the end...again

(Or...a dry, mostly sunny week: part five) School started a couple of weeks ago, so our trip to Oregon is a distant memory, but before I get into blogging about the semester so far I thought I should wrap up this multi-day post.

We took a red-eye flight back from Portland to Boston (via Atlanta, Georgia) Tuesday night, which gave us all day to make the roughly four-hour drive north. First stop (after breakfast at Bend's own tasty breakfast joint, the Original Pancake House) was Shaniko, a ghost town about halfway between Bend and the Columbia Gorge. In its heyday, right after the turn of the last century, Shaniko became known as the "wool capital of the world." Unlike other ghost towns I've been to (mostly in Nevada and not too recently), the newer buildings in Shaniko have been built between the old buidlings and the town has a general sleepy quality, although it was a weekday. I'd been to Shaniko before, toward the end of a road trip from Colorado Springs to Bend. I remember eating ice cream and taking a picture behind bars at the old jail. Maybe we were turned around, but I swear the old city hall and jail cell are no longer standing. You can still see pictures, though, on this website. I don't know how official it is or how regularly it's updated.

We spent fifteen minutes or so walking around town. This new and used gift shop was one of the few stores open that day.

Here's a view in the opposite direction, looking back at the hotel, which claimed to have no vacancy.

Here's an old piano on the porch of the miniature and old western style strip mall on a street parallel to the hotel. Isn't it creepy? Can't you just hear music playing, the keys moving up and down with no one around?

And this is the old school building, now a wedding chapel.

After Shaniko, we continued north to the Columbia Gorge, stopping at The Dalles to have lunch at Taco Time. I love Taco Time's motto: "Taco Time...It Really Is!" So true. I almost always have the veggie burrito, which has been served sans meat and on a wheat tortilla long before those things became food fads.

We continued along the Columbia Gorge toward Portland, making a couple more pit stops, first at Multnomah Falls.

It's a half-mile, round trip, up to the bridge, another mile or so, if I remember correctly to the top of the falls.

Neal took this picture, on the bridge, looking down.

Which reminds me, I should probably confess that Neal took a few of the pictures I've posted over the last few blogs. All the good ones...

We made one last pit stop before arriving in Portland, to check out another of McMenamins' establishments, Edgefield. Each McMenamins location has a story; Edgefield used to be a poor house, the Mulnomah County Poor Farm, to be exact. From their website:

"Residents operated a self-sufficient environment, raising hogs, poultry, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables, operating a dairy, cannery and meat packing plant as well as working in the laundry, kitchen and hospital."

What a great idea. Negotiating the parking lot that afternoon was a little confusing because they were getting ready for a Los Lonely Boys concert. We managed a fifteen minute or so tour, though, and I bought some of their coffee and a keychain in the gift shop. The keychain is a pig with a little silver button on his back. When you push the button, his nostrils light up and he oinks. I thought it would be handy for those nights when I'm leaving the studio late and I can't find the lock on my car door.

In Portland, before returning our rental car and trying, in vain, to sleep on the plane, we had dinner at Gustav's, the bierstube-like side of Rheinlander, a fine German restaurant on the east side of town. This is where I first had Spaten Oktoberfest. Actually, I think that was the first beer I really enjoyed (what with beer being an aquired taste...good thing I hung in there!). Anyway, after a fondue appetizer, I had my usual, the jager schnitzel. German food there and back, making this epic blog post doubly full circle.

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