Hay in front of a barn
This was the typical landscape in the area I drove through east of Portland – Hay was a major crop.

Mt. Hood, Oregon - Elevation 11,245'
It took a long time to find a good vantage point for this picture.

An image of hay growing outside Portland. Oregon's Mt. Hood

Bear sculpture
This figure of a bear cub eating lunch was near Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Mt. Hood, Oregon
In the afternoon, I decided to go find a good place to take pictures of Mt. Hood. On the map, it looked like an easy 60 mile (1-hr drive), but in reality it was another mess. I stopped at a Fitness Gym to ask for directions but 4 locals who had lived here all their lives couldn't tell me how to get to Mt. Hood, the most dominant feature of their landscape.

Bear sculpture near Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. Image of Mt. Hood Oregon's Mt. Hood

The Stern-wheeler called Portland
It was a major attraction along the waterfront.

An old sternwheeler called "Portland" at Portland's waterfront.

China Gate in Portland
This impressive entry to one of the city’s Chinatown districts was reminiscent of San Francisco’s Chinatown – just on a much smaller scale.

Hanging flower baskets
Hanging baskets like this one were common in the downtown area.

Hanging basket of flowers in downtown Portland. Portland's China Gate

Tom McCall Park in Portland
This is a shot of the Park from the Hawthorne Bridge. It was a sunny 85 degree morning in Oregon’s largest city.

Map showing my walking tour route along Portland's waterfront. Tom McCall park along Portland's waterfront.

Salmon Street Fountain
It was the most active site I visited during my walking tour of Portland on the warm and sunny morning I was there. Otherwise, the city was quiet and subdued.

The Salmon Street fountain in Portland on a sunny day.

The Willamette River
My first stop in Portland was at its downtown waterfront park. I took a 2 hour hike along the Willamette River that flows through the city.

Portland and Mt. Hood
On the ground at Portland, I could see the snowcapped peak of Mt. Hood off to the east. It is Oregon’s highest mountain at 11,200’.

The Willamette River as seen from Portland's waterfront. View of Portland with Mt. Hood in the background.

The mighty Columbia River
Coming in for a landing at Portland’s airport we crossed over the wide bed of this magnificent river.

Aerial view of a large ship on the Columbia River in Oregon.

The Willamette River southwest of Portland
Note the intensive cultivation below as we prepared for landing at Portland.

Aerial view of the Willamette River as seen while flying into Portland (PDX).

Forest fires below
We crossed the border into Oregon at approximately 35,000 feet and we were immediately over a heavy layer of smoke from big forest fires burning below.

Airplane wing with clouds in the background.

Southwest counter in Sacramento
Checking-in for the early morning fight to Portland.

Southwest 737
A hazy sun was just poking above the horizon as we boarded.

Southwest 737 at SMF. Southwest Counter at Sacramento Airport (SMF). tunabanner1j

Day #1 - Sacramento, CA (SMF) to Portland, OR (PDX) and a Walking Tour of Portland's Waterfront

I was up at 3 AM and left for the airport at 5 AM. The morning sky was dark but clear and I arrived at Terminal A parking at 5:30 AM. My hike to the terminal was in the dark, as it would not be daylight until about 6 AM. I was feeling OK but apprehensive about the very bad head cold I was developing. It had all started with throat problems 4 days ago. At that time, I thought I was having allergy problems but gradually it developed into my worst-ever head cold with severely infected sinuses.

Over the next 5 days of the trip, I had very ugly discharges from my sinuses, a severe loss of hearing, and an inflamed throat that made speaking very difficult. It was a real problem-situation for a fishing trip. For additional aggravation, the cold medicine I was taking was making me drowsy. I almost cancelled the whole trip. The head cold surely was Snafu #1 of the trip.

I checked in OK for the morning flight to Portland and I made it through security - but not without a complete search of my carry-on bag and both shoes. There was a change at Southwest since my last trip in June. Boarding passes were now given out at check-in, and the number system was now replaced by groups (A, B, and C).

At 6:30 AM, I got a nice shot of my 737 Jet with the morning sunrise in the background. We took off at 7:20 AM (10-min late) and I had a great view of Verona where the Sacramento and Feather Rivers meet but we were too high for a photo.

At 7:40 AM, I got a great view of Lake Shasta, but again we were too high for a good photo (over 35,000').

At 7:50 AM, I spotted a familiar landmark. It was the distinctive cinder cone along I-5 near Dunsmuir.

