Portland Round 2

For those of you that aren’t aware, we just got back from a family trip to Portland and if you’ve been keeping track we’ve been there once before. This time was a completely different experience. That’s what happens when your family doubles in size and you don’t put 4,000 miles on a rental in a single trip.

This time, the greatest part of the trip wasn’t a great party with dancing and celebration or the phenomenal scenery at every turn or the chance to see huge parts of the country for the first time. It might be cliche but the greatest part of the trip this time was experiencing everything through the eyes of our kids and spending lots of time with family.

Recently Reece has been ecstatic about anything that moves (planes, trains, helicopters, tractors, boats etc.) so we try to expose him to what we can. I cannot properly express the size of my sons eyes as he looked out the airport windows at the plane we were about to get on, turns to us and shouts AIRPLANE! He quieted down on the plane but he was insanely excited about the whole process. One of the places we visited in Oregon was the Airplane Museum and I swear that when he walked into the place he thought it was holy ground.

Delilah wouldn’t stop talking about the entire trip. With all of this, remember that she’s three and she’s totally serious. While sitting on the tarmac for the first flight out she yelled “why aren’t we flying yet!?” Much to the amusement of everyone around us. One evening while out in Oregon with family we saw “the first star at night” and we asked her what she wished for. She thought for a minute and then whispered quietly “that we can come to Oregon again.” After arriving back in Rochester, the first thing she said in the airport? “I want to go back to Oregon.”

These are just a few examples but we could tell just watching them that they were thoroughly enjoying their time in a new and interesting place. What made it really special for them and us was the time they got to spend with family whom they only rarely see and to build the beginnings of their relationship with their cousins. By the end of the trip there seemed to be a real bond forming and we wished we could stay longer.

We can’t wait for the next family adventure whether it takes us to Portland with family or Peru with just the kids.

Back to Portland

The DesertOur trek from Glacier National Park back to Portland was rather uneventful, and yet satisfying.  We drove all the way through, only stopping in Coeur D’Alene for lunch (which was a completely unexpected yet beautiful city in Idaho).  Again, somewhere in Montana we hit a giant hailstorm of bugs.  We seemed to literally drive through a wall of them with some as big as your fist.

As we drove through the dry areas, we watched the outside temperature gauge in the car reach as high as 106ºF.  Rachel wanted to know what that feels like, so at 70Mph we opened the windows and stuck our arms out.  It felt just like a blow dryer, and closed went the windows.

Dust DevilAlong the way we saw a ton of dust devils, which is kind of neat as I don’t remember ever seeing them this large before.  They look like mini tornadoes, and they seemed to tear across the skyline with a fury.

After crossing into Oregon we followed the Columbia River along I84, a large section of which we had taken before.  As the sun set, we were provided beautiful views of Mt Hood clear as day right over the river.  The most beautiful sight however was as we were passing Multnomah Falls and the sunlight was peaking through some clouds so only the falls were lit up.  It almost made us turn around, but we pushed on.

Mt Hood over the Columbia River

We arrived at George and Stacie’s with just enough time to show them some pictures and then head to bed.

Even just driving through, the scenery out here is beautiful and fulfilling.

Seattle

Fruit at Pikes PlaceWednesday was our first day in Seattle and what a fun packed day it was!

We started off by heading to Pikes Place (of course).  Wow! Their market rocks!  the OMG Peach truly does make you say ‘Oh My God’ and the fish do really fly overhead.  Walking into the building Rachel’s jaw dropped as she saw miles upon miles of flowers at rock bottom prices.

Seattle Space NeedleFrom pikes we headed to the next obvious choice, the Space Needle.  For the middle of the day on a Wednesday it seemed pretty busy, we waited in line for about 20 minutes while reading all about the City Pass.  It turns out to be a pretty good deal so we signed on.

The view from the top was amazing.  Mount Rainier was out and completely visible which we hear only happens about 100 days of the year.  Mount Rainier seemed even more impressive over Seattle than Mount Hood does over Portland.

The Science Fiction Museum was awesome (except for the lack of Firefly/Serenity paraphenaila).  Upon arrival we saw a sign for the Jim Henson exhibit which was only in town for a short period of time and Rachel’s eyes got wider than I’d ever seen before.  We learned a lot and saw a lot of cool Science Fiction effects.  My favorite was obviously the Star Wars junk but Rachel’s was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume.  I have no doubt in my mind that Matt‘s would be the real Enterprise D used in production of Next Generation.

Rainier over SeattleAdmission to the Science Fiction Museum includes admission to the Experience Music Project and so of course we went.  The Jimi Hendrix exhibit there was awesome and informative.  I loved his music before but I had no idea Jimi was so innovative.  One of the most interesting things I learned was about how his long drawn out notes were actually feedback which he could control with a custom built foot petal.

We ended the day with another trip up the Space Needle to see the sunset and the city at night.  It was very beautiful.  I especially enjoyed watching the colors wash over Rainier as it dissapeared and the sun dipped over the horizon.

Mt Hood and Columbia River Gorge

Mt HoodOne of the things on the must-see list in the Portland area is the Columbia River Gorge. A large group decided at dinner last night to meet up and head out for that at about 10am. Because we’re relatively early risers we thought we’d get a head start, do the Mt Hood loop and meet them out. It’s a good thing we did!

Multnomah FallsIf you get a chance to take the Mt Hood Scenic byway DO IT! That being said, we did. We saw the Oregon trail at laurel hill, the Salmon River, the White River and some fantastic views of Mt Hood. We also got some sweet cherries for a cool $1.50/lb at a local fruit stand. They cost more than $4/lb at home!

From there we met the group at Multnomah Falls along the Historic Columbia River Highway where a few of us hiked to the top. Getting to the top is quite a workout, 15 switchbacks and a mile later. The group headed back from there but since we hadn’t gotten a chance to see the Vista House, we stopped there for a vista and what a one it was.
vista house view
The whole loop : Highly suggested.

An awesome first day.