Portland, Oregon

We were fortunate to have enough time to head further north up the coast after leaving our little home on the beach. Along the way, we abruptly stopped in a town when we could see the waves crashing above the street.

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We had just happened to have driven through at high tide. Our cameras, clothing and the car were all covered with salt spray which was fun but led us to stop and drive through a carwash a little later. Janie and I know how to have fun!

The views along the coast were gorgeous. The sun sparkled on the water where rocks met the sea. We had to pass on visiting the sea lion rocks and the devil’s punchbowl with its swirling water but we did stop for a final view of the Pacific- gorgeous.

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As we drove further inland, we were in more familiar New England like vegetation with deciduous trees in various flaming colors. The crops were different however, as we drove through Oregon wine country with vineyard signs on either side of the road, enticing us to try their wares. Under a time deadline, we passed on those opportunities and followed our directions to my friend,Jim’s house in suburban Portland.

Janie and I made our quick, but no less tearless goodbyes, as Jim welcomed me to his home. Jim and I sang together in a chorale in Brattleboro before he moved west over 10 years ago.
His daughter was an infant the last time I saw her. Now she is an active 11 year old on an undefeated soccer team (I got to see the last part of the last game of the season). How come we don’t look (or feel) any older?

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On Friday, Jim and I drove to the Columbia River Gorge to take advantage of a rare, rainless Oregon day. We did a hike up Eagle Creek, enjoying the fall colors. Anyone with a fear of heights would not have enjoyed the views from the bridges that crossed the creek many feet above, nor the trail with places cut out from the rock,only 18 inches or so wide.

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There were a few waterfalls along the way on a different scale than Yosemite but no less beautiful.

On the way back, we stopped for smoked salmon, sold by “Indian Joe” from a cooler near a bridge over the Columbia. It was delicious in scrambled eggs the next morning. Jim drove me to a REI store where I spent a lot of time finding just the right lightweight hiking boots for me to take to Nepal next year. The salesclerks were very knowledgable and I hope I found just the right shoes for my oddly shaped feet.

Now, I’m writing in my equivalent of a grownup’s version of the North Pole- Powell’s bookstore in downtown Portland. I believe it is the largest bookstore in the world. You get a map when you enter and the many rooms are color-coded by different categories of books. Used books are filed in with new ones. There are cases with recommended books in all areas of the store as well as shelves of interesting gifts like beautiful journals and calendars. The last time I was here I left with an armload of books at the end of a trip. This time I’m heading to the airport in the morning and would love not to have to check any bags. It will take great restraint to be limited in my purchases.

My room at the Hotel Lucia (found at a major discount online) is not yet ready but I’m willing to spend the rest of the afternoon here on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Now, how many books can I read before I leave here today?!

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