danish, drank my coffee, and she said "I do want to be here, Daddy. I'm just really tired." After I had some food in my stomach, I realized I may have been a little harsh on her. "I'm sorry.. I guess I'm just one of those guys who gets grumpy when they're hungry. The next time I start getting grumpy, ask me if I'm hungry. Okay?" "You got it." Here are some shots from around town. That's my daughter on the bench. As we were walking around town, we came across a couple riding down from Seattle. He was looking at an antique Auto Supply Store, and she was waiting for him. They had an ADV sticker on the fairing. I asked if I could take a photo, she said "As long as I'm not in the shot." Alright then. In Vernonia today, they were having a classic car show. Bethany saw the Mustangs and told me "I'm glad I came." All in all, I was very impessed with how the town has cleaned up after the terrible storm they had only 6 short months ago. I heard a story in a local curio shop about the former owner. She was 82 and her home was flooding. Some locals took her to a house on higher ground. The new home had no electricity, and was flooding itself. They put her on a table, and they could hear the house collapsing around them in the midst of the storm. She developed Post Traumatic Stress, and died two weeks ago. Two other local ladies were opening her store in memoriam. Thinking our excursion was coming to a close, I started mentally preparing for the ride home. Not soon after, my daughter asked "Can we go to the coast still?" I had mentioned the fact that we might head out there after Vernonia, but I didn't think she still wanted to go. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. So, we headed west out of town, and were off towards the coast. We had to stop and take some pictures of the storm damage. Here's a shot of Bethany at our stop. A few miles later, we saw some of the devastation of the storm first hand. We haven't been out to the coast in a couple years, and I was very surprised at the level of damage. :eek1 Eventually, we hit Cannon Beach. We rolled down near the coast, and saw Haystack Rock. Once we got there, Bethany said "Can we go to Seaside?" Once more extending the trip. Fine with me. A few miles later, we rolled into Seaside. We parked, grabbed a couple of souvenier sweatshirts, and grabbed some lunch. Sitting in an adjacent table was one of those loud talkers. We could hear every word this clown was saying and I thought he was being completely disrespectful to everyone else in the restaurant which was a few notches above McDonald's and even Denny's where something like that would be more acceptable. I said to Bethany.. "Can you believe that guy? Listen to how loud he's talking. Man, crap like that really ticks me off." She asked me "Are you hungry, Daddy?" "Yeah, I'm hungry!! What the heck does that have to.... Oh, yeah." I forgot about our conversation in Vernonia. Touche. Good one, Bethany! After lunch, we headed home. On the way home, my daughter fell asleep on my back twice. I felt her helmet start to slide to one side, and I knew she was out. I didn't want her to fall off, as unlikely as that might be, so I woke her up, and we suffered on the stock KLR seat the rest of the way home. Being a father of a little girl is something that few men have the privelige to experience. Having that little girl go out of her way to spend time with you, and share your hobbies is even more rare. I consider myself one of the lucky few. Today will definitely go down as one of the good days.