Sunday, July 23, 2017

And off to the west coast I went!

Columbia River Gorge

Dear Diary,
**disclaimer- I know, I know- diary form is so 25 years ago, but hey- its my blog.  hehe

Did I mention how much I love flying??
GUESS WHAT!!!  I got to go on an airplane again and it was so freaking awesome!  This time it was Sun Country- a Minnesota airline that flew right on over to Portland with not one single layover  I am down with all that.  After all, I don't want to sit and stare at the inside of an airport when I could be doing other fun things.

Interesting though, that crazy airline charges you at the outset $25 for each checked bag, which means almost no one checks their bag.  Which causes them to beg people before boarding to consider checking their bags for no charge.....  what in the ever living....... huh? Yeah, I did not check my bag.  Plenty of other people must know the drill- they went right up there.
Before we take off!  We had ourselves a little room!  YAY US

We were in the smaller of the two Minneapolis terminals and while the choice of restaurants and things to look at was limited,  wow did we get through check in and security like nobodies business.  We had not one moment of waiting

I have to say though, my sister came through for me again.  she was out of town - like Chicago out of town and let me stay at her house so I wouldn't have to drive from Park Falls on Monday morning.  This was amazing and awesome and I am so so grateful for her.  The Mad-English teacher also drove over and stayed in the vicinity and we had such a nice time relaxing on that amazing screen porch of hers.  And we had a little nifty Indian food as well, so that was a winner of an evening.

The beauty of the land in Portland
Anyway, so Diary dear, I had SUCH a nice time in the Portland area, we spent a lot of time driving up and down the Columbia River Gorge- that place.  Whoa.  So much beauty.  So many people.  Lol. And some really good foods!  Because you know the Mad-English teacher and I- we do like to scope out some yummy vegetarian friendly eateries.

The place we stayed in actual Portland- and I think for the first time ever we were right next door to each other- was a cute little motel that wasn't super far from the airport.  It was in a more "interesting" part of town, near a railroad track, said airport, a busy highway and oddly there was a berry farm only a few blocks away.  Like I said- interesting.  But the rooms were cute- like a little apartment and I tell you once I fell asleep I heard nothing.  But I keep the air on constant as background noise so I don't hear said trains or airplanes or cars.  We weren't there very long, so that was just fine.


Well diary, after arriving in town about 1:30, getting the car and finding the motel- the first item of business was to find a place to hike around.  There was a very cool park area we researched and unfortunately the path we wanted to take was  under construction, so we ended up winding around the streets- and it was all up hill.  yikes.  I was not in the walking condition that I wanted to be- I have many factors of blame there but I won't bother making excuses.  Every single time I think I am in charge of my life I am reminded that indeed that is not the case.

Stone building at the park

Anyway, the point of this park ( Macleay Park) was this really cool stone building that was at the top of said hill.  And it was indeed there!  Along with a homeless guy smoking pot.  Lol.  who I carefully framed OUT of my photographs.  It was HOT that day- like over 90- and there was a nice little child selling lemonade who I gratefully bought some from.  I noticed the plants that are in front of houses and in beds and I had some major Japanese maple envy there.  The lavender and the rosemary and other herb plants grew like bushes.  I know that the Mad-Science teacher would have enjoyed that!  And the houses were GORGEOUS.  At least in that particular part of town.
Mount Rainier and Mount St Helen from the air

OH- I forgot to say, we got to see Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helen and maybe we saw Mount Hood as well- but that was AH-MAZE-ING.  From the air- that is- it was such a magnificent sight.  So this ties in, stay with me here Diary, with the fact that when we finished that first hike we decided to head over towards the general waterfall area- and our first destination was this little building that turns out to be an observatory called the Vista House at Crown Point. I later saw from the highway that it was precariously (I may be exaggerating there) perched on top of a massive cliff (so glad I didn't realize the extent of that as I took photos over the edge).  Anyway, there is nothing like driving along and suddenly this massive mountain is like right in front of you as you are doing 75 65 on this freeway.....  so cool.  We are such mountain nerds. And that will tie in later in the trip-  I realize that I will be doing more than one post about this.
iPhone pic of Mount Rainier while traveling!

Anyway, we stopped at Vista House and took lots of gorgeous photos and I had major heights moments, but I took lots of gorgeous pictures and tried to ignore it.  I don't know why I always end up taking vacations to places that make me get the creep crawls from the heights, but that does seem to happen.  As the hubs says- now what did she get herself into....  lol.  Because we make a point of planning very little - we decided, though it wasn't exactly in our rough outline, to see a few waterfalls on Monday.  And a good thing we did see them, the crowds were really minimal.  I wish we would have gone on to Multanomah then, but we didn't and we didn't stop on Wednesday because it was ridiculous.  BUT we did see Bridal Veil Falls and Latourelle Falls, and they were spectacular!  Holy smokes. They are so big out there along that gorge.  And the land is amazing- the trees are huge, the moss and the plants all were just breathtaking.  Such a great destination and so many things to do.

Vista House- the alleged cliff is behind me- click on the link in the text for a pic of it

I just had to check my Facebook page to see where the heck we even ate that night.  Italian!  We had supper at a cute little Italian place in Troutdale.  Ristorante di Pompello. The food was good, I am pretty sure I had white wine and all was good in our world.  We went back to the motel and I happen to know I passed out- not sure about my compadre - lol.

Columbia River Gorge from Crown Pointe
It really was a good first day- I have to mention that highway where all the water falls are.  What a harrowing horrifying road that was.  Monday it wasn't too bad, but the addition of a million more cars on those stretches by Wednesday proved a challenge to drive to say the least.  This website makes it seem like it is a gentle happy drive, but nuh-uh.  It seems like it needs some shoring up to say the least.  The scenic highway goes along the side of the gorge, and the freeway is down along river  along with a lot of trains.  It was a relief to be down there - let me tell you.  It was interesting to see how much trains are used there as well- not so much in Wisconsin anymore- at least in the north.

Latourelle Falls

Latourelle Falls

Bridal Veil

Well, dear Diary, I am getting sleepy, I have been at this post for 2.5 hours  and I have to get to bed.  I hope this touches on the first exciting day that I had, and hopefully it will let me remember even more stuff tomorrow......  It will be ART MUSEUM day!!  WOOOOT.

Find your joy everyone



  1. Beautiful falls! Looks like a great time.

    1. Thank you so much Dani! As you know, though the destination was great, it was the journey to all those falls that was magical! :) The airplane ride, the car ride, the hike. ALL amazing in their own way.