Day 72, 73, 74 & 75 : The Oregon trail

Trip Start Jul 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 27, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Leaving the grandeur of the Tetons in the rear-view mirror, we set off across the vast empty space of Wyoming and Idaho, loosely following the Snake River. We liked the sound of Idaho Falls for a lunch spot, but when we sidled into town and saw the falls, they fell far below our expectations, so we snapped them from the car window and continued on at 50 mph, which seemed about the right amount of attention they deserved. We had selected Boise as the city of choice to have a layover, and thought we'd booked a hotel through Hotwire, but when it came to plugging in the hotel to give the GPS an address, I couldn't find the reservation. So we had another stab at Hotwire, this time getting a crappy Holiday Inn, which served our purpose but not all that fancily, and days later we got a bill for both hotels. We ended up seeing more of Boise than planned due to a critical oil change, so very, very late, we started the 7 hr trip to Portland, Oregon. We did discover along the way though why the attendants at gas stations were so eager to beat Matt to the pump - its the law in both Oregon and NJ, not just extra special service as we had started to think.
Eastern Oregon was a dry and barren expanse, until we hit the dramatic Columbia River gorge, which marked the beginning of a very scenic route into Portland. The highway, and railway, wind alongside the river all the way into town giving the kids a good look at river traffic.  Pulling up at our fancy-pants hotel (if valet come to the car door upon arrival the kids know to try to adopt 'hotel behaviour'), but it was late and Tom hadn't had much of a run around on this leg of the trip, so he squealed and slid his way around the lobby anyway. A converted Days Inn now called Modera, with its sleek modern interior was our base for the next 3 nights.
Not quite located in downtown Portland, and without any dining options of its own, we did more walking in Portland than the kids were used to, but with bikes, electric cars and lots of locals for company, it seemed a reasonable way to get around town. We explored the downtown area on foot, enjoying the city and the weather, and the following day got out among the neighbourhoods to enjoy Portland local style.
The kids were especially taken with Portlands version of the beach, a water fountain that filled and drained creating fun water cascades and a large swimming pool with waves, for the under 10 set.  We took it pretty easy in Portland, and without really knowing we were ready to head south to San Diego, made the decision to forgo Vancouver & Seattle, and begin our journey home.
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