Tag Archive | Travel

Time Flies…

Wow – it sure does fly especially with work, family, friends… While I have been out adventuring, I have yet to share the photos here. Life happened and time got away. Now I’m sick at home, taking a sick day from work and catching up with blogging – reading others’ blog posts and actually posting one on mine. I’ve missed sharing adventures here. If I wasn’t coughing and feeling miserable – I’d go someplace.  Looking back over these photos has helped me feel somewhat better though. Along with being sick, I have a bit of the winter blues as well, so I have decided to share a few photos from summer adventures.

At one point way back last summer, I made it to Ivar’s in Seattle for lunch and highly recommend it. While the fresh fish is always tasty, eating it outside with the seagulls makes the experience fun. The signs make me laugh. Whether or not you enjoy sharing your food with the birds, it is entertaining to watch others do so, especially when a by flying seagulls snatch high held French fries.


Traveling further north to see family, I spent a few days in Bellingham, Washington that same trip. Bellingham is a beautiful little city just south of the Canadian border on the Puget Sound. Sadly, the summer haze reminded everyone that forest fires were blazing not too far away in both US and Canadian forests. While there I went on “normal life adventures”, like going to the Whatcome county dump and eating raspberry vanilla swirl ice cream at the local Edaleen Dairy.


Later in the summer, before the warm weather disappeared, I attended the annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon. For the third year straight, I have entered and won their amateur photo contest. In 2017 I was the only one to enter (my family joked that I was the “featured photographer”), but this year I had some competition, including my work manager and her daughter! I still won a couple entries despite the increase of competitors.


Even though the coast is beautiful any time of the year, it is a quintessential destination in the summer, and I was able to check that destination off my summer list. Canon Beach, Oregon is simply one of my favorite spots along the northern Oregon coast.


By stopping and perusing my old photos, I realized I had forgotten about my afternoon in Rainier, Oregon, “The Spirited City on the Mighty Columbia.” I had driven up there to attend church with friends one Sunday morning, but due to a misunderstanding, we missed each other. They went out of town that Sunday. So there I was about an hour away from home and figured I would just explore the little town. I found myself taking a Sunday stroll through Riverside Park and learning about the Coho salmon that travel up and down Fox Creek to the Columbia River. I had expected to enjoy a lively afternoon with friends, perhaps eating out, talking and laughing, but enjoyed a more calm and quiet afternoon instead. It wasn’t the adventure I set out for, but it turned out great!

 

 

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Mt. St. Helens, Silver Lake, WA

After berry picking, I got on I-5 and headed home. The great thing about having a free day is the ability to be spontaneous. On a whim I decided to stop at the Mount Saint Helen’s visitor center, a five-mile detour east off I-5. When I got there, I found a wonderful view of the mountain over Silver Lake. Despite the light haze from distant forest fires, the view was beautiful.  Since I had some time leeway, I decided to take the Silver Lake Wetland Haven Trail, an easy one mile loop, and stretch my legs.  The sign promised: “This loop trail guides you through an intriguing marsh wetland, home to creatures galore within one single sheltered cove of Silver Lake.” The easy hard packed gravel was a walk in the park, very easy, with a super accessible view of the mountain. With interpretive signs and benches along the trail, it was a very informative walk as well.

It is amazing to think that the mountain blew its top in 1980, 37 years ago. The area is beautiful now.  It is hard to imagine that the area was covered with ash for miles around, and the destruction wrecked on the people and land is appalling to think about. 57 people died that day. However, it is also an encouraging thing to keep in mind as forest fires currently rage through Oregon, Washington and along the entire West Coast.  There is hope that the land can heal and the forage can grow back again after a major disaster.

Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center
Exit 49 off I-5
360-274-0962

 

Portland, Oregon – Part Two

Late in the afternoon Tina and I again made our way into Portland. Just as we entered Multnomah County, we made our first stop – Cornell Farm and Cafe. Here we enjoyed hot drinks (despite the warmth of the day) among the pots of plants and flowers for sale. The chamomile and lavender tea pleased me and the Monk’s Coffee latte apparently pleased Tina just as well.

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Refreshed, we proceeded into Portland. Tina and I never run out of things to talk about, which is good thing because traffic into Portland seemed especially backed up this particular weekday afternoon. After creeping along for several miles and getting to point where we joked about climbing the rocks and cliffs along the road during the long minutes we waited for our turn to creep up a few feet, we came upon the reason for decreased speed – a downed power line. The police were there with flares and soon after passing the spot, the flow of traffic picked right up.

