July 18-27, 2015
After spending time exploring the beautiful Oregon Coast, we headed inland toward Portland. We stayed at Clackamette Park in Oregon City, the first U.S. city west of the Rockies and the end of the Oregon Trail. Our campsite was right along the banks of the Willamette River, just downstream from Willamette Falls, the second largest falls in the U.S. after Niagara. After seeing crawfish crawling around late one night, I built a trap and kept it in the river for most of our stay. We caught around 30 over the course of a week, not the most bountiful area for crawfish, but it made for a good snack.
Columbia River Gorge
We spent Monday the 20th driving the Columbia River Gorge / Mount Hood loop. This scenic drive has nice views of the Columbia River and numerous waterfalls from tributaries that flow into it. We stopped at the Bonneville Dam and found out they have a Junior Ranger program, so the kids spent an hour or so working on that and completed it. My favorite part of the dam was watching salmon swimming up the fish ladders toward their spawning grounds. Then we walked through the fish hatchery and saw lots of big rainbow trout and some massive sturgeon.
The drive took us around Mount Hood, a lone volcanic peak that dominates the scenery east of Portland. It is covered by glaciers that keep it white and snowy all year round.
Tuesday was Angie’s birthday. We went swimming at the junction of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers, then went to Benihana’s for her birthday dinner.
Portland Oregon Temple
Some good friends from the Crater Lake area drove up to Portland on Wednesday to watch the kids for a couple hours so Angie and I could attend the temple together in the morning. This was a much appreciated opportunity for us to spend a few hours away to focus on our spirituality. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with these good friends while the kids played together.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Thursday was museum day. We went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry or OMSI. This was a fun museum for the kids who enjoyed the Ripley’s exhibit, hands-on science labs, and lots of kid-friendly things to touch. Then we dropped by Voodoo Donut, a famous Portland donut shop. They have an interesting menu with a few not-so-kid-friendly listings, but the kids didn’t notice those. The donuts were very good. I got one topped with oreos, peanut butter, and chocolate. Angie’s was oreos and cream. And Ali got a bubblegum donut.
We explored downtown Portland on Friday. The highlight of our day was visiting Powell’s Bookstore, the largest independent bookstore in the world. It’s 4 or 5 stories high and takes up an entire city block. It was fun to browse through some of the books. Nathan and Abby both used their spending money to buy a book. Then we went to the Portland Rose Gardens for a nice walk and large playground.
One of the best parts of fulltiming is meeting so many new friends at each place we visit. We had a very nice Sunday dinner with some new friends we made in the Clackamette Park (you know who you are–best wishes to you and keep in touch!). The hard part about moving on so quickly is leaving behind the friends we make. And thanks also to the ladies from church who brought us a jar of delicious homemade cider and fresh banana bread!