Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

September 21, 2008

Julie & Jo's Second Annual BFF Girl's Weekend in Portland, Oregon

On Friday, 9/19, me and Julie (note to Julie: I worded it that way just for you. hahaha) left our respective homes for the approximate 155 mile drive to Portland. However, because most of my trip is on a highway at 70 mph in places, I got to Portland about 45 minutes b/f Julie. I stopped twice along the way to stretch out the trip and I shot this sign at one of my stops. The weather was cloudy, of course, because I was traveling. We'd had about 3 weeks of sunny, warm days leading up to my trip and then the ocean air pushed in. So I couldn't see Mount St. Helens from the highway, nor could I see Mt. Hood or any of our other large volcanoes.

Crossing the Columbia River. I have this exact same shot from last year!!

I didn't take any pictures of our hotel this year, but we were at the Days Inn Motel, a few miles from downtown. It was, unfortunately, right next to Highway 84 and had a city bus stop right on the other side of the parking lot so it was extremely noisy. And the room was hot. We had and used the a/c, but it would always kick off right as the room was finally starting to get comfortable. Tried to keep the window open but it was just too loud, especially the sound of the bus' air brakes when it stopped.

Julie arrived and we checked in at about 11:30. We dumped our crap in the room and caught up for a bit, then we headed into the city. Last year, we were in the main downtown area, near the college. This year we decided to explore "Old Town" and we liked it way better than where we were last year, but for the fact that there really aren't that many shops and a whole lot of homeless people.

We had lunch here, at Old Town Pizza. It was sooooo good.
The interior of the restaurant is extremely interesting. The building is quite old and sits above the "Shanghai Tunnels". The restaurant very dark and filled with tons of antiques, stained glass windows, stained glass lamps, Victorian era furniture, toys & pot bellied stove. You wind your way thru the inside to different rooms. It's pretty cool. Supposedly haunted. I swear I heard, very faint, the sound of ghostly voices wailing and such, which I am sure are piped in. lol

After we ate lunch, we took a quick walk to Apple Music Row, because the time on our parking space was limited. Julie wanted to get some plastic stix for her drum kit so we popped into the drum store. I loved these tie dyed congas and bongos. Unfortunately, they didn't have any tie dyed drum kits.

There's Julie doing her best "Rock-n-Roll Drummer Animal" impression. The salesdude, Brett, was really funny and nice. He asked me to email him this picture so I did.

They had lots of autographed drum heads hanging on the wall, but I honestly did not recognize the names of any of the musicians as they were all from bands I don't follow. I asked if Mickey Hart and/or Billy Kreutzman from the Dead ever stopped in and Brett said no, they hadn't.

Still, they had lots of antique drums and originals. I really liked this one from 1936.

This sign cracked us both up.

A cool doorway in Old Town.

We were walking around, trying to find the car. We rounded the corner and saw this sign and busted our guts laughing. This would be Brian's Chinese name. *wink*

We made it back to the car with one minute to spare before the time limit ran out. Went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day and evening talking and laughing.

Got up at 7:45 on Saturday, went out to breakfast, then drove along the Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls. Again, we had a very grey, overcast day and it was misting the closer we got to the falls.

Multnomah Falls is the second tallest continually flowing waterfall in the USA. (The first is Yosemite Falls in CA). I'm sure this is much more impressive in the spring, after the rains and melting snow.

My plan was to hike as far as the bridge; Julie was going to the top. Although she did it in record time and didn't even break a sweat, I found the description of "40% grade with switchbacks" a bit too daunting for me. But then again, Julie also summits 20,000 foot mountains so it's all relative.

Here are the upper falls, taken from the Bridge.

Upper falls landing in a little catch basin before the water continues on it's downward journey.

Looking straight down from the bridge.

My glasses were fogging up every time I held the camera up to take a shot. I still use the viewfinder, not the screen. So I took them off and this is what happens when I try to take a picture without my glasses. It sure looked focused to me......

