Friday, December 27th
Arrive in historic downtown Portland from Kent at 2:15 p.m. We are to meet Scott and Natalie nearby at 3:00 p.m. We park the car, easy street parking, pay the meter and walk to the riverfront. It's December, it's low 40s outside. We go back in the car and wait. I watch the people carrying their pink bakery boxes across the street. I then look up the address and realize we are two blocks from Voodoo Doughnuts. That was on our list of things to do on Saturday.
Natalie and Scott arrive early. We put their luggage in the trunk and walk over to take our place in line for doughnuts. I have had Voodoo Doughnuts once before when my son Wayne brought us home a box. We stood outside in line for about 20 minutes, then it was our turn to enter. Once inside there was still a small line. We carefully selected one dozen donuts and a key ring. The dozen included flavors such as maple bars with bacon, Mexican chocolate cake donut, Arnold Palmer and various chocolate iced variations.
We enjoyed doughnuts in the car as we drove to our hotel in the Nob Hill district of Portland. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express which offered free parking. It was a nice hotel.
We leave the hotel to meet Scott's family for dinner at Kell's Brew Pub. Which according to my GPS system would take us about 8 minutes to get there for our 5:00 p.m. dinner reservations. As we approached a nearby intersection we had a split second to make the decision of going straight or turning right. We made the turn which we then discovered, just circled us back around to where we should have been to go straight.
It also took us to a train track right as the flashing lights came on. The bar was slow to lower and I was tempted, but I had passengers with me and I wanted to see them another Christmas. So I stopped and waited for the train. And waited some more. Then we saw the train. And then we waited while it slowly inched down the tracks. It was the longest freight train I have ever experienced in my life of driving.
And then it stopped on the tracks. And then it crept slowly. Then a lady got out of her car to go see if there was an end in sight. And the train just kept on creeping down the tracks. Scott contacted his family who by now were seated at the restaurant to inform them we would be late.
After approximately 25 minutes of train watching we were then blessed to move across the tracks and on our way to dinner. I might also add I was the first car at the track and there was a center barrier which made it difficult to simply turn around and find another route.
Dinner was very, very good. There were 9 of us. It was fun to visit with Scott's parents, sister and nieces. For 9 people we actually only ordered 3 different menu items plus appetizers. I would highly recommend their Irish Nachos. They are kind of like extremely loaded potato skins. For dinner I had a sausage roll over mashed potatoes with a glaze sauce. Others also had that as well as fish and chips and shepherd pie. I can't wait to go back there. I guess we have a Kell's in Seattle at Pike Place. I'll be sure to go there sometime.
From there we headed back to the hotel where in the process of making a "hard left" turn as instructed by Scott in the back seat, I proceeded to run a red light as announced loudly by Natalie, also in the back seat. Luckily the drivers in town were very patient, they honked but no one had jumped the green light so we were safe and protected.
There was one brief moment after hearing Natalie shout, "red light" where I looked out my driver's side window and saw nothing but headlights. What they saw in my face, I will never know.
We decided to drive around in the Nob Hill area which was very fun. The trees on NW23rd all had lights on them, restaurants were open and shop windows were decorated. We then drove up to Pittock Mansion. Natalie and Scott had toured it earlier in the day. At night time, the drive was interesting, it was very dark. We got up to the driveway of the house and then drove back down the hill. But I can say I've been there now.
Saturday, December 28th
9:00 a.m. we were meeting to go down the street for breakfast. We arrived about 9:30 to put our name in at Besaw's. We were told about a 25 minute wait. We walked around the neighborhood a little bit. Then found Wally a warm seat to wait inside. We waited one hour to get our table. The food was delicious. And I learned about pullman Brioche. Pullman is the style of pan it's baked in so the top stays flat. I will be buying me one of those loaf pans.
Their breakfast potatoes are made with rosemary. I had Croque Madam which is thin sliced ham in-between slices of Brioche with a gruyere sauce served with eggs on top of it. With the potatoes. Very good.
From there we went to Salt and Straw. It's an ice cream parlor in a really old movie theatre building. Cute little place. I know ice cream after breakfast is not the norm. However, we knew we wouldn't be back in that area so Natalie and I indulged. It was very good.
From there we thought we might drive around a little bit. Natalie and Scott needed to be to the airport about 2:30 for their Saturday afternoon flight home.
I asked my phone how to get to Forest Park (not really knowing what or where it was). And we followed the GPS directions along the river in an industrial area where we saw lots of oil companies and a cool bridge. We continued to drive on a little winding road going up and up into the side of this hill. We got to the top and there were houses. And that was it. Just houses. So Scott turned into one of the driveways to turn us around to go back down the hill. And the car died. And the car would not start back up.
We are in someone's driveway, it appeared they were not at home. We were at the top of a very narrow winding road and they needed to be to the airport in 2 hours and we had plans to drive home that afternoon.
We popped the hood and the four of us stood around looking at the engine. Isn't that what you do when your car dies? We tried to start it a couple of times. Then Natalie says to me, "Mom do you want me to check you in?" Humor to ease a tense situation. I had been sure we did a Facebook check in for all our restaurant adventures.
I stood there in front of my old trusty 12 year old Toyota and offered a silent pray pleading for assistance and safety. I took the car keys and sat down and turned the ignition and it started. We immediately all hopped into the car and Scott took us down from the side of the hill out to the main road.
We then made our way back to the downtown historic district. We parked and walked along the river and took a few photos. It was a gray overcast day, in the mid 40s, but pleasant.
We then found our way to the airport and dropped Natalie and Scott off, way early. Good thing they had their iPads to keep them entertained.
I then took Wally to yet another landmark site in Portland, Fabric Depot. It was my second visit there. they boast 1 1/2 acres of fabric, notions, crafts and more. And everything in the store was 20% off. And Portland does not have sales tax. I did my job and boosted the Oregon economy.
Then it was a late lunch for Wally and I then we hit the road again to head home. We stopped off at Cabela's. I'd heard a lot about it but had yet to experience it. It was quite interesting. Then we were homeward bound and created by very thick fog when we arrived in Kent.
It was a great short trip and very fun to visit and explore a new city and to spend time with Natalie and Scott.
And that was my epic 27 hours in Portland, Oregon.