Once in Portland, we hit a couple shops – the World Market and Zupan’s. Eating our Digestives from the World Market, we walked up Burnside Street a short distance and caught a couple shots of Mt. Hood. Yesterday we passed up all three of these things because our driver had been determined to go straight to Wailua Shave Ice.

 

Then we visited Powell’s just long enough to find the spot in the Pink room where we once ate Voodoo Doughnuts (also the second and last time I ate them because I dislike them, despite their fame). That last visit together to Powell’s, we figured happened seven years ago.

We also found the foreign language section. I became really excited when I found Enid Blyton books. Fond and slightly forgotten memories of reading her Famous Five and Secret Seven books (which most likely – but subconsciously – inspired our self-titled Fabulous Five moniker) came back immediately. Originally written and published in Great Britain, these particular books had been translated into German. Tina found a childhood favorite, a Dr. Seuss book, translated into a Middle Eastern language. The scripted font, so different from the alphabet we’re used to, and the right to left layout of the book made it seem like new book. After hanging out in Powell’s, we had one more stop to make.

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Unable to go off to a foreign country, we thought visiting an embassy might be the next best thing. However, Portland doesn’t have any foreign embassies. A handful of foreign consulates reside here however. Through Google, we found the address for the Royal Norwegian Consult, but we didn’t know if it was an office or home address. After turning right too soon twice, driving by the building twice and accidentally running a red light, we finally found the building complex, one with a mix of business and residential units. As late in the evening as it was, the shops had closed for the day, and we still don’t know if we were creepy and wandering around the base of someone’s home or simply weird, walking by an office.

We stumbled on a lovely walk along the Willamette River though. The Cottonwood Bay Trail, as the name implies, has many Cottonwoods. Recently released fluffy seeds paved the trail white. After pausing to take in the River, we headed home.

Portland, Oregon – Part One

I love traveling. I love finding new places, experiencing new tastes, sounds and sights, and learning new things. Generally I find these things are even better when I experience them with friends who appreciate the traveling experiences as well. Some of my best friends are those who see each day as an opportunity to explore – to go down new side streets, never fearing “getting lost”, to eat at new restaurants and find new favorite dishes, to stop to take a photo or to drive down a country back road, eager to see where it leads. Unless you are a hard-core solo traveler, I hope you have found a few travel friends as well!

One group of my friends in particular really enjoys traveling and exploring. The five of us jokingly refer to ourselves as “the Fabulous Five.” These are friends with whom I have shared in person many of the adventures I’ve shared here on this blog. Seattle, Columbia Hills State Park, and the Saint Paul Rodeo are just a few of the adventures we’ve taken together.

Well, the cookie crumbled and two of the Fabulous Five split off for the summer. One traveled up into Canada for a summer semester studying linguistics, while the other journeyed to the Czech Republic teaching English. Honestly, I’m a little jealous. The remaining three of us, balancing work and other responsibilities, are facing a summer of local adventuring. We determined we would enjoy it anyway.

We three decided and planned to “do something together“. We had ideas, but nothing set. Over a homemade lunch we tossed around ideas and finally decided to drive into Portland, try Wailua Shave Ice and visit Powell’s City of Books – something new and something old.

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Wailua Shave Ice is located in a small pedestrian only mall, Union Way, across West Burnside Street from Powell’s City of Books bookstore. Among the handful of small neighboring shops, Wailua was definitely the most popular spot. We joined close to 20 people in line and tried to decide which delicious sounding shave ice to buy. Eventually I decided on the Almond Joy.

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As we slowly shifted down the line, I got a bit bored, so leaving Anna as a delegate in line, Tina and I set out down the corridor and out the other end of the mall. We made our way around the block and across the street to Powell’s. I sure love that store! Living outside of Portland, I dread going in to the city, but I’ll go if we’re going to Powell’s. The huge bookstore with its warm charm, mixed shelves of new and used books, concrete split-level floors, color-coded rooms, coffee infused air and absolutely necessary information desk, always offers an enjoyable experience.

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Planning on coming back after eating the shave ice, we made our way in one entrance, skipped through one level and up to another and out a different exit. We then made our way back to Wailua where we discovered our held place in line had not made as much of an advancement as we had hoped. Even so, everyone seemed in good spirits and the three of us speculated about the treat we would soon try.

