Pacific Northwesterners who live in the valleys west of the Cascades often experience an extra month on the calendar. It is known as “Junuary.” It is a combination of June and January. When most of the rest of the country is well into the heat of summer, we are still cool, wet and gray. The month of Junuary occurs somewhere between late May until just after Independence Day. Many 4th of July celebrations in these parts involve getting bundled up to watch firecrackers. The shows do not begin until 10 at night because in spite of the lack of warmth, the summer sun stays high in the sky until very late. While we may see some bursts of summer weather during Junuary, most folks just pretend it is summer by wearing shorts along with a heavy sweatshirt or fleece.
By mid-July summer proper arrives and with it comes hot, sunny days with scant rain and pleasant nights. Farmer’s markets fill to the brim with berries and flowers. Dinner at our house is served every night on the deck and we are content to stay close to home. Summertime in the Northwest is spectacular, if all too short. For me, now less than 4 weeks from another major round of surgery, the peak of summer will be spent recuperating indoors. I grumbled about this to my guy James. He wisely planned a few blasts of summer fun for us to enjoy before surgery on July 20th.
This past weekend we left the gloom of Junuary behind and headed to eastern Oregon, Washington and a snippet of Idaho. The weather gods smiled upon us and 27 sports cars that belong to members of the Oregon chapter of the Porsche Club. There were a few Ferrari’s, a Lotus, a Mercedes Super Car, a Corvette and many flavors of Porsches. We screamed through deserted canyons and ranchland, into tiny farming towns and over the mountains in search of winding roads not heavily patrolled by cops. At night we gathered in Walla Walla wineries for catered meals and rivers of fine red wine. It was summer, if only for the weekend.
Yesterday’s return journey brought us through the many dramatic landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge. Almost home, we stopped briefly at Beacon Rock State Park where it was breezy, overcast and 70 degrees. It is a beautiful spot, but we were back to Junuary weather.
Next up on our social calendar is a small dinner party where we’ll be tasting a stellar lineup of Zinfandel blends from Paso Robles powerhouse, Linne Calodo. I’d hoped we could dine under the stars, but no such luck says the weatherman. The dining room will have to suffice. After all, it is still Junuary.