Revisiting PDX

We lived a year in Portland in 2013 and really enjoyed it. We were downtown for most of that time in a high rise surrounded by quirkiness and a plethora of food carts. We debated back then to sell the RV and stay awhile since we loved the town so much, and for better, we kept on exploring. We knew a visit to the PNW area wouldn’t be complete without stopping in one of our favorite cities.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls

It’s amazing how much changes in 3 years. We knew when we were living there that PDX was growing at a crazy rate. But knowing and seeing the changes a few years later are two totally different things. We still love Portland and since we had a quick stay, didn’t get to revisit all the areas we used to haunt, but – it’s changed.

Where we lived in PDX
Where we lived in PDX

It’s bigger. More condo looking skyscrapers in the Pearl, new breweries in former piano shops, and a hole in the ground for another tall building where there used to be an art college.

Always impressive Columbia River Gorge
Always impressive Columbia River Gorge

If I sound a little bummed, I am.

At the same time, it was still nice to revisit. We had planned on two weeks in the area but due to jello plans, only stayed a week. Keith and I went into Portland together once – then one day Keith went in to meet a former co-worker and one day I went in to explore the city on a day off.

Pine State Biscuit
Pine State Biscuit

We hit Pine State Biscuits again, and still good. We searched for our favorite food trucks and while some we recognized, our favorites were not in the place they used to be. Samantha was a champ and walked all over the city with us until she was about to drop. A bit later we drove back into the city and revisited Kelly’s Olympian, Little Big Burger and Rogue.

Little Big Burger
Little Big Burger
Blue Star Donut
Blue Star Donut

On my day off I decided to park at Indigo and take my usual walk to work route and see what changed. I think this was the biggest indication of how much the city has shifted. I started the morning with Blue Star Donuts (always a preferred suggestion over VooDoo imho) and then ‘walked to work’.  It was fun to try & figure out what used to be in a place, or realize that a favorite still existed. I walked around the NW district where I used to work and made a stop at Wallace Park which was my solace when I was a cube dweller.

Samantha missed this water dish and all the bubblers around the city!
Samantha missed this water dish and all the bubblers around the city!

I met my former boss for lunch and it was nice to catch up. She’s moved on as well and works at a really fun sounding company with great views from Big Pink. After lunch it was mandatory that I stop into Powell’s and then I hopped on the streetcar and took a tour of the city, making sure I was on a route that crossed the new pedestrian, bike & public transit only bridge the Tilikum Crossing.

This sign had a for lease sign on it the entire time we were here. Happy to finally get a snap of it without that!
This sign had a for lease sign on it the entire time we were here. Happy to finally get a snap of it without that!

We made a few more trips around the area as well (we do know how to pack a lot into a week even with working full time!). We of course made a stop at Multnomah Falls (pro tip, go at sunrise – the parking lot & falls area is nearly empty), and we drove out to Hood River to visit a few breweries – we enjoyed both Double Mountain and Pfriem Family.

This used to be a piano shop! Things change after a few years.
This used to be a piano shop! Things change after a few years.

Portland may have changed some since we last visited, but the city & surrounding area will always have a special place in our hearts (and stomachs).

View from Big Pink
View from Big Pink

Campground Notes: Gig Harbor RV Resort

It seems like people either love or hate the Gig Harbor RV Resort and I can sorta see why. I chose this location back in February when I was planning the trip, because it was an area we hadn’t yet explored much and the location to Gig Harbor seemed ideal. We wanted to stay a month and this was our most expensive stop the entire summer. On the way from Spokane, I started reading reviews and got a little nervous about if a month here was a good idea.img_6622

First, a ‘resort’ is a bit of a stretch. There are no resort amenities if that is what you are looking for. No pool, no social activities, and a rather dated and sad community space.

There were some complaints about the office staff being rude and I think that is really person to person. I had no issues, but I also don’t expect anyone in customer service to treat me as a long lost friend and chat for a few hours. They are VERY serious about the no refund policy which seems to upset people. Considering they were always at capacity, they are in a location where they can enforce those types of rules.

I think your overall experience depends on where you are placed, and your tolerance for hills. Some of the spots are quite tight and you are right on top of your neighbor. We happened to be placed in an area where the spots are terraced because of the hill and even though we had neighbors on both sides, didn’t feel too boxed in.

