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My meeting began yesterday and will go through Thursday. Today we started at 7 (instead of 8), so we could leave early and take a sightseeing trip up the Columbia River gorge. We headed up the historic scenic highway, stopped at Chanticleer Point and then at Vista House for the views of the gorge, then started on waterfalls: Latourelle (wonderful columnar basalt outcroppings), Bridal Veil, and Multnomah.

I liked the placard at Multnomah that described a 400 ton, schoolbus sized rock that plummeted from the rockface of the falls into the upper pool in 1995, throwing a huge wave of water over the bridge that crosses between the upper and lower falls. The bridal party that was on the bridge for photographs got drenched. Various members of the wedding party were hurt by rock chips, including the groom who was hit in a rather...sensitive...location.

We then headed for Edgefield and McMenamins, the site of a former poor farm that has been developed as a winery, brewery, hotel, restaurant complex, you name it. We ate at the Power Station Pub after a short wait, during which we entertained ourselves by wandering around the old buildings, beer in hand. Good burgers.

I must mention last night's dinner spot, too: Jake's Grill in downtown Portland. It sounds like another burger/bar food sort of place, but in fact is upscale seafood and steak in a restored ca. 1900's hotel. Extensive wine list, too--Bruce (the local person) and his wife enjoy wine and picked this restaurant in part for the wine list. I had a sirloin steak Bordelaise with asparagus, Dungeness crab, and Yukon Gold potatoes, and it was luscious and perfectly prepared. After dinner, three of us walked to Moonstruck Chocolates, where I finally managed to buy chocolate Lab truffles (extra bittersweet) for my dog- and chocolate-loving friend Krissi. Oh, and a selection of dark chocolate truffles for me, too--I'll ration them out over a few weeks both for the calorie count and the financial aspect.
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I began the day meeting oregon_katy from piffle for breakfast at Bijou,Cafe, where we both had fresh orange juice and brioche French toast and piffled. Topics included Portland sightseeing, cats, geology, her work as a receptionist at a vet, animal rescues, beaver predation on trees, other pifflers we've met, and more.

I then headed back to the hotel to meet up with Todd, John, and our local guy, Bruce, who'd agreed to take us out to Mt. Hood. Mount Hood )

We drove back to town, collected 2 others who have arrived for the meeting, and went (without John, who wanted an early night) to Typhoon for Thai. I am now replete with Drunken Noodles, and am only disappointed that Moonstruck Chocolates was closed when we walked by.
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Todd and I set off around 8:30 and walked to the Max rail line. Bought day passes ($4 each) which turned out to be a good deal, plus they saved us 50 cents off the Zoo admission--the Zoo wisely charges for parking if you drove, and discounts your admission if you took public transit.
on the zoo.... )

....and gardens.... )

....and a train station for geologists )

So, we took the train back downtown, walked to the hotel, and met up with John. We got on the streetcar to ride around, thinking perhaps to stop and do some shopping, but Todd needed to get back to call his mother for Mother's Day--he still doesn't have a cell phone, so needed the hotel phone. We did find the neat Keller fountain as we walked back from the streetcar--almost a block of pools and falls, most of them full of people enjoying the water, the sun, and the warm temperature.

We went to Veritable Quandry for dinner, and decided up front to share a chocolate souffle for dessert when the party at the table next to us had one while we were deciding on dinner. The meal was good (I had grilled chicken served on kale and black-eyed peas), and the chocolate souffle was marvelous. Then we walked down to the waterfront getting John oriented a little, explored a marina, watched a dragon boat crew setting out to practice, and then circled back to the hotel. And so to bed--I will have a minipifflefest breakfast meeting, then will see if I can get to Powell's and to Moonstruck Chocolates along with whatever other sightseeing and shopping Todd, John, and Bruce (the local person) want to do.

Flight out

May. 14th, 2006 12:29 am
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Forgot to mention my good luck on the flight out. As the plane was filling (and it was supposed to be a completely full flight), the middle seat in my row stayed empty. Then some people showed up for the row in front and found their seats taken, by an elderly couple who spoke Russian, with almost no English. [The flight attendant put out a call for anyone who spoke Russian--and someone actually showed up who could explain that they were in the wrong seats and needed to wait.] They had been assigned middle seats one behind the other, including the middle seat next to me. The nice flight attendant found them 2 seats together somewhere toward the front of the plane, and I had elbow room.

I couldn't get my customary aisle seat, but without someone in the middle the window was nice. I enjoyed the physiography on view: plains, sand hills, low mountain ranges, alluvial river valleys, then into the more arid canyonlands, badlands, and the basaltic plateaus. The irrigation patterns are always interesting, with neat rectangles and circles, but this time there was a region where the rectangular fields had been planted in diagonal stripes of crops. Very...striking.

I was on the wrong side of the airplane to see Mt. St. Helens and the Columbia River, but had a 'almost close enough to touch' view of Mt. Hood as we came in to land. Will post pictures later.
nlbarber: (Default)
I've made it to Portland, and had a nice afternoon. My plane landed around noon, I collected my bag, and started looking for Todd, who was supposed to meet me in baggage claim. He never showed (and last I checked, still hasn't arrived at the hotel though he has a reservation), so I assume he had some flight problem and will get here when he gets here. It's also possible that he got the day confused or something--knowing Todd, this cannot be ruled out.

[As I was typing on this, Todd called. His plane was delayed in Richmond because they forgot to refuel it. Missed his connection in Chicago; finally got here at 8:30 PM...]

Saturday Market, groceries, dinner )

Tomorrow we'll start with the zoo and Washington Park, then see what else is appealing.


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