Thursday, August 18, 2011

A visit to Oregon

Julie and I went for a long weekend up to Hillsboro, Oregon, just west of Portland. We were visiting Julie's sister Sue and her clan.  It was quite the busy weekend, with no end of things to take pictures of.

On Friday, we decided to journey to Silver Falls State Park, just east of Salem. On the way there, we had to stop to buy some refreshments and we ran across this fine POS.  You always see crappy, beat up cars driving down the highway.  What makes this one special?


The "Mary Kay enriching women's lives" sticker in the rear window.  Somehow I think the economy has hit Mary Kay pretty hard if this is the type of car you get now.  I think the pink Cadillac were nicer.


The park was gorgeous.  We did a seven mile hike and got to see waterfall after waterfall. The most interesting thing was how lots of the falls were out away from the rock face, which allowed you to walk around behind the falls.



Here's a view looking from behind one, down the valley into the dense forest.



And the forests themselves are so different than what we have in Utah or in NC.  The trees were hundreds of feet tall and draped in a fragile green moss.


It felt like something out of Jurassic Park.  When there was no one around, it felt kind of creepy.


Here we have the girls.  From right to left, Julie, Kelly (oldest daughter, attending Gonzaga), Laura (senior in high school), Jacky (just entering high school) and Julie's sister Sue, who appears to be licking Laura's hand.


Julie, looking stunning with a waterfall in the background.


Yet another waterfall.  They were everywhere and very impressive.  I could easily kill a day there with a camera, tripod, and several lenses.  The background and lighting changed as you moved from fall to fall.


I was impressed with how well everyone did one the hike.  Of course, you just can't beat a nice ride home in a sunny warm car. Naps are a good thing.




The next day we had to find something equally interesting to do, and we did.  We went into Portland for the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby.  Since 1997, they have gathered on the steep hill at Mt Tabor and raced their cars down.  Not surprisingly, most of the event sponsors are bars or brew pubs, and thousands of people come to watch.

The variety of vehicles is stunning.  In this one heat, we have a sod covered race car, a head-first death mobile, and a whacky LeMans car with four riders.


God knows what this was supposed to be.


We didn't see this one go down the hill (we got there late), but it is a rolling basketball court.  There were several ball players who rode it down, apparently while playing.


You are allowed to have one team member give you a running push start, but after that it was just you, gravity, and a lot of winding curves.


This car was a transformer.  In race-mode, it looks more like a stock car.  When they weren't driving, it folds flat to become a full sized ping pong table.



By far, the most involved crew we saw was for the Mario Cart.  If you double-click to see the picture up close, you will notice that almost all of the Super Mario characters are represented in costume.



Another one in the "not sure what it is" category, but the rear driver was armed with a super-soaker.



Julie and Kelly, enjoying the day.


Another day, another adventure.  On Sunday, we ironically went to the Portland Saturday Market.  Seems like there might be some naming issues there.  Portland has a really eclectic mix of humans.  These guys were doing the frequently seen "dancing for donations" act, but they weren't really very good at dancing.  Rightfully so, they weren't collecting a lot in the way of donations.



Four guys with a fairly nice video camera were wandering around Pioneer Square interviewing people with a stupid hand puppet.  No idea why or what they planned to do with the results.  Looked like a Junior High film project, but they seemed a bit old for that.


There was a group of guys playing speed chess.  They seemed to be fairly good and quite serious about it.


And if interviews and chess weren't your thing, you could always wander over to the large tent offering "Messages from Heaven".  We didn't investigate how they were getting these messages, but there were definitely some interested recipients visiting the tent.


It's great to see how the girls have grown up.  When the adults planned to stay in Portland for dinner, the girls hopped the MAX (mass transit) for home.  They handle themselves quite well.



One last bit from the market.  We all split up to see different things.  When we gathered back together, Sue has this tattoo (temporary) on her leg.


and Julie had a little black cat.  Very cute.


Awesome trip.  It was nice being able to catch the entire Smale family on a weekend when the girls were all home and their normally packed schedules were very flexible.  We've been to Oregon a number of times, but got to see and do some interesting new things this trip.
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