Once we got to the counter and ordered, I saw why they call it “shave ice” and not simply “snow cones”. The light fine ice base reminded me of powder snow; it was not the pebbly ice of your typical snow cone. The drizzled full flavored coconut syrup left no question of its good quality; it was not the typical snow cone cheap sugary artificial color and flavor. It turned out to be one of those treats you can justify and feel good about indulging. The Nutella, toasted coconuts and almonds popped with the coconut ice and fully justified the $6.

By the time we got the shave ice, our paid time for parking was almost up. We decided to forgo Powell’s to instead stop at Scrap PDX. The shop, resembling a thrift store and a discount store merged into one, sells only goods geared for art projects. In a rather over whelming fashion, bins of yarn, cloth and sewing filled one corner, chests and drawers full of beads filled another, along with poster board, plastic of random shapes and colors, paints and all sorts of other things filling in the middle. It made me think of my aunt, an elementary school art teacher of 40 years, and her house. Materials to make all kinds of fun art projects along with half finished demos of the projects lie strewn all over her house. This store was like that. I could see this store as being a go-to spot to find random material you may need for this or that project, but then again, you might just want to go with an open mind…

With dinner and evening time constraints, about this time we headed home. However – we didn’t quite make to a few places, and Tina and I decided to extend the adventure to the next afternoon after work.

Centralia & Chehalis, Washington

Two hours and fifteen minutes– that’s it!
 That’s all it was? Wow!
Yep – not far, huh?
No – not far at all!

Now you have a mini recap of the conversation I had with myself as I pulled up behind my old friend’s car in front of the house where she has been living for over a year now. With her extended family living relatively close to me, over the past year or two we had been occasionally meeting up when she came by to visit them. This time, my sister and I were visiting her!

With a couple 5 to 10 mile stretches of pouring rain, the trip seemed longer than the actual time it took. Oregon speed limit on I-5 caps at 65 miles an hour. In Washington it increases to 70 miles an hour. Even though I tend to push the speed limit, with the pouring rain, unfamiliar road and 5 mile an hour increase, at times the short trip north was a bit stressful.

I don’t think I’ve ever stopped in either Chehalis or Centralia beyond briefly stopping for hot chocolate (Dutch Bros or Fiddler’s) or to eat a couple of times (Country Cousins) on the way up to Bellingham. These two towns are very close and together had more than I expected or ever noticed from I-5.

After chatting a bit, my friend took us to her favorite area lunch place – Once Upon A Thyme. It was a quaint restaurant with down-home, antique charm. The kitschy covered high walls balanced the large open eating space with a warm country home appeal. I totally recommend the pesto and olive pizza! Thickly spread with pesto and generously covered with greens, feta, dried tomatoes and olives, on soft multi-grain crust, the slice made quite an impression on me!

After lunch we headed off to the Rails to Trails. I was told it is a fifty mile paved trail that runs where train tracks once ran, and it runs all the way to the coast. Apparently it is a favorite trail for bicyclists, walkers, dogs and their people, and blackberry pickers in the summer. Sadly, we had not gone far before the weather decided to shift from being merely overcast to down pouring with both rain and hail. As we hurried back to the car, we laughed about how quickly our Pacific Northwest spring weather can change. It’ll probably pass in a few minutes and be sunny the rest of the day we speculated, and we surmised correctly.

We went back to our friend’s house and enjoyed her homemade coffee cake and tea. As we warmed up, so did the weather. Even though we did not walk in it, it made for a nice, relaxed drive home for dinner. I should have stopped to photograph some of the bright green hills, blue sky and warm sunshine, but they will have to live on in my memory.

The road to a friend’s house is never long!
Danish Proverb

Seattle, Washington.

Last weekend a couple of my chums and I took a low budget and absolute blast weekend trip to Seattle, WA. Here are some of the highlights from our two-day, one night adventure! It wasn’t until I was compiling this list that I noticed that we visited quite a few parks. Seattle seems set up for enjoying nature and being immersed in it.

Pike Place Market – Pike St. & 1st Ave.
This eclectic and vibrant market area, where locals and tourists mingle, offers all sorts of goods to look at and buy. Fresh flowers, seafood, tea, coffee (first Starbucks location!), all kinds of food, clothing, collectibles, souvenirs and so much more from over 500 vendors please the crowds daily. Despite being packed like a cat in a small box, we ended up with 3 large bouquets of flowers on our drive home – couldn’t resist!

