Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Portland and onwards: the adventure ends

Into Los Angeles after a night of flying in the light. I always love flying in over snow peaks which we did, though the photos are unspectacular. The land ranged from circular agricultural fields to desert to ridges and peaks, some most spectacular. We will have to make a point of seeing more of the American countryside.

A wait for a number of hours in the Alaska terminal with just a few food outlets was dreary. Starbucks, Burger King and a fish restaurant left only one choice. We were astonished to be asked for proof of age when ordering a beer. We thought he was joking but he was very serious. The prawns and fish and chips were ordinary. Then a tarmac boarding for a good flight into Portland, arriving at about 11.00, so we hired our car and  were at the little apartment we like and into bed by 12.45. (though we thought it was morning of course).

Rather than deal with the visit chronologically I might show some aspects of Portland and then the family we had come so far to visit.

Portland is a city divided by a river and it has many bridges. They are either high, or lift or turn in the centre for shipping. High waters recently stopped some navy ships coming upriver. I didn’t set out to photograph them all but here are a few.

Freemont Bridge
Steel Bridge
Burnside bridge

The street from our place to our son’s and back became very familiar. We found the constant traffic lights that changed to green just ahead of the car made the drive at 30mph quite smooth and we loved the grid system that allowed us to make good guesstimates of how to reach a target corner.

Driving up Burnside (click to enlarge)
Evening traffic

I managed a few photos of the neon lights in shops and on buildings but they are ubiquitous, everything from a beer ad, to open signs to indicators of an ATM inside. Every shopfront has one it seems.

hearing test
Well, actually, it was night, and closed
Interesting juxtaposition
I don’t think this one closes

A few other sights around the town. The leaping deer is an icon of Portland and the golden building catches the light, even in a lowering storm.

Portland icon
Bancorp Tower

Plus wildlife we don’t have in Australia.


Smart squirrel eats the bird seed from the feeders above

We ate a number of lovely restaurants, mostly forgetting to take photos. One was Screen Door, which served Southern food. I loved my buttermilk fried chicken and creamy potatoes though the collard greens had flecks of fresh chilli and were at my limit of tolerance for heat (and I usually like hot curries). Nick ordered ruby trout and really enjoyed it. We passed on desserts after the massive portions of the main course because, in typical southern fashion, they were rich. We saw the strawberry dessert pass by, about 6 inches high and with huge helpings of cream. The atmosphere was great fun and people were lining up out the doors.

A great casual atmosphere in Screen Door

Another place was Meriwethers which uses its own home grown vegetables and sources its meat locally. There was a gorgeous, huge peony on the table, salmon pink, which had been grown on the farm. I had diver scallops on lentils, the lentils surprisingly rich with bacon and butter. Beautifully cooked scallops.


Of course we ate in a number of casual eateries at which grandson Ryden did his best to absorb food by osmosis through the skin and showed his generally sunny side. He is just the happiest of kids, loves his food and is quite self-sufficient at entertaining himself.

Beets and apricots, yum!
Love you dad!
Lunch is fun
I’m finished
Life is not going quite as planned right now

I mentioned the scenery. In typical Portland fashion the grey clouds descended after a few days and I had a burning urge to see Mt Hood clothed in snow. Finally, on the day we left the cloud lifted and we had a great morning at Rocky Butte taking photos of the mountains and of course, of our young “American family” who got married on this site.

Mt Hoodmumnry_edited-1
I can fly
Christine and Ryden
I can crawl
Mt St Helens looking meekfamily2-rockybutte
The family
I can walk, but not by myself

Me and dad and Mt Hood

As we flew out we could see the mountains from the plane too. But it was much harder to leave family and a very dear little grandson behind.

Coming into San Francisco was sudden and I only had time to get a shot or two of the city and the amazing (and never mentioned) salt pans on the harbour before we landed.

Bay Bridge, San Francisco
Salt pans in the harbour

We had about 6 hours to fill in the lounge in San Francisco and we were not impressed with the Business Lounge offerings from United. A red or white house wine, cheap spirits, coffee, tea and a few post-mix drinks and nibble snacks like trailmix, except less healthy, plus a bit of fresh fruit. We needed something more substantial as we didn’t board till 10.30pm. At least we got comfy seats and WiFi access so we spent time reading and doing photos.

The trip, however, was good. Smooth, and the lay flat beds worked well. The food was also quite good and the service professional. I actually slept for a number of hours which is unusual for me. And as dawn broke in Sydney (and the airport curfew lifted) we came in over Botany Bay. Home again.


The fact that the luggage didn’t make it was actually a blessing. It would be delivered to the door the next day. We rolled our carry-on out to the waiting shuttle and headed home for a long sleep.

That’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

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