October 11, 2017

Introducing Jerry to the Pacific Northwest: Portland

After spending two days in Seattle with Laurel and Dan, Jerry and I drove down to Portland on Saturday morning. We were looking forward to taking our time getting there, and maybe making a stop or two along the way.

I was dying for Jerry to see some of the mossy trees that I love so much, so I decided to take him to Multnomah Falls, one of the stops that Thomas and I made when we went hiking earlier this year. It was SO pretty, and I thought it would be the perfect place to take Jerry. (Here is a picture of when I was there in May):

Multnomah Falls

For some reason, Google Maps kept rerouting me when I would search for directions, and I couldn't figure out why--and then after a Google search, I saw that it was all closed because of the fires that started recently when some kids set off fireworks. There were a couple of my favorite scenic places that were ruined because of those fires, and it makes me so mad.

So, we headed right to Portland. We parked the car and then spent most of the day exploring the Saturday Market. It was so fun! There were lots of vendors outside selling crafts, art, and food. There were so many things I wanted to buy, but I managed not to buy anything (still trying to stick with our budget--and my allowance was my only spending money while in Portland).

cat pillow
It was so hard not to buy one of these body pillows for Phoebe, hahaha!

When we'd seen everything, we went for a long walk along the river to the Portland Aerial Tram. I'd been on it before, so I thought it would be fun to take Jerry. The walk to get there was actually the best part! It was about two and a half miles, and we took our time. The weather was gorgeous!

The ride on the tram itself only lasts about four minutes each way. The tram rides on a cable about 500 feet above the ground, so it has a nice view. I think it's meant to use for transportation, but I just wanted to go on it to see the sights!

We walked back to the market and picked up our rental car, then drove to Alamo to return it. Thomas came and picked us up, since he was our host for the weekend. Every time I visit, it's been a tradition that we go out for noodle bowls at Shanghai Tunnel; so, Jerry got to taste the noodle bowls that I have raved about. They were delicious, as always. And I've never gotten a good photo of them, because it's so dark inside!

noodle bowl
The vegetables are SO good--my favorite part was the zucchini this time!

What Thomas had planned after dinner was a surprise (I love not knowing the itinerary!). We went to an arcade called Ground Kontrol, and it was awesome! I am not a video game person, but this arcade had all of the retro games I played as a kid--Pac-Man, Tetris, Paperboy, Asteroids, Super Mario Bros., etc. And the music played in the arcade was from the same time period!

Each game only cost a quarter to play, just like the good old days, and we had a blast. I wasn't nearly as good at the games as I used to be, but I had so much fun reminiscing. I only spent a few bucks, but played for a long time; and the arcade ended up being my favorite part of the weekend! We stopped for a drink at Ten Barrel Brewing before calling it a night.

In the morning, we started with a delicious breakfast at Stepping Stone Cafe. They are known for their "Mancakes" (ginormous pancakes). I was in the mood for hash browns and sausage so I opted for that instead, but Jerry got one mancake. The food was so good! The hash browns were unique in that they were sliced instead of shredded or diced.

The Portland Marathon happened to be this weekend, so we went to the finish line for a little while to check it out. Then we went on another mystery destination--Powell's Bookstore! Powell's is the largest used and new bookstore IN THE WORLD (literally). We even had to pick up a map of the store when we walked in. There were rooms and rooms and rooms filled with books. It was crazy!

I love memoirs, and I ended up spending way too much time in the memoir section. I wanted to check out the rest of the store, so I made my way around, walking from room to room in awe at the amount of books. I wish I'd taken pictures inside the store! But it didn't occur to me at the time.

Oregon trail

We hit up Blue Star for doughnuts (several people told me that Blue Star has much better doughnuts than Voodoo, because I wasn't too impressed with Voodoo). At Blue Star, I got a lemon poppyseed buttermilk doughnut, and it was just so-so. I loved the lemon glaze, but I thought the doughnut itself was on the dry side. So, I only had a few bites before throwing it out. I wanted to save my calories for Salt & Straw (ice cream) later!

After Blue Star, we went to Widmer Brewery for a tour. This was totally Jerry's and Thomas's thing, but I was happy to see Jerry so excited. He loved it.

From Widmer, we went to Salt & Straw (my reward for going to the brewery, haha!). I'd heard so much hype about Salt & Straw that I was very excited to go--ice cream is my very favorite food in the world.

Salt & Straw is known for their unusual flavors, but the very odd ones didn't appeal to me, so I got a scoop of Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons and a scoop of Almond Toffee with Fudge Ganache. I liked the Sea Salt one, because it really balanced the sweet ice cream. And I liked the Toffee one, but I didn't like the ganache in it--the ganache had no sweetness to it, so I just picked those pieces out and set them aside.

I thought Salt & Straw was very good, but not much different from any other ice cream I've had. I'm sure if I had tried the very unusual flavors, I would feel differently; but as someone who loves ice cream and eats it way too often, I thought it was good--just nothing super special. That didn't stop me from eating it all, though! ;)

We went to Killer Burger for dinner, so Jerry could try the famous peanut butter pickle bacon burger. I was still pretty full from the ice cream, so I ordered a "girlie size" burger and I didn't even finish that. Jerry was impressed with his burger, as I knew he would be! We headed back to Thomas's and watched a couple of episodes of Atypical--a show that has become a a new favorite.