  • Free to wander and explore
  • Reasonably priced food and finds

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Sam Olympic Sculpture Park – Western Ave. & Broad St.
A city park and green space along the Puget Sound with interesting large sculptures and well-maintained gravel paths connected to Myrtle Edwards Park by a walking bridge.

  • Free to wander
  • Free western Sound view with art to admire

Picture 3DSC_0107Kerry Park – W. Highland Dr. & 3rd Ave. W
On the paper map it’s labeled Bayview Kinnear Park. This small neighborhood park overlooks the Puget Sound and the Seattle downtown skyline with a great view of the Space Needle and, on a clear day (which we didn’t have), Mount Rainier.

  • Free and often photographed view (think quintessential postcard)
  • Play structures

Lake Union & Lake Union Park
Water and waterways surround and interconnect Seattle. This particular lake, one of the smaller bodies of water, offers plenty, including sights of the Space Needle and historic Gas Works Park.

  • Center for Wooden Boats – free half hour sailing excursions on Sundays
  • Fremont Avenue Seattle Ferry Service – low cost tours of Lake Union
  • Free to wander and watch the boats sail

Picture 5Mystery Pop Machine – E. John Street between 9th and 10th
In front of the Locksmith shop resides an old soda pop machine. Its six selection buttons all labeled “Mystery” give you no clues to that day’s flavor choices. You could get Coke or you might get Pepsi. We tried all six buttons and got six different drinks.

  • $.75 for a random pop

Seattle Central Public Library – 5th Ave. & Madison St.
A striking structure designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Netherlands and built in 2004, the abstract-looking building has caught my imagination numerous times. This time we actually went in and took a quick tour. Wow! It was more impressive on the inside than the outside! I’d never been in a library with escalators and spiral levels instead of floors. I loved how all the glass allowed for so much natural light.

  • Free self-guided tour of the 11 levels of the library

Picture 6DSC_0258Jack Perry Park – near S. Massachusetts St. on Alaska Way S.
A small, little out of the way, park and public water access next to the Coast Guard Station. It took us some time to actually find it, but if you get on Alaskan Way South and drive south, it’s on the edge of town, on the right, down an unassuming drive.

  • Free to park and hang out

A few miscellaneous thoughts on keeping costs low without sacrificing a good time:

  • Parking – It turned out to be cheaper on the street than a garage for the most part – for the areas we were parking. Street parking was between $1-$4.50 an hour, and Sunday was free to park on the street. However, we did find parking in garages with charges as cheap as $10 a day.
  • Gas – Our estimation was not too off, but we learned to estimate a little higher on the next trip.
  • Food – We packed most of ours and only bought dessert, drinks and snacks.
  • Lodging – We chose to stay at a place through Airbnb. It was not exactly cheap, but divided among friends the one we stayed at was reasonable for a safe and clean place to stay.

Maps

The other day I visited my local AAA branch office and picked up some old school paper maps! With my triple-A membership, I get them free!*

I love paper maps.

Sure, it takes more work to estimate the travel time, distance and route with paper maps than with online maps, but I don’t usually use them for that. I use them for the perspective and sense of place I get from spreading them out and seeing the big solid picture. That grounding element makes them worthwhile to me. I also use sticky note tabs to mark points of interest and get a visual that doesn’t disappear if I happen to jostle it and hit the back button too many times or accidentally unplug it. I use Google maps or Mapquest or TripTik to figure out the best way to get somewhere – the shortest distance, the quickest time, the one avoiding highways or with some other filter – and for turn-by-turn directions. Using paper maps in conjunction with online maps, I always feel better prepared. When I feel prepared, then I feel excited.

As you can see, I am preparing for travel up North – two trips potentially. The first one is a pretty definite weekend trip with a group of friends to Seattle; we’ve been talking about it for the better half of a year. I pass through Seattle several times each year, but rarely stop to enjoy the sights, so I am looking forward to spending some time there. A second trip could be a day trip to southwest Washington to visit a long time friend and possibly go explore Tacoma with her. However, if my dad drives to the Carolinas, the second trip will likely be postponed, as I would jump at the chance to drive cross-country again. And the Wenatchee and British Columbia/Alberta maps? They’re for travel dreaming purposes.

* Honestly just a pleased, not paid, satisfied member statement.

