Monday, August 1, 2011
Road Trip with Mom and Dad 2011
July 31, 2011
First leg of the trip is done: we left Seattle around 8, and breezed through Tacoma and Olympia. The sky was overcast until we passed our capital. We caught a brief glimpse of the Capitol – dignified and somber, standing among a sea of tall trees. We made a brief stop in a rest area between Olympia and Vancouver, just walked around and stretched. I drank scolding hot cocoa – served by some religious youths- helped me to wake up…
Soon we turned east, bypassing Vancouver, and crossed Columbia river close to The Dalles. We drove along I-84 till we noticed exit 22 spelling out: Vista House. Our navigation system went bonkers: it insisted that we make a U-turn till we actually arrived to the place. It was not happy we chose the Historic highway… but we did enjoy it, except for a brief spell when we stopped at a view point and some youngsters nearly crashed their car into us… They zoomed in and out in two cars at top speed, paused a hairbreadth away from us and made a u-turn hitting their second car on the stone wall of the road with a hollow “boom” – and then, they were gone without even stopping to access the damage!
The Vista House was dedicated in 1918. A strange structure without any evident purpose other then to be a prominent landmark, it sits on top of a gigantic basalt outcropping overlooking the Columbia river Gorge. The store offers postcards, watercolors and pseudo Indian handicrafts…
From Vista House it was about 10 minutes drive to the series of waterfalls: we went to see the Bridal veil, which is a two-fold cascade of foamy water, falling in a narrow valley overgrown with tall, mossy trees. My parents did rather well on the trail, which is short but could be challenging just because it is plunging steeply down – and then climbing up again on the other side. 3 strategically placed benches made it easier for my mom and dad. Later we had a picnic under a gigantic Canadian maple, and by 3 – even considering heavy traffic, were at Portland’s Hilton.
At 4, we got on to the Pink Trolley for an extensive and humorous city tour. Portland is a beautiful city with some striking landforms – the Williamette river divides it into industrial and residential halves, and hills rise to 1200 feet in the west, offering breath-taking views of the city. The Zoo sits on the very top of the hill, with arboretum and Washington park sloping down to the poshy Edwardian and Victorian villas, giving way, in their turn, to mixed business and residential quarters mostly on level ground.
We ended the day in Brassiere Monmartre – I will seriously recommend the place to any of my friends! Their onion soup is incredibly good! Good house wine, good ountrees and pleasant service, plus fab ambience… Go there!
Hilton: do not stay in the main tower – small rooms have no refrigerator, tiniest counter in the bathroom… Pay a bit extra and stay at the executive tower: you will get bigger room with better furniture, nicer bathroom, a refrigerator – and a clean, if somewhat cool, swimming pool with no children.
August 1, 2011
Second day: from Portland to Eureka
It took us most of the day to reach Eureka – we left Portland around 8 A.M., and arrived at 5 P.M. We made a stop about 20 miles before Grants Pass – and it was a smart thing to do! The roads – both 199 and 101 were treacherously weaving along mountain rivers and through the forests; sometimes we drove only 25 miles per hour. There were some very beautiful sites to see, but somber – the giant sequoias cast a deep gloom over the road, and cold mist was seeping through from the ocean. Mysterious, bleak, overwhelming.
We are at Red Lion Inn in Eureka. The hotel does not boast many stars, but has a good friendly service, free breakfast, free internet – and a refrigerator. There is an outdoor pool and a spa, but it was too cold to even go there!
I love these movies!
- The Fall, directed by Tarsem
- Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jennet
- Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson
- Moulan Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrman
- Moonsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair
- Australia, directed by Baz Luhrman
- Despereately seeking Susan, directed by Susan Seidelman
- Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, directed by Bharat Nalluri
Favorite books and authors
- Boris Vassiliev, historical novels
- C.Cherryh, Morgaine Sagas
- Ch.Dickens, The Bleak House
- George Martin, The Chronicles of Ice and Fire
- Gregory Frost, Shadow Bridge novels
- Heinrich Mann, Henry the IV
- J.R.R.Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
- Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma
- Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time
- Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Mort D'Artur
- Ted Williams, Green Angel Tower
- Terry Goodkind, Magician's First Rule and the following books in this saga
- Thomas Mann, Joseph and his Brothers