Off to Portland!

We love waterfalls but evidently so does everybody else! The route we expected to follow into Portland was along old Hwy 30 where we could stop and admire the dozens of waterfalls along the way. Unfortunately, we don’t have a very high tolerance for crowds, packed highways and traffic backed up for miles waiting for a handful of openings at the overcrowded parking lots next to the more popular falls. So we didn’t make it to all of the falls that we wanted to see. We’ll leave that for another trip. We did stop at Wahkeena Falls, the most popular of the falls along this route. There is a paved path that takes you to the top of the falls which took us about 45 minutes at a brisk pace. The gradient was very moderate but just enough to get my heart rate up to where I could consider this a light workout, very light. Once at the top we took a few minutes to admire the view and gaze down at the crowds below then snap a few photos and make our way back down.

DSC03918

DSC03929
View from top of Wahkeena Falls
DSC03898
Horsetail Falls

We stopped at Horsetail Falls and then pulled over to make ourselves a light lunch before continuing to Portland. This would be our first time to Portland and we were looking forward to eating out at some very good restaurants. We met a couple from Portland during our stay in Hood River and they gave us a list of restaurants that we should try. We were told that the Yelp reviews for Portland were spot on! Finally, I have a shot at picking out some winners! Our first stop was “Por Que No”, a taco stand that is so popular that the line runs down the block. We were early for dinner so we thought we had a shot at getting in with no wait but the line was already down the block. We decided to go for the second place on the list, “Apizza Scholls” which serves pizza in only one size and that’s a large. The pizza was amazing! To me, the secret to a good pizza is all about the crust and a tasty sauce. They hit it out of the park on both of these points! They set the bar for me as far as pizza goes. Darryl is still a die-hard NY Pizza sort of guy so it maybe ranked up in his top 5 pizza places.

DSC03945
Sausage & Mama pizza (house made sausage plus Mama Lil’s Kick Butt Peppers)

Later that night we walked to Voodoo Donuts. I’m not into donuts but we went just because we heard from friends that Voo Doo Donuts are the best and it’s ranked up there as one of the top 10 places to go when in Portland in many of the travel articles that we read. I can tell you that it’s definitely a popular local spot. We didn’t go until sometime after midnight and there was a line out the door and around the corner! There were some interesting choices like the maple bacon donut, Orangatang donut, and the loop donut which is covered in fruit loops but I wasn’t so venturous sticking to a Kelly’s Jelly Donut which was filled with raspberry jelly. My donut standard is Dunkin’ Donuts and it’s a toss-up between Voo Doo and Dunkin’ Donuts for me. If you love donuts, check them out and don’t let my neutral feelings about the place influence your decision! 🙂

DSC03956

We spent a day visiting the gardens around Portland’s huge Washington Park. At the Japanese Gardens I was able to catch my one and only glimpse of Mount Hood.

Sand & stone garden (karesansui) which celebrates the "beauty of blank space".
Sand & stone or karesansui garden which celebrates the “beauty of blank space”.
DSC03988
Mount Hood makes an appearance far off in the distance.
IMG 1599
International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park.

Portland is a city of bridges connecting its NE & NW Portland to its SE & SW districts. There are at least eleven bridges spanning the Willamette River. I loved strolling along the waterfront admiring the variety of bridge designs.

DSC04026
Hawthorne Bridge which is a truss bridge with a vertical lift built in 1911.

We made it to Powell’s Books which was heaven for me! I love spending time in book stores, leafing through books and becoming overwhelmed with the number of great books that I have yet to discover. I don’t know if I’ll ever get accustomed to the changes in book culture influenced by technology and the advent of digital books. I love to feel the book in my hands and turning the pages as I get lost in a story. Because of the limited room that we have in our vehicle, I have limited the number of hard copy books that I have with me on this trip, grudgingly relying upon the digital format. We did buy an audio book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. I loved his first book, “The Kite Runner” and I’m looking forward to getting lost in another of his tales.

We spent most of our time walking through the city and enjoying the street life. There were children playing in the fire hydrants, marching bands playing in one of the squares and far too many young people begging on the street.

We gave her a "donation" to take her photo.
We gave her a “donation” to take her photo.

This last one really had us confused. There was an unusually large number of homeless youths sitting on the street corners begging for a few cents or hanging out in groups on the lawns sitting on their sleeping bags passing the day away. I’ve seen the homeless on the streets of San Francisco, throughout the Bay Area and on the streets in my hometown of Davenport, Iowa but never this many in their late teens and early 20’s. I wonder about their stories and worry for their future.

DSC04062

 

DSC04069

DSC04077

IMG_1880

We had the most spectacular meal at “The Screen Door” restaurant in Northeast Portland. We started out with a spinach & beet salad that could be a meal of its own. For the main course I ordered the amazing crispy fried buttermilk-battered chicken and Darryl had the lowcountry shrimp & grits. My chicken was amazingly moist with the most spectacular crispy coating. Usually the crispy coating is greasy and tastes like fried salty flour but this was tasty, crisp and not oily in the least. No wonder they get the highest ratings for their fried chicken and waffle brunch special! We ended with an amazing blueberry cornbread cobbler. The cobbler didn’t last long enough for a photo. The only downside to this experience is that I don’t believe that I’ll ever have fried chicken this good anyplace else. They set the bar, now I just need to figure out how to prepare the dish for myself!

IMG 1603

IMG 1604

IMG 1606

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s