Tuesday, March 31, 2015

PORTLAND, OREGON: MUSEUM OF ART

The Portland Art Museum, founded in 1892, is the oldest art museum on the West Coast and the seventh oldest in the United States. 
The sculpture garden surrounding the museum is worth a stop even if you don't have time to go inside.
Brushstrokes (1996) by Roy Lichtenstein
It was fun to see this piece by Allan Houser, an artist I had become acquainted with on a previous trip to the Oklahoma State Capitol:
                              Desert Harvest (1982) by Allan Houser



Hungarian artist and emigre Frederic Littman is credited with reviving the art of sculpture in Oregon in the 1940s:
Mistral No. 2 (1961) by Frederic Littman

Sunday, March 29, 2015

PORTLAND, OREGON: COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE

One of the "must dos" for someone visiting Portland is a day exploring the Columbia River Gorge. The drive begins about twenty miles outside of Portland in the quaint town of Troutdale and cuts through the Cascade Mountains
Columbia River Gorge
Called "The King of Roads," the 75-mile-long Columbia River Scenic Byway was started in 1915 and took seven years to complete. It is considered a significant engineering feat. The man who was responsible for the project, Samuel C. Lancaster, worked hard to showcase the gorgeous waterfalls and views of the area without "marring what God had put there."
Our yellow Kia Tilly handled the hairpin curves and elevation changes just fine.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PORTLAND, OREGON: MORE TREATS AND EATS

My daughter is a food blogger. It's an important part of both the previous post about food carts and about this post about All the Stuff We Ate in Portland. I'm sure that if she weren't a food blogger, we would have eaten only fresh vegetables in reasonable quantities.

Whew! It's so nice to have an excuse for these food posts!

Lilly's Hummus
I'll start with a food destination that really, truly is all about healthy eating.  Rachael has done some photography for Lilly's Hummus, a wonderful home-grown business in Portland, and when she told the office she was going to be in Portland, they invited her to come see the factory, and I got to tag along.

Just about the first thing I noticed when we walked in was a seven-foot-tall poster of a darling little girl enjoying her hummus snack.  Hey! That sparkling face belongs to my grand-daughter, hummus connoisseur extraordinaire!  What fun!
We loved meeting Lilly herself. I was impressed to learn how her now national company began in her own kitchen as she made hummus to sell at a local farmers market. "People would get made when we sold out," she told us, so she started making more and more of her organic, locally-sourced hummus. Soon they had to move production to a small factory, and just recently they've moved into quite a large facility that we were able to tour.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

PORTLAND FOOD CARTS

Portland has the most amazing food cart culture I have ever seen. We signed up for a food cart tour with Brett Burmeister, owner and managing editor of Food Carts Portland.   What a blast! The tour was a great introduction to the legendary Portland food cart scene. Brett gave us a great overview of the history of the food cart phenomenon and very specific insights into many of the carts that are in the Alder Street Food Cart Pod, the largest of the nine food cart gatherings in Portland, six of which are in the downtown area.

All told, there are over 600 food carts in Portland. They are carts--not trucks--a matter of semantics that has something to do with the fact that the law is that they must be able to be moved, and thus they must keep their wheels on, but they don't ever really move. The Alder Street pod has 65 carts, and most of them have been there for five years or more. 

It's no wonder that the last fast food chain left downtown Portland in the 1990s. Why would anyone eat at McDonald's when they could spend the same amount of money and eat here?  (Well, maybe so they could sit down, the single flaw of this food mecca.)
Portland Food Carts
The food carts encircle a full city block (a parking lot) and part of a second block. They get their electricity through this mess of power lines tied to a single pole in the middle of the parking lot. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

PORTLAND, OREGON: AROUND TOWN

We started each day in Portland dealing with its infamous pea soup fog. Even the cars seemed to get swallowed up in this fog--except for Tilly. We were pretty happy about our sunshine-yellow Tillamook Kia.

Because we just happened to park next to it, the First Presbyterian Church, a building completed in 1890, was our first stop in downtown Portland.
The nice ladies at the front desk gave us a "visitor" badge and took us to the sanctuary. It has a rich brown wood vaulted ceiling that gives it a nice outdoors-y feel:
Their pipe organ at the front of the room is stunning:

Friday, March 13, 2015

OREGON: TILLAMOOK STATE FOREST, TILLAMOOK CHEESE FACTORY, AND MR. BENTO

The first place we went after leaving the Portland Airport in our yellow Kia was to Tillamook, a small town of about 5,000 inhabitants located on the Pacific Coast just 75 miles from Portland. The city is named for a Native American tribe of the region.

To get there, we drove through the Tillamook State Forest, 364,000 acres of heavily wooded, fog-shrouded hills.


The point of our drive was this: The Tillamook Cheese Factory, the original cheese production site for the company. It gets over a million visitors a year.

Monday, March 9, 2015

PORTLAND, OREGON: GIRL TRIP!

Throughout our child-rearing years, my husband had opportunities to take the kids on special trips without me. When our two boys were young, my husband often used Spring Break to take them backpacking. I was teaching at a community college that did not have the same week off, and so I was never included, which was fine by me. I was glad the boys had something fun to do, and I think these are cherished childhood memories for them.
Even now that our boys are adults, their tradition of traveling with their dad to climb mountains has continued. For the last five years or so, the three of them have met up in Colorado for that purpose. Two years ago I went along for the first time, and last summer my daughter and granddaughters came too. (Unfortunately, our son-in-law was on a business trip in Japan.)
My husband has even had a daddy-daughter trip with our daughter. When she was sixteen and hard for him to relate to, he hit upon the idea of climbing Mt. Shasta together as a way of strengthening their relationship.  They trained together, and then just the two of them embarked on a great adventure that marked a turning point for both of them. 
This past summer one of my friends took her four daughters and her daughter-in-law on a girls-only trip to London. It looked like so much fun, and it made me start to think about my personal experiences with our kids. I decided it was time for some much-deserved Mom trips where I would take one of the kids to a place of their choice for a few days. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

TEXAS: FORT WORTH MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND HISTORY, OUR LAST TEXAS BARBECUE, AND A LONG, LONG JOURNEY HOME

On our last day in Texas we happened to be driving past the FORT WORTH MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND HISTORY, a place not on our itinerary, but when we saw a marquee for the showing of the movie Jerusalem in their IMAX theater, we made an unscheduled stop because we have a trip to Jerusalem coming up in 2015.
We had very little time for checking out the actual museum, but it looks like a wonderful place to spend a day. On our way to the theater, we did admire a 9/11 Tribute that included this piece of the North Tower of the World Trade Center:

The Fort Worth Omni Theater was the first IMAX screen in the Southwest, and it's still the largest screen west of the Mississippi. If you get vertigo, the soaring images on the 8-story tall 120-foot-wide screen will definitely be a challenge, as it was for me. However, the movie, produced by National Geographic, was a spectacular visual introduction to Jerusalem, and I am glad we went.



Monday, March 2, 2015

TEXAS: DINOSAUR VALLEY STATE PARK, THE FORT WORTH STOCKYARDS, AND THE Y. O. RANCH STEAKHOUSE IN DALLAS

A life-sized diorama near the exit of Fossil Rim got us ready for our next destination, DINOSAUR VALLEY STATE PARK, located just a few miles away.
Dinosaur Valley presents an epochal contrast to the living animals of Fossil Rim. This place is haunted by the ghosts of dinosaurs past who have left their heavy footprints in what was once mud at the edge of an inland ocean, but which has since become hard stone.
 The gloominess of the late afternoon added an appropriate sense of mystery.
 A flat rock bed just under the surface of the water contains the first sauropod footprints ever discovered. Sauropods are among the largest animals ever to live on land.

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