Sunday, June 27, 2021

Pacific Northwest Vacation - Day 11: Portland

On out last 'real' day of vacation, we explored Portland.

We started out by getting breakfast from a Portland original, Voodoo Doughnuts.
There was a line but the wait wasn't too long - about 15 minutes. We got some of their unusual flavors including Voodoo Doll, Vicious Hibiscus, and Dirt.
And then we went to the Portland Japanese Garden.
It felt like being in Japan.
As it was a very hot day, we especially appreciated the many shady areas.
The following rock garden reminded us of a place we went to in Kyoto.
After going to the Japanese garden in Seattle a week ago, it is hard to say which one is better. They are both very good. It was probably more crowded here but otherwise would have been as serene as it was in Seattle.
One thing they have here in Portland are very colorful, and large, koi.
It was one of our favorite spots in the garden, or would have been if it wasn't so hot in the sun!
I also liked the following... not sure what it is called but the bamboo pipe fills with water then tips, and the bamboo makes a nice soothing sound as it bangs against the rock.
Right next to the Japanese Garden is the International Rose Test Garden.
My wife was tired and feeling overwhelmed by the heat so she sat on a bench in the shade while Kai and I looked at the roses.
Kai loved that there were so many different colors of roses.
My favorite was this pink climbing rose.
We weren't sure they were roses as the flowers are so small, but the thorns confirmed that they were.
Kai took pictures of each different color of rose. I like that he takes interest in what we are seeing and that he wants pictures of everything.
We then checked out the Portland Saturday market which is a weekly art and craft fair. It wasn't much different than our local fairs back home though I did enjoy seeing the photos of professional photographers who captured many of the places we went to on this vacation.

And then we got lunch in an air conditioned restaurant. Besides the relief from the heat, it was our last chance to eat oysters. My wife said that eating oysters gave her the most pleasure on this vacation.
In the afternoon we went to the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, an odd little museum that had a number of freaky, peculiar, creepy exhibits.
Here Kai took photos of everything.
Big Foot was present.
But Big Foot was relatively normal compared to other oddities like this burning chair.
I can't even begin to describe the following.
Or this one:
Afterward we went to Salt and Straw, another Portland original, to have ice cream and meet up with a friend of mine who happened to also be traveling through Portland.

By then the temperature had gone over 100.
And we had enough of being out and about. We returned to our hotel so my wife could relax and recover while Kai and I went to the swimming pool.

For dinner we went to a Thai restaurant. Kai loved his coconut water.
And his green curry.
It was a very good last dinner.

Tomorrow we only have time to head to the airport and fly home. Kai is happy now and I think he enjoyed the vast majority of the vacation. So hopefully he will have pleasant memories.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Pacific Northwest Vacation - Day 10: Columbia River Gorge

This morning we drove east out of Portland and set out to explore the Columbia River Gorge. We stopped at Vista House to take in the great view.
There are many waterfalls along the gorge and we made a quick stop to see Latourell Falls.
But the falls we really wanted to see was Multnomah Falls. It is considered a 'must see' when visiting Portland.

We arrived at the falls to find that the small parking lot was full. Traffic coming from our side was not allowed to wait for cars to leave the lot. Instead we were told to try a supplemental lot, and if that lot was also full, then to take a shuttle from a farther lot. To get to the supplemental lot, we had to get back on the interstate several miles down the road. But traffic coming from our side was not allowed to enter the supplemental lot either. We headed on to the area to catch the shuttle but we had to go an extra exit down and circle back. By the time we got on the shuttle and got to the falls, an hour had passed since we first arrived at the falls.

There were a lot of people at the falls. And the sun was right behind the falls making it impossible to get a good photo.
We walked up to the famed Benson Bridge, the footbridge that traverses Multnomah Creek between the two cascades of Multnomah Falls. From there I had planned to take the hike up to the top of the falls. Kai said he had enough and didn't want to walk further. My wife and I told him that we would go up ourselves and that he could wait for us there at the bridge.

