Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dec. 26, 2015---sad day, the kids leave  :(

For some reason I was up in time to see sunrise this morning.  It was a pretty spectacular one.
 Turns out all 4 of the "kids" decided to fly home today.  I guess it makes sense since some people still have to work!  But Tim and Faith's flight left at 1pm and Angie and Josh's wasn't leaving until about midnight.  So we sent Tim and FAith off in their rental car fairly early and later the rest of us took off to try and see Multnomah Falls and Mt. Hood.  With it getting dark by 5:30, we knew we'd only make it to one, so Multnomah it was.  Instead of going by way of 22 to Salem and up I-5, we took the more scenic route of 18 up through the valley and into Portland.  We had actually never been that route, so I enjoyed seeing the scenic farms and quaint little towns along that way.
 Lots of vineyards along the way.

i believe these red bushes are Oregon blueberry bushes/trees.

I think this was some sort of agricultural museum.
  As we were driving through McMinnville,  we went past the Evergreen Air Museum.  We had been here years ago.  It really is pretty cool.  There are a ton of planes here, even the Spruce Goose.

 back to the countryside.
 would be an interesting place to shop!

 passed a lot of wineries, too.
 And a lot of "herbaries", now that a certain plant is legal in Oregon.  Not our cup of tea, though, so we didn't bother to stop at any.
When we were arriving into Portland, we had some spectacular views of the Cascades.
 We even drove through the infamous Terwilliger Curves. 
 We crossed the Willamette River.
 Looking back towards the city skyline.
 and soon had outstanding views of the mountains---like Mt. Hood.
even Mt. St. Helen's in Washington (shot through the front window of the car while i was riding in the back so it's not the greatest clarity).
another picture of Mt. Hood
 Soon we were on I-85 and heading into the Columbia River Gorge.
 No more views of Mt. Hood, but we did get to "see" it earlier.
The gorge was pretty hazy and drab, but still pretty impressive.

 There were many impromptu water falls like this one from all the rain lately.
The exit to Multnomah Falls had us exiting onto the Columbia River Gorge National Historic Scenic highway shortly before Multnomah.  Love the old bridges along the historic byway!  Would have loved to take that route the whole way and explore some more of the waterfalls there, but we didn't have time.
 Saw a lot of these "berries?).  From a normal distance it looked like popcorn growing on the trees.
 Ken dropped us off near the falls and went to wait for us.
 there was even an extra waterfall to the right that normally isn't there.
 There were also a million people here!  I thought it was crowded when we came here with the Schneiderjans on Labor Day a couple years ago, but that was nothing compared to all the people here today!  It was a dry day, so I guess everyone came out of their houses today and went to Multnomah Falls.
 after waiting awhile, Angie and Josh got a spot at the rail to take their picture.

the lower falls.
 mid falls
 we hiked up to the bridge passing a couple cool low waterfalls along the way.

 view of the bottom of the upper falls from the bridge
 looking down the lower falls from the bridge
 doesn't look like that many people, but I swear there were a million on the bridge and trail when we were on it!

 Christmas decorations by the gift shop.
 From there we thought we'd head to Crown Vista Point in case there happened to be a sunset.  No sunset, but we all were impressed with the sustained winds up there!  We've been there before, but never had winds like this!  If we had known at the time, we could have looked on the East side of the little building and a wind gauge would have told us the wind speeds.  As it was, it was hard to walk.  Josh got out of the truck, then got right back in.  Angie tried to walk around the building, but didn't make it.
 No pretty sunset with all the cloud cover, but the views of the snow capped mountains were pretty cool.
 and the views of the Columbia River.
 by now the sun had set and there wasn't much light left.

By now we were pretty well starving.  I thought they might get a kick out of Mcmenamin's Kennedy School restaurant near the airport.  Definately a unique place with 3 places to eat, a movie theatre, a few accommodations, and there was even a band playing in the gym.  We had a little time to wait before we were seated, so we wandered around the school a bit.

Dinner was good.
We thought of going to the movie that was playing there (Martian with Matt Damon), but they decided they wanted to ride around Portland a bit, then go to the airport early so we could get back to the coast before midnight. 

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