In the morning, we went out for a big breakfast because we were going to be hiking for about four hours. I had requested that we go to the same cafe we went to when we started our first hike in May--the Biscuits Cafe. They have pancakes that taste like yellow cake, and they are SO good. It was going to be our breakfast and lunch, so I ordered a big meal! It was delicious.

pancake breakfast

After breakfast, we drove the hour and twenty minutes or so to Silver Falls. I didn't know anything about Silver Falls, but I'd just requested that Thomas take us somewhere that Jerry can experience my favorite trees. Almost immediately, we saw the first waterfall, and the scenery was amazing. We spent a long time taking pictures and enjoying the view.

Silver Falls Oregon

Silver Falls Oregon

Then we continued on the hike, which ended up being a little over 5 miles total (I swear it was more like 15, but Thomas insisted it was less than 6). We saw several more waterfalls, and tons of mossy trees. Such an amazing way to spend our last day of vacation!

After driving back to Thomas's, he went to watch Brandon's soccer game (Brandon is his "little brother" from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program); I took the time to write a blog post; and Jerry watched football. By 7:30, we were all starving! So we went to one final restaurant that I was dying for Jerry to try--McMenamins, home of the very best tater tots in the world. Remember when I ran the 10K PR, and all I could think about was the tots from McMenamins? Jerry has always wanted to try them, because I raved about them so much.

Jerry and I shared a burger, because we wanted to save our stomach space for tots. Maybe it was because of the hike and and because I was so hungry, but I think the tots were better than ever that night! I also had a blackberry cider that was delicious.

Our final stop was a dive bar called Pappy's, where I had my very first Long Island Iced Tea the last time I was in Portland. We played Keno, and Jerry had all three of us pick numbers for a 9-spot card. He actually won $40 on it! The 9-spot cards don't have great odds, but I guess luck was on our side (well, his side anyway!).

In the morning, Thomas dropped us off at a nearby MAX stop so that we could get to the airport without dealing with rush hour traffic. The flight home actually went by really quickly, because I was working on my 1-Second Everyday video of the trip the entire time. The video is five minutes long, which is a lot of seconds of video to go through! But it's fun to have all those memories in one (relatively) short video.

Here is a video of the whole trip (in five minutes). You can skip ahead to 1:45 if you want to just see the Portland part; I posted the Seattle part yesterday). 

The whole trip (Seattle and Portland) was everything I hoped it would be! Jerry had a great time and got to see all the things I love about the Pacific Northwest; and we're even talking about taking the kids there on vacation next year (or possibly the following year). I think the kids would really like it.

It sucks having a weigh-in the morning after a vacation. I fully expected to gain weight (as you can see, I wasn't concerned about calories!). I was hoping that my weight would be around 136 or less (a three pound gain). I nearly fell over when I saw the scale:
Hahaha! I was about 133 last week, so this is a six-pound vacation gain. Honestly, though, I think after a few days, it'll be more like a two-pound gain. I obviously didn't make the healthiest choices while I was gone, but I most certainly did not eat enough to gain six pounds. I always tend to retain water when I travel. Also, I was very active--much more than normal--and when I pick up my activity, I hold onto water as well. 
So, I'm not trying to make excuses for the gain, but I think next week's weight will be much more accurate. No matter what it is, it was worth it! I didn't eat like a glutton, but I ate all of my favorite Portland foods (as well as a few new ones). I got in a lot of activity, and I enjoyed every moment of my vacation with Jerry. It was a fantastic week! 



  1. That video made me so happy!!! You went all my favorite places and I have been so home sick since I moved back to California after grad school (I lived in eugene for two years) and it's so hard after having so many attachments there. I totally regret moving. Killer burger! Mcminn's! Silver falls! 😭😫 So homesick! I'm so happy you love it!!! :)

  2. What app do you use to make these videso. They are so fun, I want to try it!

  3. It looks like such a fun trip! I hope Jerry was impressed.

    Don't sweat the weight gain - all the water weight is from sodium. You haven't been eating out much lately, and all the restaurant food on the trip is packed with sodium, which retains water. The same thing happened on my recent 3-day trip to a conference, but I shed just about all of it in 2 days.

  4. omg so much to say!
    1. I haven't been to PSM in years, like a decade, but it's a great way to take in all of Portland's funkiness!
    2. We're bummed you didn't get to do Cathy's tour at Widmer, but perhaps it's best so you didn't end up going two days in a row!
    3. Powell's!! I want a mug from there!
    4. The aerial tram takes people to OHSU! It's not advertised as a tourist experience but the view is amazing.
    5. Biscuits is SO good! I'd kill for their jam right now!
    6. Next time you guys are here, we're doing a McMenamins hotel, there's an epic one in Portland (Edgefield) and Seattle (Anderson School)!

  5. When I went to Salt and Straw I got the pear and blue cheese ice cream. It was surprisingly so freaking good! I’d highly recommend it for next time.

  6. In Iowa; we call sliced hashbrowns home fries, sometimes called American fries.

  7. That boomerang video of you guys is seriously cracking me up!! :D

    Portland looks beautiful...I would love to go there and take pictures some day!

  8. Katie, I've been meaning to comment to say that I love the new direction of your blog. I love that you have shared your mental health experiences and that you are blogging so often now. Mental health issues are so real. Now for the most important part, I bought the app for 60 seconds everyday on your recommendation and I love it. But I can't figure out the videos so I only do pics. Maybe sometime you can do a tutorial for us grannies. Lol!


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