Around the P-town

April 2016: As we live and travel around Portland in search of a home here are some of the sights we see and visit.

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Hitting the Trader Joe’s, BEST AISLE EVER!!! You can get Widmer Hefe at Trader Joe’s???? I love it here!!!!
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Driving across the Interstate Rt. 5 bridge into Vancouver, WA to check out houses, we see Mt. Hood to the east. Look at all that snow!!! Can’t wait to ski there next season!
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April 3: A Portland Top Ten MUST- the Saturday Market. Great place for a bite of food, local crafts and a view of the river.
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More of the Saturday Market, local vendors on one side.
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April 12: Another Portland must do: Eat at a food truck, or in this case, a school bus! Where else should you have a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup? Notice the table tops are a collage of school photos- cheese!
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April 16: A short hike in Lowami Hart Woods Natural Area, a 28-acre forested and wetland natural area. According to their website: “The natural area is the former site of Camp Lowami, operated by the Camp Fire Girls of America (1956-1994). The camp’s original flagpole sits in an environmental education meeting spot near the existing bridge that crosses South Johnson Creek.” We walked the Fir Loop Trail through all these beautiful Douglas Fir trees.

Good Northwest Pacific etiquette, indulge in a beer after a good hike.

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April 16: We found another German place! Should have brought our own steins! Oh wait, they are packed! Oh well, I guess we’ll have to come back!
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To drink: Chrissy gets the Franziskaner weissbier of course, and Ron orders the dark, creamy Kostritzer Schwarzbier. Prost!
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To eat: a beer cheese soup to split, potato pancakes, bratwurst and chips. With a side of beet slaw and mustard. Ahh….
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April 17: In between searching for houses, we also search for good hikes. This is the view at the top parking lot at Powell Butte State Park. Hello again Mt. Hood!
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You know you want to be here too!

 

 

 

 

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From Baker City to Portland, OR! We crossed the whole state in about 5 hours and drove 300 miles! Whew!
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And, finally, the whole map! We drove through 12 states, 7 state capitals, four time zones, stayed in over 10 hotels and crossed the Continental Divide multiple times- all while Ron worked on his lap top in the car! Thank you John Hancock!
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That’s soo Portland…

Modern Living in Portland

March 28: We have arrived!!!!! After 23 days of driving and sight seeing and 2 weeks in Denver, we finally step foot in Portland!!!! The weather coming in was tricky, we hit some snow storms in Eastern Oregon, but the weather cleared the further west we went. Up and down through winding roads then out to the Columbia River Gorge where the weather was clear and the sun was shining. Across from us chugged the Pacific Union Railroad as we drove along Rt. 84 past Multnomah Falls and finally into the city.

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The white, bright, open kitchen. Very modern and all done by IKEA.
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The master bedroom off the living room with a king sized bed. It was so comfy and cozy, made it hard to get up to work and house hunt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A whole wall of closets, Ron on the right, Chrissy on the left.

 

 

 

 

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Laundry room and bathroom sink in one room, linen closet is reflected in the mirror.
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Toilet and shower room behind a pocket door.
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Ron checking out the Willamette Weekly, the local paper with all the fun things to do in Portland! The floors are concrete and have radiant heat! Nice! Roxie likes it too!

The house we stayed in was found on Air BnB, the hosts, Jamie and Paul built this ADU (additional dwelling unit) last summer and just started to rent it out in the fall.  The floors were radiant heat, so cozy at night when it was chilly and Roxie really liked it!  To go from a house in NJ that was over over 100 years old, to this fully equipped, modern dwelling was quite a switch!  But it was pretty easy to get used to it and it felt like we were living the city life.  The loft, open floor plan and huge windows made it feel like we could always see and hear each other and the neighbors, but with an interesting neighborhood to explore and a close by dog park, we were able to have some alone time too.

Finally, it’s move in day!!!