That was a big mistake.

The walk up to the top of the falls was very steep and arduous. We had to stop a few times to catch our breath and rest. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the top. If Kai had walked with us, he would have given up before we even got halfway.

At the top, we got to see the stream that fed the waterfall.
We refilled our water bottles with the cold water from the creek.
The following is a photo of the top of the falls looking down.
It was around this time that I saw that Kai had tried calling me. I tried to call him back but the cellular service was bad and the call would not go through. I texted Kai to let him know that we had just made it to the top and it would be a half hour before we got back down. We later found out that he did not receive the text.

We tried to walk quickly down and made it down in about 15 minutes. But we did not see Kai at the bridge. We walked further down and came across him coming back up the path.

He was furious.

And scared.

It was a huge mistake to leave him for that long.

We got him to go to lunch. A little calamari and a burger helped to calm him. He talked about how scared he was and that he realized that he is not ready to be alone. He said that after we get home, he would need to rest for two weeks.

After we left Multnomah, we drove further down the gorge. It wasn't as impressive as I had hoped and we drove back to our new hotel late in the afternoon.

It was nice to have a room with air conditioning!

This hotel also has a swimming pool so Kai got to go in the water which always helps calm him.

We had a late dinner at an Italian restaurant.
We let Kai have an Italian soda and have a canoli for dessert.
Our vacation is down to its last full day. While we enjoyed most of it, I think all of us are looking forward to having it come to an end.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Pacific Northwest Vacation - Day 9: Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and on to Portland

We had stayed the night in Bend Oregon and there are many places to see in the area. As we were moving on and needed to be in Portland by the end of the day, we had to choose one place to visit in the area. We decided on Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

We learned that Newberry is the largest of several volcanos in Oregon. But it is not a cylindrical shape, instead it is spread over an area the size of Rhode Island.

The first thing we did at Newberry was to ride the shuttle to the top of Lava Butte, a cinder cone that rises 500 feet.
From the top are nice views of the surrounding lava flow and mountains.
There are several snowcapped mountains including the three 'Sisters'.
The nearest mountain to Bend is Mount Batchelor.
After that we we went to Lava River Cave, the largest uncollapsed lava tube in Oregon.

You walk in and descend down the stairs.
The cave is dark with no lighting whatsoever. So we rented lanterns which provided the only light.
The cave is cool... constantly 42 degrees, so we wore our sweatshirts and jackets.
As caves go, it doesn't compare to the magnificent Carlsbad Caverns. There are no stalagtites or stalagmites as there are at Carlsbad. But it was still cool to walk through a large lava tube. This might have been the most interesting part of the cave, a section called "Tube in tube" where there are vertically stacked passages.
Kai loves caves and said he really enjoyed coming here. I love caves as well.
We had a late lunch back in Bend. We found a Hawaiian/Japanese restaurant so Kai had beef teriyaki, my wife had loco moco, and I had the two-item combo with chicken katsu and chicken teriyaki. I had a taste of my wife's loco moco and wished I had ordered that as well.
From Bend, it would be a three and a half hour drive to Portland. Bad traffic actually extended that by another half hour or so.

But we broke up the drive with a stop at Trillian Lake near Mount Hood.

Wow, what a nice view!
We got to our hotel in Portland to find out that the air conditioning in the entire hotel was not working and would not be fixed for another week. With 100 degree weather coming, the hotel was shutting down after this one night. They offered to refund our money but as it was getting late, I thought it best to stay the one night before moving on to a different hotel tomorrow. But sitting in our really hot room right now, I wish we had taken time to find another accomodation.

We went to dinner before all the restaurants closed for the night. We were lucky to find a table at Murata, a Japanese restaurant.

We were very happy to find out that the sushi was outstanding, among the best we've had and certainly better than the sushi we had in Seattle.
Even the ice cream was especially tasty.
It will be a challenging couple last days of the vacation with the extreme heat on the way. Wish us luck!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...