Fern & Western cedar.

View of the Columbia River from the trail. That's Washington State on the other side of the river.

Lower falls.

I really liked the contrast of the feathery & regular waterfalls.

There were a few artisans set up outside the lodge. I nearly forked out quite a bit of cash for a gorgeous art marble, but realized we still had the Portland Saturday Market to visit, so I kept my credit card in my purse.

That is until I went into the lodge's gift shop. I want every one of these Seattle Glass Eye Studio paperweights. I didn't buy any of them, but I did spend about $40 on postcards, a magnet and a really cool cross stitch design of the falls and lodge.

These bad boys run upwards from $75. If I could, I'd collect them all. Unfortunately we have neither the money to buy them, or the room for a large, lit glass case. And we live in earthquake country.

Isn't this world one gorgeous? It's quite large too, about the size of a softball.

And of course the obligatory tourist shot.

Multnomah Lodge. I think it's just a day lodge with a gift shop and restaurant.

I liked this Union Pacific train bridge sign, listing the mileage to cities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Didn't realize that I'd also captured a semi traveling on the highway next to the train bridge till after I started uploading photos.

Looking west up the Columbia River. It eventually dumps into the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and Clark sailed down much of the Columbia on their historical journey in the early 1800's. It was the only east-west route thru the Cascade Mountains for the first pioneers.

Looking east up the Columbia River Gorge. Farther east is the Bonneville Dam, which provides hydroelectric power for much of Washington thru the Bonneville Power Administration. Oregon is on the right and Washington State is on the left.

We got back to Portland before 11 and went back to Old Town. This time we found an all day parking lot that only cost $6. We headed over to the Portland Saturday Market, which is under the Burnside Bridge.

It was overwhelming. I wanted to buy every single thing I saw. Nearly every single craft was created by a Pacific NW artisan. These guys make creative jewelry, wind chimes, and other items out of silverware and cutlery. Their most popular item is the head band that has one half of cutlery on one side and the other half on the other side. You put it on and it looks like there's a meat clever embedded in your head.

Or salad tongs.

These feathered masks were so exotic and beautiful.

The market spills out from under the bridge, around the side of the bridge and across the street. There was so much to see and so much to buy, but I was a good girl.

I didn't even buy any tie dye.

I would have bought this in a heartbeat.

Or this. I really, really wanted this. It's the most unique stained glass window hanging I've ever seen.

No, Red Green was not making the wallets. lol

A lot of the stuff for sale was of the Thai/Nepalese/Tibetan/Asian genre, which I also love (right Holly?). Julie scored a couple of really cool rings and a prayer wheel pendant necklace. She also got a cool hat. I bought a gorgeous purple batik blouse at a store near the market for a great price.

There was also a lot of live music and by far my fave was the Boka Marimba Band who were set up under the eating tent. I kind of wish I'd gotten their CD.
Julie in her jaunty new hat & holding my bag of purchases, at the entrance of the market.

We walked up on the Burnside Bridge so that I could get a shot of this sign.

We then walked around Chinatown for a little while. It's not very big at all, but I had to take pictures of the entrance gate, since I have Chinatown gate pictures from SF, Victoria and Vancouver.

I liked this a lot, even if they do portray Mt. Hood to be this ginormous mountain that towers over the city, when in reality it's only about 11,000 feet and not that close.

We stopped into this Asian antique store call The Monkey & The Rat. The first thing we were greeted with was extremely loud bluegrass music, which the owner eventually turned down. I really wasn't expecting to hear bluegrass in an Asian antique shop.

We were drooling over what appears to be a very fancy birdhouse. There was a young woman in there with her boyfriend and she really, really wanted to buy this. But then of course I had to point out how gross it'd get with bird poop and how hard it would be to keep clean.