The hills are no joke, but let’s get realistic – it’s the area not just this RV park. If you have mobility issues, it might be a bit of a challenge to walk up & down them. If you are nervous about navigating your RV on a hill to park it – it might not be the best park for you. Even with our years of parking it took some to maneuver into our spot, including breaking out the chocks while the RV was in mid hill to remove the drop hitch because, did I mention the hills are no joke?

The wifi is mediocre at best, but we’ve learned if you want reliable wifi, travel with your own.

So read the reviews, and decide on your tolerance for things.  The towering trees were beautiful, the ability to walk into Gig Harbor and the neighboring trail was nice.  The month flew by and we enjoyed the location and the quiet.

A month in Gig Harbor

A month in Gig Harbor flew by!  We traveled on a Sunday from Spokane and didn’t quite realize the pain of getting through the mountains. The traffic was impressive!

The traffic was impressive from Spokane to Gig Harbor, especially in this pass.
The traffic was impressive from Spokane to Gig Harbor, especially in this pass.

Where we stayed was walking distance to the town so we visited several times. I loved seeing Mt. Ranier in the distance over the water when the days were clear.

Gig Harbor & Mt. Rainier in the distance
Gig Harbor & Mt. Rainier in the distance

We visited a handful of local spots and enjoyed quite a few of them. We made a happy hour at Morso Wine Bar, enjoyed brunch at Netshed  No. 9 and the beer at 7 Seas is amazing and was worth multiple visits.

'Brunch' at 7 Seas!
‘Brunch’ at 7 Seas!
Noshing at Happy Hour
Noshing at Happy Hour

Since we were close to Seattle, I took a day off of work and had a day to myself to wander the big city. It ended up being only an afternoon by the time I got to the ferry and made the crossing however – didn’t have the get up & go that morning! The ferry from Bremerton provides a beautiful passage and even though in the morning the city was foggy, it burned off and ended up being a rather warm day. I first walked to Dog in the Park and had a Seattle dog. I didn’t forget about those infamous Seattle hills but good gravy they are no joke!

Seattle skyline from the ferry
Seattle skyline from the ferry

I decided to visit the Seattle Art Museum and enjoyed several hours inside. Then, it was happy hour time and I visited a few places. One was a bar where I ended up chatting quite a bit with the bartender until it got busier. He hopes to travel the world and of course I was highly encouraging! He recommended Lecosho so I had something to eat there. My energy was starting to fade (it was those hills!) so I made my way back to the ferry and then back to Gig Harbor.

Nice to get some museum time in.
Nice to get some museum time in.

The next day I also had off, and this time I decided to explore a bit of Tacoma. I loved glass as a medium so I made a point to visit the Tacoma Art Museum. The Chihuly display on the bridge is spectacular and inside the hot shop I spent a great deal of time watching the featured artist create art. One of my favorite displays however, was tucked away. Kids submit pictures and glass art is then made from those pictures.  I also took a really nice drive around the city.

Pretty impressive, if a bit small, Tacoma Art Museum.
Pretty impressive, if a bit on the small side, Tacoma Art Museum.
I loved kid inspired glass collection.
I loved kid inspired glass collection.

We made another pass into Tacoma and visited the Wright park with Samantha. As luck would have it, at the park was a festival. Turns out, this park used to be quite the haven for anything and everything unpleasant. The organizers were quite pleased at the turnout and people enjoying a restored gem.

Wright Park
Wright Park

Keith had to travel a few times during this month so one Sunday I packed up Samantha for a ride. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was headed but I ended up at this small winery called Trillium Creek. The owners were absolute gems and I spent several hours there. I got a tour of the property and a tour of the house. It was dog friendly and the wines were interesting (low-sulfite) but good. A few bottles may or may not have been bought and consumed quickly. :)

One weekend, we made an epic trip to see a part of Olympic National Park that we didn’t see on a previous trip. It was a REALLY long drive but we were rewarded with a deserted beach that was dog friendly. We also realized that Samantha isn’t up for long car rides coupled with long walks which was a bummer – our girl is getting old.

Deserted beach in Olympic National Park
Deserted beach in Olympic National Park

We also spent quite a few hours just driving around the pennisulas, taking in the scenery and enjoying the weather. Speaking of weather, we had some amazing weather and I think it only rained a handful of days out of the 30 odd days we were there. Then in a blink of an eye, it was time to head back to our old stomping grounds, PDX.

Two Traveling Geeks