Bubba’s Brew is the best little coffee stand in the Gorge.

Here’s something I don’t like to admit about myself: I drink the same espresso drink each day, and ordering that drink from a stranger requires me to utter about 26 syllables. Yes, I’m one of THOSE people, and yes, it is embarrassing. Does this stop me from ordering it every day? No, it does not.

I’ve always made it a point to support the little coffee shops of the world, and believe me when I say I’ve tried just about every coffee stand, shop, and cart in the Columbia River Gorge. Now that you know my coffee credentials, here’s five reasons why Bubba’ s Brew in White Salmon is the best of the best in my not-so-humble espresso-drenched opinion.

1. Bubba’s uses Longbottom Espresso beans. I like my drink to have a little punch, and Longbottom espresso totally delivers the face punch aspect without any bitterness. Each sip delivers a smooth, slightly sweet slap to the face that says, “wake the hell up.”

2. Ashley and her employees will make your drink the way you want it. If you come by regularly, she’ll remember your drink (in my case it’s posted in her regular’s book), but still ask you each time if you want the same thing before she makes it, because you never know when a person might get crazy and substitute a sugar-free flavor for their regular white chocolate.

3. Speaking of which, she has a sugar-free caramel sauce that will knock your damn socks off. I may have converted for good (probably not).

4. I won’t embarrass her by giving away her age, but let’s just say that I admire Ashley for being a young entrepreneur. She’s smart, she’s nice and she’s good at what she does. I’m telling you, if I’d had my act together the way she does, I’d probably be retired already.

5. She’s a committed animal lover. She has several cats and a huge, goofy puppy of her own, but she’s also fostered animals in the past and participates in fundraisers put on by our local shelters. Not only that, but after my cat was attacked by raccoons, she offered to come by and check on her while we were out of town. How’s that for being awesome?

So there you go, five reasons to try Bubba’s Brew in White Salmon. If you’re curious, ask for “the Monica,” but be prepared for the possibility of caffeine hallucinations. Just kidding. Or am I?


Take A Hike: Hood River Mountain Trail

Hood River Mountain Trail has to be the best view possible for the least amount of effort. A great hike for little ones, there aren’t too many steep ledges (there are just a  spots toward the top) and it’s not too long, but be prepared to carry toddlers at least part of the way. Almost immediately I was regretting that I gave away our Ergo baby carrier already, but then I remembered how he used to kick me in the back when I put him in it and decided it was better off at its new home. I ended up carrying KZ on my shoulders some, and there weren’t too many spots where I had to duck to avoid low hanging foliage, but all of this ended up being a great leg work out.

If you hike the full trail, you’re in for 3 miles, but just to the summit for the amazing view of the valley, it’s just under a mile. Once you get to the top, behold the glorious view you’ll be rewarded with:



This may look like a steep drop, but that’s actually a more rolling hill behind KZ. Not a place to let them roam unsupervised, but not imminent threat of death either. Below is one of those spots that had a bit of a steeper drop (just before the summit) that also offered a gorgeous view of the river.



Besides those glorious wild, yellow daisies that dot the hillside, there were several different and colorful flowers along the trail. I saw so many that it was hard to decide which ones to photograph, let alone the best one for this blog. Here’s the one I picked, but I have no idea what it is.




At the top we got an extra bonus: a colony of friendly blue belly lizards. My grandpa calls them blue bellies, but according to online sources they’re actually called fence lizards and they’re found all over the Western US. These particular ones, I’m guessing, are Cascade Fence Lizards. They’re quick, but they’re also not terribly shy so we got a couple of good shots of them. This one gave us an aloof pose, but you can still see his colorful belly.


I think the best thing about this hike is that it’s one you can totally accomplish despite nap schedules. We tried to hit the trail pre-nap, but KZ was asleep by the time we got there. So we headed home and tried again after. That put us on the trail at 5pm, but we were still back at our car long before dark. There was so much to see that it was sometimes hard to prod him along the trail, but on the way back down after chasing lizards, finding (and abandoning) about a million cool sticks, and naming several trees along the way KZ was positively giddy.



Things to bring:

Water, obviously. It gets hot up there.

