Monday, August 20, 2007

Portland Trailblazers (Anniversary Trip, Part 1 of 3)

The Monkeys became husband and wife on August 19, 2006. To celebrate one year of wedded bliss, we embarked on a mini-vacation to Portland and the Oregon coast.

Day one and half of day two were devoted to exploring Portland and going down memory lane with Mr. Monkey, who lived in Portland from 1995-1998. The remainder of the four-day trip consisted of driving down the beautiful coast and living in the lap of luxury at the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, from whence this post is being blogged.

Ahh, this is the life. More on Salishan later. That'll be Part Three of this Anniversary Series.

First, a recap of what we did Saturday and the first half of Sunday....

For the fourth time in one week, I woke up before the sun. Saturday started at 4:30 a.m. for the Monkeys. Oy. The early flight, however, ensured that we had a full day of Portland sightseeing, and we both had a good nap on the flight. I got a good deal of sleep while Mr. Monkey drove, too. Sometimes I really like being me.

Since we had such a great time in Monterey riding with the top down in our rented Ford Mustang, we booked a convertible again. Alas, we were not so lucky this time. PT Cruiser?! Ugh. The trunk was minuscule, and we had to do some fancy maneuvering to fit Mr. Monkey's golf clubs.

The Monkeys don't let such trivialities get them down, though. See, Mr. Monkey is even smiling with the stupid PT Cruiser. Onward ho! Our first destination was Multnomah Falls, where we hiked a short way to a bridge in front of the falls. Please note that a good photographer positions her subject so as not to have it appear as if a waterfall is raining directly down on her subject's head.

Then we went to the Bonneville Hatchery, where we saw enormous sturgeon (the kind of fish from which you get caviar) and all sorts of trout. Herman the Sturgeon was huge. He's 65 years old and totally looks like a creature from the Jurassic era. Fish stencils on the ground directed us where to go.

Next up was the Bonneville Dam. It sounded really boring to me until Mr. Monkey explained that we weren't really going for the dam. He wanted to show me the fish ladder, which is a structure around the dam to help fish migrate up the Columbia River to spawn and to avoid getting chopped up to bits by the electricity-generating turbines. The fish swim or even sometimes jump up the shallow steps.

After the dam and fish ladder, we stopped at the small town of Hood River for lunch. Oregonians are really cool, laid-back, friendly people. The vibe of the town was great. We had some delicious light crepes in the small hippie-esque Passport Cafe, and then we went to watch some of the windsurfing and kitesurfing for which Hood River is known.

Hood River was followed by Mt. Hood, a stratovolcano. Ooh. Even though it's summer, it was cold, and snowboarders swarmed the slopes. Sadly, it was too cloudy to see the top -- it's there, I swear! At least we found Smokey the Bear...complete with skis.

Finally, we made it to downtown Portland, where Mr. Monkey drove me to select streets that any fan of The Simpsons would love.

The Simpsons streets were not far from the International Rose Test Garden, which Mr. Monkey's mother enjoyed visiting very much before she passed away in 1999. It is nice when Mr. Monkey shares stories about his mother, and this was a lovely fragrant pit stop.

Post-roses, the Monkeys had dinner at Noho's Hawaiian Cafe, a favorite of Mr. Monkey's years ago. Then it was off to bed after a long day of sightseeing.

Sunday began with a hearty breakfast that broke all Monkey diet rules. Mr. Monkey tells me that calories don't count when you're on vacation. I wish this were really true.

We did a lot of walking after breakfast all around downtown, re-tracing on foot where we'd driven by on Saturday. As pedestrians, we walked the actual paces that Mr. Monkey used to take when he clerked for the Federal Public Defender. (And that was news to me -- after seven years of knowing Mr. Monkey, I had no idea he had once worked for the Federal Public Defender!)

We walked past places where he used to eat and all the various law-related buildings in the area. The Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse is phenomenal -- super-modern and really tall. It's the tallest courthouse I've ever seen. I was also surprised to discover that the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit occasionally sits at The Pioneer Courthouse, an old somewhat nondescript building.

Mr. Monkey then took me to Saturday Market. Yes, it was Sunday, but apparently Saturday Market also takes place on Sunday. I told Mr. Monkey "Saturday Market" was a stupid name. He told me he wasn't the one who came up with it.

In any event, Saturday Market proved to be excellent entertainment. All the freaks come out to hawk their wares, and food vendors galore do the same. It sounds ridiculous, but we had an extraordinary time just laughing at the craziest things, from duct tape wallets to clocks made of spoons to Russian nesting dolls in the form of NFL teams to "massages" from a woman who walks on your back...while wearing rainbow-striped tights.

Mr. Monkey bought some hot roasted cashews (cajun, chile con limon, and garlic) and some key lime fudge. He also demolished a gigantic gyro. The boy is a bottomless pit. Meanwhile, I snapped photos of all the things I really wanted to eat, but I refrained from actually eating any Low-Grade Monkey Diet Contraband. Masochistic? A tad. I decided, however, that, if I was going to cheat during this trip, it would only be gourmet and/or novelty cheating, so this street food wasn't making the cut, no matter how great it looked and smelled.

Anyway, I was still full from breakfast, not to mention we were on our way to cheese country after finishing up Portland proper....

Coming up -- Anniversary Trip, Part Two of Three: Windblown Hair on the Three Capes Scenic Route and Happy Indulging in the Lactose-Intolerant's Worst Nightmare.


  1. The Saturday Market pics are awesome. I wouldn't have believed ANY of those things existed without proof.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  2. Happy Anniversary!! Sounds like your trip is a blast! Love the pics of you two in the garden with all the roses -- so pretty!

  3. That was a day and a half? It sounds like a full week to me! Portland sounds awesome, I'll have to add it to the list of places to go.

  4. happy anniversary!

    i can't wait to read the next two parts.

    i must get the bear to read this so i can convince him to go to portland instead of seattle later this year.

  5. Ooooh, how fun! I'm glad you're having a blast. B and I need to take a trip up there soon, too.

  6. The rose garden looks so beautiful. And how funny about finding out new, random things about the hubs, even after 7 years :)

  7. wow! i didn't know there was so much to do in oregon. huh, we might have to add it to our list. looks/sounds like the trip has been awesome so far :-)

  8. Hee hee how wonderful! I love the monkey anniversary weekend. Looking forward to part deux!

  9. What a trip so far! You've done a lot in only a day and a half and your pics are making me hungry. :)Happy to hear your anniversary celebration is going well.

  10. Wow, you guys did a lot in a day and a half. Please hurry with part deux.

  11. I agree! Who knew there was sooo much to do in Oregon! Come on admit it the PT Cruiser wasn't so bad?! It looks super cute!

  12. Sounds so awesome! What a lovely anniversary trip! I loved Portland! Looking forward to the next 2 parts!

  13. We got a convertable for our rental car and Young broke the top while trying to put it down. Oops.

    Happy anniversary! Sounds like a great trip so far! I've really been wanting to get up to Portland.

  14. i'm still laughing at the picture of you with the waterfall coming down on your head.

    oh, and the custom duct tape wallets.

    on to part 2!

  15. i wish i could eat like mr. monkey.

    loves when he shares about his mama amidst roses.

    also like when you discover new jobs that the mister has had. i almost died when i learned that f had worked at chevron in high school. at an actual gas station. can you believe it????


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