Day 9 – change of plans, left Boardman early
We were still on Stupid Other Time™ so we were up kinda early. Well, for us, really early. We hit that amazing breakfast (and it was great!), and were talking about what to do with too much time in Boardman. E called our next campsite and they had room for us for the two additional nights, so we bailed on Boardman and beelined it for Portland. Along the way, we drove past the most densely-packed wind farm we’ve ever seen. Our drive alongside the Columbia River and several train tracks was gorgeous.
As soon as we got settled, we headed out for an early dinner. Then, at our server’s suggestion, we walked around an old Poor Farm that has been converted into a hotel complete with gardens, bars, restaurants, artisans, a movie theater and more. The place is fun, but it was also very hot and far more muggy than we are used to. That evening, we tried to find a cool bar, but they were all kinda weak for one reason or another.
Day 10 – falls and bridges
We were still functioning mostly on Mountain Daylight Time, so we took advantage and headed for the scenic route to see the water falls.
When we stopped for gas, we saw some women who were clearly from some cult and who had not visited the outside world much. I felt so sorry for them; they all looked miserable (but seemed to be so in different ways and for different reasons).
The scenic drive to several of the falls is a must do if you are ever in Portland. And if you don’t want to rent a car or drive it yourself, there are tours and trolleys.
Without a permit (during popular hours of the busy season), we couldn’t see the famous Multnomah Falls until at least 2pm, but no permit is needed after 6pm, so we just tabled it. Instead, we found lunch, went to the free part of The Grotto, and came back for some A/C and rest. This return to a humid area is killer.
And then, we finally got to see Multnomah Falls. Y’all, I carried a picture of this place in my wallet for years. It was cut out of a catalog (of an art print of the photographer’s image). As things moved to more digital, I eventually gave up the little scrap of magazine quality paper. But this was a dream of mine decades in the making. It was every bit as amazing as I expected.
The Portland area has two Japanese botanical gardens. One is lauded as the best one outside of Japan. The other–in Gresham–is tiny and free, but also quite good. After the big one, we grabbed Thai dinner and fun drinks on 23rd avenue.
The next day, we drove to Willamette Falls and the end of the Oregon Trail.
We took a drive along the river near the Portland airport, crossed over into Washington (#NewState for me!), went to the Vancouver Farmer’s Market. Later, we had dinner on District, which is a cute area of bars and restaurants.
Day 14 – rest & robot
I wasn’t feeling well and it was very hot (triple digits), so we hung around the rig for some r&r and napping. E really wanted to treat me to some seafood, but it two two stops to make that work. The first place, at a marina, was out of crab cakes, so we got appetizers and moved on. The second place was a seafood boil that was quite good and our food was delivered by a robot.
On the way home, we stopped at a dive bar for a drink, but we made it quick because the music was heavy metal and way too loud.
Day 15 – OMSI
With an extra day on our hands and triple-digit temps (106ºF as of this writing!), we crossed our fingers and were pleased to find that some of the museums were open on a Monday. School hadn’t yet started, so they were still on summer hours.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the “OMSI” had a rotating exhibit on orcas including some life-size models. They also have a submarine, the USS Blueback, which was (very briefly) in The Hunt for Red October.