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Planning out where everything will go
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Setting up the new cable/internet so Ron can work from home.
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Packing up the car for the last time in 6 months!!!!!!!
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Crossing over the Columbia River on the Route 5 bridge from Portland to Vancouver, with a stunning view of Mt. Hood in the distance. Wonder how long the snow will be there?

 

Sat. May 7: Once again, sorry for the delay, pics to follow.  We are busy unpacking!   The movers finally arrived late Thursday afternoon, so all of Friday was spent unpacking and arranging things.  This weekend we are doing some more and taking care of things like bank accounts, driver’s licenses, etc.

I promise to post pics of the house!

An official change of address notice will go out via email and mail, look for it soon!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the deserving Mom’s out there!

We found a house!!!

Sunday April 10: Well, after a frustrating and exhausting 2 week search for a house, we finally found one!  We kept our options open and looked high and low for a house.  We looked in Beaverton, OR which is 30-40 minutes southwest of Portland, where NIKE and Intel are located, all around Portland, and over the river into Vancouver, WA.

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Here’s the house!!!!
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First thing in the house… A picture of Mom, Nana, Dave, John and Richie. This is why we moved!!!! Nana loved her visits to the PNW (Pacific Northwest), John was in Portland and Richie in Astoria. Hopefully Dave will be the next family member out here! Mommy would be proud!
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Here’s the view into the kitchen.

Portland has cute bungalows and cottage style houses, but at this time cannot fit our needs.  Beaverton and Hillsboro are nice suburbs, but do we want to fight traffic and live outside the city?  Vancouver is nice, it has a lot of “unincorporated towns” that are a part of it, a downtown of its own, and some nicer suburbs.  The selling point for Ron is that Washington does not have state income tax! Cha-ching! $$$$$

So, after a few open houses, many, many drive-bys, filling out applications and checking new listings daily, we spent a weekend seeing houses in Vancouver.  Monday, we got approved for a beautiful house in Salmon Creek, a suburb just north of Vancouver where the two highways from Portland converge.  I tried to save the pictures of the house from the listing, but the best I can do right now is attach this PDF of a document I made with descriptions of the rooms.  We will add more after April 25th when we get the keys and start to move in!  We check out of the Air BnB on April 30th, so the timing is perfect.  Our possessions that have been in storage in NJ will also arrive that weekend.  We cannot wait to have our things back and unpack!

Click the link below to see the pics and text, please let me know if it doesn’t work.  I will add more ASAP.  We will have a nice sized guest room, so as soon as we are settled, we will be taking reservations for guests!

Salmon Creek Home

Idaho here we go!

Sunday March 27: Easter morning, we leave Salt Lake City behind and travel 3 hours to Twin Falls, Idaho for a non-traditional Easter lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Ron makes a new friend in the waitress who asks us questions about the east coast, like “Are you scared when a hurricanes hits and what do you do?”  It was a very scenic drive through the Rocky Mountains, and again we luck out with clear weather.

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Hard to see, but in Utah, the state roads are numbered in a Bee Hive shape.

The Bee Hive symbol is used everywhere in Utah.  Brigham Young used it as a symbol of cooperative work for the Mormons and now the symbol is used on Utah’s flag, on the capitol building, and on manhole covers.  Most of us are familiar with the Bible’s description of the Promised Land as “the land of milk and honey”.  Brigham Young even used it on doorknobs in his house, topped with a bee hive.

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Now entering Idaho, the Gem State.  The state fish is the Cutthroat Trout, sounds dangerous!  I correctly answered a final Jeopardy question recently with Idaho as the question.  The category: US Geography, the answer: This state, far from New England, has the smallest land border with Canada.  Ron and one contestant answered “Michigan”, but having been recently through it, I called out, “What is Idaho, Alex?”

image10 states down, one to go!

