Sunday, October 2, 2016

Portland, finally!

When we went silent a couple of months ago, the postings had not quite reached Portland. I didn't mean to abandon you there but various events cropped up in real time and lack of internet access and then other events that you will get to hear all about in future posts kept me away from the blog.

But, back to where we were. It's Monday, July 11th, and we and Timmber Wolf are rolling along beside the Columbia River right into Portland. Our destination is the Pheasant Ridge RV Resort in a suburb called Wilsonville. It's a nice little park, possibly better than our first choice which was full.

We arrived in the afternoon and first on our schedule was to get a car rented so we could go see my son and his wife and our brand new grandson. We got a Dodge Durango which I promptly hated. For those who did not know, my left hip has become quite a problem and in fact surgery is scheduled after our return. This makes getting in and out of vehicles especially on the passenger side a bit difficult. With the seat moved all the way back I could get in and out of most vehicles. With the Durango though, moving the seat back exposes a metal rail with a nice sharp corner. Over the next few days I managed to scrape up the back of my leg on that corner several times!

Next stop, my son John's apartment and my brand new grandson, Luca, born June 25th, and of course his darling wife TK. We ordered take-out Chinese so we could just sit and visit and simply spend time together. Luca is the sweetest baby for sure!! Eventually Geoff and I went back to the RV park and Wolf. The next night John would come visit us and the night after all of us went out to dinner together. It was a great visit and I have no pictures taken during that time because I always get too busy just being there and forget to take any!!

Our plans had meant to include a two day trip down to southern Oregon to meet a cousin and spend some time in Eugene where I lived for a few months many years ago. We had to scrap that plan. I wasn't feeling great and needed to rest and Wolf was due for a servicing which we managed to get scheduled for first thing Friday morning. This did give us some down time including a chance to catch up on laundry, again! That seems to be a never ending chore when traveling.

Having the rental car did mean we could get out some and do a little shopping, including souvenir hunting. Some how this little white ceramic elephant I spotted at a Target no less seemed like just the right thing to represent Portland and baby Luca. Maybe because he weighed 8lbs 12oz when he was born! No, more likely the simple innocence of both the elephant and Luca. 

Portland and its suburbs are nice. They feel clean and look pretty and I can see why many people love it there but some how Geoff and I did not like it that much, some how we weren't comfortable or something. 

The photo here at the end of this posting is not in the timeline as it was taken several weeks later during the third week of August at Luca's first kite event, the Washington State International Kite Festival. My son John is a champion professional kite flyer and gives lessons, holds workshops and of course attends numerous kite events. So, of course his son Luca was only a few weeks ago when he attended his first kite event! I am surprised he wasn't born with a kite in his hand.

Time to get that maintenance done and then head out back towards the east, only three main stops planned before we head home: Yellowstone & Old Faithful; Encampment, Wyoming; and Mount Rushmore!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

On the Oregon Trail

Heading west on I-70 from Green River, we take a shortcut from Salina, northwest to join up with I-15 northbound at Scipio, cutting off some 120 miles or thereabouts where I-70 makes a significant southwest jog to meet I-15. Before reaching Salina we raced some bad weather to the rest area at mile marker 79 but the storm won. At least it wasn't a bad one!

The scenery is much the same most of the way ranging from valleys to mountains and back again. Some of the sights happen in various locations but I mustn't fail to mention that we saw cattle out grazing in the median and wind turbines from Kansas all through the west including this part of the trip from Utah through Idaho and Oregon.

This day we ended just short of the Utah/Idaho border in Snowville, Utah, where we stayed at an RV park named the Earp & James Hitching Post. It was a fairly ordinary place without much to recommend it one way or the other but it was convenient and the name unique! It did have pretty flowers in the grass.

We angled on I-84 all the way across Idaho and into Oregon, much of it along the same route so many pioneers followed into this countryside. Many paid the price and there are monuments and markers detailing some of the disasters that befell them.

Along the Snake River
This route follows along the Snake River and then the Columbia River. The Snake River is far too winding through the hills to stay close to but the Columbia flows smoothly not far from the interstate.

One of the things we found different in Oregon is that it is the law that a gas attendant must be the one to fill your tank. You are not allowed to do it yourself. A mixed blessing but I must admit it has been a very long time since I had an attendant do the tank. At one truck stop we even had the attendant wash our windshield which was home to a lot of bug splats by then. He didn't get everything but it was greatly improved and he was well tipped for his strenuous effort. We definitely appreciated it!

I wonder if any of the road trains we saw along the highway had their tanks filled. Maybe it is different for trucks? We saw many road trains, some with not just two but three trailers behind them like this UPS road train. They aren't kidding with that sign on the back that says "LONG LOAD" but I'm glad it wasn't me driving it!

We kept on westwards following the Columbia River and stopped to have a picnic lunch of bananas and bagels with cream cheese at a river front park. Note the Columbia River across the top of the picture, this was really a river FRONT park. The Rand McNally GPS in the foreground gives you our location at The Dalles in Wasco County, Oregon. We're resting our heads by taking the communications caps off for the meal when they are not needed. That's the mysterious jumble in the box to the right of the picture.

Soon we are back on our way following the Columbia with its dams and locks all the way to Portland.