Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Couple of Weeks in Portland

I don't have a lot to show from our two weeks in Portland. Sure, my camera had an issue and had to be sent back for warranty repair, and I really don't like taking photos with my cell phone. But the reality is I just wanted to enjoy our stay without the pressure of blogging hanging over my head. We're now five years into our life on the road and I find it harder and harder to blog about places we've visited multiple times.

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!


  1. Glad you enjoyed your time in Portland, despite the heat and smoky air! Good to have lunch with you guys and Susan too. Enjoy your time in Champoeg and Silverton.

    1. Oh yeah, we always manage to have a good time in Portland! It was good to see you one more time, perhaps next time there won't be any fires so we can hike together!

  2. Sounds like you stayed busy despite the heat and smoke. Glad the train worked out.
    Seeing that owl must have made your day!

  3. I have such mixed feelings about our stay in Portland. Wish I'd remembered about the shuttle as driving into and around the city was awful. Sounds like you had a great time with lots of friends which always make any stop so special. Love Hans' face in the Jeep :-)))) Chuck is very talented!

    1. We've visited Portland enough that we have a good feel for how to get around and beat the traffic most of the is not for the traffic phobic!

  4. Sounds like another fun visit to Portland! We never get tired of spending time there, either. Which is a good thing, considering that our daughter just moved there for her doctoral program. We'll have to check out the river cruise and Powell Butte Nature Park. There's no lack of things to do in Portland -- thanks for adding to our list. :-) Very cool photo of the owl!

  5. Replies
    1. ;-) Having too much fun to stop and photograph the shenanigans!

  6. I so get it about blogging when you have been somewhere multiple times...that's the way we feel about being in Moab!
    I LOVE the geese on the sidewalk! And the owl sighting is spectacular!

    1. Yep, blogging is getting harder over time, not easier!

  7. I don't think I've ever seen a Barred Owl, Lisa. Very cool!

    1. Thanks! It was a National Geographic moment for sure!

  8. Love that owl!! Very cool! Hans looks wonderful in the "new" car!! I imagine it was fun after driving the truck for so many years. Sounds like lots of good times and friend meetings!

  9. It was great meeting you two! And Rosie too! Thanks for introducing us to the Oregon Public House, a great pub practically in our backyard. We arrived safely in Austin and have begun the arduous task of cleaning out my parents home. We had to travel the gorge on the Washington side and it was so sad to look across at the damage done by the fire. It will recover in due time.
    Safe travels as you journey southward. We look forward to our paths crossing again someday.
    Julie and Casey

  10. Great deal on the Jeep and that owl is great. You can't lose while visiting Portland. The apartment we lived in was just around the corner from your picture of downtown. It brought back nice memories of our time there.