Aug. 30, 2014 --- to Portland:
After spending the night in Vegas with our friends, we all headed off to breakfast (found a Co Co's which we were excited to try since they use to be near our house in St. Louis years ago and we enjoyed them then), then we were off to the car rental facility. If you've never been to the Vegas car rental facility, it's probably like nothing you've ever seen before! It's like a mall, complete with escalators to different levels and a huge garage. Turn in of the vehicle went pretty well, although the Budget guy didn't seem to like it when we didn't stop way in the back and instead pulled up to make a new line. But we were soon on our way to the shuttle bus (full size buses here) and off to the airport. We had a 2:55pm flight and made it there in plenty of time. Our flight on SW to PDX was on time and in about 3 hours we were in Portland. We sent Ken off to get the car while John, Coni, and I waited for our luggage. About the time our luggage showed up Ken also showed up at the luggage carrousels with keys to our light green Subaru Forrester mid sized SUV for the next 2 weeks. I got a particularly excellent deal on that rental! After checking rentals for months and months, a couple days before our flight the Subaru SUV came available for $90/week base rate through Dollar. I jumped on it! Cancelled our full size reservation for a Ford Fusion for $475 for the 2 weeks (a Fusion is now considered a full size car!). Signed Ken up for Dollar's express rental program. When he checked in, they told him we had gotten their 10 minute mistake. I had checked the rate about an hour after I booked it and it was back up to the $750/week rate that it usually was, but they honored the $90 rate. We were even surprised that it averaged 30 miles per gallon for the whole 2 weeks and we drove it over 2600 miles---up and down lots of mountains, too!
I had gotten most of our accommodation reservations, but there were 2 nights that didn't work into the timeshares we had, so Coni offered to book us hotels for those 2 nights. They also graciously paid for all the gas for our car the first 9 days. Since it was almost dark by the time we got there, I figured we'd spend the first night in Portland. Coni got us a suite at the PDX Embassy so we headed there to check in.
Then we headed out for dinner. I knew there was a McMenamin's Restaurant nearby--Kennedy School. The John D. Kennedy Elementary School is a former elementary school that has been converted to a hotel, movie theater and dining establishment
Aug. 31, 2014 --- Columbia River Gorge; Mt. Hood; Bend:
Next morning we were up bright and early. After our very good free breakfast, we were off. Our accommodations for the 31st were near Bend, so we made a day out of getting there. First we drove the scenic Columbia River Gorge byway, then up to Mt. Hood, and finally on to Eagle Crest near Bend.
The Historic Columbia River Highway is an approximately 75-mile-long road between Troutdale and the Dalles and was built between 1913 and 1922. The 24 westernmost miles starting in Troutdale provide access to dozens of hiking trails, Crown Point Vista House, and numerous waterfalls. This section forms a loop with the Mount Hood Scenic Byway which we traveled to get up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. In 2000 it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service as "an outstanding example of modern highway development".
Even though we only drove the 24 westernmost miles of this highway, it took us a few hours with stops at several of the falls and a couple hikes.
Sept. 1, 2014 (Labor Day) --- lava tube; Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway:
We managed to miss the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway and end up at the Lava tube before we realized it. So we decided to wander through the lava tube. Ken says we've been to this one before, I sure don't remember it looking like that. Maybe it was my knee talking, but a million steps and huge boulders and it being very dark didn't seem like fun to me! Plus we had to pay for that pleasure! When we got to where it was hard to see the entrance anymore, we decided we'd all seen enough of a lava tube.
Then we turned around and headed back towards Bend and Garmin finally found the byway for us. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 90's. It was also Labor Day, so it was much busier then we've ever seen it before. Usually we see quite a bit of snow in the mountains by the lakes, but like at Mt. Hood, there wasn't much snow here, either.
natural and recreational qualities.
Sept. 2, 2014 --- Crater Lake:
Today we made another long day trip. They really wanted to see Crater Lake, and so did I, so today was the day to go there. It was another beautiful day---low 90's and sunny. We jumped on the highway and went the nearly 100 miles to Crater Lake.
I love this road sign.
We headed straight to the Lodge to check on the boat ride. We had done this ride before, and I would have loved to go again, but with my pulled calf muscle and torn meniscus, I was afraid to try. But we encouraged John and Coni to do it. They were able to get seats on the 1pm boat for the 2 hour trip around the lake. The only legal access to the shore of Crater Lake is the Cleetwood Cove hike. This is a strenuous and steep switchback trail with a steep 11% grade. The trail descends to a rocky shoreline at Cleetwood Cove where they caught the tour boat. The hike down to the cove should not be attempted by anyone with heart, breathing, or walking problems----that pretty much eliminated Ken and me.
or ninth deepest in the world, depending on whether average or maximum depth is measured
Sept. 3, 2014 -- Dee Wright Observatory; Clear Lake:
Check out day! Those 3 nights went fast. Now we were to make our way into the Willamette Valley. That is where I lived many years ago and vacationed at my folks' house for many of my adult vacations. We would often ride up to Clear Lake, so it was nice having a chance to do that again. So we packed up, checked out of our condo, and headed west---taking our time getting to the valley.
First, we headed to Dee Wright Observatory. We just chanced upon this place many years ago on one of our trips to Clear Lake. It was such a surprise! You'll be riding around in the forest, then all of a sudden it changes to all lava.
There is a half-mile long Lava River Interpretive Trail which begins at the observatory, and takes visitors on a 30-minute walk through lava beds. The trail is paved and easy to follow. Interpretive panels, located along the trail highlight the geology of the area.
by a Civilian Conservation Corps crew at Camp Belknap near Clear Lake.
