But that doesn't mean we didn't have fun! We met up with local friends: Bob (college buddy and former band mate of Hans) and John and Kym and their sweet daughter Simone. RVing friend Susan from San Antonio was in town visiting family so she joined us for lunch with Linda (blogging and hiking friend we met up with in Astoria). Thanks to the blog we also made some new friends in our RV park and had a nice dinner out with them (Hi Julie and Casey!).
Our stay was plagued by heat the first several days followed by smoke from the awful fires ravaging the Columbia Gorge off and on for the rest of our stay. We were grateful we hiked Eagle Creek last year with Linda, it's going to take decades for parts of the Gorge to recover from the fires.
Fortunately there are miles of forested trails in the hills throughout Portland. On our very first hike we had an amazing animal encounter. While walking through Hoyt Arbortem I saw something large and gray fly past through the trees. Rounding a corner we came upon a barred owl eating a small snake! This beautiful creature was so engrossed in its meal Hans was able to get about ten feet from it to take a photo.
|Barred owl eating a small snake in the tree...via cell phone in poor light.|
|Once the owl finished eating the snake (which took a good ten minutes) it posed for us for a few minutes more, |
meanwhile Hans had inched close enough for a decent, though unusual looking, photo.
Columbia River RV Park is pretty well located for getting around Portland, but any time you want to go downtown parking can be awful, so this time we took a cue from fellow RVers Jim and Gayle and drove to the nearby Expo Center where we hopped on the MAX light rail system to downtown. Portland Spirit Cruises offers a variety of river cruises on both the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, we chose the Thursday Early Escape cruise on the Willamette, it's an afternoon ride with a live band...great fun with beautiful scenery!
|Candy-O plays Cars covers.|
|Floating homes on the Willamette River.|
|Riverfront mansion with a plane and watercraft.|
|Smooth waters and downtown views.|
|Canada geese are highly habituated to people in downtown Portland!|
Former San Diego friends Chuck and Cynthia had recently moved to Chehalis, WA, an easy drive from Portland. We took advantage of the excellent weekend car rental deal offered by Enterprise ($10/day and 100 miles/day for a 3-day weekend after Labor Day) to visit them. Hans was all excited when we arrived at the rental office and they had run out of compact cars...for the ridiculously low price noted above we got to drive a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee with only 13 miles on it!
|Hans living it up in a fancy new car!|
We had a grand time visiting Chuck and Cynthia, seeing their new home, eating a delicious Indian buffet lunch at Great Cuisine of India and walking cute downtown Centralia.
|Centralia, WA turned out to be a lovely little town midway between Portland and Seattle.|
|Lisa and Cynthia and Hans and Chuck flanking one of Chuck's paintings.|
Someday when we have a house again we'd love to hang some of Chuck's amazing art!
There were plenty more fun experiences in Portland; excellent Vietnamese happy hour at Luc Lac, an incredible hamburger at Ecliptic Brewing, delicious tiki drinks for Bob's birthday at The Alibi, a wonderful hike at Powell Butte Nature Park (thanks Allison for bringing this place to our attention)...but no photographic evidence exists...just good memories of a city we enjoy every single time we visit!