Clear Skies (!), Great Times

We’re supposed to tell everyone it rained the entire time we were in Portland, Oregon. That way nobody else will move there. So…. despite the blue skies you see in these photos and reading about what we did while in the area, assume it rained while we were there in October.

We generally avoid cities except to pop in from the fringes, but we enjoyed our time around Portland, all due to Dave and Mary Jo.

Longtime residents of the area, they knew the best places to eat and shop — every city should have a place like the Four Seasons, which beats Whole Foods hands down in all ways, but especially with their extensive and delicious deli. Eating healthy never tasted so good!

Avid bicyclists, they took us once-around their practice route, which was ten miles around a reservoir outside the city. And we thought we were in shape!!

They even took us the opposite way around the lake than they usually ride, so we would have smaller hills to climb. We managed to make it all the way around — and got a great workout!

We’d wanted to visit Mt. Hood while we were in the area, and Mary Jo and Dave were game for that trip, so we headed east from the city. First stop, the Vista House, a beautiful old building marking the western edge of the Crown Point State Scenic Corridor.

“Vista” is right. The view from here was fantastic!

The scenic route through the Columbia Gorge parallels I-84 on the south side, giving access to a series of waterfalls. Thanks to our local guides, we stopped at “the best ones” rather than all of them, making the most of our time.

In 1929, Guy and Geraldine Talbot donated the land surrounding the Latourell Falls to the state of Oregon, one couple among many citizens and civic groups to donate land to the scenic highway and recreation reserve.  (We might thank the Talbots for the falls, but Mary Jo gets kudos for this photo of us in front of the falls!)

The short hike to Bridal Veil Falls was worth it. If only Ellen’s skill with the camera could really capture the damp smell and light spray that makes every waterfall magical.

And what’s a road trip without great food and shopping? Lunch at Celilo in Hood River was fabulous, followed by stops in local shops, with chocolates for dessert.

The day was going fast, so on up Route 35 to Timberline Lodge we went. At 6000′, the lodge sits pretty high up the mountain, but the summit for Mt. Hood is another 5200+ feet up — no short day hike for this trek!

But just as Mount Rainier had coyly hid itself behind fog and clouds for days before we glimpsed it, Mt Hood did the same. It seemed the closer we were, the harder it was to see, with the cloud line just past the ski lifts.

Chilly at this elevation, without enough snow for skiers, this was a quiet time to visit.

Eventually, back in the lower elevations of farmland, we glimpsed the mountain through the back window.

Not only were there great things to see and do around the city, Portland has its own set of attractions, which we barely explored in our short time there. (Don’t get me started on the chocolate shops!)

Thanks to Dave and Mary Jo, we navigated the public rail system into the city and to the Saturday market.

Booths of arts and crafts items, food vendors, and music of all sorts surrounded us! (Notice all the umbrellas and rain coats in these photos?!?)

Thank you, Dave and Mary Jo, for giving us your time and for your hospitality! We loved spending time with you and saw a side of Portland we surely would have missed. We’re already looking forward to seeing you again! (PS to Mary Jo — *Agnes and the Hitman* was a great read! Thank you!)


About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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