Sept. 4, 2014 --- Silver Falls; Oregon Gardens; Gordon House; Depoe Bay Worldmark:
Just a day in the Willamette Valley really doesn't do it justice, but that's all we could afford to do. Thought of checking out some wineries, but we do have them back here in Mo. so thought we'd check out more of what we don't have back home---like more waterfalls! So after packing up and getting our free breakfast from Residence Inn, we jumped back in the car and headed about 10 miles to Silver Falls State Park.
It is the largest state park in Oregon with an area of more than 9,000 acres, and it includes more than 24 miles of walking trails. Its 8.7-mile Canyon Trail/Trail of Ten Falls runs along the banks of Silver Creek and by ten waterfalls, from which the park received its name. The park's most visited waterfall is South Falls, a 177-foot cascade. This is one of the 4 falls with a walkway behind the falls.
Sept. 5, 2014 --- heading south along the coast:
You can't go to Oregon without checking out the coast! Fortunately I was able to pick up an RCI exchange into a 2 bedroom condo in Lincoln for the next week. Finally, able to unpack and spread out for a bit! But first---we packed our bags, checked out of Depoe Bay Worldmark, and headed south.
Some time ago, a law was passed in Oregon declaring the whole 363 mile coastline to be public land. Because of that, it's called "The People's Coast". You can't travel it in one day and do it any justice. Even in 2 days we couldn't cover much, so we stuck to about a 45 mile range both North and South from Lincoln City.
This is one of the first pull offs south of Depoe Bay on Hwy 101, Boiler Bay. A small freighter sank here in 1910 and if the conditions are right, it can still be seen today. We've stopped here many times and have never seen the freighter, but it's a beautiful spot.
The property was given to the state by the U. S. Lighthouse Service in 1934 and 1971. It is a spruce and pine forested bluff containing a historic lighthouse, later used as a lifeboat station. The lighthouse has been restored and is open to the public. The park originally was developed for day use in 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The old lighthouse at the harbor entrance was erected in 1871 but was discontinued in 1874 in favor of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse several miles to the north.
The small resort only had 3- 2 bedroom units (3 level condo complex). Ours was on the ground level. But we still had great views from our patio.
Sept. 6, 2014 --- heading north to Tillamook and Garibaldi train ride:
Today we took our guests north to see what the Oregon coast has to offer that way. Usually when we visited the coast, we headed south because 101 stays pretty much right along the coast most of the way. Heading north on 101 goes inland a good part of the way. But there are a few loops off of 101 that do head to the coast. But first---breakfast at the quirky Lil' Sambo's. It's been a favorite place of ours every since the kids were little.
Now on to Three Capes Scenic loop. Ended up turning on the southern loop.
Sept. 7, 2014 --- Portland Rose Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, good bye to our friends:
Hard to believe 10 days have passed already (starting in Las Vegas). After another breakfast at Lil' Sambo's, we were off.
The garden was dedicated and design began in 1963, though the garden didn't opened to the public until 1967.
Sept. 8, 2014 --- north to Seaside for the night:
ok, so we have the Sandpiper for a week, but before I knew we would like it so much, I found us one night in Seaside at the Worldmark there for Monday, Sept. 8. We thought about skipping it and loosing what we paid for it, but it was a pretty day so we decided to see the north coast with blue skies. Although early morning had fog rolling in as seen here from our patio.
Sept. 9, 2014 --- Seaside to Dallas:
Originally I thought our trip to Seaside would be a good place to spend the night and explore farther north all the way to Astoria the next day. But plans changed. My brother and his wife had just moved back to Dallas the very day we arrived in Oregon, so we told them we'd be happy to help them move their stuff out of storage and to their house. They spent the previous week fixing things around the house and today was the day they planned to move their stuff out of their storage room. So we headed straight south. Although I did make a detour to check out Seaside beach and Cannon Beach with blue skies. It was a beautiful sunny day today.
The beach in Seaside.
Close up of the neat wildflower.
The distant jagged mountains remind me of Kauai.
Sept. 10, 2014 --- South along the beach to Newport:
It was another gorgeous day on the beach, so we headed south again.
We didn't exert ourselves too much today. Mostly driving around, then back to the condo to watch tv and chill out until time for dinner. Then we drove inland to Spirit Mountain Casino to meet up with my sister and Chester for dinner at the buffet there. It was another nice visit.
Sept. 11, 2014 --- South from Newport Bay:
Today we decided to spend the day on the coast again. This time we headed south, again, but went farther this time.
out to sea from the bay
more of Yachats bay.
There was another $5/car fee for parking in the area by the Visitors Center, but Ken's Senior Pass was honored here, too.
View looking south from the trail (I think I have the places marked correctly)
Ken at West Shelter talking on his cell phone---out in the middle of nowhere. During World War II, the West Shelter observation point was used as a coastal watch station and a large coastal defense gun was temporarily installed
Looking up at West Shelter from a Cape Perpetua viewpoint on 101.
Sept. 12, 2014 --- Dallas and Portland:
Today was check out day. Hard to believe we had been on the coast for a week. Hard to believe we've been on vacation for 3 weeks! Anyway, today we decided to hang around Dallas with my relatives for the day, then head up to a hotel by PDX for our last night. I went to Hotwire and got a special price on the PDX Sheraton for something like $95. So we packed up our stuff one more time and headed to Dallas.
Just a few pictures on our ride back into the valley. Here's another clear cut.
Link to my Utah blog, again: