Cars are definitely handy things to have. We picked up our Mazda mini sport, threw in all our gear, and shook the dust of Portland off our feet. We had a push of a drive to get to Salt Lake City that evening, and a couple of stops to make on the way.
Multnomah Falls was just a little way from Portland, at the beginning of the Columbia Gorge. A very popular tourist site, the Falls are a picturesque double waterfall. We hiked to the top, then ever craving more, hiked along a forested trail along the mountain, that really didn’t lead anywhere exciting.
The beginning of the Columbia Gorge was pretty, and sort of like the rolling hills like I paint for my railroad backdrops. Yes! The beautiful scenery quickly turned boring… A whole lotta nuthin’, until around Boise Idaho.
We diverted to Pendleton, Oregon, for a leg-stretching, and to check out the Pendleton wool store.
Evening fell, and there was not much to see, until Adam looked out the window and said “Whoa! Look at the stars!” Stopping at the side of the road, we climbed up a sandy embankment and marveled at the stars that went all the way to the horizon! It felt like the Milky Way was almost within reach!
We stumbled down the embankment and headed on our way, but a certain funky smell made us wonder if we had stepped in animal droppings. Turns out it was the ambient aromas from big meat-factory farms! The smells made us gag for much of Idaho. Luckily, time and the highway soon put that unpleasantness behind us.
We drove into Salt Lake City and arrived at my cousin Jennifer’s at 1:30 AM. She was at work at the hospital as an ER Doc, and her husband, Dave and their two kids were getting up early for a duck hunt. We snuck into our room, and crashed. Jennifer was expecting a couch delivery in the morning. The deliverymen brought it in and set it up, but it literally took up her whole living room! The guys were not overjoyed to pack it all up and reload into the truck. I tactfully suggested she tip them well! 😉
Dave and kids returned after Zoie bagged 3 teal ducks! We all piled into the Tahoe for a hike to Lake Mary, a reservoir in a ski resort. Poor Jack fell asleep in the car, and was a little groggy for the beginning of the hike. But after he woke up… who could stop him! He wanted so badly to follow Adam on a hike around the lake, and he did! Jennifer was biting her tongue not to yell out to him “Be careful!” She has seen too much working in ER, and is ever vigilant with her kids.
My impression of Salt Lake City: A mishmash of architectural house styles and eras. Lots of 60’s, storybook, cottage style, and modern. Lots of “wildflower” front yards, but neat and tidy. This was also the first place since the midwest we saw big box stores! The next day, Adam and Dave went off to go mountain biking, but the threat of rain prevailed. Jennifer, the kids, and I went to the barn, so I could meet Bodie, their horse, and watch Zoie take a lesson.
On Monday, Dave and Jennifer had to work, so Adam and I planned to visit nearby caves. On the way there, I phoned Jen, and she suggested that we may need reservations for the cave tour. Sure enough – they were full, so we redirected, and went to Red Butte Garden, but didn’t want to pay the fee to get in. We had a tailgate lunch, just as a light rain began to fall. It had stopped as we finished lunch, and went to retrace some neighborhood hills Adam had found while skateboarding. Afterwards, we went back to the Reynold’s, and Adam and Jack tried some BB target shooting. It was good to see him engaging with the kids. Jen had just installed a TV in the “Duck Room,” a room over the garage that was to be the kids’ hideout. And that’s where they all hid out!