At 8:00 AM, we passed over the California/Oregon border at the Klamath River. Almost immediately, the atmosphere became saturated with dense smoke from the forest fires that were still burning in southern Oregon. It was like that everywhere I went in Oregon for the next 5 days and it really reduced the quality of many of my photos.

At 8:10 AM, we were over Eugene (Pop. 78,000). It is Oregon's 2nd largest city. The landscape below was a combination of forested, hill-country and cultivated valleys. At 8:20 AM, we were over the outskirts of Portland (Pop. 384,000). Despite our late takeoff, we made good time on the flight and arrived at Portland on time at 8:35 AM.

I picked up my bag OK and then found the Budget rental counter just across the hall from the baggage area. I rented a 2002 Silver Hyundai with 3,860 miles on the speedometer. I checked the car over, spread-out my maps, and headed south into downtown Portland.

Finding the Motel 6 and Heading to Downtown Portland for a Walk

Except for the smoke, it was a clear and mild day in northern Oregon. It got up to about 85 degrees that evening - much more mild than the predicted 104 degrees back in Sacramento. I found my Motel 6 with no problems and I was happy to find a McDonald's just 3 blocks to the west and a Safeway approximately 8 blocks to the east. It was 10:00 AM when I arrived in the downtown area of Portland to take a hiking tour of the city center.

Snafu #3 – Traffic and parking in the downtown area was a real mess. The street layout was antiquated with many one-way streets. Parking at the curb was impossible and parking lots were very expensive.

Snafu #4 - When I did finally find a parking lot near the area I wanted to hike in, the lot attendant tried to cheat me with the old routine of "I don't have any change". Fortunately, I had anticipated this and had lots of change.

I hiked along the shoreline of the Willamette River in the downtown area from Hawthorne Bridge to Burnside Bridge (see map of my hiking route). Then, I hiked west on Ankeny St. to 6th Ave and then south to the Central Square of the city called Pioneer Courthouse Square. It was interesting but not anything real special. I passed several bronze figures of animals along the sidewalk—again interesting but nothing special. At Yamhill Street, I headed back for the riverfront and passed the most picturesque scene of the hike. At the foot of Salmon Street there was a large circular fountain encircled with water jets. It had warmed up considerably by now and was close to 90 degrees, and a group of kids were having a great time splashing through the sprays of water. My last stop was the middle of the Hawthorne Bridge to view the River.

It was approx. 12:30 PM by the time I got back to my Motel 6. It was very warm by now and I heard several people commenting on the "unusual" heat. At the Motel, I encountered Snafu #5 - The gal at the check-in desk said the number for my fishing guide was a local number and I could dial it for free on my room phone. I soon discovered that it was not a local number and I had to use my Motel 6 phone card that I had bought last year in Florida.

At 2:30 PM, I left the Motel for what I thought would be an easy drive out Highway 26 to snow-capped Ht. Hood. On the map, it looked like an easy 60 mile (1-hr drive), but in reality it was another mess. I stopped at a Fitness Gym to ask for directions but 4 locals who had lived here all their lives couldn't tell me how to get to Mt. Hood, the most dominant feature of their landscape.

I finally got good directions from a Ranger at a nearby county park – this was Snafu #6. Finally, after spending most of the afternoon trying to find my way to Oregon's highest mountain (11,245’), when I got there it was Snafu #7. I tried to drive or hike to every possible location I could find with a view, but I never could find a location where I could get a good picture of Mt. Hood. There seemed to be something blocking the view at every location I tried.

At 6:30 PM, I was back in Portland and by 7 PM I was back at my Hotel 6. On my way there, I stopped at the local McDonald's for a jumbo-size McFlurry with Oreo. Then there was my nightly routine at the Motel (cleanup, shower, dinner, and prep for the next day of fishing).

Before drifting off to sleep that night, I wondered if I would make it through the next 4 days of the trip. My nose was dripping, my throat was sore, my hearing was getting worse all the time, and the cold medicine was making me drowsy. I had a long 90-mile drive in the dark early the next morning to fish in the Columbia River.

Summary: My bad head-cold was making everything about the trip more difficult and less pleasant. In addition, 7 Snafus had cluttered my way through this 1st day of my trip. But so far, I was right on schedule.

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oregon12a oregon12b

The rental car in front of Motel 6 and McDonald's
My homes away from home - in Oregon or in another country.

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