Saturday, August 6, 2016

Time in Portland - August 2016

We've been in Portland for almost three weeks for eye surgery.  That went well and I'm on the mend.  It's time to get back to some sense of normal so we decided to take a short excursions to get out and about.  We went into Portland one day and checked out the flagship store of Columbia Sportswear and found the Wells Fargo Museum downtown.

First we drove into town on a beautiful afternoon and found a parking garage a few blocks away from the store.
 It was not exactly huge, but still a good size store.  We looked for something we couldn't do without and came away with a new sun shade hat and a couple of little boy sun shirts.  The best thing about it was the huge discounts of 20% for military.  I had no idea Columbia was so generous.

That was fun, next we went over a few blocks and found the Wells Fargo History Museum.  The museum is actually a number of well-done displays in the very big lobby of the Wells Fargo Bank.  This is one of eleven such museums that Wells Fargo operates throughout the West.
Besides Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I always think of these majestic stage coaches when I think of Wells Fargo.  This beauty was an 1854 Concord Coach.

Wells Fargo was a key element in the California Gold Rush transporting gold and valuables all throughout the territory and beyond.
 I love the old pictures of how life was back in the 1860s.  This shows the dirt streets and stores of that era.
An hour was well spent going over all the displays and momentos.  It was a great way to spend some time walking around downtown and taking in a bit of history.

The next morning we took our time and left the Portland Fairview RV Park (which was a very good campground for us) and proceeded 18 miles east toward Multnomah Falls.  We'd seen it five years ago but wanted to go again.  The weather the last couple of weeks in the Portland area has been absolutely great!

Shortly out of town we noticed signs of a backup and slowdown.  Five miles of creeping along and we saw the reason.  A crane was onsite to help get this big 5th wheel out of a ditch.  Hard to say how that happened but it didn't look good.  Hope no one was hurt.
 Besides the accident, the DOT was getting some paving done so our 30 minute drive quickly turned into 60 minutes and counting.  We got off the freeway and took the Old Columbia Highway thinking it would be a little quicker.  The short cut turned into a long cut and our 18 mile drive turned into about a two hour deal.

Sometimes I am amazed how we do this to ourselves.  We know this is the tourist high season, but for some reason did not take that into account.  By the time we got near the Visitor Center there were no parking places to be had.  It was lunch time and people were not leaving.

We went past the falls, turned around and came back through the Visitor Center and Lodge area and still came up empty on a parking place.

We did however go past another falls in the area:  Horsetail Falls.  Beautiful stuff.
As we found out there are over 90 waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge including this and Multnomah Falls.

A few miles later we turned around again went past the Lodge one more time and then continued past the Lodge again creeping along in traffic before we decided to get over to US Highway 84 and see if we could get into a larger parking lot in between the east and westbound lanes of the highway.

We had no problem there - it should have been our first choice.  It was a short walk to an under-the-highway path to the Visitor Center and Lodge.
These beautiful falls did not disappoint.  Descending 620 feet, the falls are Oregon's most visited attraction.  We had a great time there and had some lunch and an ice cream cone.  We got to meet some nice fellow-tourists from Minneapolis and another couple from Denmark with their three teenage girls on vacation.

Yesterday we also got out and ran some errands at Costco.  We took the back road (Marina Drive) that runs along the Columbia River.  There is a nice bike path and park and we came across a unique community.  This historical marker notes the farthest point the British traveled inland in 1792 from the mouth of the Columbia River and named it after explorer and British Naval Officer George Vancouver.

Farther west on down the river, we came upon a number of houses built on floating docks along the shore line in one area.
The small community looks well protected from the elements and sits peaceably along the banks of the Columbia River.

Those are some of the sights we've seen in the past few days.  We are enjoying the great weather and interesting place in the Portland area.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!


  1. Fascinating sights, glad you are doing well enough to get out and about.