Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mount St. Helens and Oregon

Lance's sister is here visiting, and we packed a lot into the past two days.

First we started with Mount St. Helens. I already posted about my trip there before, and it wasn't significantly different this time. We made most of the same stops on the drive. Only this time, we drove all the way up to Johnston Ridge Observatory, instead of turning around earlier. You have to pay to go inside (unless you have an annual national park pass, like we do), but it's well worth it. They offer a lot of information about the eruption and the views from there are stunning.

Shortly before 4 PM, we reached Portland.

downtown Portland (taken from a viaduct near Washington Park)

We didn't spent a lot of time there. We stayed long enough to see Pittock Mansion and the International Rose Test Garden. We walked the downtown streets and along the riverfront for a bit.

I loved Pittock Mansion, by the way. Yes, I have seen some of Europe's greatest castles. But I'm a sucker for architecture and beautiful landscaping. And Pittock Mansion has all this, plus the amazing views of the city. This was well worth visiting, both inside and out.

The International Rose Test Garden was lovely too, as was all of Washington Park that we saw. It was fairly close to our hotel.

We stayed at Park Lane Suites, which is in the Nob Hill/King's Hill area of Portland. The surrounding houses were historic and beautiful, and even just walking around the neighborhood was a joy. But the hotel was fantastic too. It offered free parking, and we had an apartment with 2 queen rooms. I had a wonderful surprise when I walked into the kitchen. They left a complimentary bag of Bob's Red Mill oatmeal for our breakfast, complete with packets of dried fruit, nuts, and brown sugar. Plus, there was milk and orange juice in the fridge. There was a nice letter on the kitchen table inviting us to take the food in the kitchen if we didn't use it during our stay. You don't need to tell me twice. :)

It was a nice room. Clean and comfortable. And the price was right too. I would definitely stay there again. Thanks, Park Lane Suites, for being awesome!

Anyway, after Pittock Mansion and the rose garden, we went downtown to look around and get some dinner and walk along the riverfront. We ended up at Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub. In my mind, you can never go wrong with pub food. And that was indeed the case. I got a delicious chicken and mushroom pasty (in a flaky pastry with tarragon cream sauce) over mashed potatoes. And naturally, some cider and black...because I have to take advantage of being at a pub. Lance and his sister were happy with their ham and cheese sandwiches with fries.

After dinner, it was back to our room for the night.

This morning, we went to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Only I had Lance drive to the satellite location since we didn't want to pay for parking or try to find parking in the middle of downtown on a weekday. As we were getting out of town, taking public transportation wasn't really an option.

So...Voodoo Doughnuts Too:

It was crazy. It was pink. And it has an obsession with Kenny Rogers. Yeah, pretty much what I expected, from what I've heard of this place.

And then there's the doughnuts...

That, my friends, is one of their famous bacon maple bars. And just a regular chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting.

Lance got a doughnut with chocolate frosting, crushed oreos, and peanut butter drizzled on top. I got a sugar coma just by looking at it.

In short, awesome. And doughnuts are never my first choice for breakfast food. But this is a Portland institution. I'm fairly certain if you come to Portland, at least one person will tell you to go to Voodoo Doughnut. Just do it already.

That was our sweet send-off from Portland...time to move on. Lance's sister wanted to see the Pacific coast, so naturally, we had to go back to Cannon Beach. I was just there last week - see my last post. I won't go into any further details, other than to say that it was sunny this time, and the tide was in. So it was much different from last week.

Then we headed up to Astoria, where we stopped for a bit at the Columbia River Maritime Museum before heading back toward Seattle.

Fun trip, but exhausting. I get a break tomorrow while they go whale watching. I already did that last month with my cousins. I hope they see orcas like we did.

Anyway, if you want to see pictures from the past 2 days, you can go to my Flickr set.

Here are some other links:

- Park Lane Suites & Inn

- Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub

- Voodoo Doughnut

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