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Year in Review: 2017

2017 was an interesting year. We did some spontaneous events and trips, visiting some old haunts and new terrain along the way! It was a great year of travel and I am hoping for more in 2018, below are our highlights of 2017.


Nothing to report, we were frozen in Minnesota. We hiked at Lake Minnewashta with Euro every chance we could.

Michael smiling while laying on the snow at Lake Minnewashta Park. Minnesota


Sayulita and Bucerias, Mexico! Ever since we spent a long winter in Mexico a few years ago and met friends, we try to get to Mexico as often as possible. It’s always nice to see our friends, explore, enjoy the sun and meet new friends!

Alisha with a cocktail on rope swing bench at a Sayulita Mexico bar


Still frozen in Minnesota, this pic is March 12!

Alisha giving a command to the dog, Euro while snow falls in Spring Park, Minnesota


Last-Minute Road trip to Colorado! Michael also took a solo photography trip to the Chippewa National Forest near Walker, Minnesota. While he was in the area, he saw Queensryche in concert and rocked out with band.

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In November 2016, our friends offered us their Manhattan, NY apartment for Thanksgiving. I’ll honestly tell you that NY was not at the top of our list for travel, we just never saw the appeal, but we were mistaken and we loved that city! In May, our friends again offered us their apartment in NY. They weren’t planning to live there for another year, so we weighed going to New York again against travel plans for home. We decided to take the trip (and we are so thankful we did) even though it didn’t seem like the right time.

Spring scene of Flat Iron Building in New York City, New York


We decided that with or without a job back home, we were leaving Minnesota when our lease was up on July 1. When we moved to Minneapolis in 2014, we had little time and took only four days to get to Minneapolis. We took two detours, one through Yellowstone and a quick stop at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Our plans to head home allowed us extra time so we decided to go back by way of Canada, take our time and land in Oregon to surprise our friends at the annual campout at the end of the July. We test packed our SUV, shipped our car, planned our itinerary (loosely), contacted our friends on Vancouver Island and hit the road.

Read about Planning an Epic Road Trip


We officially headed home to Portland, Oregon from Minneapolis, MN. First stop: Fargo, ND and then Canada! Our month-long road trip tops our 2017 Travel Highlights. Start with Planning an Epic Road Trip and follow our adventure:

Part 1                              Part 2                                    Part 3                                    Part 4

   Winnipeg to Calgary      Banff, Jasper, Whistler         Vancouver Island     The Home Stretch (WA/OR)

View of sunset over Crooked Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada   Mountain and river view in Mistaya Canyon near Jasper Alberta Canada   Scenic and cloudy Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada   View through trees of Round Island near Washington coast


Lots and lots more camping. We were back in the West after being away for three years. We wanted to spend time at the beach, on the mountains, hiking, and being outside. The big solar eclipse was also happening on the 21st and Oregon was a prime viewing location. Our friend in the path of totality invited us to stay at her place in Dayton, Oregon for the event. 

People seated on camp chairs in large open dry grass field for the solar eclipse in Dayton, Oregon 08-21-2017


We did more camping and the idea for our own blog/business was solidified. We had been talking about it since we left Minnesota in July but we finally decided to give it a real chance.

Scenic fall view of the Deschutes River on a hike near Tumalo Campground Bend Oregon


Halloween! Okay, it's not a travel highlight, but we had our friends in town for a visit and had a great time. After housesitting in Oregon's Wine Country during September, October and November, we made plans to return to our home in Portland, Oregon.

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Decided on the name Plaid Pinecone after weeks of deliberation. We spent time hiking around Oregon's wine country and designing the logo.

Scenic Fall Pacific Northwest view of concrete mushroom structure in the forest on a hike near McMinnville Oregon


Move home to Portland, Oregon, celebrating the holidays with friends and family. We spent days (and nights) working on Plaid Pinecone, hiking at Mount Tabor and daily walks in our neighborhood.

Our 2017 travel highlights included spontaneous events and road trips, hiking, urban adventures, moving 1/2 way across the country, beach vacations and camping. We experienced a lot, visiting old haunts and exploring the outdoors on new adventures!

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