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Tracy and I finally decided to head down to Portland, Oregon, for Labor Day weekend this year. We didn’t decide to do so until a few days before hand so we had to make plans quickly. I also called my cousin who lives in Portland to arrange to meet him for dinner Saturday night.

After dropping Suzie off at the kennel since we were staying in a hotel the first night, we packed up the car, top off the gas tank, and 2 hours later we were a mere 45 miles from the gas station. We left around 2:40 PM on a Friday on Labor Day weekend, so the interstate was jam-packed with people who seem to fear S-curves.

With little time to spare, we attempted our arranged stop at Mount St. Helens. It was an invigorating rush to drive to Coldwater Ridge – about 45 miles from I-5 – before the sun set. It’s a good thing German-engineered cars are designed to handle such terrain. We made it with enough time to capture a few shots like you see below, as well as just take in the majesty of such destruction but blossoming life.

We made it into Portland late and got a little lost, finding the rather shady side of town often found near airports. Once we got there, our hotel room was quite nice and a welcome comfort after quite a long drive. The next morning we slept in a little and went to Multnomah Falls. I’ve wanted to get down there since my parents told me of it, since I happened to mention such a tall fall they had a picture of. Tall it is! Unfortunately, the sun wouldn’t peek out from behind the cliff but I think the shots still came off good. Tracy found out that the best time of year to go when the sun is shining on the falls is afternoon around June 15th.

After stopping by a couple of other falls, like Horsetail Falls where we took a picture of ourselves (my odd hand position is me pressing the remote to our camera and not thinking to hide it better), we went back to downtown Portland. We walked around and had a good lunch, then went to the Pearl District for an art festival. There were quite a few interesting and beautiful things there. We also thought Portland was like a cleaner Seattle: less trash, fewer vagrants, and well-kept walls and sidewalks. The streets weren’t quite as narrow either, which is wonderful consider how often a two-lane road in Seattle is no better than a single lane. We did find a Columbia Sportswear store. I do like Columbia. I’ve been looking for a waterproof soft shell (breathable and versatile) and found one there for quite a bit cheaper than at REI. We also found me a couple of nice shirts that are a bit different than what I have already. Now that I’m losing weight some of my more baggy clothes need to go.

Finally, we decided to find my cousin’s house. We met his girlfriend and another friend of his, chatted, and went to dinner at a fascinating and delicious restaurant. This place is a small chain that buys old properties and converts them into restaurants, hotels, and even theaters. This particular property was an old school, where the detention hall was a bar (there were several) and it had two restaurants and a movie theater. The gym looked like a banquet hall and there was still more we didn’t fully explore.

We did want to go to Cannon Beach where the famous Haystack rock formation is, but we wouldn’t have made it by sunset. Even before we left for Portland we doubted that we’d find a campsite since all tent sites were first-come, first-serve and it was Labor Day weekend. Now that Tracy has a different role, though, we’ll have more weekends to do things like going back down there. I’ve seen a lot of spectacular photographs of Cannon Beach at dusk, and it looks very romantic. We ended up chatting a little longer at the restaurant and headed back to Seattle. Traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as when we left and we made it back safely.

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