Good Day Portland

We loved our drive through the Blalock Canyon and Columbia River Gorge on our way to Portland. The hills were scattered with wind giants (wind driven power turbines). It gives you hope that where possible, as a nation we are seeking alternative power sources. We also passed a large number of wind and kite surfers. It is a world famous spot for those sports.

We stayed at the Inn at Northrup Station which is located in the Nob Hill district – the northwest section of the city. The hotel was great and the convenience (a streetcar station was literally out the front doors) was awesome. We spent a lot of time riding the streetcars – getting on and off when the spirit moved us-and exploring the city. The weather over our 4 days was spectacular – 70’s, breezy, sunny and no humidity! Of course we love the southeast that we call home but I do NOT miss the summer humidity!

On our last full day we took a 4 mile hike in the historic Forest Hills area. It was very close to our hotel and an oasis of nature. We joined many other nature and fitness enthusiasts as we jogged/walked the Leif Erikson trail!

I found several great consignment stores and was lucky to find great treats with the right price tag. I love buying clothes that support a true recycle and reuse mindset. We were also lucky to still be there on Saturday morning for the Portland Saturday Market – an arts and craft lovers dream! We all enjoyed seeing the work of West Coast artists and purchasing some great presents for others.

The many people sleeping in the waterfront park stirred my soul. I became mindful of the reality that we may be passing out “blessing bags” but that outreach is followed by our sleeping in a nice hotel, eating wonderful food and buying more stuff. Doing something for others is better than being self-centered and self-focused all the time – but the amount we are sharing is a fraction of what we are consuming ourselves. I consider the time to ponder these deep thoughts and questions as one of the greatest gifts of this trip! I also embrace the opportunities we take as a family to talk about them.

Portland gets two thumbs up from me! Love to all of you!


Our first full day in Portland began with the wake up call and a hectic transit to the docks. Then meeting our guide Lewis we geared up and put the kayaks in the water, and happily got in. We began our journey through the Willamette River main channel to Ross Island. Once reaching Ross Island, we veered to the left and started around the island. About halfway to the other side of the island we came across a mother wood duck and her ducklings. On the other side of the island we encountered some large birds of prey. The journey back to the docks was an experience through the cross winds which took an extra effort and push. It was something different and fun and still a great experience.

We had a lot of good food in Portland, but some of the best were donuts that seemed to be cursed with Voodoo goodness. Voodoo Donuts is a famous donut shop in downtown Portland. Turns out that we weren’t the only ones that wanted a bite of “heaven on wax paper” as Dad calls it. The line outside the store was long, very long. Timing it on my watch, we waited in line for 45 minutes! By the time we got to the front we spent almost 20 more minutes trying to make crucial decisions, “Which Donuts to Pick?” However our cashier was very nice and was very patient, we did not feel rushed at all. The wait was well worth the reward though! Beck got a Classic Voodoo Doll (the original), a Maple Bacon Bar, and a Tangtastic. Dad got a Maple Bacon Bar, a D.O.B. (Dirty Old B.), and a Buttermilk Bar. Mom got a regular Maple Bar, A Butterfinger Donut (not sure of the official name), and a Bavarian Creme (also not sure of the name). And I got a Voodoo Doll, a Maple Bacon Bar, and an Oreo Donut. Dad, Beck, and I all agreed that our favorite was the Maple Bacon Bar, an indescribably good combination sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy, well it was just plain perfect. Mom’s favorite was the Butterfinger one, which was a chocolate cake donut topped with butterfinger. We were all very satisfied after finishing off our donuts, and despite our efforts, we did not return to the magical Voodoo Donuts in Portland.

Portland was a good combination of unique food and quality time together.

-Griffin and Beck

As mentioned above the drive through the gorge was beautiful and somewhat other worldly at the beginning, grassy with volcanic looking rocks all around. The gorge was shaped by glaciers and is wild looking as the wind blows constantly and the water rushes through a number of dams along the way.

The boys were right about eating some good food, one afternoon as Angie was browsing the consignment shops, we found a cluster of food trucks , which dot the city. We decided to sample a number of dishes and came away with some “heaven on a paper plate.”  Cackalacks Hot Chicken , Viking Soul food wraps, Italian Ice sodas and Hot Box lobster ravioli were our choices. We all voted the hot chicken sandwich the best. The Viking wraps which included one with smoked salmon and dill sauce and another with pork meatballs wrapped in a potato pancake were a close second. We brought Angie a few bites and she liked the salmon wrap best. The food trucks are all around the city and are a great way to taste different cuisines.

One night we came across an outdoor street party called Sundown @ Ecotrust.  They had booths about the environment, green energy, and reliable sustainability. There was a local band called the Dimes, which we all enjoyed along with the food and drinks. It was a great night weather wise and all appreciated the time outside soaking in the atmosphere.

Portland-food, weather, streetcar, kayaking, people watching ….. all in all a great visit.