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Posts from the ‘The Pacific Northwest’ Category

Three Weeks in Downtown Portland, Oregon

We sit on the basement “balcony” of our rented condo. Our heads barely above sea level, we have a great view of the Willamette River.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

McCormick Pier Condos, NW Portland, Oregon

Trains and draw bridges provide entertainment, along with a constant flow of bicyclists, pedestrians, and runners (don’t call them joggers) who cannot help to make eye contact with us as they turn a corner along the Portland River Walk.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The Broadway Bridge makes way for water traffic

Good thing that Jack cannot see anything from this basement balcony, as he would constantly bark. After a run-in with a loud train horn, he refuses to go on the river walk, not even for a swim.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Bicyclists, runners, and walkers travel the River Walk to Saturday Market

I enjoy the high pitch tuning fork tone of steel on steel train wheels. It feels like I’m back in my hometown of Mingo Junction, Ohio. Only the city of Pittsburgh boasts more bridges than Portland, Oregon.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Bridges, bridges everywhere

We’re searching for the “beat” of this city, other than the prevailing motto of “Keep Portland Weird.” Many folks bicycle to work, but that’s not terribly weird. Countless dog-friendly street side cafes serve organic food, and mass transit rules, but what’s so weird about that?

Photo by Marilynn Windust


We walk at least six miles daily (walk with your head on a swivel on account of the speeding bicyclists along the river and on the bridges), stopping only to eat meals and drink micro-brews. Although upscale restaurants are fantastic and casual, the permanent food carts are my favorite. The carts surround several city blocks and food ranges from Thai to Hawaiian, as well as new creations. Try the grilled cheese, filled with brie and sliced tomato.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The 10th and Alder Food Cart Pod in downtown Portland

Everyone seems nice. The “genuine homeless” and even the “youthful summer homeless” are polite, perhaps because of the many services of food and housing available. Vehicles stop for pedestrians. Stand on the corner by a crosswalk, and traffic will come to a halt until you cross the street. This is probably the weirdest thing of all.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The “young summer homeless” hanging out on the River Walk

The eternal long line at Voodoo Donuts appears a little strange, but those are mostly tourists. I like the chocolate and peanut butter creation. Mare prefers the maple bar topped with crisp bacon.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Oh my!

Many folks claim that Portland is the strip club capital of the US. We wonder if Portland might be the tattoo and skin piercing capital. According to “Google” the tattoo crown belongs to Miami. Even so, I’ve never seen so many young women with sleeves (arms covered in ink). Either way, the “tough guy” stereotype does not apply. They are too nice to look so rugged.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Oh yeah, skin art at it’s finest

It’s weird that most people in such a large city go out of their way to treat each other respectfully. Perhaps that’s what they mean by “Keep Portland Weird.”     Ron Mitchell

Photo by Marilynn Windust

View from Eastbank Esplanade



Ron Mitchell


Jack and I drive from Phoenix to Portland to hook-up with Mare. We plan to explore Oregon and Washington by camping, fishing, and hiking, when not mooching off of relatives (Sister Pat).

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The Columbia River Gorge

Most tent campsites along the Oregon coast sit right on the line that divides temperate rain forest from the beach. We build a fire, shuck oysters and crack Dungeness crab for several days, while camping at Beverly Beach State Park. A short walk to the beach and Jack does one of his favorite things in life…chasing sticks and digging for rocks in the water.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Near Beverly Beach Campground, Newport, Oregon

Haystack Rock in Pacific City provides some R&R, along with a little “combat” fishing on the Nestucca River. Mare talks with a local fisherman. “I watch from my house to see when the chinooks [King Salmon] start biting,” he says. “I let these guys do all the work fishing, and just come down when they start hitting.”

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Haystack Rock, Pacific City, Oregon

The man might be watching me all day long, as I have no chinook on my hook.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Fishing the Nestucca River in Pacific City, Oregon

It’s time to head north for a short hike around Cape Disappointment on the Washington coast, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean…named “Disappointment” when explorer John Meares thought he had discovered just another Bay, not a river. Still, it’s not disappointing at all to us.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, near Long Beach, Washington

Back in Oregon, we head inland for a long, exhilarating hike. This one takes us along Eagle Creek, winding through temperate rain forest in the Columbia River Gorge.

Photo by Ron Mitchell

Hiking along Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

We pass numerous waterfalls on a trail that weaves through moss-covered lava landslides and shady forest.

Photo by Ron Mitchell

Tunnel Falls. Yes, there is a tunnel right behind the waterfall. And a heck of a drop off from the trail after!

Six miles later we reach Tunnel Falls. We have lunch amidst a magical background. Rejuvenated for the hike back, we are lucky to have missed the crowds, as they pass us on their way in.


Photo by Marilynn Windust

Tunnel Falls

The coast keeps calling us, though, and soon we’ll venture to the southern Oregon coast.        Ron Mitchell