From Portland to Federal Way

We just got to our friend Andy’s in Federal Way (between Seattle & Tacoma) about 5:30 after a nice drive up from Portland. We are spending tonight here and the car is staying while we are in Asia.

We packed up this morning and left the apartment about 11, ran the bug covered Mazda through a car wash and finally had breakfast about noon.

We ate at a Northwest local chain, Elmer’s. I had their “German” pancake. I think it is made like a giant fallen popover (Yorkshire Pudding) that they serve several ways-I chose traditional-with lemon and butter! It was very tasty-I tried a little syrup and it was too sweet. Needless to say it was waaay bigger than I expected but given we barely had enough dinner last night (as we had misjudged how much food we were going to have leftover) and it was late so I was Hongry!

From Elmer’s we headed north with a short stop at Mount St. Helens. The visitor’s center showed a movie about the 1980 eruption. It was amazing to be reminded on the power of the earthquakes and eruption. The flume from the eruption went up 10 miles!

As you can see from below, the eruption caused one side of the mountain to slide away. This and the resulting mudslide caused forests to be destroyed around the mountain. The ash storm caused significant long term damage.

We are now off to dinner with Andy and he will drop us at the station for our 7:45 am train to Vancouver.


Portland Week 3

During our third week we finalized our post Asia trip plans (more on that in a future post), spent several hours at the car dealership giving the Mazda some much needed 60,000 mile love and visited the nearby Columbia River Gorge.

We also explored a bit more around our neighborhood. Portland has a ton of food trucks that gather in what they call pods. Either in an empty lot or like the one around the corner from us, around an old filling station. We both enjoyed our lunch there. Another day we went back deep into the Alberta Arts District and had what turned out to be the best biscuits we’ve had outside of those in Virgina and the Carolinas (Texans just think they can make biscuits!). Mike and I shared a wedge salad and then spilt the two biscuits. Mine was chicken with apple butter and his was chicken with pimento cheese. They were both quite delicious.

You may recall our aborted attempt during the Arts Festival to have some of the gourmet ice cream. Since we had walked a mile for a biscuit, had to walk a mile back home and the Salt & Straw was across the street and without a line we figured we should ….just for our readers’ benefit. 😂. We got a flight to share. Left to right in the picture they are: Pear&BlueCheese, strawberry balsamic with pepper, vanilla and Carrot Cake. All were good, the pear and blue cheese wasn’t blue enough except when you got a whole piece of cheese and then it was too blue!

The Columbia River starts in Canada and one of its main tributaries is the Kootenay River (which we drove beside while in the Canadian Rockies) and flows into the Pacific near Astoria where we had lunch during our first visit to the Oregon coast. It’s hard to believe that we visited the origin and termination of this great river with a few weeks, that where we are staying is less than a mile from its banks and it’s even harder to believe how long it is!

The Gorge the Columbia cut through the Cascades west of here served as the primary way to move goods back and forth across the mountains. Today this 80 mile long cut is home to interstate and scenic highways and railroads. The river is also the border between Washington and Oregon.

We spent the day driving west along the river on scenic and historic highway 30. We crossed the river near The Dalles and returned to Portland down the Washington side of the River.

Our first stop was at Vista House where this post’s title picture was taken. This structure which sits above a hairpin turn of the highway serves as a visitor’s center and a great place for views up to the gorge as well as down river towards Portland Oregon and Vancouver Washington.

The Gorge has the highest concentration of plunge waterfalls in North America most of which are accessible from stops along the old highway. We stopped at all of them!

The fall below requires a hike of about a mile to reach which wouldn’t have been so bad but it was a really steep trail. But the end result was worth it!

Here was one of several switchbacks on the trail:

The highest fall in the Gorge is Multnomah where we had hoped to have lunch at the lodge. Unfortunately apparently so had everyone else. There was a line in both directions waiting to enter the parking lot which stopped traffic so while I stayed in the car in traffic, Mike went and saw the 600+ foot drop for both of us.

The last fall we stopped for was Horsetail. Like the others it was beautiful and I wanted to get in the pool at the bottom. But I was afeared I might not be able to clamber back up the rocks!

We stopped and had delicious fish and chips in Cascade Locks, a little town near the locks that keep the river navigable.

After lunch we continued to the Dalles. The change in scenery from a rainforest like setting of green green trees and ferns to a dryer more grassy and dry environment was pretty amazing. We had been told the Dalles was a picturesque old “western” town. We couldn’t seem to find that so we headed across the river to Washington and began our drive back to Portland. Just after crossing the river we finally saw Mt. Hood!

While we certainly enjoyed our drive up the Gorge, the ride back was very picturesque especially at the locations where Hood was in the background.

But the most amazing thing was when we reached a portion of the River Gorge where (according to Wikipedia) due to atmospheric pressure differences between the two sides of the Cascades, the winds howl and the kite surfers and wind boarders take full advantage. It was amazing to watch them riding the winds and waves.

We enjoyed our day trip and if you ever go, be sure to ride on both sides of the river!

Lovely Day

Had a lovely day with Yost, his mom Ammie, his kids Nick and Maggie (Mike’s godchild), Sam and his mom. And of course Maggie’s son Aaron who is now 11 months old…and getting cuter by the minute!

As with our last visit only Yost, Ammie and Sam seemed to make Aaron truly happy so no pictures of Mike or me holding him this time. 😢

We discovered that Nick’s birthday is later this week so a candle was quickly found for the cake Mike made (and we had already cut for Friday night dinner) and had a singalong wishing him a happy birthday as he made his wish.

Always a bridesmaid….

Between our hotel and Yost & Sam’s is a pocket park at the commuter train station the park is mostly fountain and apparently it is THE place to have one’s quinceanera pictures made.

In addition to the girl in lavender, there was one or royal blue on the upper fountain, the girl in baby blue waiting impatiently for lavender to get out of her way, and the pink fluffball leaving. I think there must of been one more leaving as we walked up as there was a stretch hummer (one of four) leaving the curb when we walked up.