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2019 - USA West Coast - Day 2

Our first moving day. We were not in a rush, so in a leisurely manner we went down to breakfast. It was noticeable that the breakfast chef from the day before must have been sacked because of their woeful messing with the scrambled eggs and that they hadn’t had time to replace the chef. So today we were treated to plastic looking Cheese Omelettes from the freezer that to be fair tasted better than they looked.

We were soon back in our room and then checked out and loaded the car.

The drive to Portland was only about 117 miles. As there was nothing we wanted to see en route and we knew we would be too early to check we decided to go ‘off’ route and visit Multnomah Falls. This is about 20 miles east of Portland and is the top recommendation for a day trip from Portland. We made good time. After we had heard the same 6 songs repeated three times on the Radio, we passed the time listening to a Desert Island Disc podcast.

As we got closer to the Falls, the overhead signs above the road started to warn that the Parking lot at the Falls was full. This caused the first argument of the trip when Karen suggested I should have know this was a possibility. As we had only decided at the last minute to come here I was not happy with that.

Then we saw another sign telling us there were running a shuttle service to get to the Falls. Rather than risk any car park chaos we turned off the highway and followed the shuttle signs. This turned out to be a great move. Parking for the shuttle was in a State Park overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. It cost $5 to enter but the shuttle to the Falls which were 6 miles away was free. The weather was still somewhat overcast so we didn’t really see the State Park in the best light and so we hopped on the shuttle which was waiting to leave.

A quick jaunt later and we were at the Falls where there were cars queuing everywhere. And once you were in the car park queue there was no escape, you couldn’t go forward or backwards. It looked a nightmare and the decision to get the shuttle was a good one.The Falls themselves were quite impressive coming down from the heights of the gorge. It was very busy but we walked up to ‘Benson’s Bridge’ to get an even better better view. There was also a trail that was a mile long up to the top of the falls but it looked very steep and we were not entirely convinced that it was open all the way due to previous forest fires nor what you would be able to see from the top. Instead we found some chairs at the bottom and ate the wraps we had bought from Walmart the previous day for our lunch.

There was a bit of a wait for the shuttle back but it came along soon enough. We then drove to our Hotel. Our first impressions were not good either of Portland nor the Hotel. The City looked very industrial and run down. Certainly our Hotel did not seem to be in the most prosperous area either. As it turned out, the Sat Nav had taken us through the equivalent of Magdalene Street to get there. Going back to the Hotel later from a different direction it didn’t seem too bad. The Hotel itself was actually alright once we got inside it.

We settled into the room and at 5pm drove to one of the places that Karen was keen to visit. This was the Columbia Factory Outlet Shop. As they are based out of Portland she was hoping for some bargains. Now neither of us are bothered by named labels but we do like clothes from Columbia as they are very lightweight and easy to wash out whilst travelling. The shop was about 12 miles away and our drive took us past downtown, which we both decided definately did not look pretty. At the shop there were bargains to be had and almost everything had at least 50% price reductions which brought the cost down to M&S levels or below. We came out with 2 large bags full.

From here we headed back via The Cheesecake Factory. There was a short 10 minute wait before we were seated. The waitress said we spoke like we were in a Harry Potter movie. I thought it was because I looked like a mature Harry, Karen said I had more of the Dumbledore about me. I ordered the skinnylicious Caesar salad whilst Karen had the skinnylicious Spaghetti & Meatballs. She also ordered the Cherry & Ghirardelli Cheesecake to take out. Afterwards we wandered around the Mall the restaurant was attached to for a few minutes and managed to get locked in Dicks Sporting Goods as it was shutting. Karen got rather freaked by this and imagined having to spend the night there or in the Mall itself. I thought it might be good fun.

Then back to the Hotel through downtown again, which did look quite pretty all lit up. As we still haven't adjusted time wise it was another quite early night to bed.

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