15 Ways to Sound like a Local Oregonian

While traveling, what do you not want to do? One of the worst things to do is to blatantly ignore local lingo and sound like an obnoxious outsider. No one enjoys a visitor whose accent prevents clear communication or one who doesn’t try to learn basic words in the local language or a visitor who expects everyone to speak his or her language. It is especially annoying when that visitor doesn’t even try to help you understand what he or she is trying to say. There is nothing wrong with being from elsewhere and, if you are respectful and understandable, speaking with your native accent is perfectly fine. I personally take pleasure in hearing foreign accents and seeing out-of-towners enjoying my hometown. It helps me stop and notice the unique and special parts that may have become common place.

But sometimes we travelers have reasons for not wanting to sound like foreigners. If you want to sound like a local or like you belong there, you pay attention to how locals say things. If you don’t want to call attention to the fact you are from elsewhere, you want to blend and experience the location and culture without alerting others to the fact that you are new to the area, you try to imitate the locals. If you are nervous about being taken advantage as a stranger, you keep your ears and eyes wide open, your mouth shut and when you do open it, you really try to sound like a confident local. If you want to be better understood, you try to assimilate some of the local accent. If you want to show respect to the people and customs of a culture, pronouncing things as the locals do can show that desire.

Through my own travels and by hosting visitors, I have noticed a few things that are different here at home. For whatever reason you might have, here are fifteen tips for sounding and coming across like a local here in Oregon, USA, particularly the Northwest corner.

  1. Call Interstate 5: “I-5”. The letter “I” and the number “5”. Don’t refer to it as “Route 5” as my mom’s cousins from the East Coast did.
  2. Highway 26 is referred to as “The Sunset Highway,” “The Sunset” or simply “26”.
  3. Pacific Highway is called either “99” or “99-W”.
  4. While Oregon has golden sandy beaches and we do “go to the beach”, we more often “go to the coast”. We never “go to the seaside,” because Seaside is a coastal town.
  5. When you see Mount Hood (or any of the other elusive snow capped Cascades), you note it by saying, “Look, the mountain is out!” There are days when it is not out, and you can’t see it, despite it being a relatively clear day.
  6. Oregon is pronounced “Or-uh-gun,” and if you can’t manage that, “Organ,” like the musical instrument, will do.
  7. People from Oregon are called Oregonians, pronounced, “Or-uh-go-knee-ens.”
  8. Willamette, as in the ‘Willamette River’ and the ‘Willamette Valley,’ is pronounced “Will-lamb-it,” not “Will-uh-met.”
  9. We refer to the state of Washington as simply “Washington”. We refer to the U.S. Capital as either “D.C.” or “Washington D.C.”
  10. The drinks of choice around here are coffee, micro-brew beer, tea, kombucha and water. If you want the fizzy, non-alcoholic soft drink ask for a “pop,” but if you happen to ask for “soda,” no one will notice if you keep the other lingo correct.
  11. Distance is gauged in time more often than actual miles. It is very common to say something along the lines of, “I live like 5 minutes from here” rather than estimate miles as in, “I live like 2 miles from here,” even though both may be true.
  12. There is no state sales tax. What the price sticker says is the item’s price is what you will pay for the item. You don’t have to be surprised and ask, “That’s all it is?” They get our tax money other ways.
  13. Most Oregonians go to the coast rain or shine. Granted, more people go in late spring through early fall, and it is busier with more things to do. Thankfully however, we have Mo’s restaurants – a local chain started in Newport, Oregon. Mo’s restaurants have the best clam chowder, and it tastes even better on a raw, rainy day after a good long walk in the sand. If you think rain is a reason for not going to the beach, people might wonder where you’re from. (California?)
  14. We have coffee shops and drive through coffee shops all over the place. One time when I was traveling with friends, we hit the road, and we consciously decided to pass about four coffee shops within 10-minutes of driving. Why? We wanted a particular coffee shop, and we wanted to drive up. This is not uncommon.
  15. Pumping your own gas is illegal here in Oregon. Trying to pump your own gas immediately tells everyone that you’re not from around here. (Again, California?) There are gas attendants who pump it for you. After you greet him or her, you say which (regular, plus or premium), how much (fill, so many dollars or so many gallons) and how you’re paying (sometimes with cash you have to walk in to the gas station to pay). It was so awkward for me the first time I had to put gas in a car; Clucker’s gas station in Wilmore, Kentucky will forever be memorable to me for it.

