The grand adventure begins.
It started off fairly uneventfully. The flight over left on time and arrived on time, which is pretty much the norm. I was able to pick up my rental car without much trouble either, but boo to the girl at the counter who tried to upsell me; I got this rate (~ $370 for two weeks) by planning ahead, and you’ll have to offer me something comparable to get me to change (not $100-200 more). Getting to the hotel was quick, and I did have a room waiting for me even at close to midnight (thank goodness; I’ve heard too many horror stories about late arrivals getting their reservations given away).
Started Wednesday with continental breakfast at the hotel, followed by catching MAX downtown. Portland’s newest MAX line ends at Clackamas Town Center, just a 5 to 10 minute walk from where I’m staying. (That brings the total number of MAX lines to four. Yes, all of that while Honolulu has bickered all this time about building its first, and it probably won’t be built for sometime.)
When I got there, I got a bacon maple bar from Voodoo Doughnut (mmmm…), and made my way to the Park Blocks, snapping pictures along the way. I spent most of the half hour before the market opened taking pictures of the fruits and vegetables being put out for display.
After catching the MAX back to the hotel, I decided it’s time for some driving. So off in the car I went, to Seaside on the Oregon Coast. I’ve seen a lot of Seaside over the past few years, what with it being the finish line for the Hood to Coast Relay, but this is the first time that I’ve seen Seaside without the hubbub and ruckus that comes with Hood to Coast. Think of it as Coney Island West. Took a leisurely stroll down Broadway (the main street), snapped some photos, and made my way into a game center where I put down almost $20 playing Skee-Ball. (I think playing the iPod/iPhone app, in a weird way, gave me some practice for the real thing. Maybe.)
My plan was to have dinner at Cannon Beach (which I did, over at Mo’s Restaurant) and then catch the sunset, but I realized that at this latitude sunset happens at 9:00 p.m. So back to Portland I went. Besides, I do have a great photo of Haystack Rock from a previous trip.
Today, I started my day at the flagship location of the Original Pancake House. And it really is a house. Maybe about 15 tables in the whole area. I was able to get a table right next to the fireplace. I ordered one of their signature dishes – apple pancakes. It came out quickly (I was surprised!), and it was monstrous. Maybe about 9 inches in diameter, with apples in the batter, with apple-cinnamon topping on top. I couldn’t finish it all. It occurred to me, though, while I was sitting there…I had gone to Lewis & Clark, which is not too far away, for four years, and I’ve visited Portland five times in the double-ohs. It surprised me that this was the first time I’d ever eaten here.
Made a stop at Pro Photo Northwest (picking up a TTL flash cable for back home), and then decided to spend the day out in the Gorge. First stop was Multnomah Falls. It’s the second highest waterfall in North America, 620 feet high. And you can hike all the way to the top, which I did. Wasn’t really prepared for the big climb – 1.25 miles but with that 600 foot elevation gain. Then coming back down again.
Had some lunch over in Cascade Locks and then headed back to the hotel to take a nap before heading out to dinner with my friend from high school.
The trip’s getting off to a great start and I’m looking forward to the rest of it!