We split for the hotel late in the afternoon, dumped off our crap, then headed out to find someplace to have dinner and were kind of in the mood for Chinese. We ended up at the Shen Zhen Seafood Restaurant, not too far from the hotel, so we decided to get take out.
The place was pretty crowded and 95% of the diners were Asian, so we knew the food was probably going to be good. Out of practicality, we got the combo dinner plate so that we wouldn't have to throw away good food, and neither one of us wanted to cart the food home on Sunday. We had the sweet & sour pork, fried rice, vegetables & egg rolls.
As we waited, we started to take more notice of our surroundings. There were 4 large pretty fetid tanks of fish against one wall. Not a decorative tank of fish, but ones they plan on killing and serving. There was a large eel in one and a dead fish under it. The eel never moved so I can only assume it was dead too. We were glad we didn't get any seafood!! To kill more time while waiting and to keep my eyes off the tanks of fetid fish, I started reading the menu which had quite the selection of interesting items.
This one jumped off the page and I was barely able to keep myself from shrieking in disgust. Instead, I just looked at Julie w/ wide eyes, pointed and whispered, "Ewwww, look!"
Now, I just have one question. Why? Why would you eat a pig's rectum? Why would you eat ANY kind of rectum? And who was the brainiac who first decided to eat one and incorporate into the cuisine of one's area, which in this case appears to be Northern China. The fried pig's kidney is bad enough. But pig's rectum? Julie was as horrified as I was. So of course while we were eating our sweet & sour pork we kept asking each other, "So how's your pig's rectum?" Because for all we knew, that's what we got.
We had the best time and when we left, agreed "Same time, next year!"
Left Portland at a little after 6 a.m. on Sunday and was home by about 8:45 a.m. I passed by Mr. Right Winger's place along I-5 near Chehalis and shot a picture of this year's sign. Last year he had something on there about illegal immigrants. This year it says, "Can the Real Washington Make King County Secede? Re-Elect Rossi". It's a long, boring political story stemming from the 2004 Gubernatorial Election. Rossi isn't our current Gov., by the way, but he would have been if it wasn't for King County. I voted for Chris Gregoire and the second she took office, she blindsided us with a huge gas tax, which is why our gas is higher than everyone else except California and probably Hawai'i. She's been a huge disappointment and really bad for our state. And her mudslinging approach to ads is lame. Needless to say, we are crossing party lines and voting for Dino Rossi, who is running again.


  1. I love the glass!Ah,the celestial stuff,made me wish I was richer.

    I make it a point not to eat any internal organs,cooked or otherwise.

    The waterfall is amazing but dang it,it makes me thirsty.

    Next time,I would like to be stuffed in your suitcase so I can go too.

  2. Oh baby!!!
    Another wonderful travel tour with Jojo!!
    Man, those doors and doorways are so kinda architecture.

    And the waterfalls!!
    Oh, and I've seen my dad eat worse than pig rectum, babe. I will not go into it here...or anywhere else. HAHAHA!

  3. Hey, JoJo, did you really lean over the falls and take pictures looking down from a great height? You're a better woman than I am!

    Actually, the views from across the way looking back at the falles look a bit - how can I put this? - vaginal? Vulval?

  4. Beautiful photos, especially the falls!!!! I've never been there.

    I'm glad you enjoyed yourself! :)

  5. all i can say is, ya gotta travel more, and take pix and tell us about it! you do such a wonderful job of regaling us with your tales; it truly is interesting and funny!
    love the part about the pig rectum. and i agree; who's the moron who first decided to eat one?

  6. Anonymous2:52 PM

    You HAVE been busy!

    Can't say I'd look at a pig's bum and think 'hmmm, I wonder what that tastes like...'

  7. Bryde - I know, I want every single one of those paperweights! NOW!

    Axe - There's a lot of cool shit in Portland; you'd love it. As to what could possibly be worse than pig's rectum...I shudder to think of what your dad eats!

