April 15, 2017 - The 2017 Operation Get About experiences started right after we boarded the plane. The Star Wars theme reverberated through the cabin followed by the captain welcoming us aboard the Millennium Falcon. Introduced himself has Hans Solo and co-pilot, Luke Skywalker. Chewbacca was making some last minute adjustments on the outside of the plane, and the stewardesses were Princess Leia and Jyn. After a few minutes of the captain's stand up routine, I was ready to break out the breathalyzer just to be safe. However, the flights to Denver and then to Portland went off without a hitch, no overbooking and no one dragged off the plane.
First impression - Portland is huge! We stayed in Downtown Portland which reminded me so much of New York City but much cleaner and less crowded. It was perfect (other than the 3 hour time difference).
April 16, 2017 - After going to bed at 11:00 pm (2:00 am our time) we were wide awake at 6:00 am which meant jet lag was probably going to kick our butt today. And she did!
One of the pillars of Operation Get About is no plans, no agenda. We ask anyone we come in contact with what the must-sees of the area are. So the consensus of the day was Multnomah Falls. I would like to interject right here - thank God for Google Maps!
For those who have never been to the Pacific Northwest, it is mesmerizing even mystical. The vegetation goes from pine trees standing tall with branches cheerfully pointing the way to trees that look like they have had a rough winter. Their lean is extreme, and most limbs have broken off assumably under the weight of snow. Some stands look as if a tsunami just came through and they've yet to recover from the force of the wind and water. Everything is damp even if it's not raining. The moss ... is everywhere. There is bright green moss on anything that isn't moving, rocks, entire trees, as well as stone walls and guard rails.
The Hood River reminded me of the Niagra River. The broad channel seems vicious and in a hurry to get to its destination. But jutting up every so often is a tall, lonely rock formation that looks like it came from the set of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." It seems so out of place but yet unyielding.
We made several stops.
- Horsetail Falls
- Oneonta Tunnel
- Multnomah Falls
- Bonneville Dam and Locks (because I am my father's daughter and can not pass up a chance to ogle at the engineering marvel known as a dam)
- Timberline Lodge to take pictures of Mount Hood.
I took over 200 pictures today because it was a complete sensory overload trying to document the emotions of the day's discoveries. The falls were fantastic, especially Multnomah Falls. I forced my two bad knees to walk up the path to the bridge to take pictures - in flip-flops (we packed poorly for the weather in the Pacific Northwest in April).
The Bonneville Dam was fascinating because they were generating plus we had to sit at the gate to exit because a boat went through the lock. I wish my Dad could have been here to see this dam and lock. He would have loved it and explain in detail, as only an engineer can, how and why everything works.
The highlight of the day was driving up to Timberline Lodge to take pictures of the regal and luminous Mount Hood. The closer we got the more profound the snow banks on the side of the road till they were twice the height of the car. We arrived at a snow-covered parking lot where I got out of the car in my flip flops and summer crop pants with my new 150-600 mm telephoto lens and took my pictures. I got a few looks, but it was worth it!
April 17, 2017 - We are driving down Oregon Highway 26 W leaving Portland and heading toward today's destination Seaside and Astoria, because that's where the locals deemed a must see. I'll keep you posted.