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When we drove to Buffalo Wild Wings, we crossed a bridge and noticed that it spanned a gorge.  While talking to Ron’s new friend, the waitress, she told us that many people BASE jump off of it!  We had to stop on the way out to see for ourselves.  We were lucky enough to see two people complete such a feat!  It happened so fast we didn’t get it on film, but just look at those pictures of the gorge and the Snake River.  We had crossed the Perrine Memorial Bridge and according to visitIdaho.org, “to the east of the bridge, along the south rim of the canyon, the dirt ramp used by Evel Knievel when he unsuccessfully attempted to jump the canyon on his steam-powered “skycycle” in 1974 is still visible.”

The 1,500 foot long Perrine Memorial Bridge over the Snake River in Twin Falls, ID.
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The Snake River and gorge that it had carved.
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Ron’s pic of the bridge. Can you believe people JUMP off it for fun?
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Who knew Idaho was so beautiful?
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The jagged peaks tell us these are young mountains, not like the worn down older Appalachians back East.

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From Salt Lake to Baker City , OR in one day!

The Great Salt Lake

March 26: After lunch, we drove out to the Great Salt Lake where we saw the Saltair Pavilion, an old performance center that was used in the 1962 horror movie, Carnival of Souls.  The air was a bit salty and sulfurous, but the view was spectacular and we learned a bit of history from the visitor center’s guide.  Roxie enjoyed the hike on the beach, sadly it was too cold to try floating in the large salt water lake.

imageThis is not a postcard, Ron really took this picture!

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imageThe Wastch Mountains around the Great Salt Lake.

 

 

 

Only the Dead Sea has a higher saline content than the Salt Lake in Utah.

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Bringing the side-plank back! This is for you Jen and Amy, I still got it! : )

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In the distance is Antelope Island, the largest of the 10 islands in the lake.  Free range bison, mule deer, sheep and yes, antelope make their home here.

 

 

The peaks of the Wastch Range surrounding Salt Lake City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Saltair Pavilion reminded us of the Convention Center in Asbury Park.  Built in it housed concerts, jazz, dancing, carnivals, swimmers, roller skaters and movies.  In 1962 it became the backdrop for an independent horror movie, Carnival of Souls, a zombie thriller.

Sadly, in 1925 the building burned and was never rebuilt, but the rides around it stayed open until 1957 when winds blew it over.  It burned again in 1970.  Click here for more pics and info: http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/statehood_and_the_progressive_era/saltair_exhibit/

Dinner was at the Red Iguana, not to be confused with the Blue Iguana.  At the Red Iguana we had delicious, authentic Mexican dishes starting with the mole sample plate! Mole Verde-ummmmm! Ron’s new favorite dish, Chile rellanos.

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Munchin’ on home made chips and guac!

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The Mole Sample Plate, how do you choose?
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“Ugh, take the picture already!”
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So close to Idaho…

SL,UT (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Friday-Sunday March 25-27: We made it to the Great Salt Lake!  What a ride coming in through the mountains in Utah!  We passed the “Smallest Store in Utah”, the Oregon/Mormon/California Trail multiple times, and were back on the Rt. 30 Lincoln Highway/Rt. 80 W.  We drove through a part of the Rockies known as the Wasatch Mountains, and the view entering Salt Lake City was incredible.  We passed Park City, where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held- remember Bode Miller on the slopes, Jim Shea on skeleton, Sarah Hughes and Michelle Kwan on the ice, and of course, Apolo Anton Ohno’s soul patch on the oval?  What a rush!

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That little building on the right side of the above picture is the Smallest Store in Utah!  Right over the boarder from WY.

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Driving in on Rt. 80 through Parley’s Canyon where we are 7,120 ft above sea level at its highest point!
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The Sheraton SLC, with snow capped mountains in the background.
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Roxie gives the Sheraton a “2 Paws Up” for space and a clean floor!
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Chrissy gives it a “two thumbs up” for best hotel bathroom on this trip!

 

 

First stop in SLC, Squatters Pub for a good beer and pizza.
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Lit up taps, nice touch!

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Their slogan, “Good for what Ales you!” Nice word play!

