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Road Trip Cont. Portland and the Rose Garden
Portland and crossing the border into Washington State.
Our week/2weeks in Oregon ended on Saturday with a visit to the Saturday Market in Portland which isn’t a market at all! It is a display of local arts and crafts, ongoing music presentations by local artists and various food stalls presenting food from all over the world and the ‘authentic , original Portland Elephant Ears’ that we had for lunch. These are a big type of pancake covered with your choice of a sweet yummy spread.
The afternoon we visited the huge Washington Park and specifically the Experimental Rose Garden with its 10 000 plus rose bushes in full bloom. We walked for several hours just looking and smelling (and photographing) and admiring this huge selection of well known and new roses. The garden is kept jointly by volunteers and the Oregon University and specializes in developing new types of roses, and what a sight it is. We were particularly excited to see some roses with South African names such as Rina Hugo, named after a well known Afrikaans singer! This area of the USA is really a gardener’s paradise with flower boxes along streets in almost every town and gardens to gasp at, making it difficult to keep your eyes on the road.
Saturday evening ended with one of the most dramatic sunsets we have ever seen at Rooster Rock State Park on the way back to our camp site. The sky above the Columbia River was lit up in amazing colors of red, pink,blue and orange, changing from moment to moment as the sun disappeared over Portland! Our photos of this evening sky will have an important place in our scrapbook but somehow they cannot do justice to what our eyes saw and what we felt!
Portland in many ways is just another large metropolitan area with expensive parking and shops, slum areas, industrial warehouses and huge freeways. At the same time it has expansive parks and beautiful trees and gardens. Everything seems to grow well in this part of the country and so the forests are full of ferns and a variety of trees starting to change color as the summer in this part of the world starts coming to an end.
We left Portland on Sunday via Northern Plains, a satellite town to the NW where we worshipped with the local congregation of the church in the “Jessie May Community Hall in Hillcrest Street”, arriving late because we got into a gridlock on the freeway in Portland and only managed to escape by taking a side road and retracing our steps onto a different route – I think some of those folks are still stuck on the freeway!
Travelled towards the mouth of the Columbia River and the Lewis /Clark State Park near Astoria where we hoped to find accommodation and then on Monday visit the Fort where the ‘Corps of Discovery’ (as the Lewis/Clark party were known) spent their winter of 1803 as they attempted to open up a trading route between the East and the West. Arriving at Cannon Rock we could not resist waiting for another stunning sunset on this popular beach/holiday resort town and the best place on the west coast to see Puffins, who arrive in April to breed on Haystack Rock and then return to the seas in August. Unfortunately we missed the Puffins but again enjoyed a wonderful sunset before finding a place to sleep in Matilda at a nearby RV camp where the owners kindly keep a place in their parking areas for small vans like Matilda. We enjoyed the luxury of the swimming pool, laundromat and TV room, not to mention the complementary coffee! What a joy to sit in a lounge chair and relax for a while as we caught up with news in the world!
Monday’s visit to the Lewis/Clark National Historic Park proved to be most enjoyable and educational, with two films, a walk to a replica of the fort, and a demonstration of their weapons and how they traded with the local Indians, well executed by a women ranger. The only damp squib was when the rather embarrassed ranger, with the safety officer in tow, tried to show the audience how a flintlock rifle works but never managed to actually get the stubborn gun to fire in spite many attempts and much discussion between the two of them and some suggestions from older members in the audience, who looked like they may have had some experience with weapons like this, illustrating why it was a pretty unreliable weapon any way and why the discovery corps used them to trade with the Indians.
Our entry into Washington State took place over a high and long and narrow bridge that seemed to go on for miles as cars and trucks rushed by on the other side of the bridge and I clung to the steering wheel of Matilda with white knuckled and determined concentration to keep her on the bridge in spite of the gale force wind funneling down the river and not seeming to affect the others doing the crossing but scaring me spitless. Audrey, who should have been praying was snapping away on her camera taking , photos with gay abandon of the thousands of birds and hundreds of boats on the river. When I quizzed her as to this strange behavior she answered, ‘I was too scared to look!’ –yes, fine!