Pacific Northwest Trip Day 2: Portland to Tacoma via Multnomah

August 3, 2013 11:09 – 11:09

I’m at the Candlewood Suites on Pacific Highway SW in Lakeland, Washington, near Tacoma. The internet speed is pretty good, about 16/8. Thursday night at the Candlewood in Portland, it was about 30/13… quite decent for a hotel. Here’s the obligatory view out the window. In the first picture is the Momo Restaurant. I haven’t eaten there. They’re a possibility for dinner, but I haven’t investigated yet.

In this second picture, the black car at the far left is the 2013 Jetta 2.5 I rented—non diesel, alas. Its fuel economy isn’t wonderful—about 31 MPG so far, but it’s better than the Ford Focus they offered. I could’ve rented a Prius—for less money, actually—but its trunk isn’t big enough for all my crap.

I began yesterday morning on a scavenger hunt for an ice chest and some assorted other necessities. Finding an ice chest wasn’t quite as easy as I expected, but it wasn’t as difficult as it was in Sweden… and the Coleman I bought for $18 is quite a bit more thermally efficient than the $25 box I bought (and left) in Sweden.

By the time I finished buying the ice chest, ice, bananas, and soda—at Fred Meyer’s, by the way—it was lunch time. So, I decided to try a local chain—a place called Burgerville. Meh. Five guys and everybody else who sells decent cheeseburgers have nothing to worry about. I was underwhelmed.

After lunch, I set the GPS for Multnomah Falls. It’s a little east of Portland, which I learned yesterday was named after Portland, Maine. At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is the tallest falls in Oregon. The tallest falls in the US are in neighboring Washington, and clock in at 2,568 feet—Colonial Falls. I’ll have to investigate. While impressive, Multnomah Falls do not compare in beauty with Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan, which I visited in June.

Here’s a view showing both upper and lower falls. The bridge where the people are standing marks the upper/lower boundary.

And, here’s a view from the top, which wasn’t nearly as majestic as the view from the bottom, but still worth the 3 mile round trip hike. I’m parked somewhere in the left set of cars.

And while the falls views were nice, I was most impressed by some of the path views, which to me have a kind of Andean look to them. In theory, the nets are supposed to stop falling rocks. And, they probably do, but would be ineffective, I would imagine, against falling boulders.

Because bridges across the Columbia River are few and far between, heading to Tacoma meant heading west back to Portland to pick up the 205 and then “the 5” (Interstate 5). The 5 had lots of traffic on it, and while I dodged a backup leading to the 205, which saved me 10 minutes, the rush hour traffic on the 5 was not dodgeable, which turned my 2 hour trip to Tacoma into a 3 hour trip. In any case, I arrived shortly after 6 pm.

I was feeling Mexican-ish for dinner, and decided to try a place others had recommended—Vuelve a la Vida (back to life). Meh. I ordered steak fajitas with whole beans and a side of cheese. They brought refried beans and no side of cheese, and didn’t hang around or ever return to the table until I’d already given up and eaten what they brought. They also brought corn tortillas, while I prefer flour tortillas with fajitas. As I was finishing my last bite, I heard an adjacent table opting for flour instead of corn—an offer my wait person didn’t make. I didn’t hang around for dessert. I left a $20 for the $16.25 tab, and departed. The food was okay, but the execution was abysmal. I probably should’ve gone to the very crowded Mazatlan Restaurant that was walking distance from my hotel, but I was seduced by the word “dive” in the descriptions I’d read about Vuelve.

After dinner, I headed to a Safeway I’d passed to pick up a few groceries for breakfast, and then back to the hotel. For breakfast this morning, I had scrambled eggs and some of the leanest bacon I’ve ever had. The kitchenette here isn’t huge, but it’s serviceable.

Today, I’m heading for Tandi Rogers’ ordination at St. Leo’s Catholic Church. Yes. The Catholics have lent (or maybe rented… I’ll probably never know) their large space to the UUs. The Tacoma UU Church—which I passed on my way to dinner last night—is just barely big enough for their growing congregation, so a larger space was sought, and found. After the ordination… I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’ll guess I’ll see what post-ordination activities are available, and decide at that point. I have a long list of things to do in the area, provided on Tandi’s ordination website.

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