The One-Man Swiss Army Knife of Design™

Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Day 3

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

After a day communing with nature it was time to return to our roots–shopping! We stepped out of the room, onto the elevator and who did we see but Teresa! Having learned from Pete that she had gotten laid off from Bethlehem Steel when the plant closed, we assumed she would be a bit down trodden–oh no–not our girl! She rebounded with a new job at Mac Truck!

Quick plans for lunch were made with Pete, Tre, Bob, Pumice, and myself (Maggie stayed back to sleep off her airline induced buzz). Bob and I enjoyed margaritas at Cha-Cha-Cha and Teresa ate a burritor the size of a chihuahua. After lunch we parted ways and got down to serious shopping (I’ll leave out the part where Pum got us hopelessly lost for 8 years)

Louis V; Tiffany to try on engagement rings; and a visit to Banana—a two story mecca! Stopped at Starbucks (two meccas in one day!) and picked up a Portland city mug—it will NOT be going to Pum’s office.

Back to the hotel before dinner, delicious Thai. We continued our hunt for the elusive pet shop we may or may not have seen previously on our wanderings about the city. No dice—but we found other stores…all closed! Pumice decided every day must be Sunday in Portland as all stores close at 6pm—gotta get in that last minute hike before dark!

Day 2

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Woke up around 8 or 9, headed out for some breakfast at Stepping Stone Café. We split a full (3) stack of 13″ man-cakes with strawberries. Kate ate 1/2 of one, I had about 1/2 of my two. Truly lost to the man-cakes. Huge.

Planned to go to Mr. St. Helens or Mt. Hood or anywhere in that direction. We basically drove way too far, past the Columbia River Gorge. So, we turned around, Pete gave us some directions, we found an oasis-Starbucks, and continued our adventure. We got sidetracked at a damn, and saw a fish ladder. Fascinating. We then made it our “actual” destination: hiking up Eagle Creek to Punchbowl Falls. A 2-mile hike way way (4 total miles). Checked out Multanoma falls, then finally made it to the hotel around 8pm. It was too late for a fancy Chinese meal, so Panda Express hit the spot. Time to rest up for shopping!

Today is the day we become one with the crunchy granola! The day started at the Stepping Stone Café—an unassuming little café that hides a big surprise…MANCAKES! We ordered a full stack between the two of us, but probably only finished one full cake. The staff was wonderful and offered suggestions on local sights. Leaving Stepping Stone (10 pounds heavier) I spied a puppy across the street. While saying hello, her mommy came out and chatted with us, suggesting further hiking sites. And then…we were off!

The weather seemed a bit gloomy but soon cleared up as we drove 3,000 miles out of our way in search of the mysterious “gorge.” Happily, our becoming lost lead us to “Panoramic Point,” a beautiful outlook with Mt. Hood in the distance. We also checked out the fish ladder at the Bonneville Dam. It was actually very interesting…but still not the elusive gorge! Thankfully, Pete—from HP homebase—was able to provide us with directions to our destination: Eagle Creak and, finally, the gorge!

Clearly, neither of us are hiking machines, but, when in Rome… We set off with the intention of finding Punch Bowl Falls and met several doggies and people along the way, including one man who informed us of the tiny wild strawberries—YUM! They did not taste like warm boogers at all. After approximately 1 million years, we finally saw a sign: “Punch Bowl Falls 1/2”. Now, we had learned from Mt. Hood that sins in Oregon are not very specific when it comes to numbers…half a mile, half way there, who knows?! When we did finally arrive, I was so excited I took my sneakers off and waded into the pool…FREEZING! But, once I lost feeling in my feet, I enjoyed the view while Pum stood ready to snap a photo should I have fallen on my butt.

On our hike back we depleted our water supply. Luckily, watching a lot of Discovery Channel paid off and we did not have to drink Pumice’s pee. A little spring of fast moving water—just like Bear says—filled us back up. I am Weezle Grylls.

“Tropical” Paradise 2009

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

We believe that uncle Chris shouldn’t be the only one to abuse…er…enlighten family and friends by sharing exciting vacation information, so for the next few posts, this blog will be transformed into the diary of our Portland trip.


This adventure started like so many others…with diamonds!

Pumice’s good friend and former cohort in rhyme, Pete, proposed to his girlfriend Lisa back in July 2008. Pete knows a lot about computers, slide rules, and music videos, but not too much about weddings, so after the engagement, Lisa took over from there. And “there” brought us to Portland in June 2009 for a west coast edition of Tropical Paradise 2009 and the wedding of Peter and Lisa.

Plus, Pumice hadn’t seen Mikey A. in awhile, and since the only way to see Mr. A is through an intermediary (Pete) we figured a little get together 3,000 miles outside of Buffalo was a good a place as any.

Oh, and to make things a little easier, we used fancy color coding in the daily posts, Pum is orange, Kate is pretty pink.

Day One

We got up at 3:30am EST for our 6:15 flight to Newark. The flight wasn’t bad, but had the typical NJ people and their spikey hair. A slightly rough landing (“crash landing” if you ask Kate). The 737 to Portland had to taxi for almost an hour. A relatively uneventful flight (except for the disappearance of Kate’s paisley scarf, which reappeared on the floor in the row behind us). Great views of the mountains prior to landing. We got our uber economy Kia Spectra without being upsold to some fancy SUV, only to find out it will cost us $25/day to park at the hotel.

After checking into the Hotel DeLuxe, we took a nice stroll to Mayas Taqueria, a deli-style Mexican restaurant—had the nachos deluxe with grilled chicken—delicious!

Apparently the reports of Portland having many homeless people (a high percentage of which are youths) are accurate. The two people at the next table were in their 20s (barely) and were on welfare (food stamps were mentioned), one of the diners, a girl, would spend time in department store bathrooms. Street performers (not performing at the time) and lots of “earthy” people passed by as we devoured our tasty nachos

We returned to the hotel around 4pm for what was supposed to be a quick nap, we had dinner plans with Pete at 6:30. At 6:19 we woke from our nap and rushed to get to dinner…luckily Pete had his name on the waiting list at Apizza Scholls when we arrived. We greeted and within moments, we were chatting like we saw each other all the time. No big “catching up” chat needed. We got our table in the adjoining restaurant (you have to go outside, down to the next door for your table), and ordered: a margharita pizza and a bacon pizza—both were incredible, Pete seemed to enjoy his gift of two sliderules (treasures from Papa Saletta’s basement). We said our good-byes, Kate said hello to a couple of neighborhood dogs, and we parted ways—Pete to his apartment for more wedding “stuff,” and us to Safeway, for snacks for the hotel room and finally…sleep! 22 hours later!

I didn’t throw up!!! The plane ride(s) were not horrible, aside from the near crash landing in dirty Jersey. Heavy sedation with the help of Dr. Nickolova and a delicious cocktail (the clock said 11am, but I totally think we were flying through the central time zone, which made it 12pm, so it’s cool) helped to ease the flight anxiety in lue of emotional support puppy. After searching for about 1/2 hour, my scarf was rescused almost two rows back!

There are puppies everywhere—making me miss Thor even more…such a dog friendly city! Pumice couldn’t have been happier with Pete’s choice of dinner location, although the “meatza” may have gotten the better of both boys.

Fun little shops everywhere we go, forget hiking trails, I’ll hike the shops! Tomorrow: mancakes and viewing mother nature—trying to blend in the the crunchy granola locals! 🙂