It’s a good life

Well, here it is, one week and a day from the new year. Along with writing this blog, I keep a personal open-ended list of “ah-ha” zingers and epiphanies. I list little thoughts or ideas that occur to me – things I want to remember in relation to this blog. Some of them are ideas for future entries, while others are more moment-realization-type thoughts. They aren’t exactly profound or necessarily uniquely insightful epiphanies, but for me, reading them later helps me keep perspective and not get lost. They help me see where I am and not forget where I was or have been.

Yesterday I felt a little down and a bit frustrated with my current situation. Lately my days have been focused on job searching, family challenges, holiday preparations and getting over a nasty cold; I haven’t gotten out much, seen many friends or taken my camera out for anything this month. As I was dourly contemplating my life, I paused to read my list.

I have been to some beautiful places.
I have seen some truly lovely days.
I have experienced some serene moments.
I have experienced a good life.
Looking back over the places I have featured, reflecting on my travels, makes me grateful that God has given me those moments. How easy I forget what a good life I have. Despite the rainy, day-in day-out humdrum days, I get opportunities to experience a wonderful life, if I choose to see it.

The reminder discovered from over-a-year-ago-me encouraged me. So far I have had a good life. I expect it will continue to be good, if I choose to have a good life. I hope you are choosing a good life and are doing things that help you remember the good in your world.

As this is most likely my last post of the year, I’ll leave sharing one a few of my favorite photos from this past year.

Merry Christmas! Peace on earth and good will toward all! Happy New Year!

Willamette Falls & Oregon City, Oregon

Oregon City, Oregon. I don’t know about you, but to me it has a ring to it (like New York, New York).  Despite the name, it’s more of a hamlet of hub-Portland than a hub itself. When a friend of mine came to town a couple weeks back and invited me on an adventure, we decided on visiting Oregon City. Why? Because of the Willamette Falls on the Willamette River. In my own travels I’ve paused to gaze at the Falls numerous times, but my friend hadn’t. Ever.

Once in Oregon City, I was unsure of the best place to view the Falls and figured we could explore or ask a local. Before we found anyone to ask, we spotted the Oregon Municipal Elevator – an outdoor elevator. While I’d seen it before, I’d never taken it; so what’d we do? We parked, fed the parking meter a silver Washington and dashed across the street to the hallway leading to the elevator. A trippy hallway with 10 or 12 frames on each wall, each frame held three images that changed as you shifted position. The pictures documented the elevator’s construction and history. Fascinating, but our goal of going up and down the elevator and on to the Falls overshadowed it. When we got in the elevator, we discovered a nice public employee running it. That same public employee turned out to be our nice local who directed us to the best viewing spot.

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Municipal Elevator

Once we stepped out of the elevator on the viewing deck, she directed us to our left and down the McLoughlin Promenade, a 7.8-acre park on the bluff overlooking the Willamette River. Dedicated in 1851, the park benefited from the Work Progress Administration with a stone walled concrete pathway built in 1938 and benefited from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which funded the restoration of the Promenade in 2010.

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A short easy walk brought us to truly the best spot I’ve found to view the Falls. Now if you’re like my friend and thinking “vertical” falls, you, like she, may be a little disappointed. The Willamette Falls, as you can see in the photos, flow more “horizontal,” with a short drop amongst an industrial setup. Also, the industrial buildings (power, mills and the like) mashed right up into the Falls appear rather weathered and decrepit. After viewing for a short while, we proceeded down the Promenade and walked the footbridge over 99E, a Blue Star Memorial Highway, and along and then under the train tracks, looping back to my car. The trek took us a grand 24 minutes.

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Oregon City, Oregon

Deciding on the Molalla State Park as our next destination, we headed out of town on 99E, but before completely leaving, I pulled the car over at the scenic area and historical marker. I’d viewed the Falls here many times. Here as we read the informational signs, the Falls’s value, with all its industry evidenced there, began to increase.

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Willamette Falls

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Willamette Falls

With basically a 40-foot drop, we learned that the “Willamette Falls is the second most powerful waterfall in North America.”  While some of the buildings at the Falls sit empty, some of them actually still see use and from the informational sign we learned what many of them are.  For example, one of the buildings is the T.W. Sullivan Powerhouse, built in 1893 and rebuilt in 1953, and is one of the oldest continuously operated power plants in the United States. The Museum, which I have to return to explore, has more information about the significance of the river and the Falls.

After properly admiring the Willamette Falls, my friend and I headed on to the Molalla State Park, took a soggy walk around and wrapped up our adventure by dinning at MOD Pizza. It’s amazing how hungry a person can get while adventuring!