R&R in Portland

Mammoth statueLast week, Captain Cavedweller and I went to Portland (Oregon) just to get away for a few days. Oh, and I also may have planned to do some research for a book I plan to release at the end of this year.

Our first stop was a newly opened Cabela’s store. While CC drooled over manly-man stuff, I wandered outside and admired this awesome bronze statue and fountain. Although it looks like an elephant, it is actually a baby mastodon.  Appartently, local pioneers discovered a huge jawbone back in the 1870s while digging a drainage ditch. They sent it back to the Smithsonian Institution, where scientists declared it came from a “prehistoric creature.” A few decades later, the town marshal Charles Roberts unearthed part of a rib and a huge tooth—which he used as a doorstop. John George admired that tooth as a boy. In 1962, he was looking for a project for his Portland State College geology class and decided he would unearth a mastodon. With the help of some friends, they dug bones from a nearby swampy area where Roberts had found the tooth and rib. When the boys finished, they had almost half a skeleton including two legs, a spine, ribs, skull fragments, molars and a tusk. This bronze statue shows George as a boy and the mastodon he envisioned from the marshal’s tooth.

Anyway, it was a great statue with nice seating around it which came in handy on our third trip to the store when I had already  bought everything I needed from the Home goods and craft store next door.

1929 mail truck

We spent on entire day at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum where they had this 1929 Ford Mail Truck on display. I was quite taken with it.

The reason we went to the museum was to see the Spruce Goose since it has a permanent home there at the museum. Neither of us expected the museum to be so huge with so many interesting displays. From  the amazing aeronautic designs of two unknown bike mechanics – Orville and Wilbur Wright – to an actual Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird that can fly at speeds of over 2,000 miles per hour – the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum isn’t a place you rush through in an hour.

Located in McMinnville, I highly recommend visiting the museum if you are ever in the area. The Spruce Goose is the centerpiece of the aviation museum and despite how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get a great photo of it because it is so huge! Built entirely of wood due to wartime restrictions on metals, the airplane stands as a symbol of American industry during World War II.

a plane 1Some of the displays looked so realistic… like this one of the Wright brothers.

There is a movie theater and a space museum there too. Admittedly, we spent the bulk of our time at the Air Museum and rushed through the Space Museum, but my gracious, there are a bunch of really awesome displays there, too, like a Titan II Missile. Visitors can explore the large booster rocket from inside its missile silo and experience a simulated launch sequence from the impressive launch room.

fenceWe spent a little time just driving around and I made CC pull over so I could take a photo of this fence. Just loved it (and the Christmas trees in the background.)

a perfect roseSeveral hours one morning were spent at the International Rose Test Garden. And yes, I was completely and ridiculously thrilled to be there. I think I snapped a few hundred photos of roses and sniffed their aromatic petals until I was nearly cross-eyed.

According to their website: “The primary purpose of this garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties. The City of Portland Gold Medal Awards are issued annually to the best introductions. The first “Gold Medal” rose award was given in 1919, making it the oldest rose testing program of its kind in the United States. Portland is the only North American city to issue such awards. These award winning varieties are planted in the Gold Medal Garden.”

Portland hosts a huge Rose Parade in early June and even have The Royal Rosarians who serve as ambassadors of the “Rose City.”

another roseThere were so many gorgeous blooms, but I seemed to be particularly enchanted with the roses of varied hues. I loved, loved the pink and gold of this one!

BeeCC seemed more interested in the bees who loved the roses!

Again, if you are ever in the area, this is such a beautiful rose garden (and it’s close to the zoo, too).

I managed to visit the Rose Garden gift shop and not buy one of everything, although I came home with several fun goodies!

Up the hill from the rose garden is the Portland Japanese Garden.

Oh, my goodness! It was absolutely gorgeous!

A japanese GardenI snapped away as we walked through the garden, admiring the soothing landscape.

By the time we walked back down to our car, my head was about ready to explode with story ideas (more about that in a minute).

While I jotted down notes, CC drove us to the Pittock Mansion where I decided I could happily live for the rest of my days.

IMG_2799The Pittock Mansion was home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock from 1914 to 1919.

Georgiana Pittock

Despite facing demolition in the 1960s, the mansion was rescued by concerned residents and today stands as a shining tribute to a bygone era.

Needless to say, I was practically drooling over all the furnishings, decor, and architecture.IMG_2734Don’t these steps just make you want to put on a ball gown and go to some fabulous party?While we were in town, we had the opportunity to visit with my cousin and his incredibly sweet girlfriend. (We’re still raving about the steaks, Brad, and Brenda’s dessert!). I also was thrilled to spend the evening with a very dear friend who was my maid of honor. We lost touch and then, through the wonders of Facebook, reconnected a few years ago. It was so, so good to see her again.IMG_2807Overall, it was a beautiful, lovely, relaxing, fun trip that we both sorely needed.Sometimes life just gets to hectic and busy. Although it was a lot of work getting ready to  be gone and I’m still trying to wade through all the work I need to catch up on, it was one of those wonderful trips that I’m so glad we took.And speaking of glad hearts, some of yours might be happy to know I came home from the trip with an exciting idea for a whole new series of books, as well as several stand-alone ideas! As soon as I write the six books I need to finish before the end of this year, and a few others that you’ve been asking for… I’ll get right on those! 😉UsI hope if you have the opportunity to do a little lollygagging this summer, you take it. It’s good for your heart, mind, and soul!

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