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Only in Salt Lake…
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Ron’s IPA and my delicious, cloudy American Wheat Hefe.
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So close!

imageStarting the day at Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen in the city.

Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen - Salt Lake City, UT, United States. Crowding the Plate- cage-free eggs, smashed avocado toast, house-made turkey sausage, tomato slices, PULP hash
Chrissy- Crowding the Plate- cage-free eggs, smashed avocado toast, house-made turkey sausage, tomato slices, PULP hash.

 

Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen - Salt Lake City, UT, United States. Skinny jeans wrap.
The sandwich of choice for Ron- Skinny Jeans- egg whites, goat cheese crumbles, avocado, spinach, hummus, roasted sweet potato, whole wheat wrap, house-made salsa.

 

 

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Of course no visit to SLC would be complete without a visit to the Mormon Temple Square.  Yes, they all tried to convert us.  No, we did not join.  Maybe one day they will be more willing to accept that a “family” does not have to be defined by a father who provides, a mother who nurtures and that the purpose of marriage is not just to produce children to be taught the “truth.”  Anyway, we had a nice dinner at Squatters Craft Beer Pub, stayed at a really nice Sheraton, and saw spring in bloom!  It just so happens that a Comic Con, Fan-X, (a comic convention) was in town, so we saw many people, men, women, and children dressed up as their favorite comic, Sci-Fi or movie characters.  My favorite was the Thor bike-taxi guy, Ron’s was the dude in a purple cape outside the Convention Center practicing his “sword” skills and weirdness.  I so wanted to tell the Star Trek dude, “May the force be with you!” and the Star Wars bounty hunter to, “Live long and prosper.” but just couldn’t do it with out laughing!

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The Mormon Assembly Hall built in 1882 where they give free concerts and recitals.  We had just missed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing Handel’s Messiah for Easter weekend.

 

The Church is also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “Mormon” is a nickname.

 

Here’s a link to the entire 3 hour performance of Handel’s Messiah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0gizz3i9fo

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The Tabernacle, where the Orchestra, Bells and Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform.

 

 

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Inside the impressive building. There are no center support beams, it is a dome and used to hold 40,000 members.  Today it hold 6,500.
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We were there on Easter weekend, how appropriate!

The Salt Lake Temple, built between 1853-1893, visitors are not allowed in as members go through sacred ordinances such as baptisms and weddings.  We saw at least 3 weddings being photographed on the beautiful grounds.

 

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In 1853 Brigham Young laid the cornerstone for the Temple, at the top of the 210 ft tower is a gold leaf-statue of the angel Moroni who appeared to Joseph Smith Jr. multiple times and gave him gold plates with ancient symbols which he translated into the Book of Mormon.

 

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A depiction of the Angel Moroni who sits atop the Temple. He is said to be a descendant of the prophet Mormon who wrote of two great civilizations of Jerusalem and Babel. The latter became the ancestors of the Native groups in North America.

 

 

 

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Since visitors cannot go inside the Temple, they have a cross section model of the inside of the building in the visitor’s center. There is an interactive display where you can see what each room is used for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the lower left side of the building is the Baptism room.  Members are baptized in a pool held up by 12 ox with gold horns.  The number 12 represents the number of Apostles both with Jesus and today.  Today the 12 Apostles meet with the church president and advisors in a room in the temple.

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The most beautiful Jesus I have ever seen!
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All I hear in my head all day is the music to the Broadway show, “The Book of Mor-or-mon”, thank you Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

I was so curious, I asked many questions to the “Brothers and Sisters” of the Church and was even given my own Book of Mormon to read.  Here’s a link below if you have questions too, like, “Why 12 gold ox, and why the carvings of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Big Dipper on the outside of the building” and “hmm, an “angel” came down and wrote gold plates with symbols that had to be translated”. “Could he be other worldly, and what does the big dipper have to do with it, and, “Did Jesus really come to the Americas?”  Oh, and I asked what language had to be translated by Joseph Smith, the answer… “Egyptian!”

https://www.lds.org/church/temples/salt-lake?lang=eng

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Roxie enjoyed the day, until the security guards kicked her out of the Temple Square.

