Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Portland, Oregon - Friends and Family - August 27-29, 2023

Sunday, August 27, was our travel day from the Sun Tides Golf Course RV Park in Yakima, Washington, through the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, to Wilsonville,  a southern suburb of Portland. We have family and friends throughout the Portland Metro area.

The day started out beautiful and became quite smoky when we were in the Columbia River Gorge headed to Portland. In the first two photos below, you can see how clear the air was. The Columbia River was uncustomarily calm. Normally, you would see white caps from the wind. 

The Columbia River Gorge near Chenoweth, Oregon.

The eastern part of the Columbia River Gorge
in Oregon.

The closer to Portland we got, the more smoke we encountered from the Camp Creek Fire on the slopes of Mt. Hood. The Camp Creek Fire in the Bull Run watershed is only 1.5 miles south of Portland's reservoir #1 that supplies the city's drinking water.

Mount Hood is occluded by smoke. You
can barely see it (center bottom of photo).

The Camp Creek Fire smoke crept into the gorge.

In the photo below is Beacon Rock. You can see that the smoke has not made its way across the Columbia River yet. Bob wanted me to include this photo because this is where we had our second date in August 1983 (40 years ago). We hiked to the top of the rock back then when we were youngsters. It's quite steep and our competitive natures had us quickly zipping up the trail. (Click on the link in the first sentence of this paragraph to see photos of the switchbacking, steep trail.) Bob says we were checking out how well each other hiked.

Beacon Rock. The ocean tides affect the 
Columbia River to this point, 146 river miles from 
the Pacific Ocean.

Crown Point on the Columbia River 
Scenic Historic Highway.

After we set up in the RV park on Sunday afternoon, we met longtime close friends Tom and Linda Favreau at Thai Village Restaurant for dinner. They used to live in Cottage Grove but moved to Woodburn, Oregon. 

Tom and Linda.

Our dinner was enjoyable as we reminisced about our years in Oregon and all the good times we shared. After dinner, we gave them a quick tour of our 5th wheel and visited another hour and a half.

Our campsite is in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Our campsite.

On Monday, I did six loads of laundry and Bob ran errands. We needed new hoses for our propane tanks. One of the hoses developed a leak and, out of an abundance of caution, we replaced both tanks' hoses. Camping World is very close to where we're staying.

While we were hanging out in the RV, a fifth wheel from Texas pulled in across from us. They had a bale of hay in the bed of their pickup. I was sitting at the computer looking out the window and I saw them get out of their truck. The lady was walking three dogs. No, wait, the third animal was not a dog, it was a miniature horse! Wow. What a surprise to see a horse in the campground. It was about the same size as their water dogs. I walked over and met Dante, Shelly, and Plato, their horse. Plato is a fully grown, four-year-old miniature horse. Isn't he adorable?

Dante and Plato from Galveston, Texas.

Monday evening, Kimmie, our "adopted" sister, took us to PF Changs at Bridgeport Village in Tualatin for dinner. Kimmie and her husband Ky used to work with Mom and they formed a deep friendship years ago. Janyce, Bob, and I all think of Kimmie as our sister. We honored Mom by eating at her favorite restaurant. Ky also passed away a number of years ago. Our conversation topics included Mom, Ky, Kimmie's family, our family, South Vietnam, and our travels. Whenever I am in Portland, I spend time with Kimmie. We have invited her to come to San Antonio because she has never been. Thank you, Kimmie, for the invitation to eat at PF Chang's with you.

Kimmie at PF Chang's.

Me, Michael, Kimmie, Bob, Janyce.

Tuesday, August 29: Today was more casual. I slept in. Bob did a little work. Then, we received a phone call that Liz, Bob's sister-in-law, was in the hospital to have a valve replacement in her heart. Liz was with us on the Alaska cruise and had some difficulty breathing a couple of times. She thought it was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a congenital condition she has.

We made it a point to visit her before tomorrow's surgery. She was in the Cardiac Unit at St. Vincent Hospital. Her surgery tomorrow is scheduled to last eight hours.

When we arrived in the middle of the afternoon, she was resting but happy to see us. Liz told us that she had already been in the hospital for five days for testing and for the staff to keep their eyes on her. As Bob recently had open heart surgery, he was able to share with Liz what to expect. 

From the hospital, we drove south on Hwy 217 and I-5 to do Happy Hour at The Oswego Grill with friends Curt and Lexi. I used to work with Curt at The Wilsonville Spokesman weekly community newspaper, where he was the editor. I did classified and outside ad sales and, from time to time, I wrote business articles.

It was a little early for us to meet them, so Bob and I drove along the Willamette River to check out the house we used to own there twenty years ago. We lived in our river house for 11 years where we had many memorable parties with potlucks and water-skiing. We remodeled the main level of the house when we first moved into it to suit our preferences. 

After we moved out, another family bought it. They repainted, and recarpeted, and it looked completely different. 

Then one year, Mom and I went back to look at it. It was abandoned and had a foreclosure notice on the front door. We went around to the back of the house and found the sliding glass door on the deck completely open. We went inside and found that birds had been getting into the house. The plans we had made when we remodeled the house were spread out on the kitchen counter. When we left, we ensured the sliding door was closed and locked. We exited through a different door that we also locked.

The house was been completely remodeled again by new owners who even added a third story a few years ago. Now, they are adding a garage/mother-in-law?? building that is so close to the original house that it doesn't look like they could walk between the two buildings. The other side of the structure abuts the neighbor's property line. 

We arrived at The Oswego Grill and Curt was waiting for us in the bar. Lexi texted she was around the corner. Drinks were served a few minutes after Lexi arrived. It has been a long time since Bob had visited with Curt and Lexi. We spent an hour and a half catching up on their travel and we discussed what our upcoming trips will be. 

Their yard has a beautiful garden with flowers, shrubs, and trees. Lexi's goal was to make 75 bouquets from her garden this year, and she did it! In fact, she surpassed it. Before we got to Portland, I asked her if she had any flowers left and if she could make a bouquet for us. She made two arrangements with lovely zinnias and coneflowers! Thanks, Lexi!!

Curt, Lexi, me, and Bob. (Hey, Curt, you gotta
love these "grip and grin" photos. LOL!)

JoJo approves of Lexi's bouquets!

Our first few days in Oregon have been what we hoped: quality time spent with family and friends. We will be seeing more family and friends over the upcoming days. Stay tuned.


  1. How did I miss the rest of the cruise reports, only got to read Day 1 now you are back already....hope you had a nice cruise.

    1. Because we have been so busy, I haven't written the rest of the cruise blogs yet. I'm just a little out of sequence. They're coming up next. Sitka, Alaska, was our first port and that's the blog I'm working on now. Thanks for reading. You shall be rewarded shortly.


Please let me know what you think, your experiences, and constructive criticism to make this blog stronger.