This was a neat day, partly because there was so much variety to our activities, and because we got some outdoor exercise and because the scenery was beautiful. Martha picked out good spots for us to visit. We even started our morning about 30 minutes earlier than the schedule. I guess I’m getting used to Martha and Ed’s early rising and appreciating having so much time during the day. We were eating the continental breakfast at our Best Western at the base of Mt. Hood by 6:45 a.m. and out of there by 7:15, heading toward Multnomah Falls, a very scenic waterfall that falls about 500 plus feet into one pool and then another 200 plus feet into another pool. We were able to walk up about half-way to the bridge that crosses the two divisions of the waterfalls. We were also on the side of the Columbia River Gorge supposedly quite near where Lewis and Clark made their expedition following the Columbia River.
We then drove to Crown Point, seeing a couple of other smaller waterfalls from the roadway, Crown Point being the location of a beautifully constructed Vista House that was built in the early to mid-1900’s using Alaskan marble and another imported stone, but I don’t remember what it was. For being built so long ago, it is quite a masterpiece. It offered us an elevated view of the Columbia River Gorge and across the river to some pretty farmland in the state of Washington. Heading back into Portland, we were able to drive alongside the river for quite a while, which was very scenic. Oregon is becoming more and more an attractive place.
Wildflowers along the Trail
So we arrived at the bike shop way ahead of schedule and decided to ride before we ate lunch instead of following the planned itinerary. With our bikes and a car rack rented, Ed drove us to the last parking place before the end of the Springwater Corridor Trail, our 10th Hall of Fame rails-to-trails. It would have been good if Ed had ridden with us, but because he chose to transport us we were able to ride the entire trail. We decided to let Ron go on ahead while Martha and I rode the two miles on to the end of the trail at that end and then turn around and go in the direction that Ron was heading, thinking that we would catch up with him in about an hour because he likes to ride more slowly than us in order to look around more. The trail extended a total of 21.5 miles and most of it was in sort of a nature preserve area, either the Johnson Creek area or another one called Oakwoods Animal Preserve (I think). There were lots of blackberry bushes; pink, white, purple, yellow wild flowers; and swampy bushes and grasses growing on each side of the trail. It was interesting, but neither of us can really agree that it deserves to be considered a Hall of Fame Trail. But the exercise felt good.
Crossing the Willamette River
What made this trip interesting is that didn’t catch up with Ron in the time we thought we would. After we had been gone almost 90 minutes we decided to call him on his cell and found out that he had gotten temporarily off the trail on the short detour in the trail and was getting different directions as to how to get back to the trail. He was off the trail only by about a mile and so was able to eventually get some directions that took him back to the trail at a point where he could meet us. So we were all able to ride the last six miles together. After we met up with Ron we passed by a large field of these pretty purple flowers and had the Willamette River on one side of us. We also got to ride on the big steel bridge across the river and then on a bike path following the west side of the river until we arrived at the Waterfront bike shop to return the bike rentals and meet up with Ed.
Our treat after riding was to visit the Voodoo Donut Shop, a popular donut shop that has a weird variety of donuts and had a line 10 minutes long down the street of people waiting to get in to buy donuts. Martha is identifying the specific varieties that came in our “Voodoo Dozen” box, but essentially they are cake and raised donuts with a variety of frostings and toppings that one wouldn’t normally put on a donut. Good marketing, plus they come in a pink box that is a trademark of their store. The girl behind us in line bought a large bucket of day-old donuts for $8.00, a real deal she said because they taste almost as good as the fresh ones. This bucket, and I’m not exaggerating, is about the size of our 50 lb. chlorine tablet bucket. That was quite a sight to see her walking off with that. Our dozen of fresh donuts cost $11.25, but only because we let them select the donut choices; otherwise, a single donut costs anywhere from $2 to $4.
Ed and Martha then dropped us off at the Amtrak station with all the bags and the large pink box of donuts, which the security dog eventually came over to sniff, I guess for drugs hidden inside but of course didn’t find anything but donuts. They returned the rental car and then took a taxi to the station. We had a hamburger for a late lunch there and boarded the 4:45 p.m. train bound for Spokane. That was one of the highlights of the day because we rode alongside the Columbia River, following the gorge for several miles, probably three hours’ worth of riding. This is really a neat way to travel and we wish we could do more of it out of Atlanta to various places. Just sit back and watch the scenery and have good conversations. We all went to the observation car also and taught Martha how to play bridge. She caught on quickly, and we had a good time playing three-handed bridge. After about 9:30, it was dark outside, but it was still fun riding the train. We arrived in Spokane at midnight and then made it to our Travel Lodge motel for the night. A good day.