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Commemorative sewer grate for the 2002 Olympics, what better way to spend tax payer money?

Some “characters” on their way to Fan-X, the Salt Lake Comic Convention that happened to be in town when we were!  Ron went to get a close up of the trolls from Harry Potter.  I only know what they are because I had to be a chaperone at the movie on a class trip!  Luckily the girl I sat with had already seen it, so again, I ask my questions, “If he’s a magician can’t he just make himself disappear?  Can’t he make the bad guy disappear? Why do they want to kill him, Can’t he help his friend?” I am such a pain!

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Fossil Butte and Beyond

Friday March 25: On our way across Wyoming we saw so many beautiful landscapes. We left a blizzard behind in Colorado but drove through another storm in WY. We could see it in the distance and behind us once we had passed through.  There were many interesting rock formations and the skies were amazing!  Insane to think this was all formed millions of years ago.

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Look how far we have gone!
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Another Kum & Go!
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On our way to Fossil Butte National Monument
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The scenery is just the best! Snow capped mountains in the distance, blue skies and huge, puffy clouds!
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Taking the Forester off-roading!
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We should be in a car commercial!
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We tried driving out to see ancient petroglyphs in the White mountains, but due to the recent snow storms and packed Forester, we had to turn back.
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After the storm, skies cleared up!

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My students always laughed when we learned about “buttes”, well here is an example of one!

 

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The layers represent millions of years of Earth’s formation.

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Can you spot the Pacific Union RR?

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Kemmerer, WY, the first JC Penney Store opened in 1902 by James Cash Penney to serve the railroad, the coal miners and the new town that sprung up.
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Fossil Butte is home to the world’s largest deposits of fossils of fresh-water fish, reptiles, insects, birds and plants.
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The visitor’s center at Fossil Butte National Monument.  The nice guide let Roxie in too!

 

https://www.nps.gov/fobu/index.htm

Check out more at the link above.

 

 

 

52 million years ago three lakes in what is now Utah, Wyoming and Colorado were home to many plants and animals, the fossils they left behind are some of the world’s best preserved remains.

 

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The large turtle fossil on top is a 6 ft turtle, “Hummelichelys guttata” , they also have fossils of the oldest and most complete bats in the world.
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Some real fossils and some molds or casts of fossils found throughout the area in Fossil Butte, 50 million years ago this entire area once used to be a fresh water lake.

 

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Another storm rolling in…
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Crossing the paths of the Oregon Trail and California Trails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The California Trail led over 250,00 gold seekers in the 1840’s and 1850’s from points along the Missouri River to points west in California.  The trail passes through 10 states and at times crosses the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail.  Eventually the trail cut by wagons became railroads and highways like Rt. 40 and Rt. 80.

 

Wyoming, the Cowboy State

Thursday March 24: Rock Springs, WY.  We stayed here after Denver, it will be a shorter ride to Salt Lake from here and we were close to some very cool historical sites: ancient petroglyphs, strange rock formations, and fossils from the ancient sub-tropical lakes that stretched over Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.  Due to the weather, we were not able to travel as far as wanted or hike the trails,  but we were able to take Roxie into the visitor’s center at Fossil Butte to see the fossils from the Eocene and Cenozoic Epochs!  She liked the animal noises from the displays the best.

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Can’t wake these two up, even for free breakfast!
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…(sigh) back on the road…
A train of cars and trucks. Stuck in traffic due to slick road conditions after the blizzard! Ugh! We lost an hour on the road.
A train of cars and trucks. Stuck in traffic due to slick road conditions after the blizzard! Ugh! We lost an hour on the road.

