browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.
Our Great American Adventure Website Logo

Portland, Oregon…

Posted by on May 11, 2014

MAY 12, 2014.


Pine trees, Japanese elms and manicured lawns at Pheasant Ridge near Portland.

PHEASANT RIDGE RV PARK. We’re in Portland for about a week before crossing the Columbia River into Washington state and driving to the Mt. St. Helens area, our next stop. Since we arrived, the stormy weather has ended and today is bright and sunny. In fact, the weather forecast calls for temps into the lower 80’s this week…almost like home. We’re treating ourselves to a stay at the Pheasant Ridge RV park in the little town of Williamsville, just outside of Portland. The park is rated something like #8 in the entire country and in some ways I can understand why. The landscaping is beyond beautiful! There are bright green manicured lawns surrounding each RV spot and the entire park is forested with mature pine trees and bright red Japanese elms. As in lots of other parts of Oregon, there are huge rhododendrons with profuse blooms everywhere…they seem to grow naturally in this climate.


Downtown Portland, with Mt. Hood in the background.

ABOUT PORTLAND: We have some chores to do “around the house” but we’re also going to take time to see some of the sights. Portland is located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, in the marine west coast climate region. The weather is marked by both warm, dry summers and wet, cool-to-chilley winter days. This climate is ideal for growing roses and for more than a century, Portland has been known as the “City of Roses.”  The city is also known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values and coffee enthusiasm, contributing to the unofficial slogan: “Keep Portland Weird.” There are drive-thru coffee-espresso shops everywhere…sometimes on each corner of an intersection. Two of our favorites are the “Human Bean” and “Dutch Brothers.” They’re privately held chain store operations and judging from the proliferation we see since our last visit to Oregon they’re doing very well, thank you!

There are miles of bookshelves like this in Powell's "City of Books."

There are miles of bookshelves like this in Powell’s “City of Books.”

POWELL’S BOOKS: LARGEST BOOKSTORE IN THE WORLD. Powell’s is a chain of bookstores in Portland and the surrounding area. The headquarters, dubbed the “City of Books,” is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. It’s located in the Pearl District of Portland, on the edge of downtown and it occupies a full city block! It contains over 68,000 square feet and has more than an acre and a half of floor space. Its book inventory is supposedly more than four million books and the booksellers purchase about 3,000 used books every day. I’m told upon arriving the best plan is to stop at the Customer Service desk and get a map of the store to ensure finding what you want and to avoid getting lost!

SUR LA TABLE: Right across the street from Powell’s City of Books is one of the Portland Sur la Table stores. They are the second largest specialty

cookware retailers in the United States, after Williams Sonoma. They’re both fun stores for a serious “foodie’ to visit, but unlike

Williams Sonoma which I’ve visited many times and in many locations in California, there aren’t any Sur La Table stores in the San Diego area. So, we

jumped right in and poked around. It’s lots safer financially for me to visit these kinds of stores now days, ’cause I simply don’t surhave room in the RV for any more kitchen gadgets. I’ve already got most all of them anyway. For example: Florence and I were in different parts of the store this afternoon.  She knows me and figured I’d want to get at least something, but she knows our space for more kitchen items is almost non-existent. So she came up to me and proudly displayed something she was going to get for me…something she knew I’d like but wouldn’t take up much room: Shish kabob skewers that are wire ropes. “Sorry, already have those!” See what I mean? Anyhow, the store had lots of good stuff and we enjoyed seeing it, but frankly I think the Great News kitchen store in San Diego beats it hands down. The merchandise there is better, the employees are far friendlier and more helpful and the cooking school layout is far superior. I’ve taken dozens of cooking classes at Great News and I already miss being able to go there whenever I want. Trade-offs. I wouldn’t miss what we’re doing now for anything!


I hate heights, but I forced myself to walk across this bridge!

MULTNOMAH FALLS. These waterfalls are located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Troutdale and Portland….right on the route we traveled the other evening when we came here. This natural wonder attracts three million visitors each year, ranking it as Oregon’s number 1 visited natural attraction. The Falls plummet 620 feet in two major steps…the upper fall plunging 542 feet and the lower one 69 feet…distinguishing Multnomah Falls as the highest waterfall in the state of Oregon and second highest in the nation.The water flowing over the Falls is supplied by natural underground springs that originate on Larch Mountain. Right now, during the Spring, snow-melt additionally supplies the falls, greatly increasing the flow, width and intensity of the powerful roaring sound. At the base of the Falls, the Historic Multnomah Lodge offers a place to relax, have a good meal, get coffee or espresso and even stay a few days in this historic setting. We visited the Falls years ago but saw it again…this time armed with all our camera gear. (Or in my case, what’s left of it! See my post dated April 17, 2014. I lost a lot of valuable camera gear that day!)


One of the many garden paths.

CRYSTAL SPRINGS RHODODENDRON GARDENS. These botanical gardens are located near Reed College in southeastern Portland. They cover almost 10 acres and are named for Crystal Springs Creek which flows alongside the gardens. There are more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants in a setting of small lakes, paved paths, fountains and small waterfalls. This is the best time of year to visit! In addition to the manicured areas that make up most of the gardens, patches of less orderly shrubs, upland forest, marsh vegetation and submerged logs attract wildlife, especially waterfowl, including herons, ducks and Canadian geese.

Comments are closed.