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Trip Report Oregon Reunion Trip 5/12-5/19/2010

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Oregon Reunion Trip
5/12-5/19/2010

The purpose of this trip was a reunion between five “gals” (60-ish) who had been college roommates and sorority sisters many years ago. We had kept in touch and had a couple other reunions over the years. Oregon was chosen as our destination for this reunion because one of our group had recently moved to Portland, and most of us, who live in the Midwest and East had never been there. I did much of the planning for the trip, and received invaluable help from the people on this board. THANK YOU ALL!

Day 1 We all met in the airport mid-afternoon, and then took a shuttle to the Alamo car rental office just off the airport grounds. We had gotten a great rate (@$275 for a week) on a mini-van which easily held the 5 of us plus luggage by using Priceline. It was about 3:30 by the time we picked up our car (after having to return to the terminal once to retrieve a misplaced bag) and headed out along the Columbia River toward Hood River. We drove just a short time before stopping to see beautiful Multnomah Falls and have an early dinner at the restaurant there. The weather was beautiful: sunny and warm. Then, on to Hood River, where we crossed over to White Salmon, WA, and settled into the cabin which is owned by the daughter of our Portlander. The 3 BR, 2 bath cabin was a very comfortable place to begin our reunion. And the deck had such a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood in the distance! We picked up some wine and snacks, which we enjoyed that evening along with lots of talk.

Day 2 After a lazy morning, we drove east along the Columbia on the WA side to the Catherine Creek wildflower preserve, where we enjoyed a short hike. Crossing over to Oregon at The Dalles, we drove the old scenic hwy, stopping at Rowena Crest for the views. Back in Hood River, we had a late lunch/early dinner at the 3 Rivers Grill. The weather was still gorgeous, so we sat outside to eat. Then we browsed the shops before heading back to the cabin for more wine, cheese & talk.

Day 3 Mt Hood and Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Monument, was our destination today. With lots of stops and sightseeing detours along the way, we arrived at the lodge, located at the tree line on the mountain, around noon, and had a casual lunch upstairs. Afterward, we spent some time admiring the old building built by the WPA during the depression, and watching a video on its history. On the way back, we stopped at The Gorge White House winery near Hood River for wine-tasting. This winery is located in an interesting old house, and distributes wines of several other small wineries in the area, as well as just one of its own—a delicious white pear wine. Back in White Salmon, we walked through the small town (unfortunately, it was after closing time for the several interesting shops) before replenishing our supply of snacks to enjoy later with the wine we had bought at the winery. We had beautiful weather all day.

Day 4 Early this morning, we packed up and headed toward our next destination: Cannon Beach. We took the old scenic highway through the Columbia River Gorge, stopping at the Bridge of the Gods, several waterfalls, and the Crown Point Vista House. More beautiful weather! In Troutdale, we stopped for lunch at the McMenamins Edgefield Resort (an old nursing home and poor house), and then walked around the building and grounds. From there, we drove straight to Cannon Beach on the main highway, arriving around 6PM. After checking into our hotel (the Land’s End), we walked through town, browsing in some of the many shops. We were very pleased with the hotel, which was right on the beach. We had taken two rooms—one was a suite w/ 2 bedrooms and a sofa-bed in the LR, (for 3 of us), the other was a large room with a Q bed and a sofa-bed (for the other 2). Both rooms had kitchenettes, large-screen TVs and fireplaces. That evening, we watched the sunset, then lit a fire and had our wine and cheese while playing a dice game.

Day 5 Early this morning, two of us walked along the beach while the others fooled around on the Internet. We had a wonderful breakfast at the Lazy Susan restaurant nearby. Then we got back in the car and drove to Ecola State Park where we got some fabulous photos (need I say—it was beautiful, sunny weather), then drove to Astoria. We toured Fort Clatsop, stopped at the Astoria Column in Astoria (where I couldn’t stop myself from the challenge of climbing those 164 steps to the top), and walked through the grounds of Fort Stevens State Park—where we located the confluence of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean. Back in Cannon Beach, we had a great dinner at Dooger’s Seafood and Grill, and then headed back to our room to play cards in front of the fire.

Day 6 Another early beach walk—this time as far as Haystack Rock to wander through the tidepools. After working up our appetites, we paid a return visit to the Lazy Susan for their fabulous omelets, then left Cannon Beach in the late morning. We drove south along the coast, stopping for the views at Neahkahnie Mtn., and arriving at the Tillamook Cheese Factory around 1PM. This was more interesting that we had anticipated. We ended our self-tour with cheese samples and delicious ice cream. Then, it was back to Portland, where we arrived at our hotel, the Mark Spencer, around 5PM. We had afternoon tea in a room off the lobby, where we met a very interesting lady—Beate Sirota—who was in Portland to give a lecture at the college. It had begun to drizzle, but Powell’s bookshop was only a block away. It was a perfect place to while away an hour. We weren’t hungry after our ice cream lunch and “tea”, so had the rest of our snacks and wine along with a continuation of our card game (Shanghai Rummy) in our room. The Mark Spencer was also a good choice of hotel. The rooms (we had 3 this time) were somewhat dated, but comfortable, and the hotel was in a great location.

Day 7 We had investigated a walking tour, “The Best of Portland”, but didn’t want to make reservations ahead of time in case it was pouring rain. Since it was only cloudy, I called and was told we could just show up at the meeting place. So, after a very good continental breakfast at the hotel, and some interesting discussion with our new friend, Beate Sirota, we hoofed it down a few blocks to meet the tour. It lasted for 2 ½ hours and covered @ 1 ½ miles in the downtown Portland area. The quirky facts and stories accompanying the sites we visited made this a very interesting tour. During the last 45 mins, the downpour began. I guess this was more typical of Portland than the gorgeous weather we had earlier in the trip. We tried out the free public transportation to get back to our hotel, dried off, and then headed out to explore. Some of us took the free streetcar to the end of its free line, then back to the nearby Pearl District, where we wandered around and browsed through some art galleries and interesting shops. Back at the hotel, we met up, had tea, and had a rather difficult time deciding on a place for dinner. We ended up at the Fish Grotto, right across the street, where we had an excellent salmon dinner. Then it was back to our hotel room for more cards and talk.

Day 8. Three of us (one stayed another couple days to visit a local friend) headed for the airport early the next morning. It was lucky that we had allowed lots of extra time, because we had a dickens of a time locating a gas station to fill up and then the Alamo lot. Finally, we had the bright idea to just follow their shuttle from in front of the terminal. Our flights went smoothly.

Summary: I would say this was a perfect reunion week. We had great weather overall, our hotels and restaurant choices were perfect, the scenery was spectacular, and the costs were reasonable. Besides airfare (most of us used miles), our main expenses were for 4 nights in hotels ($222 each), the rental van ($55 each), and wine, meals, a hostess gift (for use of the cabin) and misc expenses. Best of all, we had time for lots of talk, talk, talk. Isn't that the purpose of reunions? Kami

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