    Val - yes I did, but there was a stone rail that keeps you safe. But thanks for putting that image into my head b/c now I can't unsee it!!! lol

    Daisy - I'm sure the waterfalls look better in the spring, but they were still pretty cool.

    Fen - Would love to travel more. Just need the money!!

    Diane - I couldn't look at ANY bum and think it looks good enough to eat!!

  8. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Thanks for taking the armchair traveler's with you again!

  9. Anonymous6:17 PM

    I have to learn to type so stray ' don't enter my text!!! I think the
    pig's unmentionable out does the mysterious carpet stain from last year.

  10. Liz - It really does. I'm just glad I didn't SEE the pig's rectum dish! It was bad enough averting our eyes from the hanging Peking ducks (heads still attached) and the fetid fish/crab tanks!!

  11. Anonymous10:28 AM


    great write up, Jo. liked your referral to "me and Julie." wonderful pix too. the pig rectum paragraph was hysterical. i think the eel was dead. that place was something.

  12. Julie - Yeah but the food was pretty good.....

  13. I really need to get back to the Pacific Northwest...I Love Portland.

    And, if my brother and I had eaten at the restaurant that serves pigs rectum....He would have ordered it. A. Because he thinks of food as an 'adventure'. And, B. Because he knows it would have traumatized me.

    Wonderful pictures Jojo. Thanks for sharing your travels :)

  14. Tess - Yes, I agree, you need to get back up here to visit!!! Then we could finally meet! :)

  15. Jojo - it looks like you had a really great time. Good for you and your friend!

    I may have been adventurous to travel up as high as the bridge, but there is no way I ever would have looked over the side. The picture YOU took freaks me out. Heights and I are not good friends. But I love the nature shots.

    The things you saw would have made me woozy in my knees for wanting them.

    I have been to China town in New York and Boston. They often cater their markets to the people that live in the area, and you will definitely find some unusual stuff there. I have been pleasantly surprised by trying something in a restaurant, like dim sum. I have no idea what I ate.

    I hate to say this, but unless you're really strict on hot dogs, you've probably already eaten a pig's rectum and didn't know about it. Sorry, I'm just sayin'

  16. So they say Fancy.Every culture has their "oddities"....can you say haggis?But most cultures have some similar dish to compare.

    I am double troubled here,because I am Southern and Scot....and chitlins and haggis are pretty similar.

    I have had neither,nor will I.Just think,in the past Fear Factor would have not been so shocking to us.

    Have a good weekend Jojo.

  17. Fancy - Oh believe me, I am afraid of heights, until I see a picture I just GOTTA take, then I've been known to throw caution to the wind and get over my fears. Like the time we took a helicopter tour on the Oregon coast. The desire for aerial photos on a clear day out weighed my desire to keep both feet on terra firma.

    And I avoid hotdogs as much as possible, unless I'm at a ballgame!

    Bryde - Haggis....ew ew ew ew. My high school chorus went to Scotland once; my 2 best friends went (I didn't get to go, long story) and when they got back, they told me how they'd had haggis sprung on them by their host families. They weren't told what it was till they ate some.

  18. Oh wow! So much here I don't know what to comment on! lol

    Love that door...that was cool. And the waterfall photos are gorgeous!

  19. Hi Drowsey! Nice to see you over here, as I know you and sis have been busy showing Olga the sites! :P

    Maybe next time I'll go in the spring when the waterfall is much more impressive.

  20. man, what would i give to be able to just travel and take a vacation with a good friend. you're so lucky! it looks like you had a great time! send me an email, i want to join you next time! ;)

  21. wow!! that is a huge post! gorgeous pics as always. i can't believe you didn't buy any tie dye!
    that menu is unreal:}

  22. Now come on. You've got to admit that the mud slinging ads in the governor's race go both ways. I see both of their nasty ads every day, but have yet to see either of them run an ad highlighting their own qualifications. I don't think we should vote for either of them.