July 7-9, 2014
We returned home from our epic road trip on Sunday July 6. But the fun and travel was far from over. We only had her in town a short time before she was headed back to Chicago to see the kids and Jurgen. I was back at work but that didn’t stop Carla and her sisters, Linda and Starr. They
showed her Portland one day; then Carla took her out to the Columbia Gorge another day and the Oregon coast another. In the midst of all that we had a little gathering at home to introduce her to our friends.
No tour of Portland is complete without a visit to Pioneer Square, Portland’s Living Room. Jeanette posed with the “Allow Me” statue.
|Jeanette with “Allow Me” the iconic man with an umbrella statue in Pioneer Square Portland, Oregon.|
The sisters and Jeanette then headed up to the West Hills to see the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden The garden is up in the West Hills
|West Portland and suburbs showing the Japanese Garden|
The Japanese Garden takes up about 5 acres and has a few distinct types of gardens you’ll find in Japan. Portland has an annual Rose Festival in June with a queen, princesses, at least 3 parades, a fun center and musical events. The rose test garden up in the West Hills has row after row of beautiful roses. By July they are a little past their prime; but still a must-see place for the out of town visitor.
|Starr, Linda, Jeanette, and Carla at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon|
On our road trip we debated different routes from the Grand Canyon to home. A very beautiful route is up through Utah and Idaho and down the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. Because we spent the night after the Grand Canyon in Williams, Arizona it made more sense to drive up through California. But it goes without saying Jeanette had to see the gorge. The gorge has been evolving over the past 17 million years but its big transformation came thanks to the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age. Enormous ice dams were created up in the Rocky Mountains in the area that is now Montana.
|Map view of the Columbia Gorge|
The dam gave way periodically over a few thousand years and the resulting floods carved the gorge. We have the floods to thank for our beautiful soil in the Williamette Valley which give us superb, world-class wines. The Palouse in Washington was also formed by the Missoula Floods. There is great land for wheat and the high flat area is littered with enormous boulders. You’ve noticed I’ve used the word “big, huge, enormous” here. It’s hard to get an idea of the grandeur and size of this area from words alone.
|Looking east up the Columbia Gorge|
We were up in the Columbia Gorge in March; you can read the account and see some more pictures here.
On Jeanette’s final day Carla took her 60 miles west of Portland to the Pacific Ocean.
|Carla and Jeanette visited Canon Beach; just south of Seaside on the map.|
You can see the Williamette Valley in the map above, carved out between the Cascade Mountains on the west and the Coast Range on the east.
|Jeanette, north of Canon Beach looking toward Haystack Rock|
|Jeanette in front of Haystack Rock in Canon Beach, Oregon.|
You can see our weather in Portland is very different from the areas we passed through on our trip. So much of the American west is arid. The area from Eugene, Oregon (100 miles south of Portland) up through Tacoma, Seattle Washington and into Vancouver British Columbia is an idyllic green and fertile oasis. We do get our hot days here (it’s 90˚ F as I write this today) but the heat waves don’t last long. Winters are cool with maybe one snow storm a year. We can get out and walk virtually every day of the year. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.