Portland Day I

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Aug 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Portland Day II

So today began very early (about 5:30am) because I had to take my car to the Ford Service Center to get an oil change and maintenance check. The car has taken quite a beating since we left Jersey, including many gravel and dirt roads, mountain climbs, unimproved campground roads, etc. And with so many miles being put on the car every day it's good to take care of the preventative car care.

So that’s where I am now, at the Ford Dealership about 10 minutes south of Portland. Jen is still sleeping I presume back at the co-op house. Let me explain that a little further.

We’re staying with Jen’s friend Nicole, whom Jen went to school with back in New Jersey. Nicole is now out in Portland enrolled in medical school and the campus has large co-op houses where the medical students can live cheaply. The house is large, but it has 20 people living in it so it better be large! Imagine the world of 'House’ and ‘Scrubs’ coming together under one roof; that’s what this co-op feels like. Everyone is really nice, but they all seem to enjoy talking about really disturbing subjects like ‘how to cut open a liver’ or ‘how many dead people they saw today.’ I’ll stick to teaching history thanks. They also, have chickens. That’s right, chickens. While they (and Jen) all viewed these chickens as a great renewable resource of eggs….I was busy scrambling around for honey mustard sauce.

I think that’s about it for now. When I get back from Ford Jen and I will be going out to an area the locals refer to as ‘The Gorge.’ It’s a scenic hiking area in the foothills of the Mt. Hood National Park. So, sounds like we’re going to see a volcano!

Before I sign off here, Jen and I have finalized some of our upcoming stops. We’ll be in Portland for either 1 or 2 more days and then:

1.       Crater Lake National Park, Oregon – 1 day

2.       Redwood National Forest, California – 1 day

3.       San Francisco, California – 2 days

4.       Random stop prior to Death Valley, California – 1 day

5.       Las Vegas, Nevada – 2 days

6.       Bryce Canyon, Zion National, and Grand Canyon National Parks – 3 days total, but only one campground.

After that it’s still a bit up in the air! We’ll definitely be going through New Mexico, down to El Paso and into Texas, over to New Orleans, up to Atlanta, and then home via the Cape May Lewes Ferry…..but all the dates and time frames have yet to be decided. Except for the crack in my windshield the trip has been great. That’s all for now, I’ll update this later with pictures from Mt. Hood!

UPDATE: 5:05 pm PDT

So today we took the recommendation of the people we are staying with and headed out to Mt. Hood National Park, specifically the Multnomah Waterfalls and Trail.

We headed out east from Portland along the Historic Scenic Highway, a 20 mile long route that emulated the 'Going to the Sun Road' of Glacier National. The highway has many sharp, narrow curves upon high ledges that look over the Columbia River along with lots of cool old bridges. Once we arrived at Multnomah Falls, we tooks some shots of it and decided to hike up to the top. Thank goodness we've had some hiking experience...because this was a tough one!

The waterfall is about 400 feet high and the trail is a little over a mile long, meaning the gradient of the hiking path was VERY STEEP. The trail in fact had 11 switchbacks where you would find many weary, out of breath hikers (ourselves included). But once reaching the top you are given a very cool view from a platform that hangs right over the falls, meaning you can look straight down. Needless to say I went nowhere near the edge being terrified of heights. I got some shots though that give you an idea!

We headed back on the scenic highway, stopping along the way to take some pictures. We then headed into Portland to visit the famous Rose Garden. This is actually a test garden, meaning they plant hundreds of different types of roses here to test how well they stand up to the weather, different planting methods, etc. It was very pretty, although the parking was horrendous.

Next to the rose garden was the Japanese Garden, def check out the pictures as it was also quite beautiful.

Tomorrow we will be leaving Portland. Here are some of my final thoughts.

1) The city is very "Green" and it's good to see a modern city take such pride in helping the enviroment.

2) The city should mow down at least a few thousand acres of trees to make more parking lots so that I can park without burning out my clutch from making 78 K-Turns.

3) I-5, Route 405, and every other road in Portland should have a lane dedicated to people from New Jersey. It is unacceptable that people of our standing must sit in the same traffic as Oregonians.

4) ...that said, it's awesome that I do not have to pump my own gas, and Oregonians are very friendly people (Mrs. Malloy grew up in Oregon! And she's super friendly! When she's not making fun of me that is....)

5) I would move to Oregon on two conditions: 1) All traffic ceased to exist and 2) They built some Dunkin Donuts

Thanks for the good time Portland!
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