Portland, Oregon, the long way round

The boys eating their Voodoo Doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR

It has been declared that our road trip Portland, Oregon, the long way round, was the best trip of our summer 2012! My boys are a little spoiled. They had a few trips to choose from. We usually fly, but this was the summer we deliberately chose to hit the road and yes, we loved it! We wanted to see things off the beaten path, things we would have to drive far to get to even if we flew. Consequently, leaving the house with my pillow on my lap, our car packed brim-full, electronics charged and ready to use, made the most sense.

I have mentioned this before. I am sure I have also stated with great pride and or frustration that I am afflicted with Wanderlust. I love to move. I love to fly. I love to travel. My boys, well, they are willing participants in all my adventurous schemes. Ok. Wait. Sure, there are rare times when I hear, “Mom, can I just stay home?” Or my very favorite said by a four-year-old Eli, just as we approached downtown Portland, Oregon, “Hey, Mom, Dad, I have an idea. Next time let’s take an airplane.” That was nearly six years ago.

And with the memory of that long-ago trip wiped away I asked the boys earlier what they thought. Our daily drives to and from school facilitate some of our most notable conversations. Today was no exception. And because I am itching to leave town (I am always up for an adventure), I started with a directed please-take-me-back-to-our-amazing-adventures travel inquiry. “Boys, what was your favorite trip of the summer?”

As I eagerly anticipated their response, Eli piped in and admitted that Los Angeles was awesome because we were able to eat at Baja Fish Tacos. Even with Baja Fish Tacos’ strong standing, when it came right down to it, hands down, simultaneously and in sync they both insisted, “Portland! We loved our trip to Portland! We did so many cool things and got to be with all of our friends and family.” Once Portland, Oregon was voted tops, of course I had to ask, “What was your favorite thing we did?”

Dave had the ice cream sampler at Ruby Jewel

“Well Mom, you know we went to Ruby Jewel ice cream shop six times so that has to be our favorite.” Eli is correct. During our two-week Portland, Oregon stay we visited the Mississippi Avenue Ruby Jewel six times. Not once. Not twice, but six, I-need-two-hands-to-show-you-how-many-fingers times. The homemade gourmet ice cream is worth every repeat visit. How many ice cream shops do you know serve Strawberry Basil or Blueberry Lavender with Lemon Cookie ice cream? Yum and kooky! For us non-dairy consumers, there is nothing like Strawberry Coconut sorbet – and I am guessing the Marion Berry Vanilla isn’t bad either. Truth-be-told even when I added a scoop of another flavor, until they ran out, I always ordered the Strawberry Coconut.

About now I see that “edible material” (thank you Thesaurus) definitely influences the places we like to be. I am starting to think my sons, especially Eli, are becoming Foodies. Go Eli! I am sure if asked he would totally understand the concept of Farm to Table. Actually I would love to hear his take.

Ok let me back up and fill you in with some important travel details. See, when I call our trip, “Portland, the long way round,” I am not kidding. We drove from Park City, UT to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, traveling through Teton National Park then on to Yellowstone. We made our way to the very north entrance of Yellowstone and headed to Bozeman, MT. Stopping briefly in Bozeman, we headed next to Missoula, MT and then on to Spokane, WA where we spent the night with friends. Am I wearing you out? Yet, when asked, Portland, the long way round, was their favorite trip. They are crazy road-tripping fools and I am grateful. The boys say I am organized, but really, so are my well-traveled kids. They each pack their backpacks full of books, iPad Touches, DSIs and other kid-approved entertainment. The always have some sort of Bar: Luna, Cliff or Lara, and water bottles are a must.

Cathedral Tree Trail Astoria, Oregon
The Astoria Column

Once the car was loaded and the electronic devices were charged, we left Spokane and headed to Portland, OR, dropping Dave off at a tiny airport in WA. He had a business trip in San Francisco and traveled with us (literally) as far as he could. He would meet up with us in a few days. After managing the extremely windy roads of I-84 along the Columbia Gorge, we arrived in Portland at midnight, stayed another two weeks until driving back home to Park City. It sounds crazier and with too many details for one post now that I write it all down. Good thing about blogs is I can write more posts and I can write more about this crazy awesome trip like about our day in Astoria, where we did the Cathedral Tree Hike to the Astoria Column, which was voted another favorite. And I would say my favorites are the street festivals that are filled with the best people watching ever!

Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park

As our driving-home-from-school conversation continued, I asked

“Did you like the Hot Springs as much as I did? Eli, do you remember the waterfall-producing rainbow at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone?”

When Yellowstone came up, because I brought it up, they told me what they loved the most. “Mom, I loved that we were traveling with our friends. I loved that we stayed in the Yellowstone Hotel and I loved that we saw that famous and old Yellowstone Lodge.”

As we talked about all the hikes – and there were a lot of them – we all remembered how sick Kyle had been. I remembered the fear I felt at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. It was our first hike. After driving all day, our friend Doug wanted to take us there. Kyle cried. The others went ahead. I walked alone with Kyle. I pleaded with him to continue. He was clearly ill. Eventually Kyle and I met up with Dave. I was worried. It was the beginning of our trip and I did not know if Kyle was going to be sick the entire time. When we met up with Eli and the rest of Doug’s family, I went on ahead with them and Doug stayed back with Kyle and Dave. The hike ended as Dave and our friend Doug coaxed Kyle along. Tears and screams were heard for miles, but Kyle made it. And as we all talked about Jenny Lake, Kyle reminded me of how only two days later we were on a hike he did not want to quit when he said, “Hey Mom, my favorite hike was that waterfall hike we did with our friends outside of Bozeman. The only problem with the hike is that we had to leave before I was ready to go.” True.

The waterfall on our Bozeman, MT hike

Kyle pulled through and today as we talked I thought to myself, “Yes, and the thing I remember about the Bozeman Hike was that on the way there was a naked man in the reservoir, who happened to be swimming Sunny-Side-Up and waving at us right by the side of the road.”

And I kept that thought to myself.

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