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Trip Report Beautiful Oregon: our trip report

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This month, we took a great trip to Oregon. My parents joined my husband, our 2 kids and me on this adventure. (I mentioned the circumstances that led to my parents joining us in another Lounge thread – it worked out really well. My parents really were awed by Oregon’s scenic beauty and we all had a nice time together).

We flew in and out of Portland. Here’s what we did:

Portland

Portland Underground Tour – we liked this tour, but I would recommend it with reservations. The tour is billed as a tour of the underground Portland, including enlightening visitors about the Shanghai Tunnels, which were used to kidnap workers to work on the large ships to China. The tour started in Old Town Pizza, and toured the Old Town, Chinatown and the waterfront areas. We have been to Portland before, but didn’t visit these areas, so we were interested in seeing these areas and learning more about Portland’s history. My husband said the tour should more accurately be called “A Tour of Portland with a stop in a Basement”. We’ve done Seattle’s Underground Tour, where you do explore the area beneath the present city. In Portland’s tour, you are not underground at all (except the basement). What once was an extensive tunnel network, used to unload goods from the harbor more easily into shops (and for illegal activities), does not exist today. Many of the tunnels have been closed. Much of this is for safety and security reasons – shops didn’t want just anyone having access to their places via the underground tunnels, so they shut off their access. The tour was a little over 2 hrs., and we all agreed that it would have been better if it were just a bit shorter.

Old Town Pizza – I found this place interesting historically – the place were you currently order your pizza used to be the reception desk of a hotel. The pizza was not good.

VooDoo Donuts – these were terrific!! If you go, and you should, get there early! We could see this store from our hotel room (the Embassy Suites), and there was a loooong line all day – starting at about noon. And this was on a Tuesday! But, darn, those donuts were GOOD.

Powell’s Bookstore. GREAT BOOKSTORE. Huge store, amazing selection. I spent 50 mins. here, which was not nearly enough.

Pioneer Courthouse Square – we walked around here, did some window shopping, and stopped in Niketown. They have a large version (statue) of LeBron and it appeared that his tattoos were a faithful reproduction of the real thing.

Rose Garden – beautiful! Large, gorgeous area in pretty Forest Park. On our drive away, we passed a really cute shopping area. We didn’t’ stop, but this definitely looked like a nice area to browse and shop. I never learned the name of that neighborhood.

Columbia River Gorge

We’ve been to the Gorge 2x before, and we did a few short hikes. We also stopped at the viewpoints at Womens Forum SP and at Vista House to get nice views of the river.

Latourell Falls – this is one of my favorite waterfalls in the Gorge, easily accessible from the road.

Bridal Veil Falls – short hike, less than a mile.

Multnomah Falls – this is the highest waterfall in the Gorge and it’s beautiful. We had a nice lunch at the Multnomah Lodge and then walked up to the Bridge. As good luck would have it, Hershey from Fodors was in Hood River visiting her brothers the same time we were in town (state?), and she was able to meet us at these falls, and we hiked to Elowah Falls together.

Elowah Falls – this was a short hike in John Yeon SP – a short ways down from Multnomah.

We didn’t’ do these hikes this trip, but I’m mentioning them, b/c if you see the Gorge, these are great hikes/waterfalls:

Punchbowl Falls via the Eagle Creek Trail. You also pass another falls on the way. This is a really pretty hike, but was long-ish (3.5 miles IF I recall correctly) and my boys didn’t’ want to do this. Punchbowls Falls is another one of my favorite falls in this area.

Oneonta Falls – this is another one of my favorite waterfalls and a very memorable hike! You hike a short way through a narrow gorge – and in one or two areas, there is no path – you must walk IN the creek. The time we did it was in August, and the water level was up to my stomach. The falls at the end are in such a lush a pretty setting – it feels as if you are in Hawaii. I thought my boys would get a kick out of “hiking” through the creek, but 2 things made me hesitate. First, someone died here a few months ago. Since we were there last, a huge log jam was created. To get to the falls, you have to now climb up and over some huge, very slippery logs. Apparently, some young men were goofing off while doing this, and one fell, and died. Second, the weather was not hot like it was last time we visited. I was told by the workers at Vista House that the water levels are still high, and the water is cold (snow melt). The air temp was only supposed to be a high of 70, so I figured I’d be cold doing this. We did pack extra, old sneakers, just to do this hike, but we decided against it, this time.

Hood River – we stopped here for ice cream (Hershey took us to a tiny little place with very good ice cream) and then my husband and dad went to watch the windsurfers. My husband likes to windsurf – and did get to windsurf here on our last visit. This is a really windy, good place to do it. The rest of us took my younger son to a skatepark.

I doubt most people here on Fodors are interested in the skateboard scene in Oregon, but it is a great place for skaters. You know how most cities have Bike Routes? The City of Portland has Skate Routes! Each town we visited – even the small ones – had elaborate, nice, public skateparks. We let my son bring his board when we travel in the US and we maybe find 2 or 3 skateparks if he is really lucky. In Oregon, he skated 5 parks (Portland/Glenhaven, Hood River, Government Park, Lincoln City and Florence), and they were all very good ones.

We said good-bye to Hershey after dinner in Hood River and we continued on to Government Camp to explore Mt. Hood.

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