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imageBack in PA we hit the highest point on Rt. 80 east of the Mississippi, we were  a mere 2,250 miles above sea level.

imageimageA second Lincoln Memorial, in Laramie, WY built in 1959 to honor his 150th birthday.  It used to be at the highest point of the old coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway, at Sherman Summit, 8,878 feet above sea level but was moved to the exit 323 rest stop when Rt. 80 opened.

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Looks like storms ahead.

Fossil Butte National Monument, where some of the world’s oldest and best preserved fossil can be found.  More pics to follow on next page.

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Sinclair oil, the cleanest refinery.
Sinclair oil refinery, using resources from the Rockies, it’s one of the largest and most complex refineries operating in the Rockies. I like their logo too.
It used to look like this, I like the dino reference for fossil fuels!
Now the logo looks like this

 

 

 

 

 

Here we pass the first of two western crossings of the Continental Divide on Rt. 80.  This marks where all water flows to the Pacific Ocean via the Green, Snake, and Columbia Rivers, and the eastern crossing of the Continental Divide marks where all water flows to the Atlantic Ocean via the Yellowstone, Platte, and Missouri Rivers.

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Dinner and drinks at Bitter Creek Brewing, Rock Springs, WY. We get the Coal Porter (Ron) and Sweetwater Wheat (Chrissy)

 

We made it to Rock Springs!
We made it to Rock Springs!

Portlandia, we have arrived!

Sunday April 10: So sorry on the delay in updating the site! We are alive and well, and enjoying Portland.  The Air B’nB place is great, so close to everything, we are in the NE Cully Neighborhood (Portland is in a quadrant set up) so we are near the Columbia River, Vancouver, WA and only 10 minutes from Downtown Portland.  Amazingly the weather has been great- sunny days, 70-80ºF, and so far one day of rain and two mornings of misty clouds.  The locals assure us this will not last, but we’ll take it!

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From Baker City, OR to Portland in one day, four hours through the mountains and along the river.
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Mt. Hood peaking through the clouds as we drive along Rt. 84
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Following the Columbia River Gorge

 

 

 

 

 

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Mt. Hood looms over Portland.

 

Monday March 28: We arrive in Portland on a warm, sunny day.  Paul and Jamie are our Air BnB hosts along with son, Ozzy and dog, Frank.  Roxie has a yard and a friend!

 

 

The “ADU” we will call home for a month. The host family has built this Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on their property.
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Tulips and azaleas already in bloom!
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We have arrived!
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Four hours of driving, and four hours of unpacking, ugh! JK
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Very modern, the floors are concrete and have radiant heating!

 

 

 

 

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The king size bed, too bad Roxie won’t get to enjoy this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hitting Traders Joe’s to stock up. I came to a halt when I saw the lovely aisles of local beers! My first purchase, Widmer Bros. Hefeweizen of course! (bottom right corner in yellow pack)
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Laundry in unit, bonus. Nice bathroom with separate toilet/shower room so we won’t be on top of each other.

The second night here we met up with Chrissy’s Aunt Wendy who runs the Fulton House BnB in Portland, at the Fulton Pub, her local hang out.  It’s part of the Mc Menamin’s group which of course, brews it own beer, but also wine, cider, coffee and gets food locally sourced!  Ahhh…Portland!

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First weekend and we HAD to hit the famous Portland Saturday Market. It is held at the Waterfront Park every Sat. & Sun., March-Dec.
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PSM has local artists, street performers and of course food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just about as soon as we put the luggage down, we began our house hunt!  It is a full time job of online searching and phone calls, then driving around looking at houses and going to open houses on the weekends.  We will update again when we have news of a long term rental, in the meantime, I will work on adding pics for Wyoming, Utah and our arrival.

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We still gotta eat, and what better place than in a school bus turned into a Food Cart serving only grilled cheese sammys? The bus is decorated with yearbook pictures and a mural on the ceiling.
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Out and about in PDX, I spot this sticker on a car next to mine. I’m glad the Zombie hunting is regulated out here!
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And there it is, out entire trip from NJ to OR!