A snack. Although it’s not so far that you need to refuel, it’s such a good place for a picnic why not?



Carrier for toddlers.


How to get there:

If you’re coming from Portland, take I-84 to Exit 64. Take right onto Button Bridge Road (a.ka. US 30). Go straight through the stop sign at China Gorge which will put you on OR Hwy 35. Drive 1/2 mile on Hwy 35, then turn east (left) on East Side Road. Drive another 2 miles, then turn east (should be left again) on Old Dalles Road. Drive another two miles on a fairly narrow gravel road, and  park on the side of the road, but don’t block the gate. Look for the unsigned trail on the south side. Note that the map below actually shows the final destination as the summit, not the trail head. Silly Google Maps!

View Larger Map

Trade Show Planning Part Two: The Preliminary Budget

There are certain expenses that come with every trade show. The cost of the booth space, shipping your booth contents, the cost of travel, lodging, and dining. In addition to these, are the “optional” expenses. The things you don’t necessarily have to spend money on, but may want to based on the goals you have set. These are the expenses that can quickly get away from you, and that is why it helps to know how much your base cost will be, without all the frills, so that you can set a reasonable budget for things like marketing collateral, samples, advertising, and booth furnishings.

Some things to consider when you budget for the “basics”:

  • Beware of unsolicited emails offering trade show housing. These can sometimes be scams. Rather than following a link from an email, it is best to either go directly to the trade show website and look at the “official” lodging providers, or strike out on your own.

    Sometimes great deals can be found for nearby properties on sites like VBRO.com, however, two things to be cautious about. First, if you don’t plan to rent a vehicle, make sure the property you are looking at is within walking distance of the event site. Vacation properties can save you money by providing a kitchen to cook in, and enough space for your entire booth staff, but that savings could be lost if you end up having to rent a car. Second, consider the number of bathrooms. If you’re sending five employees to the show, and the house you’ve rented only has one bathroom, you are likely to cause more trouble than any savings would be worth.

    Know what you get for free. Some shows provide carpet, tables with draping and basic signage for the price of the booth. Others require you to provide your own or rent those elements, separately, for an added fee. Most shows provide an online exhibitor manual and this information can typically be found at the beginning of the manual.

    Shipping your booth materials can be one of the more costly elements, but knowing about how much your booth weighs is crucial to getting an accurate estimate. If this is your first show, and you have absolutely no idea, at this stage, how much all the elements will weigh then I suggest you get a couple of estimates based on your best guess of the minimum weight (the weight of your backdrop, plus a few boxes of marketing materials, signage, etc) and the maximum of perhaps, double or even triple the minimum. It’s a good idea to get shipping estimates from both the show’s labor provider (Freeman, GES or the like) and an independent company. Remember that most shows have union contracts and prohibit exhibitors from carrying in suitcases, boxes or other large items. So you can’t just carrying things on the plane with you!

    Remember to budget for material handling. Material handling is the charge for bringing your booth items from the warehouse to the booth site. Pay careful attention to the target move-in and move-out times. Show labor providers often charge double for move-in or move-out times that fall outside of regular hours. The show organizers set the move-in and move-out targets, so unfortunately you have no control over these costs, so it pays to be aware of them. Material handling is typically estimated prior to the show based on the estimated weight of your booth materials, so it’s important to make sure you’re using the right labor rates otherwise you could get quite a shock on your credit card bill. Again, the targeted move-in and move-out information can be found in the exhibitor manual, but sometimes it is easier to call or chat online with a Freeman or GES representative to find out if your estimating correctly. Finally, some labor providers offer a discount on material handling if you use them to ship your show materials. Be sure to ask about that discount, and consider that when selecting a shipper.

  • I like to start any trade show plan off with a simple file folder labeled with the name and date of the show at the top. Inside, I would have the booth registration form, and my preliminary budget, and as my plans progress, I’ll add more and more documents and confirmations to the folder. I also like to start an email file for all relevant trade show correspondence, but I’m a bit compulsive when it comes to filing things.

    Now that you have a preliminary budget, you can move on to creating a trade show time line and budgeting for the extras.

    Photo courtesy of New Hope Natural  Media

    Photo courtesy of New Hope Natural Media